Survival

Everyone Loves a Side Quest Pt 2

Yolonda and her team did not spread out; they looked over the village with disbelief. For about 5 minutes they explored drinking in the scene and putting together what had happened. It appeared about a third of the village, the part that held the main barracks and smithies had burnt down, the fire had spread for a few hours, than died out, likely in the storm that had hit two days ago. There were a lot of bodies three quarters of the Key Masters, Miners, Guardsmen’s, Gate Keepers and Smiths Shields were found dead, many of them fully armed and battle ready with throats slit… there with blood marks and drag marks as well, likely of fallen enemies heading into the rest of the village, but no sign existed of the bodies or identity to these enemies yet. No sign either of any of the 5, nor of their remaining guard, Yolonda could only pray that they were not among the rubble of the burnt out buildings. The odder part was that of the remainder of the village. About a third of the villagers, and the other battalion were just missing, gone. The rest were here, alive and unconscious again many were armed and equipped, most held weapons in hand, some bloody and some with signed of burn damage, and yet still there was no sign of any enemy.

“Do you want to wake them? Ask some questions?” a corporal asked

“LT, we got a pretty clear blood trail over here, couple days old, but very followable, you want us to run it down?” a private offered. Yolonda debated for a few moments before shaking her head to both suggestions

“No, we’ve seen enough and this place makes my skin crawl. Something’s not right here, but there is no immediate threat to Mom… er… I mean the Queen. Line up folks, we’re porting back to Tukin, let’s get the whole company out here and do this one proper like.”

With that the scouting party teleported back to Tukin, offering their incites and awaiting further orders.

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New Old Freinds pt 3

Theiraqule waited calmly for some time, he stretched and looked up at the sun then back to the doors leading from the garden into the palace. ‘odd,’ the dragon thought ‘typically that elicits some sort of response’ for some time the creature pondered whether it was correct to go back in, or if waiting was the better course, finally it was decided that conversation should be renewed. The creature shifted once more shrinking down. Elfin features were still a more enjoyable form, though this time she went with dark brown hair instead of sandy blond, the blue eyes of course stayed, but she decided at the last minute that if she was speaking with a female knight perhaps approaching as female would be better than male. Her tunic, breeches, cloak and boots were all the same, but now she looked more akin to a tattooed wild elf, than the tall half elf male. Cautiously she took a step towards the doors, but almost as she did they swung open. On the other side was once more Sir Umfrey and his squire Brook, Sirs Gales, Johannes, Isabelle and three others she did not know also appeared in tow. At the centre was once again Sir or Queen depending on how you looked at it Selwyn, with several of the unnamed gnome like creatures and now a couple dwarves. As a side thought she worried, why had none of the gnomes been named, she certainly hoped that they were not seen as lesser creatures, slavers always made it hard for Theiraqule to be friends. Theiraqule quickly debated whether she should turn back to the dragon now… but decided against it… the effect was lost… patience she scolded herself

Sir or Queen… no… she decided firmly that Selwyn had introduced herself as Sir, and so she would think of her as Sir until otherwise told… SIR Selwyn approached. The angel took a cautious look around the garden, perhaps looking for a dragon. The Angels eyes stopped on Theiraqule and she spoke

“Theiraqule?” she queried

“Yes, it is I” Theiraqule responded, but couldn’t help smiling; her voice was lovely, an extra point in the keep column for this form.

“You are a women now” the Angel… asked… stated Theiraqule couldn’t decide and so said nothing. “Ahem…” the angel cleared her throat likely trying to figure out how to proceed “Sorry for my tardiness, your arrival has been at a difficult time, I have had to sort a few things and well time got away from me, but I would very much like to continue our conversation, I do however have questions if I may?”

