Balance

Growing Pains Pt 2

23rd of Reaping 383 ONT, Highport, Argyle 4:38pm

Haldir Numanor seethed as he left work for the day, the Steward was a dick, he didn’t understand anything. Haldir had coaxed and sung many of the plants in the garden into flourish, he was a professional, an artist just trying to scratch out a living, but no, now their were overseers and managers getting on his case all the time about a few sick days and late notices… it was crap. He forced himself to take a few deep breaths, he had saved his job, had coin in his pocket. He was going to turn things around, and then he wouldn’t be bothered by the Steward. He flagged down a carriage and had it take him to the southern beaches of the Island. As he traveled they passed through the market and on a whim he had the carriage stop, he rushed into a tailors shop and quickly purchased a new suit, unwilling to wait for it to be altered it was a little baggy on his, but overall a market improvement. he went across the road and saw a small stuffed rabbit, the kind his son Tanithil would just love, he purchased it gladly and wondered down the block looking for a florist. Something that would wow Salihn was hard to find, he was a Gardener and knew at a glance that most of the flowers here were pedestrian at best, but still, it would be the thought that counted. He bought a large bouquet and flagged another carriage,

“Driver, please take me to Oridithas Manor, on the Southern Beaches” he said polity, and smiled as the driver gave the reins a gentle pull and his carriage began to move. It took the better part of an hour to get there, he waved the driver off to leave and approached the large sung wood gates of the great sprawling lands or Oridithas. He let out a long low sigh, he did not get on well with Casitan Oridithas, Senchal of Oridothas Manor and Wood Warden of the Eagle Knights. He was his wives cousin and had been a constant problem throughout his marriage. Haldir walked boldly to the gate, and was not surprised when a halfling clad in chain armor and carrying a spear stepped out of the shallow little guards cove in the wall. The Halfling rolled her eyes upon seeing Haldir approached, but Haldir did not let that slow him

“I am here to see my wife and son, please open the gate and announce me Alpedia” Haldir said to the small guard as he stood before the gate, not looking at her, but instead looking through the wooden spokes at the sprawling manor within.

“What are you doing here Haldir?” The Guard, Alpedia, asked in a tired tone “You know if you cause trouble I’m gonna have to rough you up again, no one wants that” she continued, trying to appeal to the elves sense of saftey and logic.

“Things have changed Alpedia, I have changed, and I have a new benefactor… A man has the right to see his wife and child, announce to them that I have come” he said, still not looking to the guard but staring forward.

“They don’t want to see you Haldir; please go, if you make me get the Senchal involved he will demand to bind your banishment with law this time; then you won’t ever have the chance to come back” She implored, Haldir ignored her staring ahead, his hand rose reaching for the latch to open the gate. fast as a snake the spear reversed and the but end wrapped him on his knuckles causing his hand to relinquish from its course to the latch “Don’t” she said all empathy gone from her tone. He turned with a look of rage and anger on his face stopped himself before he responded in violence; he had learnt long ago that he was no match for the Guard of Oridithas Manor.

“Well,” he said sulkingly, “I won’t leave until I have seen my wife and my son, you cannot keep them from me any longer” Alpedia looked at him for a long time before letting out a long sigh…

“Have it your way, I will inform the Senchal you are here… don’t say I didn’t warn you” she said the later under her breath as she stepped back into her guard alcove and disappeared from sight. Hildar waited as the minutes ticked by, usually he was then invited into the manor he could then slip his escort and find his wife and son. All he needed was chance to talk to them, to explain how everything was different now and that their lives were getting back on track.

At long last the gates opened before him, but instead of Alpedia waving him forward to enter, instead their stood Wood Warden Casitan Oridithas. He stood wearing the uniform of an Eagle Knight, his golden hued chain shirt, long bow and quiver over the shoulder and long sword at his belt. His left hand rested easy on the grip of the sheathed sword with his other hand on his hip. his head was cocked to the side and his expression was that of someone who had little patience left.

“We have discussed this before Haldir, you cannot just come by here, go no and I will forget this matter” The Wood Warden ordered, his voice was soft and melodic, but their was a tone of warning there, a tone that showed decades of command experience and indicated that this was a person whose advise was usually heeded.

“Things have changed Casitan, She is still my wife, I deserve to see her, I WANT TO SEE MY WIFE AND MY SON!” he yelled past the Eagle Knight hoping his tone might be heard

“They cannot hear you Haldir, and this display is not convincing me you should be allowed a visit” The elf said, his voice dripping with disappointment, he turned to Alpedia “If he does not leave on his on accord within the next five minutes, please…. Convince him of errors, and see that a carriage takes him back to his section of Highport” The elf turned to walk away as Alpedia began walking towards him, her spear but held out in front of her,

“Come on Haldir, let me waive you a carriage, no one wants this to get messy”

YOU CAN’T DO THIS! YOU BASTARD! YOU CAN’T STEAL MY FAMILY!” Haldir roared as he ran past Alpedia. The Halfling dropped into a crouch and swung her spear wide tripping Haldir and causing him to land at the feet of the Wood Warden.

“Sorry Wood Warden” she apologized as she moved towards Haldir, this time the point of her spear pointed squarely at him

“Think nothing of Alpedia, I…”

“I HAVE A NEW PATRON! THINGS ARE DIFFERENT NOW, THEY WILL SET IT RIGHT!” Haldir yelled as he tried to rise from the ground, a swift thwack across the back with the spear kept him from rising any higher than his knees. The Wood Warden paused for a moment, likely debating if it was worth engaging with Haldir at all, he shook his head begrudgingly

“Who is this new patron of yours? and what does it have to do with us?” He asked pointedly

“I… I ’m.. uh” He stammered trying to put the words together “Hikari Anakamodo is my patron, she is a wizard working for the Great Erindale himself! She sails with Sir Thalion, Knight of Quenya on the Champions Fist of the Grey Corsairs… she wants me to be with my family… you cannot keep them from me!” he choked out. Casitan looked at him long and hard before saying anything. It was not uncommon for people to yell out names of famous people, but Quenyian Knights and Ships of the Grey Corasirs, few paid attention to such details in common conversation

“Get him up!” Casitan said tersely. Alpedia grabbed Haldir by the arm and quickly pulled him from the ground and dragged him up onto his feet. “Take him to my lower study, and keep a guard on him at all times, he does not leave that room until I can confirm what he has said and who this Knight of Quenya is” Alpedia nodded and ushered Haldir to move forward. Haldir dusted off his new suit and shook his head as he began to wlak forward

“Ms. Anakamoto and Sir Thalion will hear of my treatment Casitan, you can count on that”

To be Continued

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The Colours of the Wind Part 1

Lunar date unknown – Moon Bag World

Miriel perched on a large flat rock, surveying the land of Moon Bag World – a strange place she would never have guessed was contained in Hikari’s bag of holding. The area they were in was surrounded by fog, and she sensed that they were being watched; not by the supposed denizens within its folds, but by the fog itself.

