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Lucius DeAuster
Old Wyrm
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Joined: 14 May 2006
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Can Be Found: Gharnholme or Cisroe in Carowyn
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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Simple enough…we use the shadows to take him in the room before his guards have time to interfere. By the time they figure out something is wrong, we’ll be halfway back to the compound.” Any thoughts of his earlier encounter with the gambler was put aside, as Lucius turned toward the task that had brought them to Westergate. Fiona nodded after a few seconds contemplation.

“A good plan, and as ye said, simple. And we would nae need those steeds ye used to get us here.” Turning back to the bed she put the bag of clothing into her saddlebag. Cinching the bag closed she turned and, a smirk tugging at the corner of pale lips, she tossed the saddlebag to Lucius. “Ye nae mind, gallant knight?” She knew the sarcastic remark had hit home, by both the sudden cooling of temperature in the supernatural aura that seemed to surround the deathknight, and by the sudden brief flaring of emotion. The fact that she had felt that, given her own recent ponderings, had the smirk fading as fast as it had appeared.

“Of course, milady.” The saddlebag caught easily enough, he swung it over a shoulder and used the straps to seat it into place. “Your sentinels should let us know the appropriate time to take him.”

“He has just entered the room with his toy. In a few moments…” Fiona trailed off, her head cocked slightly as though listening to an unseen speaker. “Soon…”

----

“Would milord like a glass of wine, or perhaps a dance to start with?” The young girl, known in the fest hall as Ruby, her real name being the plainer Helena, sat on the edge of the bed and watched Barban as he crossed the room to hang his cloak beside the dresser. It had been her bad luck to be the next in line when the slaver and his party had entered the Hades Haven, but hope had sparked when the portly Barban paid coin for her to dance for him and his men as they enjoyed their drink. The money had been three times what she normally made in an evening, and despite the grabby hands, things had been going well. Until, that is, Barban called the manager over and paid for one of the upstairs room. Now, she was loathing letting Barban touch her, but given the writ with the owner of the Haven, she was indeed stuck.

“I’ve seen your dance enough, girl.” Grabbing a glass of wine from the dresser Barban pulled the cork from the throat, and then took a long sip. It was after he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, incidentally muffling a rough belch, before he spoke again. “I want you on your back and legs spread. I intend to get my money’s worth tonight.” The last was said after another long pull on the wine.

Inwardly sighing, Ruby stood and reached for the shoulder clasp of her simple dress, letting the material pool on the floor around her ankles as she stood for a few seconds, letting the besotted Barban leer at her. His eyes were only for the ample bosom she tried to shyly cover, feeling uneasy under the hawkish eyes, and after a last swallow of wine, he tossed the half-full bottle into a corner, sending glass shards and wine spilling across the floor.

“I said, on the bed, slut!” Giving the girl a push, he busied himself with yanking off his boots and breeches, though his eyes never left Ruby as she scrambled back into the middle of the mattress, giving him tantalizing glances of her hidden treasures. The slaver smiled, more a drunken leer, as he climbed onto the bed after her. Clammy hands reached around and grabbed her wrists, holding them onto the bed as he leaned closer, the acrid smell of stale wine washing over Ruby and making her turn her head away with a wince as she tried to mentally prepare herself to sate his lust. or, more likely, be the (un)willing vessel in which he expended his need.
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Lucius DeAuster
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Can Be Found: Gharnholme or Cisroe in Carowyn
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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A tickling of cold that brought tight nubs to hard arousal and doused the male ardor washed over the two, the only warning as ice-cold fingers closed around Barban’s neck and yanked him backwards to crash into the wall in a heap. Sitting up in shock, Ruby caught sight of a tall form stalking toward Barban, a grey cloak billowing behind like demented wings. Nature finally overrode surprise, voice found volume, and snatching at the sheet she started to scream.

The cries of the woman not even registering, Barban shook his head to try to clear away the fog from hitting his head on the floor. He had barely looked up when a shadow fell over him, and he found himself hauled up against the wall, held in place by the steely grasp around his throat, his wide eyes locked with the flared orange-red of Lucius’s. “Never expected to see me again, did you?” the deathknight growled, his fingers slowly tightening to cut off the slaver’s breath.

Barban would have spit defiantly, or perhaps yelled for his guard, but all that escaped was a croaking sound, akin to a chicken being slain for the fryer. "You thought to kill me, and let the river wash me away?" Lucius's teeth were bared under the concealing scarf, the anger at this enemy, and at himself for being nearly destroyed overtaking all reason. He could snap Barban's neck easily, but no, this one would suffer, his bones laid on the Bone Altar...

Skulls for the Skull Throne...

Ruby, her scream cut off in having to take a breath, saw a flicker of motion next to her, but her mind couldn’t comprehend the fact that the figure now standing next to her had seemed to simply step out of the wall. Another scream of terror built, but had barely been given birth when the new intruder spun about, and Ruby’s world went black, her last fleeting image of steel slashing toward her head.

Turning back from the bed and the unconscious woman, and ignoring the disappointed babbling of Garith, the imp unhappy that she had only hit the girl with the pommel of the dagger, Fiona shook her head at the bluish tinge Barban’s face was taking. “DeAuster, we need him alive.” An exasperated sigh escaped her when Lucius did not move, and the shadow-assassin stepped over and grabbed his arm, forcibly pulling it down and letting Barban drop to the floor. Ignoring the coldness under her glove, she kept pressure on Lucius’s wrist until he turned his attention to her. “Alive, ye stone-minded dolt!” Lucius growled softly, and aimed a kick that Barban would be feeling for some time before he stepped back. With another glare at her companion, Fiona grabbed the collar of Barban’s tunic and stepped through the shadows, dragging their prisoner with her easily.

Lucius paused for a second, hearing the heavy thud of men running down the hall, undoubtedly alerted by the girl’s screaming, and allowed a feral smile to come, hidden by the scarf as he also stepped into the Weave.

-----

Outside the city, Fiona and Lucius bound their captive, and the lithe half-elf knelt down to look him in the eye. “Alright, here’s how thing’s be. If ye give me any trouble…” She leaned close, enough that her breath barely washed over Barban’s cheek, her voice sugary sweet. “…and I mean ANY, ye’ll be wearing your testicles around your neck as a necklace. Ye kin me?” When he didn’t answer she drew Garith with a sharp gesture, the point of the dagger tracing a line from collarbone to the bottom of Barban’s ribcage, bringing up a small red welt. “Perhaps a bit of a demonstration be in order?”

“I hear you, I hear you!” Barban shouted, looking at Fiona as though she was some demonic creature from his personal hell. She just smiled sweetly and straightened, looking over to Lucius. An odd sound, and it took a second for her to register what it was. “Something be funny to ye, DeAuster?”

“Nay, just realizing that you have indeed earned your reputation among the men.” He said quietly, stepping up to grab Barban by his binding and hoist the imprisoned slaver to his feet. He had meant it as a barb for the earlier jab by Fiona, but was taken aback as her whiskey-soft laughter filled the small glen they had shadow-walked to.

“Ah, that. Aye, I be known as the Ice Bitch to some. It’s a title I find amusing, actually.” Lucius started to turn to retort, but instead met a hard boot that had arched into his cheek, sending both man and deathknight tumbling. For a moment he was in total shock, and in that time he lay sprawled on the ground Fiona knelt beside him, her voice pitched for his ears alone and carrying a steely edge. “Nae ever think again that I used my body in any way in my work, DeAuster. I nae…NAE ever lowered myself tae that either before or after we knew one another.”

Rising back to her feet, she gave Lucius a smile just as angelic as the one graced to Barban she turned and faded into the shadows. “Don’t tarry now, DeAuster. We nay wish to keep Brutin waiting.” Her soft giggles echoed in the trees as Lucius stood up, snarling as he hefted Barban in front of him and faded into the embrace of shadows.
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Fiona DeAuster
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A week later she was sitting at her desk, working through a pile of various reports while Barban languished below the hall. Brutin didn't seem to be in any rush to drag him to justice. It was also not Fiona's place to question, so she didn't bother. Just let the matter fall from her mind, letting others more pressing issues take its place.

She was involved in another guild war, spending much of her time within the SA Hall or in the Retribution Arena in turn. As usual Fiona was an easy target. She didn't hide from those that might challenge. Thus her pale features wore the mottled bruises with little attempt to hide them. Every battle fought, allowed her to unleash the simmering rage that had been riding her of late.

She was picking up minute changes within DeAuster. Unexpected emotional flashes that didn't make any sense and had actually taken yet again to avoiding him. Fiona refused to admit even to herself he still unsettled her. The current war with yet another lighty guild (the names having all blurred into the other in her thoughts) was the perfect justification. The only good thing they offered her was they gave the excuse needed to steer clear of the Deathknight. Something she had taken to using, but her body was taking the brunt of it.

