The Day the Wind Died
Posted 30 March 2011 - 02:10 AM
And for the first time, Jordan was free of the life of a warrior.
Days, weeks, months, the amount of time it took to reach a new beginning. To heal, to be well once again in the hearth of the viking stronghold. But Snowpeak had lost much of its zeal since the day Selena left them to fend for themselves. The only comfort to the people who challenged to leave in this frozen realm was that the goddess Chikara, who challenged them and served as a symbol to the refusal of their way of life had finally been stopped. There was a feast planned for the warrior who would return alive but as only a few managed to make it back conscious and the others dead or missing, the spirit of victory had been taken from what would have been a glorious new chapter in Calatia's short history.
Despite being an outsider, Jordan was treated as the other 'heroes' and given a place to rest and recover. Perhaps it was Leo and Turtlelot he should have thanked for this kindness. Internal bleeding and several broken bones, he should have been dead. Somehow, he managed to live through it all. As the attending nurses came through his temporary guest quarters, they would always comment how Jordan would be looking out the small window towards the horizon and how a young woman named Astrid would come to visit him from time to time.
Four spears rested by the wall. Over time, the enchanted artifacts that Jordan wielded against the avatars of Lazu and Juvenal began to take the form of Jordan's original spears. The new aesthetic was nice, but the power these two spears possessed was still quite in question.
* * *
"Has he woken yet?" Serge asked.
The arch-inquisitors sat in the stone gardens of the Arbiter's Ground. Lords Marcoh, Lucien, Serge and Darius spoke of high matters in regards to the health of their supervisor and leader.
"No, but he is stable." Marcoh replied.
Koridai experience chaos for the first time since it's founding. The missing goddess, the betrayal of the Vanguard and the fate of the grand holy empire on the line. There was crime, there was rape, there was murder and hell had begun to slowly descended upon this land. The familiar golden shine of the city had lost its luster.
"How fares the management of the templars in civil assistance?" Darius asked.
"The corruption runs deep and wide, each day brings new calamity and we are unable to stop it's reach. It's too much for us." Serge replied.
The silence falls on the four men.
"You've been quiet Lucien, what are you thinking?" Darius asked, looking over to his colleague.
The others turn the Lucien, who looks at the ground, staring into space. Eventually, he speaks.
"Our time has finally come gentlemen."
The others, looking confused and puzzled, attempt to make sense of this until
"Whatever do you mean, Lucien?" Serge asked.
Lucien looked up, the light of the sun reflecting off his glasses.
"Solomon was appointed as the Grand Marshal by the history of his service and the blessings of the goddess. On what ground does he stand now that the goddess has fled the land?"
"BLASPHEMY! HOW COULD YOU SAY SUCH A THING LUCIEN!?" Serge shouted, standing from his seat.
"Who are you trying to impress Serge, please be seated."
Serge pauses, slowly taking his seat.
"The general public has no interest in Solomon's life, he is considered nothing more than a deranged yet necessary evil appointed by the goddess. For too long, we have allowed him to waste our time and investments on his hunts and his emotional whimsies. The time has come that we dispose of Solomon and guide the empire back to its proper heading in the stead of the goddess."
Silence fell again. The men look at each other with pensive expressions, unsure what to think. Darius looked to Lucien.
"How do we proceed?"
"We need make the most faithful man to the goddess realize what has happened. He will not believe that the goddess has truly left the empire and will need much convincing, perhaps a few falsehoods. We send him off like a goat into the wilderness. He will seek the goddess and whether she truly has left us I sincerely doubt that she wishes to be found. The rest is nothing more than public relations and new management. We rule Koridai as the new quadrate, men of faith and virtue will guide the nation to a better future. A future grander than any the goddess could have brought."
"Such arrogence, Lord Lucien."
Marcoh stood from his humble stone bench.
"Fooling Lord Solomon is one thing, but to fool the nation? Solomon has people who would expose our sins if we ever stood against him and you know that there would be no salvation for any of us if that happens. Men of virtue we may be, but we are not divinity."
"Lord Marcoh, I see your reasonable concerns and I wish to put them to rest. Tell me, why do you think I allowed Solomon to take his voyage to the Cursed Land without so much as a string of red tape?"
Marcoh looked at Lucien, surprised at first only to feel the shock of what he deduced.
"You didn't . . ."
"Solomon left his most faithful subjects behind, the ones who would let our reputations bleed if anything were to happen. They are, as to say, dealt with." Lucien responded.
"He returned with less than half of his forces from his invasion and is very much unable to do anything until he heals. Public opinion was low enough before, now we have a cause to have the people openly reject him and no one within the inquisition will stand against us. With the remainder of the goddess' old quadrate missing, turned traitor or dead, there will be no one to stop us."
A third silence, Marcoh and Serge look at each other as they silently ask themselves what to do. They look back to Lucien and Darius.
"We will leave Solomon to you, Lucien." Marcoh replied.
With that said, Lucien took leave of his colleagues and headed into the offices of the Inquisition and eventually to Solomon's quarters. The remaining three look at each other with worried expressions.
"Is this truly the wisest option for us to take?" Serge asked.
"Whether it is or isn't, Solomon is the only one left and he cannot lead this nation." Darius replied.
"May the goddess forgive us." Marcoh said.
OoC: As of now, this is an independent story written by yours truly. PM me if you want to get in on the action but until then I'll be progressing it solo.
Posted 02 April 2011 - 08:19 PM
With Selena's abandonment, Turtlelot decided it would be best to come out of his isolation in Snowpeak, and do what he could for the kingdom. After his return from the Cursed Lands, the iron warrior agreed to train Calatian soldiers, both new and old, in both basic and advanced combat styles, along with advising the officials on new defense strategies for Snowpeak.
Turtlelot reached Jordan's room. Slowly opening the door, the metal man walked in to see Jordan staring out his window. "Good, you're awake." the metal man said delightfully. "So how have you been holding up?"
Posted 02 April 2011 - 11:56 PM
"Been better. Been worse." He said, smirking.
"But seriously, I have been doing well since I've arrived. Thank you for helping me back there."
His overall opinion of Snowpeak was positive, regardless of some of the darker deeds he had witnessed here before. The hospitality of the vikings was most surprising indeed, a people unified under someone like Selena one might assume be as brash and dangerous as she is. Or she was, given her sudden departure. With a hole in the ranks, it seemed that others finally had the chance to try and fill the void. Turtlelot himself had a certain glow to himself that he didn't have before, something that said "Hey, look at me. Kinda a big deal" but in that way that says "I'm humble as shit." Jordan's eyes quickly glanced over to the sword of Diel that was sheathed by his side.
"So I see you still have that sword. You have any plans for that blade?"
Posted 03 April 2011 - 04:56 AM
Synile was full of questions, and luckily for him, a nurse had just entered the room.
"How long have I been asleep?"
"Oh, it's been a few months. We were beginning to think you'd never wake up. Coma certainly is the word for it. You were deathly still for the entire time."
I've been out for months? My body doesn't feel any weaker than when I was back in the Labyrinth. In fact, I actually feel better than then.
"We didn't know what was wrong with you. All this time it seemed like you were in peak condition."
Synile, never the patient type, immediately tossed the covers of the hospital bed aside, and practically hopped out of the bed. Despite how his body had felt, the simple act of standing on legs that hadn't seen action in several months was impossible. Synile collapsed rather unceremoniously into a heap on the floor. It was at this time that a rather alarming cold sensation drew his attention to the fact that he was completely nude. The nurse looked rather stunned.
"... I can only assume this was strictly medical in nature... but... I think I'll have my clothes back now..." The wide eyed nurse turned to leave the room, completely surprised by the turn of events. In the meantime, Synile decided to get creative. Fashioning a makeshift robe from the sheets that were on the bed, Synile was ready for his escape. He was hardly out the door of his room several feet when Synile overhears something that would shatter the excitement of leaving his room.
"No word from Selena still?"
"None, last I heard. It seems like she truly has abandoned us..."
She... what? It was that moment Synile's knees decided to give out once more.
Posted 03 April 2011 - 02:12 PM
"So I see you still have that sword. You have any plans for that blade?"
The metal man looked down to the sword at his side. "I'm going to hold onto it, until the new avatar of Diel arrives to retrieve it. Until then, I plan on training with it, and hopefully mastering its power, just in case it's ever needed again."
Turtlelot walked over to the chair by the wall and took a seat. "So tell me Jordan, what are your plans for after you recover?" Before Jordan could respond, a commotion could be heard down the hall. "Excuse me for a moment." Turtlelot said as he got to his feet and quickly left the room. Looking down the hall Turtlelot could see Synile collapsed on the floor.
Looks like he finally woke up. Turtlelot thought as he rushed down the hall to the fallen warrior. "Easy now, Synile" Turtlelot said as he helped the man back to his feet. "You have to let your body build its strength before you walk out the door. Come now, let's get you back to your room."
Posted 04 April 2011 - 12:29 AM
As Turtlelot left the room to attend to the noise, Jordan looked back out the window. It had been obvious to him all this time what he was going to do, but he never thought about the matter until it was posed as a question.
"I saw her. She's alive Jordan. My sight has been improving recently and I was able to get a glimpse of her. She remains in Verden."
