Author Topic: March of the Dead  (Read 8819 times)

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March of the Dead
« on: December 14, 2008, 02:37:56 AM »
(All welcome to join, send me a note about what sort of character you should have... this rp is based on a world I created for a series I can\'t quite seem to kick off, if anyone wants to join, I can debrief you on the nature of the prelude rp you missed out on (ended up being 16 pages) and I can supply information on the world and such so you can fit in easily and understand the rp as it goes on... Open to anyone as long as you send me a note, and multiple characters are welcome!)
Help topic is now under construction:
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(UPDATE! Several premade characters with prominent roles are also available to you! (Still accepting original characters!) Some only come into the rp later, so you\'re welcome to join with a second character earlier on that can stay with us, or die later, at your own request as long as you run it by me!)
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He was too warm to be dead, and too cold to be living. Beneath the tattered ruins of his shirt, a heart beat, but faintly, as if on the brink of failing. His breath was short; a low rumbling that entertained his lungs only sparingly. His own body was teasing him. It pushed him towards death, but kept him in the light of life.

He was too young to die, and too old to have not yet lived. His skin was weathered, worn and tanned by travel. His muscles were solid, his build sleek with grace but firm with trained resilience. Even in his broken, fading light, he still radiated the aura of a man to be feared. His hand still reached out for his sword, fingers brushing against the leather-wrapped handle.

He was too far gone to save, yet he had not given up. His eyes strained to open and his fingers finally wrapped around the handle of his sword. Using it to prop himself up, he held his other hand to his chest, as if it could stop the flow of blood beneath. A snickering drew his eyes open at last, the taunting laugh of his enemy filling him with the rage he needed to overcome his pain. His own lips parting in a thin smile, he finally stood, body shaking with anticipation. Through his silvery locks of hair, he could see the other man circling around, slender sword swaying back and forth in his light grip.

"Don\'t struggle Cyric. Embrace the dark, let go of the light."

Shaking his head, Cyric stumbled forward, steps gaining momentum as he surged forward. The man side-stepped him, blade darting up again and Cyric gasped, blood draining from his side.

"Walk in the shadows, watch the light. Be wary of its call and be ready to fight." The man paused, wiping Cyric\'s blood from his blade. "You haven\'t forgotten, have you? Forgotten why I brought you back?"

Cyric trembled, pulling himself off of his knee and to his feet again. He didn’t respond, but his blue eyes did narrow dangerously.

The man chuckled. "You do remember. Well, my master\'s offer remains. All you need to do is step out of the light and embrace him."

Cyric gasped again, struggling to keep his body moving. When he opened his eyes again to glare at the man, he was gone. Voice barely a whisper, Cyric cursed and spat blood. "Damn you Zyrden, and damn your master too. Born a paladin of the light, I\'ll die one." Yet, as he finally collapsed, the last thing he remembered before passing out were those burning eyes, and the lich\'s cruel blade piercing him.

***


“The dwarf... Next step of their journey? Who’s Journey...”
“The prelude to insanity. The end of all.”
“Why the end? We almost had the sword...”
“Dal’Fal. The Sword of Slaughter. Yes, we know.”
“Sword of Slaughter... who are you?”
“We, are whoever you need us to be.”
“But we didn’t get it... our journey...”
“Was three years ago.”
“Three years... the anthem of a thousand cries...”
The lives of great ancient beasts snuffed in the blink of an eye...”
“The sky burning with the visage of chaos...”
The dead rising at the beck and call of demons to-”
“-March. The sword is calling to them-”
-Calling to me...”
“Calling to us.”
”We need to wake up. Open your eyes Cyric.”

***


A deep roar turned his gaze north, beyond the red mist-engulfed grove. So the battle would begin shortly. The ground rumbled and the air cracked with the ferocity of the approach, and first one, then a second snout dipped through the darkening clouds. Cyric sighed, watching the majestic dragons spiral lower, sleek red necks following their serpentine heads, massive wings stretched out for their silent approach. They were beautiful, but another roar pulled his gaze higher, where the clouds themselves began to descend. He couldn\'t even begin to count them, as the clouds churned red and parted, leaving only despair...

Cyric had known no greater terror. The furious anthem of a thousand cries wouldn\'t cut it when compared to the unleashing of this dragon fire. As soon as the first dragon swooped and bellowed its deadly cry, a dozen more dragons followed, their killing breath rending the ground, tearing up entire chunks of stone and dirt, and melting it in mid air. Dozens more followed, and with each blast the heat grew, and with each blast a rain of glass followed.

The grove, no grove for that matter, magic or not, could withstand it. Entire trees disintegrated in single blasts, and the ground sunk more and more, only a lake of glass left behind in the newly formed crater. Even the ridge they had first retreated to began to melt, trails of glass running down to join the rest...

Where the grove had been, the red mist still sat. If anything it had grown under the fierce attack, and was beginning to take shape. The lightning cutting through it intensified as the second wave of dragons approached, and then in one flash, lit the sky up. Cyric watched in awe as several of the dragons plummeted, twisted bodies smoldering ruins. The rest of the wave turned away, save for a foolish few.

“Cyric! We need to wake!”

From the red mist two great wings unfolded, each wing the length of one of the red dragons, from snout to tail. It wasn\'t until the twin heads of the behemoth beast rose up out of the mist that Cyric could identify it for the true horror it was. The fiend tore out of the mist as the few foolish dragons swooped down, one arm snapping out and catching a dragon in its claws, its second arm slashing a second out of the way. It was as long as the largest of the red dragons, and half again so, and when its wide blade-like tail cracked as it rushed through the group, two dragons fell, both cleaved in half...

“Cyric! Wake up!”
The prelude to insanity... the end of the world...
“Not the end of the world. A welcome home.”[/i]

Cyric’s first thoughts were of confusion. It took him several moments to realize that he was in a bed, and that the ceiling above him was painted a mundane white. The cloth over him was light, like silk, and he threw it off as if blowing leaves in the wind. The floor was soft, a thick carpet of pale blue. Where was he? Who was he... Cyric Lorne, the paladin, the champion field commander of Darkwatch. But who was he really? Two minds within the same skull, an oath to the light and a voice in the dark. Who was Cyric? When he opened that plain oak door to the unknown beyond, clothed only in a thick cotton robe, would he be a paladin of Darkwatch, or would he be-

“Cyric! Why are you up? Sir, your wounds, you’ll open them again!”

The strange voice was feminine, and came from a now vacant chair by his bed. His bed? Yes, this was his room. They were in Demiderus, the capital city. The girl was now standing at his side, pulling him back towards the bed. His servant? No. One of his paladins. Elena, or something of the like. “My wounds will heal. Give me a report.”

“Sir, please, at least sit down.” The girl continued as Cyric heaved a painful sigh and sat on the edge of his bed. “We found you a few miles out, dragging yourself towards the capital. If anyone can tell us what happened, it’s you. We haven‘t seen you for three years! Not one report or message from you. Where‘s the dwarf, Jarek? And the sword of Ronus? Did you destroy it, like Lord Eschire ordered you to? Your allies came back and told us about the mess they left behind, but there was no word on what happened to you!”

A few miles out? Three years... Had he been wandering for that long? “I’ll make my report directly to the Lord Captain. Bring me to him.” Cyric silenced the girls’ complaints with a grimace, and stood. His wounds weren’t too painful for him to move about freely. It wasn’t that any of them were too severe, Darkwatch clerics would have seen to those. It was that there were so many. The fight with Zyrden had left him in a puddle of his own blood. How had he dragged himself away? He should have died there on the spot. As soon as Cyric realized that the paladin was still silent and unmoving, Cyric glanced over.

“Lord Eschire isn’t in Demiderus. Sir, we’re in the midst of a war. You must have noticed. Where have you been these past years? He left orders for you anyways. You can’t go riding out to meet him. You have to tell us if the sword’s been destroyed.”

“It hasn’t.”

The girl was aghast. “You say it so casually! Surely Lord Eschire told you what the sword is capable of? Sir? Are you listen-”

Brought me back...
“Brought us back. The lich brought you back with Dal’Fal.”
The Sword of Slaughter... We’re one with the Sword of Slaughter...