“It never hurts to ask” Theiraqule offered, there was a general feeling of awkwardness emanating from the entire situation, the knights seemed to be happy yet on edge, the dwarves nervous, she couldn’t read the gnome creatures… twice she double checked to assure she was not emanating dragons fear, but still the tension was thick the angel smiled at her and began to ask

“You spoke of a people who also have this horn; that are in need of aid, can you tell me who these people are?” Theiraqule smiled at her understanding the question and her reasons for asking

“No, I cannot,” she could see the frown forming on the angels face and so explained further “This is a sacred trust between two peoples, mine and those who have the horn, much history, tradition and faith revolve around it, and perhaps, in time should we become better acquainted, form a friendship or bond I could share more with you, but today we are two strangers, hopefully on the way to becoming allies, but not yet someone I can share the deepest secrets or traditions of another people with, not yet anyway” she could tell the Angel was not happy with her answer, but also didn’t seem ready to argue the point just yet

“This Horn, perhaps we could know more of it, for example… how do you know it has been blown?” again Theiraqule smiled, this was a perceptive knight, very good at asking questions

“Magic” she responded simply. This time the Angel did not attempt to hide her frown

“Magic?”

“Yes, Magic”

“Would you like to elaborate?” the angel asked. This time it was Theiraqules turn to frown

“I am not sure if I wish to, nor if I can, when I was charged with this task magic was used, I am not ignorant to the laws of magic, but am certainly no great scholar to it as well, a bond was formed and now… through magic I know… much like how you know when someone is lying or evil it is magic is it not?” the Angel appeared thoughtful at the dragons words as she contemplated for a moment, and again decided to let the argument drop for the time being

“One more question, King Lemeath has been absent to us for some time now, if this bond was between him and these people, what does it mean that he has not himself answered?” Theiraqule gave her a very confused look

“It means that I must go, I thought I started with that” the Angel shook her head trying to dispel the confusion

“No I mean what does that mean for King Lemeath?” again the elfin women’s face contorted to confusion, Theiraqule checked to see if a spell had gone off, as suddenly she felt the angel was not all there

“It means that he cannot make it, so I must go?” the angel appeared frustrated and tried again

“I mean, where is King Lemeath? Why isn’t he going?”

“I do not know where the King is, you have seen him more recently than I, he is likely very busy if I have to go”

“But how do you know you have to go? Did he call you? Did he say he was going to be busy? How do you know what you need to do?” Theiraqule shook her head and began to speak but the angel saw it coming and the word was spoken in unison

“Magic” Theiraqule smiled feeling like the angel had at least received some level of understanding, the angel didn’t seem as happy about it.

“Theiraqule, would you mind excusing me for just a few moments while I confer with my sister and brother knights?” Theiraqule smiled and nodded to her. The Angel quickly backed away and left with most of her retinue through the doors

The garden was very pleasant; it spoke greatly to Lemeath’s tastes she thought as she awaited the angels return, a very controlled wild, beauty and growth confined, or assisted she was sure he would say, by order; how very Lemeath. She focused on the few birds that happened to be chirping away; more to keep herself form the temptation of eavesdropping than anything else, people constantly underestimated the prowess of dragon senses, even stilted by her simple form. Ever quicker the minutes ticked by until at last the doors opened once more and the Knights re-emerged. Sir Selwyn once again stepped forward

“Theiraqule, I would like to begin by welcoming you to Tukin as an honoured guest. I have spoken with my Brothers and Sisters present, and at this time I cannot immediately offer you this horn. None of us who are present know if the horn, or your affiliation with King Lemeath, and while we are not doubting your word, I cannot give away one of the Kings personal items without knowing more. As I stated, the timing could not be worse, but I hope to return very soon so that we might be able to continue our discussion and come to an agreeable solution” the Angels words were well thought out with the perfect emphasis placed in all the right places, she was an experience orator. Theiraqule let out a soft sigh and nodded

“That is very fair Sir Selwyn, and I would hope that in a similar situation a vassal of mine would act with the same honour and diplomatic grace that you have” the Angel smiled and motioned towards the door

“Let us find you appropriate quarters than, and I shall make all haste to return” as she spoke the Angel nodded to the other knights who cleared a path to the doors to allow the elfin women admittance to the palace. Theiraqule shook her head sadly

“I do wish I could stay, and hopefully I can return soon to better our acquaintance but currently I have pressing matters to attend, I do hope everything works out well for you, and am truly sorry to have delayed you from your quest” as she spoke she stretched out her hands, they continued to stretched taking on the silver sheen once more as she reverted again to the form of a dragon. She bowed her head to the Knights of Tukin and was careful to direct her wind during takeoff as to not injure the trees or small birds from the palace gardens. The Silver Dragon took to the air looping the palace once before striking off East at great speed towards the mountain of Dwarf Gate.

