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  1. The plains of the ruined kingdom of Arafel provided a perfect location to build and train an army. There was plenty of open space, grass for horses, and what people remained would not come near the army that Dagan al'Kar commanded. If they knew a tenth of what this army was, they would likely soil themselves and run to the wilderness to live what pathetic remainder of their lives remained. He waited impatiently under the largest of the banners in the camp. The banner itself was dyed red with the blood of the villagers that had once called this area home, those that refused his offer to join him anyway. Some chose the wiser course and travelled with the army, supporting them in whatever capacity they were able. In the middle of the banner was the shape of a hand painted black. The name was his own idea. The Black Hand held the sword of the Shadow. Not all of the men that initially came with him to raze the country were Friends of the Dark, but those who began refusing orders now hung impaled in a circuit around the camp. Eventually every man here came to realize that his life now belonged to the Great Lord of the Dark. They had grown in numbers since then. His Master wanted an army built of the faithful. With the Chosen free and the Last Battle approaching, the time for secrecy was over. Like the original Friends of the Dark in the Age of Legends, Dagan had come out of the shadows without fear. He was lent two Dreadlords strong enough to make a gateway for the purpose of actively recruiting new members. Bran had been gone most of the day, and the arrogant man seemed to take his time, even in small villages. He said that testing for a man that could channel took time, but Dagan could hardly imagine how, Still, the man had brought nearly a dozen men back. Elin was less successful in bringing back women, apparently many of those women who could channel were already in the White Tower. None of them were officially under his command, but perhaps some day that would change. What could he do with such power in his ranks? As if thinking of the man summoned him, a vertical line appeared and opened into a gateway. A half dozen people appeared. By the look on his face, Bran hadn't had a successful outing, at least by his standards, which meant no channelers. As the gateway closed, Bran finally spoke to the wide-eyed new recruits. "Brothers and sisters," he waved his hand out to show them the sprawling camp "welcome to General al'Kar's Black Hand."
  2. There was no sound or light in the room where Myyrth sat clenching and unclenching his hands, digging his fingernails into the skin of his palm. The sharp pain distracted him from his ruminating. It cleared the suffocating darkness from his mind, allowed him to focus. He needed focus now more than ever. It had been months now that he had spent in the cold darkness of this dungeon. Months without contact with another creature other than the shadowy and commanding figures of his instructors. They came and went, never the same teacher. They hurt him, they pushed him. Yet he was getting stronger, more sure of himself with every passing week. He was not the same as the creature that had dragged itself out of the blight, wild and without discipline. He was becoming hard, lean, a true tool of the Great Lord. Letting his grip relax he examines his palms, despite the pitch darkness he was able to make out the welling blood. He could feel it run down along his wrist before falling to splash quietly on the stone floor, consumed by the dust and dirt. Is this what runs through my vein’s; this bitter blood? He felt numb to the insistent whispers of the night that called to him from beyond the edges of his waking mind. He felt a hollowness in the pit of his stomach, as though he lacked something fundamental to his being. He knew that like all of his ilk he was unable to experience the confusing muddle of images that are known as dreams. He only had the vaguest idea of what a dream might be, pictures in your head. At least that’s what the Trolloc mystics would say over the blood sacrifice, as they saw the future in its entrails. Myyrth didn’t think he was missing anything, he preferred the emptiness of his sleep. It was like floating in a black abyss devoid of all light or sound. To wake again to this world of shape and contrast left him feeling hollow and cold. It made him want to kill something. This was the first time that a nights rest had left him uneasy, unfocused. “Great Lord, give me victory over my enemies, let me drain their blood for you,” he murmured to the dark. What was this that he felt? Never before had a moment of self doubt clouded his clarity of purpose. He was a killer; he had no time for this. “Come fadeling.” The deep and basso voice vibrated through the door; out of sight his summoner called to him. Taking his blade, an unadorned steel weapon, he sheaths it and steps out into the dark hallway. Only the rare torch giving off a rancid black smoke broke the pitch darkness of the hall. He was wearing a leather tunic now, a gift from his patron to “give him a chance.” Myyrth wasn’t the sort of fade to turn down even the smallest advantage when it came to armed conflict. He didn’t know who was following behind him; the presence of a watcher was there but unseen. No doubt one of the Myrddraal that rotated through the training pits. One could never be sure what eyes were watching. “Stop.” The same deep voice rose up in command as he approached a tall iron banded door. Myyrth didn’t look behind him, there would be nothing there. “Enter and prepare yourself, the test will begin shortly.” The door opened easily. Entering he shut the door behind him and surveyed his surroundings. The ceiling was high and vaulted; numerous torches lit the room in a flickering murky light. The ground was covered in rough stone, in the center a circular depression of sawdust and sand stained with rust brown blood stains. somewhere above a vent took the smoke up and out. He didn’t need to wait long, another Fade entered the room. The Eyeless was clad in the black armor of the initiated. He didn’t speak and crossed to a weapon rack that stood against the far wall. He seemed to melt against any dark background, seemingly losing his three dimensionality. Almost as if he wasn’t fully present, no doubt that was a dangerous assumption to make. For Myyrth this towering warrior represented everything he desired to come. Everything, that he desire to conquer and make his own. The menacing personal power that his self-actualization would bring was an intoxicating goal that haunted his waking hours. He would achieve recognition, status, power; he would kill anything that stood in his way. “You have been training with the longsword.” This Myrddraal’s voice was rough and gravely, like perhaps his throat had been damaged. Curious. “Yes.” “It wasn’t a question.” From within his cloak the instructor produced what appeared to be a metal cestus pared with an iron vambrace. “Use it.” Upon closer examination Myyrth realized that it was far more than just a simple piece of armor. The vambrace itself was reinforced; beneath the iron forearm plate was padding that consisted of a layer of soft leather and a second hardened leather sleeve. The cestus, a metal glove designed both for offence and defense had a protective plate on the palm and delicate but strong looking articulated section that protected the fingers. Small edged ridges ran along the back of the hand and along the knuckles. Myyrth first slipping on the cestus and fitting it firmly he straps on the vambrace. The new weight felt unusual on his arm, but