“Sir! You have new men, we already have everything organized, incase you brought us this news! As soon as you’re healed, you’ll ride out again. You have to complete your mission! Lord Eschire selected you for a reason!”

The girl was running short on breath from shouting so much, and Cyric quickly moved to take advantage of that. “Why not now? Where are they. They are here, in Demiderus? You said you were ready, so I’ll assume you’ve kept them on active duty. Who are they, paladins? Mercenaries?” Steady strides carrying him to the door, Cyric ignored the renewed complaints and pushed out into the hallway. The place looked deserted. Usually there’d be servants running back and forth, guards patrolling, paladins rushing to carry out orders, to bring back reports, and so much more. As Cyric watched, a single guard turned the far corner, disappearing out of sight. “This place is dead. The war must be serious. Goblin uprisings again?” Cyric glanced at the paladin.

“No sir. The goblins are hiding, deep in their caves.”

Cyric raised an eyebrow. “Then who are we fighting. Rebels? Demons from the north? Pirates from the Eastern coasts?” The dead the Sword brought back to life? Cyric decided to keep that one to himself. If that was truly the case, then the rest of Cyric’s nightmares were real as well. The dark elves had summoned an abomination to sweep the dragons out of the land... simply to make room to gather their armies safely. An army called by the Sword. An army of the dead.

Cyric kept on walking, eyes blind to the desolation around him as the paladin unveiled the nature of the current war. His fears were confirmed. His nightmares were confirmed. The voice in his head wasn’t his imagination, it was him. They were one now, one man, one demon. Two sides of the same sword.

The paladin left Cyric to call together his new allies, so he stood silently in the corner of the conference hall. Red tapestries were blank scrolls to him, the carvings on the table mere scratches. The smooth stones that lined the walls and floors were ugly abominations, ripped untimely from the ground. His life was a hell of its own creation, and he would strike a fear colder than any demon’s blade into the hearts of his enemies. And if need be, the hearts of his allies. If he was truly one with Dal’Fal now, then he would set the world on fire to hunt it down. To put it into the right hands. His own.

(feel free to jump in, mercenary, soldier or paladin on Darkwatch, random enlisted person, whatever works, just send me a note to get the character approved)

MythsAndLegends

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2008, 09:57:53 AM »
Time, the ravisher of all, the ultimate destroyer, the very hand of death in the mortal sense, had left the life of the Corpse King. He had always chosen to stay out of the affairs of those who he considered mere mortals and kept to himself, especially since the day he was essentially destroyed. When one spends so much time apart from the world, it begins to wear on them, and once he had seen the war tear about between the two factions of mortals he felt compelled to rejoin his one time kin.

At the request of Darkwatch he had come down from his Mountain Sanctuary, the one time home of a rather meager lich, where he had raised a small community of people who preferred to stay away from the world as he had. The letter had arrived by courrier two years past, and it had taken the Corpse King a great deal of time to make up his mind, but finally, he decided that he would join their great purging, if that was what one could call it, and had appear in almost unseen in their Capital.

He had brought with him the Defenders of the Vale, men trained by himself personally from a young age to be some of the most efficient fighters possible, in all he had brought five, less than he wanted but he needed to keep his people safe. When he had arrived, he had been summoned by a rather obnoxious slip of a girl to the conferance hall where he immediatly proceeded, hoping to escape her demands that he get there as soon as possible.

When he entered there was one man standing in the corner, likely the man would not recognize him as anyone special, though anyone who knew the tales of the Corpse King would definitely recognize the legendary mask of La\'Elric that covered his face, as well as the blood red rose bud surrounded by golden petals emblazened upon his back that marked him as the Rose Prince, and even the blades he carried hidden beneath his volumnous robes, Tal\'Krin and Yyrdrim, and even the blade known as Dawn which he left back in his quarters would identify him...

He stopped remeniscing and proceeded towards the men, raising his right hand to hold it inches from his masked face as the left went and rested on the small of his back, holding that position for a mere moment, he slowly swept his hand gracefully outward as he bowed foward, "I am Nazyphir Del\'Mireth Lokkur, I beleive you to be the one they call Cyric, ah yes, you must be... why else would I be here..." he chuckled. "I am here to assist you."

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2008, 10:20:31 AM »
(The rp is beginning, but we\'re not going to actually go anywhere quite yet, people still need time to join. So anyone working on a character, or considering it, you still have time! Just add in a reason for your character\'s absence. Kysis might be awhile yet as well, so we might take a few days break later on, sorry about that!)

"Nazyphir Del\'Mireth Lokkur, it\'s a pleasure to meet the Corpse King. I don\'t mean to offend by using your title, it really is an honor to meet such a fabled figure. I am indeed Cyric Lorne." Bending at the waist into his own formal bow, Cyric held his fist to his heart in Darkwatch fashion. He didn\'t even smile at pronouncing the entirety of the name correctly. He simply did. It was the proper thing to do.

He had hoped that no one would speak to him, and that he could remain silently brooding in the corner as the world around him killed itself second-by-second. At least it was someone interesting who spoke to him. He could see the paladin, Elena, taking off to hunt down more of his \'allies.\' How many did she mean to send his way?

There would be the customary contingent of paladins to serve him directly. Solid Darkwatch warriors he could trust. There\'d likely be a few of them, four at the most and that was unlikely. Then they\'d probably give him some specialist for various fields. People he could count on for results. As long as the paladins watched them, anyway.

"Your assistance is appreciated. For Darkwatch to select such an esteemed fighter, they must be expecting quite some trouble out there." Cyric himself was no novice with the blade, but his experience was short incomparison to this man\'s. If the stories were true, anyway.

Raising an eyebrow, "I take it they didn\'t tell you too much about the nature of the mission. Darkwatch officials have a tendency to leave detail until the last second. A means of keeping things in the right hands." Like how Cyric hadn\'t even told the paladin sent with him on the first mission, until nearly their last moments together, that Cyric was to kill his old friend Jarek and destroy the sword. Actually, Cyric hadn\'t exactly worded it that way. He had said something about keeping the sword in the hands of official Darkwatch men, and that the dwarf couldn\'t be trusted.

Cyric would be delighted to tell the man the nature of their mission. He\'d tell him all about the fabled Sword of Ronus. The Sword of Slaughter, Most commonly known as Dal\'Fal. He\'d tell him everything that Darkwatch knew, short of one little fact. Cyric had absolutely no intentions of destroying it. It was part of him now, connected to his mind. He had to find the blade. He needed a vessel for the voice in his mind.

MythsAndLegends

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2008, 10:37:54 AM »
"Aye... the Corpse King. It was meant to be an insult... then it struck fear into my enemies once I destroyed them. It was more than a mere insult, but a promise of death to come," He chuckled again. He had made quite a flop of that war back in the day. High Garden, his home had been destroyed and the people butchered. He was one of few survivors and he had then been called the Corpse King, because that was all he ruled, a bunch of dead.

He sighed then, realizing indeed he knew nothing of the situation, pulling forth a vial from his robes he pull the stopper and dripped it on the ground, from each of the three drops, a small humanoid creature covered in a thick brown fur, almost ape-like, yet with the face of an owl grew, "Isikar\'s circle, snap to it." at the command the familiars burst into action, and faster than most people of human decent could detect, they circled around him, drawing on the ground in a brown chalk-like substance while he perfomred a quick chant, and moments later, a chair appeared behind and he sat, "This place is terribly devoid of places to sit... It\'s almost embarassing." As he sat the creatures scrubbed the summoning circle away from the ground and flanked him on either side when done.

"Well, I cannot exactly say that I know anything of the mission we will be going on. I just arrived afterall, and as a volunteer to advise and assist more than anything but they told me to come find you as soon as possible. I admit, I still have my wits about me, but I do not know if I am still the warrior I once was. If I had brought my weapons we could have passed the time with such," he sighed again, reaching up and prying the iron mask off his face, revealing an immensly beautiful young man with violet eyes and long silver-gray hair that reached down to his waist.

"I would appreciate it if you filled me in... an advisor who knows nothing is of little use I have found. So...Tell me what you know."