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RUNE WAR pt 16

17th of Patchwall- Northern Front – Hill – 9:46pm

The night had cooled, Anamachara smiled as the thick snowflakes began to fall; it was a good sign. Her column was tight as the wound their way around the hill bank and into the upper valley heading towards central camp. So far so good; the Wild Elves knew their job well providing a good forward screen. They would either eliminate any small enemy forces they stumbled upon or carefully lead them off for more powerful foes, leaving an opening for the remainder of the column to pass. In the rear minor efforts were being made to leave traps that may slow or hinder pursuit. They had been traveling for almost three hours now and estimated they were still another seven kilometres from central command, at their pace that would be two to three hours before they made it. A forward scout materialised out of the snow ahead of her, she held her hand giving the signal for the column to stop. Ban-midoe Wildrunner bowed his head in greetings and whispered in elven

“Avatar, there is a small creek with decent brush that could hide the column about two hundred meters ahead, it will serve for a short break” the Avatar huffed in irritation, they had taken a break an hour ago and she wasn’t keen on having any more. She understood the wounded had it hard, but they would have it harder still if the demons were upon them, she was about to let the elf know as much when he continued. “They can rest while I take you to the Pathfinder, he about two kilometers ahead and said you should come personally.” Anamachara grunted, Cee-Teera was not the type to take unnecessary precautions, if he wanted her advice it was likely important.

“Fine…” she turned to Colin Frotjdur, one of her senior commanders in Ice Company “… get them in the ditch and let them know it will be a short break, absolute silence, and by Gabrielle’s Sweaty Nut Sack if another Datcyl tries to lite a fire I will personally rip out their spine and feast on the marrow” The man nodded as if this were standard fare and quietly moved to his team to have the orders quietly carried down the line, Anamchara turned back to Ban-midoe “Take me to the Pathfinder”

The journey did not take long, both she and the Wild Elf knew how to run silently, the came up a small ridge, careful not to silhouette themselves. There lying in the freshly fallen snow, looking into the valley below they found Cee-Teera, and two other wild elves. Anamachra surveyed the valley and saw the problem. A battalion was marching along the same heading as them, likely heading for central as well, unfortunately this wasn’t a friendly battalion… nor was it a demon rabble, no this was a carefully ordered Battalion, well equipped marching shoulder to shoulder, Bearded and Faceless Devils made it up the majority of the ranks, and they marched with a confidence and skill that begot veterans. Anamachara cursed as she assed but then saw the opening

“It is only one Battalion, we might be able to skirt them” she said. The Pathfinder nodded

“True, but we will never win out on their pace, and I don’t know about you but I doubt we could fight through them…. Though that still isn’t why I asked you to come… look their towards the center left of their line” he pointed in the gloom. Anamachara squinted to make out the figures in the darkness, but then she noted it, saw the flag beating in the wind

“By Kelezandri himself, that is Nefrutius’s personal standard… he’s here, this is meant to put an end to our central camp” he whisper was hoarse as her excitement built, for years now Nefruitus had avoided her and her party on the field of battle, always hitting a different target whenever they were committed to some other attack or front, now here he was, maybe a half kilometer away and completely unsuspecting. “Bring them men up along the ridge as quietly as we can, their course will take them right past us, we will hit them hard right here and end that miserable bastard once and for all…” she looked over but the Pathfinder was already shaking his head, she knew why but was frustrated none the less

“Our men our wounded and bone weary, they are ill equipped and outmatched, that and a clear majority our scouting units and irregulars, we would be slaughtered against such a force in a stand up fight, and we haven’t the stamina to fight on the run right now” the Pathfinder did not mince his words, he knew the ability of his men and those serving under him and would not bolster his assessment for pride. Anamachara sighed looking over the field once more…

“You’re right of course… alright, new plan… you three…” she said looking at Ban-midoe and the other two scouts “you’re running, as fast and silent as you can, thread the needle and get to central command, let them know that Hell is coming, and to be as ready for as they can” she took a deep breath and another long look over the battalion below “Pathfinder…” she said turning to him and falling back on formality “I need you to take our men and turn east, the sea is some 60 or so kilometers from here, but the further we get the less enemies we should see, there are ships and hopefully a Titan there, find them and use them to escape.”

