The Girl and the Dragon

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The Girl and the Dragon

Post by Jagtai » Wed Dec 20, 2006 4:43 am

Icegard

A young man hurried along the wide boulevard, barely noticing the great marble statues of heroes past that lined the road. He ran up the stairs, crossed the courtyard and entered the great hall of King Oster.

The King was discussing something with his advisors, when the young man arrived. He kneeled and awaited permission to speak.

Oster, King of the North and Defender of the Faith, looked at the young man. His face was covered in sweat and grime, and his armour and clothes showed signs of a long ride.

“Drachen? What is it?” The young man, Drachen Worl, rose. Panting slightly, he relayed his message:

“I bring dire news, my liege. The enemy has destroyed several villages to the north-east. We searched through the ruins, but found no survivors.”

The King looked at him with a glimmer of concern.

“Where are Lord Sorn and his knights?”

“On their way back here. The Lord should have a more thorough report for you, my liege.”

“Very well. You are dismissed, Drachen.”

The young man bowed and left the hall. The King turned.

“What do you suggest we do?” One of his advisors, Argon, the high priest of the temple of Wolfric, spoke.

“I would strongly advise against sending an army up there. The north-east harbours dangers beyond the skill of any mortal knight.” The King inwardly sighed. Argon always spoke of ‘dangers beyond the skill of mortal men’, but the King – a powerful warrior in his own right – had yet to meet a foe he could not defeat.

“What would you have me do, then? I cannot simply abandon the remaining villages to the enemy.”

“Send a detachment of Knights of the Cup. If any dangers should materialize, they at least stand a chance.” Once again, King Oster sighed inwardly. The High Priest always suggested the use of the Knights of the Cup. The King had never been in a situation that Argon’s ‘holier-than-thou’ Knights of the Cup were more capable of handling than his own knights.
Normally, the king would have derided the use of the Knights of the Cup for the above reasons and sent his own knights. But for some reason, he got the feeling that Argon was right for once.

“Very well. Pick a detachment of knights and send them to Dorman Keep. I’ll send word to the commandant there.” Argon bowed.

“As you wish, my liege.”

As Argon left the hall, he was almost jubilant. The King had never agreed to the use of the Knights of the Cup before, and the holy warriors had been relegated to patrol duty in the south, where there were rarely anything to do for them.

*****

He soon reached the keep of the Knights of the Cup and passed the guards at the gate. The keep itself was large, and was connected to the Cathedral of Wolfric through a series of underground tunnels. It was built of pure, white marble, and was devoid of the gargoyles that were so prevalent in most other Northern architecture.

Argon hurried inside the main building and entered the office of the Grand Master. The man inside lifted his head to look at the person who dared interrupt his work, and smiled when he recognized his peer.

“Argon! What brings you to our humble abode?”

“The orders of the King. His Majesty wishes for a detachment of knights to be sent to Dorman Keep.”

Grand Master Ulric Ravensguard stared at the High Priest. He was an imposing man, more than six feet tall and clad in silver armour, with the black moustache common among Southern nobility.

“The King has asked for the services of the Knights of the Cup?” Argon nodded.

“Yes. Several villages have been destroyed by an unknown foe, and the Knights of the Cup are sent to prevent any more attacks.”

Lord Ravensguard pondered it for a moment. Then he looked at Argon.

“You fear there is more to this than mere barbarians.” It was a statement rather than a question. The eyes of the High Priest darkened. Gone was all his mirth.

“Indeed I do. As you know, the north-east was once home to the Cult of Shaitan. If they have risen again, we may be facing a danger unlike any seen in many centuries.”

“Is there evidence of a revival of the Cult?” Argon shook his head.

“Only rumours. But even rumours must be investigated. We cannot draw upon the Order of Dracul this time.”

The Order of Dracul. The legendary order of dragon-riders, said to have aided the Knights of the Cup in the mythical Sin Wars. Like everything else from that time, there was no evidence of their existence. Indeed, the only heirlooms from that time were the Knights of the Cup, and even among the Knights themselves few believed that the Sin War had ever taken place.

Lord Ravensguard nodded, his face set in grim determination.

“We must send knights who believe the ancient tales and are strong of faith. If the legends are to be believed, only men and women of strong faith and conviction may be succeed where others would not.”

The High Priest and the Grand Master spent the rest of the day planning who to send…

The Northern Wastes

Bodies lay strewn across the scorched ground and among the smouldering ruins. All wore signs of having been burned; some were but blackened husks, others had a blackened hole in their chest, where the heart should be.

The man walked slowly through the ruined village. Here and there, he bent down to examine a corpse before moving on.
He wore armour of obsidian-black metal, adorned with images of death. His features were hidden by a helmet of the same dark metal, and only his steel-blue eyes were visible, filled as they were with sorrow.

After having searched the village thoroughly, the man finally seemed to give up. He left the village and walked east for a while. Eventually, he reached a small hill. A young woman in her early twenties sat on a rock, seemingly unaware of the freezing wind. She wore a short, black dress and seemed to have a tinge of blue in her skin.

“Back so soon?” She said sarcastically. “Have you had your fill of death for the day?” The man ignored the sarcasm.

“Yes, thank you. Shall we go?”

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Post by Jagtai » Fri Dec 22, 2006 5:15 am


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Post by Jagtai » Fri Dec 22, 2006 6:09 am

Icegard

Knight-Brother Joseph Brightholme made his way through the dark corridors of the keep. Now and then he passed a fellow knight, and gave the appropriate salute as required by the Code. He soon reached the door to the courtyard and made his way across to the main building.

Joseph had been summoned to the office of the Grand Master. Joseph had wondered if he had done something wrong; he always did his best to follow the Code to the letter, but even the best failed sometimes.

He reached the door to the office and spent a moment admiring the priceless woodwork before knocking on the door.

"Enter."

Joseph held his breath as he opened the door and entered.

The Grand Master sat in his chair, the High Priest of the Temple of Wolfric, Argon, standing beside him. In a chair to the left sat a young woman, dressed in the crimson robe of a Sorceress of Yun. The Grand Master smiled as he saw Joseph.

"Brother Brightholme. Welcome. Have a seat." He gestured towards a finely carved wooden chair. Joseph sat down.

"Forgive me, Grand Master, but why have I been summoned? Have I done something wrong?"

The smile on Lord Ravensguard’s face broadened.

“No, you have not, Brother. You were summoned, because we have a very important mission for you. I assume you’ve heard of the recent attacks in the north.”

Joseph nodded. The Grand Master continued.

“We are sending a detachment of knights north to prevent any more attacks. I want you, Brother Brightholme, to lead the detachment.”

Joseph was stunned. He had only been knighted a year ago. Usually only veterans with at least ten years of service were selected to lead detachments. He managed to stutter:

“I…I am honoured, Grand Master.”

Lord Ravensguard nodded, and then continued.

“You may pick nineteen knights to bring with you. But they must possess your faith and loyalty.”

“Yes, Grand Master.”

“Good. Now, this,” he pointed at the woman, “is the Sorceress Thierra of the Temple of Yun. She will act as your advisor on this mission.” Joseph just nodded. The Grand Master continued. “Good. Go. Find your knights, and report back here first thing tomorrow.” Joseph rose.

“Yes, Grand Master.” He bowed before Argon and Thierra, then turned and left.

As he walked down the corridor, he wondered what could be so dangerous that the Knights of the Cup would request the help of the servants of Yun, the goddess of Magic and Death…

*****

Northern Wastes

Kailee opened her eyes and let out a low scream. The lifeless eyes of her mother stared into hers. Kailee recovered from the initial shock and rose. She looked around. The house where she used to live with her parents and siblings lay in ruins, seemingly destroyed by a massive blast. The roof was missing, only a single crossbar remaining. Around her, the corpses of her two younger sisters Shael and Kael and her brother Merk lay strewn. The remains of what she assumed were her father lay in what remained of the doorway. It was burned to a crisp.

A great shadow passed overhead. Kailee dropped to her stomach and lay still, pretending to be dead. She did not dare to look up, afraid of what she might see.
The shadow passed over the house a few times, before disappearing. When she finally dared to get up and look for it, she could only see a dark dot in the horizon, moving rapidly towards the distant mountains.

