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Of Flowing Blood and Piercing Bones

Discussion in 'Roleplay Archives' started by Gold Dullahan, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. A hand on her shoulder brought her out of her thoughts. She glanced behind her, a pale face dimly lit by the green fires around them.

    "Sightseeing?" a feminine voice came from the woman behind her, long brown hair in a loose ponytail and a regal black dress worn over her lanky body.

    "It's been a while, 7 years I suppose." she moved her hand from the flame, which centered itself back into position.

    "Would you look at that- seems you've turned into an adult while I wasn't looking." The other woman moved towards the balcony door, opening it.

    "You definitely haven't." See quickly calculated the number in her head-

    This woman's parent's had died when she was 7, upon which she was forced to take up there duties with help from an adviser. That was also the time the first woman was sent away for her training, making the second one 3 years younger than her.

    "It would seem you're only 14 yet." she moved into the halls of Magnhildr, the second woman leading her.

    "Hush Ivory- there's a summit about to take place in the main hall." Ivory followed suit as she was led through the fortress. She always found her name amusing since she was a Blood Born.

    She looked at the younger girl in front of her- she had upheld her duties and her parent's ideals despite being so young. Working her hardest to make people treat all citizens the same no matter what (a sentiment they shared). She grinned slightly as the girl ordered her to pay attention when they arrived at the summit.

    "Yes, Duchess Menolia." Ivory walked beside her friend.
  2. Alden strode towards the main hall of Magnhildr. It had been just over a decade since the bastard boy had last been inside the fortress, and he couldn't say that he had missed it. The other children has ostracized him for being a being a bastard and did not leave very fond memories of this fortress as a result. The only reason he had been allowed in was because he was a Blood Born. He pulled the hood of his cloakdown as he entered the hallway that led to the large Main Hall and revealed his shoulder length black hair and green eyes, the cloak itself still He wanted to show these horrible nobles that the exiles of Helfid had made him stronger than what they could ever imagine.

    Helfid was a city of commoners and thugs near the border of the realm where only the most unfavored of Blood Born were sent to for training under a disgraced master. However, it was a place where it was easy to gain experience in using Blood in unique ways. It also exposed him to the more to the non-noble side of society and he had decided to use this as a chance to speak on behalf of the common people.

    He walked in to the summit and stood as far away from any one noble as possible.
  3. As they entered the main hall, Menolia grasped Ivory's hand and led her towards the stage, commanding her to stand by the steps leading up. Once she had settled the older girl into position, the young Duchess climbed onto the stage and bowed.

    Several people bowed as well or showed some other form of respect.

    "As you may or may not know..." Menolia sat down at her chair, the light catching of the two rings worn on opposite hands, red and white "There have recently been several border skirmishes on the allied realms surrounding Alcaeus."

    After a few murmurs and whispers she continued "Eventually, they will be upon Alcaeus. It is unknown who the perpetrators are, but in time we will find out. Being one of the major magical cities- the capital Erebus has appointed us as one of the chief general domains. In layman's terms- we have been put in charge of certain plans and strategies."

    A few hushed whispers came up about the Duchess' age and such, which she ignored expertly.

    "Keeping in tradition- Each General domain is appointed 5 champions for the... ruler I suppose we can say, 2 mages and 3 soldiers. As you know- at the age of 10, all mages are sent off. We have called several of them back. The two champions are-" with a motion of her hand, a noble was called to deliver a parchment.

    Unrolling it, she declared the two mages appointed by the capital as guards escorted them onto the stage, flanking Menolia on both sides-

    "Erebus Sanguine- Lady Ivory, and Helfid Sanguine- Sir Alden."

    An eruption of shouts emerged from the crowd about the illegitimacy of Alden and the fact that Ivory was not even partially of noble blood.
  4. Pride surged through Alden as he heard the young duchess call his name. He walked up to the stage with the guards escorting him and bowed low before the duchess. "I will not fail you nor the realm Duchess," he proclaimed loudly. As he took a spot behind and to the left of the Duchess he threw his cloak back to reveal his court clothes, black silk tunic embroidered with three red blood droplets on his left chest. His black trousers and boots were more simple, but still of obviously fine make. More gasps erupted as the crowd saw the undecorated longsword hanging off his left hip. As a bastard, Alden knew he could get away with some more drastic actions at court; even then he could barely contain his smile as the shouts about his bastard past and unruly actions continued to grow louder and louder.

    "Remind me to get you a gift later Duchess," Alden whispered just loud enough for Menolia hear. He was thoroughly pleased that he had managed to anger so many nobles without even meaning to. It became even better as he started to pick out some of the children he had grown up with. Some were shouting while others were silent and staring. This had already become the best day in Alden's life. He waited patiently to see what would happen next.
  5. Ivory scampered up the steps to catch up with the guards, lost in her thoughts she had fallen behind. Taking her spot she watched some of the crowd scream of her non-noble birth. She cringed- was it true? Did she deserve a place here? The only reason she had come this far was because she was sent to Erebus. Which only happened because for the first few years of Menolia's life- Ivory's mother had been her personal caretaker.

