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Gale Galoneth, Queen of Dea al Mon is desperate. 11 of her 12 daughters have fallen ill to the mysterious Waste. While the Brood of the True Born try to conquer her Territory she has opened its borders to call for aid.
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Author Topic: bleeding on your hallowed ground  (Read 321 times)

Description: Attn: Vengeance

Offline Rakal Sigurd

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bleeding on your hallowed ground
« on: May 15, 17, 12:11:06 PM »
Rakal took in a slow breath, deep breath and exhaled. A snap-hiss echoed in his small, new apartment within the Black Castle as he closed the scabbard over the black blade he would bear until his last day. With that sound came not just the sealing of the weapon but the closure of his Ebon Gray shield within his Inner Barriers. Thanks to Taulamous's training he had learned years ago how to use only a small portion of his Jewels to erect barriers over the parts of his mind that the spirit within him would be relegated to. It was not a full banishment. Balmung would forever be part of him, but it would make his roar a whisper, a raging inferno but a flicker of flame.

He rose as he slung a shirt over his bare chest and strapped the large sword to his back. He'd yet to engage in his morning drills, and the light of the morning was just now rising through his window. Shouldering the burden of both steel and soul he descended along winding paths through the expansive center of the Dea al Mon and made his way toward the practice yard -- a favored ground for him these days.

Out in the open air, he inhaled slowly through his nostrils and exhaled again. Some people had come to watch his morning drills. He had taken a second sword, starting to realize the power and the hunger of the blade on his back, and kept Balmung strapped to his back as he began to practice with the new weapon. It wasn't nearly as well made, or as dangerous, but it also didn't drink souls, so he'd favor the lesser sword until it was absolutely necessary to draw the black blade.

He knew he'd have to get used to the weight on his back, and so he'd practiced both with Craft and without during those early hours to grow more used to the change in his balance and the modification of his weight. Steel cut through air swiftly and easily, and he rotated the sword in his wrist as he moved from position to position in a dance. Block, parry, thrust. Block, parry, slash. Slash, parry, thrust. Kata after Kata after Kata, he manuevered as he maintained both composure and control of his body and his mind, keeping his eternal companion quiet as the sun flowed across the field.


Offline Tempest Elessar

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Re: bleeding on your hallowed ground
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 17, 02:14:00 PM »
One of the watchers was Tempest, who had arrived early to meet her cousin for their usual morning session. There was no mistaking who this warrior was -- nearly everyone in the Black Castle knew about the Untamed Prince and his two children, one of whom wore the Ebon Gray, the other who was Jewelless. And yet, both of them carried wicked-looking, intricately detailed swords, swords whispered to have immeasurable power. And immeasurable price.

Tempest’s critical eyes fell to that sword, sheathed from the filtered light from the trees, as Rakal danced through a kata with another, lesser sword. Idly, she wondered if the reason he was not fighting with that other sword was because of the rumors. What secrets lurked in that weapon? Was it powerful enough to destroy the Brood? Surely, with an Ebon Gray on their side, a master swordsman, the Dea al Mon would be victorious. Tempest trusted that her Queen would secure this power, Untamed as it was, to their side. Queen Galoneth knew what she was doing.

She did not approach Rakal. She watched, standing with her arms crossed lightly over her chest, her gaze taking in every movement he made. Her eyes left him only to briefly glance at Vengeance, who came to stand at her side, and then they were back on him. That quick glance had told Tempest that Vengeance would not suffer the same idleness that Tempest was contented with in that moment.

“He may not want to be disturbed,” Tempest advised her cousin. But advising Vengeance was much like advising Willow -- it was never heeded. Mother Night had cursed Tempest with two familial relations that were headstrong and impulsive. Willow’s course took her wherever the wind went. Vengeance’s course matched the flow of blood. Tempest was forever betwixt and between, the anchoring point, the guardian, the earth to their air and fire.

She sighed preemptively, as she already knew how Vengeance would respond. And thus, she did not say anything more when her cousin left her side to tangle with the Ebon Gray.

Offline Vengeance Elessar

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Re: bleeding on your hallowed ground
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 17, 02:14:40 PM »
She was dressed for fighting but not dressed for battle. On days like this, Vengeance appeared nearly human, her ritual of smearing ash or blood across her face to create a fearsome visage set aside, since there were no worthy opponents to fight today.