also solid. He could do some damage with this. Flexing his fingers he was astounded by how much dexterity he still possessed. He wouldn’t be tying many knots with it on, but it would be adequate. Turning his attention back to the instructor he waits quietly. “With this you will have yet another weapon in your arsenal. No servant of the dark should ever be without a plan to fall back on. If you are disarmed, or your sword is locked or you are facing multiple combatants this tool will give you options. Now. Come at me.” That hoarse voice bleeds menace. Myyrth suspected that this lesson would end in pain if he didn’t stay on his toes. “Yes Lord,” he murmurs in quiet acknowledgement. Moving across the room he takes a training blade from the wall and raises it into a guard position. Shifting into a light and mobile stance he keeps his weight firmly centered ready to move in any direction. His teacher merely stood observing hands hanging loosely at his sides. He had done remarkably well in his previous training exercises, becoming stronger, more agile and skilled with each passing day. So had his confidence grown. He would show this Fade that in Myyrth was a force to be reckoned with. Darting forward he fakes a lunge with his right foot before retracting his blade from a high attack and striking low at the instructors unprotected waist. Apparently he hadn’t been quiet as sneaky as he had hoped, in a flash of movement his sword was knocked across the line of his body and the hard wood smacked with bruising force against his arm. Moving like a snake the instructor slams his fist into Myyrth’s throat and pins him to the ground. “You forget the tools at your command Fadeling, you stand before me a dead man already!” The vicious contempt in the Myrddraal’s voice caused Myyrth to grimace. The cold flower of rage blossomed in his chest and he shoved back against the older Fade. Striking out with the metal cestus he lands a glancing blow that forces the other Myrddraal back. He stands silently a short few feet away, studying his charge. “You embarrass us, a child could kill you. Now again.” They square off, once again his teacher leaves himself open, arm resting easily at his side. Mastering his anger Myyrth gets to his feet. He would not be made a fool of again. He lunges forward blade held at a slight angle to cover his body and give him reach. His attacks were ferocious; he worked the strikes high and low trying to keep his instructor off balance. The sudden blow that strike him in the stomach knocked the wind out of him, doubling him over. “Every part of your body is a weapon. As you seem to so easily forget. You waste your gifts! You are faster than a human, stronger. You are more cunning and vicious. Yet you fight like one of them, so narrow minded. If you have a sword, you use the sword. You forget where you are.” A sharp wet smack sounds in the room as the instructors fist connects with Myyrth’s face, blood spatters in the sand. “The hand is a weapon.” Myyrth grunts as the other Fade’s foot slams into his side throwing him onto his back. He reached weakly for his sword. Too far away it sat, mocking him. “The foot is a weapon,” gripping Myyrth by the jaw he wrenchs his head around till his eyeless face bore down on him. Even though he could not feel the fear that paralyzed lesser creatures, the pressure of this elder Fades attention was suffocating. “We are more than human, we are superior. In the eyes of the Great Lord you are dirt, you are the worm the burrows through the dung. Only the strong may gain glory before the end.” With a suddenness that stunned Myyrth his oppressor was gone, so little time had passed! Wasn't he worth more than that? A wrenching cough rips out of his throat. Heaving himself to his feet he stumbles wearily over to his blade. Gripping the handle loosely in his hand he exits the room. He encountered no one on his return to the small cell that served as his room. At times it seemed like this great structure stood empty, haunted only by ghosts. In the silence he brooded on his shame. No matter that he was still a fadeling, no matter that he could not be expected to defeat such an opponent. Myyrth had come to a crushing realization, the Great Lord didn’t care. Nobody cared, and he was weak for expecting acknowledgment from his betters. As all must, so did he need to forge his own place in the Great Lord’s plan. Ambition flared inside his breast. Holding up the iron gauntlet that sheathed his hand, he laid his head down to rest. Dreamless, empty he floated in the void.
  3. Tripping stumbling Myyrth’ul’shai’zumel charged headlong down the steep hill, loose rocks and dust tumbling down after him threatening to trip him up and bury him under an avalanche of jagged shale and dirt. He was in a narrow valley the sun a sickly greenish yellow hung sedentary in the polluted sky, solid stone walls rising up on either side of him trapped him, a sickening odor permeated the air. It was like someone was being cooked alive, it was a greasy smell. The smell of death. Myyrth already carried scars from the path behind him, scrapes on his knuckles, a superficial gash on his shoulder from a close call with a blade trap. The obstacle course was designed to weed out the weak and slow. It was designed to test your every instinct force you to prove yourself or die trying. The Myrddraal was a powerful tool in armies of the Shadow, but like any tool of worth it must be forged with discipline. He must be made into a deadly weapon, cunning and terrible a reflection of the Great Lord's will. The weak must be culled from the heard. Rounding a corner in the long downhill maze Myyrth keeps moving, the sound of clattering and smashing rock behind him a warning to just how close he had come to dying under an avalanche of rough stone. The fadeling didn’t know how such a structure as this obstacle course was built on the ragged hills of Shayol Ghul, it hardly mattered. The power of the Great Lord was beyond understanding, and unquestioned. A brief moment of distaste touches his face at the thought of it being perhaps power-wrought. He had heard ancient stories of the land that had been here. Stories told over Trolloc tribal fires, the clan shaman drunk on strange vapors and poisons speaking prophecy. How in ancient times the Great Lords power shattered the prideful home of the Wyrdkith. Only after learning his own place had he realized the truth. There was only one purpose for a Fade, to survive and kill in the name of Shai'tan. The paltry world will be broken, these stone walls will fall and time itself will end, consumed by the eternal darkness of his master, an abyss as deep and dark as the chasm that split the narrow path between the rock ahead of him. He pauses a moment to scrutinize the distance, the shear rock fell away into an empty void. It would require a prodigious jump to clear the gap, but he was no human child he was shadowspawn. Tensing he moves onto the balls of his feet, his body settling into the sprint. He bursts free pumping his arms to gain as much momentum as possible, eating up the ground with incredible speed he reaches the edge and leaps. For what seems like an eternity his feet touch nothing but air, a sudden rush of adrenaline shoots through him as his extended foot misses the edge by a hairs breadth and slams into the rock wall too low. Plummeting into an abyss he throws his upper body forward his other leg bent. His leg on fire he smashes into the ground part of him hanging out over the nothingness. Clawing for a handhold his head bleeding where it smashed into the ground he pulls himself up and rolls onto his back. Breathing heavily he