She wasn't healing near as fast as she normally would. Fiona was spreading herself too thin, and while she knew she was walking a fine line, it was as if she couldn't stop herself. It held the echoes of the past in a way. The self-destructive streak rising within her once more, as the last time had been just after learning of Lucius's death. Of course she shoved those thoughts away before they could even form. Her mind instantly created a mental barrier to such ponderings for she knew it would serve little purpose to recall her foolish stupidity.

Her lithe form rose from the plush chair behind her desk, the various reports completed and she strolled out. The silent gliding step carrying her down the long hall where she dropped the bundle into Tara's in box. She had another challenge to answer, and considering the opponent she would face, she didn't expect to win. Yet there was little concern to be caught radiating from her. Frosty green eyes just glittered cold as winter as she strolled from the large building and out into the falling dusk.

The holy man was waiting silently. His healers standing just as quietly to the side of the field, three that looked nervous around so many of Retribution's far darker acolytes. The battle was to be fought on her guild's territory. Her call as right of the challenge after all and Fiona knew the Paladin would feel the less then pleasant headache those upon her side created in one of his ilk. The weapon of his was given a sharp glance from frigid jade eyes. The consecrated glow from it bringing a wash of cold over her already pale skin, yet nothing of her thoughts or disgust showed upon her impassive visage as she turned to nod respectfully to Anathesius with a swaying response of the long snaking black braid as it swung forward. "Good evening Milord."

"Good to see you Fio. You ready?" The dark haired man was looking stone faced at her opponent as he spoke, muscled arms resting casually over his equally broad chest.

"Indeed I am Milord." Was her softly spoken response, while she felt the gaze of the crusader resting upon her, his own emotions far less guarded then expected. His abhorrence was detected easily by the Shadow Mage and drew a cruel little smile to rose pale lips.

"I will stand as one of your healers, along with two others." Her leader informed her, while sharp blue eyes looked her over. "Damn Fio, you look like hell."

"Thank ye kindly for ye flattering remarks Milord." Was her droll reply as she inclined her raven dark head to the two others willing to stand as her healers if she had a need for their services. "I be fine." A leather encased hand lifting to forestall any further comments and she strode off towards the center of the large field. Darkness closing down and torches springing to life, creating a center of light for the two to battle.

Protocols read out by the proctor, the standards of the battle spoken in a rapid-fire announcement of rules. The results of losing clearly stated and Fiona paid little mind. Thoughts already centering on what was to come. Her waning energy a minor irritation but she was far from out of the fight.

_________________
"Someone screaming softly in the distance
I run to seek my refuge from the light
until the darkness once more falls upon me"
Stabbing Westward


Last edited by Fiona DeAuster on Mon Jun 11, 2007 3:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Fiona DeAuster
Adult Wyrm
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Jobs: Bullet Catcher, Cartographer
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Malurick was skilled. Of that she had little doubt as his first attacked sent her diving swiftly out of range of that Holy cursed sword he wielded. The radiance it emitted nearly blinding her as it surged higher every time it came close.

It was a dance for her, keeping herself out of the reach of that deadly enchanted blade. Fiona's own attacks seeming weaker somehow. It was if it was drawing her energy away with every vicious blow or sliding step taken. The score was ever changing, with her taking the lead with first blood, only to drop back with a hiss as leather parted under that Paladin's stroke like a hot knife sliding through butter. The gash deep upon her stomach and she staggered back, the searing pain stealing her breath a moment.

Her weakened state gave little aid to the healers, as their attempts proved less then effective. Field dressing barely stanching the blood and quickly the red seeped through the layers as she returned for the second half. Down only a few points, Fiona unleashed the shadows with a soft whispered word. The command lost to the sudden wind as the light was suddenly mottled with a swirling of black forms.

Malurick struggled under the unexpected assault. Razor sharp claws tore at him, sending that sanctified sword flying from his gauntlet. He was nearly overwhelmed. However, aware Fiona was the source he lunged for her, sending her down hard into the dust and rock strewn earth.

Blood sprayed from his nose, as her dark head rocked up sending a blinding impact right into it and then scrambled away with far less grace then was normal. Fiona's skull was pounding in agony at the touch, and could only hope his was just as bad now.

She hadn't gotten far before he took her down with a roaring of fury. The heavy weight of him pressing down and smothering sent her into a frenzy of attack. The leather was pealed back from her hands, claws ripping from the gloved protection as she lashed out, black talons leaving their mark upon his hard features, just barely missing gouging out one of his blue eyes.

The shock of that sudden strike caught him so unaware and while Malurick fought to clear his sight of the flow of vita, Fiona was able to mule kick him away and again found her feet. Her energy was fading swiftly now, what little that she had and as she was thrown back by a bludgeoning fist that would leave her with another black eye, the dagger was sent screaming from her nearly numb fingers, Garith impaling himself deep into the Paladin with a bloodthirsty shriek.

The warrior tottered back, the stand off in place and for a moment he attempted to free himself from the blade that sought to draw out his very life energy. So close to the final, Fiona just unleashed slicing shadow bands towards him, but they failed to connect as a bright pietistic blinding light exploded around her, sending her body flying backwards into the arena wall, striking it so hard, bricks fell about her in a cloud of dust and debris as she landed in a heap.

She had lost. It had been close of course, but she would find little rest this night. Any time spent for one of her kind in that lighty dungeon would likely require twice that number to recover from. Fiona knew only to well what those so-called holy faces hid after all. It was far more twisted then some of the denizens of hell could claim as their own form of personal tortures.

"I will seek a trade Fiona. We have far more of theirs then they hold of ours." Anath told her quietly as Malurick's compatriots clamped on the irons about her wrists, having twisted her arms harshly behind her.

"Inform Lord Brutin I will be absent a few days will ye Anath?" A wry smile from a split lip, her pale features swelling with one eye already closed and blackening, but that didn't stop Fiona from flicking a frosty gaze to one of her captors with her good one, finding the touch of a hand invasive.

"Aye, I will." There was genuine concern in the dark blue gaze as he watched her get dragged off. Aware of what she would face and it drew a scowl upon his tanned face.

A glower shot towards the smug guild leader looking his way and Anath stalked over. "Anything happens to her, and you will pay for it, Celidon. Mark my words. Rules of war apply to you same as me. Keep your brutes away from her or else I will gut your guild since I have most of them in my own dungeon anyway."

"Unlike you Anath, we are of the Light. We wouldn't do anything to your people that was unscrupulous." Celidon replied sharply.

"Willing to trade?" Anath was quick to counter. "I will release three of your members for each of mine you currently hold."

"I will not take that deal. The one we just took was responsible for several of ours you're holding now. I would have an uprising in my ranks if I released her." Celidon returned with a snap.

"Yeah right. Heed my words. I will send a representative tomorrow to ensure that none of my members are suffering any kind of torture. And each day after until this war is done." Anath growled and stalked off already planning a dungeon break. "Good thing it's close to a near washout for you already."

_________________
"Someone screaming softly in the distance
I run to seek my refuge from the light
until the darkness once more falls upon me"
Stabbing Westward
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Lucius DeAuster
Old Wyrm
Old Wyrm


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Can Be Found: Gharnholme or Cisroe in Carowyn
10557.36 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fiona had not been the only one musing on recent changes. Lucius had spent many an hour considering the little sparks and thoughts that would come up, unbidden, on the raven-haired assassin, trying to figure out this new…connection he held with her. He would catch fleeting emotions, nearly alien with his near century of existing in darkness. Fiona had taken to avoiding him again, and for the (un)life of him he could not figure out exactly what he had done to set her off.

It has to be something to do when she found me in the river. That had been when all this had started, and in truth having memories thought long buried hovering near the surface was maddening, nearly as much so as being kept at distance again. There was a part of him that wished to speak with her, try to figure out what to do to bring a measure of peace. He knew she was pushing herself, but every time he tried to catch her, she flitted away again.

The knock on the door startled him out of his thoughts, and he turned from where he had been standing at the window as Brutin stepped into his spartan office. “Ah, so this is where you’re hiding.” The master slaver looked around for a second, then back to Lucius. “Kinda bare in here, wouldn’t you say?”

“You wish to see me?” The words were a bit curter than he normally would have allowed, but irritation had set in, the deathknight slowly turning toward Brutin and away from the window.

“Right to business. I like that.” The disarming smile that had women swooning to his chain and competitors growling were firmly in place on the Master Slaver’s rugged features. “You’re going to be handling some matters of security for a few days.” Brutin took a lean against the doorjamb, watching Lucius as he stalked over to the desk to stand. “You’ll be acting as my personal bodyguard, should I need to leave the compound or if I have any visitors of importance.” Lucius nodded slowly in affirmation, but as Brutin turned to leave something nagged at the undead warrior, and he quickly gave voice to his question.