Or so she thought.

As she strode towards the sparring ring, she immediately picked out her cousin, Tempest, standing as an unmovable oak at the edge of the ring. Tempest, as well, was dressed for fighting, but not battle, her blood red cloak not attached to her attire that morning. Vengeance came to stand at her cousin’s side, finding the thing that held her attention quite easily. Immediately, her interests sharpened. It was the Untamed warrior, the one called Vanguard. Had she been a beast, Vengeance would have licked her lips in hungry anticipation of the bloodshed ahead. As it was, her mouth parted slightly enough to snarl softly.

He moved like a predator should, though Vengeance could not guess why he had chosen an inferior sword to practice with that day, not with that beautiful blade strapped to his back. What would it be like to hold such a marvel in her hands, to watch it spill blood at her call? Even without that blade, he was still an impressive sight, flowing like water into the next move. He feinted, turned, thrust, reversed, pivoted… His movements were not hurried, not choppy. It was a dance like Vengeance craved to experience herself.

Tempest, damn her, interrupted Vengeance’s enjoyment of the moment by saying, “He may not wish to be disturbed.” Vengeance answered her cousin’s words with a reproachful snarl and went back to watching. Eventually, she could take no more idleness and left her cousin’s side, ignoring the suffering sigh Tempest made.

Vengeance strode into the ring, calling in her blades, smiling at their familiar weight. She paused within his line of sight, her body tensing like a feline ready to pounce. “Dance with me, Untamed,” she challenged, her voice a guttural purr, her teeth bared to bite, her eyes hungry for blood.

Offline Rakal Sigurd

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Re: bleeding on your hallowed ground
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 17, 04:20:04 PM »
Rakal wasn't unaccustomed to watchers during his practice. He was taller than most of the Dea al Mon, standing six and a half feet, and the gold in his eyes and stark black coloring of his hair would ever set him apart. He was obviously a mixed blood creature, with the small points to his ears, but he'd never be seen as one of the Dea al Mon.

No matter how much he may wish it.

Even now, one of the Red Cloaks stepped to the edge of the ring and drew her blades into being; challenging him in his circle. The prickly nature of his Caste rose to the fore and he wanted to snarl right back at her for trying to issue a challenge to him. Something much darker than even his own base instincts told him he should take her up on it and then utterly decimate her as to remind these rabbits just what was walking among them.

He exhaled, slowly and rose to his full height from the extended strike he was at the end of performing. Rakal knew exactly where such thoughts came from, and they were no friend to him. His eyes looked over the teeth-baring woman at the edge of the ring, the hunger in her as clear as the day above them.

Slowly, despite his desire to play it cool, he nonetheless smiled at her in amusement.

It was just a spar. He'd sparred with Alusair hundreds of times to sharpen his skills. What was a little swordplay? This was a kind of dance he felt comfortable with, rather than the courtly nonsense he'd thrusted himself into.

"It's Vanguard." He said aloud and slowly rolled the sword around to gather a better grip, using his wrist to pivot the weapon. "Or Prince, if you forgot your manners."

Tossing his scruffy chin upward in a challenging gesture, his smile broadened into a grin that showed perfect white teeth. "But I can give you a refresher, if you need it." And then he gestured for her to come at him.

Let's see if your lessons are worth a shit, sis. He fell into a wider stance, preparing himself for the steps of the dance this stranger had decided to start with him.


Offline Vengeance Elessar

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Re: bleeding on your hallowed ground
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 17, 11:36:15 AM »
Vengeance struck.

Unlike other fighters, who would spend the first few moments of one on one combat testing the reflexes and defenses of their opponent, Vengeance’s style of fighting relied heavily on speed and overwhelming her opponent with a flurry of attacks. She thrived at being too close for her opponent to draw a full strike, forcing them to take the defensive in order to protect their guard.

“Manners,” she growled, teeth bared as she whirled around to avoid his counter strike, “are for the weak. And the weak, in her mind, were as good as dead. Manners did no one any good on the battlefield. Honor was for the old. When it came to the Brood, there was only victory or death. Those concepts Vengeance understood very well.