The last words given to Jordan by the seer Tiresias, the words that kept him going throughout the horrible battle in the Labyrinth. The single glimmer of hope, the first hope he felt he could grasp in two years. A chance to make things right again. To finally . . . He looked over to his spears. He'd need a better way to carry them, simple cloth slings would not be enough.
* * *
Lord Lucien walked throughout the halls of the Arbiter's Ground, guided by an escort from Solomon's own bloodhounds. Passing though the light of the sun and into the shadows cast by the stone pillars and columns that supported the entire structure.
"Tell me sir templar, who is attending to the Grand Marshal's care?"
"M'lord, the Grand Marshal is currently being attended to by four nurse maidens. Two at a time, relieving each other every four hours. The room is under guard by 16 templars including myself, 8 at a time relieving each other once every 12 hours."
Lucien looked over to the templar, slightly confused by the report.
"My, I had no idea the Grand Marshal's men where so precise with their reports. But why, if I may ask, is there so much security? This is the Arbiter's Grounds sir templar, the hallowed sanctuary of the entire empire."
"M'lord, I do not wish to sound insubordinate but these precautions are regulation, instilled by the disgraced marshal Tiberius during his tenure. I am merely following my orders."
"Not to mention how the empire has been recently, it comes as no surprise to me why you would pursue extra security." Lucien quipped.
"I did not say that M'lord." The templar replied, deadpan as ever.
Lucien looked over, satisfied with his answer.
"Right, good then."
The arch inquisitor replied as the two reached Solomon's quarters. The seven templars guarding the hall swiftly saluted their superiors as they arrived. The escort opened the door to find two nurses tending the sleeping Solomon. Dressed in a uniform akin to that of a nun, their gray and white garbs covered most of their body as if to promote cleanliness and chastity. This was only further implied by the hooded veils that covered everything but their eyes. Lucien approached one of the nurses.
"Woman, what is his current condition?" he asked.
The nurse curtsied as she greeted the arch inquisitor and reported.
"The grand marshal is finally stable, he should awake within the next few days, perhaps sooner."
Lord Lucien turned back and left Solomon's sword scarred dwelling and returned to the company of the templars.
"Sir templar, I should inform you that I have requested a specialist to maintain watch over the Grand Marshal's recovery. More specifically, his security."
The templars looked over to Lucien, their superior clearly striking an odd chord.
"M'lord, I do not mean to sound insubordinate but the Grand Marshal is already in good hands."
Lucien ignored the templar's pleas and continued.
"This is not open for debate nor is it a suggestion. Given circumstances well beyond your bounds it has been decided that this man will be your superior until further notice by the arch inquisitors. He will arrive with a letter I have written him. Once he arrives you'd be wise to aid him in any way you can."
Lucien walked off into the corridor, leaving the templars with a silent rage.
"I don't like this one bit." A templar muttered.
The others turned fiercely, ostracizing the outspoken member in their ranks.
"Do not question orders templar. Know your place." Replied the crimson solider, begrudgingly.
Edited by JRPomazon, 04 April 2011 - 02:17 AM.
Posted 04 April 2011 - 12:24 PM
OK, so Egann hadn't used those words, exactly. In fact, he'd been kind of run-about in how he said it, but he made it clear that Vanguard followed Drake. That was their job. But of course, Egann had still been suspended when the manuer had fallen into the well, and he might've just as well said to himself "ahh, screw 'em. They want me to sit out or come back with a disciplinary mark? They can have their coup without me and no one will notice."
Really it didn't matter where he went; what he needed didn't exist, anymore. Sane. Was he still sane?
The news had come as a bit of a shock, really. Oh, not the news about Her Holiness; Lester really couldn't care less about 'those people' who were so distant they may as well not exist. Not that news; the news that Lester got from a balding inquisitor with a hooked nose and a goatee when he pulled Lester aside at a checkpoint, the news that, far from being a deserter for the gallows, he was a visionary war-hero. The man had all but asked for an autograph! Lester played along like every word the man had said made perfect sense. . .to find himself packing back to the capital.
Dhi..huah..WHA?! The more Lester thought about it, what little sense it made continued to evaporate into exasperated sighes like "what is it with leaders and making everyone put up with Komitaan fire-drills every few years?!"
So here he was. Back in the capital. How long had the news of Her Holiness's un-divining been here? The grafiti's density and variety and scope seemed to indicate a good while, in the least, at least if it had been deposited at a sane rate. Sane. Had anything ever been sane?
Lester shrugged the huge crimson Inquisitor's robes--with silver tracings around the buttons! The sky could be flaking away like dandruff and these people would still be worried about the threads around the button-holes!--and he marched up the stairs to see what awaited him. Hopefully the cloak would mean he wouldn't get any more lustful looks from men thinking he was another spring chicken. Diel, he hated that!
"Specialist Lester Payne," He introduced himself with a half-hearted salute, which the templars mirrored with exquisite sharpness. In an ideal world, you'd project an air of competence with a crisp salute. In the real world, it just said you were a grunt. Half-hearted salutes said you were above the rules.
Lester turned to the nearest templar. "Report on the current security, please."
"Sir. 16 templar guards on rotation, eight at a time. Reliefs of four, every six and twelve bells," the templar recited.
A rather standard rotation, for templars. Simple enough for grunts to understand, even if it meant that at the end of every shift the fresher half had bleary eyes and the half being relieved may as well be asleep in their posts, but grunts could count bells.
"Permission to speak freely, sir?" The templar asked.
"Do you think that anything could happen?"
"The Inquisition has created more than a few enemies in its time. More than a few fears. If someone wanted to lash out in fear--or hate--at him, now would be the time. He's incapacitated and if something did happen to him, the chaos would mean no investigation could really start." It was a good excuse, but a lie. A half-truth, really. There was only one reason anyone would put a former Vanguard in to protect Solomon, and people he prickled in prison it was not.
Sane. Nothing had ever been sane. Ever.
Edited by Egann, 07 April 2011 - 08:35 PM.
Posted 04 April 2011 - 03:20 PM
Solomon's eyes opened, quickly and alerted. He rose from his bed like a spring, startling the nurses inside as they gasped. Where was he? Who are these women? What happened? Something is wrong, he's covered in bandages. What happened, something is wrong. Windfall happened. The invasion, the heretics, Jordan . . . Jordan . . .
the memories came flooding back, his battle with his sworn prey upon the ruins of the forgotten domain in the cursed lands. All so vivid, all so painful. He lost . . .
. . . unacceptable.
He clasped his head as if it were beginning to split open from the middle, shouting in agony as he pieced together what must have become of him. The existential horror of living was all too great for him now.
"Lord Solomon!" Cried one of the nurses, who rushed to his side. With a quick thrust of his arm he knocked her away into the stone wall. His pain turned to rage. The templars rushed in shortly to see what the commotion was, seeing their Grand Marshal awake and active. The second nurse shook in her shoes, unsure whether to retreat back or not. She stepped back, quickly gaining Solomon's attention. As her green eyes were widened by Solomon's outburst, the Grand Marshal's fury took to greater bounds as the color brought more memories back from the failed invasion. The glimmer of Jordan the Whirlwind Spear's armor in the light of the day, a reminder of failure and evasion.
"That color . . . that damn color!" He shouted as he lunged at her from his bed. From the weeks of rest, his body had yet to properly adjust itself and the Grand Marshal fell to the floor. The nun stood in shock as the attending templars rushed to Solomon's aid.
"Lord Solomon! Please, you are unwell sir!" one cried as he attempted to help his superior from the stone floor. Solomon, still unstable reached out and clasped the man's head and slammed him to the floor, shouting like a barbarian in the heat of battle. The templars formed into proper formation.
"Get the women out of here, Lord Solomon has gone berserk!" Another shouted.
The nurse was escorted swiftly from the room as the other one was still on the ground. She looked over to Solomon, frightened as her fellow nurse was but held a sense of calm in her blue eyes. As the templar helped her up, she pushed his grasp away.
"Miss, you must leave."
Silently, she obeyed and left the room as Solomon slowly got to his feet. He looked around, his pale green eyes wide and full of rage. The templars did not want to subdue their commanding officer, but given the situation they were unsure whether that would be wise.
Posted 05 April 2011 - 11:27 AM
Keeping your footing on your own feelings was a lot like wading in a current; if it's ankle-deep you can ignore it. At the Casym of Wyrms it had been more like the rapids of a river, fear in a never-ending onslaught of violet, heavy and fast and deep.
The weak trickle he had first felt from the bedroom surged into a deep wrathful red. Spite for the self, and hate that carried an image and a name. Something green and a name starting with "Geor-something." Or was it "Jor?" As if the emotions weren't confusing enough on their own.
Then there was the reaction. Confusion and more violet fear combining in Lester's head to make a wash of a brown muttle. At least there was a middle for him to cling to with the intense feeling flowing around him.
A templar was pulling the nurses away from the room. "Templar, report!"
"Lord Solomon is awake again! He seems to be going beserk! What should we do?!"
Great. All this over a bad dream about this George-dude. Why is it that these geniuses in charge have to always be berserkers? Why couldn't they be a sane kind of crazy like those old ladies with a bunch of cats or something like that? Stay in the middle. Remain calm. What's the best way forward? Lester started to look around the room for something to give him an idea when he saw the nurse's bag.
"Nurse, do you have flaxen stiching twine in that bag?" Lester asked.