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2008, 11:10:01 AM »
Cyric smiled. It was Darkwatch\'s idea that there be no seats in the conference room. They thought it would help people focus and move about quickly, wasting no time on unnecessary banter. So, Cyric sat on the edge of the table. "My apolagies for that. Warriors planning for war, tend to make poor hosts."

So he was right. The man knew nothing of the mission. So, he\'d begin at the start of it. Why not, it made sense. It was unlikely Nazyphir even knew of the original mission. "Three years ago I was sent on a mission to follow Jarek Red Dragon. The dwarf had knowledge of the location of the Sword of Ronus." The sword of origin, according to some warrior tribes. Nazyphir likely knew of the sword, at least. The stories told that the sword was from a time when the ancient kingdoms still ruled. It was thought a mere trinket then, when weapons of greater power reigned. Yet in the hands of the famous Ronus, it heralded the end of the world. It sundered the land. It was the first taste of magic the world had known, and it had destroyed them.

"Jarek led me far West, into the Dragon Teeth mountains. We were nearly to the sword, when we came across an enchanted grove. We were attacked by a giant spider that dark elves were controlling. Then the elves attacked us." Cyric chuckled. It sounded funny now that he was recalling it all. "After they retreated, they used the spider\'s body as a vessel to summon a greater demon. All of that, just so they could awaken all the dragon in the region, to wipe them out. Just to make room for their armies to gather."

It was quite sad, but Cyric\'s original mission was cut short not because of the sword itself, but because they had stumbled through the heart of the enemies camp-to-be.

"Jarek hadn\'t told us the last leg of the mission, and dissapeared before the summoning. We had to assume he was dead and retreat as the demon tore dragons out of the sky." Shrugging indifferently at the images flickering through his mind, Cyric wondered what else to tell Nazyphir. "My companions apparently made it back safely, but we were seperated. I did find out, that the Sword is now in the enemies\' possession. Which explains the dead rising to march in war against us. The Sword\'s most fabled use is just that. Calling the dead back to life." Like how the Lich brought Cyric back to life. Only Cyric proved too strong of spirit for the Lich to control.

"Our current mission is to find the sword, as my mission has always been. If it\'s in the enemies\' hands, you can expect it to be in the Count\'s hands, or in the hands of one of his most trusted warriors." Which just happened to be one of the Arbiters, the most powerful one. Zyrden. "Which means if we want to find it, we have to find the heart of the Empire. Sounds like just the sort of job I\'d turn down, if I had any choice."

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2008, 01:33:00 AM »
((I hope you don’t mind me using Ryos again?))

“He’s awake.”

Ryos turned his head just slightly, crimson eyes sliding to the side, catching the female paladin in his periphery.  When they had brought Cyric in, dying, barely a mangled carcass, Ryos had wanted to see him, sit and pray for him.  The shock from realizing that Cyric had survived, that they had left him behind when departing from the scene of swooping dragons and a bloodthirsty demon, had shaken him.

Over the last three years he had been dealing with his own personal war, first with the trials against him as a creature of darkness, and then his being accepted as a wraith, secretly.  The training, the trials, they had been brutal, but he had come out of it.  He was now a part of the Order of Mareur, a knight of their small and secretive ranks.

That meant that he could still live.  That meant that he could still serve order and justice, as he had been raised to do, and in the process, search for a cure to this cursed vampirism which still plagued his body.

Standing, Ryos stepped around the desk, lifting his sword, with its clear pommel jewel and white-leather wrapped hilt, from the wall.  His gloved fingers quickly attached it to the baldric at his waist.  Out of habit, he took his helm into his hands, staring at it for a moment before leaving it behind.  Cyric knew what he was.  His pallid skin, purple veins lacing just beneath that near translucent surface, and his crimson eyes would not frighten the knight.

“He sent me to gather companions about him.” The woman fiddled with her armor for a moment, obviously nervous.  It was frustrating.  He did not even sustain himself on blood any longer.  There was no reason to fear him.  Sighing, Ryos followed after her, long strides having to be shortened, slowed slightly, so he did not pass the shorter, female paladin.

There were already people in the room, Ryos recognizing one as none-other than the Corpse King.  And then there was Cyric, who did not look too terribly great, but it was better than being dead.  Ryos paused just inside the door, watching the two of them for a moment, catching the last end of the conversation.

So, they were going to finish their mission.

“Sounds like something you would leap upon, rather.” Ryos’ melodic voice carried over the expanse between them, a slight smile turning up on his pale lips.  He might have rushed up and hugged Cyric had it not been for the injuries the elder knight still had.  Ryos could smell blood from that distance.  Swallowing the lump in his throat, he crossed the room with long, gliding strides, trying not to come off as completely intimidating, considering he was nearly six feet tall, and donning full armor, not to mention his eyes.

He just hoped not to frighten any of those gathered in the meeting hall.  He was still getting used to people’s reactions to his condition, despite being this way for over three years now.
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Lord Kysis Liari (Ένας πεσμένος ήρωας.),
Fenwick Baldor (Song, wine, and a bit of trouble),
Calista Liari (Θραύσματα Ομορφιά)

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2008, 02:44:54 AM »
Cyric waved an apolagetic hand towards Nazyphir. "An old friend. I\'m afraid I\'ll have to tell you more later." Eyes locked on Ryos, Cyric shook his head slowly. "I had heard that you made it back safely. I\'m happy to see that\'s true." Ryos would be one of the few who understood the real severity of finding this Sword. He had seen the power the enemy had before they even began to crack into the Sword\'s power. Ryos, like Cyric, had seen the prelude to insanity. And survived.

The Corpse King would likely be one of the few who could begin to understand as well. Hopefully there would be others. Hopefully, Cyric could convince them all that the Sword shouldn\'t be destroyed. That it\'s power could be harnessed for good. By Cyric.

"You\'re right though. This is exactly the type of mission I\'d do. I just have a tendency to say that everytime." Cyric smiled, "Have I told you about the time I fought the Stone Skin Dwarves of Dragon\'s Helm? It was one of the last missions I had with Jarek before he left Darkwatch." Ryos likely didn\'t even know that Jarek had been in Darkwatch. That had been when Cyric was just eighteen. Twenty-four years ago. Ever since, Darkwatch had been following Jarek, measuring how dangerous he was. Of all people, they chose Cyric to kill him. If it wouldn\'t hurt so much, Cyric would have spat.

Since he couldn\'t embrace his old comrad, Cyric offered a hand to shake. No formal Darkwatch fist to the heart. Ryos had earned Cyric\'s friendship and respect.

MythsAndLegends

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2008, 02:37:48 PM »
((Quick post to get conversation moving :O and Hi Kysis! ))

Nazyphir nodded, “Old friends are sometimes not so old.

He stood up to face the new comer, his young body moving though it were old and aching and he only accomplished it with a few cracks of his back and a pop of a knee accompanied by a low groan, he chuckled as he straightened up, brushing a hand across his face to feel it. The skin was already starting to peel… he slowly re-applied the foreboding iron mask.

“I’ve waited a long time for many things, a few moments to hear the rest of the tale won’t be a bother,” He continued as he dismissed the chair with a flick of his wrist and a moment later ash dropped down from the inside of his robes onto the floor.

“Eh… my apologies,” he motioned to the little owl-faced critters who cackled fiercely at one another before swiftly disposing of the mess, “It’s hard to control when… the spells wear off, but I feel much better now despite the agonizing pain that comes with it.”

He sighed before turning to examine a few architectural oddities of the room to let the two men talk. Time was nothing to the undying.

Offline Kysis

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2008, 01:50:05 PM »
"Glad to see you made it back whole as well." Ryos shook Cyric\'s hand with a lopsided grin painted on his ashen lips.  There was a friendly glint to his crimson eyes, just as his stance was not nearly so intimidating as it had been, so rigid, as when he had entered the room.

The uncertainty had worn off.  After three years of rocky, unknown territory (the initial mission, the wraith trials, this new broiling war), it was good to see a familiar face... even if he had pulled Ryos in to all of this.