“What about Fiona?” His words gave Brutin pause, and slowly the slaver turned back around. “Is there some reason she will not be at your side?”

“Fiona’s duties with her other employer are keeping her occupied for a few days. He asked that she be excused, and I have relented.” He shrugged slightly, and turned again toward the hall. “I’m certain she’ll be back in a week or so, when she’s feeling spry.” And with that, he was gone, heading back up the corridor and his own offices while Lucius returned to the window and the overlook of the grounds behind the main compound of the SA. The visit from Brutin already being put to the side, as he brooded.

It wasn’t until later, when the setting sun painted a mosaic of pinks and reds on the few clouds and he was preparing to return to Gharnholme that what Brutin had said finally registered. When she’s feeling spry…He knew about her work with the assassin’s guild, and talk around the town had been about a new series of internecine skirmishes between the various factions of the RhyDin War Council. A cold feeling that he would later recall as being one of dread grew in his core, and after a few seconds of consideration he turned on a heel and headed away from the portals.

His new destination, the twinkling lights of the city below.
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Lucius DeAuster
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Can Be Found: Gharnholme or Cisroe in Carowyn
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anathesius glanced up from his desk at the commotion outside, but immediately dismissed it, intent on letting his guards handle whatever was going on. A few of his commanders lay sprawled on the sofa’s lining the walls, a couple wearing a bandage or two from their recent fights, but most simply tired. Given the time of night Anathesius should have been in bed also, but the work of a guild leader never seemed to slack up.

Again came a soft thud from outside, accompanied by the muffled voices of the guards. Looking up from his paperwork in disgust, the leader of Retribution and Vengeance glanced toward one of the sofas. “Karl, would you please see what’s going on out there? And if it’s another of Corazon’s flunkies, tell ‘em I’ll see them at a sane hour.” The quip earned a few soft snickers, as the brute Karl got to his feet and headed for the door.

His hand had just touched the doorknob when the entire door caved in, sending the commander, planks and one of the guards sprawling across the floor. Anathesius blinked in surprise, as did the other commanders, but the group sprang to their feet in near-unison as an armored and cloaked figure stepped through the shattered portal, crimson eyes blazing over the enshrouding scarf as it glared at the guild leader.

Anathesius didn’t have time to respond, as the other’s leapt to take down the intruder. For one wearing full plate their target moved quickly, shifting back as the nearest reached him and grabbing an arm, using the man’s own momentum to spin around and throw him back at the others, sending everyone crashing into the floor or sofa. Over the shout and curses a cold voice rose. “This concerns Fiona Dewil.”

“Everyone, hold up!” Yelling to be heard, Anathesuis’s voice cut through and silenced the din, and as the others regained their feet he stepped around his desk, to stop a few feet from the one who had just burst through his door. “You’re that one she had watching her a few months back.”

“Indeed. Lucius DeAuster. And you are Anathesius, leader of Retribution and Venegeance, two charter members of the RhyDin War Council.” The sepulchural tone matched the aura of cold washing around the deathknight, though there was also an almost-palpable heat flowing from him. “What has happened to Fiona?”

“And what makes you think anything has happened to her?” Anathesius affected a smile, seeming at ease, though he was wondering where the rest of his people were. Probably off celebrating the latest win, he thought sourly to himself. He had some heavy hitters in his ranks, even a few supernaturals, but right now they were useless, being elsewhere.

“I’ve known Fiona for a long time, and I know it would take something drastic to keep her from any duties to her chosen lord.” He took a step closer, and the sound of steel hissing from leather scabbards filled the office, the members of Retribution ready to attack again. Lucius made no indication he even noticed, keeping his eyes on the guild leaders. “So I ask again, what has happened to Fiona?”

“She was unable to overcome her last opponent, and has been taken prisoner.” Anathesius replied evenly, seeing no reason to hide the information. “Her captors refuse to release her.” Lucius silently cursed both the ones that had Fiona, and the way war had become in RhyDin. He could understand the ways, differing groups fighting for land and honor in both battle and gladiatorial style combat, but the strictures of the system could be grating, from what little he had seen in his travels.

“Who has her?” Lucius demanded with a soft growl, but he resisted the urge to grab up Anathesius and shake him until he gave up the information Lucius needed. Not only did he have four well-armed and experienced men behind him, but a guild full of warriors and assassins at his beck and call. Besides, Fiona would surely disapprove.

“What does it matter to you?” Head cocking to the side in question, Anathesius studied the deathknight as he continued. “This is our problem, not yours.” Waving a hand to his men to stand down, he moved back around the desk, ignoring them as they moved to collect Karl and the guard from where they lay senseless. “Putting aside the fact that Fiona seems less than endeared to having your help, the people who have her will not answer to anyone, unless they are a commander or leader of the guilds.”

There was a moment’s pause, before Lucius reached for a pouch at his belt and withdrew a small object, which was tossed on the table in front of Anathesius. Picking it up, he rubbed a bit at the tarnish, but could make out the bas-relief of dragons encircling a blazing sun, a sword fronting the sunrise. “This looks like one of the UDoL’s emblems.” He blinked once, and looked up toward the deathknight. “They disbanded over fifty years ago, with the collapse of the Council of RhyDin.”

“Indeed.” There was a hint of satisfaction in the other’s tone, as he stepped up to the desk, thumbs hooking in his swordbelt. “In their heyday, during the Dragon Wars, I was the Talon Commander for the Swords of Light brigade.”

Frowning slightly, Anathesius tapped the steel emblem against the desktop. “I can check on that easily enough, as a couple of the old members still live and are active. But what does this get you?”

“I presume that the old rank would be honored, since the last remnants of the old council was absorbed by your own war council. If so, I would then be a commander in your guild, able to help free Fiona.” With that said, Lucius waited, letting the guild leader think about the possibility. Finally, Anathesius slipped the emblem into a pocket of his robe and rose.

“I will have to check into your story, and then see what I can do. I would ask…” he hurriedly added, glancing over to Lucius again. “…that you refrain from doing anything until I contact you again. This is going to take careful negotiation, and any actions on your part could turn the people we’re going to need against you.” Not even a pause, as Lucius nodded slowly to Anathesius in reply.

“As you wish.”
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Fiona DeAuster
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Adult Wyrm


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Jobs: Bullet Catcher, Cartographer
Can Be Found: Gharnholme, RhyDin, and acoss the realms of Carowyn
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just one word, that was all. Whispered into the darkness that she was enveloped in. A word that was older then man, and blacker then this mire she was current encased within. It had released the Demon from her dagger. The grotesque form that looked more like that of an imp, released temporarily. None would even realize that the blackened blade of the Shadow Mage had gone missing. It was just one of the many weapons they had confiscated from her leather clad form.

Shunted off into pitch black. Those of light ways having rather a curious yen towards using the dark as a form of punishment and unlike most, Fiona found it far more comforting then placed in blinding light. Shifting gingerly, her movements more then a little hampered by the sanctified bindings keeping her secure against the wall. Apparently she was considered a threat and thus kept trussed up. Some part of her mind wondered if she had been placed in the deepest labyrinth they had considering few had come near her since her arrival.

Had she the energy she would have laughed at that idea. Unfortunately the only thing holding her to the realm of sane was the pain radiating from her bruised, bled and battered form. She had little left to fuel her own regenerative powers, so the blood loss combined with the rest was taxing what minute threads remained. It was taking all Fiona had to maintain while her head just throbbed a constant beat due to the blessed chains holding her in place. She had no way of evening knowing just how long she had been there now. Time rolling into a blur in her thoughts and tangling about old memories she would rather avoid.

Garith was searching for the Deathknight. Intensely aware his Mistress was failing, which meant he would eventually fall in the same way. What affected her, also worked the same upon him. The Paladin had been a most heady meal in some time and he had been sated, even after the fight. Could he have found Fiona directly within that maze of cells and tunnels he would have and gladly given of the energy he had collected but Holy Magic had thwarted that plan. The bound demon sorely despised "Holy" anything.

He could sense that Anti-Paladin around due to the link he himself had actually forged. Unknowing and unaware the pair hadn't even suspected. Contrary and capricious was Garith's ways after all. Unpredictable and often prone to nasty tricks, he had taken advantage of the situation and suspected he may have made a mistake. Even if the confusion it created was delicious. But at this moment he would use all he could. Something needed to be done.

The small winged form made barely a ripple as it passed through the wards of the SA hall. His Majesty may hate magic but he used it the same as others in this cursed realm and the demon found that a great source of amusement. His remarks only understood by the female his fate was bound to.