"Uh. . .yeah, I should, why? Planning on stitching wounds or something?"
"Or something. May I borrow a length of three--no, two--paces?"
"Here, just take the whole spool." She dug into the bag and thrust a wooden spool with the black twine on it. "I'm getting out of here!" She turned and lifted her skirt to hasten down the hallway away from the scene.
"Templar, just keep Lord Solomon distracted for a moment or two." Lester pulled out his armor-piercing spike and struggled with it to cut the twine. "When I dismiss you, regroup the rest at the end of this hallway. You know that feeling giving you goosebumps? Pay attention to it. You'll know if I need more help."
"Uh. . ."
"Just distract Solomon for a moment." Lester pulled out two anti-personell arrows. They had barbed tips to go in, but not come back out. "I'll relieve you momentarily."
". . .Yessir."
Lester ignored the washing feelings around him and focused on tying the ends of the twine to the arrows' barbs. Just stick with the plan. He notched one of the arrows and burst into the room, shooting it into the wooden headboard of Solomon's bed. "Templars, you're dismissed." He notched the other arrow and feigned lowering his guard by lowering the bow. Solomon had a strong presence. If the templars went too far, Lester's buffer to absorb his feelings would be gone, and he figured his chances of being overpowered by rage was a flip of a coin, either way. But he needed Solomon to think of him as strong and confident enough to dismiss the templars.
Here's hoping that templar remembered to regroup.
Posted 05 April 2011 - 12:20 PM
So that was his strategy. As the calculations ran through his head, his mind began to calm itself and Solomon slowly came to a calm state. This situation became more clear to him now.
"Who the bloody hell do you think you are? On what authority do you HAVE TO ORDER MY MEN!? ANSWER ME, CRETIN!"
Solomon fell to his knees, his body still weak. He grunted as he tried to force his unresponsive body to move, shouting obscenities as he began to regain his balance. But even still, his green eyes remained on Lester.
Posted 05 April 2011 - 08:22 PM
"How long have I been out? What happened? Where's Selena?"
(OoC: For now I really don't know what to add. xD Sorry for the skimpy post.)
Posted 05 April 2011 - 08:58 PM
The metal man looked at Synile, amazed that he made it as far as he did and still managed to rise to his feet. "You have been unconscious for over two months now." Turtlelot paused for a brief moment to think of how to word the next two questions.
"After you became unconscious, a battle of the remaining warriors broke out. By the end of the battle Juvenal had been killed and Chikara stripped of her divine powers. During the battle, the walls of the labyrinth became unstable and began to cave in. Chikara was the only force stopping them from crushing us. Selena teleported the two of them out of the labyrinth, leaving the rest of us to rush to portal before the collapsing walls killed us all."
Turtlelot paused again. "No one knows where either of them are Synile."
The android's tone became less serious. "Now, let's get you back to room before you hurt yourself, your body cannot get up and move like this after having not moved for so long."
Posted 05 April 2011 - 09:09 PM
"I would hardly call dismissing people an order," Lester started. "More like the opposite, in fact. Besides, they were thinking of subduing you." Lester feigned a laugh and started to walk slowly towards the window. "Nothing has gone right for Koridai as of late," he thrust the tip of his bow to the top of the drapes and threw it aside with a flick of his wrist. "See?"
It was a moment before their eyes grew accustomed to the full daylight and could see what Lester was pointing out. It beautiful and horrible at the same moment. On the opposing wall there was a massive fresco-grafiti plastered over the marble sides of one of the capital buildings. On the left, there was a man in green with two spears standing on top of Solomon--practically doing the "plant the flag" pose on his back, really--to the right, there was Drake, and the ten Vanguard commanders, all looking smug as their followers marched away, and to the center. . . .
In the center stood Selena, her spear's butt end firmly thrust between the Goddess's legs, practically holding her aloft.
"Quite the view." Lester commented. "Subtle, too, eh? I have no idea what actually happened, either, but with a bottom line like the Goddess t'aint the Goddess anymore and is too ashamed to show her face in Koridai, it hardly mat-"
OoC: A bit overkill, I know, but I had fun writing this.
OoC2: Fixed DJ's Glitch. In retrospect, Eggy might've been the better choice (he has the snarky personality to do this and Solomon already knows him; I kind of had to god-mode Lester into it.) Oh, well.
Edited by Egann, 07 April 2011 - 08:34 PM.
Posted 05 April 2011 - 10:24 PM
Admiral? There's no Admiral here. The Admiral died with the Fortress, as far as anyone's concerned. There's Drake, the (former) General Magnus, but he doesn't look a thing like the departed pirate leader.
Posted 05 April 2011 - 10:44 PM
"You filthy degenerate . . . you come into my quarters, order MY men, show me this . . . atrocity and you allow blasphemies to spew out of your mouth like some sort of pungent filth!"
Lester's eyes were full of fear, it wouldn't take much to kill him now. Solomon took his free hand and brushed away his stray gray hair that obscured his face, full of anger and wrath like a terrible deity of war. The grafitti was unsightly and the noise was far from peaceful but it was Lester's cavalier attitude, this strange notion the warrior had that he could talk to the Grand Marshal of the Inquisition like this, like a common foot soldier. Like some drunkard in a tavern. Manners needed to be instilled within this disrespectful mongrel and as much pain as humanly possible.
"YOU'D BE SKINNED ALIVE AND BEHEADED IF I DIDN'T HAVE A NEED TO QUESTION YOU, YOU HERETIC! I'LL SHOW YOU A HELL LIKE NONE OTHER!"
"That is enough Grand Marshal! That man is in our ranks and serves the inquisition!"
Solomon turned, Lord Lucien appeared passed the threshold, his calm demeanor imposing on the situation at hand. Solomon slowly loosened his grip on Lester and tossed him to the ground. He turned to face the arch-inquisitor, Lucien's glasses reflecting the light of the window. The comparrioson between the two men was amazing, the clean shaven and well groomed arch-inquisitor on one side and his unshaven superior clothed in the clothes in bandages and cloth. It was a fortunate moment for the arch-inquisitor, whose plans began to unfold right then and there.
"Lucien . . . I require the truth." Solomon asked.
"You have been sleeping for several weeks after you returned to us from your campaign . . . everything Sir Lester has told you is true. The Vangaurd has betrayed the empire and the goddess has left us-"
"LIES!" Solomon interrupted.
"THE GODDESS WOULD NEVER BETRAY HER PEOPLE! SHE IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, THE SYMBOL OF-"
"LORD SOLOMON!" Lucien reciprocated. A short pause followed. A quiet that lasted for a brief eternity.
"She has not returned since the day our forces took arms at the border of the Kingdom and Sir Drake betrayed us. I do not believe she has forsaken us, but she has left the empire and the empire is dying because of it."
Solomon's rage became fear, slowly churning in his soul.
"What of Lord Steel?" He asked.
"Missing, he is presumed dead." Lucien responded.
"His holiness the Pope?" Solomon asked again.
"Also missing, some claim he has abandoned the papacy." Lucien responded again.
Solomon slowly walked over to his bed and slowly say down, his hands clenching his head. This was not the first time his faith had been waivering, but the strongest it had ever been. The goddess, a force of change and rebirth, the deity that Solomon pledged his life to . . . was nowhere to be found within the cradle of her empire. The quadrate was no more. Koridai was orphaned.
"What . . . what is this . . .
WHAT THE HELL IS THIS!?"
It was said on that day, Solomon's anguished cries echoed throughout the captial and caused the entire Arbiter's Grounds to come to a complete stop.
* * *
Jordan slowly got out of his bed and got to his feet. He'd had some time to get used to using them again, unlike certain psychopaths who tended to sleep in. Not surprising given what he pulled off back in the Labyrinth. He walked out of his room and found Turtlelot helping Synile back up on his feet in the other room. He leaned against the door frame and watched the two move off, contemplating whether or not to allow Turtlelot to be the one to inform Synile what happened. Worse case scenario . . . Synile might break things.
The others turned around.
"Focus on getting better. I'll be around if you have questions."
Jordan turned around and headed back to his room. Well, that wasn't nearly as exhausting as he thought it would be.
OoC: Sorry for the controlling of your character Egann, but kudos for predicting what I was going to do. Remember, I'm writing for a very unstable man, no hard feelings.
Edited by JRPomazon, 05 April 2011 - 10:48 PM.
Posted 06 April 2011 - 02:06 AM
"Perhaps... yes. I should."
Synile decided it would be a good idea to accept Turtlelot's aide back to the room. He had certainly impressed Synile thus far.
Everyone has their guard up around me. Except this one.
"Thank you for your concern. My body does feel quite weak. More rest would be a good thing."
Synile had lied. Every cell in his body felt awake. His mind was racked with indecision.
The door to his room clicked shut, and Synile's focus was immediately back on his surroundings. To Synile's surprise, the nurse had actually fetched his belongings. His clothes were tattered and bloodied, and the chain mail had seen better days. Perhaps this was all a symbol; new armor for a new era. Synile slid into the ring mail, and pulled the tattered leather tunic over top. His pants were, essentially, just cloth at this point and the protection they offered was very minimal these days. The boots were loose, and the color had been faded for the better part of the past decade. The leather vambraces barely were held in place, the straps holding together by some unholy miracle. Lastly, Synile's cloak. It was worn, showed off many cuts and punctures. There were hardly any straight lines left on the garment, from all the many decades of use.