She did not expect to win against an Ebon Gray Warlord Prince. Vengeance was not that stupid. She would count a win if she drew blood or if she learned a new maneuver from him. Some of the Ebon Guard and the males -- Blade Amdir came to mind first -- fought like water flowing, an elegant dance of death, with barely a hair moved out of place. Far too graceful to be human is how Vengeance saw it. Theirs was a pretty style of fighting, victory without the thrill of the kill or the love of watching blood spilt.

This was not Vengeance’s style of fighting. Hers was one step above bar room brawl, one step away from a great feline fighting for its territory, one step below trained and skilled. She fought with more than just her swords. If her teeth came close enough, they would bite. If her elbow was within reach, it would jab. She had ferocity on her side. She fought as though she intended to kill him but the glint in her eyes, the smile on her face said that she was having fun, toying with him like that same great feline would toy with its prey.

“Tell me, Prince,” she growled after dodging another strike, “do you enjoy killing others?” Of course he did. Every Warlord Prince did. Vengeance wanted to see how much he enjoyed killing Brood, because that’s all that mattered to her. Vanguard could carve up the Dea al Mon people all he wanted, so long as he destroyed the Brood and their abomination of a Queen. Her question was a test to see how committed he was to that cause.

Offline Rakal Sigurd

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Re: bleeding on your hallowed ground
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 17, 12:03:04 PM »
Vengeance's sudden attack took him a bit by surprise, but he wasn't unguarded. The sword he'd taken up in place of the black blade suited just fine to match her weapon in a clash of sparks. That was no practice swing, but a genuine attack. Rakal's eyes narrowed as muscles that had been built for hardship, strength, and endurance shoved back against her attack to throw her a few feet backward. She landed easily on her feet and came again, ducking beneath his slash and almost got him had he not jumped back at the last moment. She had ferocity on her side, but not an apex fighter like his sister. And he'd seen ferocious from her, too.

Not like this, though. There was a wildness to his sparring partner that was more savage than precise. Like the Brood, he figured. Was that part of the exercise?

She clipped him in the jaw with her elbow, a lesson that he was thinking too much on the matter. His jaw hurt and pain flared through his face, but it was a momentary thing as they realigned and prepared to meet him as another swing was sidestepped.

"No." He answered her question without hesitation, but a dark voice hissed an alluring whisper into his ear.

Yes you do, Rakalllll.

Vengeance could tell that the warrior she was facing (if she considered him such) was holding back. His moves were almost telegraphed with their restraint as he didn't use his full strength against her, as he resisted putting the full power of his blows and his swings. He blocked her sword swings, caught her arm once or twice and threw her back. He was either playing with her or didn't seem to want to hurt her.

Either way, it was clear that the Untamed Warlord Prince wasn't giving his all into their contest.


Offline Vengeance Elessar

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Re: bleeding on your hallowed ground
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 17, 01:37:49 PM »
And Vengeance realized that.

He had answered her question with a “no.” He was withholding, restraining his moves. He did not even prick the Red to allow her a glimpse into his true strength. He was insulting her, in a way, by not giving her that challenge. She knew he had more to offer in this bout. Yes, her Green ranked below his Ebon Gray. Yes, she was a woman, a witch.

But Vengeance was not inferior.

“Liar,” she purred in response, rankled by his reservations. When he went to throw her back again, she ducked and grazed the flat side of her sword against his hip. Taunting. “Do not lie to me, Prince.” She said his rank with a bit of disdain and a hefty dose of disappointment. She expected more from him. Yes, she was playing with Ebon Gray fire, but that was Vengeance. She was a bright Green star, streaking across the sky of life with the full intent of burning out gloriously. Some day. Just not today.

“Surely, there is someone, some thing that you enjoy robbing the life from,” she purred after another series of attacks. “Everyone has an enemy.” Strike, counter, dodge, grunt, dash, dart. “What is yours, Untamed? The Brood? My people?” Feint, lunge, thrown back. Growl. “Your father?” Oh, yes, she had heard about this one’s father. Everyone knew what Blade Amdir had done to that man.

Blade Amdir had been too kind, Vengeance thought. Never maim when you could kill.