At least this way, Ryos had a chance to redeem himself rather than succumbing to the dark blood coursing in his veins.

He turned his head, running a gloved hand through his short, dark hair.  This Corpse King... was a lot more strange than the stories told, though Ryos had little room to judge in that matter.  He had a natural distrust of magic and the wielders thereof, and the Corpse King seemed such a spell flinger...

This was going to be just as interesting of a journey as the last he had embarked upon with Cyric, that was sure.

"I\'m sorry to have interrupted.  Don\'t halt for my sake."

((Hi!!! *waves*))
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Lord Kysis Liari (Ένας πεσμένος ήρωας.),
Fenwick Baldor (Song, wine, and a bit of trouble),
Calista Liari (Θραύσματα Ομορφιά)

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2008, 08:13:13 AM »
Cyric was about to continue as the paladin, Elena, returned once more. Trailing her were two of what Cyric assumed were mercenaries. Instead of departing to track down more of his potential allies (or potential enemies, as his current motives led him to believe) she remained in silence awaiting his command. Did that mean she was joining him as well? Cyric had just assumed he wouldn\'t have to listen to her nagging anymore.

Sighing, he waved her forward. "Don\'t be shy, introduce them." The paladin had obviously not wanted to interrupt Cyric, but there wasn\'t much more he could tell Nazyphir. The story of the fabled Sword of Ronus was a popular one. The Corpse King wouldn\'t need much of an explanation for why the Sword posed such a threat to them all. Cyric would have to discuss other points of their mission, but he wasn\'t quite sure how to yet.

Seeing that she had already interrupted Cyric, the flustered Elena took a short step forward. "These two are mercenaries, just hired into Darkwatch. They\'ve proven themselves excellent fighters in the training grounds, so they\'ve been selected to fill out the rest of your group, sir." Gesturing towards the shorter of the two, a lithe elf with pallid skin and deep blue eyes, "Hallithyn, or Hal," and then towards the taller human, "Albert." Content with her explanation, Elena took her short step back again and smiled. "This is everyone I could gather on such short notice. There were other prospective candidates, but you\'ve also been given Marshal Order."

Cyric couldn\'t help but smile. Marshal Order. What it meant was that Cyric now had the authority to force any soldier of Darkwatch to join his mission, despite their previous orders. Any hired mercenary, footman, paladin or cleric would now have to pay heed to Cyric\'s whims. It was the last tool he needed to complete the mission the way he desired. All in the convenience of a signet ring, which Elena now presented to him.

***


An hour later the small group gathered again, now beyond the grand gates of Demiderus. His wounds tightly bound, Cyric found his breath short, but still stood straight in his half-plate armor. Since their group was small, it stood little chance against heavy battle. They were all ordered to dress in light or moderate armors, something they could move swiftly in. Speed and caution would be their shields.

As most of the castle was abandoned, the city itself was quiet. The citizens of Demiderus could feel the tension, and were well aware of their lacking defense. The armored knights who typically defended the city were on the field of battle, be it in the far North or in the wastes of Fyric. A few faces peeked out of windows as Cyric had made his way towards the gates, and one man even stood in his doorway with a fist to his heart. But there were no children playing. No sounds of mirth or merriment. The clothes that hung from lines were long-since dried and unattended. Mothers and daughters wept in silence as fathers and sons sharpened their blades. The entire city, the ghost town that it had become, stood on the brink. They knew that the Empire could attack at any moment. They knew that the dead had their methods of escaping notice. They knew, that in a heartbeat, their entire town could be under siege. Yet Darkwatch would not stand guard for them.

Cyric listened to the desolation as he stood by the gate, and could only laugh silently. His mind reeled, sickened and near-hysterical. His oath to protect the light and to hunt the darkness was broken. He would not stay to protect the people, and he wasn\'t leaving to hunt fell creatures. His mission betrayed his very being, and his intentions betrayed his very mission. What sort of monster had he become? What sort of monsters now led Darkwatch? If they won against the Empire, would they then become their own enemies? When the men returned from the front and rejoined their families, would they see the destruction wrought by their own hands?

Darkwatch abandoned its post completely to attack the enemy head on. It was not an intelligent decision. It wasn\'t the right decision, even if it succeeded. All Cyric could do was wait for his allies in silence, and then head out into the chaotic world beyond.

***


Meanwhile, the stench of rot hung heavy in the air as the lone dwarf trudged through the muck and mire of the Empire camp. If the bits of flesh thickening the pools of dank water weren\'t enough to sicken the dwarf, the tattered cloak over his shoulders, assaulting him with the perfume of death, was. To either side of \'Jeru the Dastard\' stood a silent mass of undeath. Before him the dead parted as if waves crashing on the shore, giving him moments to pass before closing in again behind him. There didn’t seem to be an end to it. For every ghoulish limb he swatted away, not always attached to a ghoulish body, there seemed to be another beyond, clawing at him.

Twisted fingers wrapped around his arms and neck, pulling him back as the ghoulish army pushed him forward. Through the swarm of flies and wretchedness above him, Jeru couldn’t tell if it was day or night. He wasn’t sure there was a day or night. There was only here, now, wherever and whenever. There was Jeru the Dastard, and the marching dead. Soon, if Jeru didn’t find what he was looking for, there would be one more soul lost among the masses.

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2008, 08:43:59 AM »
Nazyphir had returned to his room and gathered his things he had brought, not much at that since most of his things he could possibly need were waiting ever patiently back in his fortress upon trasportation glyphs. The only things he really had brought with him was a small wooden cage covered with a black silk scrap, and a six foot long great sword made of a pale, bone white adamantium known as Dawn. Once he had strapped the blade to his back, he pulled the silk off of the cage and opened it to release a rather large lizard of a multitude of shades of blues and greens with a feathery main and spined back and tail. It sported a set of long golden claws and talons.

As he left the room, he pulled his expansive black hood up over his head and applied his iron mask. When he turned and began walking down the hall he was almost immediatly flanked by the five Men of the Vale that he had brought with him. As he left the place and found Cyric he approached the man with bearings of an old man, and likely, most people would have figured him for just that, especially those who did not know him at first sight, which could be an advantage of him.

"Ahh Cyric, it is good to see you are doing well, bandaged up and ready to go," Nazyphir stated cheerfully and then indicated the man to his right. "This is my captain Joryn Asher, he leads my small contingent of men here that will serve as part of our meager vanguard if you would call it that. They are excellent scouts for the most part and not too shabby in combat if I might say so."

With a wave of his hand he dismissed them, but Asher stood by him, as always, "I do not trust the mercenaries," He whispered. "They have something about them that makes me wonder. Be wary with them, or you might find yourself in an early grave."

With that Nazyphir strode off, lizard perched on his shoulder and Asher trailing at his side like a lost puppy, though a very dangerous lost puppy.

Offline Kysis

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2008, 11:59:27 AM »
Ryos was reluctant to leave Cyric\'s side, especially considering the span of three years they needed to catch up on.  It was probably best if they part, though.  Ryos could smell the blood and knew that Cyric needed what rest he could get, considering.  Traveling with such wounds... Ryos had faith in Darkwatch.  If they did not believe he could succeed leading this mission, they would have chosen someone more qualified.

Getting approval for going on this mission was another matter entirely.  The Order of Mareur did not often let their members off the tight leash, so it was an uphill battle... until someone whispered into his liege\'s ear, and that was that.  Ryos was rather glad that Cyric had been granted Marshal Order, as that was the deciding factor.  Even if his liege said no, Cyric could always say yes and it was settled.

Victory smile hidden by his helm, Ryos took his already prepared pack, slinging the strap over his shoulder, checking his armor one last time before he finally headed out.

It would be good to travel again.  He had felt trapped in the stuffy capital, with eyes constantly upon him as though he might turn evil at any moment.  He was not evil by nature.  He wanted nothing more than to serve good.  Circumstance...