Synile looked at himself in the mirror in the room. The worn state of his armor contrasted greatly with the fierce look in his piercing green eyes. Anyone wouldn't think of him twice. He appeared outwardly to be some vagrant. They would be correct. For too long Synile had ignored his appearance. This look worked wonders back in the days of the Labyrinth and could easily frighten the enemy. The Labyrinth, however, was no more. As opposed to being abandoned, Turtlelot claimed the entire remaining structure had collapsed in on itself.
"So, it's decided. A new look for a new era. But first... I have to sneak out of my room. ... I haven't had to sneak out of ANYWHERE. Ok. Well, anywhere might be a bit of an exaggeration..." Synile slowly opened the door to his room and checked the hallway. It seems Turtlelot had gone. Perhaps back to Jordan's room.
That's also rather peculiar. Jordan is here? I suppose no one would be able to get back on their feet quickly after that ordeal. Either way, this isn't my problem for now.
Synile, having made sure the coast was clear, immediately began to walk a casual pace towards his room in the castle.
If he could remember how to get there...
Posted 08 April 2011 - 11:16 AM
A young woman came through the door, her blond hair in a ponytail that rested over her shoulders dressed in furs and a simple cloth cloak. Prepared for cold, no matter what day it was, that is one of the mentalities shared by most vikings it seemed. As she looked to find Jordan sitting by his bed, she smiled and waved.
"Astrid, back again?" Jordan asked.
"Yes, I thought I'd check in on you to see how you were doing." She replied.
"I'm not disturbing you, am I?"
"No, no, not at all." Jordan said, raising his hand as he gestured a protest to the notion.
"Make yourself at home."
The young woman did just that, placing her cloak on a hook on the wall, taking a chair and tending to the room's small fireplace while heating what appeared to be some sort of soup. The company was more than welcome since Jordan didn't know many people personally at Snowpeak and everyone he did know had go off on some sort of mission. Being injured like this only made things more difficult for a number of reasons, not being able to join anyone else on their adventures and being forced to stay in one place for an extended period of time. In short, it was boring.
"How have things been? You're looking much better than the last time that I saw you." Astrid said indirectly, her attention to the fireplace.
"Has that much happened in two days? I couldn't tell myself." Jordan said, placing his legs back on the cot.
"Actually, it was three days since I last saw you." Astrid commented, still tending the fire.
"That right?" he asked.
"Huh, time must fly when you're not doing anything but rest."
They carried on with the small talk for a while, Astrid talking about her days and her life while Jordan shared stories of adventures and the like. It was a very relaxing time, no worries about life-threatening battles or monsters, just a life spent in the peaceful room with good company. For a moment, he forgot all his troubles.
Posted 08 April 2011 - 01:49 PM
The metal man walked over to the nurses station and grabbed a piece of parchment and a quill with ink, and began to write Jordan a short letter.
My apologies for not being able to finish our conversation, as I had hoped to talk with
you before leaving on my next mission. I am heading back to the Cursed Lands to search for
any possible survivors to bring back to Calatia. I believe that it is safe to assume that the
probability of seeing you upon my return is not all too likely, so if you do decide to leave
I would just like to tell you this. Whatever you decide to do life, I encourage you to always
follow your heart and listen to your warrior spirit. They will guide you to where you need to
go. I trust that you would never be one to commit acts of sheer cruelty for no reason, nor
would you follow the masses and blindly serve a power you do not understand. It is these
kinds of people that make the world the place it is. I wish you well in your future travels,
and perhaps our paths may cross again someday. It was an honor to fight along side you.
Friend & Ally Always,
Sir Timotheus Turtlelot
Turtlelot rolled up the parchment and handed it to one of the nurses. "Please deliver this to Jordan once the lady has left." He asked before leaving. The android had to fetch the supplies he had requested before coming to visit the wounded. Food and water for the survivors and Winston.
Edited by Sir Turtlelot, 08 April 2011 - 01:50 PM.
Posted 09 April 2011 - 01:51 AM
" . . . After being shoved into the bar maid, she hit me over the head with her serving tray while the other three guys that were trying to wring me out grabbed me and dragged me outside."
"Oh no, what did you do then?" Astrid asked, leaning forward as she absorbed the story.
"There wasn't much I could do, two of them were dragging me by each arm and the other one was kicking me for a laugh. I ended up kicking my way to freedom and using the trick I learned from the bar maid." He continued, sipping his soup from his spoon.
"You hit them with a serving tray?"
"More like I hit them with a table. I didn't have much trouble dealing with that lot again. But then again, I ditched that town as soon as I could."
"But didn't you need to find a place to rest for the night? I thought that was the reason for you going into the tavern in the first place."
"I ended up camping outdoors, after that experience I wasn't in the mood to be around anyone."
"Understandably so." Astrid commented, finishing her soup as she drank what little remained from her bowl.
"I never realized you had so many stories Jordan, plenty of adventures seem to fall into your lap."
"Well, I guess I had a knack for getting into trouble. Looking back, I kinda realize how nice it was those days. Not a care in the world, just me and the road ahead of me. There was . . . just a lot to look forward to."
Astrid began to sense the conversation was taking a darker turn and improvised.
"Where did you grow up? Or were you always on the road?" She asked.
Jordan put down the soup bowl and spoon and let his memories take over.
"I grew up in Sornaiid, a small town inland but close to the shore. Only a few hours to and back. The land was mostly plains, just grass and trees. It was a peaceful enough place." He said, twiddling his thumbs.
"You left though, why?" Astrid asked again.
Jordan stopped twiddling his thumbs.
"I wanted to be a knight, a hero of the people. My parents didn't try to stop me so I went ahead to Resden and signed with the Alliance. I was a cadet for a while, learning basics and what not. It was all good but I never stuck to it and ended up 'dropping out.'"
"How come?" She asked again.
Jordan, hesitant to answer, took a deep breath and looked to his hands.
"I saw some things that disillusioned me about who the knights were. I'm not saying all soldiers of the former Alliance were crooks, but they did some things I'd rather not think about. Let's just say . . . the knights in my head where different than the soldiers of the Alliance."
Astrid inwardly cursed at herself for bringing up a touchy subject. Her eyes looking away from Jordan in embarrassment. From the corner of his eye, Jordan noticed her reaction. He decided to be kind.
"Where did you grow up? Were you always a mountain girl?"
She looked up, surprised that she was being asked a question.
"I . . . I was a part of a tribe of nomads for a lot of my youth. We traveled the plains of Verden, not choosing a single country as our home. The Alliance had an issue with nomads back then and forced the tribe to permanently relocate to an Alliance settlement. So we were split up and joined various towns in Lanasach. My parents hated it, but when I lived in a village, I took it up quickly. It was nice to live in one place rather than moving all the time."
Jordan smiled, thinking about what she had said.
"To settle somewhere, huh? That would be an interesting change for me."
"Then why don't you stay here?" Astrid asked.
Jordan perked his head up from his hands and looked over to Astrid, her brown eyes looking at Jordan with complete seriousness. She realized what she was doing and eased off from that particular facial expression.
"I mean . . . you're a hero. You fought with Lady Selena in the Cursed Lands, you helped defeat the goddess. You're more than welcome here, just ask anyone. So . . . why not stay here?"
A silence fell on the room, only the sound of the cackling fire could be heard between the two.
So that is why she visited me so much, Jordan thought to himself before considering her proposal.
To live at Snowpeak, become a part of the Kingdom of Calatia, live a normal life. Deep down this is what Jordan wanted, to stop running around and stop to spend the rest of his life in peace. How many monsters did he slay, how many villians did he defeat? How much until he was done. Could it really be that simple, to just make the decision and stick with it like that?
. . . No. If it was that simple, he would have done it years ago.
"I can't." He replied, his voice solemn and filled with conviction.
"There is someone very dear to me that I have to find out there. And until I find her, I'll never be able to live a proper life. A normal life."
Astrid looked down, quite disappointed in his response.
"Is she . . . does she mean that much to you?" She asked quietly.
Jordan paused and looked over to Astrid, her fair features being hit by the setting sun.
"I'm sorry." He said.
She quickly took her sleeve to her eyes and looked away, going back to tend to the fire.
"It's alright. Really, it's fine." She said.
After tending to the fire, she quickly got to her feet and grabbed her cloak.
"Well, can you imagine the time? I really must be going, I'm sorry for bothering you for so long. Have a good-"
"Astrid." Jordan interrupted. The Calatian woman looked over with tearing eyes.
"You were never a bother."
She paused for a moment and smiled, nodding her head. Perhaps gesturing a thank you. It wasn't his intention to have her leave like this, but sure enough things went awry. She didn't say another word as she left through the door, leaving Jordan to contemplate what had just occurred. Despite being honest, he couldn't help feel a small pit in his chest. As her footsteps faded in the distance, a new set grew in it's place. A viking soldier walked through the door and towards Jordan in bed.
"Mr. Jordan, I was instructed to give you this letter when your guest left." He said, handing the letter to him. Jordan took it and thanked the soldier, who left promptly after following orders. As Jordan read the message that Turtlelot had left, he began to see what it was Astrid was talking about as she called him a hero. Perhaps he felt pride, like the pride of a young fighter who got into brawls in bars and fought off full grown warriors with nothing but bravado and youth. Jordan looked out the window, his convictions reaffirmed as he realized what he had to do.
