Closed The Hero You Deserve

Somethings stirring in these here woods...

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While Sylira is by far the most civilized region of Mizahar, countless surprises and encounters await the traveler in its rural wilderness. Called the Wildlands, Syliran's wilderness is comprised of gradual rolling hills in the south that become deep wilderness in the north. Ruins abound throughout the wildlands, and only the well-marked roads are safe.

The Hero You Deserve

Postby Elias Caldera on February 11th, 2018, 5:30 am

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66th day of Winter, 517 AV


Jakan of the Sunstrider Pavillion found he couldn’t stop staring at his wrists…

It was such a strange thing, to be fixated on something so mundane and insignificant, yet for the life of him the huntsman could not tear his gaze away. It was the just the manner to which the angry red discoloring clashed against the dark tones of his skin, or how the bulbous blisters stung bitterly when he instinctively tried to rub them. All these little things and more absorbed his thoughts completely, and truth be told, he knew exactly why.

It was because thought he’d never see them again.

From Riverfall to Kenash, Sunberth to Nyka, and every horrible place in between, his hands had been endlessly bound, locked away in the iron dregs that marked him as little more than ‘property’ for longer than he cared to remember. Over the course of the hundreds of miles they'd traversed, never once were his shackles loosened, let alone the crushing weight of chains lessened. They had kept him bound and under lock for so long, he’d forgotten what the flesh beneath the steel even felt like. Rubbed rough and numb over the months of grueling travel and treatment by his handlers, they had become as alien to Jakan as the strange cities they’d traveled through to get here… wherever ‘here’ was.

It had been so many moons since they’d taken him from the plains, ripping the once proud hunter from the arms of his wife and children, his house and home. He'd been separated from everything he'd known and loved, only to be carried halfway across the world on the greedy whims of... They weren't men. They weren't even animals. They were something worse.

Slavers.

The thought of them alone incited a fire within his belly that never seemed to smolder for very long. They had stolen so much from him it was hard to even conceive of anything left their evil kind hadn’t corrupted with their vile and ruinous touch. Yet when the chains had been broken, and the flesh beneath revealed for the first time in so very… very long… It was like looking at a piece of him they had never managed to get to. A part of him that was still back in Endrykas, with his clan and kin, preserved by the rust and the sweat and the pain. That was why he stared, strange as it was, and why he allowed himself to continue his odd revelry right up until the sound of a branch snapping beneath him silenced the thick northern woods into a hushed whisper.

They had come.

Just as their savior had said they would.

When the stranger had arrived, he did so with thunder in hands and fury in his heart. At first they’d thought him a beast of the wilds, cloaked in midnight black fur and a sinister air that was as thick and palpable as the insects that plagued the winter skies. It had started with a whistle, a simple sound that had sent the horses dragging their prisoner carriages absolutely mad with fear. They bucked and bawled, screaming in some unspoken terror that seemingly only they could sense. The guards had thought them crazed with horror at the sight of the black blur of fangs and fur darting between the trees in the distance, but Jakan knew horses, grown up and lived with them all his life. What he saw in their eyes as they pranced and shattered the yokes that bound them was a panic unlike anything he’d ever seen before. It was wholly unnatural in the way it had robbed their minds of their sense and self. He wasn’t surprised when they eventually freed themselves from the confused and riotus cabal of slavers trying to reign them under control. He was taken back however, when the beast had set upon the guards next, ripping through them with such a ferocity and strength he was scarce to believe it when he finally realized it was no animal committing all this carnage upon their kidnappers, but instead a man disguised as one. When he was done, the slavers lay broken, but still alive at his feet. He hadn’t killed them with his ungodly strength, but neither had he stopped the slaves he freed from taking their revenge either.

Jakan had to cry out to halt his fellows -some of them Sunstriders just like him- from killing the men outright. Their savagery was just, but to condemn themselves to it would have spelled the doom for all them if they were to become just like their tormentors. To his surprise, they had stopped to listen, and the stranger had noticed too. That was when his shackles had been broken and his wrists were freed. Never would he forget the moment, nor the hero who had saved him.