“It will be done Avatar… but what of you, where will you be?” the Pathfinder asked

“I’m going to go down there and politely as Nefruitus to stop… I guess we will see how that goes” she said as she poured out her spear and quaffed a potion. The four other elves nodded in deep respect to her understanding what was happening

“Kelezandrie be with you great Avatar” Cee-Teera said

“And the Grandfather Ram with you noble Pathfinder” they each bowed their heads and then as the moment passed slipped off in the directions they needed to go. Anamachara gave them a five minute head start, for a wild elf scout that was a life time. She than stood, dusted the snow off herself and began to walk down the ridge towards the devil army, singing softly to herself to bolster her spirits and courage… for the first time in a long time Anamchara was uncertain of how this would play out.

Anamacharas Song

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EVERYONE LOVES A SIDE QUEST PT 1

Yolonda huffed as she heard the orders, apparently they were to wait while her mother went and had tea with a dragon or something… then she would likely want to fill out some paperwork and maybe have a nap, all while Dumathions five were in potential danger. He looked over at her Captain

“You know the army… Hurry Up and Wait” he said with a shrug as the company began to sit down unslinging their battle gear and taking a quick breath… times like this could have them leave in five minutes or five hours depending. Yolonda began to pace

“We have no idea how long this could take, and there could be serious trouble now on the other end. Sir, Request permission for my unit to go ahead and scout the location” the Captain was taking a bite of an Iron ration, he didn’t even look up

“denied Lieutenant, do you think I am that stupid?” he took another bite and looked very disappointed in that life choice

“But Sir, we are talking about the Queen herself going, should we not at least have some idea of what we are porting into, before she shows there?”

“Lieutenant… did I stutter?

“She has a point Captain…” the voice was from Captain Thria Orcknocker of the Shields, “it would be nice to see how hot the area is before bringing the Queen in, I for one know the Commander would prefer some intel over a blind jump” the Captain looked at the two incredulously before throwing away his ration

“10 men, 20 minutes Lieutenant, not a second longer, poke in, look about, DO NOT ENGAGE, you see anything other than a happy dactyl village you pop back here…” Yolonda had already saluted and started picking men

“Horth, Brogan, Lindsey, Iron Eye your with me, each of you grab a buddy, we are out in two” she said

“Don’t make me regret this Lieutenant” the Captain called after her, as they prepped and popped out.

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RUNE WAR pt 15

17th of Patchwall, 9:35pm – Palace of Pelegious – Gate Room

Moredakka nodded to the two men who pulled the doors open and announced his presence. He looked up to his friend the now King Francis of the Honalians, beside him offering welcome nods were Sirs Venus and Caradoc, both had made favorable impressions as honourable men and stalwart battle minds.

“King” Mordakka said in simple greetings, Francis smiled and stood offering the troll a sturdy handshake.

“Moredakka, what brings you to Pelegious? Are you hungry, I can have some food brought up…” Moredakka waved off the pleasantries and offers, he had little time and did not want to tarry

“I have come to speak with you about the Rune War and how it fares”

2 hours 31 minutes later

“This is why we did not wish to go in the first place Moredakka, I have so few of my people left…” the King said having heard the full briefing.

“I understand Francis, truly I do… but you and your men are both able warriors and have a deep understanding of magic, I need experienced troops and an able field commander to lead the extraction… liberating the Rune Tower at this time is no longer on the table, not if we want any hope of being there for King Yolo in the next couple months, we need to get our people home… will you help us?” It was not lost on the King the honour Moredakka was bestowing upon him, he was no growling or threatening, he was truly asking, and from a place of weakness… a lesser troll could not fathom how do to such a thing and still remain strong. The King looked as his two senior knights

“Venus, prepare five hundred of our best men, I will be going personally so put a call out to our nobility to match the Kings honour.” He turned back to Moredakka “In, and out again… no tricks” Moredakka nodded to the words,

“We are just trying to get our people home… I will be back with the specifications as soon as I have everything put together, be ready to go for the dawn of the 19th” the two stood exchanging handshakes once more. Then Moredakka took his leave, he had several cities to visit and still had to inform and still had to raise the man power to not only win the day but to get them men to and from it.