She did not sense malevolence, however, so inclined her head politely at the fog, stripped herself of her dress, and sat on the grainy red orange rock to feel the air around her. It started out calm and quiet, but soon as she dropped deeper into her meditation she heard a strange buzzing. Intrigued, she concentrated on it, and it wasn’t long before she realized it was someone praying to her.

“Lady of Divine Beauty and Protector of Men Great and Small, I call out to you on this day…”

She smiled as she recognized Hagnon’s inner voice – powerful and confident, as a leader should be. He was quickly rising in her favour, so she concentrated all the more on his words.

“Your breeze has filled our sails and brought us to the wreckage of one of our fleet.”

“WHAT?” Miriel said sharply, her wings pumping herself into the air for a moment before falling back onto the rock below her. She ignored the pain in her back and bottom – she’ll have to stretch those muscles out afterwards – and went back to listening to his prayer.

“…exact vengeance for those who have been betrayed by your enemies. Should this be true, show me a sign, and my sword will be yours.”

Miriel’s blood sang as she shouted “YES!” and wind blew her hair about her body in answer, streaming down into the rest of the rocky vale to run havoc with her companions. Her lips shifted into a playful smile as voices raised in annoyance rang out, and she snuck a glance behind her to see the new bard running after some paper (though clearly not into the darkness), while the Captain and Johno looked n dismay at the small barrel of ale that had spilt over some fabrics draped over a stone table.

Whoops, guess I will have to make it up to the Captain, those look like some of those sample fabrics he got back in Lockland…

Her attention snapped back as her self-proclaimed champion swore at her again; “So be it Great Goddess, I have seen your signs and accept your task, those who defile the ships named Champion shall be snuffed out, SO MOTE IT BE!”

“What did I do?” she asked aloud, but then shrugged; she would ask him later, and it sounded as if his priorities were straight. If he was amenable, she would ask if he would be interested in exchanging pleasures – though she would first fulfil her promise to Curtis and go to him once they were finished this quest for the infuriating Erindale. Her cleric would accept her favour with eagerness, she had no doubt, and despite some of his faults she cared for him deeply…and she wanted to experience the legendary stamina of a faun.

“Wait for me just a little longer, my Curtis,” she purred, stretching backwards and rubbing at her backside a little – she needed to stretch after all.

“I would wait for ye fer a long time, Goddess,” she heard from behind, and she looked over to see Johno approaching her, clutching the empty ale barrel to his chest. He looked mournfully into the emptiness before dropping the barrel to the ground and sitting beside her.

“You are interrupting my sexual fantasy, Dwarf,” she said, crossing her arms in irritation.

“My apologies, Goddess, I jest wanted to talk about thet exchange program we talked about, since a wind knocked over me ale.”

“Ah, yes. I do owe you for that. Very well, I shall make amends.”

Miriel stood up, cracked her spine and knuckles a few times. Johno laughed warily just as he watched her lustfully. “What are ye gonna do, Goddess?”

She smiled. “You may watch me stretch, Dwarf.”

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Growing Pains Pt 1

23rd of Reaping 383 ONT, Central Gardens Of Athalea, Highport, Argyle 10:33am

Haldir scratched his head nervously, things had been a bit of a whirlwind for him and he didn’t know what to think. He had thought his days in Highport were numbered, that the Red Tower had gone so far to send a formal mark… well that was just to be the end for him. But it wasn’t, the Red Tower had sent two attachés, Flit Fargazer and the lovely Hikari Anakamoto. What an angel she was, swooping from nowhere and agreeing to pay off his debts, remove his troubles with the tower. She had also given him 1000gp in order to “get by” until he was paid again, to “fix up his house, buy food and cover any other payments that had been outstanding”. He couldn’t believe it, he was lucky if he saw this kind of coin in five years of work, here was an all-powerful wizard who just gave it to random gardeners down on their luck. Haldir smiled to himself, things were going to be different this time, he was going to turn his life around, this was his brand new break and he wasn’t going to waste it this time.

“Haldir Numanor?” A stern voice said to him, he turned and saw a tall blond elven man wearing a light shirt of chain and a badge that marked him as a Warden of the Gardens. “Please Report to the Steward of the Gardens” The man said, his tone making it clear that this was not a request.

“Well… ummm, I still have to fertilize the dangeria’s here, and then tidy up, but I can be there in about half an hour or so if…” Haldir stammered

“Leave your work, you are requested now" The man was implacable, so begrudgingly Haldir put down his rake and removed his gloves, the Warden ushered him to take the lead and followed a few feet behind him. twenty minutes later he stood in front of the desk of Steward Nelaeryn Keavyr.

“Mr. Numanor, I want to start by saying this brings me no joy” The Warden began. Haldir stood their awkwardly staring at his feet, their were no chairs on this side of the desk, the room felt closed in and suffocating. “but I am afraid their are just too many infractions for me to continuing ignoring, Over seven hundred sick days in the last five years, Being Rude to Garden Patrons, Frequent Tardy notices, an inability to take managements advice, showing up to work lacking full uniform or dirty uniform… the list goes on”

“Well Sir, you see, my kid… he’s been sick and…” he as cut off with a swift motion of the hand by his employer

“I have heard it before Mr. Numanor, we all have, and I am afraid my patience and sympathy, much like your employment here, has come to an end. The incident last week of having two Tower Goons come onto Park Lands to serve you a debt notice… that really pushes things beyond the limits”

“Please Steward… I can’t loose my job now, I need my job… those weren’t Debt Enforcers… they weren’t” he stammered thinking as quickly as he could “Those were messengers, working Directly for Lord Erindale, they serve on this Ship the Champions Fist, and were coming to speak with me about the park… It was good customer service, just like you have been encouraging me sir. They Work for Sir Thalion Alfirn, a Knight of Quenya, and were interested in the Gardens… please sir… please” Haldir sobbed, he couldn’t loose his job now, not when he had come so far; he was finally getting his life back together.