Spirally down, resembling more a deformed black bird, and likely explained away in such a fashion if actually seen, the dark essence found rest upon the cluttered desk of DeAuster. Only then realizing they may have a problem. Garith had never bothered to learn common and doubted the Deathknight had made any effort to learn Demonic. Squatting down, the hideous little beast found rest upon a stack of untouched documents and just scowled and muttered in disgust.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bureaucracy. It never failed to irritate him. It was part of the reason why he had helped dissolve the Council of RhyDin decades before. And it was threatening to again drive him into a rage.

He had agreed to give Anathesius time to go before the War Council and press his call. Though it was easy enough to sense he harbored misgivings, the man had already started drafting letters to his allies on the subject. “Go back to your slaver compound for now. I’ll send word to you when I know something.” It grated on Lucius’s nerves to have to wait, but short of trying to assault the holdings of the one’s holding Fiona himself, an act that would undoubtedly result in much carnage and destruction before he was put down, he was stuck.

Returning to the SA compound, Lucius stalked back to his office, sending the slaves scurrying out of his way as he passed. It wasn’t that unusual, but the cold aura emanating from his undead body was even more oppressive than normal, a barometer of the anger inside. Had he stopped for a second, he would have marveled at the emotional response, but that moment of clarity was not to be had. Instead he allowed himself to skirt the red edge, relishing the deep burning, even as his mind went over a hundred things that could be happening to Fiona, and each of those thoughts took him deeper into the fuming.

Why, why do you care? The soft voice, silky smooth and laden with lustful promise, echoed in his thoughts as he turned down the hallway to his office. What is the elf-woman to you? A dead man, no libido to stroke, no manly drives to satiate? Why risk what you know and have? As he reached to turn the knob to the door he paused, staring at and not seeing the door before him, and softly, the low timbre holding an edge that could not be identified.

“Because I love her.”

No other thought could have stopped the deathknight cold in his tracks, no other admission could shake him to the core as it did then. Slowly turning from the doorway, he crossed the small hallway and looked out over the inner courtyard of the SA compound. His thoughts, though, had turned inward…

…the soft sounds of waves crashing on the shore filtered through the half-open doorway leading to the balcony, a melodic companion of the moonlight streaming into the room. That luminous fall almost made Fiona glow as she slept curled up beside him, head resting on one outstretched arm, his other laying over a shapely hip only half-covered by the satin sheets. The nights were temperate this time of year in Tignus, one reason they had decided to meet here. The fact that the church had a insignificant presence in the island nation was another. For the week and half they had together, they could be so without fear of hiding.

Now, laying here beside her, he could let his thoughts roam in that foggy twilight of near-sleep, the time when a person would be most honest with themselves. Leaning down, he brushed a kiss to her forehead, his hand shifting to brush back a fall of raven hair, before returning to it’s resting place under her bosom. And laying there, watching her sleep, he whispered the words he knew not if he should say aloud, when she was awake. “I love you, Fiona.”


Giggling from the courtyard, two of Brutin’s kajirae walking amongst the flowering bushes, brought him out of his reverie. Turning back toward the doorway, Lucius yanked open the door and disappeared within.


Last edited by Lucius DeAuster on Thu Jun 28, 2007 5:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stalking into his office, stunned at the self-admittance, Lucius did not see the small being that had been sitting on his desk. It was only when the angry chattering broke through the fog that had descended that he noticed the small being standing on a stack of papers, waving his arms in an attempt to get the deathknight’s attention. “What in the Nine Hells?”

Never had Lucius seen anything like this before. Gaudily dressed, with ears and a nose that made up half the face, the little being squeaked rapidly, repeatedly pointing to Lucius, then to the window. He had no idea what this was, but his mood was not in any condition to deal with another strange calamity this day.

“Shoo! Out!” Waving an arm at the little thing, Lucius forced it to take to the air, small wings beating like a hummingbird’s as it hovered just out of reach. Moving around his desk, he opened the window and turned to wave an arm again at the little thing. “Go on, get out of here!” Whatever it was, it had no attention to flying out, it seemed, flitting around Lucius’s hand and pulling back the hood of the heavy cloak. The next thing he knew, Lucius felt a hard tug, and realized that it had grabbed and pulled on his hair.

Growling, he slapped a hand back, intending on crushing the little sprite outright, but again it flitted away, the high-pitched voice non-stop in its chattering. Following, Lucius waited until it had lit on the back of the sofa before lunging at it, only to have it bolt upward and over his arms, and then avoid the swing as the deathknight spun around again. Again he felt the tug on the dirty hair and slapped backward, growling in annoyance as he managed to only hit himself, the little being darting away again. Landing on one of the rafters, it made a decidedly crude gesture at Lucius, and he could only assume whatever it was saying wasn’t complimentary.

“Cursed pest.” He snarled softly, moving around to sit in his chair to brood. Not only was Fiona being held by a light guild, but the SA Halls were infested with sprites. Leaning forward, he was reaching for paper to write out orders for a pest sweep of the building when a dagger thudded into the top of his desk, narrowly missing his hand.

Twin blades extended from the top of his ensorcelled battle-gauntlets at the clenching of a fist as he came to his feet, scanning with eyes and powers for the would-be assassin. But none were visible. Even the sprite was gone, he noted idly as he looked back to the desk, and the dagger. It took a second, and then his eyes widened in sudden realization; he had seen that dagger before. Snatching it up, he again looked around, trying to figure out where it had come from, and then another look at the blade, a closer inspection to hold it up.

Yes, it was definitely Fiona’s athame. He had seen it many times before in the past, and would recognize the unique workmanship anywhere. Trying to figure out exactly how it had come to him, the deathknight started and nearly dropped the blade when two eyes popped open on the hilt, looking at him unblinkingly. “What the…” the words escaped him unbidden, but were stopped when a high-pitched chattering erupted in his mind. He did drop the dagger to the desktop then, bringing an abrupt end to the mental barrage. He stood for a long moment, just staring at those slitted eyes.

Glancing up at the roof again, he regarded the empty space, then back to the dagger, meeting those unblinking green eyes of the hilt. “She is full of surprises.” He finally said softly, picking up and hefting the dagger in his hand. “Now, let us hope Anathesius can get us to see your mistress again.”
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“The council has agreed to your admittance, and will recognize your old rank.” Anathesius couldn’t stop the smile that was slowly blooming at the memory of the council meeting finished just hours before, and the guildleader looked over to Lucius as they were being escorted toward the gates of the stockade where the Retribution and Vengeance prisoners were being held. “There was an argument over that, but one of the Templars remembered you. Silver Puma…”

“I remember her.” The undead knight replied tonelessly, staring up at the walls of the stockade as they were ushered past the gates. Anathesius nodded slowly before continuing.

“Aye. The final decision held, but you are unable to fight in this war.” Again Lucius was struck by the way things had developed in this realm, so unlike that which he was used to at home. But, such was the way of RhyDin. “The Templars did agree to you being the observer to check on the prisoners.” He snickered softly as they stopped at the doors leading into the stockade. “Malurik wasn’t too happy about it though.”

“Good.” Lucius nodded to the guild leader then turned back to the now-opening doors. “I will report to you when I know the condition of your people.”

“Just don’t go trying to break them out!” Anathesius called after him. It was a half-hearted attempt at humor, but he did worry that the undead would try something like that.

*****

There had been some argument as he entered the stockade about his weapon, but in the end Lucius had turned Deathlight over to the guards, after making it known that if the weapon turned up missing, he would tear the place down around their heads. The cold tone apparently had the desired outcome, for neither of the guards was keen to pick up the unholy avenger from where he set it on the tabletop. Lucius waited for the guards to lower the holy wards of the cells, and was silently thankful, as the aura of the strong enchantments on the place was setting him on edge, repelling him with powers he had once possessed. Ironic…

He was led deep into the place, his escort finally pausing in front of a well-warded door. Lucius again had to hold back until the sigils were muffled, and even then it took all his willpower to move past the open door into the small cell. The sight of Fiona chained to the wall, the fading aura of holy protections on the manacles easily visible to his sight, nearly had him spinning in a rage on the guard. “Get out.” The words were soft, said through masked teeth.

“Not a chance.” The guard replied, his hand moving to his swordhilt. “No way am I leaving you alone in here with her.” Slowly Lucius turned to look at the guard, his eyes blazing a brilliant crimson over the enshrouding scarf.

“Leave now, or I will kill you where you stand.” The guard made to stand his ground, but his companion, who had just entered, grabbed him by the shoulder.