Seeing where they were waiting, Ryos broke into a jog, shoving his previous thoughts aside.  The road was so close.  Soon he would be back upon it again.  He was both excited and nervous.
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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2008, 09:14:34 AM »
Watching Nazyphir and his soldier with masked caution, Cyric only took a passing notice that the mercenaries were approaching with Elena trailing behind. Nazyphir was right in not trusting the mercenaries. It was true that mercenaries, any soldier for that matter, quickly became close with his comrades. But these two knew each other, and they did not look like mere mercenaries to Cyric. Obviously well experienced fighters, they radiated an aura of confidence and silently they commanded Cyric\'s respect. But even for mercenaries, they had a reserved pride. The two held themselves in a way that made Cyric stop and think. The two didn\'t have the sneers and arrogance of nobles or famous mercenaries. They had the silent reserve of experienced commanders. There was something familiar about both of them. Something about the way they looked at him with a mix of tolerance and indifference.

Cyric somehow knew the two mercenaries, and he didn\'t trust Elena any more than he trusted the mercenaries. The war had obviously changed her. She had the same bright attitude, the same mothering authority as before. Those long three years ago... However, beneath the twinkle in her eyes Cyric could see a mirror of his own pain. Not the pain from his wounds; the pain of mental strife. Within Elena was an exhausted spirit. Within Elena, that spirit seemed to be all but backed into a corner and ready to lash out.

Of the entire group, Cyric only trusted two people. Nazyphir and Ryos. His trust of Nazyphir went as far as his arm\'s reach, and his trust of Ryos only went as far as Fyric. He knew too little of Nazyphir to know what the Corpse King wanted from this conflict, and Cyric knew that he wouldn\'t be able to trust Ryos once they reached the Sword. Unless Cyric could remind Ryos of the special qualities of his own condition, and show him that the Sword\'s existence was not evil by nature but by use... Cyric wasn\'t sure he could even convince himself of that. He didn\'t want the Sword to heal the world, if it was even capable. Cyric wanted the Sword to complete himself. To give definition to the shadow at his feet.

Most of all, Cyric didn\'t trust himself.

As the group gathered together, he nodded to each and then took a silent step towards the dusty road beyond the city. Within minutes, they were crossing the first bridge. Within hours, still within the borders of Orynne, they found themselves wandering into an old forest. Just minutes before, a rotted limb and the footprints of a thousand wandering souls had been their only warning. They were now in enemy territory. There was no need for silence. The dead didn\'t need to hear them to find them, their scent was enough; and they wouldn\'t hear the enemy pulling itself up from the ground or shambling through the damp forest. So Cyric started to whistle an old marching tune.

***


Meanwhile... It took him several days to find it. After wandering aimlessly for days amidst the walking dead, Jeru finally found the remnants of once allied forces against the Empire. Each had been absorbed, one by one, into the host. Nation by nation the Empire expanded its borders. By conquest. By threat. The men and women who marched in the heart of the undead formation had blank stares. They didn\'t have the willpower to raise their weapons against Jeru. Each, in their own respect, could have proven to be formidable opponents, but while marching so close to the very incarnations of death, not a soul breathing had the mentality necessary to defend themselves. The chill of death settled deeper than any blizzard could.

At their lead he found her. She alone held her head up. She alone could be saved, but only if Jeru could show her the hope and light beyond the veil of death and darkness.

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2008, 10:07:18 AM »
As he left the presence of Cyric, Nazyphir waited untill he was our of hearing range then turned to Asher, "I want you to keep an eye on those mercenaries, Cyric I don\'t worry about yet, this mission seems extremely personal to him, and for Ryos, as long as Cyric is around they won\'t be a problem, Elana doesn\'t seem to be a threat though she is too good natured even for a paladin, I will watch her as well, but those mercenaries are trouble." Asher responded with a nod, and then they set out on their journey.

When they neared the forest Nazyphir turned towards his men, "While we\'re in here stay spread out, but withing sight, I want to make sure that we have enough to react to anything in this forest. It\'s dense, so make sure that if you cannot see, you at least make communication, return to me the instant you find something out of the ordinary." They nodded and skirted to the outside of the party while Nazyphir turned around to see Asher staying near, but not near enough to cause suspicion in the mercenaries, then turned towards Cyric.

"What should we be expecting up ahead? The sword brings the dead to life, and I assume this place is full of them. Most of the land is knowning the history of this world. I did put my men on a bit of a forward patrol, just to give us a heads up if anything is coming."

Nazyphir stuck his arms into his robe and felt the hilts of his swords and gave each a sharp tug to loosen them, the sudden movement made the lizard on his shoulder let out a fierce, lizardly roar of annoyance. Nazyphir swatted at it to quiet it down, "he\'s got a bit of a temper," he stated to no one in particular.

Offline Kysis

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2008, 02:31:51 AM »
Ryos walked with them for a while, sometimes beside Cyric, sometimes a little further off, crimson eyes scanning the terrain through the shadowed slits of his helm.  Now that he was a Knight of Mareur, he needn\'t worry so much.  The sunlight could not harm him, thankfully.

There were probably greater issues at hand, anyway.  Ryos could feel the tension in the group.  No one trusted the others.  The mercenaries seemed... indifferent, but that still was not trust.  And the Corpse King (and his men) seemed only to trust one another, though it was obvious he was working with Cyric.  And Cyric himself seemed nervous.

If they could not rely upon each other now, when there were no problems, what would happen in the heat of battle?

When they reached the forest, Ryos seemed to vanish into the shadows, sometimes coming out into a patch of light far ahead of the group, sometimes off to the side, sometimes behind.  He had an advantage here, in the land of the enemy. They could not smell him.  As a vampire, he gave off no odor, and he moved silently, so even the cognizant commanders would have difficulty spotting him.  It was part of his training in the Order of Mareur.

Pulling out of the shadows beside Cyric, seeming to materialize there, though no such magic was employed, Ryos asked in a low, whisper of a voice, "What\'s wrong?"
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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2008, 05:30:42 AM »
Glancing over at Ryos, Cyric blinked. Seeing that the mercenaries were a ways behind them, he spoke softly. "Do you recognize the mercenaries? Not their appearance. Do you recognize anything about them at all? Their attitudes? The way they work with each other?" Glancing to the side to catch the mercenaries in his peripheral vision, Cyric sighed. "I know them, somehow. I think there\'s magic involved in this. There\'s something unnatural about the way I recognize them."

The entire time, Cyric kept Nazyphir close to his side. He hadn\'t answered the Corpse King\'s question yet, not directly. What he was saying was that they could expect trouble from the mercenaries, but there was more. "We don\'t know who they really are. Maybe they\'re on our side, maybe they\'re on their own. Either way they might help us against the Empire. But they could be agents of the Empire, as well." Eyebrow twitching as frustration worked its way to the surface, "We can expect the dead, we can expect Empire soldiers, and we can realize that there is an unknown factor waiting to make its own move."

Trailing close behind them, Elena smiled. The odd thing was, Cyric could sense it. That was something else, something that he didn\'t want anyone to expect. Something was happening to Cyric. He was changing. So when he sensed Elena\'s smile, his teeth showed in a warning smile of his own. Then something strange happened again... he sensed her slowing down some to give him more space. Did she sense his smile the way he sensed hers? Elena had changed much in the past three years. Enough to warrant more caution than the mercenaries.

As they continued ahead, Cyric kept a hand on the hilt of his sword. Elena did likewise.

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2008, 07:20:43 AM »
"Ahh... the dead... Nasty cretons there are, eh?" he murmered to himself more than to Cyric. He\'d come across thousands in his life... some more dead than others, and that was how he preferred them to be perfectly honest. The dead were a menace in many regions of the world, and his...long existance, he had worked up a few counters to the ugly, smelly buggers. He reached up and stroked the soft mane of the lizard, "Some old friends of ours aren\'t they?" The lizard let out a croak and hissed violently.

Nazyphir chuckled and looked at Cyric, his smile was of a different amusement, scanning the horizon quickly, he did not see anything out of the ordinary, but on an impulse he looked over his shoulder, glancing back and seeing Elana, hand on her sword, and then looked back at Cyric who was exactly the same, both appeared tense...

On a whim, he turned briskly, striding towards Elana in a way that would give anyone that idea that he meant harm, his hands reaching into his robes to his swords, but just as he would have pulled them for an attack, which he feinged with a movement of his shoulders, he brushed passed her to speak with Asher.