“Knight of Quenya you say? His people admiring our gardens? not to many Knights of Quenya anymore…” The Steward mused

“No their arn’t sir… and…” Haldir knew what he was about to say was a lie, but it was a lie for good, so it couldn’t be that bad right? “And… The Ships Wizard… Hakari Anakamoto… she said that she liked the Gardens so much that she would be bringing her Captain back next time they were in port, she said she’d see me then… that they’d like to see the progress on the southern beds…” he began crying again. The Steward eyed Haldir carefully but could not be sure if the man could be trusted or not. If this man was able to pull a Knight to the Gardens, perhaps a good word could be put in and more funding could be attained, but if the man was lying than this would be just another waste of time.

“So be it…” he said at last “but mark my words Haldir Numanor, this is your very last chance, one tardy notice, so much as a button undone on your uniform, a single sniffle or sick day and you are done here… are we clear?”

“Yes Sir,” Haldir said, bowing as he backed out of the room “Thank you very much Sir, you won’t regret it at all!” Haldir nodded and bowed until he was into the hall and then exited the building as quickly as he could, not wanting to push his luck anymore on this the luckiest of lucky weeks.

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How to Train Your Symbiote

Lunar Calendar Date: Unknown, Lunar Bag World, Bag Zone ??

Hikari looked down at the small pellet of enchanted metal in her hand and at the Arachnis eating a similar piece. She licked her lips remembering the flavours and the differences in the taste of these metal meals both from the types of spells used as well as the she’d had and yet knowing that she had never eaten and could not digest something like this herself. And yet through Phobia she had for every time they rejoined after one of the meals Hikari got to experience the memories. She placed the errant piece back in the pile musing at how much she felt like Phobia was more an extension of herself than an independent creature and how at times like this it was like she’d shut off a part of her while Phobia ate like keeping an eye closed or plugging an ear or not being able to use an arm for a while.

Hikari wasn’t certain when exactly it happened or even how and in truth considered it to be more of a gradual process that she was only now, during a quiet moment, realizing how far it had come. The Arachnis, Phobia, was a symbiotic entity and yet their thoughts rarely misaligned or diverged. Phobia’s knowledge was a part of Hikari and she’d never kept any barriers between herself and Phobia once she’d learned about the Arachnis back at the temple. Now it felt more and more like there was no difference between them but not in the same way as it was with Hiro and Paprikka but more along the lines of Phobia actually being an extension of her own body and mind. Like discovering one suddenly had wings and learning how to first notice them then move them and eventually being able to fly as if they had always known how. Hikari grinned at the clunky but accurate analogy. It was to the point where she was no longer using ‘we’ when speaking as she felt like one person and Phobia was as much Hikari as it was in reverse.

The biggest surprise had happened after having to sort out that mess with the magical deck and the fantastical bow Jesse had acquired and dealing with the intelligence and personality within. In doing so it awakened new abilities in Phobia wherein it appeared she could now shift and adjust her body to different shapes including that of a bow. She began practicing and adjusting the tension in the legs as well as the silken string to mimic the flex and feel and strength of the original but with a more organic feel. Though she didn’t like not being mentally connected during that time and wondered if there was a way to keep the link from severing.

This also led Hikari to imagining other possibilities that could align with the inherent gifts of an Arachnis. Nothing specific in the shared memories suggested it wasn’t possible and excitedly she worked out the details and was almost ready to begin, or would be when the meal was finished when her thoughts were interrupted with a kiss.

Warm, soft and inviting she leaned into the kiss all other thoughts forgotten for the moment. Reaching for Valeira, her hands slid over the gentle curves of her hips and settled in the depression of her waist and pulled her forward till their bodies touched. She felt Valeira’s arms encircle her as she settled into Hikari’s lap. She touched Valeira’s cheek feeling her smile and let her hand run back through her hair.

“Really? Here?” Tar Di’s annoyance cut into the moment. “Can’t you at least wait until you’re back on the ship? ”

“Now lass, ye cannae be interruptin’ like that. T’is bad manners.” The Schooner commented earning him an annoyed look and a raspberry from Tar Di. “Love should be celebrated no matter where it may happen.” He looked over to Miriel and winked. For her part Miriel refrained from commenting or even acknowledging the dwarf.

“But this place is boring, nothing happens and you can’t see anything. And I ahve to leave our cabin when this starts and I can’t do that here.” Tar Di threw a pebble into the darkness beyond the borders of the bag zone. Then she had an idea and her face lit up once more. “I have an idea about how to make it less boring…”

The resounding “NO” from those assembled sent Tar Di sulking off to one side and both Hikari and Valeira laughing quietly. The two did separate however slowly sharing a few last touches and a quick kiss.

“We’ll finish that later,” Valeira smiled and then looked to Tar Di, “I think I’ll go and make tar Di less bored with some good stories so you can get back to whatever it was that had your attention.”

“But you had my attention,” Hikari sighed and looked over to her apprentice and then back to Valeira. She wondered what it would take to modify a teleport spell enough to get them back to her cabin on the ship and then let it go as she knew that even if she could it would be a one way trip. “Probably for the best I don’t try that.” She sighed again and looked down at the Arachnis. Right she had ideas she wanted to try.

For the next few hours Hikari worked on getting Phobia’s shape to stretch and shift sizes. She also attempted many different ways of having the Arachnis on her back instead of front and tried to find a comfortable position where they could be connected and have four of the legs wrapped around her and four of them stretching and moving to match Hikari’s actions. It was slow, looked awkward and not overly successful but there was hope. Phobia’s form was more malleable or adjustable than one would think and with lots of practice and time her vision of combining the Arachnis’ gifts with her own abilities could be more than a simple bow. Being able to move faster and react sooner to danger and climbing… definitely climbing would be easier. And the possibilities of what she could do with the silk/webbing were intriguing. If only they had more time…

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Bloodshed in the Wind Pt 3

4th of Goodmonth 383 ONT, 3:56pm, Southern Evermoors, Argyle

“I can only imagine your frustrations Nameer, but I think you and your group our suffering from Logical Positivism, You are taking a written word and declaring it as the truth directly from Aurora, but you are the first to admit that Aurora did not write the holy books herself. Religious language is often vague, imprecise, and couched in mystery, we are aware of the nature of scribes and translators. From what I can gather from our conversations and I will be the first to admit that I am not expert in the religion of Aurora, many of the written religious statements, including those about her decrees against other Air Goddess, are neither tautological nor empirically verifiable. To me how can it say that Aurora is ‘compassionate’, is ‘kind’ and ‘loves life and whimsy’ and yet she has a monastery that takes children from their parents at a young age and trains assassins to kill those who have never even interacted with her church? The actions to not match your scriptures” Curtis said as he leaned back against the tree in contemplation, they had been discussing the tenants of their religion for sometime now but the faun felt that they kept dancing around to this one vital point. He dug through his pack now without objection and offered the smoked meat to Nameer. He waved off the kind offer with a smile. Curtis shrugged and piece for his own and began to start chewing on it.