    She glanced at Alden beaming with pride and heard the screams of his illegitimacy. What if that was it? Just pity? What if they were only selected because of that?

    She felt Menolia's hand slip into her own and gulped as the young Duchess raised the Champions' hands into the air.

    "Feel free to say otherwise- But the words comes directly from the Capital." Menolia gave a stern stare at the crowd, her anger causing her nails and teeth to lengthen just a bit by accident "These Sanguine are the Champions of the Duchy Menodora." The two were sat down on simpler, yet still regal chairs beside the Duchess. The last 3 champions, plain soldiers, were called up and seated in a row in front of the Duchess and a bit beneath.

    "If you detest this decision that much-" she growled "Then perhaps you would like to test the strength of our Sanguine Champions?" She stared at the crowd watching for any sign of anyone wanting to challenge either of her champions.
  6. Alden was sitting comfortably when the Duchess announced her challenge. He was half hoping someone would step up to challenge his right to be sitting here, but it would slow down this process a little too much for his liking. In order to attempt to intimidate the crowd he pulled out a small vial of blood from a pouch sewn to the inside of his cloak and uncapped it. He willed the blood within to emerge and made it take the form of three orbs. As the vial was placed back in its pocket, Alden began to play with the orbs of blood by making them them spin over his palm. Occasionally, one would take on a different form for just an instant, usually various faces around the room that looked more hostile than others.

    "The Duchess is right," he proclaimed to the room. "If any of you really want to try us go for it. Just keep in mind that there is a reason that our names were called over yours. The realm is at war, or will be soon, and it could very well be a devastating war. Do you really want to fight that badly? Then go enlist. Leave your sheltered lives of nobility behind and fight for the people you're supposed to be responsible for. And maybe once you've seen the harshness of life, you could challenge us." He let his words sink in as the room started to settle down. Hopefully no one would challenge them now.

    He turned to look Ivory and smiled at her. "Why don't you show them a little trick Lady Ivory? I'm confident you could best any noble in this room, why don't you scare them a little? Make them shiver in their gold-buckled boots. Have a little fun, eh?"
  7. Unsure of what to do, she glared at the crowd- one of her 'talents' being that her nervous face looked more like an angry one. She thought hard on what to do in that one second- and then it struck her. Alden had used a vial. That was what most everyone did unless someone else had already cut them-

    No one would ever purposely hurt themselves.

    She inwardly grinned- this was something she could use. She mentally thanked her old mentor in Erebus for scolding her for not being willing to draw her own blood. She dare not speak- sure that anything to come out would ruin her intimidation.

    Swiftly she raised her hand to her mouth and bit on her pointer finger- instantly drawing blood. She could see the shock on some of there faces as she pointed to the crowd, shooting a stream of blood to form into a dragons maw that she "animated" to roar at the crowd before pulling the blood back into her slowly, a few stray drop falling before her.
  8. The dragon was amazing to see, and finally made the crowd silent. "Well done Lady Ivory. Well done indeed. I'm very impressed," Alden told the young woman. He was genuinely impressed at the performance, and it looked like the rest of the room was as well. He could see some nobles slinking off towards the back of the room and took it as a sign that their intimidation had worked. Seeing no more need to continue playing with the blood, he returned it back to the vial in his jacket. Alden decided that once this conference was over he would have to get together with Ivory and find out just what she was capable of.

    "Now that that has been taken care of, is it time to really begin. I'm ready to actually talk about why we've been brought here. I'm pretty sure every other person here can agree. Especially those that need to go change their pants after Ivory's little display of skill."
  9. Menolia cleared her throat and pulled two small parchments from the hands of a noble behind her, sliding them to the two Champions beside her "As I was saying earlier- We have been appointed as a General Domain and put in charge of certain strategies and plans-"

    She leaned forward slightly "Menodora is a powerful mage city- yet we are only 700 strong at the moment. Even the outer boundaries have over a 1000. And judging from your reactions to our champions- None of you are even so much as ready for combat."

    "Honestly- You should be delighted we were appointed as a General Domain of combat- be grateful the monarchs have spared what would certainly be your deaths. I want all of you to go home and study your maps, books- everything! At least get your minds ready!"

    The nobles nervously showed different signs of acknowledgement.
  10. Alden took the parchment and put it on the table in front of him."You're right about that Duchess; they really aren't ready. What a shame. Truly a tragedy for the ages," he said. Maybe the smart ones would come to one of the champions and ask for help, but he really doubted that it would happen. What noble would come to a bastard for help with anything? None of them. They are too proud to stoop that low.