Offline Kysis

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2008, 01:50:59 AM »
Ryos shook his head slightly.  He did not recognize the mercenaries or their mannerisms.  Then again, he had not been allowed much leeway yet from the Order, not allowed to go as far out in the range as many of the men constantly did.  This mission would be different.  There were no commands from his order involved, so he was free to merely follow the whim of the knighthood.

When he had worked with others of his ilk, others of the Order, they had been in absolute synchronization, working perfectly in unison, for the same goals, on the same thread of thought.  It was frightfully efficient, when those tandem missions did come into play, however rare.

This group was the exact opposite.

Ryos knew full well that he did not trust a soul with them other than Cyric, and maybe, Elena, seeing as she too was a paladin.  The others were a completely different matter.

Passing beneath a patch of deep shadows again, Ryos seemed to vanish entirely, scouting further ahead.  These Knights of the Vale, in service of the Corpse King, were still not part of his trust circle.  Ryos would rather his own eyes be able to see these issues first, lest someone in the group not be properly informed of the enemy.
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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2008, 02:50:29 PM »
(Had a really long post, seriously, two pages, and a fourth of another, so I split it into this and another, longer one. So Just react, keep moving for now, and we\'ll have some fun shortly!)

Elena\'s hand stopped Nazyphir. It wasn\'t an aggressive move, just her arm reaching out in front of him as he stepped past her. She back-stepped as she did it, so her arm wouldn\'t actually touch Nazyphir.

"You don\'t want to play games with me Corpse King." She spoke softly and with a smile, but her eyes were cold with silent rage. "I\'ve served Darkwatch my entire life, one way or another. No one crosses me and lives, unless they\'re stopping me to give new orders."

Cyric sighed, turning towards the two. He had seen the look on Ryos\' face before he left scouting again. This entire mission was hopeless. Three paladins, one incomplete, one a vampiric knight and one obviously well over the edge. With them? An ancient lord and his minions, and two mercenaries who might not even be loyal to the coin paying them.

"If anyone threatens anyone, if anyone kills anyone, it\'ll be at my hand. Elena, take point. I\'ll stand in the middle of this infernal circus." Cyric stayed calm. There wasn\'t really anything else he could do. He needed Nazyphir and he couldn\'t betray a fellow paladin. Not quite yet. It wasn\'t time for taking sides, they weren\'t close enough... He wasn\'t complete yet.

The entire time the two mercenaries stood idly by. Since Cyric had to stop the group or leave Elena and Nazyphir behind, they too had decided to stop. Neither looked impressed. In fact, neither looked anything. They merely kept speaking to each other every so often, keeping their eyes on their surroundings. Obviously such petty squabbling was above them. Seeing how everyone was just as dangerous as the next, Cyric waved them over to walk with him. Keep you enemies close, right? He was laughing inside.

So that left Nazyphir\'s minions out scouting, Ryos at the real point of the group, Elena out of Nazyphir\'s way, and Cyric stuck between the only two people who looked like they didn\'t mind being there. The human mercenary even gave him an appreciative nod to show he liked the way Cyric just kept everyone from killing each other.

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2008, 05:48:53 AM »
(short post xD)

"Yes girl, you may have served Darkwatch all your life, a measly, what thirty years at best? But I have served the Vale for centuries, and then Illyria for centuries before, and then even the Five Kingdoms of Pentos and my own homeland for several before that, you would be wise to reconsider your threats, I have no problem with you, and do not presume I do," Nazyphir stated before Cyric separated them.

He then turned to Cyric, eying him with a tad bit of scrutiny, "You know there is something wrong with her. She is far too edgy. Of all of them here, I trust her the least, the mercenaries at least have a reason for any sort of betrayal that they might be plotting, they are... after all, mercenaries."

He thumbed the end of his swords on both sides of his hips and then wandered off and added in a near-whisper with a wink, "And remind her, you can\'t kill the undying."

Offline Kysis

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2009, 02:40:26 AM »
Ryos kept in front of the group, flitting here and there in the shadows, always listening with his keen ears, watching with his crimson eyes, smelling with his finely tuned nose.  If there was undead, he would definitely notice them.

Behind him, he could hear what Cyric said, could feel the distrust in the group.  Ryos glanced back over his armored shoulder, only a quick check to be sure no one had drawn their weapons, before going back to his scouting.

To him, this mission seemed doomed already.

((sorry it\'s so short.  Not really much for Ryos to do, though))
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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2009, 08:14:18 AM »
Without warning, the world around them exploded. At least, that was what it looked like to Cyric. Chunks of dirt and stone pelted them and trees burst, splinters the size of swords screaming by them. It was strange, how the ground beneath them seemed to rise as the forest around them was ripped to shreds. Then the first corpse rose up, unholy darkness consuming the light around it. Through the strong scent of earth the stench of parched flesh filled the air.

When Cyric had warned everyone that they could expect the undead, he had expected petty zombies and skeletal warriors. Rising out of the chaos around them were two of his least favorite abomination. Dragons. Twenty-five feet snout to tail of reanimated dragon flesh, each. Cyric hoped they couldn\'t fly or breath fire anymore, and did the only thing he could. He cursed as loud as he could while blindly swinging his sword at the closest snout. His sword never made it.

Essentially, he had set himself up without knowing it. With a mercenary right at Cyric\'s side, there was nothing he could do as his arms were pinned behind his back and the mercenary bound them with magic. He was stronger than Cyric had expected, and the mercenary had the element of surprise. Even if the mercenary had let Cyric fight, what was the point? What, not even a dozen armed men against not one, but two dragons that weren\'t as prone to dying as they usually would have been? Their element of surprise was stripped away, just as thoroughly as the ground around them. Hopefully Ryos and the others were still alright. If they had been far away enough, the explosions wouldn\'t have maimed them too badly.

The dragons he could figure out. The mercenaries had planned ahead and set the trap, likely both of them were actually Imperial Necromancers. That would explain the odd sensations he had whenever he looked at them. They were disguised. What Cyric couldn\'t figure out was how Elena had been stupid enough to pick not one, but two Empire spies to join their ranks. Was she under a spell? That would explain her odd behavior... but she seemed in control. Too calm and measured to be under anyone\'s control but her own.

And then it hit him. Elena had a birthmark on her forehead, something she always used to rub at. The habit had irritated Cyric to no end. It had bothered him more than her mothering him all the time, despite his years of seniority over her. She had always claimed that the birthmark was nothing special, and she had always wanted to have it removed. It had been in the shape of what looked to be two swords crossed. It had been what earned her the nickname of soul blade to her friends. Soul mates were a rarity and dream for farm girls before they got married off to the next best farm boy. A soul blade was a warriors true partner. Not just for life. Cyric himself had considered many paladins soul blades, and to this day he still remembered the faces and names of each, no matter how long ago they had died.

This Elena, standing here now, had that birthmark alright, but it had that same strange aura of disguise. It, like her, was fake. The two mercenaries had managed to get in not by tricking her, but by serving her. Cyric didn\'t have one, or two spies in his group. He had three. If his arms had been free, he would have killed something; anything.

"So is anyone going to tell me real names, or do I have to start guessing?"

The false Elena laughed, a chilling laugh that stole the heat from Cyric\'s body. How could he have been fooled so easily? Cyric wondered where the second mercenary had slipped away to.

"The mercenaries are generals in your pathetic Order of Mareur. I was surprised that their disguises managed to fool your young friend, Ryos, so easily. He would know them by the names of Ismael and Zulfikar. Fine fellows. I was happy to help them dissent from Darkwatch. Although, like yourself, I wonder where Ismael has wandered off to." The dissenter, Zulfikar, maintained his composure as he continued holding Cyric. He had a knife drawn and on Cyric\'s throat.