Edited by JRPomazon, 09 April 2011 - 02:04 AM.
Posted 11 April 2011 - 02:26 AM
Solomon laid in his bed staring blankly at the ceiling as if he were comatose. The recent confirmation of what had befallen his beloved empire was too much to bear and remained undisturbed until a time he would decide. Templars surrounded the entrance to his quarters, protecting the Grand Marshal and, if need be, anyone crazy enough to try and enter his room. There were no casualties from his earlier outburst, but news spread quickly of Solomon's awakening and a familiar sense of fear came over the capital. The four Arch-Inquisitors sat in the empty main office of the Inquisition, sitting around the dark table where many a plot and ploy had been devised. This reaction from Solomon was . . . unexpected.
"It has been at least a day since he had that outburst and we are getting reports of orderly conduct throughout the city." Serge started, folding his hands together.
"Orderly conduct?" Marcoh asked, unsure what Serge meant.
"How should I put it . . . a breath of fresh air. Not too long ago, we were watching Koridai sink into villainy and desperation. But with news of Solomon's return, people are . . . well, they are regaining their senses. A decrease in crime, or at least it hasn't gotten any worse."
"So Solomon is putting people back in line without so much as a finger lifted after all we've tried to do since the day the goddess left? Preposterous." Darius commented, holding his head with his hand.
"Preposterous or not, it appears to be the truth." Serge said.
"I never would have dreamed that the Grand Marshal could 'command' the people in such a way. It is no wonder why he was chosen to be a member of the quadrate. But . . ."
Serge quieted himself.
"Where does that leave us? Or rather, where does that leave Lucien's plan? It seems Solomon would do us more good here in the capital rather than off in the wilderness."
Lucien appeared immensely troubled, this outcome was not something he foresaw.
"Solomon has commanded the people with fear. The people have all heard stories about him, but only we know the ones that are true. Lord Serge brings a strong point, the Grand Marshal is needed if we have any interest in bringing order to this nation. It seems that I must rethink my plans."
"Things will not progress unless we do something Lord Lucien." Darius commented.
"If we are going to plot and conspire, we should not wait. It won't be long until Solomon realized that a majority of his trusted men have all died on him."
"They simply died in the battle with Calatia, on the front lines no less. Won't that settle for the Grand Marshal?" Serge asked.
"No, Solomon will maintain suspicion. The inquisition has no place on the battlefield and if I recall, Lord Steel the Umbra led those forces. He wouldn't trust anyone from the inquisition in his ranks." Marcoh replied.
"Surely you came up with proper deaths for each of them, Lord Lucien?"
"Indeed I have, but whether we can escape suspicion is unimportant." Lucien said, adjusting his glasses.
"Solomon has never trusted us and I do not believe he will find the sense to. If he asks, one of many inquisitors will report to him, not us. If it comes out of someone else's mouth, he'll believe them. For now, we will permit Solomon to reside with the empire as he regains his sense of self. He can't do any harm until he finds the need to leave his chambers. Whatever happens next decides how we take on the situation."
Lucien's original plan was falling through the cracks, his master scheme ruined by a madman's tantrum. However, all hope was not lost. If Solomon could be used to unify the nation then he would be used for such a task. However, his presence would either bring success . . . or complete destruction. Could the Grand Marshal be used and if so, for how long?
The arch-inquisitors left their seats and headed off in their respected directions, enough scheming for one day.
Outside the chambers of Solomon, the templars held fast in their places as a visitor arrived to visit the Grand Marshal himself.
"I don't know whether to deem you brave or mad, but I cannot allow you entrance to Lord Solomon's quarters."
The templars stood at attention as the nurse in white held a plate of food.
Edited by JRPomazon, 11 April 2011 - 02:28 AM.
Posted 12 April 2011 - 08:37 AM
This mans name was Jara, and news broadcaster, teller of tales, was probably the best way to describe what he spent his time doing, and on this particular night, he found himself telling a tall tale in an inn, to a particularly ugly woman. She wasn't so ugly as to cause a stir, but ugly enough to find her self looked down upon by most in the community. Jara wasn't most in the community, he was an old man and having somebody listen to him was better than talking to his drink. The current crazy story was about a box in a far away land that would show moving images, and this bird was drinking it all up, entranced by such folly and tomfoolery. So he sat in this Inn, telling this tale, wondering where he'd find himself next.
The fire was particularly bright on this night, and while he was telling the story, Jara could see the flames dancing with their shadows across the walls, and he felt nice and warm in this place. He wanted to stay the night here, or at least in a nice warm shelter.
"You, my lady, are beautiful."
They both knew he was lying, but he could tell that the lady was flattered by his attempt at flattery, and she wasn't going to reject it.
"Why thank you sir bard, I'm touched."
He smiled. She smiled. They both got up from the table and left the inn. It was about to get raunchy. The ugly birds were often incredible in the sack.
Posted 12 April 2011 - 11:10 PM
He approached the door with caution. The door was a plain polished wood. Well. The door isn't going to tell me who this room belongs too...
Synile opened the door and found himself in a large, tidy, room. The walls contained many war maps, with many notes written upon them. Wracks of various polearms lined the walls opposite the maps. The wall farthest from the door held a desk. For as tidy as the room was, the desk was a mess. A quick inspection showed it to be full of paper work that needed to be done. A mostly empty inkwell lay in the recess, and the writing quill was nowhere to be found. A brief look around also would reveal Calatian heavy armor, shined to gleaming. The armor was quite distinct. There was no doubting now. This was Selena's room. Synile had found what he was looking for. A quick raid of the liquor cabinet revealed many high quality wines and various other spirits.
"Riiiight. Well... I don't know about wines... But if she's truly gone she won't miss some of these spears..." Synile grabbed half a dozen of the weapons and rolled them up within a rather expensive looking rug. He fashioned a small length of rope around the bundle, and threw it over his shoulder, as a rucksack. Synile began to sift through the desk, hoping to happen upon some goodies, when a noise at the door grabbed his attention.
"Lady Selen...a...?" Synile stared at the woman across the room. She was average height, with long blonde hair. Piercing blue eyes were set, like sapphires, into a skin that was pale as freshly fallen snow, and smooth as silk. She was clad in casual clothing, which in Snowpeak means various cloth and furs. "Oh. My. I thought my lady had returned..." Who was this girl? For being one of Selena's servants, she didn't seem to mind that the room was being burgled. "You must be Synile... My lady has told me of you. Nothing good, mind you." Synile laughed.
"Good. I'm glad to hear she hasn't ruined my reputation."
"So what's this then? The lady abandons you and you take that as an invitation into her private quarters?"
"This stuff's not doing her any good, now is it?"
"The manners on you. I must say, they leave much to be desired."
"Forgive me, my darling, but you don't exactly bother with formalities much after a hundred years or so."
"Always quick with words, aren't you? What if I were to cut that tongue of yours out?"
"Ooooh. A lady that likes resorting to violence. I see why she liked you. ... But she's gone now."
"Oh, you're simply genius. Do you always state the obvious?" The girl now wore a sad expression.
"... We're very alike... you and I. She was the only reason I came to Snowpeak... I... I don't know what I'll do now. Either way, I need money. Selena's not going to be using this stuff. Two people can carry out more than one person. ... We'll split the money..?" The girl seemed to consider the proposal. "You can have the wine."
Synile smiled and tossed the woman the makeshift sack of spears. "What's your name, by the way?"
"Eivor. A pleasure to meet you. ... I guess."
Posted 12 April 2011 - 11:39 PM
It was both a good thing and a bad thing that Ransom's group of Elite Koridai warriors had returned from their mission gone awry. Good because the people needed the morale boost, bad because they were very surprised and disheartened -- to put it lightly -- at what had befallen their home while they were away on business.
General Shadow was not taking it well.
He couldn't stand it, his home left in such a state. The clean-up of the internal war the people had and the repairing of the destroyed buildings didn't seem like it would be done any time soon, even with the now-useless military forces lending the civilians a hand.
There was so much that had to be explained to him. Chikara's disappearance, Drake's "resignation," the utter chaos both events had caused in the capital... it was like Koridai was in a living nightmare.
And both Shadow and Solomon were away at the crucial moments, one on a mission, the other doing... God only knows, but he hazarded a guess it had something to do with Jordan.
It took all of his restraint not to immolate half of what remained of the capital in his rage. What manner of devilry had he been made to miss out on!?
And here he was, still angry and definitely sleep-deprived... and listening in on the Arch-Inquisitor's conversation, simply because he had nothing better to do. And that was when he realized just how bad things had become.
Those four imbeciles! Looks like they finally went mad with power... even someone not so politic-savvy like Shadow could tell that it was essentially treason no matter how they sliced it. Anything they would try to manipulate Solomon into doing would make a bad situation worse. They had no shame, praying on a broken soul like that. As much as he despised the sadistic leader of the Inquisition, this was something he couldn't allow to happen. He was the only figurehead Koridai had left; God only knows where Steel and Toan went...