grits his teeth in a brutal smile before standing up and tenderly testing his bruised shin. “Great Lord!” he exclaims in the barbaric tongue of the trollocs. Getting to his feet he wipes the blood from his forehead. He feels for the short sword at his side and takes an account of his dagger and other gear then sets off at a trot. That jump had almost done him in, he was lucky to be alive. Dark One’s own luck, as a lightfool human would say. The previous traps had not been quite as dangerous, though the bloodwrasp pen had been particularly challenging. Those were monsters he had faced before. Rounding the corner his smile disappears, the exit to this maze was at the bottom of a slick forty five degree incline. A vile bubbling spring that ran down the hill gave it a treacherous appearance. Stepping up to the edge lightly he tests the surface. It was preternaturally slippery he would need to move fast to stay on his feet. He couldn’t just tumble out of control down the slope. Steeling himself he checks the leather straps holding his weapons one more time then hustles slipping and sliding on the slimy mud. Myyrth bursts out at the bottom of the hill, throwing himself into a dive just as a blade flashes by at head level nearly decapitating him then and there, to thrash like a frenzied and dying animal on the ground till the sun sets over the horizon. Spinning he sizes up his opponent, a trolloc thrall with the head of some sort of oversized bird of prey. This was very dangerous. The young fadeling couldn’t afford to be injured, not at this stage. He might be tougher than a human but it still took time to heal, it still left you vulnerable. Yet, glory was found in the death of your foes. Only the strong could gain power and status in the eyes of the Great Lord of the Dark. Only those who rose upon a tide of blood could truly have any mastery over their own lives before the end came. The trolloc stood growling and panting in the pale waning light of the sun, it’s wickedly curved blade would probably stand about as tall as his chest, it gleamed dully. Myyrth’s own weapon was little more than a notched iron short sword. From the looks of it at one time it had been called a long blade, but battle wear had taken its toll snapping off the upper quarter of the blade. He didn’t trust it in the least to stand up to the blows of this twisted beast. “Huuuurrooooooar!” the Trolloc bellowed, its breath steaming and rancid. Charging with heavy thumping strides they came to blows. Since he was old enough to carry a sharp object he had killed, he knew a skilled combatant when he saw one. This beast was half starved, a runt. Still, not trusting his strength to be sufficient he lets the trollocs blade glance off redirecting the force of the strike rather than letting the weapons come to full contact, which would likely lead to his own blade shattering and himself getting bisected from shoulder to groin. He kept his stance high and centered, angling his entire body and moving his feet quickly to keep his opponent moving and redirect the momentum of the combat. Trollocs, while surprisingly dexterous for hulking animalistic beasts, were not the lightest on their feet. Not as sure footed as a young and agile fadeling at least. The trolloc kept it’s blows high, pounding it’s wickedly curved weapon down it’s small prey in a rain of blows that forced him back. With a sudden movement that catches Myyrth on his back foot the bird headed monster drops a heavy kick straight into the soft flesh of his stomach. The low blow caught him completely off guard and his breath blasted clear out of him. He buckles over at the force of the blow, barely avoiding the swing that follows he rolls aside gasping for air. Holding his stomach he grimaces in pain, discolored needle sharp teeth bared he manages to deflect the trolloc’s second reckless swing with a one handed guard that minimizes contact. In desperation he throws himself onto his back as the third blow comes down at his head. As he falls he kicks out with a heavy booted foot a sharp crunch is heard as the beasts knee shatters. The trolloc stumbles forward his swing going wild, screeching in pain through its jagged beak. Not waiting even a second Myyrth stabs his notched blade through the eagle headed monsters Achilles tendon. Its headlong stumble turns into a full fledged fall. His opponents heavy weight lands right on top of him, it felt like a tree falling, immediately it starts to thrash trying to grab its blade which had fallen from its grip. One stray claw like hand slashes his arm and sends his sword flying. His other arm pinned beneath the beast’s leg, he draws his dagger and in a fury stabs repeatedly into the trolloc’s side. Warm blood splashed over his arm and face as he punctures the trolloc’s flesh. Terrified the beast gives up trying to claw at him and starts to crawl away its life away into the tainted ground of the Blight. Myyrth shoved its legs off him and rose quickly, tense and excited. His mind alive with the smell of blood he leaps on the defeated monster. His faced stretched in a cruel smile he strikes, his knife flashes again and again in the twilight, with a shuddering screech the trolloc dies. Standing up, blood dripping steadily into the soil he scans the rest of the field. He was through, it was over. Wiping his dagger on his defeated opponents dirty rags he slips the dagger into its oiled leather sheath. Darkness was falling over the blighted landscape like a bloated corpse steaming and putrid. It ate the last remaining vestiges of the sun’s light leaving only shadows which hung fat and heavy on the ground. As he bent to retrieve his worn blade from where it had fallen he paused, Myyrth felt a distinct tugging at the corners of his perception, he whirls around blade on guard but freezes when he spots what had alerted him. A mere extension of the shadows that surrounded him, the Myrddraal spoke in a voice that whispered like the rustling of dead leaves. “You survive again I see, I remember when you came crawling to us a wretched wriggling worm covered in excrement. You have made us so.. proud…” Though Myyrth could not see the Task Master’s face beneath the shadow of his hood, he could feel his overseer’s cruel smile in the mocking sound of his voice. “Return to the barracks, you are forbidden to clean the blood from your body, let it remind you of your service to the Great Lord and the long path still before you. The Eyeless finds his destiny in the blood of his enemies given up in sacrifice to the Great Lord.” The Task Master turns his head to one side, examining the young Myrddraal. He seems to consider something before turning away, his voice floats out over the dead air “still so many ways to die, till the end of all things.” One moment the overseer was there, the next moment he was gone, Myyrth could feel when the Task Master stepped through into the shadows. Like a folding or tugging somewhere just behind his head, it stirred a deep longing in his shadowspawned heart. He was still so young, so weak. The night whispered to him and he knew he was only half of what he was supposed to be. The power of his gaze was weak, the dark resisted his attempts touch it. He was incomplete. Turning towards a far distant structure that sat brooding on the dark slope he set out at a brisk trot. Occasionally he clenched his fist, feeling the slick blood of his kill sticky on his hands. “Till the end of all things,” Myyrth’ul’shai’zumel's voice was the sound of dry wind over a graveyard, fleeting in the vast night. His silent steps echoed hollowly, he walked drenched in the blood of his prey an offering to the Great Lord of the Dark.