Kailee spent the next few hours gathering what supplies she could, including a battered shortsword her father had kept locked down. After burying her family in shallow graves and covering them with rocks to prevent predators from getting to them, she began to walk in the general direction of the fortress called Dorman Keep. At least she hoped so…

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Post by Pryde » Sun Dec 24, 2006 12:25 am

It was ironic, really, any other person walking down that road would have thought it was a beautiful day, or rather an adequate day when compared to most standards. The sun was shining, but it was not warm. The wind was blowing, but it was not cold. And all around her the plains of the north yielded no spectacular sights. But the mundaneness of it all was not what troubled her. No, it was the mere fact that she was even walking to begin with that troubled her most. The day started off fairly well, she chartered a carriage heading north from a small village a couple of leagues south of here. However, upon hearing the rumors of a beast in the north, the wagon master decided to turn around leaving poor Josylin Summers out in the middle of nowhere alone.

Cursing under her breath Josylin struggled with her rather ungainly bag of possessions. With a stack of books under each arm, a bag in each hand and a purse hanging from her mouth the young wizard stumbled down the road towards the distant Dorman Keep. At one point her foot slipped on a loose patch of gravel knocking her off balance and sending all of her books, as well as herself, to the ground. She landed hard on her rump, her belongings scattered about her. Cursing again she unceremoniously slapped the ground in frustration. "Good for nothing cowards!" she nearly screamed, though no one was around to hear her. "A beast in the north? Ridiculous hearsay!"

Mouthing a few more choice words she pulled herself to her feet and set about the tedious task of gathering her things. "I could levitate this stuff if I only had a feather," she muttered under her breath, again cursing her misfortune. Shouldering her bags once more she set off again, albeit a bit more cautiously this time, bringing herself that much closer to Dorman Keep with each step. Several yards later she stopped and looked up at the sky. A few drops of rain had fallen on her forehead and for a moment Josylin honestly wanted to cry. It was late that evening by the time she reached the massive doors of the keep and by that time a torrential downpour had moved in. Dropping her load she pounded on the wood as hard as she could making a barely audible thump. "Ow," she said, cradling her hand in the other.

A slot in the door slid open and a man peered out. "So, there is someone there," he said in surprise, "and here I thought a gentle breeze had picked up. What is it ya want, lass?"

"Food and shelter, if I may," Josylin answered, ignoring the man's remark, "My carriage has left me stranded and I have nowhere else to go."
"Ol' Doc doesn't hide, he hibernates." -- Doc, Star Wars: The Old Republic

"What do you call it when you kill someone and take all their stuff?"
"Adventuring!" -- Tallis and Hawke, Dragon Age 2.

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Post by Jagtai » Mon Dec 25, 2006 3:14 pm

Dorman Keep

The gatekeeper sized her up. Then he shrugged.

”Sure. Ya don’t look too dangerous, lass.” He slammed the slot closed. A moment later the gate inched open, leaving just enough room for Josylin to enter.

Once she was inside the gate, the gatekeeper slammed it shut again.

”There ya go, lass. The Lame Horse is still open, I believe. But watch yerself – people around ’ere are a rough’n’tumble lot, lass.”

Northern Wastes

The group snaked its way through the plains. They had been underway for less than a day, and already they were all frozen to the core, despite their seemingly warm clothes.

Joseph led the formation, riding side-by-side with his friend and fellow Knight, Jeremy Bearclaw. Behind them rode Thierra, busy fidgeting with her books and seemingly unbothered by the chilling wind that seemed to blow through them constantly. The sorceress was followed by Knight-Sergeant Vidar Oxblue, the only veteran to have been selected by Joseph. Oxblue was a giant of a man, bulging with muscle. Only the numerous wrinkles in his face betrayed the fact that he was over fifty summers old. He carried a massive claymore on his back, one of only few knights not to employ the traditional combination of longsword and shield.
Riding beside Oxblue was Knight-Brother Selene Winterborn, a young knight who had just passed the initiation rites and been elevated to the rank of knight. She was one of only three women to have been admitted into the order, and wicked tongues claimed that she had only been admitted because her father was Sir Lucien Winterborn, an influential member of the Order.
Behind Oxblue and Winterborn came the remaining sixteen knights, all young knights recently elevated from the rank of squire.

When the night fell upon the travellers, Joseph ordered a temporary camp to be built. As the fire burned greedily, the knights fell asleep around it, thankful for the warmth it exuded. Only Oxblue and Winterborn remained awake, having taken the first watch.
Vidar and Selene was relieved by two younger knights after a few hours, and when the group broke camp and dawn, there had been no incidents. At one point, one of the knights on watch had thought he had heard the sound of beating wings, but he assumed it was merely a bat or owl.

As they resumed their journey, two pair of eyes followed from a snowy peak…

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Post by RileyKenobi » Tue Dec 26, 2006 9:43 pm

The light of a gray dawn filtered into the vaulted chambers, casting silvery shadows over the massive figure near what might’ve been the hearth of the room. Long, deep breathing echoed softly about the room as the scaled back of the dragon rose and fell as he slept. On a simple mattress of grass and animal pelts beside his chest, a young woman with brilliant red hair slept soundly, her face sideways and partially covered by one arm.

Embers glowed in the fireplace; the logs had crumbled into dust by morning. Mist was visible outside the rim of the cave, swirling and sparkling with the dust motes in the early sun. The dragon shifted with a growl, opening one huge blue eye to look at his rider. Her face had not changed, her hair was still over her eyes and her chest rose smoothly with each breath.

Are you awake?

The girl opened one eye halfway, mimicking what the dragon had done moments before. They were remarkably alike, after all this time. She glared sleepily.

“Well, now I am, you scoundrel,” she muttered hoarsely. She pushed her red hair from her face and rolled over to face the dragon, who opened both twinkling eyes. She placed a hand on his large snout, tapping her fingers on his scales.

“Mornings like these make me want to put a door in,” she said, sighing and pulling off the blankets and standing stiffly.

The dragon lifted his head and snorted, eyeing the glowing embers for a moment before looking at the girl again.

I don’t do doors, Romi. You should get some wood for this or you’ll be cold. He gestured at the fireplace.

Romi wrapped a cloak about her and gathered an armful of logs, setting them into the ashes. She crossed her arms and nodded at the logs. “Your turn.”

A stream of blue fire licked at the logs, and soon a warm orange fire was blazing, sending copper-colored shadows dancing about the room. With a small twirl, Romi wrapped her arms as far around the dragon’s neck as she could and he lifted her as he stood. She lay across the top of his head, rubbing his eye ridges methodically.

“You think we’ll get to fly today, Jaeger?”

The dragon rumbled, swinging his head towards the cavern mouth. Possibly. This mist is good for cover. It would be nice to stretch my wings. You should dress. People have their habits of walking in unannounced, you know.

“I do know that,” said Romi, sliding down his neck and disappearing into her private chambers. As she dressed she heard Jaeger moving about in the cavern; the floor shook a little each time he put one of his great feet down. Romi was now nearly twenty-four summers old. She had first come to White Fang at the age of eighteen; she had met Jaeger that day and become a new person in that instant.

Somehow, they’d seen something in her, the people that tested her. They asked her questions, examined her. They told her things that couldn’t be true. That dragons were alive and well, simply hidden. That the Order of Dracul was still in existence, and she was about to become an agent. Romi touched the iridescent dragon scale about her neck. It was one of Jaeger’s, fastened into a pendant that she word everyday. Six years they had been paired together. Truthfully, Romi could remember very little about her life before Jaeger and the order. The ecstasy of flying had replaced many of her memories. Her parents were extremely faint in her mind; she couldn’t remember their voices or faces. Jaeger and her fellow riders were her entire world. White Fang was her home, though she did long for open skies, and Jaeger even more.

She pulled her flight jacket on and poked her head outside the door. Jaeger was standing by the mouth of the cave, staring out into the misty morning, which was now gold instead of gray as light streamed into the valley.

“Ready?”

Always.
Stop blowing holes in my ship!

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Post by Pryde » Wed Dec 27, 2006 2:15 am

Josylin fumbled around with her belongings some more then cocked an eyebrow at him. "I don't suppose you'd be willing to help," she asked, but the man shook his head.