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Rune War Pt 14

17th of Pathcwall- 8:45pm – Southern Front

Sir Keaton looked at Autumn and smiled

“Thank you, thank you so much… we are saved them, you have pushed them back?” The Hama Dryad looked at him with soft regret and shook her head.

“Rest good knight, have your people do the same, I have pushed them back a good distance and can hold them for a time, but their power is great, and now that I have made myself known we can expect greater resistance… but do not fear, though their power is great, in this wood my reach is farther, I have many friends in this wood, and they on their way” the Knight nodded at her again finding no words to express his gratitude. Then being an experience commander he began to see to it that his men took the reprieve while they had it.

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Rune war part 13

Eyes closed Keaton began to sink into the swamp his mind fading as his rended organs desperately to continue functioning with cursed steel laced through them. He rasped one final breath into his ragged lungs knowing that this something he would not do again in this life….Yet the breath came to easily. awareness rather than fading was rapidly waxing as he felt the wounds fill with warmth.

“Not here”

a melodic voice whispered somewhere in his contentiousness. it was not heavenly like the silver tones that chimed out of the throught of Selwyn Sudari capable of lancing courage to the core of your soul as if the sound itself could shield you. No not heavenly. Though not a poet keaton found himself comparing it to what starlight would sound like if it could be heard .Gentle musical…and laced with undertones of a deep fury, a gathering storm

background music
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OxIt6RQQCc

“You are one of us i will not see you butchered like cattle in my own home.” The very roots of the swamp began to move rolling the battered knight onto his back raising his head out of the muck as healing energies continued to pour into his body from the earth itself. Seeing movement the demons that had layed keaton low turned to run another spear through him. yet as it raised its spear a single command cracked across the battlefield. neither knight nor fiend knew the language but its meaning was deafeningly clear. the demon froze and turned its gaze towards the source of the command. in fact not just him but all the demons and aberrants in the assault force gazed with him. A single figure stood at the edge of the camp her skin emerald her eyes wildfires of rage. there was no talk no mockery just a single moment of deathly silence before the storm broke. and all hell fled before it.

The damn holding back the great tide of fury burst within her. Her soil was stained with blood her roots shredded by fiendish footprints. Her swamps and conscience polluted by the bodies of dead soldiers and dead friends. She strode forward a gesture turning the mire around the demons feat to stone sealing them in place. one demon laughed.

“Tipical fey right there send one of them alone to delay us with paltry tricks” the stone around his feat began to crack at his feat as he spoke.

“poor choice of words demon” Autumn growled back coaxing the fury of the earth into her voice. abruptly the smile on the demons face vaneshed as the stone began to glow. “this is no trick. Its an execution” The stone erupted into magma a corus of demonic shrieks filled the air as the tide of fire swept them away from the camp. "and you stand at the center of my wood on a laylaine of elemental power. Yet you have the audacity to say i’m ‘Alone’! " two columns of air tore from the sky forming tornadoes that began pulling lava and demons screaming into them while weaving around the vine bound wounded dactyls with surgeon like precision. “BEGONE FROM MY GLADE! BEGONE FROM MY SIGHT AND BEGONE FROM MY WORLD!!” She roared over the pandemonium she had created. Channeling the last of her fury to send a tide of water from the swamp into the two pillars of fire flash cooling the lava and creating a grisly wall of rock and chared demon remains to protect the line before sending the tornadoes off to reek havoc in the demon ranks. She slumped to the ground breathing hard. on que all the vines she had keeping the allied soldiers from being blown away relaxed allowing the stunned combatants to begin getting up and regrouping. Hornslaper burst from the muck revitalized and Roaring a battle cry that quickly died off as he took in the lack of enemies around him. Keaton quietly walked over to were autumn kneeled. seeing him approach she slowly stood.

stop music

“thank you…” He paused unsure what title a fey would go by
“autumns fine” She offered him. " we have no real use for titles"
“Then thank you autumn. I believed my life over a moment ago”
“You needent thank me Sir Keeten. You are a part of the white ravens I would never just stand and watch you die.” Her words warmed him more than he expected “and beyond that it is not my way to let respectful folk die in my forest” She added looking around at the men behind Keaton.
“well I will anyways..” With a jolt he realized that Autumn was not wearing anything aperantly titles weren’t the only thing fey had little use for. He quickly tried to be respectful by looking elsewhere which only earned him a playful smile from the woodland spirit.
“You should get some rest Commander my spells will only hold the demons off for so long but they should give you enough time to sit for a moment and tend to your wounded.”