  4. Ooc : It’s a retro timeless rp so its open to intiates, no chosen are awake but demandred which attends, so you can rp seeing him about, but don’t presume having buddy conversations with him for hours on end. Fades are free to interact inside the fortress, other shadowspawn stay out, because those tender human noses either wouldn’t like you all over the place, or you’d be too dangerous too trust free reins inside. The exception is entery of your specially assigned area designated to show off your kind amongst other during classes or otherwise be suited interaction places (trollocs presume you get your share of the convicted prisoners outside for part of your hunting games). It was the feast for Shai’tan, a three day long annual celebration in the shadow that ended on the longest night of the year. It was a tradition all the way back to BB50, 3 years after the drill of the Bore, 2 years after Shai’tan had started gaining influence in this world. However these little details were lost too most but the Chosen, most of his followers simply knew it as his birthday, without any clue to which age they were celebrating. Due to Demandred avoiding the same fait as the other chosen, those of higher ranks in the shadow, dreadlords and high ranking spawn and darkfriends, had learned a little more, that it rather then a birthday in the sense known to humans and most, was the celebration of Shai’tan gaining influence upon this world, but the rest of the details was also lost to them. In the fortress the front yard was cleaned, and tables filled it all neatly decorated. The entry hall was turned into a self-serving all day long buffet. In the halls different displays was set up or in most cases hung on the walls, mostly connecting too what was going on in the anointed rooms, most class rooms been turned into activity and crafting areas for courses and seminars. In the cellars trials were carried out and sentences given after too the amusement of the onlookers, as the offenders where put into the draghkar room or the darkhound pit with various weapons depending on how their trial went, anyone could sign up for jury duty. The spawn class room was made into a sparring room, where wooden lathes was used, both for those wanting to look and those wanting to participate, fades and dreadlords both intermingling. Outside the fortress things were also happening, behind it there was an encampment of trollocs, with representatives for all tribes, and throughout the day different games were hosted. The games varied from their own races, to hunts for prey that would be dinner later on, cooking contests, storytelling and other performances, and many more things that amused the trollocs and was made up often on the spot. To one of the sides a path had been cleared and horse races were being held, too the other side cleaning of the vegetation was being done through a diversity of OP contests and shows. In the evenings the dreadlord dining hall was opened, and classically decorated it was set up as a ballhall, those with gifts for music played on shifts during the evening dances.
  5. ooc bear with me as this one of the things there is no written example of class for yet, i'll add a male suport teacher in my next post so this may be avaliable to both genders M'bela stood in the libary, the lights from the candles on the walls was flickering omnious now late at evening. Most classes was at daytime, but some as this one was better served at nigth where minds were sleepy and light low, someone skilled would be able to replicate at lesser conditions, but for those still in learning it was positive to have all the help one could get. Tonight would be a long night, and teach the students in the art of control both direct and indirect with the use of the one power. It was an intensive course in the art of manipulating your soroundings. She took in a wiff of old books as she run her finger along a shelf, and then in the distance she heard footsteps aproaching. M'bela Greater Dreadlady in retro
  6. A strong wind flowed through the abandoned field, a little to the west of Fal Moran. The wind carried the heavy stench of smoke, of battle, of death. The peaceful appearance of the field was at a stark contrast with the rest of the dying country of Shienar. No matter which direction one travelled, they would soon find the ravaging hordes of shadowspawn. The trollocs and Fades pressed on relentlessly, killing many lucky ones, capturing the not so lucky. Only the most blood curdling screams reached this far, and even then only as faint whispers. A sudden flash of light disrupted the quiet of the field, as a shimmery blue line appeared and began to rotate into a hole in the air. Within moments, dozens of similar lines appeared, each opening in turn to offer the same scene. Dozens of black coated men, all with swords strapped to their belts, and many with silver or gold pins at their necks. Once the gateways had snapped open, the men poured through the holes in the air. The Asha'man had arrived in dying Shienar, intent upon saving the borderlander nation. ~~~ Arath led the charge through the gateways with his attack group. One hundred Soldiers, Dedicated, and Asha'man streamed through the portals onto the plains of Shienar, just outside Fal Moran. He quickly ordered his men into defensive positions while the remaining forces came through. It appeared as though the immediate area was safe enough, but if there were any dreadlords nearby they surely would have sensed the use of so much Saidin. Arath scanned the horizon, face palling some. Smoke rose in great pillars in countless places to the north, east, and west. Even from Fal Moran there was a great billowing black cloud arising, though it looked as though men still fought to keep the city from falling. No attack immediately fell upon the Asha'man though, and soon four hundred men of the Black Tower and their supplies had all passed through the gateways. The Asha'man fell into ranks, quietly whispering to eachother about their bleak surroundings. Arath took one last look at Fal Moran returning his attention to his men. It would begin soon. Light willing many of them would live through it.