“C’mon, Larson. Besides, it’s not like he can get her out.” A last glare between living and undead, and the guards retreated, closing the door behind them. Lucius was immediately to Fiona’s side, a hand at her torso to help steady the shadow-assassin where she slumped in her bonds.

“Fiona…” He whispered softly, looking to see if he could release her from the restricting manacles. Finding no visible or easy release, he growled softly to himself. “I’m here. Hold in…” He quickly pulled off one of his heavy gauntlets, revealing the pallid flesh beneath, the fingers flexing at the unusual sensation of being uncovered. Reaching into his belt, he took the dagger hidden there in his hand, the chattering immediately starting again in his mind as his fingers closed around its hilt. Ignoring that, he reached up and took one of her hands in his, his cold fingers entwining with hers, the dagger held between their palms as he willed the life-force he carried to flow from him to her.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Her black nailed fingers were icy to the touch. While she may not have suffered the indignity of any more intimate assaults, she had been used a few times as a punching bag. Thus pale features were mottled with more then a few bruises and even as the energy was transmitted, she didn't move, at least not at first. That aggravated wound marring her stomach through the damaged leathers was still oozing blood. The flow was slower now, but any movement could cause it to resume, so she had tried to remain still. Except when dealing with the pummeling of fists from those so-called "Lighty" sorts.

The feed of energy did start to register and dragged a faint whispered gasp from bloody, cracked lips and slowly her eyes opened. The pale green so faded it was almost silver glimmered under the dense drift of lashes. Her hand twitched in his grasp as she felt the surging of power radiating from both Lucius and the dagger. The most surface of damage started to heal and drew another low hissing of pain from her parched throat. In the midst of all that, she also caught the swelling of emotions. Fiona knew those were not hers, so something was off, unless Garith was feeling concern, rage and frustration.

The agony of those bindings was now felt more intensely with each surging spike or power sent careening into her battered form and finally stirred. It was a mixed blessing. Energy welcomed as it would aid her regenerative abilities, but it also made her more aware. Dirty raven black hair framed ghostly pale features lifted to regard the Death Knight with a bit of surprise. Confusing as she struggled to remember what day it was instantly followed. Determining it had been about four days. So much for the war being won in any timely fashion apparently as she was still locked away.

She also had to wonder about the promised jailbreak or trade that seemed to have fallen through. Most wars only held prisoners for three days, perhaps she was an exception but Fiona also knew just how many of the "Lighty" types viewed her. She was one of a few they wouldn't willingly return if they could find a way to avoid it.

"What ye doing here DeAuster?" Her voice was raspy and rusty from lack of use over the past few days as well as no food or water offered. Not that she could have availed herself of it, considering how she was bound against the cold stonewall. She had refused to respond to any of the interrogators or guards, having remained stubbornly mute. However now she wasn't feeling as reluctant and while struggling to collecting her scattered thoughts another question escaped, all be it a mite sluggish the query. "How long have I been here?"

Heavy lidded red flecked, icy green eyes swung about, not seeing her usual captors near by and offered a wry smile to Lucius with another flexing curl of her cold, taloned fingers against his, and her voice still a low weak rasp of tone. “Think ye can sneak me out of here DeAuster? Have any tricks ye can perform to that end?”

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I run to seek my refuge from the light
until the darkness once more falls upon me"
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“You have been here a little over three days, Fiona.” He said softly as cold flesh met cold flesh. The anger at her condition was threatening to send him into a rage, and right now Lucius was fighting to keep that in check. Had he time to ponder, again he would wonder at the emotional response. “I was sent to check on you…” The glowing eyes moved to gaze at the chains holding her, the wards muted, but still very much active.

Growling softly, he reached up and clasped a small medallion he had been given by Anathesius, concentrating on the guild-leader’s image in his mind. I am taking her away from here.

Like hell! You’re not empowered to do that! The noble-born’s mental tone was both shocked and somewhat resigned, as though Anathesius had been expecting this. Remember what I told you!

If she stays, Fiona may well die. Opening his eyes, he allowed the image of Fiona to seep into that mental connection forged by the medallion. They are using her to vent their anger at losing to you in this little ‘war’, and without healing, she will not survive.

Alright, alright! Just hang on! The link quieted, and Lucius returned his full attention to Fiona, willing more of the energies that sustained his existence to flow to her. The bloody torso worried him a great deal, especially given the time and rough treatment she had been subjected to. And that led to the yearning of getting this ‘Lord’ Malurick in his grasp, tearing the man limb from limb in front of his people in a fury of savage retribution. Fingers tightened where they joined with hers, and garith, sensing the flaring of emotion, latched onto it and let it flow to Fiona with a chittering of agreement. Help's on the way. Be ready to move.

“I’m getting you out of here, Fiona.” Lucius said softly as he leaned close, supporting her slight weight against him as he looked to the chains again, following them upward to the hook inset to the wall. Keeping her hand in his, he reached up with his free arm, grasping the chains where they neared one another, and pulled. He ignored the faint wisps of smoke coming from his clenched hand, where the holy wards on the chains reacted and attacked the very essence of his undeath, and used the pain as a focus. Metal creaked under the pull, supernatural strength applied against holy focus, and in the end the hook gave, bending with a squeal of rent metal and allowing the chain to come free.

As Fiona slumped forward he leaned to catch her, bending down to sweep her up into his arms. “It’s time to go.” He said simply, turning with her toward the door of the cell.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The two guards sat up from their slouched recline in surprise as the cell door shuddered, a muffled thud echoing dully in the guardroom. A second thud had them coming to their feet, one fumbling for a key ring at his belt as he advanced toward the door. Luck would have his fingers just brushing the door handle in preparation to pull it open when a third impact sent it swinging outward. Wood fragments and pieces of the lock flew in all directions, the guard sent tumbling back into the table to land in a heap and clatter of mugs, pitchers and dice.

The deathknight stalked out of the cell, Fiona clutched protectively in his arms, only to meet the second of the guards, who had stepped backward in his astonishment. The glowing pinpricks that were his eyes flared, and Lucius pointed a finger on the hand holding Fiona’s knee at the backing man, and said one word, channeling the power of the grave into that single utterance. “Die…”

The force of the power word washed over the guard, his eyes rolling back as he crumpled, blood seeping from nostrils and ears. Lucius stepped over the corpse as casually as he would a log, turning back only as the guard he had sent flying yelled at him to stop. “Pain…” Again summoning the eldritch powers at his command, the undead warrior sent the guard to his knees, the man’s body wracked with paralyzing sheets of agony.

The trip up the stairs was without incident, but as he exited the stairwell Lucius found another standing in his way, wearing the burnished robes of a mage and pointing a thin wand at the two. He couldn’t hear the word of command the mage spoke, but the flaring of power was more than evident, and he spun away as blue-green lightning spat from the wand, sending a rain of stony fragments flying from the wall behind the twisting deathknight.

Stumbling to keep himself upright and not drop the injured Fiona, Lucius slammed into the opposite wall with a soft growl, while safely within Fiona’s grasp Garith shrieked in outrage. Seeing the wand turned to track them Lucius started to twist away again when a dark sharp hurtled through a nearby opening and plowed the mage down. Rolling neatly to his feet the newcomer glanced back, pointing toward the doorway he had come. “Go! The way’s clear!” Nodding once, Lucius started that way, but paused near the archway.

“My weapon…” he had forgotten about surrendering Deathlight, and was about to try to head toward the front of the stockade when the other, identified by his small pin as one of Retribution, slapped a hand across his spaulder.

“I’ll get it. Get her out of here!” About to argue, Lucius again paused, hearing the shouts of alarm from down the hall. Muttering darkly, he turned back to the archway and started off in a lumbering run, trying his best not to jostle Fiona as he hurried down the hallway. Behind him he could hear the unknown guilder laugh as he started battling the arriving guards.

The way was indeed clear, and as soon as Lucius exited the stockade he sent out a mental call. It was an anxious few seconds as he waited for the nightmare to arrive, but having already been briefed on Fiona’s condition after the fight she had lost, he had been afraid to carry her into the shadows. As it was, mounting Dante was a trick, cradling Fiona as he was, but soon enough they were slipping into the Ethereal Plane for the ride back to the Retribution halls.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“You really made a mess of things.” Anathesius glared at Lucius from behind his desk, waving a clutch of vellum parchment in his fist at the deathknight. For his part Lucius remained silent, letting the guildmaster vent his rage, which he had been doing for the past twenty minutes. “Now, the whole damned council’s screaming for our collective heads, and Malurik’s demanding blood and retribution.”

“That bastard would have let her be killed, for the simple fact that his people cannot defeat your own on any type of battlefield.” Lucius finally growled back, the preternatural aura that surrounded him flaring in his irritation. “I have reviewed the past skirmishes you have had with them, and these Templar’s could not best a bunch of school-children, much less seasoned warriors.” Slowly the deathknight turned his gaze around the gathering, the commanders, generals and Marshals that made up Retribution. “Even without allies, you have swept them from the field.”