"Someone's gotta stay and watch the gate, lass," he said non-chalantly, though Josylin could have sworn she saw just the hint of a smile. Gritting her teeth she hefted everything into her arms and stumbled onto the thoroughfare leading to the Lame Horse, all the while the rain continued to beat on her shoulders. At this time of night the street was fairly empty except for the occassional passerby, She briefly considered asking for directions or at least a little bit of assistance but decided against it. Anyone up this late was almost certain not to be any sort of helpful.

She found the Lame Horse not far from the southern gate. Stumbling through the door she dropped her belongings and approached the front counter. The man who greeted her was a pudgy sort of man. He seemed genuinely nice and was very polite, albeit a bit forgetful. A few words and some gold exchanged hands and Josylin had herself a room. The inn keeper was nice enough to help her with her things and not long after she was out of her wet clothes and into a warm bed. She didn't bother checking on her possessions, she knew most of her books were ruined if not all of them. That sort of thing could wait until morning, right now she was way too exhausted to move. As soon as her head hit the pillow she fell fast asleep...
"Ol' Doc doesn't hide, he hibernates." -- Doc, Star Wars: The Old Republic

"What do you call it when you kill someone and take all their stuff?"
"Adventuring!" -- Tallis and Hawke, Dragon Age 2.

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Post by Jedi_Kit_Fitsu » Sun Dec 31, 2006 4:17 pm

ic:

The Lame Horse was not a very well lit establishment, but to someone like Robin Tarvik it served his purposes just fine. Robin scanned the inn and had seen many people walking in and out, why just a few moments ago he saw a woman with more books than she could carry waltz in and buy a room.

However, women with a large reading hobby were the last thing on Robin's mind. The one thing that dominated Robin's mind were the sights he had seen no more than four days ago while he was in the northern wastes. Attempting to return home to his wife and daughter, he returned to find the village destroyed and still burning. Not a soul was in sight nor was there a single survivor. Since that day, Robin rode here to the Lame Horse in Dorman Keep and has been living in the mug in front of him since he arrived.

After finally drinking his fill, Robin staggered up the stairs and fell into his room which was across from a previously unoccupied room. Hopefully he didn't awake his new neighbor.

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Post by Pryde » Tue Jan 02, 2007 6:46 pm

Josylin hated mornings, or rather she hated getting out of bed especially before noon. She knew it was one of her worse habbits but she didn't care much to change it. After all the life of a wizard was fairly boring, getting up earlier only meant that she'd be able to enjoy a few more hours of studying. Why she decided to practice magic in the first place she didn't know. The life of a wizard seemed so much more exciting on paper. Today, however, was different. Today she needed to spend some time in town chartering a waggon and replacing all the random spell components and odds and ends that were damaged by the rain.

Once she had dressed herself in a muddy brown travelling gown she made her way first to the common area. The innkeeper greeted her at the door and she ordered a simple breakfast. Some bread, a block of cheese and what turned out to be a dirty glass of water.

"Excuse me," she said, stopping the innkeeper in his tracks. Holding up her glass for his inspection she continued, "This glass is dirty."

"Ya don't say," the man said in surprise, taking the glass from her and peering at it very closely. "Very sorry about that, miss, I'll get ya another one."

"Thank you," Josylin replied but the man had already hurried off. Shrugging her shoulders slightly she absent-mindedly threw some bread in her mouth while she fingered through one of her slightly less damaged books. If I ever meet that waggoneer again I'll give him a piece of my mind...
"Ol' Doc doesn't hide, he hibernates." -- Doc, Star Wars: The Old Republic

"What do you call it when you kill someone and take all their stuff?"
"Adventuring!" -- Tallis and Hawke, Dragon Age 2.

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Post by Jedi_Kit_Fitsu » Tue Jan 02, 2007 7:43 pm

As Robin made his way down the stairs into the main area of the inn he gave a slight nod to the innkeeper, "Mug o' ale and some bread for me," Robin said as he took a seat.

"Lil early for ale dontcha' think, sir?" the innkeeper responded.

"No better wake up then a nice cold glass o' ale, mi friend," Robin answered before he turned to the newcomer a few tables over.

"Mornin' lass," he said as he gave a slight nod.

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Post by Jagtai » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:40 pm

Dorman Keep

The knights reached the keep in the late morning. The gatekeeper recognized them quickly enough, and let them in. As they passed through the gate, they noticed that there was more activity than was normal for the keep this time of year. Joseph stopped his horse beside the gatekeeper.

“What is happening? I see more people than is customary this time of year.” The gatekeeper shrugged.

“The rumours of evil beings in the wastes have caused many commoners to seek refuge in the keep. They figure they’re safer here than in their villages.”

“Thank you.”

The group stopped in front of the castle, located in the approximate centre of the keep, and dismounted their horses. Thierra approached Joseph. She walked a bit awkwardly, obviously hurting from the long ride.

“I suppose we should procure rooms and meet with the commandant, yes?” Her voice was slightly accented, betraying her Southern heritage. Joseph nodded.

“Brother-Knight Almery will procure rooms, while we talk to the Lord Castellan.”

Joseph and Thierra entered the keep proper and ascended the stone stairs. As they reached the top of the keep, they were greeted by the Lord Castellan, Lord Witgar Runeblade.

“Welcome to Dorman Keep, Knight-Brother Brightholme and Sorceress Thierra. I am Lord Castellan Witgar Runeblade.” Joseph bowed for the Castellan and then took his hand.

“It is good to see you again, sir Witgar. My father sends his regards.” The Lord Castellan smiled.

“I heard of his illness. I trust he is feeling better?”

“Indeed. He has recovered fully.”

Lord Runeblade motioned towards a pair of ornately carved wooden chairs, and sat down in his own.

“So, I understand you are here to investigate the recent rumours?” Joseph nodded.

“Yes. Could you tell us more of these rumours?”

“Of course. Several villages have been attacked in the last few weeks. To begin with, it was only in the extreme north, where attacks are to be expected, what with the local barbarian tribes. But recently, the attackers have moved further and further south.” Thierra interjected.

“Do we know who the attackers are?” Lord Runeblade shook his head.

“Unfortunately, we do not. My advisors believe that it is merely barbarians who are trying to blame someone else, but there are rumours of…more fantastic proportions abound.”

“How so?”

“Well…” Lord Runeblade seemed uncomfortable, as if Joseph and Thierra would believe him mad if he told them. “…some speak of demons, creations of the nether regions come to haunt us. Others…others speak of great winged creatures of awesome power, ridden by figures clad in dark armour.”

Thierra looked disdainfully at Lord Runeblade, but Joseph understood the significance of the rumours.

“Dragons?”

Lord Runeblade nodded.

“I don’t know if the rumours are true, but it may be worth investigating. If we are facing dragons, I’d like to know.”

*****

When Joseph and Thierra came out of the castle, Brother-Sergeant Oxblue approached them.

“Sir Brightholme, the castle has put rooms at our disposal. I have quartered all the knights in their respective quarters, and we are ready for your command.” Joseph nodded. He was uncomfortable ordering the veteran around.

“Very good. Send a few men out to gather rumours, and dispatch a patrol to the nearest village.”

“Very well. Who shall lead the patrol?”

“Knight-Brother Winterborn.”

The Brother-Sergeant nodded and left to make sure the orders were carried out.

*****

Kailee had reached the keep in the early morning, and had been let in by the gatekeeper, who saw no threat in her. Like several other newcomers, she had taken up a room in the Lame Horse, paying a week in advance. Unfortunately, that had left her with only enough coins for three meals.

She now sat in the main inn room, eating the gruel that was the cheapest meal on the menu.

White Fang

A massive blue dragon flew in through the cave entrance, coming to a stop in a single fluent motion. A figure clad in black armour slid off the dragon, padded it on its leg, and strode across the cave floor. The figure removed its helmet, revealing the face of a handsome young man with short blond hair.

“Kale.”

An old, decrepit woman appeared in a small alcove, smiling at the man. The young man knelt before her.

“Io.” The woman smiled broader and touched his shoulder lightly.

“Rise, Kale. Tell me what you saw.” Kale rose. He was nearly two heads taller than the woman.