While the dissenter maintained his composure and disguise, the Elena look-alike began to unravel her disguise as she circled around Cyric. Strand by strand blond hair fell from a head now swathed in rich black hair. Red eyes calmly gazed over him, as if picking a place to strike. "I didn\'t want to trip my trap so soon, so close to your precious capital, but I\'m afraid you\'re heading the wrong way. We can\'t go to Fyric quite yet." Smilingly sweetly, "You may call me M\'jera. I apologize for stealing the appearance of your precious friend. It really was too easy though. Elena went and disappeared on a mission a couple years ago... and everyone seemed happy enough when she came wandering back home..." M\'jera shrugged. "I had a scroll to disguise me back then. This Zulfikar\'s spells are much more... effective... A pity I forgot to tell him of the birthmark until after the spell had been cast. You did notice, didn\'t you. I saw it in your eyes." Her smile widened, sharp white teeth clicking softly in admonishment. "You didn\'t even remember her, did you? Didn\'t remember how she was your wife\'s soul blade. How the two of them were inseparable friends. How Elena only became so nurturing towards you after Isabel died..."

"Enough" Cyric\'s hands were bound, but his cold expression spoke of the murder that would soon be done.

"Enough?" M\'jera blinked. "But I\'ve only just begun-"

"-and all things must end. If you turn the first page of a book, it is inevitable, that one day, someone will turn the last page. If you want this to end well, stop now. Stop playing games, stop breathing if need be, but stop."

"I already know how this ends. I think it ends very well for me. I use you, I kill you, I complete the rest of my mission. I\'ll be rewarded, and you\'ll be food for the worms. But enough of that-"

"Even if that\'s true, it will end one day. You can\'t live forever. Many have tried. It takes intelligence and effort far beyond what you are capable of. I\'ll give you a thousand years before your carcass is feeding the next wasteland buzzard." Cyric smiled, pleased with the picture. He couldn\'t believe that he was within arm\'s reach of an Arbiter and he couldn\'t even lift his sword against her.

"Is that so?" M\'jera turned towards Nazyphir. "What about you, Corpse King? You, like me, have been around for hundreds of years already. You would do well as an Arbiter for the Empire, helping to shape the civilized pockets of Fyric. Helping to dominate, and thus control and reshape the known world. I know you rarely take interest in such affairs, but all these fools do is wage war on each other. Don\'t you think it\'s time we took the reigns from them?"

Black lightning wound itself around M\'jera\'s fingers. She had heard Nazyphir\'s remark about killing the undying. M\'jera, had no intention of killing the Corpse King. If he didn\'t cooperate, banishment would be his sad fate. What a waste that would be. The Count had taken a real interest in the Corpse King. Like Nazyphir, the Count had long-since passed his time of death. Several thousand years had passed since Count Ulden Castevl died at the hands of the fell lord of Delminion, Fyric Lyvain.

***


Ismael brushed away the false disguise Zulfikar had cast over him. He had tolerated the infernal magic for long enough, and like M\'jera, was frustrated for having to spring his plan so soon. He had readily agreed to help M\'jera when she had found him. What else was he supposed to do? She would have killed him. Of course, he had hoped he could convince his friend Zulfikar to join him, but the elven mage couldn\'t be swayed from his decision. Like M\'jera, the elf wanted Darkwatch to crumble.

If he could find Ryos, then he\'d still have a chance with his plan. The two Mareur Knights could easily follow the group and free Cyric when the time was right.

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2009, 09:00:33 AM »
Nazyphir watched calmly as the undead dragons tore themselves from the ground. He had, for the most part, smelled them or something of undead nature, from quite a ways off and had been preparing for it to show itself. It just happened to be two dragons. Oh well, things could always get worse… and as usual they did, but not in a very surprising manner.

   He had seen one of the mercenaries wander off earlier, and had dismissed it at first, but as events unfolded he figured that either the man had lost his nerve or was off to do Ryos in if possible. He’d likely find out before the day was over, and it was very likely as well, that not all of them would be left standing, but he intended to be one who was.

   He reached his hand up to his shoulder, rubbing under the chin of the lizard softly as the Elena-person talked to Cyric. It would do him little good to rush into anything without first finding out what was going on. So he waited, figuring that Cyric would be alright. And if not, well then, he’d just turn around, go back to Darkwatch or even just go home.

   He listened half-heartedly, watching out of the corner of his eye at the dragons, which didn’t seem to do much but mill around waiting for commands. They would have to go first, before they caused too many problems and he was putting together a plan. Slowly but surely it was forming. He had not lived for so long without gaining some knowledge of how to deal with problems.

   Leaning his head over to the lizard he whispered to it: “Let’s show them what you can really do my friend, Rajzak’s Cataclysm. You know how it goes.”

   His name caught his attention and he turned towards Elana again, who had turned to be some upstart named M’jera or something and he was not totally surprised at her offer. It seemed that the enemy always offered to let you join them, but that didn’t always go well. The one thing wrong with her plan was, Nazyphir did not feel the same way. He believed that people deserved their freedom, but required a bit of government to watch over the big picture, and that was how he had ruled the Vale for centuries.

   He lowered his hand to his side, letting the lizard sit there, waiting for any commands as he strode towards M’jera, “You are right, I do despise working with people like this, and I do think that the world needs to be reshaped under a common governing body. Your offer would be satisfactory.”

   He pulled off his glove, revealing his bare right hand, the fake skin temporarily covering what was beneath. He extended that hand for her, to seal the deal so to speak.

   You are a fool girl to believe that anyone can rule the whole world. A government could only rule so much before things got beyond their power. That will be the downfall of your empire.

   “Arbiter it is then? I like the sound of that… Arbiter Lokkur – has a nice ring to it. You will of course, see to it that the Vale is left alone. I’m certain that the way I run it will fit in nicely with how your Empire works.”

   He made his face blank, showing almost no emotion, aside from what could be considered a cold disdain as he quickly glanced at Cyric, feigning a look of utter hatred.  Someone would be dead soon… but he could not discern who…

Offline Kysis

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2009, 06:18:49 AM »
Ryos\' keen ears heard the explosion of dirt behind him just as he was hit with a wave of the stench.  It was undead flesh.  His crimson eyes widened and he spun on an armored heel.  A lump formed in his throat, his stomach too.

What a scout he was.  He could not even sense what was behind him.  Ryos could not tell when had come out yet, only that it was either large, or there were many of them.  Either way, it did not look good.  Slowly, he took a step forward, putting a hand on the hilt of his sword.  The pommel started to glow, quickly, so he moved his hand up the wire wrapped hilt, covering the radiant gem with his gloved fingers.

That was when he heard, very faintly, footsteps.  One of the mercenaries? Ryos turned his gaze, scanning the man with surprise.

"General!" Ryos looked frantically from Ismael to where the others would be.  His hands trembled faintly. "What\'s going on?  Why are you..." The mercenaries.  There had been something off about them, and now he knew what.  Illusion. "What happened to loyalty and honor?!"

Ryos drew his sword, it\'s sitting comfortably in his hand, tip of the gleaming blade still pointed down.  It was taking all of his will to keep himself from attacking, or from running back to the others, though any warning, he felt would be far too late.
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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2009, 08:33:15 AM »
Ismael refrained from drawing his own blade. "I have always been, and always will be, loyal to the Maybon clan. Darkwatch offered me the role of General, or death. M\'jera offered me partnership, or death. The Maybon clan has always served me well, as a family, and I have always returned their affections and respect in full." The seriousness of his expression didn\'t lessen with a smile. If anything, Ismael only looked more fierce.

Taking a bold step towards Ryos, Ismael raised a hand and pointed in the direction of the others. "Cyric won\'t be harmed until he\'s no longer of any use, so we have time. He will, however, be subject to quite the ordeal. Elena died several years ago. The cursed harpy back there is the Arbiter M\'jera. She\'s not exactly following orders to the point, but she is acting on said orders to make Cyric do something. She never really explained to me what... it probably has something to do with the magic of the Sword. She mentioned the Temple of Pandemonium... recruited Zulfikar and myself to help her." Eyebrows coming together, Ismael let out a low growl. "General Zulfikar wants Darkwatch to burn. We can\'t count on his help."