“So you do not have Holy Texts?” Nameer said “How is that you can hope for your religion to grow?”

“I am currently writing one, and I am not saying that texts are not important for broad strokes to introduce someone to your religion, but My Goddess speaks to me, often, she watches me always… she cares in my outcomes and does not stray from telling me what path I should take or if an action is wrong. Your entire sub order relies on texts written hundreds of years ago, but priests who did not speak directly to her, but based their information on historical texts of her time on Argyle, that must leave you in knots? How can you know you are pleasing her?” The faun asked, and for the first time they’re was a serious crack in the assassin’s facade, he looked genuinely worried.

“How could I know? She does not speak to me as your Goddess speaks to you, is my entire life a lie?” Nameer mused more to himself then Curtis

“I tell you what… this is important, very important… so here is what we will do” Curtis said dusting his hands off and rising to his feet “Free my friends, and let us surrender to you, we will walk with you to the nearest shrine of your Goddess, and we will ask her directly, and while we walk, I will tell you of my Goddess, let us truly know if we have quarrel here or not… is it truly worth the risk of your immortal soul that a scribe did his research correctly?” Nameer scratched his chin but stood as well,

“You would do that, surrender to me and walk to a shrine?” the man asked in surprise
“You may see me as your enemy, but I see you as a new friend… No matter how this comes about, I will not raise a blade against you Nameer, on my word as a cleric of the Goddess of the Night Wind” he said offering his hand forward to shake in friendship. The assassin smiled despite himself and took Curtis’s hand.

“You are an odd one my friend, I don’t think this has ever been done before” Curtis smiled and let out a small laugh

“Maul says that about me all the time”

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Bloodshed in the Wind Pt 2

4th of Goodmonth 383 ONT, 3:29pm, Southern Evermoors, Argyle

“wake up Curtis… wake up, you’re in trouble” the soft voice whispered across the ether, through the drifts of time and into the realm of dreams. “wake up Cutis, and know… violence begets violence”

The Faun stretched and yawned opening his eyes, it didn’t feel like he had slept that long, he doubted Maul would be back with his fish yet, but still, he had a knot in his stomach, something was wrong and he could not shake it. He sat up and looked around his camp, his heart sinking. Hog tied in the creek, his face fighting to keep above the water was Maul, his right eye was bleeding and appeared to be cut in numerous places. The faun shifted his gaze just past the shore line where he saw a jar with Soaz in it, it was stoppered and sealed in wax, her air would soon run out. At last he noted Levan and Oswack unconscious and tied back to back. Curtis sighed… he was terrible at this whole adventuring thing. About ten feet from him, sitting cross legged was a man in grey clothes, a long bloody dagger sitting in front of him.

“So, you are Curtis, chosen of the Night Wind? I must say, I am not impressed by her champion” the man said, his tone conversational. Curtis sat up, and moved to rush to Maul’s aid “Ah, Ah, I am a fair hand with this dagger, you’d never make it to the shore” the man said pointing causally with the long knife. Curtis nodded swallowing hard before responding

“Would you consider a parlay before killing me? I have questions, and I am sure you do to… what could be the harm in talking” Curtis asked putting on his best charming smile. The man scratched his chin with the point of his knife thinking about it

“I do have questions… I could agree to this” the man said “But any deception will lead to your end” Curtis raised his hands nodding in agreement

“Well, in order for me to focus, for us to speak theologically you must grant me permission to caste two spells… only two” he said quickly as the man’s brows furrowed, Curtis hurried forward with his thoughts “I water breathing for Maul, and a zone of sweet air for Soaz… should you be done with me, and kill me, my spells will end right away and they will soon die as you have set forth, but knowing they are safe at least for the time being allows me to focus on our conversation, and gives you leverage to extort the truth from me… what say you… two spells and I will tell you whatever you wish about my goddess? Deal?” The man seemed to think long and hard about this, but at last did give a single slow nod. Curtis did not question his fate, but quickly set to work laying the two spells that would stave of death for the time being, then went back to his spot on the bed, he opened his pack… slowly showing the man each step in the process and pulling forth two apples, offering one to the man, he took the opposite one from what Curtis offered, but then they both sat and ate.

“I am Nameer of the temple of Aurora, I have come seeking vengeance for crimes against my Goddess” the man said somewhat formally

“I am Curtis Tomas, of the Evermoors, First Cleric of the Goddess of the Night Wind, I acknowledge your complaint and sit in the spirit of peace in hopes that we might move forward together”

4th of Goodmonth 383 ONT, 3:36pm, Chistles Point, Argyle

Aranite let out a throaty bellow as he felt the bone in his hind left leg snap under the blow from the assassin. He fought with all his might to keep his balance as he reached out with his gloved hands grabbing the small man and heaving him across the smithy. The man rolled over the counter and landed back against the forge, his clothes on his back melted and smell of burning flesh filled the room, the man did not call out. He merely sprung to his feet, grabbing a hot poker near him and swinging hit like a weapon.

“Ave, Zazz, Arnold… GET OUT OF HERE! Fetch the guard from the Temple of Selwyn! QUICKLY!” Aranite called to his employees who quickly scrambled out of the smithy. The man took a half step to chase one, but Aranite grabbed a massive block of metal and hurled it across the room at him. The man nimbly dodged but missed his chance to attack the noble employees and friends of the Smithy.

“I was to offer you a quick death, but for this” he showed the burn along the back of his left shoulder “you will suffer long” Azeer threw the hot poked at Aranite, hitting him mid haunch. The leapt up grabbing a rafter and swinging across the room in a whirling kick. The blow was not that much for a sturdy smith, but the weakened rear leg caused him to lose his balance and the massive centaur tumbled to the ground. “Your bitch of a Goddess has wronged the Lady of Air for the last time… I will hunt down anyone who dares pray to her” Azeer growled as he launched three quick thrusts with a dagger into the stomach of the felled centaur. To the surprise of the assassin, the centaurs great strong hand snaked out and grasped him around the neck

“Your people might… but you… will not” The centaur grunted as he received several more dagger thrusts into the stomach. Still his hands clenched ever tighter around Azeers throats… the man struggled and attacked with everything he had, but at last their was a snapping popping noised, and the assassin went limp.