“More villages have been burnt and their inhabitants killed. I have seen no signs of survivors.” The woman continued to smile, as her dark eyes seemed to look into his soul.

“You have more to tell me, Kale.”

“I do. The King have sent knights to Dorman Keep. Among them is a Sorceress of Yun. I felt her presence when I passed over them last night.”

“You will need help,” Io said matter-of-factly, “and I have chosen your companion.”

“Do I know this companion?”

“Romi.” She stated simply. “She has served the Order for six years. She is ready.”

*****

When Romi and Jaeger returned, there was a message for them. The oracle Io, leader of the Order, awaited their presence in her cave…

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Post by RileyKenobi » Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:04 pm

The wind whipped against Romi’s white face, her hair flitting back like tiny tongues of flame against her head as Jaeger headed up into the clouds at a nearly vertical angle. Her thighs pressed firmly to the saddle sides, and her arms wrapped as far as they could go around the dragon’s muscular neck. A dash of moisture chilled her cheeks as they broke the dense upper clouds and surfaced above the skyscape. It was much colder up in the higher elevations, one of the reasons the riding jackets were lined with rabbit fur and sheep’s wool. The outside was toughened leather, tanned with a lot of skill and a little bit of magic, or so Romi was told. Jaeger’s wings beat slowly in their magnificent span, sending clouds into artistic swirls as he flew. He rolled over in the air, and Romi giggled. Jaeger was very serious about most things. But when he flew…he could be like a hatchling, silly as could be.

Romi looked at the back of his head as it bobbed slightly. We’ll be called down soon.

He snorted. So let’s make the most of it.

Without warning, Jaeger snaked his head down beneath the clouds and tucked his wings, dropping into a screeching dive, to which Romi replied with a thrilled shriek as she clung to the saddle. And all at once the dragon opened his wings, halting before spiraling down into the lush green valley below, where figures of other dragons and other riders got larger and larger as they descended. Jaeger touched down gracefully and Romi laughed as she vaulted off, landing in the grass perkily. She rubbed Jaeger’s snout for a moment before looking around. A rider approached her almost as soon as she had hit the ground, holding a scroll in her hand. The dark-haired woman Romi recognized as Sharra looked grave.

“A message for you,” she said quietly, handing the scroll to Romi. As she opened it, Sharra continued, “…from the oracle.”

Romi looked up sharply and Jaeger snorted in surprise.

Io. What would she want with us?

“Good question,” Romi muttered as she read the message. “She wants to see us. Now.”

She looked at Sharra. “Thank you.”

Sharra nodded, her dark red dragon watching silently. Jaeger and Melke, Sharra’s dragon, spoke briefly before Romi returned to the saddle. Jaeger shifted and pushed off from the ground with a swift shove, rocketing into the air. Io’s cave was one of the largest and highest up. Jaeger pumped his wings as they ascended back into the mist, arriving at the mouth of the oracle’s cave a few minutes after. Romi’s cheeks felt like ice as she jumped down from Jaeger’s back, rubbing her leather-clad arms with gloved hands.

Romi stood, nervous, near the mouth of the cave. “My lady?”

Her voice echoed eerily in the vastness of the chamber. Jaeger let out a habitual rumble that shook the floor, and Romi scratched his shoulder-scales, an equally habitual action after half a dozen years. Any business with the oracle was pressing business indeed.
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Post by SmokeMare » Sun Jan 07, 2007 2:20 am

In the darkness, beneath the earth two figures moved hastily. The light of the lantern, held by the leader casting eerie shadows through the forgotten tunnels. The leader was a stout figure, less than five feet in height, clad head to foot in heavy, ornate armour, his face almost hidden by his grizzly beard and decorative helmet. His face a pair of piercing blue eyes, from the mass of hair and steel.

His partner, followed, both hands on his weapon, just as stout as the first, but his fiery, orange mohican made his height seem eight inches taller. His attire was radically different than the leader. His bare feet treading carelessly on the cold stone floor of the tunnel. His only attire a pair of leather trousers and a small selection of heavy, ornate gold jewelry. The torso of the second character was covered in a network of runic tattoos and hideous scars, his fiery orange beard was tangled and wild, as were his dark sullen eyes. The runes on the flat of his ornate axe, a giant thing, designed clearly for two handed use glowed faintly in the dark tunnels.

As they pressed forwards through the tunnels they talked in their own tongue, a clicky language, with low grumbling hums and the sounds echoing the straight lines of ancient runes.

' Hah! We can't be that far now... Look at the runes above that archway!'

' Grrrr, eight days since we left Grrvti and nothing to fight! Crag Helmv said this was a dangerous mission!'

'Calm down, Votrex my friend, we are not at the surface yet, no dwarf-kind have been to the surface since my grand pappy's youth, we don't know how the world has changed up there...'

'Hmmph, you can tell, look at the state of these tunnels! The Crag should have send someone up here to maintain them.'

'Maybe so... But according to Crag Helmv, there was an agreement made that we would live exclusively underground... Who knows maybe in far off lands dwarves have been living on the surface? Look is that the exit?'

As they'd rounded the corner a pale blue door shape appeared at the top of a stone staircase. Debris, invading roots and animal dropping were scattered across the staircase, but they carefully picked their way around them and exited the doorway.

It was night when the two stumpy figures stepped out into the forest. Clouds hung low in the sky, but the piercing moon broke through and illuminated the clearing around the portal. Gurt turned to the stone portal and pulled a scroll from his pocket, he read the runes down the side of the obelisk and looked at his scroll, ' Dorman Keep should be to the north west, it shouldn't be too far.'

Votrex grinned manicly as the wind blew through the forest, moonlight glinting off his gold incisor, a solemn reminder of some past fight, where he's foolishly elected not to duck or parry. 'Lets get going!'

Gurt looked surprised, ' Aye... And lets hope we get a good reception when we get to the Keep, if the rest of the mines have been as careful about avoiding the surface as we have... Well, people might be a bit surprised to see us...'

Gurt pulled a compass out of his leather bag and began walking north-west.

' Gurt, surely it wsn't that long ago that we went under? My pappy could remember the surface! '

'Aye, that may be, two, three generations ago doesn't seem so long... But remember the surface is inhabited mainly by humans, who don't live so long. I hear they rarely live until a greater age than sixty or seventy winters, most less than that...'

'Ee gads, that's barely more than children! '

The moonlight shimmering through the trees, Gurt extinguished the lantern, living in the dark their eyes well adapted to the dim light. As the trecked through, following the compass, strange noises echoed from the forest. Soon the trees began to thin out and forest, turned into moorland. The ground was sodden, as if they'd exited after a heavy downpour, but they didn't feel the cold. Even Votrex's bare feet, covered in mud and grass didn't shiver. As they trudged across the moorland the keep came into sight in the distance and the rain started again.

'That must be Dorman keep! '

Votrex wiped the water from his eyes, looking a little astonished, ' SO, this is what 'rain' is brother? Hah... Water falling from the sky... '

Gurt shrugged unimpressed, 'It's not that special, try not get excited about things, we're going to seem strange enough as it is! Come on, lets pick up the pace!'

Throught the rain the armour-clad dwarf and his bare chested companion started sprinting, their stumpy legs not carrying them particularly fast. By the time they reached the doors of the keep the rain was torrential. Gurt banged on the door with the handle of his great axe, shouting at the same time, in english, but in his strange, Scottish sounding dwarven accent,

"In the name of Crag Hemv, open up! We have an urgent message for the Lord of this Keep!"

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Post by Jagtai » Sun Jan 07, 2007 3:20 am

White Fang

A voice came out of the darkness. It shivered with age.

”Come closer, both of you.”

As Romi and Jaeger proceeded into the massive cave, they were met with the sight of an old, decrepit woman sitting by a bonfire. A large black pot was heating over a fire, and the woman stirred it now and then.

Just then, a low growl echoed through the cave as a massive blue dragon appeared out of the darkness that covered most of the cave. Beside it walked a young man clad in obsidian armour. Romi and Jaeger recognized them immediately. Kale and Tharseris were legendary. They were the agents of Io, and the only ones allowed to leave the mountains.

Io seemingly ignored Tharseris, and smiled to Romi and Jaeger.