  7. It began as a normal enough day. Normal for the Black Tower anyway. The regular rythem of explosions sounding at the training grounds went almost unnoticed by the inhabitants of the Farm as they went about their daily business. Soldiers carrying various items around on invisible flows of air, the wives of Asha'man carrying their own loads, children running and yelling while they engaged in whatever game came to them at the moment ... the usual pace of life. The silvery rotating slash that appeared in mid air at the traveling grounds also caused little comment as it rotated open, revealing a hole in the air. What poured out though, was enough to send rumors stirring througout the small city known as the Farm. Four men in black coats came running out of the gateway, almost before it had finished revolving open. Bourne between two of them on an invisible platform was a fifth man who bled profusely from a gaping wound in his torso. Immediately, two of them men bearing golden dragon pins at their collars sped off down the road toward the large hall where the M'Hael resided, while the other two sped off toward the infirmary, bearing the fifth man with them. None of the onlookers could say for certain where the group had come from, but they all saw the billowing flames and rolling plumes of smoke beyond the gateway, just before it snapped shut. ~~~ "You do be certain?" said M'Hael Brent Enios after he heard the report of the Asha'man. He had his back turned to the pair of them, steadying himself on the window sill, and trying to digest this horrible turn of events. "Yes Sir," confirmed Asha'man Daevis Thelandran. "I come from Shienar myself, and never have I seen such a horde as this. With the war between the borderlander nations, they can't hope to turn the shadowspawn aside, especially if there were dreadlords among them. I fear that Shienar will be over run in a matter of days. Perhaps Arafel as well. We heard rumors before the attack arrived of major trouble along their blight border as well." Brent grimaced in revulsion. The recruiting party in the north of Shienar had been fortunate, or unfortunate, enough to be present as the greatest host of shadowspawn since the trolloc wars had descended from the blight. The five of them had been no match for the sheer numbers that had overwhelmed them. They had been unable to save anyone, barely escaping with their own lives. Only moments ago a message had arrived with the news that the injured member of the party had died, unable to survive the rigors of healing. Taking a deep breathe to steady himself, Brent turned back to the Asha'man. "Bring me the Storm Leaders and Attack Leaders. We do be needing to plan this out. And be notifying the Asha'man to assemble at the training grounds in one hour. The Black Tower do be headed to war." OOC: Everyone who is coming, post your arrival at the training grounds, share rumors, whatever. I'll get the next post up in a few days, and then we'll move on to the North boards. Remember, as per Jocelyn's promise several months ago, anyone who participates up till the bitter end will be awarded a bonus strength point (upon reaching Asha'man rank anyway :D)
  8. Telcia shook hands firmly with Master Laughlin over the still wet ink on a contract scroll. Nearby several men in his employ nodded in approval and even one or two clapped. The deal was fair, tighter on her end than she would have preferred but Iussi’s father had been in ailing health for some time and had lost his bargaining positions within the major trade circles some time ago. Lucky for her, Iussi’s stunts at the races in the name of the Queen and her socializing both inside and away from The Kin, had proved most advantageous. Taking her copy of the parchment and rolling it carefully into the scroll case, she stepped lively back towards her carriage. The city streets of Ebou Dar were bustling and the port hummed with life, the smell of salty winds and sunshine filled the air; all in all it should have been a perfect moment, but something wasn’t quite right. Telcia couldn’t put her thumb on what “it” was but it was strong enough to make her pause and look slowly around the area, her hand drifting towards her dagger as her heart began to race just a bit faster than normal. Women, children, dogs, cats, fish, carriages, horses… and him. Her eyes locked on his even through the endless ebbing sea of people and for a moment it was like they were the only two people in the world. She knew him… but his name, what was it? She struggled for the name even as the mountain of a man strode towards her with a carefree but focused gait. It was only as he paused before her and bowed, that she knew what to call him by thanks to memories of what must have been his father or grandfather... Rasputin; “Good Master Felar, what a most,” she hesitated and smiled, still trying to shake the growing feeling of unease in her stomach. “…unexpected surprise. What brings you to Ebou Dar this fine afternoon?”
  9. Semirhage steped out of the gateway, she was on Almoth Plain close to Tarabon by the river Andahar. She walked for half a mile before making a new inverted gateway taking her over the river. Then used the rest of the day to walk up the hills and within the limits of mountain teritory. Here once again she made a new inverted gateway, making sure to stay hiden between her walking periods. No one would know where she was going, placing the gateways apart and spread out it would indeed be close to imposible to follow her. Her walkings also gave her time to think. She had had contact with Rahvin and Sammael barely after the gathering, she had heard whispers that Graendal had done the same, it was time to move before it was to late. Sammael by rumors where snugled in somewhere in shienar and she intended to find out just where. She wove the web of treads, based of spirit once again, looking out towards the sea from the mountains between Tear and Mayene. It was time to go north. She looked out over the pastures of Saldea, it was dark now, and she quickly killed the farmdog sleeping outside the house she aproatched. Walking into the barn she found a bridle and tread outside again, she bound the mare with treads of air as she put the bridle on, and then mounted. She was off riding slowly through forest untill dawn aproached, then once again she set her web, this time a litle bigger. She walked through the gateway leading the mare after her, the horse seemed a litle unsetled but soon calmed down as they where through the gate. Shienar, she smiled, and now to find Sammael, she knew just where to start. As the sun painted the sky red and orange in the early morning mist, she left the horse untied near a farm, then she wove her webs again. This was geting tireding, but it was nesisary to hide her tracks. She walked the 10 minuites into the village, she knew there was a darkfriend circle here. It was as good a place to start as any, and she tread her path towards the backstreath where the seamstress lived, steping inside she bared the door and walked into the backroom. "I am sorry we are not yet open" Semirhage looked at the woman with the green eyes of the illusion she put on, and twined a blonde curly lock of hair around her fingers with a pouty look. "It is what I had hoped, I dread full shops they are so pesky when it comes to talk of buisnises these lightfriends has no understanding for" her lips passed into a smile as she saw the shock and fright on the womans face. A weave already reaching out to stimulate the womans pleasure senter, she saw the womans legs cave in as she gasped and ended on her knees. Semirhage held the weave in place but withdrew some of the preasure. "You will tell me who is your leader here" she smiled cuningly, her eyes holding the womans eyes in a firm lock. "I i.." Oh