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RUNE WAR pt 12

17th of Patchwall – Southern Front – 8:41pm

Sir Keaton took another step back, he felt someone behind him. He peaked and grunted as he fought forward with renewed strength. He was back to back with the other line; the camp was all but overrun. The press of demons and aberrants was too much.

“ARRRRRGGGGGGGGG!” he heard the feral scream and looked left. HornSlapper lifted a demon and threw him across the camp. Two more demons rushed in with spear impaling the screaming troll’s chest. A tentacle reached out from behind and wrapped around the troll’s neck, his horns sparkled as lightening fired out flinging one of the spear wielders away. A large axe wielding chopped down cutting into the trolls back, his gargled scream was soundless due to the choking grasp of the aberrant.

“HORNSLAPPER!” Keaton yelled as he cut down the creature in front of him and tried to move to his troll companion… three more demons blocked his pass, the knights sword was a blur, never had he fought so hard. The Trolls green blood bubbled out of multiple wounds as the demons stabbed at the creature… the troll was lost to Keatons view for a moment as the crowd of enemies moved in.

“ARRRHHHG!” The Troll cried again. Pulling the tentacle around his neck and ripping it off the creature in the water. He beat back two of the five assailing denizens, but the other of the three moved forward and soon he troll slumped to the ground.

“HORNSLAPPER! NO!” Keaton called out, he felt a hot blade slide between the grieves of his armor “no….” he gargled as an iron shod demon foot kicked him in the head. The world spun as his face landed in the mud, beside him he saw a Datcyl dead on the ground; he wore a T shirt with an odd phrase

“PANdemonium”

Keaton couldn’t help but chuckle as he felt another blade enter his chest… he coughed and sputtered blood as he closed his eyes, hearing the screams of his dying friends and companions, and knowing he had failed.

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NEW OLD FREINDS PT 2

Sir Selwyn nodded to him to continue, he noted a few murmured words around the room, but the din was too much for him to make out anything distinct, likely translations he thought.

“Long ago I was asked to take up a stewardship if you will, a flame that until now I have never needed to tend, but sadly King Lemeath is… is not with us at this time, and so he asked that in his absence I handle this for him. Are you aware of the Kings… true form?” Selwyn nodded unphased or surprised

“That he is a Silver Dragon? Yes, in recent times that has become common knowledge”

“I see,” said Theiraqule, scratching his left ear “that will make this easier then… In his hoard there is an item, one of great importance, but not of great power. It looks like a simple rams horn. There are a people on Argyle who hold a sacred trust with the King, and should either the King or those people blow the horn, the other is to come to their aid, no matter what. With the King gone, it is my duty to come to the aid of those who hold the other horn, and to do that, I require the Kings horn to achieve this” he looked around the room, most were faces of confusion not understanding what he said. The Queen scratched her chin for a minute

“I am sorry Theiraqule, this is a lot to take in; and you timing couldn’t be worse, I was about to leave on a quest myself. I don’t know that I could open the Kings hoard to you, I don’t know you; don’t know of your background, nor do I know of your abilities to achieve what you say? Perhaps if we could speak more on my return I could get a better sense of…”

“Sir Selwyn…” he interrupted knowing where she was going, his tone was more firm “I cannot wait, the horn was already been blown; and I know not how long the bearers can last, I dare not dally”

“Theiraqule, you understand my dilemma, you must have something, perhaps an agreement signed by the King, any form of proof that could establish your story, a reason why King Lemeath would trust you over one of his Knights or his Hand with such a task” she looked at him pleadingly, she truly wished to aid him. Theiraqule sighed he was going to have to play his only card