“And thanks to your bull-headedness, they may win in the courts.” Anathesius slammed the sheath of papers back to his desk as he stood. “Right now, I’m damn close to giving you to Malurik, just to have an example to others who might try this crap!”

“Then do so.”

Those three words stopped Anathesius’s rant, and the nobleman stared in incredulity at Lucius. “If Malurik wants me so badly, then let’s give him what he wants.”

“He’s demanding to settle the score in blood.” Anathesius sat back down again, the wind momentarily stolen from his anger as he considered the possibilities. He looked back over to Lucius, who was steadfastly ignoring the whispers from those gathered to listen to the discussion. “Dulambor hinted to me in the last session that he wanted to get you in the Arena. Malurik wants a public execution.”

“Then, he will have one.” Orange-red eyes flared slightly as he spoke, and there was no mistaking the sound of anticipation in the deathknight’s tone. “There’s an old saying in my homeland, Anathesius. Cut the head from the serpent, and the body will wither.”

“You saw Malurik’s handiwork on Fio. Their losses notwithstanding, he’s damn good, one of the best.” The archmage growled softly, waving a hand toward the door, and the rest of the Retribution compound by rote. In one of the chambers beyond the shadow-assassin was being tended to by the best healers Anathesius and the guild could muster.

Keenly aware of what the Templar’s may try in revenge of the breakout, he had ordered all his people to return and bolster the defenses of the compound. The Templar’s, though, had also pulled back, as their leaders took their complaints to the War Council, the body that oversaw the governance of the collection of guilds under its authority. In theory, it was a stable system, but as with any political body, collusion and deal-making was the real balance of power.

“Malurik only became involved when she kept capturing their best fighters.” Anathesius had continued, standing again to begin pacing behind his desk. Hands clasped behind his back, the guildleader finally paused at one corner, his head turning so he could look over to Lucius. “He has a nearly-perfect reputation in battle.”

“You let me worry about that.” The deathknight finally moved, giving a slow nod to the guildmaster. “In any case, you will come out the better in the end.” Anathesius had to agree, coming to those conclusions before he had stood. Should Lucius lose, which was the likely ending, Malurik would have his pride assuaged, while Anathesius himself could claim that the rogue had been dealt with, per the will of the War Council. The shadow hovering over his people and their reputation would be lifted, and they cold get about the business they were best at: killing.

However, by some chance Lucius won, the loss would strike a mortal blow to the Templar’s confidence. With their leader out of the way, albeit temporarily given the number of priests the Templar’s employed, Anathesius could press the ad-hoc leadership of the guild to surrender, due to the losses already suffered and the lack of leadership. Retribution’s coffers would swell, and the arch-mage’s reputation and standing would soar.

Yes, it was a win-win. And that was the way Anathesius enjoyed it.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“I don’t see why I have been summoned here.” Malurik growled softly as he fidgeted in his chair, casting the occasional scathing glance toward the door to the well-appointed office. Belladonna Dulambor (Bella to her friends and allies) silently agreed, but maintained the always-cheerful smile she affected when conducting Council business. The currently elected first chair of the War Council, she found herself in the arduous position of maintaining, mediating and, in her opinion at times babysitting, the various member-guilds that made up the bulk of the council.

“You’ll find out, as soon as Anathesius gets here.” She appeared to be about to add more, but her mouth snapped shut as, if almost on cue, the door to her office opened and the archmage of Retribution breezed in.

“Ah, Belladonna. As lovely as always.” The sharp gaze moved over her, taking in the lace and silk ensemble Dulambor was wearing, in an obvious tease for the men present. An idle thought, about how those who profess to be of the light truly walked the dark road threatened to bring a soft chuckle, but he managed to bite it back. Long robes flowed as though caught in a summer wind as he neared the desk, the rakish smile bringing a soft giggle from the First Chair, and another growl of annoyance from the Templar. Settling into one of the well-appointed chairs with a flourish, Anathesius glanced over to his counterpart. “Greetings, Malurik.”

“What game are you playing at, mage?” Malurik’s complete disregard of any formality or protocol brought a predatory grin, and Anathesius reveled in the anger almost visibly washing off the Templar as he pulled a rolled-up parchment from the sleeve of his robe and handed it to the other. “What’s this?”

“My terms.” He said simply, and sat back to wait for the inevitable explosion. Malurik’s race began to turn an ugly shade of red as he read the scroll, and as he slowly crumpled the vellum between clenching fingers Anathesius looked over toward Bella. “We’ll give DeAuster to Malurik for his spectacle, but on the condition that it be sanctioned combat. If he wins, then The Templars will surrender immediately, and a cessation of all hostilities will be enforced.” Bella’s brows rose in surprise, while Malurik sputtered in rage, sending the crumpled scroll flying across the room. “The same, of course, will be honored of Malurik manages to win out.”

“This is an outrage!” Coming to his feet, the Templar’s fists clenched at his sides as he stared daggers at the smirking Anathesius. “Your people flagrantly attack one of our holdings, against all accords, and you want to turn a demand for justice into another attempt to win a war?”

“Oh, come off it, Malurik.” Anathesius snapped in reply, though he was silently amused by the reaction of his contemporary. “I have just as much reason to demand the head of you and yours, by your treatment of a prisoner of war and the total lack of attempts to negotiate a release.” And now he rose, in a fluttering of wool and silk, eyes narrowed as he glared at Malurik. “Bad enough you beat her nearly to death, but had you tried anything else…”

“How dare you suggest we would do anything like that…”

“Enough!” Her hand coming down in a resounding slap against her desk, Bella stood up now, glaring at each of the men in turn. “Enough of this! Anathesius, you are prepared to turn over this DeAuster for judgement?”

“He has agreed, but only if he gets to face Malurik in trail by combat.” His hands slipping into the voluminous robes as he folded his arms, the archmage nodded once to her, a sharp movement. “Given the circumstances involving the incident, we believe that it is fair, and should also be used to conclude the current state of hostilities between our two guilds.” Malurik began to launch into another tirade, but stopped when Bella held up a hand.

“And did you agree before all this to negotiate a prisoner trade with Retribution?” After a pause of several second, the Templar cursed softly as he nodded. “Then the Council accepts these conditions. Tomorrow, you will face DeAuster in The Arena, in a manner that we will choose. Until then, both sides are to cease all fighting, and submit to inspections by the judge’s council.”

“Look at it this way…” Anathesius couldn’t help tossing in the barb. “If you’re as good as you say, it will be an easy win for you. They are rather few and far between.” Malurik snarled a curse at the archmage, and whirled to stalk out of the office, doing his best to ignore Anathesius’s soft laughter.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Well, Malurik’s people know how to whip a frenzy.” Anathesius turned away from the small window to look over to where Lucius stood. The deathknight was running an oil-soaked rag along the edge of the unholy avenger, making Deathlight’s blade gleam in the light. “It looks as though they managed to get most of their allies here.”

“Just as you have done.” Lucius rumbled softly in reply, tossing the rag aside and holding the longsword up to inspect along the blade. “It still surprises me how things have changed.”

“You mean from the days of lining it up on a battlefield and tearing one another apart?” A soft snicker followed the words, as the mage walked over toward the fallen paladin. “Societal evolution, my friend. Armies still march and fight, the people still suffer, but here…we minimize the impact as much as possible, with the larger battles you crave being of the endgame.”

“A class apart from the rest, waging shadow-wars for land, goods and people.” Lucius shook his head slowly as he returned Deathlight to its scabbard before looking to the guild leader again. “It reminds me of the gladiatorial arenas of my homeland.”

“Actually, that’s not too far off the mark.” Giving the plate spaulder a hard pat, the mage looked toward the door, then back to Lucius. “You ready for this?”

“Aye.” Nodding in reply Lucius turned to stalk toward the door, Anathesius falling in step beside him as they headed down the hallway toward the entrance into the Coliseum.

*****

The noise of the crowd died down as Lucius and Malurik entered the Arena from opposing doors, moving the short distance to the center of the hard-packed circle. Templars and Retributer’s lined the seats, and the occasional badge or colors denoted another of the guilds could be seen among the others. Anathesius was playing up the spectacle to the fullest, with his people parading in the prisoners taken in recent days and lining them in full view of their compatriots, the gleaming chains binding each easily enough seen. An angry muttering grew across the way, and hands strayed to weapons-hilts all around the arena.