But then again, Blade Amdir was also weak in Vengeance’s mind, for he had shown mercy.

Offline Rakal Sigurd

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Re: bleeding on your hallowed ground
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 17, 01:58:55 PM »
Vengeance's green eyes met with Rakal's own and her purr of Liar was eerily similar to Balmung's. The dark spirit seemed to have sense her words and it echoed them in the back of his head. Liar, liar, liar. Thief, thief, thief. The guardians of Balmung had said -- not just words for Taulamous, but for him. He had stolen the power that was meant for his father, and he was lying now.

Or was he?

Certainly, some part of him enjoyed giving into the brutal and violent nature of his Caste. The Rut was liberating when he could give in and bury himself into Surreal and just let go. He held himself tightly, like a too-tightly-wound-spring and it ached at times to hold back. But as he met Vengeance's blows and taunts with deflections, dodges, parries, and straight ignoring the words, he knew in his heart that he was his own man. She was not the first person to taunt him on a field, and she wouldn't be the last.

"I like my steak rare." He replied with a smirk toward her, and his eyes settled at her as she purred and took a breath. She was definitely enjoying their little bout. Rakal could sense both her aggression and arousal at this. I'm just another challenge for her to beat.

You should show her just how inferior she is to you. Show her the true meaning of the word Untamed that they like to throw around.

"You're throwing punches that you won't even know will land." Rakal shot back toward her with a grunt as he caught her blade with his own and shifted to hold her weapon at bay -- causing the two of them to have their faces near one another, the smell of her breath close to his, mingling with hers. The sweat of them both forming from their spar a present scent to them both; the primal nature of their being. "I don't care about my father." He said with an honest note of contempt.

Then he knocked her blade arm back for a moment -- a show of his true strength as his Red flared into his arm, just like her Green had fueled her, and he planted his boot in her gut and shoved her back. She wasn't a novice, so he was certain it wouldn't knock her on her ass or take away her wind, but it'd put some space between them.

Lowering his sword for just a second, he smirked at her in an almost arrogant manner behind his stubble. "Sorry, Lady. If you're trying to get a rise out of me, you don't know the buttons to press. My enemy is whoever Lady Gale tells me is the enemy."

The company line; it was what he was expected to say. It wasn't the truth, but it was what he'd tell her.

Liar, Liar

Liar.


Offline Vengeance Elessar

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Re: bleeding on your hallowed ground
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 17, 10:10:55 PM »
His comment about steak was rewarded with an honest, if sharp, bark of laughter and a feral smile to match. So, they had something in common, even if something minor as that.

But that smile became a full blown snarl when Rakal’s face came within inches of hers. She could scent him. Male. Musk. Heat. She preferred women in her bed but if a male proved himself...if this male proved himself...maybe…there could be a clash of another kind in a darker setting somewhere. Such thoughts were fleeting, but the feeling they produced remained. Her blood simmered. She craved...something. The sinking of flesh under her teeth. The grappling of sweat-slickened bodies. The thrusting, the dancing, the release, be it from battle or sex.

She heard the contempt in his voice. “Then, we are agreed on two things so far,” she growled back. He hit her blade arm, pushed her back. She stumbled, regathered herself, eyed him across that space with a curling of her lip.

He smirked at her. Said, “My enemy is whoever Lady Gale tells me is the enemy." A lie. Even she, without Craft, could taste it. Vengeance’s lip curled again in disdain. Was that all he was? A warrior and a liar? Was this all the Untamed could offer her? Veiled words and restrained blows? Pathetic.

Vengeance spat on the ground to her left. “She is not your Queen. Do not act as though she commands you, cur, she said. She let out a primal cry as she dashed forward for another strike. If she did not get some sort of satisfaction from Vanguard soon, she would abandon the bout with frustrated disappointment, taking her fury elsewhere.

Offline Rakal Sigurd

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Re: bleeding on your hallowed ground
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 17, 02:18:53 PM »
She is not your Queen.

You are not one of us

Cur.