”Welcome. I am sure you are wondering why I have called you here?” She did not stop to wait for an answer before continuing. ”Kale and Tharseris have been doing my bidding, but as capable as they are, they need help. They need your help. Will you become my agents?”

*****

The slot in the gate slid aside and a pair of eyes peered out.

”Who’s there?”

Gurt slammed the handle of his axe against the gate again.

”Down ’ere!”

The gatekeeper looked down, then slammed the slot shut. The two dwarves could hear mumbling behind the gate. Then, after several minutes, the gate slid open just far enough for Gurt and Votrex to enter. Inside, they were met by an aging (in human eyes) guard sergeant, who asked them to follow him.

He led the dwarves through the deserted streets, into the castle and up to the quarters of the Lord Castellan. They were shown into a large room, warmed by a large fire, and left alone. A few moments later, the Lord Castellan entered the room.

”Welcome to Dorman Keep. I am Sir Witgar Runeblade, Lord Castellan of Dorman Keep. How may we help the Dwarves?” Unlike everyone else, Lord Witgar did not seem unnerved by the sight of the two Dwarves, despite the fact that Dwarves – and all other non-human races, for that matter – were considered mythical creatures with no root in reality...

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Post by SmokeMare » Sun Jan 07, 2007 3:43 am

Gurt and Votrex had noted the looks of astonishment coming from all they had passed on the way through the keep. The roaring fire was comforting though, and no hostile moves had been made towards them. They listened to Lord Runeblade, then Votrex spoke to Gurt in their own tongue,

'What does he say?! Is he the Crag?'

'Aye, he just asked how he can help us... Hmmm, he doesn't seem too phased by our presence that is good...'

Gurt cleared his throat and thought for a moment before responding,

"Sir, I am Gurt, this is my companion Votrex, we are emissaries from Crag Helmv, Crag of Grrvti, the mine beneath the northern peaks. We have come to deliver this important message, regarding Hegat Keep. It's contents I do not know, but I do know the Crag is worried, hooded figures have been investigating the tunnels near the keep - so we have closed them off temporarily."

He pulled out of his armour an ornately bound scroll and offered it to the Lord, "I'm afraid whatever the problem is, we dwarves are ill-equipped to deal with it at the moment. We are still at war with the Skrvati, the Crag seemed to think this would affect the over-dwellers and was important enough to send us out of the mine."

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Post by Pryde » Mon Jan 08, 2007 1:03 am

Josylin barely noticed the man enter the room she was too entranced with her book and busily whispering to herself as though she were having some sort of strange conversation with an unseen listener. In one hand she held the book while the other traced mystical symbols in the air.

"Aelilas tithiries alarindiel," she whispered quietly to herself, "melánas thieirrial ni..."

"Mornin' lass," someone said suddenly, startling her in the middle of her incantation. Josylin yelped in surprise and nearly fell out of her chair, there was a spark at her hand and before Robin knew it her dress caught on fire.

"Oh my god," Josylin exclaimed, patting ineffectually at the flames in a vain attempt to put them out. At that moment the innkeeper returned with a new glass. "Here's your water, miss--Goodness gracious, how did that happen?"

"Water! Now!" Josylin nearly screamed, yanking the glass from his hands and dumping the water on her skirt dousing the flames. As soon as the last spark was out she spun on Robin, her steely blue eyes boring into his.

"You idiot!" she shouted, "You broke my concentration!"
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Post by Jedi_Kit_Fitsu » Mon Jan 08, 2007 8:21 am

Robin couldn't help but give a small chuckle, "Quite the wake up call," he winked at Josylin.

"I didn't mean to interrupt....whatever it was you were doin', just saying hello is all." he explained.

Robin then stood up and crossed the room with another glass of water and sat across from Josylin, "Here's another glass incase something goes wrong again," he said with a smirk, "Name's Robin, so what's your name lass?"

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Post by Shaggy » Mon Jan 08, 2007 8:26 am

Rajin sat in the back of the eating area and watched the young woman mess up her incantation. He let a small "hmmpf" escape his throat.

*"Amateur, I can’t believe they let people like her practice the secret arts."* He said to himself as he finished that last part of his water. He extended his hand over his cup and whispered "Uisce" and at once his glass was filled to the brim again. He smirked again as the young lady poured water all over her skirt.

"You idiot! You broke my concentration!" The woman screamed.

"Don't blame him for your lack of concentration. It's not his fault you are bumbling fool. Now if you are done making a spectacle of yourself, some of us would like to get back to our peace and quiet of the morning." Rajin said in response. Many people turned and looked at him but he didn't really care. Rajin was the best student Dimok had ever encountered. Rajin had surpassed every other student Dimok had by the age of fifteen and since then he has only grown stronger. He had yet to loose any friendly, or not so friendly, wizard’s duel. Some called him arrogant but Rajin was very confident in his abilities. He knew where his power lies and what he was capable of doing and it showed.

He leaned back against the wall and enjoyed to look of outrage on the woman's face. He had seen it many times before and he enjoyed separating the wheat from the chaff when it came to magic. For too long bumblers like this woman, had given mages, like himself, a bad name. People expected him to come into town and do some thing juvenile, like entertaining kids at their parties. No, not for him. He was a mage in the purest since of the word and he was show the world the once again mages would be respected and given the honor that was do them. Women like this, just made the world a less desirable place to be.

“If you want to see real magic instead of...” He paused and waved his arm around in an overly dramatic wave. “Whatever it was you were doing, then I will show you a small demonstration.” He looked around the room and saw that since this place was poorly furnished with enough windows, there were many candles and two lanterns lit within the room. He held out his hand and said the word, “Gaoth!” and with that word, one of his rings began to produce a small bit of heat and the place was plunged into even more darkness. Then with the same hand he flicked his right index finger and said, “Gríosaigh” and all the flames leapt back to life. He gave a small smile and said, “It’s called control and I am done doing child’s tricks for you.” He turned back around and sat in front of his water and took a long drink again.

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Post by Pryde » Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:25 am

Josylin couldn't believe the arrogance of the man and it took all she had not scream at him. "Forgive me for not noticing sooner, my Lord" she said between clenched teeth, "I had no idea I was in the presence of an expert. Though, I suppose your little trick was pretty nice, for an amateur, but I'm afraid a child could do that just as easily. So why don't you go back to your little tower and play with your toys, I don't have time for games."

Spinning around she plopped herself back down in her chair and noticed the strange ranger from before sitting across from her. "What do you want?" she asked him.

"Here's another glass incase something goes wrong again," he said with a smirk, "Name's Robin, so what's your name, lass?"

Of all the nerve, she thought in disbelief, first I'm a bumbling fool and now I need to be babysat? "If you really must know, my name is Josylin Summers," she replied curtly, "Now leave me alone, I have to study."
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Post by Shaggy » Mon Jan 08, 2007 1:52 pm

"I suppose your little trick was pretty nice, for an amateur, but I'm afraid a child could do that just as easily. So why don't you go back to your little tower and play with your toys, I don't have time for games."

Rajin almost got up and challenged the young woman that second but he sat back and listened. He heard her name was Josylin Summers that she had ordered the man next to her to leave her alone. This would get interesting. But for now he sat in the back. He could show off his powers but to this woman, he didn’t need to. Had she been as practiced as she claimed she would have been able to put the fire out in her lap with a word instead of having to rely on someone bringing her water. Also Rajin could see that her books were slightly wet, which he thought meant she dropped them in the rain yesterday. She was no where near his level, first he no longer carried books around with him. He had memorized the words he needed and he had one major thing she did not, he had control. He could make a small flame appear in his hand or could cause a column to erupt before him. He stood up and walked over to the door and walked outside taking notice that Josylin watched him leave. He could feel her anger radiate through the room. She had potential and he emotions could make her very strong, but she was a country magic user and an amateur at that. He had a feeling he would see her again very soon and he would make a much better impression on her.

He walked out to the road and found a wagon sitting there with the driver. “Driver, where is this coach going?”

“To Dorman my Lord, would you need a ride?

“Indeed, something is drawing me there. You will get paid when we arrive. Let’s go.”

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Post by Jedi_Kit_Fitsu » Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:57 pm

"No need for yelling there lass," Robin said as he smirked.