As Lucius gazed around the spectator’s seating he wondered briefly if Fiona was among them. Ever since breaking her from the Templar prison she had been tended to by the Retribution healers, recovering from the beatings she had received and the drains the wards had inflicted. He had not been allowed to see her, and even Brutin had been close-lipped about her current condition. Biting down the flash of temper the deathknight focused his attention to Bella Dulambor as the holder of the First Chair rose to her feet, dwarfed by the hulking form of her husband Maleketh behind.

At a held-up hand the crowd quieted, and her clear voice, magnified by a simple spell, echoed over those in attendance. “We are here to conclude the hostilities between The Knight’s Templar and Retribution.” After slowly looking around the arena her gaze moved downward, to the two combatants waiting. “As per agreement, no magic will be allowed, and no healers used. This will be simple, straightforward and decisive.”

Steel hissed against metal clasps as both drew weapons simultaneously, and Bella spoke up quickly to keep the two from charging straightaway. “This will conclude when one of you is either dead or too incapacitated to continue. if that is the case, when I call for you to stop, that will signal the end of the fight. Is this clear?”

“Aye, clear enough.” Malurik growled, while Lucius just nodded in reply. Bella sighed softly, looking from one to the other, before dropping her hand back to her side.

“You may begin.”
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Malurik was easily one of the fastest warriors he had faced, keeping Lucius back-pedaling from the very start of their fight. Twice the Templar had gotten past the flashing blade to score hits, and while a normal man would be bleeding from their leg and side the blows did little more then infuriate the deathknight.

“You know, you can always give it up.” Malurik taunted after dancing away from a blow that, had it landed, would have cleaved him from shoulder to hip. Snarling as he spun back Lucius slashed out, sending the laughing mortal skipping to the side again. “Come on! Too slow!” Lucius continued twisting to follow up on his last blow, realizing too late that Malurik had lead him into a neophyte mistake of overextension. Trying to regain his center of balance he left his left open, allowing his opponent to strike, the sword biting deep just above his left knee and sending Lucius crashing onto his back with the loud bang of metal, Deathlight flying from his hand to land several feet away.

The crowd erupted as Malurik towered over the prone Lucius, the Templar clearly playing to the crowd in the seconds before he brought his sword over his head in a slash intended to drive deep into the deathknight’s chest. But the guildmaster’s eyes widened in shock, mirroring the gasp from his followers and the cheers of the Retributer’s, as Lucius’s hand came up, the blades of the ensorcelled gauntlets extending and capturing the sword between them, stopping the blow before it could land. Lucius’s right leg snapped up, catching Malurik in the crotch and staggering the mortal back. A half-roll, and again his right foot shot out, catching the Templar in his sternum and sending Malurik flying backward to crumple near one of the columns scattered throughout the arena.

Both men slowly came to their feet, Lucius favoring his left leg. Malurik growled as he straightened, a baleful glance shot at his opponent before he started toward the other. Lucius cut a look toward his sword, and started that way, but Malurik was on him before he could reach Deathlight. The Templar was no longer taunting or goading, lips set in a snarl of anger as he attacked. Sparks flew as metal clashed against metal, the ferocity of the assault driving Lucius back and nearly upsetting his already-damaged balance. His arms nearly blurred in the defense, locking him in a dance of steel and noise in the center of the arena.

The mistake came when Malurik nearly tripped over the unholy avenger, his shuffling feet catching the blade and knocking it against his opposing ankle. He darted a look down in the second’s distraction, his own sword dropping to land on top of Lucius’s a second later as the blades of the deathknight’s battlegauntlets bit deep into his wrist. His other hand was batted out wide as his attention wavered, then shattered altogether as a heavy fist slammed into the side of his head, sending him backwards, a hand held to his bleeding ear. Another clubbing blow to his neck sent shockwaves of agony along his arms, and a third took him to his hands and knees.

Vision swimming, Malurik saw the shadow moving around him, and the rasp of metal on metal to his right. Fighting past the pain he pushed himself up to a crouching position, and finally got his focus on Lucius again, the deathknight standing beside him with both swords in hand. “For Fiona.” He growled, and then came around with Malurik’s blade in a roar of fury, sending the longsword cleaving through the Templar guildmaster’s neck. Deathlight arced in right behind, the flat of the sword catching Malurik’s head and sending it sailing into the midst of the Knights Templar.

Silence fell across the arena, broken only by the screams of the women who had been unfortunate enough to have Malurik’s head land in their laps, as Lucius turned toward the First Chair. Both swords were raised high in salute to Bella, who had come to her feet as the fallen paladin had come around toward them, and then brought down in a crossing pattern across his chest as those of Retribution and their allies began to cheer wildly, many taunting their erstwhile opponents across the way. Orange-red eyes blazed with the fury of the fight as he regarded the War Council’s first chair for several seconds, and then he turned to limp toward the door through which he had entered, Malurik’s sword still held in his left hand.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fiona fought her way back from the heavy darkness. The weakness still invading her form like insidious fingers that prodded her with needling pricks of stinging pain and followed by the slow process of becoming aware of the myriad of aches that lingered in her bones. Indeed, the knights had taken some sort of perverse pleasure in using her as a punching bag. One might expect such actions from a dark aligned guild, but hardly a light one. Well, most in any case for Fiona had fully expected that and worse. Often, those laying claim to purity, honor and holy vows, were merely the flip side of a coin. They too were just as corrupted as those they fought, if not more so for they’re masks were always hidden behind those proud, pious smiles.

Reason, rational calm was her salvation as pale, dull green eyes opened slowly. The room was dimly lit, only a single lantern on a side table lit, sending shadows dancing along the cool surface of pale walls, flickers of that oil fed flame. Fiona felt the fragility of her own body, and will. For deep within the beast was stirring. That hunger growing and straining at the mental bonds that held firm against its demands.

“Ah, your awake finally. Anath has been worried.” The voice of Synnova rolled gentle against sensitive hearing and instantly Fiona’s eyes shifted. Taking in the small, delicate woman who headed up the healers for Retribution. “Lord Brutin has also been badgering him about your recovery along with that Death Knight.”

Rising, the woman’s pale blue robes offered a soft hissing of sound as she glided over. Fiona was sitting up slowly by this point. Movements careful and slow, for the bruises were still healing deep within. “Did we win the war?” Her voice was rusty, rasped and raw from dehydration and lack of use.

“Not yet. Your Death Knight friend seeks to fight against Malurik this very night. The whole of war hinges upon who wins. A Death Match I hear without healers.” Syn never cared for those sorts of battles. The lack of healers always meant more work afterwards and those feelings were evident in her tone.

Turning a moment later a large mug of water was offered to the Shadow Mage, and a quiet smile touched the elegant woman’s face. “Anath has not let him see you while you have been recovering. More so after this match was set, as I think he is hoping it gives DeAuster an edge.”

A frown drew upon Fiona’s pale brow at that news and she gave a slow shake of her head. “Lucius is a formidable knight Syn. I nae think he has need of any “edge” of such a nature.”

“He’s a curious creature I must say. He also seems to hold you in rather high regard.” The healer replied before stepping back, with dark eyes moving upon her patient in that intense and silent regard.

Little emotion showed upon Fiona’s pale features. Just a light shrug before she drank down half the water in a near rush, her parched throat welcoming it’s soothing touch. “We have known each other for many an age Syn. I respect his abilities and I believe he feels the same about my own talents.”

“Well in another hour, we shall all see how skilled his or not. The match is to be held in the Arena and most of the roster is already preparing to attend.” A stern look was turned towards Fiona for a moment. “You will need to take things easy for a few days still. Anath will call a break after this war is done. I suggest you rest before the next one comes. If DeAuster does win, we expect his allies and associates to start preparing for another after all. Such is the way of things these days.”

“Aye. I nae think ye need worry about that.” Pale green eyes regarded the raw ligature marks still encircling her wrists. Fiona wasn’t surprised that the efforts to heal those hadn’t taken. Holy damage tended to linger with her kind after all. Luckily she could cover that easily enough with her leathers and gloves. “I nae suppose my clothing is here?”

“Afraid not Fiona. The leathers you wore when they brought you here were ruined beyond repair. However, I did take the liberty of bringing up some from the armory. Not quite like those, but should work well enough for you to return home.” A delicate hand waved towards the items resting in the seat of a chair. “We were not able to heal you completely I’m afraid but we did manage to take care of the worst of your injuries at least. Hence my suggestion to taking things slow for a few days.”

The whispered flow of slippers across the gleaming wood floors followed. “Now I am off to prepare for this coming match. I shall also let Anath know you are awake and doing better.”

“Thank ye for ye help Syn.” A slow shifting and she swung her legs around to sit on the edge of the bed, feeling that fatigue still weighing heavily upon her limbs, but that wouldn’t stop her from rising. Pushing the heavy fall of raven black hair out of her face, she drew in a slow breath, preparing to do just that.