Rakal had always been the figure at the edge of things. He'd never had friends. He'd never been trusted, either. Not at Court, not at home. His father berated him time and time again. Only Alusair and Surreal had made him feel wanted in some fashion. Alusair because she was mix of sister and mother. Surreal was by force of necessity and pity, he thought. Her friendship was a nebulous and odd thing and he could never feel it had a solid and real foundation, so Vengeance in her arrogant aggression made it clear.

Untamed, Cur, you are not one of us.

The Ebon Gray Warlord Prince had always prided himself on being controlled and being able to restrain the worst of his urges. Hell, most of his urges. But at the end of the day he was still a Warlord Prince who bore a very powerful, very dark, very malicious burden. Balmung felt his rage and his hunger for violence and subtly pushed at it, and as Vengeance screamed out a challenge. She was tired of him playing around with her. She wanted him to show her what he was made of.

So he decided to give her a taste.

She came at him with an easily telegraphed attack. He'd charged at Scion like that when he was a child, all wrath and rage, as clear as day what she wanted to do. He flicked the power of his Ebon Gray into his arms to empower already powerful biceps and hands. A quick flick of his wrist and he dove into her charge, wrapping an arm around her midsection and tugging her into the air. His hand shoved her blade aside -- sending it clattering into the air and across the ground.

Then he slammed her into the earth of the training circle, and followed her down hard. Hard enough to hurt. Hard enough to bruise a rib or two and to rob her of her wind. The whole of his body was atop her for a moment as he pinned her and his blade hovered in the air -- easily able to deliver a killing stroke.

For a second he considered breaking her sword arm, or maybe wrapping a hand around her and squeezing her throat until she lost consciousness. Some part of him wanted to just take her there in the field like a rabid dog.

Years of training didn't fail him, though and he pulled up enough to look down at her with blazing, angry golden eyes. The rage that was in his features didn't leave him, entirely, even as he spoke in a low whisper.

"It's Prince, Lady. You'll be good to remember that, or I'll put you on your back again."

He shoved off of her, and extended a hand to help her to her feet, a small smile playing on his lips. "Less gently, too."


Offline Vengeance Elessar

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Re: bleeding on your hallowed ground
« Reply #10 on: Jun 08, 17, 09:22:19 AM »
In answer to his rage, Vengeance let out a throaty, stuttering laugh.
 
Her ribs -- one, maybe two -- were bruised if not hairline fracture broken. It made laughing very painful. Her arm, where he had slapped one of her swords away, complained as well, but it was a lesser pain compared to the constant throb throughout her ribcage. His weight on top of her only added to her difficulty with taking a full breath but somehow, Vengeance found this abrupt change of events amusing.
 
She had gotten a riled response out of him. She considered that some sort of victory. Now that she knew he had a button to push, she would remember that. She wouldn’t be spiteful like some women did when discovering this, using it at every turn to belittle or demean him. No, she would use it to goad him into being a warrior for the Dea al Mon. Like he should be.
 
“Bring it,” she told him, “Prince.” She gave him a smile of bared teeth, feral and playful. She lay there for a heartbeat after he rolled off of her before taking his proffered hand. Though the pain in her ribs made her wince briefly, she did not give anyone the pleasure of seeing her additionally made weak by placing a hand on her injured torso. Vengeance welcomed pain. It reminded her that she was still alive. She used Craft to recover her blades, employing the edge of her red cloak, tattered and worn, into cleaning them.
 
“You fight well, for a man not wholly of our ways,” she told him, dispelling insults she had previously used with compliments like this. Her ribs complained softly with every breath but the fire in her veins pulsed harder. She did not want this interaction to end just yet. With a soft scree of metal scraping leather, she slid her blades back into their scabbards and eyed Rakal with definite interest. “Come. Drink with me.” The glint in her eyes suggested that drinking might turn back into another impromptu sparring match or a different sort of wrestling match in the dark. It was hard to tell which one would turn Vengeance on more at this point.

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Re: bleeding on your hallowed ground
« Reply #11 on: Jun 08, 17, 11:55:12 AM »
Vengeance's reaction was a feral smile but he had to say he liked it. It broke the tension that had been between them, what with her taunting and his blood being a bit up. She was obviously a little crazy, but he had to admit it was nice to see the wild side of the Dea al Mon that he'd heard about but so rarely got to see. It made him feel a little more comfortable in his own skin since he constantly felt an itch to let loose.