4th of Goodmonth 383 ONT, 3:41pm, Honastica, Argyle

“An assassin from a rival Goddess, I can hardly believe it” Cenon said, seeing the man laying on the floor of the shrine. Hagnon nodded to him as he used the assassin’s knife to cut open the chest of his enemy

“These are exciting times indeed, this means we are indeed doing right by our Goddess if our presence causes the other Goddlings to quake in fear!” Hagnon said, excitement evident in his voice.

“But still, who is this Air Goddess, and how can any hate our beloved Lady of Night?” Cenon quarried. Hagnon shook his head, stumped himself over such a question

“To be flawed is to be mortal?” he asked more than said, quoting the ancient poet “It is more of the like that this one was raised in ignorance of the truth of our Goddess, as such he was never given a chance to know her love and live in eternal splendor… it saddens me to think that, but that is the cruelty of the mortal realms” at last Hagnon managed to saw open the chest cavity, with a few quick cuts of the knife he pulled forth the heart of his enemy and turned and walked towards the Alter. “GREAT GODDESS OF THE NIGHT WIND, THIS MAN ATTEMPTED TO KILL AND HE WAS INDEED A WORTHY FOE, I TAKE WHAT STRENGTH HIS HEATHEN HERATIC RELIGION OFFERED AND CONSUME IT TO BETTER OFFER IT TO YOU, MAY HIS STRENGTH FUEL THE FIRES OF YOUR RELIGION SO THAT IT MAY GROW AND SPREAD!” with the he took a great bite of the heart of the assassin’s heart, chewing it carefully and continuing until he had consumed it in entirety. He then turned back to Cenon “Their will be more, let us be more warry in the future of who we grant an audience with”

“As you wish my King” Cenon said saluting with his fist over his chest

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Bloodshed in the Wind pt 1

4th of Goodmonth 383 ONT, 1:18pm, Southern Evermoors, Argyle

Please Listen While Reading

Curtis trudged along the northward trail, following the easy pace of Maul Chalum, he could hear Levan pattering along behind him with Oswack and Soaz bringing up the rear. he adjusted the straps on his backpack and took a deep breath of the pine fresh air. It was good to be back in the Evermoors, for some reason it always felt more like home here than anywhere else. he looked back and saw Oswack heaving heavy breaths as he clambered along to keep up. Curtis jogged up to the front.

“Maul, we have to take a break, we’ve been on the road since dawn,” Curtis said in a low whisper. The Wild Elf gave him a baleful look, the group moved at perhaps a third the speed he would normally travel at, with at least twelve times the number of breaks he would take. It was a wonder they ever got anywhere. Curtis gave him his best ‘faun eyes’ and the Wild Elf grinned despite himself

“I hear a spring or creek not far from here, let us push to there, then we can lunch and drink our fill… fair?” Maul offered

“Sounds Great Maul,” Curtis said “a nice cool stream, maybe a nap in the shade… all sounds great” The Faun said with a smile

“Don’t push it” Maul said with mock seriousness.

The group hiked for another half hour before finding a shady clearing beside a burbling little brook. with the ancient red pines overhead the place gave excellent vision and was pretty bug free. Even Maul Challum had to admit it was an excellent resting point.

“Ok,” the Wild Elf put in, “We can camp here tonight, but I want us starting all the earlier tomorrow… deal?” whoops of happiness sealed the deal and in no time the party was hanging a tarp for cover, laying out bedrolls and collecting firewood. Curtis filled a pot with water and began pulling out spices and meats while Maul wandered the banks of the brook picking wild garlic and onions. The wild elf cheered to the astonishment of Curtis as he held up and handful of ripe fiddleheads. “I think their are trout up stream a bit to… hold off on the dry meat, let me try for something fresh tonight” he called. Curtis nodded, cleaning up and opted instead to stretch and take a short nap before starting his cooking duties, while he waited to see if Maul would grant them a better supper. the faun fished an apple from his backpack and took a big bite as he ideally wandering about the resting area, pulling heavier stones from under sleep mats and placing them in a ring for the fire. When his area was suitably comfortable he curled up on his bed roll, took his last two bites of apple and closed his eyes nodding into a light doze.

4th of Goodmonth 383 ONT, 3:16pm, Church Ground of the Goddess of the Night Wind, Chistles Point, Argyle

The man in simple peasants cloths approached the small smithy at the edge of the Goddess of the Night Winds Grounds. The Smithy seemed to be doing well, it staffed two dwarves a gnome and was run by a large Centaur who came out to greet him.

“Good Day Sir, I am Aranite, Smith of the Goddess of the Night Wind, how may I help you?” the Centaur said wiping his soot stained hands on a cloth as he trotted up to the counter. The Peasant man bowed his head deeply.

“Hello, I am Azeer, I am an Air Worshiper searching for any churches of the Goddess of the Night Wind, I would know her better” the man said. Aranite gave him a warm smile and extended a hand to shake it.

“Well met Azeer, you have come to the right place, the Goddess has indeed visited here, and has deemed this smithy be built until such a time that a proper temple can begin construction. I can tell you what I can of the Goddess from my interactions, but should warn you I am not a cleric” The Centaur said, coming out from behind the counter to speak with Azeer and lead him towards the fields dedicated to the Goddess.

4th of Goodmonth 383 ONT, 3:19pm, Shrine of the Goddess of the Night Wind, Chestnut Grove, Occupied Honastica, Argyle

King Hagnon bowed before the Alter of his Goddess, he was seeking to calm the stray thoughts in his mind. The last two days had started with slaves fleeing their masters to join his cause, he had offered sanctuary or riches as he had with all others and bolstered his number again. Even now Cenon and Pelious trained with the new recruits, forging them into a phalanx worthy of the Goddess. They had also attempted to reinforce their position, he had seen several riders approach, take stock of their activities and ride off, a battle would be about them soon, and he would need HER beloved wisdom in order to see his way to victory.

“My King” he heard Damocles say from behind him “This is Zamfir, he has risked much running the lines to know more of the Goddess” The King did not leave his bowed kneeling position, nor did he open his eyes

“So be it Democles, I believe we will see our enemy this day, please leave our guest and examine the defenses” King Hagnon said

“It will be done my King” Deomcles said, saluting with his fist over his heart and leaving the room. all was quiet for a long while before the King spoke

“So you have come to kill me, as a strike against my Goddess?” the King asked

“Why would you say that Good King Hagnon?” the voice of the man was soft as a whisper, but did not argue the point. Still Hagnon did not move

“My Goddess allows me to glimpse what is in a man’s heart… your heart belongs to another Goddess and is filled with anger and indignation towards me, you may be an assassin, but that does not mean you must be a liar; speak truth in your intent and own some nobility” their was a long pause, and Hagnon could hear the shifting of cloth behind him before a response came

“So be it, Aurora will not suffer this blasphemy any longer, your Goddess dares steal from her, she will be punished in this world and the others!” the man said leaping forward. Hagnon spun as he did catching the hand with a knife and holding it inches from his face.