Eventually they decided to lock the slavers away in the same cages their human cargo had been hauled in all this time. A poetic justice, and one that should have ended then and there. Many wanted to scatter and flee, to find refuge wherever they could, as long as it was far away from this dreaded Ravok they all spoke of. Yet, the stranger spoke to them, to Jakan mostly, and the hunter had found his words eerily haunting, yet desperately true. "They will come for you" he had claimed, his face painted in mud and dirt to hide his features beneath the wolf's head adorned atop his own, "they will come for you, and they will never stop... unless you stop them first, here and now."

The words had wormed their way into his thoughts, there was no other way to put it. He did not distrust them, but nor did they feel altogether right. None the less, he had eagerly accepted the bow and arrows the stranger had offered, and the other freed slaves had done the same, taking up the weapons of their captors once used to keep them fettered and fearful. Part of him still screamed to run while he still could, to abandon this madness and dash off into the wilderness, but it was far too late now. What had the stranger called them? Lurks? Larks? Whoever they were, they were upon them now, and any chance they had at escape was long gone.

Five men, clad in mail and leather and all the bad intentions Jakan had grown accustomed to seeing in his captors came prowling through the clearing. These men were the same as the ones that had held them in captivity, and they even bore the same insignia upon their breasts to help distinguish them as such. How convenient, Jakan thought, those strange black markings would prove a useful target to center their shots on. At their head, or rather, at their heart, walked a woman who seemed far apart from the others, yet still very much the center of it all. The one in charge, Jakan mused as he glared down at her distant beauty. She had come searching for her missing men no doubt, not to mention all the precious cargo they'd lost track of to boot. Well, all she would find here was woe and misery. A fitting punishment for one so wicked. He had no doubt she'd pay for her crime, not when their savior had promised to join them in their struggle. The nameless man had disappeared earlier however, reclaimed by the forest and shadows that had birthed him, but Jakan had faith he would return. He would not free them and risk so much unless he had a plan.

The Drykas could hear the sound of weapons being readied and bowstrings being pulled taught nearby as his brothers prepared to spring their trap. Soon enough, his own arrow had been knocked and readied. The string quivered next to his cheek with an unbearable intensity, ready and eager, yet even now Jakan's thoughts wondered to his wrists.

Never again would they bind them, he promised.

Never again would they take him.

With that silent vow, he let loose the first shot and prayed to the gods they would forgive him.
Last edited by Elias Caldera on March 4th, 2018, 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Hero You Deserve

Postby Maya Lark on February 27th, 2018, 5:40 am

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The pounding in her skull would not go away for some time, and the screaming of her father did not help matters. A couple of the other slavers saw her face and pitied the men that would be working with her that day. After several more chimes, Dimitri finally calmed down and dismissed everyone. The woman stepped out and began to look over charts and see what the personality of each new slave was.

The girl was on her third cage when her father called for her about about five other men to return to his office. Rolling her eyes, the woman put the chart back on the hook and walked off. She arrived shortly before the others as the last one closed the door. Maya sat down and crossed her legs as the men either stood or sat around the front of the desk. The man looked over them all then focused in on his daughter.

“I have called you all in here for a special task. Maya, I want to see how well you are doing. You will be leading this trip,” Dimitri stated and listened as his men questioned his choice, “ENOUGH. Every last one of you will follow my daughter's lead or you will be the next ones to be sold as slaves.”

All the men around the woman went silent glaring, but not daring to speak against the man and his choices. The dark haired Lark took a deep breath and stood up before looking at the group that would be accompanying her. The woman dismissed them to go prepare what they needed to and turned to look back at her father. She was beyond nervous if he had told the family about what had happened; she would have had excitement for the assignment getting passed to her. But at the same time, the female was sure he was trying to teach her about surprises and having to think on her feet.