Balmung was trying to say something but he shut it up with reinforcing his Inner Barriers. Vengeance indicated only a small amount of pain, but he could tell he hurt her. There was a soft pang in regret there, but he stuffed it away. She'd come and wanted to tangle with him. And it was minor, a result of a spar, and nothing worth beating himself up over. He'd been hurt worse than that on numerous occasions and if the Red Cloak was indicative of anything (he felt it was, given her behavior) she'd had worse too.

Her half-hearted compliment was.. something... and so he just took it for what it was. Her offer for a drink as she sheathed her blades brought a genuine smile to him and he vanished the other sword he was holding. He'd make use of it later. "That is something I can agree with. You lost, so you can buy." He winked and took on a more relaxed position, but laid just a pair of fingers on her arm.

"After we get a healer to patch up your ribs. I heard the crack. What good's a drink if you can't enjoy a laugh to go with it?" He asked with good nature, but it would be evident to her fast he wouldn't take 'no' for an answer for her care.

"You seem like a frilly wine woman." He'd noticed the glint in her eyes, that spark of arousal that came with a different kind of hunger. He wouldn't pursue it, because Rak wasn't the sort for a random tumble, but it did make him feel a little better about himself to know he could inspire that in a soldier of the Dea al Mon.

Even if she was, really, kind of crazy.


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Re: bleeding on your hallowed ground
« Reply #12 on: Jun 28, 17, 03:21:49 PM »
Vengeance did not like showing weakness but he was right -- she would hardly be able to enjoy a drink, or anything more strenuous, with ribs paining her. She barked at one of the Healers that tended to hover around the sparring rings for her attention. Vengeance ignored the scurrying little girl, her eyes on Rakal while the Healer quickly set the ribs. When the Healer began to softly remind Vengeance to take it easy, Vengeance bared her teeth and growled, dismissing the girl.

Pain reminded her that she was alive. Only the weak ran from it.

“I will buy,” she agreed. “This time.” The look in her eye suggested that there would be another round of sparring at some point in the future where she expected him to be the one buying. But, lucky for Vanguard, that day was not today. Had anyone told her that her odds of ever besting Vanguard were slim, she would have thrown them to the ground and told them to never tell her the odds. They were never in her favor and she never wanted them to be.

“And do not insult me with wine,” she told him pointedly, ignoring the word "frilly" in favor of the more serious insult to her alcoholic integrity. “Strong ale, hard liquors, or get out.” Her challenging look came with a wily smile. She pivoted and began walking towards where they could find drinks, not waiting for Vanguard to follow. He’d catch up soon enough.

“And you will tell me what our Queen has planned for you,” she said once he finally did match her stride. It was a question that her cousin Tempest would have asked, but for strategic reasons. Vengeance wanted to know if Vanguard would be fighting or not. Simple. And if he was fighting, where, because that was where Vengeance wanted to be. She wanted to watch this man in action. She could learn a lot from him, with or without an imbued sword.

Offline Rakal Sigurd

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Re: bleeding on your hallowed ground
« Reply #13 on: Jun 28, 17, 07:12:23 PM »
Rakal had to suppress a laugh as Vengeance practically snarled at the healer tending to her. The Red Cloak was a bitey thing, and he had to respect that she represented the feralness that was inborn in the Dea al Mon that claimed half his blood. He'd felt like snarling more than once since come to the Black Castle. Watching her do so gave him a little vicarious joy. "Well, losers always buy, so we'll see if you ever get a drink out of me." Rak's smile was a bit more boyish than one would have expected as he fell into step beside her. Her insistence that saying she was a wine-drinker was an insult caused him to laugh, as did her follow up.

"Fair enough! I'm a fan of the ales too. Never really went hard though, but given the Jewel it's a little hard to get me tipsy." He slid his hands to his hips as his long legs had him easily catch up to Vengeance. Unless she was outright jogging away from him, he'd find it easy to keep up with her.

A shrug came easily in response to her pointed question. He wasn't trying to obfuscate his purpose here or blow up his own importance. "No idea. From what I've been told it's to keep the High Healer, her daughter, out of trouble. I guess from what I've been told she's a handful.