He then spied her soaked books and ignoring her request for him to leave he continued, "I see you spent some time out in the rain last night." Robin had a knack for not listening and continuing with whatever thoughts rambled into his head. He'd been around these lands for a long time and had gotten used to mages and their "powers." To him, nothing was more powerful than a sword at ones side and a quiver full of arrows on your back.

He picked up one of the books and looked it over carefully before he put it back down, "So what does a fine young lass like yerself need with all these book anyway?" Robin never read a book in his life, he was literate mind you but all his teaching had been passed down through word of mouth from his grandfather to his father and his father onto him. Never needing a book nor a single sheet of parchment, Robin learned all he needed from spending two years living in the forests not far to the south.

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Post by RileyKenobi » Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:02 pm

Romi’s mind reeled. She had been with the Order six years, but compared to the vast majority of the riders, her service was nothing. Her mouth opened slightly and she swallowed, unable to form words for nearly a minute.

“My lady, I would be honored,” she said breathlessly.

As would I. Jaeger nodded his great head, rumbling. His eyes moved fleeting to Tharseris, who stared back, blue eyes glinting.

Romi’s eyes flickered to Kale for a moment. He was a fair-skinned, fair-haired young man, handsome to be sure. She had met him only a few days after coming into the Order. They hadn’t spoken much since then, considering Kale always seemed to be off doing something for the Oracle. He was only a few years older than she, maybe two. But as a rider, he was far beyond where Romi might ever be. Her breath caught in her throat a little and Romi turned back to Io, who was watching her, the same smile still on her wrinkled face.

“If I may, my lady…” Romi trailed off and Io nodded slowly, her eyebrows rising only slightly. “I am not sure if I am quite the rider you are looking for, though I make no presumptions about your judgment.”

She stopped again, frowning. “I suppose I do not consider myself worthy of such a task. Is there not another rider, one older than I, that you might prefer? I mean no disrespect, my Lady, of course.” She said this softly, touching Jaeger’s flank.

You are ready for anything. Do not second guess yourself so much. I never did. His great head turned to glare at her with one eye, not angrily, but steadily. She frowned and looked at the Oracle.
Stop blowing holes in my ship!

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Post by Jagtai » Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:30 pm

Io smiled a toothless smile.

“There are many riders older than you, Romi, but none that I prefer above you. I have studied you for several weeks now. You are the one I need.” She walked up to Romi and looked up into her eyes. “The task I set before you will be difficult, and you may not survive. But you may succeed where others would surely fail.”

Not awaiting an answer, she turned to Kale and Tharseris.

“Bring them up to speed. I must consult the spirits of the Fang.” She returned to the cauldron and continued stirring as if she had never left it, indicating that the conversation was over. Kale mounted Tharseris and motioned for Romi and Jaeger to follow him. Then the great blue took off, sweeping above their heads and out of the cave, heading for a nearby peak…

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Post by Pryde » Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:48 pm

"So what does a fine young lass like yerself need with all these book anyway?" Robin asked, continuing to talk to her in spite of her earlier request.

"I'm a wizard," Josylin replied, as if that explained everything, "I keep my spells in these books and I study them every day. Magic is discipline, my mentor likes to drill that into my head every chance he gets. But why does that matter to you? I doubt a vagabond like yourself could even read."

Robin seemed a bit surprised by her astute observation, but only for an instant. Josylin had immediately recognized from his clothing that he was not a city dweller. Probably more accurate to say he was a woodsman, or a ranger. Either way he was definitely a wanderer of some sort.
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Post by Jagtai » Tue Jan 09, 2007 2:29 am

Lord Runeblade accepted the scroll, broke the seal, and read the message on it. Then he looked down at the two dwarves.

“I shall make sure this information is brought before the right people. My thanks.” He smiled. “If you are in no hurry to return to your homes, you are welcome to stay as my guests. I can have rooms prepared for you. It has been a long while since we have had dwarven guests in Dorman Keep.”

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Post by Jedi_Kit_Fitsu » Tue Jan 09, 2007 8:41 am

Robin gave Josylin a small grin, "What I need to know can;t be found in any book there, lass."

He then leaned back in his chair and put his hands behind his head, "Tracking a wild bear through a raging downpour, surviving for weeks on end with maybe 1 week of food, these are the things that are important to me."

Robin then gave a serious expression, "Now if you'll challenge me again when I try to make a conversation, I suggest you actually take that smug nose out of a book for a second and actually find something about me that isn't merely some stuck up magician's assumption."

Robin then stood up and knocked the chair onto it's side and through his teeth said, "Good day, lass."

He then turned and walked towards he door as he flipped a small coin to the innkeeper. Shouldering the door open, Robin stepped outside and walked towards where his horse was reigned in and fed it some food out of his knapsack at his side.

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Post by SmokeMare » Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:21 am

The fire haired dwarf grinned at his colleague, grumbling and muttering, in their own language,

' Ask him where we can get a good meal and a mug o' ale Gurt... It's a long trek back to Grrvti... Besides won't the Crag expect us to report something back about this matter?'

Gurt listened intently, then rubbed his chin and turned back to the lord, "My friend here does not intend to be rude. He is a Slayer, not a scholar... And his use of the human tongue is rough to say the least. We would like to stay for a while, hopefully until such a time as you could pass a message back to the Crag, regarding the status of the problem at Hegat Keep."

Pausing he smiled warmly, "And we'd appreciate it if you could point us in the direction of a good meal and a mug of ale."

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Post by Jagtai » Tue Jan 09, 2007 11:23 pm

Lord Runeblade smiled.

”I shall pass the message on as soon as possible, but it will take at least a week before I have a response. Until then, I would be pleased if you would remain here as my guests.” He put away the scroll. “Alas, there are no inns open at this time, but you can go in the morning. I understand the Lame Horse has some excellent ale in stock. Until then, I can have some of our local ale brought to your rooms, if you wish?”

The dwarves answered in the affirmative, and Lord Runeblade called for a servant to take his guests to their rooms. As the dwarves left, he wondered what a Slayer was…

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Post by SmokeMare » Wed Jan 10, 2007 9:31 am

The rooms in the keep were comfortable and spacious to Gurt and Votrex. Living in a mine, meant they were used to confined spaces and little privacy. Soon after being shown to the room two mugs of ale were brought up and the pair stood at the window, supping ale, watching the night sky and talking. Votrex was more in awe of the surface than Gurt.

'Aye, it's a grand sight... Who could've imagined all this space? Even Knrivrk, and Prrtfi Kgt... Hmmm, the ale's not bad either!'

Gurt nodded sagely supped his ale and placed his helmet on the bottom of the bed, 'Aye, well, I'd heard the stories, but it's good to experience it, tomorrow we'll head down to the Inn and get a good hearty meal. I'm sorry you feel this trip hasn't brought you any closer to your destiny.'

Votrex grinned manicly, 'Destiny can wait... Besides there's not really been many chances to regain my honour fighting Skrvati, unless of course we'd waited for Black Claw to finish his incantation and summon forth the avatar of the Plague Lord, Sknatatr 'The Horned Rat'... There would have been a good way to die... Hmmph! Still nothing quite as satisfying as killing a wizard mid-incantation eh?'

The grinning Votrex slapped Gurt so hard on the back, he spilled his ale. The two stood silently watching the night sky with the cracking fire burning behind them. Once they'd finished their drinks Gurt climbed onto one of the beds and Votrex curled up on the floor in front of the fire.

Morning came swiftly, and the dwarves awakened with bellies grumbling. The fire had longed died down and the sun shone through the window. Votrex was up first, as Gurt woke Votrex handed him his helmet, 'Come on' lad! Let's get some food!'

Gurt nodded and plonked his helmet onto his head. Soon they were walking down the hill towards the Lame Pony of where Lord Runeblade had mentioned the night before.

Nearing the Inn a human barged through the door looking unhappy and started to feed his horse. Gurt smiled at him and nodded, Votrex simply grinned and followed Gurt into the Inn.

The Inn was busy for the morning, people sitting drinking or eating. Gurt approached the bar while Votrex took a seat. Just tall enough that his chin was higher than the bar Gurt addressed the in keeper, "Two plates of roasted meat, and a flagon of mead if you please!"