“There is one reason… I am his son” with that he took a backwards step and fell out the large window. As he spiraled towards the ground his body shifted and shimmered morphing as he fell. The air began to smell of fresh rain as he plummeted. To the spectators at first glance he was a large blur of white. Then large curved wings with two talons took shape on his back. His neck elongated growing a beautiful frill that began at the top of his head flowed all the way to his newly formed tail. It was pure silver when closest to the body and began to take on a purple hue towards the edges at his head and tail. With a single beat of his mighty wings that seemed to spread some 60 feet across he rose up from his decent and the mighty Silver Dragon did a lazy circuit around the Palace of Tukin. He glided with ease until he landed in the only place large enough to accommodate him, The Kings Gardens, there he waited for the Hand of the King, and the others to approach and renew their conversation.

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NEW OLD FRIENDS?

Theiraqule approached the city of Tukin of foot; he ran his hand through his sandy blond hair brushing the tip of his elfin ears. This was not something he desired to do; it was awkward and dangerous, neither were escapades he enjoyed partaking in. with little adue he presented himself at the western gate of the city.

“Hello there” he spoke in elven. The guardsmen shrugged at him, the universal signal for being uneducated, he sighed and attempted gnomish

“Good day sir, I am…” the guardsmen looked like he really wanted to understand him. City of enlightenment indeed Theiraqule thought to himself as he tried the language of the dwarves… his was rusty but he should be able to make himself understood

“Aye, Greetings and Well Met…” he began. This time the guard nodded gibbering away in some unknown garble, he made a motion to wait…. As if Theriaqule was going anywhere without the guards permission, but the guard disappeared behind his barricade and all was quiet for some minutes. Theiraqule took the time to examine the area, the war had been harsh here, the stone in the wall bespoke of bitter battles, a shudder ran down his back reminding him of the circumstances of this visit, all the races had suffered such devastation, at least these people were trying again, and that was more than most. His thoughts were interrupted by the guardsmen’s approach once more, this time he had a stocky dwarf with him. Theiraqule couldn’t help but grin, small miracles and all.

“Allo thar, who be ya, and what are ya wantin in the great city o Tukin” the dwarf hollered out in his home tongue

“Aye…” Theiraqule started resaying the few words he knew in dwarven “Greetings and Well Met? Not Speakish the Dwarf mouth good…. Speak you Elven?” he managed to cobble the words together. The dwarf was shaking his head but called back, he understood about every third word

“Nay… Elf… but… someone… a Knight… soon lad, soon” and with that the international symbol to wait was once more presented and both the dwarf and the guardsmen left again. Again Theiraqule was left to consider his surroundings once more. The Evermoors could be seen to the west, it looked like the trees were doing well, perhaps even slowly encroaching towards the mountain lands, that would stir trouble in the future he thought.

“Hello there” the voice came down from above speaking in a crisp elven with only the slightest of accents. Theiraqule studied the man who spoke; the speaker conjured thoughts of an industrious beaver. He had large blue eyes that were like two chunks of lapis lazuli. His silky, straight, yellow hair was worn short with a single braid in the back, if Theiraqule’s sharp eyes were not mistaken the hair was showing signs of greying. The speaker had stubble, not a lot but enough to signify a regular shaver who missed his morning routine; he was very short and had an angular build with skin light in colour. The human, for he was assuredly human, had hollow cheeks and knobby ears, his wardrobe was mysterious and businesslike, with a lot of black and blue. By his side stood a younger human girl in similar attire, and rusty brown hair, to her left was the dwarf and there in the back to the extreme left stood the original guardsmen, who sheepishly waved.

“Hello, and thank you for your patience, I am Theiraqule and my mission is very time sensitive, I have traveled long and far and humbly request audience with His Majesty King Lemeath” the words came forth loud and clearly, and he saw the man and the younger women shake their heads sadly

“Welcome Theiraqule, My name is Sir Umfrey, and I am afraid the King is neither in Tukin, nor on the plane at this time” Theiraqule nodded at the news, he had hoped for better but had expected this

“Then with your permission I would speak with His Eminence Sir Adrian, Hand of the King of Tukin at his earliest convenience” Again he was met with sad head shakes

“Sir Adrian has fallen some time ago good Sir. At this time Sir Selwyn Sudari Giant-Slayer stands as Hand of King in Tukin” Theiraqules interest was piqued, Giant-Slayer stood out as a dwarven clan name, but Selwyn was distinctly not a dwarven name, and from what he knew of Tukin it would be all but impossible for a Dwarf to serve as Hand of the King. He pushed the thoughts aside for the time being.