Taking another bold step towards Ryos, Ismael finally rested a hand on the hilt of his sword. "Of course, I wonder if I can even count on your help. We can\'t rush in and save them. M\'jera\'s not only a powerful warrior, but an adept magess. Zulfikar isn\'t without his own talents, either. You\'ve seen his magic at work before. He helped create some of the tasks in your trial..." The sad truth was, Zulfikar didn\'t create the tasks to worm out the weak. Zulfikar was one of the few who worked on the trials who was actually trying to kill all the wraiths. Ryos was one of a few who made it through that year. "So are you willing to work with a dissenting General, to help save your friend?"

***


Dipping slightly into a formal bow, M\'jera tapped a finger to her forehead and then waved it towards the ground. "To become an arbiter, we must first find you an arbiter to replace." She had someone in mind, of course. With the Corpse King\'s talents it could certainly be done... but of course, she knew he had no intention of helping her. She had something in mind for that, too. It would have to wait though. She had to play her part as the ignorant demoness seeking to claim power for her beloved Empire.

Acting confused by Nazyphir’s extended hand, M’jera waved it away and started circling. “We’re heading North then. I know you’d probably prefer to become an arbiter right away Lokkur... if you don’t kind me calling you that, but the Emperor has given me a rather important mission.” M’jera turned her cold gaze on Cyric. “Our beloved Cyric here, has to help me open the Temple of Pandemonium.”

Cyric laughed in M’jera’s face as she drew closer. “Pandemonium? That temple is a ruin. All you’ll find there is rubble and starved abominations.” Pursing his lips, Cyric silently mused to himself about how M’jera would fit in quite well at the temple.

Glaring, M’jera turned and walked over to Nazyphir again. “We have awhile to fix his attitude. He’ll do what he has to, and then we’ll be free to return to Fyric.” She hoped Nazyphir knew what the Temple was. It was directly tied into ancient magics, something he might be familiar with. She herself knew a lot of its history before she ever joined the Empire. More importantly, the temple was where Dal’Fal was forged.

“So Lokkur. Does this all seem... feasible?” M’jera asked innocently, while scratching one of the dragons under the chin. They would be her eyes and ears. An armored escort that could move swiftly above or below, through darkened clouds or dank tunnels. If Cyric escaped, or anyone tried to free him, her pets would quickly collect him, and feast upon his companions. She assumed that the Corpse King could dispatch the dragons with his blades and minions. However, it would not be an easy task. Not when M’jera could simply reanimate them, or Zulfikar could summon a swarm of meteors down upon them. Everything was in a careful balance now.

What it really came down to, was how long they could keep up this game of pretense.

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2009, 02:17:13 AM »
"Ahhh, M\'jera... Your pets are certainly quite impressive. But I think that, despite their power, they have nothing more than mere brute strength to them. That is more than most things are capable of, but unfortunately, they are animated through magic," Nazyphir frowned at M\'jera, "On the other hand, my little friend here, he is a good boy, and he has something to show you.”

Nazyphir’s hand moved lightning fast to the hilt of Dawn strapped to his back, and as he did, the lizard reared up hissing violently as the talons on its hands shot thin beams of golden light into the sky, everywhere they went, they left a trail in the air. The lizard wove intricate patterns faster than even Nazyphir’s practiced eyes could follow.

The blade slid free of the scabbard with a glorious ring, and he brought it across his body in a massive swing, the ground rippling beneath the immense blade. The event unfolded within a span of four seconds, and with the blade drawn, he faced M’jera again.

“Alright, now that he has shown you what he can do, we’ll reassess the situation, within this prison of light, no magic will function effectively within here, your pets are worthless to you, and your filthy necromancer will have little power. You, I do not think have the skill to defeat me when I can tip the scales in whichever direction I deem fit…. “ He smiled, and after a pause, spoke again.

“Let the negotiations begin.”

Offline Kysis

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2009, 08:31:03 AM »
Ryos\' hand started to shake.  Loyalty was not a thing up to opinion.  Either you were loyal, or you were not.  The Maybon Clan.  Ryos closed his crimson eyes for a moment, jaw tense, body just as much, as he stood there, listening to the General.

If it had been anyone else, if he had not been part of the Order of Mareur, Ryos never would have given the time of day, let him speak.  It would have been battle, then and there, even though he was certain the man was more powerful than him.  Ryos had loyalty, though, to Darkwatch, the Order of Mareur, the Generals therein. So he listened, the plot unfolding before him made him feel sick deep inside, but at the same time, it was a chance.

Just as it was serve or die for the General in those respects, now seemed one of those serve or die situations.  Ryos knew he didn\'t have much time to make his decision.  Someone was bound to notice the "mercenary\'s" absence any moment now.

"I agree." The words were grated out, seething through pale, pursed lips. "I will go along this, but I swear, on my honor, that if you defect, serve evil and injustice, I will do everything in my power to end your plans and your life."

Ryos meant every word of it, and he hoped the General realized that.  It was a risk he was taking.  Another risk, was sheathing his sword, which he did now, crimson gaze falling to the ground.
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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2009, 09:14:48 AM »
"Charming." M\'jera yawned. "What happens if I fail to release dear Cyric and I simply decide to fight you? Zulfikar\'s holding spell can last long past his death... it\'s hard to say for sure how long. Perhaps an hour, perhaps a year? A decade? How long until our darling paladin goes mad? You see, Zulfikar doesn\'t rely on magic alone. He\'s learned a few tricks from me. Our power comes from the deities. If they wish the holding spell to continue indefinitely, it is completely up to them."

Spinning around in place with a mischievous smile, "You\'ll have to destroy my body and trap my soul. If you leave either, they can bring me back." Glancing at Zulfikar, "My friend here won\'t be as fortunate, but his spirit can be forced into a golem or relic. He\'d made a wonderful enchanted sword, don\'t you think?" With M\'jera, there was no telling truth from bluff. Sometimes, even she wondered if she was actually right or not.

M\'jera blinked. Idea after idea ran through her mind until she settled on one. "The lights are very pretty, but what happens when tons of rotted flesh drop through it?" Snapping her fingers, one of the dragons answered with a roar and took flight. Gobs of flesh shed to the ground as its\' massive body twisted in the air, and with a final raspy shriek, it dived directly at the prison of woven lights.

Waiting below, M\'jera had a slender sword in each hand as she continued spinning; dancing in the unearthly glow.

***


Ismael nodded and took a step back. "We move quickly, and quietly. If we kill them, there\'s no guarantee they\'ll release Cyric from whatever bonds they\'ve placed on him. We can sort that out later. A cleric, a relic, something will release him if their deaths won\'t suffice." Ismael\'s words trailed off as he noticed the light through the trees. A mass of light? That sounded nothing like what M\'jera had described to him. They had to get closer.

"Quietly now. Something\'s amiss."

Without waiting, Ismael started off. Either the arbiter had other tricks up her sleeve, or someone else had done something to alter the situation. He slowed down as he approached the tree line, quickly slipping behind some of the debris. Through the mounds of broken ground and tree splinters, he could see it. It was a prison of light. Were they all inside it? Hearing the dragon\'s roar, Ismael looked up just in time to see one of the undead behemoths dive for the globe of light. Everyone except the dragons.

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Re: March of the Dead
« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2009, 11:11:57 PM »
Nazyphir looked up as the dragon dropped to the ground, attempting to disrupt the light shield around them. He had absolutely no clue what would happen when a creature animated by magic tried to slam through a shield made to destroy and hamper magic. Likely it would fall apart, but then the no-longer-animated parts of the beast would fall through and destroy the shield… or so he figured. He did no know for certain what would happen, but his best guess was that both would not survive.

He turned back to M’jera as the dragon smashed through the shield, ignoring whatever effects it may have or may not have had, and then glanced towards Cyric, “You’re right. I’m not certain what I’m even doing here. I don’t care for these people at all.” With a quick motion he once more slid the massive sword onto his back and secured it. “You can have them, and I will leave.”

Nazyphir turned on his heels and walked in the opposite direction, not knowing exactly what he would do right now, but he had many little plans circulating through his mind at that exact moment. Nazyphir wasn’t all together certain that M’jera even knew about the rest of the party out in the forests surrounding the area, or whether they even survived. Oh well! He kept walking. Something would come to him sooner or later.