The inn keeper looked stunned and frightened at the short stumpy man with the ornate helmet peering over the bar at him, "I erm, well erm, can you...?"

Gurt smiled and placed four large solid gold coins on the bar,"I'm afraid I don't have any of your currency, will you accept gold as payment?"

The inn keepers eyes lit up, "Ce.. Certainly, please take a seat - I'll bring it over for you!"

As Gurt took his seat next to Votrex they peered about the room, most of the people were either leering at them or trying hard not to and it was obvious. The only one who didn't seem to be paying much attention was a young lady with a pile of books who was sitting quietly and appeared to be seething at something or other.

Soon two plates of piping hot meat, on the bone, and a large flagon of mead with two mugs was placed on the table, and they began to eat heartily.

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Post by Pryde » Wed Jan 10, 2007 2:19 pm

She didn't really care that Robin had left, after all she got her wish, right? He did end up leaving her alone and, Gods willing, that'll be the last she sees of him. Turning back to her books she went back to reading and barely paid the rest of the inn any head. When suddenly the door burst open again and the inn suddenly quieted down Josylin continued not to notice until at last she finally looked up. There, to her unbelieving eyes, sat two dwarves only a few tables away from her.

"Oh my goodness," she said in surprise, climbing out of her chair and moving towards the dwarves. "I'd heard the stories," she said, crouching down next to the one wearing an ornately carved helmet, "but you can't possbily be real."

Reaching out her hand she tried poking him with her finger and leapt back in surprise after the dwarf slapped her hand away. "You are real," she yelped, her eyes wide with surprise, "How is this possible?"
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Post by SmokeMare » Wed Jan 10, 2007 2:35 pm

Votrex glared at the bookworm, who had just rudely prodded his friend, 'What the hrrrtk is she playing at?!'

His grip on hand fell to his rune axe and the ancient symbols began to glow softly. Gurt however held his hand up to Votrex in a gesture of peace and smiled at the young lady who was looking bedazzled. He paused to collect his thoughts then responded,

"Young lady, simply because we haven't been around, does not mean we stopped existing. My name is Gurt Irnfndr, and this is my travelling companion Votrex. We have been sent here from Grrvti, to deliver a message to your Crag... Erm, Lord... We are going to be around for a while, to await a response from Lord Runeblade which can take back to our Crag."

He smiled as warmly as he could at her and elbowed Gurt in the ribs who compliantly grinned manicly at her and bit a huge chunk of meat, leaving scraps in his blazing orange beard.

Gurt poured two mugs of mead from the flagon on the table, "Would you like a cup of mead lass?"

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Post by Pryde » Wed Jan 10, 2007 2:42 pm

"Um, thanks but no," Josylin replied, climbing to her feet and sitting down uninvited at the table. "My name is Josylin Summers," she greeted them politely. "So tell me, where have you been all these years? And why haven't we seen you until now?" She continued, her curiosity obviously getting the better of her.
"Ol' Doc doesn't hide, he hibernates." -- Doc, Star Wars: The Old Republic

"What do you call it when you kill someone and take all their stuff?"
"Adventuring!" -- Tallis and Hawke, Dragon Age 2.

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Post by SmokeMare » Wed Jan 10, 2007 2:45 pm

Gurt rubbed his chin, " We have been living underground exclusively for a few centuries now... There was a decision made by the Dulm Crags to move under permenantly... We've been tied up in a vicious war with the Skrvati for the last century and a half too... I'm sorry I can't tell you more, it was a long time ago, before my time actually..."

He supped his mead and clinked the mug back on the table.

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Post by RileyKenobi » Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:29 pm

Jaeger followed quickly; Tharseris was older than he, and stronger, even though Jaeger was a male dragon. He still had a mite bit of growing to do.

I’m extremely baffled. Romi blinked away moisture as they flew through a cloud.

Stop over-analyzing, Jaeger growled. We’re ready for this, whatever it is. I don’t care what Tharseris says.

Romi looked down at Jaeger quickly. And what did Tharseris say?

No matter. If she feels you need to know, she’ll tell you herself. She’s not very fond of us, to say the least.

Wonderful. Let’s hope Kale is feeling a little more charitable.

Tharseris ducked low, fast. Jaeger followed without a second glance, gliding into a generous cave on one of the highest peaks in White Fang. Jaeger landed on the wing, his clawed feet sliding on the marble floor. Romi dismounted and turned, finding herself less than two feet away from Kale. She gasped slightly, and thought she heard something like a chuckle from where Tharseris stood in the cavern.

“Welcome to our home,” said Kale.
Stop blowing holes in my ship!

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Post by RileyKenobi » Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:04 am

"I'd show you around, but we haven't much time, and you have somewhere to be," said Kale, turning. "Dorman Keep."

"For what purpose?" said Romi, surprised.

"We're not exactly sure. Io is not sure. And that never bodes well," said Kale. He was pacing slightly. "Pack what you need for a few nights. It shouldn't be much. Head to Dorman Keep, it will take a few hours. Stop a few miles from the Keep, or you'll be seen."

Romi must've looked puzzled, because Kale continued with a half-smile, "The world isn't ready for dragons yet."

"I understand. Are we to wait for you?" said Romi.

"For a short while. We have some business to wrap up here. Observe those at the Keep," said Kale. "Watch those around you, listen well. There are things happening in the villages around the mountains. People are dying. Enough has happened to bring us out of White Fang. You understand the gravity of the situation."

His last sentence was not a question. He gazed steadily at Romi.

"I do." Romi sighed softly. "I should pack, then."

"Yes. Leave as soon as you can. We'll follow."

---

Romi rolled her clothing tightly, making as many layers fit in the small pack she would carry on the flight. She layered two more shirts beneath her riding jacket. The flight to Dorman Keep would take at least three hours, and it would be very cold. Jaeger would be flying at night to avoid all detection. And a storm was coming in. Romi wrapped a scarf around her neck and pulled rabbit-lined gloved over her slim hands. She mounted Jaeger's saddle, her pack filled with dried meat and water secured on her back, bow and quiver slung across her shoulders, and a curious-looking blade in a sheath on Jaeger's saddle.

Warm enough? Jaeger dropped off the cliff, using the fall to gain pressure beneath his wings as he propelled upwards over the jagged edges of White Fang and into the muddy night sky. He pulled above the clouds.

Can't tell now. I'll let you know in a few hours. May I sleep? Romi let her fingers run through the clouds.

Just don't fall off.

You're funny. Romi yawned and closed her eyes.

---

Wakey wakey.

Jaeger darted through the clouds to shake his rider awake. He succeeded.

Romi uttered a short shriek and rubbed her eyes. "How rude!" she said aloud.

We've a few hours till dawn. I'm descending.

"Righto." Romi rubbed her face vigorously. She couldn't feel her cheeks or her nose.

On the ground, Romi removed the saddle. An emerald-green glow enveloped Jaeger's dragon body, and when it disappeared, Jaeger was no longer a dragon. He had become a tall, handsome young man. His eyes were electric green, his skin a smooth olive-tan, and his hair a deep, glossy green-black. He wore a similar attire to Romi, but the clothes seemed to be more like a second skin by the way he moved. He and Romi both placed a hand on the saddle and muttered a spell. The saddle vaporized, magically hidden until it was needed again.

Jaeger smiled, revealing slightly pointed canines. He held out his hand to Romi, who took it readily. It conveyed a warmth that scales could never match.

"Don't laugh if I trip. Your feet have never amused me," he said. His voice had a rich, dark tone. Exactly as Romi heard in her head each day before. Jaeger buckled the sword that had been on his saddle about his waist. He and Romi shared the sword between them. It was his when he was human, and hers when he was a dragon. The pommel held an emerald stone.

They walked three cold miles, hand in hand as the sun rose, brilliant reds and oranges bleeding into the sky. The colors reflected on their young faces as they approached the great gate of Dorman Keep. Romi lifted the handle and pounded on the door, none too gently, despite her petite frame.

She laughed softly as they waited. "Perhaps no one's awake yet?"

"I'd hate to wake the poor things," said Jaeger, smiling.
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Post by SmokeMare » Sun Jan 14, 2007 5:23 am

As Gurt clinked his mug onto the table Votrex jostled his shoulder,

'Well what are you talking about?!'