Which meant it fell to him to tell him. Wonderful. He was not in the mood to converse with a rambling lunatic right now, so he settled for writing a note:
It seems things have gotten quite bad here in our absence, haven't they? But I'm sure you don't want to hear about that right now, so I'll cut to the chase: your Arch-Inquisitor buddies are seeing this as a good time to stab you in the back. It seems they've gotten a bit too power-hungry. Not being great at politics I don't quite understand what they're planning, but even I can see that manipulation or removal of Koridai's only remaining figurehead will only make things worse here, and that's the last thing I want. So I'm just telling you to watch your back and cover your ass. But don't think I've forgotten about our past issues; the only advice I can give you is to try and handle this civilly. I don't care if you're my superior or not -- but since when is that anything new? -- I won't hesitate to kick your ass if that's what it takes to prevent you from going on another killing spree, and Koridai has had enough blood spilled to last a good few years. Don't add to it.
~General Shadow (if that title means anything now)
P.S.: Get out of that room sometime. It won't do any good for Koridai's morale if just lay there and mope.
Note in hand, he navigated his way to where Solomon was resting, where his ever-faithful Imperial Templars guarded him. For the longest time Shadow questioned how they could follow such a terrible man, but there was no doubt that he needed them right now. However he wasn't pleased to see them impeding the progress of a nurse with food, of all things. "Damn it guys, I know you care about your Lord, but denying him food isn't going to make his body or his mind heal any faster."
Everyone in the hallway turned in surprise at the familiar voice. Shadow stopped in front of them.
"At least take the plate from her and set it on his floor or something." he suggested, then handed one of them the note. "And while you're at it, give him this. I'd tell him myself, but I doubt he's in a talkative mood. I know I'm not."
And then he left as suddenly as he came, headed outside. He needed some fresh air with which to clear his head... and maybe some sleep...
Edited by SL the Pyro, 12 April 2011 - 11:48 PM.
Posted 14 April 2011 - 12:29 PM
The Templar took the note for General Shadow as he took his leave of the men surrounding the room. They looked over to the nurse holding a tray of food and silently came to an agreement. One of them opened the door, allowing the nurse to go through and deliver a meal to Solomon.
"Wait, could you also give this-"
"Hold Templar, what is it you have there?"
The armored guard turned to find an inquisitor, dressed in a fine red robe and hood.
"A message from the General to the Grand Marshal. I was-"
"You were about to make a grave error. You lot are his security and you just let people in without a second thought and do not inspect this note? We have seen many cases of poisons being transmitted through such things. See to it that you send it to the alchemists in the floors below. The Grand Marshal is ill and I will not allow any slip ups from your end if I can manage it."
Templars, although the power of the Inquisition were not the most influential members of the organization. Standard Inquisitors were selected with keen intellect and investigatory skills to not only investigate crimes against the goddess but to lead the templars in mission scenarios. Regardless of who the templars served, they had to know their place or be subject to trial. There was no room for second guessing authority.
"Sir, right away sir."
The templar saluted his superior and ran off to the lower levels of the Arbiter's Grounds, where the Alchemists kept their labs. Within the chamber of Solomon, the nurse in white walked over to his empty desk and placed her plate down. Solomon reacted to the noise but didn't lunge at her. As she was about to leave, she took a glance at the parchment pieces hanging on the wall, almost studying them. Solomon paid no mind to what she was doing still in shock about the previous realization. The nurse began to take her leave when she decided to take a look outside, to the mural below that depicted Solomon being defeated by an artist's interpretation of the Green Knight who bested him.
"Forgive me for being so forward m'lord, but why do you linger here?"
Solomon said nothing, his mind was elsewhere. She looked over to him, feeling disgust and pity for the Grand Marshal as he was now.
"Do you believe she will return? The goddess?"
Solomon clenched his teeth as his grip tightened on his sheets.
Elsewhere, the templar arrived to the Alchemist's lab. The pungent stench of sulfur reeked throughout the halls, forcing most people to avoid this place as much as possible on the descent down to the city. Holding his hand to his face, the humble guard knocked on the door of the lab. The little window in the door was opened, an older man looking out to find his visitor.
"State your business." He said in a cracked and warn voice.
"I have come to deliver this note to you for testing for toxins."
"Yes, yes, I see. Hand it here."
The old man backed away and held out a pair of tongs that he opened to grab the note with.
"Hurry now, I haven't all day!"
The templar handed him the note, the tongs clenched the paper and were swiftly withdrew from the window.
"Come back in an hour, I'll have your test results then."
The tiny window was shut and the templar was left to himself in the reeking hallway. Within the lab, the alchemist took the note with his bare hands and opened it up without so much as a second thought. He quickly read it note and placed it on the table.
"Oh ho, so this general fellow is quite keen on the goings on."
The old man turned around to find another inquisitor standing behind him, wearing a cloth over his face. The old man took a piece of parchement of similar size to the note and wrote down a new message.
It seems things have gotten quite bad here in our absence, haven't they? But I'm sure you don't want to hear about that right now, so I'll cut to the chase: The Empire needs you, now more than ever. But don't think I've forgotten about our past issues; the only advice I can give you is to try and handle this civilly. I don't care if you're my superior or not -- but since when is that anything new? -- I won't hesitate to offer my help if you need me. But please prevent yourself from going on another killing spree, Koridai has had enough blood spilled to last a good few years. Don't add to it.
~General Shadow (if that title means anything now)
"There we are, right as rain. Use it if you want to, although I can see you getting away with forgetting that their was a note in the first place."
"Then why did you make me wait to allow you to forge this note if I had no intention of using it?" The inquisitor asked.
"Lord Solomon is a keen one, best be prepared for anything."
The inquisitor took the note and placed it his pocket.
"Do you also have the third option?"
"Oh yes, this note is positive for the deadly Hipsteria toxin found only in the underground tunnels of the empire. My, with one touch to his bare skin, Lord Solomon with suffer with agonizing pain for hours until he died. Such a dangerous substance, it was a good thing we caught it in time."
The alchemist smiled and the inquisitor nodded, leaving the room.
"If it comes to that, we'll let you know."
"Why are you still here?" Solomon asked, the nurse's presence making him more irritable.
"Be gone woman."
The nurse nodded and headed towards the door, stopping short of the door handle. She turned around, about to say one last thing. She stopped herself, realizing her words would be spoken in vain and left the room. The templars gave her an opening and allowed her through.
"Please make sure he eats" She said.
"Of course nurse, thank you."
Edited by JRPomazon, 15 April 2011 - 10:14 PM.
Posted 22 April 2011 - 03:40 PM
This was the first time he'd been here to look at it. Everyone he'd asked about the wide-scale destruction in the capital had replied with the same general answer: that something massive and beyond any real description had risen out from below the Arbiter's Grounds. Whatever damage hadn't been caused by the infighting had been caused by this, and it still accounted for roughly half of what he'd seen.
"What the hell did you do, Drake?"
General Magnus Drake. Shadow honestly knew little of him, save for the rumours that he talked to himself a lot. He himself knew they were half-truths; his magic sense was keen. He could always feel some spiritual presence around the man, but he could never see nor identify it. It was a spot of bad luck that he had never seen him after Phoenix decided to join him, no doubt the flaming bird's eyes were keener than his when it came to things like this. Was he possessed by that other presence, or were they in a sort of symbiotic relationship?
With his sudden betrayal, it would be a while before he ever found out... even he wasn't bold or crazy enough to take on the entire turncoat Vanguard by himself, and that was without factoring in the gigantic... thing they had ridden out of Koridai on.
"This war is over."
Phoenix's statement caught his host's attention, and he regarded the spiritual form of the symbol of life behind him, comfortably perched on a large rock. "How so?" Shadow asked his companion curiously.
"Koridai's armies are beaten and divided, and the human taking on the role of a God has forsaken her people. They no longer have the power nor the will to fight."
Unfortunately, Shadow saw the wisdom in it's words all too soon. Resources were being spent more on repairing the excessive damage done to their home rather than strengthening their defenses, and with what little soldiers they had left, any defense they could mount would not be ideal. It didn't help that they no longer had Chikara to lean on. "You're right... we can no longer mount any kind of offensive, and if Calatia chose to attack now, we would be finished..." Honestly, where was Steel Samurai when Koridai needed him!? He was the one most suited to lead Koridai now; Solomon wouldn't be able to do anything until he got back to his old self, and Shadow himself wasn't fit for any kind of leadership role. He preferred his own merry group of soldiers and that was it.
"Perhaps it would be wise to ascertain Calatia's situation."
The notion gave him pause, and he put his hand to his chin. "I wonder... has anyone here had the time to do that?" It wasn't a question of general common sense this time, but priority. The well-being of Koridai took priority over spying on Calatia, that was for sure. And honestly, he doubted anyone had the gall to infiltrate Calatia now without their "divine protection."
He was struck by inspiration.
"If no one has by now, then maybe we should see to it." Shadow suggested. "We're not doing anything by sitting here."
"Then perhaps you should inform Lord Solomon."
He shuddered inwardly at that idea. "Do I really have to?"
"If you do not, many misunderstandings could stem from it. Koridai ill needs such complications right now."
Shadow grumbled something to himself. "Fine, but I reserve the right to beat him up if he goes berserk again."
Phoenix vanished from its makeshift perch, and the General went on his way back to Lord Solomon's room. This wasn't going to be pleasant...
(OoC: I'm not taking an exodus from the thread just yet; if anyone wants to do something with Shadow, now's your chance.)