“As… Written… In… the… Scrolls… SHEDOESWHATSHEWANTS!” Hagnon pushed the man back with the last and pulled the athame from the alter as Zamfir reversed the grip on his own weapon and dropped into a crouched position.

“Sumbit and your death will be quick” Zamfir offered

“You attempt to kill a favoured of the Goddess of the Night Wind… I promise you, you death will be long and slow, and you will learn you folly well!” Hagnon replied, the two dashed forward and their knives met in a clang of battle.

4th of Goodmonth 383 ONT, 3:26pm, Southern Evermoors, Argyle

“Hello Levan, I am Nameer, I am search of the cleric named Curtis?” the grey clad man said to the small gnome on the fringe of the glade

To be Continued

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Cainian Blood Pt 1

3rd of Goodmonth 383 ONT, 3:28pm, fields of Darwheaton, Cainia, Argyle

Please Listen While Reading

“Sir, we received word back from your brother at ”/wikis/Narlington/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Narlington, he is unwilling to commit his troops to the battle, and wants us to pull back and reinforce him at Narlington" Commander Keeoto said reading parts of the missive out loud to the Prince known as Prancer. The Prince gave him a hard look, one that the Commander was growing used to. The retaking of Narlington had been an overwhelming success, they had stormed the lines from behind and scattered the forces trying to siege the most secure fortification in Cainia. Prince Forbes had led the charge himself and was over eager to see the fortification still flying Cainian Colours. That was when things had begun to go sideways. It was quickly discovered the Narlington had a full complement of soldiers and had been well provisioned, it was also discovered that each of the neighboring fortifications had requested aid, and Narlington had sent none. Prince Caleb of Narlington made it clear that his duty was to keep lines of diplomacy open against such a force in order to negotiate some sort of appeasement for the ruling family, as such he refused to send his men into battle. Tensions rose further when he discovered what Prince Henry had been doing, Caleb felt that the Slugs and Henry had soured all possibilities of a payout for the surviving family members. Henry, or Prancer as Keeoto had come to think of him, had taken what supplies he needed from Narlington under heavy protest from his brother and then had his troops depart the next morning, informing his brother that they were at war now, and his troops would be needed to secure Darwheaton. Here they were, two weeks later, ready to lay siege to the capital and once again, the host from Narlington was absent from the lines.

“My host will split in two, and cover Narlington’s objectives as well Commander,” The Prince said, anger evident in his voice

“That will leave you pretty stretched thin Sir, are you sure that is what you want to do?” The Commander asked

“Want, now that is an interesting question Commander, What I want is for the future King of Cainia to be here beside me as we retake his capital, What I want is to be done with this war and the senseless death and violence… but what I want does not appear to matter today… so instead we will do what we need to, and leave wanting for a day with more sun”

“Aye Sir” The Commander retorted marking in his book the change of unit allocations, “Then with your permission I will maneuver the men to their new positions and we can start the attack within the hour”

“So be it” Prancer said “one way or another, this will be finished soon”

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Blood of the Goddess Pt 3

2nd of Goodmonth 383 ONT, 3:28pm, Chestnut Grove Farm, Southern Honatice, Argyle

Hagnon marched into the manor of Chestnut Grove, pushing both double doors open simultaneously and assessing the defensive value of his new base of operations. it was four stories and a sprawling display of the ill informed, this shelter would not be ideal for any long term fight. He turned to Pelious who had followed him in.

“Have the house searched, collect me slaves and family members and paid works, and gather them with the prisoners out front” The King said

“It will be done My King” Pelious said, nodding his head to five of their men to follow as they strode towards the stairs. Hagnon walked into a large chamber off the main foyer, it appeared to be a longer narrow room, a few benches lining the marble floor with painting adorning the walls.

“Arteus!” Hagnon called back, summoning his young cousin

“Yes My King?” Arteus asked as he jogged to an approach

“It is time for you to make use of your talents! This fool held the riches of Kings and yet beat his people instead of holding them up… find his silverware and any other bits or none weapon or tool metal that you can, I wish you to make a mold and a statue of our goddess to be set up here, this hall will be where we pray and show homage to the Goddess of the Night Wind. If we are to win this campaign, we will require her constant favour… find all the red wine, candles and incense in the house and leave it here for me to assemble an alter for her”

“It will be done My King” Arteus said with a smile, he enjoyed it when his cousin allowed him to stretch his artistic muscles.Arteus turned to leave

“Oh and Arteus….”

“Yes My King?”

“Should you find any other alters, any other holy symbols or anything supporting a God other than our Mighty Goddess… have those items dropped into the latrine, we will burn it before we move on”

“Arteus nodded again, offering a fist over his heart as a salute before jogging off to his work”

Hagnon walked up and down the hallway examining each picture carefully, he chose three that he felt incorporated a sense of glory in battle and beauty, things that were worthy to stay in the hall of the Goddess of the Night Wind, the others he pulled from the wall and placed by the front door, with the increasingly large pile of coins, statues, jeweled weapons, gems and tapestries. He spent a long time staring at one particular image, a painting of a man on a horse raising a sword towards an army whole a tornado raged behind him, he liked this picture and moved it to a place of honour at the end of the hall. He felt that he could be the man in the image, with the Tornado being his undefeatable Goddess, or perhaps the man had angered the goddess and she was wiping him and his men from the realm, either could be a satisfying answer he mused

“King Hagnon?” the soft spoken words of Cenon broke him from his deep thoughts. He looked to his long time companion wordlessly asking what was needed. “They are ready Sire” he nodded and followed Cenon outside. at the base of the steps of the manor, Their were three groups assembled, all on their knees. The first were the wife, daughters, children and family of the now very late Fredrick Lemmens. The ten or so of them huddled and cried for their lost Knights and in distress of their things, but as yet had not been harmed. The second group was maybe fifteen or twenty strong, they were the captives from the battle, the men at arms, as well any farm aids or paid employees of the Baron who had been on the ground with Hagnon and his men had won the day. The Last group was the largest amounting to almost fifty individuals, they were the slaves of Chestnut Grove, both the house and field ones. 10 of Hagnon’s men were arrayed behind the gathered with swords in hand to assure obedience and submission. Hagnon looked up to the sky realm of his Goddess before shaking his head with the knowledge of what needed to be done, he then stepped forward and spoke addressing the slaves first.