but how she strugled, she could see the tears form in the womans eyes as she walked forward and cuped her chin. "Yes my darling" she let a whip of air and fire strengthened with spirit lash over the womans butocks, pleasure and pain was the perfect combination. She deligthed in the womans scream, and slowly again massaged the pleasure point, "this do not need to be so dificult, your such a pretty girl, it would be such a shame to ruin your dress and your face." the woman nodded as her tears poured down and she uttered the name in a whisper. When Semirhage let her go she shudered and colapsed in a sobing heap on the floor. She left her there as she steped out and into the street, following the womans instructions towards the outside of the village. She found the smithy soon enough and silently slid into the stable. She could hear the sounds from up on the hayloft, and huridly climbed the ladder. The boy looked surpriced on her, but she never gave him time to think as she tied him in weaves of air. He realised then something was up and she could see the panick stricken look on his face as he opened his mouth, she stuffed it with more air and walked over. Her green eyes pierced his brown, "Now this can be hard or easy, I need the name of your superior, and you will give me it, be sure" she sneered and saw him try to jank back. "she trailed a finger down his cheek, "you know what i am by now, your invisible bonds should tell you as much, it also should let you know what i am capable of doing to you. So dont be a fool cause i do got the time, and i can patch you up time and again to be sure that my torture can continue. So dont doubt my skills, so that leaves it to this, would you rather live the rest of your life with your limbs intact or would you prefer beeing reduced to a state where you will depend on others and not beeing able even to give yourself some mercy, or for that mather ask others to do so for you." That seemed to do it, she could see something break in his eyes, the young ones was always full of ambitions. She caressed his pleasure senter and smiled soothingly, "thats it, I will realease the ga now and you just give me the name, i promise to leave you proper payment for your faithfull service." He nodded eagerly and she let the gag go, he blurted out the name and started at a long rant of how he but wished to serve, she ended it with a quick slice of a airmade knifeweave. "That is proper payment for a traitor." she tsked and left the stable throug a gateway, makeing sure to not let it touch anything it could harm and such leave traces that would speak of a channeler beeing there. In the days passed she worked herself through several servants in the dark, pending on how she managed to lure the answer out of them she killed them, maimed them or let them go. But the later was mostly rare, to few she would trust to not be broken in such a way that she could trust them not to ligth a warning fire in hope of gaining something from it. Some was to stupid though and would spend to long trying to find their superior long dead by the time they did, and then find themself lost of what to do. Finaly she found herself the answer needed, she looked with cold eyes on the object infront of her. He was the tird of this link she had had to do, the two other had finaly found death without giving the answer she wanted, and this she had been at for 3 days. But it had given her the answer needed, she knew enough to guess where Sammael was. She gave her victim the mercy of death for suplying her answer and then gatewayed out of the place. A week and a half had passed, she could but hope no warning of substance enough had reached him to make him move from his seat. As she aproached the house on foot, clothed in an illusion of a pale skinned arafelan, seemingly a captain by rank, two brown braids spreading over each of the shoulders with small bells in them, and piercing cold blue eyes. She had it inverted and hid her ability to channel. Who knew what company he kept and she rather not end up in a squirmish with petty dreadlords, giving him a chanse to escape before she talked to him. He was a strategist surely he would be able to see the sence between their alliance, if he wanted to stay in the borderlands and gain power then why who bether. Close to the bligth as this, he would have big enough army potential to draw on to put into his battle plans, and her mere name would put frigth into the mortals, it was perfect. She would get to do what she did best, intimidate the peoples into obidience, and she could help with keeping their more usefull tools alive with her healing skills, oh but there where none in this world who could match her on what she could do in the field of healing. She grined, yes togheter they could well outplot the rest, as for Rahvin, he by her opinion had grown soft in the southern courts, surely Sammael who was none of the sort could be made to see that. She reached the gate into the house, and easily tied up the guard after making sure none was close to see. Walking up to the house she stated to the guards there that she had a message to the lord that she had been charged to only deliver to him directly, she knew the wording of passage, oh but they had tried the litle petty fools to give her the wrong words. In the end she had not let herself fool easily of it. Though even so, full of the power and several weaves at the ready she was all prepared to defend herself should they prove to be the wrong words. She followed the soldier who came back out, leting him guide her, listening ahead for sounds of peoples waiting with a trap, nothing. No this would work just fine. She entered a room seeing a man sit behind a chessboard by a window, another glass of wine told of a partner who had been dismissed resently. She wainted till the door was closed behind her and then made sure that she heard the steps disapear. She let an inverted weave against eavesdroping go up, aware that her carefullness would mean he couldnt sence her ability to channel at the moment. "Greetins Tel, its been to long" she already put up the inverted weave of a ward, having learned from her mistaces in Murrandy. "I am not sure if I shouldnt be offended you not came to my wedding.." she chuckled. Surely by now news would have reached him, she had no illusions otherwise, for the normal man of the borderland it migth still be unknown, but he was to skilled to not have a nettwork spread out to catch up on such news. Nothing had happened, oh surely by now he held saidin, she sat down oposite of him and leaned back in the chair, picking up the glass of wine and smelling the aroma before taking a sip waiting for him to speak. _______________