Posted 23 April 2011 - 12:10 AM
A simple plate of food, far beyond cold as it sat by the large window on the desk in Solomon's room. He wasn't hungry, but he looked at that plate with the eyes of a wolf. Take the food, it'll give you strength. But what sense was strength now? The goddess was gone, the empire is dying. It's too much to bear. TOO MUCH TO BEAR.
Solomon clenched himself, his fingers digging into whatever he could hold.
"Why do you linger here?"
The rage stopped instantly, the words of the nurse ringing in his head in a maddening rhythm of its own. Why? Why? WhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhyWhy?
Why would she leave without telling anyone? Without tell him, her holiness' most faithful servant? Why? Why should she have needed to say anything to begin with?
Solomon's eyes began to shine, coming out of the murky haze that had clouded him for some time since he reawakened. Why question the method's of the goddess? Why mope in this room as the world continues to progress? Yes, their was a change happening in the world, the change started by her holiness Chikara Nadir. She set this world on the path to a shining future, regardless of her presence. Yes, this is fact. But now, things have gone wrong. The flow of history is in the hands of incapable people, people like Sir Drake and . . . Jordan of the Whirlwind Spear.
HOW DARE THEY? HOW DARE THEY ATTEMPT TO TAKE THE REIGNS OF THIS WORLD!? UNACCEPTABLE, THEY HAVE NO PLACE IN THE NEW WORLD, THE WORLD CHIKARA INTENDED FOR HER FAITHFUL PEOPLE.
THE WORLD SOLOMON WAS GOING TO CREATE.
He rose from bed and went over to his wardrobe, choosing the imperial garbs he was given as the Grand Marshal of the Imperial Inquisition. He would make due with these until he had a new set of armor made for him. As he finished dressing, he noticed his sword, the blade wrapped in a fine white cloth leaning by the desk. He took the saber and tied the cloth to his belt, he'd be naked without it. He walked over to the door of his room and opened it forcefully, startling the templars who stood on the other side. They almost drew their swords, instinct almost getting the better of them. Solomon looked at them, somewhat disgusted with the entire lot of them.
"You all gather the arch-inquisitors, I have something I would like to speak to them about. We are meeting in the Mirror Chamber."
The templars moved from their swords and saluted their Marshal instantly. They departed in various directions, seeking out their targets. Solomon stopped one of them before he departed and brought him in close.
"I would like you to issue an investigation order to one of the inquisitors. I want to know more of the nurse who just visited my room. Something does not sit well with me about her.
"M'Lord, it is done."
The templar ran off and Solomon took to the higher floors, past the vacant offices of the Praeterion and the Vangard and above the goddess' chambers. To the top of the Arbiter's Grounds, the sacred meeting place of the old quadrate. It was the time to take the reigns of the dying empire.
* * *
The bandages came off for the last time, Jordan's body had recovered almost to full strength after all the time spent lying in bed. A deep breath . . . and exhale. He smiled, everything is as it should be . . . save for a new pair of clothes. Everything he wore that day in the Labrynth was beaten and scrapped, from the armor on his body to the tunic and slacks underneath. Even the chain mail under his tunic was beyond saving. The only thing he had now was a large duffel bag for the artifact weapons worn over his shoulder for the sake of comfort. To rebuild cloth slings for four spears seemed accessible and troublesome. He'd keep his other spears in there as well to keep things tidy.
So now began the hunt . . . for a new set of clothes. Should prove fun.
Posted 23 April 2011 - 02:19 AM
He promptly punched the door with a flaming fist. The flames did not catch on the door -- he was careful enough to avoid that -- but they left its center blackened.
"Damn it Solomon, I didn't think you'd actually take my advice about getting out of there!" His complaints echoed throughout the hallway, though he wasn't intentionally talking to anyone. This was just great... he finally has a reason to confront him and he's not even here. Where the hell did he go? Now even more upset, Shadow trudged through the hallways the same way that he came...
...And bumped right into someone who had just rounded the corner. Their heads hitting each other wasn't pleasant, and didn't help his mood.
"Agh...!" he growled. "Bloody hell, I'm sorry."
"Ow... no, it's alright. I wasn't watching where I was going eith... er..."
A female voice... it was vaguely familiar. Shadow reopened his eyes to see who he had the misfortune of hitting.
Suddenly his rage over Solomon took a back seat.
"You are...!" "You are...!"
He quickly covered his mouth so he did not speak her name. He recognized this woman... not clearly, but if he remembered right, she was quite close to his old friend Jordan... what was her name...? Gwen! That's it!
And that was not good. "What the hell are you doing here!?" he demanded in a hushed shout. A close look at her face confirmed it, it was definitely her... that nurse outfit didn't suit her at all, he thought. She was speechless; he wasn't sure if it was fear or surprise that robbed her of her speech. Could be either one, their last encounter more than two years ago wasn't pleasant. "Please, for the love of God, please tell me Solomon doesn't know who you are!"
"O-of course not! Do you think I'm insane!?" Gwen quickly retorted.
"Frankly I'm think you're loopy for even coming within five miles of him!" he countered. She had no argument about that. He looked back and forth through the hallway, wondering if anyone had seen or heard. He saw no one. "A hallway outside of the Head Inquisitor's room. Not the best place to chat..." he reasoned. "Follow me, let's go to my office."
Edited by SL the Pyro, 23 April 2011 - 02:21 AM.
Posted 23 April 2011 - 11:55 PM
The mirror chamber, the most esteemed area within the central citadel of the Arbiter's Grounds, the massive Colosseum like tower that spiraled upward housing the most powerful people in the empire. One by one, the arch-inquisitors arrived in this hallowed area, the highest point of the entire nation, but each of them carry negative thoughts as they come forward. Doubt, confusion, guilt, anger. To each their own, but none could compete with the presence of the Grand Marshal himself. Serge and Marcoh were the last to arrive, meeting up earlier and accompanying each other to the summit.
"This is absurd, he wakes so suddenly and now he is already making demands and orders. What has come over him I wonder?" Marcoh asks his college as they walk through the darkened hallways that lead to the chamber.
"It is beyond me, but this could be a great turn for the better?" Serge replied.
"Are you suggesting that Solomon LEAD the empire? That would be a death sentence to us all." Marcoh said sharply.
"Perhaps, but my thoughts are to Lucien's plot. As his fellow conspirators, I wonder just how this will affect his plan?"
Marcoh grunted, still uneasy about the idea Lucien proposed, the idea he agreed to.
"We shall see in a moment."
The light was blinding as they emerged from the dark hallway and into the hallowed mirror chamber. Lucien and Darius stood together and Solomon was standing on the top of the large pedestal that held the impressive obsidian mirror, looking into it as if it were some sort of portal. He could see it the reflection that the last of the inquisitors had arrived. Good, now they could begin.
"Now that we are all here Lord Solomon, tell us what this gathering is about?" Darius asked, nodding to Marcoh and Serge. Lucien coldly ignore them.
Solomon turned from the mirror and looked down on each of them.
"I awoke earlier today and do you know what it was I found?" Solomon asked, the inquisitor's expressions growing grim.
"I found . . . this beloved nation of the goddess . . . in a state of decay. I can smell it from here, the rot the wind picks up and drags across the land, across our borders and into the noses of the infernal vermin who wait outside just begging to rush in and devour us."
He looked over to Lucien, walking down from the mirror and onto ground level with the others.
"You have only told me so much Lucien, about Drake and her Holiness. You will be so kind as to complete your report now. What has become of this nation?"
* * *
OK, clothes. A simple pair of clothes. Can't be too hard to find something more than a linen robe and some cloth slippers.
"Excuse me, do you know where I can find a tailor? Perhaps a clothing merchant?"
No luck for Jordan, walking around asking all the snickering vikings he could find. Given the cold, his search was not going to last much longer. Even inside their strongholds, Calatia was cold no matter where you went. Shivering and tired of walking everywhere, he begrudgingly walked back to his room. Perhaps he could bother someone later for something to wear. He wasn't going to be particular about anything, his sense in clothing was simple at best. Passing under torches, slim archer windows and mounted weaponry, he began to think this place would drive him to become some sort of mountain man hunter. Or just into some sort of insane viking like the lot drowning themselves in mead every evening. Still to early for that, but with every viking man he past he got the impression that that time was on all their minds. Work today, drink tonight.
Eventually, he returned to his room. The fire by his bedside was going out, he took a poker and knocked the embers around to keep the flames alive for a little longer. There was a fire like this that night, wasn't there?
-Sornaiid, Two Years Ago-
"Why? Why are you going to fight the Alliance? What have they done?"
"It's not just me. It's a coalition of the domains, the Fortress, the Woods and Ikana are going to take part as well. I've been called to help."
"But why? You don't need to endanger yourself, surely they have a force strong enough without you."
"I have friends who are going to be fighting in this together. I refuse to be a coward and abandon them after all they did for us. I've made up my mind and I'm leaving first thing tomorrow morning."
A knock at the door, a Calatian soldier with something in his hands.
"Mr. Jordan, I have some fresh clothes for you."
Clothes? What luck! He got up and walked over to the soldier, elated to see him.
"You have no idea just how happy I am to get these. You're a godsend my friend."
"Actually sir, these aren't from me."
The soldier handed him the clothes.
"I also was instructed to give you this message as well."
He passed over the small piece of parchment and nodded, leaving Jordan to return to his duties.