“Are you sure about this father?” Maya asked quietly.

The last thing she needed the men to hear was that she was not confident in her ability to lead. It would give them ample opportunity to run all over her. Dimitri looked up at his daughter quite shocked. The girl was normally jumping at opportunities to prove herself, but something appeared to be bothering her. He motioned for her to close the door once more. Maya walked over to the door that the fools had left open and closed it, before returning to sit in front of her father.

“What is wrong with you? I have never heard you question my decisions,” Dimitri asked with a scowl.

“I... it is just...... I have never lead a group before, much less on such an important mission. What if I screw up and get someone killed or lose our cargo again? Uncle would never trust me again and neither would you,” Maya stated as she got up and started pacing.

“Hm... so that is what you are so worried about. It is not the mission, but the fact that you can fail due to lack of training,” Dimitri stated and watched her nod, “Maya stand before me and listen well. You are a Lark; it is in your blood to be a slaver. You must remember your place in the family and within the city. If you ever show fear to the people here under Rhysol's careful eye; you will be killed understood?”

“Yes, I understand father. I will go and prepare for the mission,” Maya stated and bowed her head before walking out of the office.

Soon enough the group had left and made their way to where the caravan was lost at. The girl watched the forest standing in the middle of the group. Three men walked ahead of her while three men walked behind her. Several of them had their bows in hand, all that would be needed in an attack was to knotch the arrow. The Lark would have to use her cunning seeing as she did not have anything more than her iron blade. It would prove useless to do more than stop an arrow; if the girl could put it in the way in time. The group made it and found no signs of the slaves, just the slavers in the cages. Rolling her eyes the girl set things into motion.

“Reala, go free the other slavers. Mallore and Gallore go into the forest silently and find the slaves. They are in unfamiliar territory and should be easy to find. Knock them out and return the heathens to the cages. The rest of you with me, we need to assess the damage to the carts. Gathering them back up will be useless with no way to transport them all,” Maya stated looking at everyone.

Reala was a tall dark skinned man who once worked as a slave to the Larks before becoming a worker at the slave market. Through hard work and determination, he was moved up to a slaver who worked getting new slaves settled. Mallore and Gallore are twins that came in to business early on in their lives. Their most prominent features are the silver hair on their heads and the miscolored eyes. Mallore had brown eyes while his brother had been born with blue eyes. It was not long before they had pulled their hoods up and disappeared into the forest.

The other three stepped ahead of her moving to the first cart. Maya looked around once more as the hair on the back of her neck stood up. She slowly slipped her hand up and took hold of her fan. The woman took it out and opened it before “fanning” herself with it and going with them. Reala cried out as an arrow stuck into his shoulder. Quickly Maya and the others ducked out of the way and barely peeked around the edges of the carts. Her heart pounded in her ears as everything went eerily silent.
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The Hero You Deserve

Postby Elias Caldera on March 4th, 2018, 10:02 pm

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Reala fell with a cry as the arrow found its mark in his shoulder, and he would not be the last. His agonized roar merely heralded the beginning of their woes that day.

Two more servants of house Lark found themselves in the crosshairs of the people they once chained and sold like cattle, and two more were felled by the slaves as they unleashed volley after volley upon the unsuspecting guards below. One had been the middle of returning fire upon their unseen assailants, pulling his bow tight and preparing to loose his shot when an arrow had punched through his weapon, cracking it two and sending the bowstring lashing at his face. He fell with a terrible yelp, cupping his face and eyes as blood oozed between trembling fingers.

A moment later and one of the slavers who’d been captured and used as bait had made a run for it, his hands still tied behind his back as he darted towards his comrades. An arrow in his leg, and a second in his backside brought him down hard to the forest floor, leaving him a writing, howling mess trapped in the no man’s land that had so suddenly sprung between the two sides.