“Your welcome Fiona.” Another quick smile and the lady departed, plunging the unfamiliar room into an uncomfortable silence.

_________________
"Someone screaming softly in the distance
I run to seek my refuge from the light
until the darkness once more falls upon me"
Stabbing Westward


Last edited by Fiona DeAuster on Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fiona didn’t want to analyze her feelings as she moved along with the queue. Why she had come wasn’t a mystery at all, but she didn’t care to ponder upon it. There was an uneasy sensation within, mingling with the exhaustion and such things had a way of igniting uncontrolled emotions and she was thus striving to keep those under tight control.

Enshrouded as she was with her form covered within the folds of a heavy velvet black cloak, she found a spot near the back that afforded her a clear view of the arena floor, whilst keeping her well hidden within the embrace of shadows. Fiona’s voice did not join with the rest in the rousing calls and cheers that seemed more like a roar about the air of the battle coliseum. She remained silent and watchful instead. Her gloved fingers tightening instantly, flexing with restless tension about the hilt of her dagger as Lucius went down under Malurik’s assault.

Often tactics won a fight with two well-matched opponents. Experience and knowledge being far more effective, and in this case, it seemed as if both was seeking to find that weakness. Neither the “Light” or the “Dark” was the true test in these types of clashes, but in this case, the difference was in vanity. Lucius showed none of that. He may have been caught off guard, but to Fiona’s eyes, Malurik was also treading upon the unknown.

The Guild Leader had made a serious error in the assumption he was the superior warrior. DeAuster was the unknown and he seemed to think that made him the weakest in the match. It was a foolish mistake and compounded by his need to inspire more adulation from his own forces, fell to a justified defeat. At least Fiona felt it was warranted. It would be a memory that would likely inspire the next wave of wars she was sure. However it was Lucius that she watched.

Pushing from the wall, she utilized the shadows that already covered her and in moments she was fading into sight a few feet ahead of the limping figure as he made his way down the long arena hallway. “Syn will likely be wishing to take a look at ye DeAuster. She’s nae fond of battles that deny her healers their right to practice their craft and often hounds those afterwards.” Her tone was well controlled, if still a touch raspy as she moved into the torch light with a gloved hand drawing the cowl back from her pale features. “Well done on ye fight as well.”

Pale green eyes moving briefly, taking in the sword he was carrying and an elegant raven brow rose faintly. "Ye planning on keeping that foul tainted blade DeAuster?" Fiona kept some distance as she could feel and clearly see the shimmer of holy magic the weapon carried and in light of her current condition, simply didn't feel any need or urge to have it to near.

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"Someone screaming softly in the distance
I run to seek my refuge from the light
until the darkness once more falls upon me"
Stabbing Westward
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was good that, for the moment, the roar of the crowd above faded with the press of stone and distance, as it allowed Lucius the presence to gather himself. The white-hot rage that had allowed him to stay in the fight and untimately defeat Malurik was beginning to fade, leaving behind the dull edge that always seemed to fill him when not in combat. The damage to his knee would take time to repair, even if there was no true pain.

These things and more were holding his thoughts when the soft words brought his attention back to the here and now. Soft-glowing eyes moved to take her in, and the noticeable emotion of relief tinged the fading fury, mingling with the satisfaction of vengeance. “Thank you.” He said softly to her congratulatory statement, and held up the blade he carried in his right hand, as though to inspect it.

The aura of the blade wavered, as being used to kill one of the Light had weakened the enchantments placed upon it. It held enough of the energies to send small wafts of smoke from the heavy leather of the gauntlet, reaction to the unholy power that animated him. “Counting coup.” He muttered softly at her question, before bringing the blade back down and away from her. “A trophy that will be hung in remembrance once it has been suitably…baptized.” He couldn’t quite keep the touch of smugness from his tone, as he found that idea highly amusing. “I will bequeath it to you, Fiona, as a gift.”

He looked on the cool features, the shadows cast by the torch dancing over fine-chiseled cheeks, and again felt the flare of…something…deep within, coiling like a slumbering serpent. From her, he felt the tight reign of control, and found himself unable to truly gauge her. His empty hand moved, straying upward without conscious thought to nearly brush her cheek, before he paused due to the distance she was keeping from the blade he carried, and realization of the very movement.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fiona did notice the movement, and the sense of cold radiating from his uplifted fingers acted much like a caress of sorts. The chill lingering upon pale skin even after his hand lowered back down. To her credit she didn't move, composure standing solid against confused thoughts.

She had caught a sense of something within him, yet couldn't glean it's meaning. It left her feeling off kilter even more. A fact she wasn't at all fond of. She had been catching more and more flashes of emotion from him and in light of what he was, she couldn't comprehend such manifestations.

"Thank ye for the sentiment of such a gift, but I nae think I would care for it Lucius, for I suspect it will always have a lingering sense of it's history about it. Nae something I find I have a liking for these days." It was only a fleeting wince that crossed upon Fiona's shadow cast visage. Remembering the days within filthy blessed shackles and the effect it had upon her system. "My weapons of choice tend to be less noticeable. Hang it within ye own halls as a trophy, for I think that would likely be more fitting, as it is a tithe of war."

Her sharper hearing caught the fading of the crowd in the distance, as they were finally dispersing. Fiona was fairly certain Anath would be fielding war declarations for weeks after this. He would be delighted of course for the man thrived on the various conflicts, especially with those of the lighter ilk. Yet, the sudden sense of stillness and realization they were alone started to shake that composure she was so well known for. Although she suspected it might be due to her weakened state. At least that is what she would tell herself later.

"Shall I let Brutin know ye will be indisposed for a day or so?" Her gaze moving downwards to look pointedly at the damaged knee, before rising again to meet his crimson eyes straight on. "It looks to me as if ye will need at least a day or so for that to heal."

The shadows around them were deepening as the sun started to sink deeper beyond the distant horizon. The fading light creating a misty gray patina upon pair as they stood in the long corridor of the arena. Glancing back towards the exit for a moment Fiona sighed silently. More of a mental one, for she had never been terribly fond of puzzles and DeAuster was becoming one as each day went by, with those occasional flashes of surprising emotions that left her at a loss. It wasn't a sensation she was comfortable with, but she wouldn't ever admit that.

An awkward silence descended upon them and she shifted where she stood, the dark cloak rippling and merging with the darker shades bring born by the fading of light. It was an uncommon sign, for Fiona wasn't one to fidget, but the fatigue still pressed down upon her and in truth she wasn't even aware she was doing it. Clearing her throat, for her voice still held a faint rasp from days of having not used it.

"As far as I know, I nae think he has anything major planned for a few days, aside from a few of those Gorean associates of his that tend to drop in for unscheduled visits. I can certainly handle them easily enough." Fiona had in the past and wasn't to concerned that trouble might rise while he took a day or so off.

_________________
"Someone screaming softly in the distance
I run to seek my refuge from the light
until the darkness once more falls upon me"
Stabbing Westward
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“My leg will recover, given time and tending by my…by the Acolytes that currently serve.” Shifting slightly, he pulled the sword back behind him and under his cloak, setting his unnatural aura between her and the blade. With the deepening gloom his eyes blazed brighter, an easy indication of the emotions that lurked within. In turn, the unnatural chill that surrounded him was in flux, and Fiona drew the cloak a bit closer around her, shadows shifting against the flickering torchlight behind her. “And I will send Lord Brutin a message, informing him of my convalescence.”

“He will appreciate that, I think.” Fiona replied softly, watching the death knight with those piercing emerald eyes he had been drawn too time and again. “I am certain Anathesius recorded the duel to torment the Templar, so I will ask him to send Brutin an orb.” The thought that the slaver would show it to his visitors and crow about having that one on his payroll did bring the hint of a smirk to peach-pale lips, though that in itself sent the echoes of ache through her battered system. To any that may have observed, her countenance maintained that cold mirth, betraying nothing.

“Indeed.” Lucius replied softly, the soft material of the drawn hood shifting as he nodded to Fiona. He wanted to offer his support to her, to enfold her in his arms as before, during the stolen moments together, and that brought a thrill of surprise. Uncertain of the sudden change in himself, he studied Fiona again, and caught the micro-look flashing across her pale features, realizing that she had also picked up on the fluctuating emotions. “You should rest, Fiona. You are still recovering from being held prisoner by the Templar’s” His rage crept up again, turning the last word into a veritable curse.

“Aye, and ye as well, DeAuster.” Taking a step back, the two looked at one another for an awkward minute, before in unison, turning and stepping into the waiting shadows, each seeking their mutual abodes, and trying to figure out the answers to the puzzle of the other, answers that were, as yet, elusive.
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