Jordan placed his garments on the small wooden chair placed by the door. Jordan opened the folded piece of parchment and read the short, but sincere message:
"I know you'll find her.
Jordan closed the message and took a look at his clothes. A long sleeved green tunic caught his eye and Jordan, beside himself by this act of kindness, could only smile.
* * *
Crime gangs, pimps and whores, random acts of violence and the defacing of imperial buildings and images of the goddess. These were a few of the things shared to Solomon by Lucien, although he did not go into too great detail knowing his audience. Solomon sat on the steps to the mirror pedestal, leaning on his sword like a cane as he took this all in.
"That is the state of this city and it has spread throughout our borders. Reports tell us of similar activities all over the empire. And now that you know Lord Solomon, what do you intend to do? You should be well aware of the limitations of your seat sir."
Solomon glared at Lucien.
"Limitations? Limitations set by whom? I am all that remains of the quadrate, the four whom the goddess entrusted her nation to. Unless you are speaking of some sort of limits placed on me by yourself Lord Lucien, but that would hardly be the case."
Solomon rose from his seat.
"I have gathered you all here because now I am about to entrust you with a great duty. This nation needs to be saved and you four will aid me to do so?"
"What are you suggesting Lord Solomon?" Marcoh asked.
"As of now, the inquisition is taking full stewardship over the empire until the goddess returns to us."
The arch-inquisitors were beside themselves. Lucien smiled.
"Absolutely Lord Solomon. What shall we do?"
The plan progressed yet again.
"We start at the heart. I am calling Marshal Law until the standards of the empire are once again met. Call together your inquisitors and have them seek out all impurities. Have soldiers recruited to join the templars, they have no master anymore and we can use their manpower. I want to be sure that all the villains who walk among us know that their retribution comes tonight!"
Solomon's time had begun.
Elsewhere, General Shadow and Gwen discussed other matters in his office, unaware of what was progressing.
"I've been a nurse here in Koridai since I arrived. It's been a quiet profession, it's mostly caring for the elderly since people with injuries went to the goddess to heal them. Sometimes we'd get the overflow. But now that the goddess has left the nation, we are seeing much more people than before with a larger variety of injuries. This nation, I don't see it lasting much longer, at least not like this. Still, it is nice to see a familiar face. Almost all the people from the village were . . . well they weren't as fortunate as me."
"I can understand, not many people survived the Cataclysm. It sometimes gives me nightmares . . . but I'm happy as well that you turned out OK. And from what I hear about Jordan, it looks like he did well too."
Gwen didn't reply right away.
"What have you heard?"
"I've only heard he almost killed Solomon, disgraced him in battle and let him live. If Koridai was in a better state, the focus of the people would be on his failure. If only we were so fortunate, heh."
"It's about the same as I know."
"Is that why you have been watching over Solomon? You looking for Jordan?"
Gwen looked away from Shadow, her face appearing troubled as her mind was in a different place.
"No, it's . . . it's not quite that simple I'm afraid. I don't think . . . I don't want him to find me. Not this time."
Edited by JRPomazon, 24 April 2011 - 12:14 AM.
Posted 24 April 2011 - 02:38 AM
Shadow raised an eyebrow, instantly curious. Gwen had been separated from Jordan for so long; if he knew the man as well as he believed he did, then he was surely worried sick about her and was no doubt looking for her even now. And yet she didn't want to be found?
"Huh... that's rather curious. I thought you preferred to stick to him like glue." he said to her. "But that's your decision, I suppose. Far be it for me to tamper with personal matters. But, I will say this though..."
He leaned in close to her, to emphasize the importance of what he was going to tell her.
"You're quite bold to pick Koridai as a hiding place, especially knowing his... 'relationship' with Solomon. And with Chikara and the rest of the Quadrate unaccounted for, he's now essentially the one ruling Koridai without anyone holding his leash. Things will get dangerous here very soon, I'm sure..." He drew back, closing his eyes and letting out a heavy sigh. The condition of his home and those inhabiting it was deteriorating rapidly, and when Solomon or the traitorous Inquisition beneath him officially took control... he had no doubt it would be the end of this nation. "Even I'm starting to considering leaving." Even if it were for the purpose of figuring out Calatia's condition... he supposed that after that, he would have to decide whether to continue serving or leave this place behind. After all, the real reason he'd came her to begin with was gone without a trace...
He gazed sternly into Gwen's eyes.
"It might be time for you to do the same while you still have the chance. That's my suggestion."
Posted 26 April 2011 - 12:58 AM
Synile and Eivor certainly had their hands full in swag, and not just Lena's room was among the victims.
Eivor's blond hair spilled out on all sides of the helmet she was wearing, and the menagerie of hair and helmet hid a rather ornate ruby necklace. The makeshift satchel of spears was slung over her left shoulder, and several paintings managed to find their way under her right arm. Several bottles of wine swung recklessly from various satchels tied to her waist. Completing the ensemble was a rather elegant looking rug, worn as one would wear a cape. The rug was a very complex and elegant looking weave, of varying golds, reds, and blues. Precautions were taken so it wouldn't be dragged upon the ground and ruined.
Several not so ornate necklaces were draped around Synile's neck. His nodachi and typical katana were joined by a dozen gaudy swords designed more as a symbol of rank than for use in battle. Intricate ivory hilts, gold plated scabbards, and sporatic rare jewels adorning each. Synile's satchel was filled with various time pieces that were found in various rooms, as well as various jewels.
Surprisingly little was found in coins. Little is to say none. Synile knew little of the established Calatian economy, and even less of banks. They existed back in the day, but few people trusted the establishments due to frequent Labyrinth raids. Even Synile himself had fond memories of several bank raids.
"I hope we get a lot for these." Synile was talking about the swords. The ornamentation disgusted him. "I've dined with silverware sturdier than these swords. A sword is an elegant weapon, and trusted companion. These pigs have reduced it to status symbol..."
"The higher society loves flaunting status." Eivor's voice echoed hollowly within the helmet. She was a hilarious sight to behold. Even Synile was surprised he got her to carry so much of the loot.
"... She's going to want a bigger cut."
I have little need for money after the armor is paid for. This is worth the giggle.
Somehow the two managed to get through the entirety of the castle. Nearly...
"Halt!" Synile and Eivor stop dead in their tracks.
"Can we help you with something?" Synile giggled. A helmet clearly did not suit the girl. Especially... just the helmet...
"It doesn't take a strategist to see that you two are suspicious. Where did you get all that? Planning on robbing the castle and getting away with it?" The young man drew his sword. "This grounds are protected."
"He has to know who you are. You DO actually have a reputation despite your joke earlier. See what you can do with it."
... You're right, me.
"Okay. You caught us. We're taking things. And they don't belong to us. Naughty naughty."
"That tone will not be tolerated! This is a serious crime, and depending who this stuff was taken from, can be considered treason!" The stern faced man made sure the tip of his blade was facing Synile the whole time.
"Hah. Ok. Well, some of this stuff is from Selena's chambers. Reason enough to bring me up?"
"You smug..." Before the young man could finish the statement, Synile interjected.
"My patience is drawing thin. So listen. Here's the deal. That trip to the Cursed Lands?"
"Yeah. I didn't really make too much money on that deal. PLUS I lost two companions I've fought and bled with. For centuries. You get me?" Synile's jovial tone faded, and his eyes burned with matching intensity.
Synile backhanded the sword out of the clearly rattled man's hands, and picked him up by the collar of his uniform. "I'm the one they talk about. Synile. The mad one."
"S-S-S-Synile? Synile the Butcher!?! N-n-n-n-n-n-ooooooo sir... G-g-g-g-go about your business! I-I-I-I-I-I-I didn't see anything sir! Please mi'lord! I didn't realize!" Synile dropped the coward. The young man completely ignored the sword on the floor, and ran as fast as he could in the opposite direction.
"Creepy... A little harsh, don't you think? He practically wet himself." Eivor's tone reflected the concern in her voice. She too knew full well Synile's reputation; the concern in her voice was unmistakably concern for her own well being. Synile didn't respond. Instead he opted to fetch the sword the fledgling solider had left behind.
"Another for the merchant." The sword was unmistakably belonging to the Calatian castle guard. Weapons always sold, though. It was simple to remove the hallmarks that showed country, and various other giveaways.
The rest of the walk to the merchant was a walk in silence... for Eivor anyhow. The voices in Synile's head were screaming for blood.
"SYNILE!" Eivor's shout him from his thoughts. It appeared they had arrived at the merchant's place of business while Synile had been arguing and discussing things within his own head. The voices could be VERY persuasive sometimes...
"I'm sorry. I guess the walk was rather awkward with me being silent the whole time."
"It was awkward alright, but you weren't silent at all..." He had been talking aloud to himself again.
"Oooooh. I guess I do that a lot." Synile looked over the shop. It was a quaint little place. Scales adorned the shelf behind the register, and various glass cases displayed the wares this particular merchant was peddling. There were lots of textiles, several cases worth of jewelry, and one or two cases showing off small weapons, designed for concealed carrying.
"I see you've come with the intention of leaving me penniless!" The man giggled at his own bad joke. He was a short man, of a portly stature. His features were wrinkled and graying. Glasses were the only standout feature to him, next to height. The lenses were the thickest Synile had ever seen put into glasses. Synile smiled. Perhaps this was going to be more profitable than he initially expected...