The whole thing had gone from tense but tedious to sheer anarchy in an instant. Men were screaming and hollering all around, some of them in pain, others with determination and fury. Blood had already been spilled, and the promise of much more was as thick in the air as the hot winter winds. It was sheer madness, and Maya had found herself right at the heart of the mayhem.

Before long, the screams of agony and surprise had been replaced with that of orders and outrage. Commands and warnings from men who’d been fighting for long enough to know better went out around the clearing as the Larks organized themselves into desperately needed cover. Reala in particular, once the burly man had decided he was done taking a break on the floor, was the loudest to be heard of them all. He had picked himself up, snapped the arrow in his shoulder in two, and dove against an overturned slave wagon where Maya and two others had sought refuge. The rest of her men had been forced to scatter elsewhere lest they risked being turned into pin cushions, but she could still see most of them hiding their heads behind whatever tree or stone would provide them sanctuary from the storm of steel.

All around her, chaos had erupted. What was meant to be a simple retrieval had turned into a fight for their lives, and now Maya could see the men were all looking to her for their next move. What were they to do? Run away? Get help? There was a fear and uncertainty in their eyes that was palpable to anyone who could notice it. Even if they were fighters outfitted by a house as a grand as the Larks, given the best weapons and the finest armor, they were still just men underneath it all. Men who didn’t want to die.

If Maya ever intended to one day rule her household as its matriarch, or even she simply strove to rise above her station, this was a look she’d one day have to grow all too familiar with. It was a look that people like her reveled in- delighted in- shone the brightest in.

It was the look of men who sought a leader, and all eyes were on the slaver queen now.

What would she have them do?

Well, whatever it was, it didn’t matter a damn to Reala. He had his own plans.

“Desmond, Hollam,” the broad chested slaver roared, pushing past Maya as he grabbed one of the younger servants. He had to be careful not to take an arrow in the head for his trouble should he poke out too far, but it hardly seemed to dissuade the slaver as he angrily took charge. “They’re in the bloody trees, dead ahead of us, and two more on the right over there.” He tried to point with his other arm, but abandoned the effort with a growl as he was reminded of the arrow painfully nestled in his shoulder. “Argh! Were gonna charge ‘em!”

Hollam, a handsome young swordsman who’d offered his services to the family nearly three years ago now, looked particularly perturbed by the notion. His short blonde hair shook frantically as he looked first to Maya, then to the muscular fighter grabbing at his lapel. “Are you petching mad?!” He shouted as another arrow thudded against the wagon nearby. “We’ll be skewered six ways from Sunday if we walk out there!”

He was right, the arrows hadn’t stopped since the first volley, and they’d been blisteringly constant since then, even if they continued to fail to find anymore targets.

“Listen to me damnit, there are a bunch of hopped up slaves mad for revenge. Look at them wasting their arrows -our arrows- left and right just trying to nick us. Soon they’ll run out. When that moment comes, we’ll rush in there and-”

That was when Maya would notice it -or rather- him for the first time.

How wrong Reala had been to assume they were wasting their ammunition on petty and futile revenge. These were not men who’d been set upon and now fought for their lives like desperate animals with their backs to the wall. They’d chosen to remain behind. They'd chosen to fight. The Larks were being toyed with and distracted, and now they were going to pay the price for a second and final time. The one who intended to take the first toll had set his sights on Maya.

With all the bedlam being rained down upon them from the front, no one had cared to take a look behind. Creeping up now from that ruinous blind spot, crawling on his belly through the foliage and dead winter grass, was one man. Covered in head to toe in a mixture of mud, dirt and hastily tied together leaves, the slave had crept upon them as quiet as a mouse, but with all the hidden fury of a lion. A fury he was now in the perfect position to unleash!

He reared up, bow knocked and ready as his improvised gillie suit fell away to reveal the slave beneath it.

His name was Jakan, and he was a slave no more.