“That saddens me, by all accounts the Hand was a noble man of a noble line… with your permission than might I speak with Sir Selwyn?”

“I think that is more than possible, please note that your weapons will need to be peace knotted while in the city, and you will have an escort, if that is acceptable than you are more than welcome to enter” Sir Umfrey called down

“I find that more than acceptable noble Sir,” he turned around showing he had nothing under his cloak aside from his tunic, breeches and boots “I carry no weapon, and would be glad of the company” Theiraqules keen ears did not miss the whispered words between Sir Umfrey and the girl

“Watch him close now Brook, any stranger who can wonder demon country without a blade is either a fool or one to be wary of, likely both” Theiraqule grinned to himself, the title of fool still chased him, even to the land of humans. The great gate opened and admitted him to the mighty city, and it was not long before he, Sir Umfrey and the young girl named Brook, Sir Umfreys squire, were making their way towards the palace.

The city was still beautiful in Theiraqules humble opinion, even with many buildings having been burnt or collapsed, it was not hard to picture the original skyline, and he felt the construction efforts gave it more character than when it was King Lemeaths precious jewel ever in fear of being scratched or broken. The Palace walls again were scorched with magic and claw, the battles that must have been waged here staggered the mind. For their part his hosts were amicable, always willing to answer a question, but also willing to let his thoughts wander as he eyes took in the sights of the great city of peace. He was escorted to a room, with comfortable seating. Water and bread were brought, and though Sir Umfrey left to speak with the Hand. He gained the company of a Sir Jaquelinne and was left with her and Brook. He took a piece of bread and sniffed at it, it was fresh and fluffy, he was sure with the efforts of battle and construction this was likely meant to be a great showing of hospitality. He did not wish to offend his gracious hosts but doubted he would be able to stomach it after his long journey. He instead opted for a cup of water and smiled at the two charged with watching him.

The door opened and in a hurry the room became crowded, as several knights who would later be introduced as Sir Gales, Sir Johannes, Sir Isabelle and of course Sir Umfrey came in. He knew the Hand the moment he saw her; She stood at a respectable six feet in height, Her blonde hair was cropped and fell just below her chin; her skin was pale with a slightly rose hue, she had eyes with solid gold pupils and had an aura of capability and comfort about her. Now any of these features might have been striking on their own but they were dwarfed by the captivating four large feathered wings extending from her back shoulders the wings wer full of the purest feathers starting as a slight grey near the shoulders and slowly forming into a glossy white of new formed snow. Her clothing was made of fine silks but practical in design, her hip had a long sword that he recognised, the symbol of any Hand in Tukin, TOWNSAVER. On her back was strapped a large bastard sword, it sat with comfortable ease and he had no doubt from the wear marks on the sheath and her wings that it had seen great use, this was not a Hand who sat behind desks, this was a warrior. He also noted the holy symbol hanging around her neck, and was surprised that she was a servant of Gabreille; he would have suspect Damie, or perhaps Korhan or Themis… today was indeed a day for surprised. The Hand was clearly agitated, several dwarves, and gnome like creatures also entered the room, making Theiraqule feel a little claustrophobic and instinctively take a step towards the open window.

“Theiraqule, Welcome, I am Queen… er… I mean I am Sir Selwyn, Hand of the King of Tukin” he was immediately taken aback, for her to so easily speak his home tongue, and with such comfort. It made him miss home; he had almost missed the fact that she had introduced herself as Queen, had Lemeath taken a wife? It was not impossible; though he thought he would have been informed should that have happened.

“Hello Sir Selwyn.” He said, assuring she did indeed understand his tongue, she smiled, though the rest of the occupants seemed confused “ I need to speak with you of matters of great importance”

To Be Continued

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