But I'm sure that'll change. Once the Lord Obsidian and Prince Tanithil get an idea on how to go on the offensive they'll want me to come along. Ebon Gray Warlord Princes make for good battering rams, heh."


Rakal quieted down, his eyes focused on the path ahead as he went quiet for a moment. A great weight seemed to settle on him and square his shoulders more from the casual posture he'd adopted. "They'll probably want me to use the sword, too." His eyes, golden in hue and now sharp with something edged, turned to the experienced warrior at his side.

"And that would be a mistake. Trust me."

Unless Vengeance pushed it there'd be a heavy silence between them before he took a quick breath and pushed to shove the unpleasant thought of Balmung being unleashed on a killing field from his mind. "How long have you been a Red Cloak? You been on the front a few times I assume?"


Offline Vengeance Elessar

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Re: bleeding on your hallowed ground
« Reply #14 on: Jul 24, 17, 05:02:14 PM »
Vengeance had little doubt that the men entrusted with guarding both the Black Castle and the Queen Galoneth would quickly want to recruit this man to fight where they most needed it in order to even the odds or tip them back into the Dea al Mon’s favor. But guarding Saffron? Vengeance’s brow knit in derision. The Lady Saffron had plenty of ...protectors, namely in the form of males she had twisted about her dainty little Healer fingers. Why did she need yet another one? Vengeance saw this order from their Queen as wasteful and an inefficient use of their resources.

But she remembered that the most recent attack had taken one of the Queen’s daughters prisoner, though there were plenty of whispers that the woman had gone willingly. At the thought of that being true, Vengeance’s lip lifted in a silent snarl. To choose the Brood over the Dea al Mon? To prefer those...monstrosities over one’s own Blood?

Vengeance hoped that both Zephyr and Hope Galoneth were impaled repeatedly on the thickest swords possible for their betrayal. And she did not envision those swords going through just their torsos. They had whored themselves out to the enemy. They deserved their fate.

She was still silently snarling when Rakal mentioned that he would probably be moved to a critical fighting point, which she approved of, of course. But when he mentioned that using the sword was a mistake, she nearly paused. A mistake? Her head tilted slightly to the side as she looked up at him, trying to discern how such a powerful weapon was a mistake. Was it...too powerful?

As she formed the question to ask, there was a moment’s silence, and then he changed the subject, asking her how long she had been in the Red Cloaks. “Since my Offering,” she answered, which meant that it was something over fifteen years ago. There was a proud tilt to her chin as she spoke, remembering that day as something of a bloody rebirth. The girl that she had been -- Autumn -- died that day, and, in her place, Vengeance was born. On that day, the Darkness whispered a name that the Brood would come to fear, for Vengeance was a powerful, if a bit reckless, fighter.

But she could not let the subject of the sword go. She paused in her stride, gripping Rakal’s elbow firmly but not tightly. “Why would using the sword be a mistake?” she asked in a low voice, her fierce gaze meeting his. If the weapon he held had the power to defeat the Brood, as Vengeance hoped it did, why did they not use it?

Offline Rakal Sigurd

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Re: bleeding on your hallowed ground
« Reply #15 on: Aug 28, 17, 12:39:29 PM »
Rakal slowed in his gait as Vengeance touched his elbow, her eyes searching his for an answer to a question that likely lingered in the minds of not just her and other members of the Red Cloaks stationed in Nieste, but also the other members of The Black Court as well. Why would Queen Gale bring in a half-Unchained Warlord Prince into her charge if not for the sword that supposedly wielded great power? That was, in effect, the only reason he was allowed to be here and not sit somewhere out of sight and out of mind.

"What have you heard of it?" He asked with his dark eyebrows raised. Rakal's features were sharper and darker than most Dea al Mon. His father's blood was strong in him, giving him a heavily Dhemlanese-influenced appearance. Only his ears and his skin really marked him as a member of the Children of the Ebon Wood. He listened to what Vengeance had to say, but he knew her knowledge would be insufficient.

If it were close to the truth, she wouldn't have asked him about it.