  10. The sun was out and so was Aki, her legs crossed over each other she sat on the wooden bench outside of Cari’s house. The other woman was out to the market today and Aki was waiting for her to bring some cloth she had asked for, all the while spending some time on a dress she had nearly finished. With a satisfied smile, Aki fingered the pattern and the seams of the deep blue dress she’d made for Sara Hinge, a local woman who needed a full new wardrobe after her third child. She had found Cari in her shop one day wearing a gorgeous deep brown dress with a golden thread and had asked how the woman had gotten to such a beautiful gown, to which Cari replied she had a new tenant at the ranch, one gifted with needle and thread. The woman wasted no time and a day later appeared on Cari’s doorstep, carrying a basket of honey rolls and not so subtly inquiring after this new tenant, the seamstress. Aki was introduced and soon found herself taking on a job for a sky-blue dress, one she knew in an instant would never suit the woman. She would never make another dress for Sara Hinge if the first were sky blue, as the woman wanted to look young and thin, not plump and motherly. The dress was a deep blue color, Aki had convinced Sara that it matched the woman’s eyes and was now working on the final touch ups to make sure that Sara would look the way she wanted to in the dress. Aki did not care that her subject had put on twenty pounds ‘eating for her child’, she put in soft lines and different types of fabric to put a shade over the side of the dress which would slim Sara down just to the size she liked to see herself in. The measuring had been difficult as Sara kept turning to look at herself in Aki’s mirror, asking why Aki had to measure every inch of her body, rather than just her legs and arms and maybe her torso. Aki smiled, put some more pins in her mouth to remain from speaking and started to drape black cloth around Sara’s bare arms. The woman nearly squealed that she had asked for bright sky blue and here the dance began. Aki sat back and watched the new arrivals who had come to work and live at the Ranch of the Rashad’ family as she let the memories of Sara fade to the background. The woman would be a good regular customer and the dress to prove that lay over her lap, almost grinning as broadly as Aki was. In a way, it was strange to work on a dress for a woman and make her feel beautiful without getting something back for it. Of course, she would be paid a fair amount of coin which would pay her rent in the Ranch, but when Aki still worked for her Mistress Carmen she made dresses and settled them on young women and earned more than coin, she earned their trust and therefore their secrets. A woman’s secrets were often more valuable than a man’s as a woman lay next to a man at night and found out who he was, the side of him he did not reveal to his traders or his staff. She learned those secrets from the giddy girls, smiling in their new dresses, boasting about their lovers and their secrets. Aki looked up from a memory passing over her like a day dream and found a young man walking up to her, he looked slender and well built, maybe he was a warrior? She smiled at him and said in a soft voice, to lure him closer, “Kind sir, in need of a new suit perhaps? A shirt and pants to match that stride?” and wondered who he was. Akasha Zarene “Aki” Seamstress, DF
  11. M'bela sat aback the horse looking towards the training field then spured the mare back towards the ranch. Her hair was hanging loose for the air to play with. Truth be told she was starting to get bored even in this place, it was sort of dull to her. And she rained into a halt infront of the stable. Tying the horse to the fence she unsadled it and rubbed it down before leting it go into the padock. That she was reduced to riding for fun spoke volums, she didnt mind horses, and truth be told they had their use for transportation. Preferable to walk at least, but there should have been bether ways. She picked up the sadle and reins before heading into the stable, hanging them on the racks. Then she walked over to a butock by the wall and bendt down washing her hands before drying them on a piece of cloth hanging on the wall. Just as she rose she heard the familar sounds of a set of feets aproaching and entering the stables, she turned slowly.
  12. ((OOC: Sorry it took so long, family emergency kept me away from the net. as far as the Trip goes, sure thing, just let me know when you start it.)) Angelica spent several days resting after her sickness. Not once did she try to touch the source again on her own, knowing that if she did she may not wake back up from that horrible nightmare. The pain she went through in those first hours sent her into such racking convolutions, it felt as if her body was being torn apart from the inside. Sleep came rarely and short when it did come. She spent most of her time staring at the ceiling trying to ignore the pain. She also had many hours to sift through her thoughts and decide what she really wanted to learn. The One Power is very much a mystery to her. What are its limitations? Are there Limits or can she learn to do anything if she put her mind to it. She knows that manipulating the mind is at least possible as she did just that when she first showed signs that she can use such power. Perhaps she should hone that particular ability. It would show those pitiless fools a thing or two if she just ‘convinced’ them that she is their betters. What would it be like if she managed to enthrall a King or Patriarch? They would be just marionettes dancing to the strings of the Great Lord. Angelica had smiled at that thought before darkness took her once again. Today was the first time she slept for any great time and when she woke up she felt like new. There was no pain, and only a little weakness that announced that she hadn’t had much to eat. She quickly dressed and moved toward the Ranch house and grabbed something to eat before moving towards Nalia’s room and tapped lightly on her door. She waited a few moments before she heard her mentor’s voice calling to come in and opened the door to face her future.
  13. A breeze rustled the tall grass in Cairhien, sighing through the trees. It lingered for a moment before catching the edge of a patch-covered cloak, almost as if it feared the man beneath it. A thought of vanity, of course, he thought as he allowed the breeze to blow over him, reveling in the sensation. Many would call the man handsome, with his dark hair and even darker eyes. The features hidden below the finely woven and inverted webs of Illusion were no less striking, but different all the same, all except the eyes and hair; the man could not bring himself to change those. The face below the Illusion, the face of a monster. The face of a man long dead. The face of a man reborn to serve a new Master. The face of one Chosen to rule the world. The face of Asmodean. Despite the rhetoric and the constant preaching of the masses, Asmodean did not think of himself as evil, nor did he think of those opposed to him as evil; they were simply misinformed and wrong-headed. These primitives, though, were less accepting than the people of his Age. Adjusting the patch-covered cloak, Asmodean resumed his leisurely pace, reflecting on his situation. The world in which he had awakened was three thousand years dead, taking with it things that he had taken for granted. This Shadow-blasted Age didn’t even have anything resembling an orchestra! The closest thing they had were these ‘gleemen.’ Spiriting one of them away was not too hard, and Asmodean quickly learned as much as he needed to get by, leaving the rest of the poor man to the vultures. The disguise served other purposes as well. Upon awakening, Asmodean had fled Shayol Ghul as quickly as he could open a gateway. The Chosen plotted amongst themselves as often as they had against the Light, and the weak were gradually killed. The Chosen were far crueler than any animal of which Asmodean knew. As he walked, Asmodean began humming, often wrinkling his face as he reworked some of the phrases. He still thought of himself as a musician, and even without a proper ensemble, he would continue to compose. With all of eternity stretched out before him, they would eventually learn the potential of music. The thought was enough to bring a smile to Asmodean’s face. He was still smiling when he broke the treeline unexpectedly and found himself in a pasture. And judging from the soft spot where he had stepped, it was not abandoned. Wiping his foot in the grass as he walked, Asmodean approached the fence separating the rest of the ranch from the pasture. As he neared, though, Asmodean began noticing some subtle things that did not bode well. For instance, it took quite awhile for someone to notice his approach. Even then, it didn’t affect him the way most people were when they saw a gleeman. Then the state of the place began to become clearer. Great Lord! What happened to this place? At the fence, Asmodean was finally able to flag somebody to him. Smiling warmly, his hands moved in the proper gestures to name him a Friend of the Dark in the highest circles. The sudden amazement and fear in the person’s eyes made his standing more than clear. To calm him down, Asmodean loudly introduced himself to those present. “Good day, friends! I am Jeros Nameros, gleeman.â€