“Slaves of Chestnut Grove, It is clearly written in the Scroll of the Night Wind…” he held up the scroll where he had written the teachings of his goddess down “… That the Goddess does not like slavery, and will not suffer slavers. As such, I cannot keep you and thus will offer you freedom. If you wish it, you may join with my cause and campaign, as we are on a holy mission to avenge a fallen Captain and rescue the chosen of our Goddess, should you join with us, you will be given weapons, food and protection as best we are able, but will fall under my command for the duration of this campaign” He took a moment to meet the gaze of every man women and child among the slaves “Our task will not be easy, some of you die, BUT eternal glory resides with heroes of the Goddess, and I only share paths with heroes” he paused a long moment before continuing. “Any slave who does not wish to join arms with my cause will be free to take one armful of items from the treasure pile, and flee as best they can, our ties will be cut and my duty to your freedom will be complete. Think hard on this choice as you will not be accepted back…” He glanced up at the sun “You have two hours to make your choice, however you go, go with the blessing of the Goddess of the Night Wind” with his speech done he nodded. two of his men walked among the slaves cutting the last of their bonds, the men then moved to better guard the family and the captives.

sniff sniff

the crying continued from the family as they realized their wealth and treasures would be given to slaves, Hagnon was not without mercy, he was going to wait until last, but the family appeared strained and he did not wish to draw that out

“Family of Baron Lemmens, You are Judged as Slavers, and as is written I will not suffer Slavers…”

WAIT!” a women cried, she had keen eyes, she likely sensed where this was about to go “Please… spare the children, they are young…” Hagnon looked at those assembled, the children she spoke of were likely her grandchildren, of the ages 5 and perhaps 11. It brought him no joy, but he shook his head slowly

“Should I spare these children, they will grow up with vengeance in their hearts, to hunt me and mine while I am old and weakened. That is how wars continue through ages, our conflict is now, and so too is the punishment. The GODDESS OF THE NIGHT WIND WILL NOT SUFFER SLAVERS!” He shouted, forcing the lump from his throat and nodding to his men. Before the family could begin their pleads in earnest, his men stepped forward grabbing family members by the hair and slicing open their throats, in seconds all ten of them lay dead, puddles of red staining the green grass. When his men had wiped their blades clean and moved behind the captives Hagnon nodded again, gaining control of his emotions. “Any under their twentieth year will be given a proper burial, those older made their choices themselves and will be caste into the fields for the crows”

HIIIIIIIUUU” his men grunted in acknowledgement, causing the assembled captives to jump. At last Hagnon turned to them and eyed each carefully. They were nervous, would they be offered an option akin to the slaves? or would they be considered slavers and be the next to be killed

“I understand the concept of conscripts, of fate, and of poor circumstance” He began to the assembled group “And it is written in the Scroll of the Night Wind that our Goddess is a merciful Goddess, and as such I shall offer a mercy to you” their were audible sighs of relief from those assembled, especially those who had raised weapons against the fierce warriors of Thefia. “Any among you who wish a change of circumstance, an opportunity to leave this life of sin and devilry behind now have a choice. Should you come forward, swear your soul to the Goddess of the Night Wind and swear fealty to me for the duration my my campaign, you will be granted the rank of one of my soldiers and all the benefits and privileges there in. Should you not wish to swear to my Goddess or HER cause, then so be, your fate lays on the ground beside you” he pointed to the red bloody members of the Lemmen family to their left. “Let us begin” he declared nodding to Pelious. Pelious grabbed the nearest captive to the King, one who had fought against them only an hour earlier that day. he was dragged up the steps and pushed to his knees on the steps before King Hagnon

“Do I not get time to think, to consider?” The man cried in fear. The King removed his Holy Symbol and held it out before him

“This is not a matter of the mind, it is a matter of the heart and soul, your heart does not require time to consider, it knows what is right and what is wrong, decide now, your soul is on the line” The King held the symbol for the man to kiss, at the same time the man shuddered hearing the SHINK noise of Pelious drawing his gladious behind him.

“I…” the man burbled and stammered

“Decide” the King said, all emotion and sympathy gone from his tone

“I…. I can’t… I need some time…”

THWAP

the man’s head was cleaved off and bounded down the stairs. Pelious stepped aside wiping his blade as the King lifted one leg and kicked the body down the stairwell. The Body had barley hit the grass when Pelious grabbed the next man in line and dragged him up to kneel before King Hagnon

“Decide” The King said in the same impassive tone. The man said nothing, he fell over himself to quickly lean forward and kiss the holy symbol. Hagnon let out a light bark of a laugh, reaching down and lifting the man to his feet. “What is your name?” he asked, the man was terrified by managed to answer in a squeak

“Conner” was all he got out.

“Welcome Conner, embrace me as a brother” Hagnon said giving the shocked man a giant bear hug “Know that treachery in this world will mean torture in the next, but i fear you not, for we are brother’s in the goddess cause now… TO CONNER” he said taking Conners hand and holding it up to the assembled men

HIIIIUUUUU” the men grunted in welcome thrusting their spears in the air in unison. Conner was offered a chance to go stand among the soldiers, while Pelious moved on to the next man in line.

Three men and two women lost their lives as they refused to swear or tried to bargain and play with words. Eight men and three women, and four children had come over without issue. Hagnon had made only one alteration, and that was for the two year old who had not yet mastered their words, he accepted the mothers and fathers promise to raise the child in the Goddess’s Shadow as promise enough. When all was done at the end of the day Twenty-nine slaves had opted to join his cause, and eight of them the path of his Goddess. the remainder had taken what they could carry and had made a run for it. It had been a productive day, tomorrow they would fortify for the inevitable retribution that would be attempted; he would kill the remaining nineteen knights to avenge Leslie, then move on to find the remainder of the crew of the Champions Thrust

To Be Continued

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Blood of the Goddess Pt 2

2nd of Goodmonth 383 ONT, 1:23pm, Chestnut Grove Farm, Southern Honatice, Argyle

Please Listen While Reading

Ser Fredrick Lemmens looked out with his six armed knights, he’d taken the precaution of calling together is militia of about twenty men at arms, and a few dozen slaves as well. He was unsure what this force was, wearing bronzed leather skirts and breast plates, large helms and shields that shone a coppery golden colour in the afternoon sun. They marched at an easy jog, in two long columns of twelve, spears hanging easily from their hands as they were led by a man running about ten feet ahead of them. As they approached the gate of Chestnut Grove Farms the leader raised his spear hand, and silently and in will disciplined order the men came to a sudden halt. He called something out in a language that escaped Fredrick and the two columns turned horizontal to the gate and stood shields raised but spears pointed up facing his assemblage of men some sixty feet ahead. From here their leader began an easy walk through the gate and up the road towards Fredrick’s line. Seeing the call for parlay, Fredrick nodded to his nephew, Sir Tristan Greef and the two road down to meet the man halfway. As they approached the man stopped, and removed his helm placing it on the ground at his side, he stood waiting for something that Fredrick could not fathom.