Once he was a hunter who had prowled the plains of Endrykas his entire life, killing beasts far more ferocious than men with a bow much like the one he now wielded. He’d taken trophy and hides beyond counting, but never had he killed another man before. As dark eyes locked with Maya’s from across the alarmingly short distance that separated the two, it was clear the huntsman intended to take a life that day.

Maya’s life.

The Suntrider pulled back on his bow, and with frightening ease, the arrow was loosed.

A sudden wind buffeted Jakan as he fired, catching the archer off guard and sending his arrow careening off course. The gust had seemingly come from nowhere and was likely the only thing that had spared Maya from having to deal with the impropriety of a wooden shaft suddenly sprouting from her temple.

Jakan looked shocked.

Hollam looked as if he was about to be sick.

And Reala… well Reala had his own problems.

The big man wasn’t looking at the hunter who’d snuck up on them however, but instead at the hunter’s arrow that had been meant for his master but was now lodged in his other shoulder.

The slaver looked incredulously from one arrow shaft to the other in both his shoulders and muttered “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Before abruptly slumping against the wagon, his eyes rolling back in his head with a sigh.

With a war cry that straddled the line of madness, Jakan pulled free a hatchet from his waist and raised it above his head, his eyes wild with malice. More screams cut through the forest as Maya would notice more and more slaves popping out of the bushes and trees all around them, swords and axes stolen from their masters raised in similar fashion.

They’d been surrounded.

All as one, the slaves rushed in, even the ones from the trees had dropped to the ground and were moving forwards, weapons bared and faces affixed with bloodlust as they charged. Outnumbered and outflanked, things had gone from bad to hopeless in yet another blink of the eye it seemed. Apparently such was to be the theme of the day.

Jakan was coming right for Maya, but every man in her company had at least two more running right at him.

They’d been surrounded… and soon they’d be killed.
Last edited by Elias Caldera on March 17th, 2018, 4:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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The Hero You Deserve

Postby Maya Lark on March 17th, 2018, 4:13 am

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Maya forced herself to calm down and center herself. She would be useless in a panicked state of mind. Taking a deep breath, blue eyes snapped open to look at all the faces around her. All of them wanted to make it home to their families and if it killed the woman she would get them there. Glaring at Reala when he jumped up the girl quickly got between him and Hollam getting in the taller slaver's face. The Lark would not be pushed around just because she was not as experienced.

“Enough! Hollam is right Reala, you have no idea how much ammo is left or if they have their own ammo as well. We need a different plan,” Maya stated in a clear commanding voice.

“Why not just wait till all their arrows are gone?” Desmond asked keeping his head low with everyone else.

“I wish that were an option, but the longer we hide and do nothing the more time they have to flank us. We need to send for extra men; there are far more of them than us. Remember we are dealing with those plains heathen the “drykas”. They are known for stealth and tactics in the midst of battle,” Maya explained.

The group moved closer to the wagon when an arrow nearly pierced Maya in the head. She moved and put her back against the wood once again as Reala moved to her left and Hollam to her right. Pinned down was no way for a slaver to be seen much less the “heir” of the slaver house. Shortly after ducking behind cover once more, the woman spotted at least one of their enemies. A gasp left her mouth as she opened her fan to block the arrow from piercing her. The young woman was shocked to see the arrow suddenly turn and hit Reala in the other shoulder blade. He stopped and looked between each shaft before finally slumping over to ground dead.

“Reala!” Desmond called shocked and looked when a loud noise sounded.

“Shyke they are charging, everyone grab any weapons you can and prepare. Wound but don't kill. Only kill if absolutely necessary,” Maya called and grabbed Reala's shield.

The woman put it on her left arm and winced some at the unfamiliar weight. She moved it into place and popped her fan open again. Maya knew nothing of battle, but she would die before going back to her father as a failure. The attacking slave had his hatchet raised coming straight for the queen. Shifting some, she raised the shield and winced feeling the hatchet hit it. Her right arm instantly snapped out hitting the inside of his upper arm with the sharpened edge of her fan blade.