"The spirits of the Dea al Mon are older than us. They vary in power -- just like the Blood do. White to Black, all of that. Spirits have a purpose to them. They have a reason for their existence; a goal they need to reach or a task they need to perform. Most grow stronger as time goes on. A sort of maturation. Where as The Blood will remain in their strength from Offering until death as long as they have their Jewels, the spirits can grow stronger as time goes on."

He paused and then motioned to his back where the blade hung heavy on his shoulders -- sheathed but no less menacing in the way its ruby eyes steemed to be staring at her throughout their correspondence. "Balmung is a spirit of hunger. Of loss and entropy. It devours everything it can touch. Its sole existence is to consume. It doesn't discriminate between the Blood, the woods, or even other spirits. It wants to devour all of them, and us, until there's nothing left in this world.

The more that I kill with the sword, the stronger the spirit becomes. It's chained now. Weakened. But if it grows strong enough it can simply overpower me and its prison. I'll become, basically, it's walking puppet and host body. But even destroying me won't destroy the spirit, just weaken it for a while until it can eat again.

That's why the Priestesses and Loku chained it and imprisoned it long ago. It was too strong to destroy so they locked it away and deprived it of food. Starved it for millenia. But..."
The weary Warlord Prince shrugged.

"It's still here. I haven't figured out what to do about it, yet. How I'll get rid of the thing forever. Due to the pact I'm bound to the blade now as long as I'm alive. So.. kind of a non-starter to kill myself unless it gets rid of Balmung, too.

I'll probably have to use it against the Broodmother, if I ever get close enough. From what Balmung says the Brood are all in pacts with Spirits. I don't know how that works, or how they're able to. But if so that means they're stronger than what their Jewels would suggest and I'll need to edge. Even against another Ebon Gray."


He figured she'd have questions or counterpoints, so he didn't press forward to head to the bar. He wanted a drink, but he didn't want to be around others while he talked about this matter. Vengeance wasn't a friend, but he could tell she was heavily vested in protecting the Dea al Mon.

Besides... she had come up to him and talked to him, even if it came at the tail-end of a spar. That was more than most of 'his' people had done for him his whole life.


Offline Vengeance Elessar

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Re: bleeding on your hallowed ground
« Reply #16 on: Sep 08, 17, 03:05:01 PM »
"What have you heard of it?" he asked her.

It was a difficult thing for Vengeance to admit ignorance. It was nearly impossible for her to admit weakness. So when Rakal asked her that question, she met his golden gaze for a tense moment before looking away, out over the people of Nieste scurrying about their day, and said, “Not enough.” And that was as much as she was going to say.

Luckily, Vanguard filled in the silence, talking about the spirits of the Dea al Mon. Of this, she knew, mostly from her cousin, Tempest, who was a Priestess. Vengeance, as ruthless as she was, began her day in meditation, focusing -- a habit she had learned from her cousin who often did the same thing, but communing with the forest around her instead of the power within her. Tempest often talked about the spirits of the forest. Vengeance had never encountered them but she believed her cousin. Tempest did not lie.

Balmung, he named the sword on his back. A spirit of hunger. Of loss and entropy. Devourer. Vengeance tasted the name on her tongue and felt the need to spit it out. It was a wretched name, most likely fitting for such a spirit. She listened, her brow furrowed in thought but her gaze now back on Vanguard, as he spoke about the spirit was chained to the sword but how now Vanguard was chained to it. Her lip curled briefly when he said that. What good was such power if it made one a prisoner? It was not a deal she would have taken. She heartily agreed with Rakal’s desire to destroy the world-eater.

But not before it was used to destroy the Brood.

Vengeance’s gaze went to to the glittering gems embedded in the hilt, ruby eyes glaring back at her. She was unafraid. “I will help you,” she told Vanguard after a long moment of thought. She tilted her chin defiantly. “When you go to kill the Broodmother, I will be there,” she informed him, as if she had the authority to decide that. “You will bring their death and I will be the harbinger.”

She wanted...needed to be there for that final battle. Defeating the Brood was her entire reason for existence. “They must die, Prince. You and I will see that day through. We will be the death they deserve,” she said, that ruthless fire glittering in her eyes.

Clapping him on the shoulder, she said, “But until that day…” A feral smile. “Today, we drink. Tomorrow, we train. And soon...we fight.”