    He waited patiently as the nobles began to talk amongst themselves again. The topic was still the unpopularity of the champions, but now it was more tinted with fear than rage as it was before. The change was a good change, Alden felt. Hopefully that fear would drive these nobles to actually find a way to contribute, even if their real goal was only to outshine the champions. Even a misguided reason can lead to a good outcome for the people.

    "Excuse me Duchess," Alden said politely, "I've been away from most of the area for a while and I could use some updated maps. I would also like to know everything possible about what we know of the enemy. Is that something that can be arranged?"
  11. "That I am glad to hear, Sir Alden." Menolia grinned and motioned to a guard "I'm finishing the summit to hold the meeting with the Sanguine Champions- Make sure everyone in here is actually trying to learn something."

    As she hopped off her chair and led the two champions to a private room, the noble began providing spare maps and texts to everyone leading them in the conversation.

    Menolia opened up a small back room behind the main hall, sighing as only a single had been lit. Ivory dropped a bit of blood into the small candelabra, Menolia using a bone from her wrist to strike at the blood, creating the greenish fires that lit the duchy.

    She swiftly placed a map on the table, unfurling it and hastily placing chess pieces onto the map. "The black pieces are us- the king and queen are on the capital, rooks on General Domains for attack, Bishops on General Domains for strategy, Knights on the remaining inner cities, and pawns are our borderlands."

    She swept her hand across the south east border, placing white pieces as she went "The unknown enemy has begun moving up from the south east towards our center. Various border skirmishes have occurred in the outskirts of Nawl, Pteras, and Sein. The metal mines in Nawl were captured upon the duchy's defeat." she replaced the black peice with a white one "Sein managed to stay alive using there moderate magi population, the foes have no magic on there side. Half of Pteras has been captured and the mills are somehow being put to use."

    She pointed to a spot to the north of Sein between it Pteras. A small duchy was flanked by hills on three sides and a dense forest on the southern end "This is Brisca. It was recently captured and turned into a fort of sorts. The close proximity to Sein has caused them to ask permission to charge- but the they are also close to Pteras, which is half captured. Journey over hills could take a while and the forest is, well dense. It's no different from a normal one other than that."
  12. "I think I have an idea," Alden announced to the group. "How well this works will depend on our own army of course but here's what I think we should do. We move to reinforce Pteras and liberate the captured half. We can probably take the Pteras survivors and march with them to attack Brisca from the North while Sein attacks Brisca from the South at the same time. Once Brisca is Liberated we can let the Pteras army return home while what's left of us and Sein moves to liberate Nawl, with a focus on recapturing the mines. We're going to need those mines in order to satisfy our growing demand for weapons and armor." He pointed to the map as he explained his plan to the council.

    When he was done he look up from the map and spoke again. "This probably isn't the best plan, but it is what I will submit as my recommendation for our actions. I also recommend that the Duchess accompany us on the march. The men will need your presence and leadership on the battlefield as much as they need your talents as a Magi. They know you and trust you more than they know and trust myself or Ivory. And if we win then no one will ever again question your rule or whisper behind your back about your age. Any other recommendations?"
  13. Menolia mulled over his words "A sound plan, I suppose."

    She looked over the map again, specifically the surrounding of Brisca. The hills to the northern half and the dense forest to the south were particularly favorable if they had a creative plan.

    "Ivory?" she mumbled trying to get the other champion involved.

    "Er- well." Ivory went through a shelf quickly before hurrying back with a parchment "We have 700. Pteras is 1000. Sein is left with a measly 233. Nawl is 920. Brisca is 1390... If we liberate the captured half of Pteras, we'll lose about 200, but would gain at most 500."

    "We become around 1000 for the north rush of Brisca. South troops from Sein would be small-" She stopped and looked at the map.

    "Maybe..." she looked at the distance between each city "It would take around 5 days to get to Pteras. At least one day to finish there. And then 3 days to get to Brisca... which would be without the hills..."

    "I think... Well no one is crazy enough to go over hills in a situation like this. But if we can have Sein come up from the south as planned and have them wait in the forest, setting up bone traps- we can climb the hills and rest at least a day up there. When given a signal Sein would spill out the south of the forest while we launch bones and blood shots at the fortress, another group running down the hills. The goal is to get them running through the forest where Sein has had enough time to trap all over. They would be substantially lowered in number when they got outside to face Sein, and we'd be behind."
  14. "I have to disagree with the part on Brisca Lady Ivory. Sein is too small of a force and it would become obvious that it was a trap." Alden stopped to rub his temples and think before continuing. "Okay, how about this? We need to send the majority of our force to join up with Sein's force in the forest. That would be enough to draw the enemy out and engage. Then we could have a smaller force of ours, say about two hundred, led by myself and Ivory, attack from behind and prevent them from retreating. We would be the hammer to the main force's anvil. We would be able to crush the enemy before they even knew what hit them."