“Well?” Fredrick growled after five or so minutes of awkward silence. The blond man looked hard at him and raised a questioning eyebrow, his eyes glanced up and down over Fredrick giving him what he guessed was an appraisal that was found lacking

“You do not dismount?” The man said with an accent Fredrick could not place

“You approached us… state your business” Tristan fired off, in a tone to let the waif know he was on thin ice already

“You ride out with protection, you do not dismount, and you keep your helmet on… I judge you coward” The man said in a tone that carried authority. His eyes never traced over to Tristan but stayed locked on Fredrick the entire time

“I.. huh… well I…. Not in all my…” Fredrick stammered

“You dare slander Sir Fredrick Lemmens, Baron Chestnut Grove and Knight of Crown?” Tristan roared

“I do” the man said as if he were committing to taking a stoll

“I’ll have your head for that” Tristain said hand reaching for his sword, like a crack of a whip the man’s eyes turned and locked on Tristan, freeing Frederick at last of the judgement that he had cast

“No God on this realm loves you enough to grant you the strength to strike me down, boy” the man said, his words slowing with confidence like neither had seen, Tristan’s hands slowed hovering over his blade as he stared at this crudely dressed man before him.

“Forget about that, You have to my property, speak your reasons and be gone” Fredrick barked at him, he was getting uncomfortable

“So be it, I would summon my 2nd, Pelious to bare witness, as you have so chosen” the man replied, he turned without awaiting permission and placed two fingers in his mouth letting out a sharp whistle. One man from the formation quickly jogged up the hill, he stopped a few feet behind the first man and removed his helmet as had his leader, and waiting in a ‘stand easy’ position

“My King, they do not remove their Helms or dismount?” the one referred to as Pelious said to the first man.

“No Pelious, these men are cowards, but we require information none the less” The first man responded to him, much to Fredricks incredulity

“No see here man, I have heard about all I wish, you bring a unit of pikemen to my door, speak to why and be on with it!” Fredrick barked. Both men turned and looked at him, with a gaze of judgement, as if he had passed wind at a tea party, the first shook his head in what could only be described as annoyance or disappointment, his eyes briefly raised to the sky above as if questioning the very gods before at last turned and fixing him again with those prefect brown orbs.

“I am King Hagnon of Thefia, Favoured among the followers of the Goddess of the Night Wind and commander of the ship named the Champions Spear; to whom do I address” Fredirick had never heard of a land called Thefia, probably another of those blasted penny kingdoms no bigger than his fiefdom; the Goddess of the Night Wind was not a religion familiar to him either, but now they were getting into politics, an area he was very familiar with.

“I am Baron Fredrick Lemmens, Knight of the Crown and Lord of Chestnut Grove, why have you come to my lands Hagnon of Thefia” There was no way he would be referring to him as King.

“I come in search of information, but first I must be sure of something, are you or your ilk worshipers of the Dark Lord Talib? Or The Merchant Omar?” Tristan and Fredrick looked at each other quizzically before Fredirick responded

“No?”

“Good” the man visibly eased “I come in search of slaves”. Now Fredrick eased, sure negotiations might have started a little rough, but now that they understood each other things could move forward, and perhaps he could make some coin of this self-proclaimed king.

“Well, you have come to the right place King Hagnon, I have some here, or my Uncle Marmaduke can aid you with anything you cannot find yourself” Fredrick said, his voice all honey

“Excellent, I am chasing a specific group and I wish them, they were caste ashore two dozen hippikons from here.” Hagnon pointed with his spear in the direction of the ocean. Fredirick did not know what a hippikon was, but could guess easily enough. This man was chasing the sailors he got, perhaps a personal matter, they had been shipwrecked and sold and perhaps he’d buy them to torture, not the most common but it happened often enough.

“Well you are a little tardy I am afraid, I know the ones you speak, but have sold them already to my uncle, I am most happy to direct you his way, as he might be willing to sell them as a package”

“They are not here? But you had them and sold them?” the man clarified… his command of the common tongue seemed good, but he supposed it was best to assure there was no language barrier. He nodded back. Hagnon seemed visibly disappointed, he supposed that was understandable, this would be a further delay for whatever vengeance he wished to extract on them. “I am curious if you spoke to their Leader, a Captain Leslie Cane, he would have spoken for his crew and made himself known” Fredrick looked over to Tristan, he had dealt with the slaves more closely and would know such details better.

“There was no Captain with him sir” Tristan said, his voice light and easy trying to aid a business deal for his uncle. “He likely drowned with his ship” he said, trying to the man’s mind at ease and keep him from causing who knows what trouble searching the fiefdom for a ghost.

“A moment to consult with my man” Hagnon inquired pointing to the one known as Pelious who stood behind him. Fredrick nodded and the man turned away. He had learned long ago that eavesdropping was how business was best done and craned his neck to better hear.

“What do you think? I did not know him well… twenty-five?” Hagnon said to Pelious

“Twenty-five? You think that highly of him? You never saw him battle” Pelious said back

“I would not offend the Goddess with less, he was a Captain” Hagnon replied, and at last Pelious nodded. Hagnon turned back to Fredrick

“You have dishonoured the Goddess of the Night Wind and slain one of her favoured Captains, for this the death toll of Twenty Five of your knights will be paid, go to your lines and prepare for battle” Hagnon declared

“What?” Tristan said “Death Toll? We havn’t even got that many Knights! What are you about?” his horse moved forward placing him between Fredrick and Hagnon who was calmly affixing his helm

“In my experience, when you kill a Baron, more knights tend to come” the two turned and strode down the hill. Tristan ripped his sword from his scabbard

“No you fool, we fight at the line with our men, come on!” Fredrick ordered, his nephew gave a glare but followed orders as they wheeled their horses around and strode back to their lines, affixed a top of a small hill with cover and better numbers.

To Be Continued

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