  14. The winds and oars of the cargo ship Blue Breaker were both needed to force the ship upstream from Cairhien. As men swore and labored under the hot sun, a simple gleeman sat in the bow of the ship, his eyes closed, his fingers dancing across the strings of the harp in his hands. Occasionally, the voices of the crew would go quiet for a few moments as the strains of music reached them, their eyes shifting to the strange man in the bow. The silence was never long, but the yelling never returned to its full volume, either. As engaged in the music as he was, a small smile played at the corners of his mouth as he played on. Absently, the man wondered what the men thought of it; there was no doubt in his mind that it was unlike anything that they'd heard before. The composer had died nearly thirty-five hundred years ago. The gleeman had only known him from the histories that he had studied in his youth. The gleeman opened his eyes and glanced at the men laboring below, and another small smile crossed his face. Though busy, they were still an attentive audience; he felt the need to reward them in some minor way. His eyes flicked up to the one large sail, its canvas loose and almost undisturbed by the gentle breeze. His talents did not include working the weather, but it would be a simple matter to fill the sails with air... The Oneness came almost of its own volition, and the gleeman reached out to tainted saidin. Drawing it into himself, the gleeman smiled again as the taint fell away from saidin as it poured into him, filling him with the struggle for life that he had long ago mastered. A simple weave of Air filled the sail, pushed the ship forward. Quickly making certain that his disguise was in place and that the weave masking his ability to channel was holding, the gleeman released the Source. With a smile, Asmodean strummed his harp once, then began plucking "March of Death." Another melody that these primitives wouldn't know. ******** Asmodean stood on the bow of Blue Breaker as the captain shouted orders to his crew. Men on the nearby docks in Southharbor stood waiting to catch mooring lines that the muscular deckhands threw to them, towing the ship nearer to the stone pier and tying it in place with speed that spoke of practiced action. Gathering his things, Asmodean looked again at Dragonmount. So... the mighty Dragon met his fate there, eh? The bastard always did like to be overdramatic. I wish I could have seen him in his last moments of despair. His features, though disguised, were still quite handsome, and the smile that was on his face would have been dazzling, had it not been directed at the mountain. A tug at his sleeve pulled Asmodean's attention from the smoking volcano and to the captain of the ship. "Its been a pleasure having you onboard, Master Nameros. Are you sure that you will not travel back downstream to Tear with us?" Asmodean smiled at the man. "Please, just Jaros. I thank you for the offer, Captain, but I'm afraid that I must refuse. I must replenish my purse before I go anywhere else. I do thank you for the speedy journey, though." With a final nod, Asmodean pulled his patch-riddled cloak about him and stepped off the boarding ramp and onto the docks. The finer establishments would be near the White Tower, and Asmodean had no intention of staying in a loft somewhere.
  15. The sun was coming up over the horizon casting a glow upon that land, seeming to be on fire. The wind blew down from the North, a cold a bitter wind that felt like death. The trees seemed to be alive from this distance but from up close it was obvious that the moving trees were strictly the camouflage of tents and men. The small camp was a mobile fighting force and ready to move. A bitter chill ran through Gareth’s body as he stood before the camp. It had been long that he had left them waiting. Many had left, only a few remained of what once had been a great force for the Shadow, most had died at Chachin, the others had left when he did in pursuit of their own desires. The rest were gathering their equipment and getting ready to move, Gareth was taking them to Caemyln, they would join the fight once more. Gareth had only been back for a short time but when he did he had to put down the man that had claimed leadership. He was a good blade and would be missed but disloyalty would not be tolerated from anyone even a Death Seaker such as him. His new second in command was going to follow Gareth with the soldiers disguised as a merchant train, but Gareth had to meet with Rahvin before his men arrived. The road was familiar, like a good woman you get to know every bend and curve over time and usage. Gareth had traveled this long road many times in the past, even though it had been a while he still knew it. It had been a long time since he had dawned the armor and dress of his rank. The almost mirrored shine on the black plate was hidden in his pack, the armor was made to inspire fear in its beholders, not good in small villages. However he did wear his cloak with the crossed swords and the black helmet with red eyes embroidered over his left chest. Few would know that symbol and what it represented, and those that did would scurry out of his way fast enough. It had been a long time since he had met with Rahvin and been told to head North with the Soldiers. He had not heard from his lord in all that time and was dreading the meeting. He would have to report on the battle and why he was gone so long but he still didnt know what to tell his Lord. Rahvin didn’t know he was coming, or at least Gareth had not told anyone except his men where he was going, but it would not surprise him if Rahvin already knew. Rahvin would forgive him for being gone so long, at least he hoped he would. What had happened to himself Gareth wondered. When he left the Warders and joined the Shadow his resolve was sure to fight the light because he had nothing to live for. Having killed his family and been publicly suspect but they could not prove anything. But now he only fought because he knew nothing else, fighting had been his life since he was young he told himself. The journey took only a few days by himself, he rode hard and fast, he was ready to return to his duty even without his once unshakable resolve to keep him. It was dusk on the final day of his journey when he arrived at Caemyln, the stars were out and the moon light up the night like a beacon, but it felt like rain coming. It was easy enough to find an inn, the Drunken Soldier was a fine establishment, well it had fine ale and that was all that mattered to him after a hard ride. The common room smelled of ale and sweat, common after a hot sunny day, but the music was loud and the dancers pretty. He stayed only long enough to have a few drinks and steal a few dances before heading upstairs to his room. It was dark outside when Gareth woke uneasily from his slumber, the room felt wrong. In the blink of an eye he had pulled his sword and was readyto kill, he always slept on one of his swords. He light the bedside lamp and lowered the weapon as he saw someone was in his room sitting in the chair. “What are you doing in my room?†he asked casting a glance both at the figure sitting in the chair and the naked body beside him.
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