    Alden let the plan sink in. He thought it was a good improvement with the information he was given. "This plan would need to change if something went wrong at Ptera or if Sein fell before we could get there. Maybe we should try to ensure Sein's safety before we assault Brisca? I'm not really sure though. There's a lot that could go wrong honestly. I've never had to lead this many men before. I'm much better with a smaller command."
  15. "I believe..." Ivory looked over the map again "There is another way."

    "Sein would come up from the south and block the exits from the forest by using there men and women to erect a large bone wall. Over the course of time it will take to get to Pteras, free it, and then head to Brisca the wall should be quite powerful. Intel says that the troops at Brisca are holed up inside the duchy, training and healing. I understand there is a general stuck in Pteras who is able to control the blood of others- if we can save him, he can slowly suck the blood out of the fortress' soldiers while they try and fail to escape."
  16. "But how long will it take to bleed Brisca dry? I trust this general's ability but I don't trust that the enemy will do as we wish. Other than that I do think that plan will work. But if we take to long at Brisca, the enemy in Nawl will only be getting stronger and stronger and more and more prepared for our siege which will make taking it that much harder. I propose we go along with Ivory's plan for now, but if bleeding Brisca takes too long we'll have to be prepared to attack it directly. Are we all in agreement?" Hopefully the adjustment would be accepted. Alden was already impressed by Ivory's ability to plan and he only hoped that she could lead on the field as well as she had here. He also hoped that she could fight as ruthlessly as he could.
  17. "Wonderful." Menolia answered for Ivory "It's getting late now and I suggest you eat. And fast, there's work to be done in the morning."

    Menolia hurriedly pushed them out sending a guard to lead them to the next floor as she ran back towards the main hall. The guard led them up the black steps to an ornate door. With a small needle he pricked each of our fingers before pressing a small stone into a slot and asking them to drip there blood onto the small candelabra placed beside the door, the door unlocking and the man stepping away while explaining that there blood on the candelabra would work like a key.

    Inside was a medium sized table with an array of food and drink. There were about 10 candles lighting the walls. Two ornate beds on opposite sides in the back of the room, with a window around the middle of the space between them.
  18. "Well that was an interesting evening," Alden said as he strode towards the table. He removed his cloak and draped it over the back of his chair before sitting down to eat. "It's been so long since I've been back. I can't say I've really missed it though." He poured himself a glass of wine, drained the glass, and refilled it. "You know Ivory, there really isn't anything better than a glass of wine after an exciting day. I do have some questions I want to ask you as we eat though. I hope you don't mind. I just really want to start to know the person I am going to be working with. Some of them are more important than others, so I suggest we get to them right away. You can ask your own questions too of course."

    Alden paused to take another sip of wine and took a bite of an apple before he continued. "My name is Alden Streiss, bastard child of Lord Karl Streiss and this is the first time I've been back here in around ten years. If they brought my chest of baggage up here I'll be more than happy to show off what I learned while I was away. So, tell me about yourself."
  19. Ivory poured herself a cup of tea, not in the mood for anything else to drink at the moment, before getting herself a small plate of salad "Er, well- I'm Ivory Cruor. I'm not really of noble birth. The only reason I was able to be sent to Erebus was because of my mother, who most every just called Pin or Pinprick."

    She smiled fondly as she sipped her tea "My mother was Menolia's personal caretaker. We weren't even nobles but somehow the old Duke and Duchess took a quite a liking to us. It was almost as soon as Menolia was born too- I was about 3. My mother died when I was 5 and the Duke and Duchess put me in the care of some maids. Other than my mother, Menolia knew me best so I was charged with helping in her care."

    Ivory felt nostalgic at the thought of a 2 year old Menolia trying to pull Ivory towards her with small little hands "I remember she couldn't say my whole name and called me Ry. It ended up becoming a habit she kept until, I suppose, I left 7 years ago."
  20. "So that's how you know the Duchess. That's good to know. I'm rather fond of her. She's been good to the people around here. More than most of the nobles I've met. I already like you better knowing you're not one of them." Alden finished his apple and filled a plate with pastries. "I really do like these little pastries. Especially the raspberry ones. They were the best part of my childhood at this place. I only left you one though. Sorry."

    "So, have you ever used your powers to kill anyone? What was your training like? What do you really think of the Duchess? Why don't you have a weapon? Where do you keep your vials of blood?" he asked between bites of food and sips of wine. Knowing his limits with wine, he decided to slow down the drinking for now. It wouldn't do good to ask all these questions only to lose the answers to drunkenness.

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