Votrex held his hand up to the girl to politely speak to Votrex in dwarvish,

'She's surprised to see us, she didn't think dwarves existed! Her name is Joslun Sunners...'

Votrex eyed the girl up curiously, the selection of books visible still on her table, 'Pah! And she calls herself a scholar... Thinking the dwarves didn't exist! Grrr, living up here in the sun, thinking the worlds a lovely place with flowers and sunshine and fresh water... Not to mention the fact that every time a new tunnel is opened theres the fear of what fearsome beasts from the ancient world lurk...'

'Votrex, we chose the life we lead, dwarves are burrowers, we are fascinated by rocks, ores and minerals... Besides YOU should be happy to find fearsome beasts... You are in fact, the time last year when Hyut Kfg was opened up and that Vurkmt slithered out - I saw your eyes light up like it was Yuikt Vrt day, don't deny it!'

'Hmmph, well, yes I do enjoy the thrill of an encounter and the Vrukmt was an excellent opponent... But what about when the halls were invaded? We lost alot of dwarves, why? We delve too deep, without fearing the consequences...'

Gurt caught a look off Joslyn in the corner of his eye, he turned to her and smiled, "I'm sorry lass, my friend Votrex does not speak much of your tongue... He was just pointing out your books there, something of a scholar are you? If so you are after my own heart, I have an impressive library back at Grrvti, I've long studied, dwarf, human and elvish culture... As well as other, less known races that used to inhabit the surface."

He paused, "What manner of scholar are you lass?"

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Post by Jagtai » Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:20 am

Tharseris had not spoken since Kale had dispatched Romi and Jaeger. Kale knew why, but had resolved to let Tharseris speak rather than comment.

They were flying through the clouds an hour from Dorman Keep, when the great blue turned its head.

Why were you so nice to the upstarts?” Kale smiled behind the helmet.

“Why were you so rude?” The great blue snorted.

They are not ready. Jaeger hasn’t even reached his full length.

“Io believes they are ready.” Tharseris didn’t answer, but turned her head back and looked ahead. Suddenly, she spoke.

Io must be getting old.

“Or perhaps she sees things clearer – after all, her vision is not clouded by jealousy.”

It was a gamble. Tharseris was notoriously fickle, and could easily tip off Kale, letting him plummet to his death.

The gamble paid off.

Perhaps. I shall give them the benefit of the doubt – but only because you and Io believe they are worthy.

Kale smiled behind the helmet, as they entered another cloud…

Dorman Keep

The hooded figures stood around the altar, chanting in a foreign language. Upon the altar lay an obviously scared girl. She was bound and gagged. A hooded figure stood beside her. Suddenly the chanting stopped.

“Great Shaitan, accept this offering! Grant us the power of the Dark God!” He withdrew a ceremonial blade, and plunged it into the chest of the girl. He forced his hand inside the wound, and withdrew her still beating heart. As her blood flowed between his fingers, he cried.

“Shaitan!”

A swirling portal appeared where the altar had been, and numerous beings not of this world appeared through it. Sporting four arms and hideous maws filled with razorsharp fangs, the demons faced their master.

“Go forth and punish this city. Show the world the glory of Shaitan.”

*****

The demons burst out of the ruined mansion on the top of the hill and made their way towards the castle. Unfortunately, the main town buildings lay between the mansion and the castle.

As the creatures crashed into the town, they attacked and slew everything in their path – men, women and children. Even cats and dogs fell at their onslaught. Nothing would be alive when they were done…

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Post by Jedi_Kit_Fitsu » Tue Jan 16, 2007 8:07 am

"Damn mages," Robin muttered, "think she's better than me, does she?"

Robin petted his horse through his rantings until he noticed the horse begin to act very jittery, "What's wrong girl?" he asked as he surveyed the area.

Suddenly there was a loud bang followed by gruesome screams of everyone up near a ruined mansion on top of the nearby hill. "What the hell is going on up there?"

Robin then mounted his horse and rode off in the direction of the noise, however once he got there he couldn't help but let out gasp as he looked at what lay in front of him. Dead bodies lay strewn all along the ground, some Robin couldn't even identify what they once were. He dismounted his horse and kneeled down next to one body and examined it, it had been bludgened and torn limb from limb. Robin found himself frozen in place as he looked at the carnage in front of him. He would still have stayed frozen if it weren't for what he saw next. Suddenly, a huge creature with four arms and razor sharp teeth came bursting out of a house's wall.

Robin immediatly drew his dual swords and stood in a defensive stance, "Let's see what you're made of you bastard."

The creature sprinted at Robin flailing its limbs and destroying anything in it's path. Once it was within reach of Robin, the creature wound up to crush the tiny human with all it's limbs, however, with a quick motion of his wrists, Robin sliced off three of the limbs and sidestepped the charging creature and drove his blades deep into the creatures back. As it fell, the creature gave out a loud shriek and stopped moving once it hit the ground.

"That wasn't all that," Robin said as he wiped off some of the blood that sprayed on him. However, he didn't have time to say anything else as saw at least 20 more monsters explode out of the other buildings, not to mention those still coming out of the mansion.

"Not good," Robin muttered as he remounted his horse and took off back towards the Lame Horse and the castle.

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Post by SmokeMare » Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:12 pm

Joslyn opened her mouth to address Gurt but was cut off by the sound of thundering hooves and distant screaming.

Dutifully he stood up and grabbed his axe, nodding sternly at Joslyn. When he turned around Votrex was already out of the door. The sight that greeted Votrex outside the inn was sheer carnage. A rider was screaming towards the inn at full galop on his horse, people screaming and... unearthly beasts persuing him at frightening speed.

Votrex eyes lit up gleefully and a broad grin grew slowly on his face. Without waiting for Gurt he charged headlong past the rider, towards the mob of claws cascading into the village. The runes on his axe were now burning blood red and the air around him crackled, he sensed a metallic taste in his mouth - the taste of magic and some of his runic tatoos smoked as the dwarvish protection runes battled against the influence of the invaders.

By the time Gurt made it out of the inn, Votrex was a distant spec. Screaming over his shoulder in dwarvish as he charged into the fray,

'Hah Hah!!! See you in the afterlife Gurt!'

It was always a sight to behold, watching a Slayer set about their work, but this was ridiculous. The vast number of foes and the unlimited space afforded to him, compared to the tiny tunnels of the mountain took his fight to another level.

Gurt rolled as his eyes at Votrex's seemingly lunatic actions, his axe held firmly, in a broad stance, gripping one hand near the blade and one near the pommel for quick sharp strokes, or defensive parries, he slowly approached the pack of demonic creatures.

Votrex by this point had already amassed a number of kills, his own fighting style looking as unearthly as that of his opponents. Instead of the careful defensive approach of Gurt, he held his rune axe near the pommel for more leverage and charged into the beasts screaming a deafening war cry.

It seemed almost mystical to watch him fight, claws sweeping at him from every angle, but somehow not able to connect. His first strike cleaved clean through he torso's of three beasts, by the time the mass tried to slice his skin with their razor claws, he was simply not there, he was around the back hacking off their knees, two creatures to a swipe.

While Gurt was carefully parrying, blocking, striking then retreating, giving ground defensively when he needed to. Votrex was like a tiny dwarvish mincing machine. Soaked in blood and entrails and not pausing for breath. Gurt gave ground, as any fighter can do to preserve his life against a foe that would otherwise kill him, was holding his own. Votrex was driving the wall of demonic flesh back, ploughing into them relentlessly.

To the untrained eye there was simply no way he could be surviving in the mass of claws, yet somehow as if some unseen diety was watching over him, he was not only surviving, but winning...

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Post by Jedi_Kit_Fitsu » Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:44 pm

By the time Robin's horse thundered towards the inn, he saw two small figures charge out of the inn and past him towards the creatures.

After that time Robin swung his reins around and took off back towards the creatures. Letting go of the reins and grabbing his bow, Robin tightened his legs around the horse and began to fire arrow after arrow towards the mass of creatures. Riding arouns the perimeter of the creatures Robin fired volley after volley to aid the small warriors.

"Keep your heads down!" Robin yelled to the two figures and quickly thereafter realized the obvious fact that they wouldn't need to worry about it.

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