The man jerked back screaming holding his arm shocked. He glared watching her movements as the men around her were fairing about the same on the defensive taking strikes with various weapons as they found open spots. Maya was banking on their anger and blood lust being their weakness.
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The Hero You Deserve

Postby Elias Caldera on March 25th, 2018, 2:42 am

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Jakan stared wide eyed at the wound, disbelief and shock racing through him like a lightning bolt. Fresh blood was oozing from his arm, soaking his fingers, his hands… his wrists.

Anger enveloped him next, white hot and seething. Not because of the gash or the crimson flowing freely from it, no, blood was just that, blood, and he smeared it across his face with a red growl of defiance at the Ravokian to let her know such a pittance was not enough to stop him. Instead, his rage stemmed from her words shouted out so boldly across the battlefield. Inconceivably, she had commanded her goons to ‘keep them alive’ as best as they could. Still, even amidst the bedlam and chaos, she was dedicated to her trade above all else, dead set on seeing her qaurry wrangled up like livestock even as doom and destruction loomed.

How could something so beautiful be so utterly cruel?

How could something so frail hold host to such pure evil?

...She had to die.

Not just for Jakan’s sake or his fellow slaves who fought alongside him, but for every wretched soul that came after them this day that would be spared the whip and the shackle should he put an end to her ungodly malevolence here and now!

This Lark had to die, so that no one else would ever have to suffer her wicked will!

With a roar that renewed his purpose, Jakan raised his axe above his head once more charged -headlong into his own downfall.

Something hit the Sunstrider, and it hit him hard.

Lost in his bloodlust and furor, he hadn’t even heard the heavy hooves bearing down upon him until it was far too late. As a drykas, he knew all too well a horse was a powerful tool in the right rider’s hand, as much a battering ram on the battlefield as it was a faithful companion on the hunt. So when the chestnut chest of the stallion crashed into him from the side with all the force and fervor of a charging horse, Jakan’s body had simply snapped under the impact.

There was a moment that followed where he felt himself actually flying through the air for a short while before the ground embraced him once more, his body bouncing like a rag doll across the clearing until finally, mercifully, he slid to a stop.

The pain that followed… was indescribable, as was the horrifying sense of numbness that wracked his form almost as much as the fire he felt in his clearly broken bones. He could not move despite every effort to do so, and even taking a breath was an arduous task. Something was wrong within him, and he knew he wasn't going to get up again. With bloodshot and watering eyes, Jakan struggled just to shift his head far enough to see what it was that had hit him, and there, at the center of the clearing, he beheld his ghastly destroyer.

Pale of flesh and clad in ebony, the warrior rode aloft his auburn steed, his sword outstretched towards the heavens even as the animal beneath him reared back on its powerful hind legs and extended its self to its fullest height with an neighing air of authority. The look of fury and power in the beast’s eyes was matched only by that of its master as the two took center stage amid the turmoil. All attention turned to them in an instant as the fighting lulled and confusion took hold. No one seemed to know who this new contender was, or what he intended, but as the rider waved his blade in the air and the winds began to stir, things quickly become horrifyingly clarion…

He was no friend of the slaves... he was their undoing.

Jakan stared in helpless dismay as he watched the unnatural power take shape around the mage. He knew the black rider was a mage because he had seen such magics before, wielded by the wise and ancient shamans of his clan with majesty and grace during their sacred ceremonies. What the blue eyed stranger did with his magic however, was something entirely different.

With a slash of his blade, the wind began to howl. A gale of unnatural fury blossomed into existence around the man and the slaver queen he had come to the aid of, whirling and storming until the entire forest felt as if it were about to blown away. His brothers began to panic in the tumult, and he could see the fear etching its way unto their faces as they watched the reimancer take hold of the elements. That fear was quickly replaced with agony as one by one each slave that had broken their chains and risen up in defiance began to clutch and claw at their throats. Jakan could feel it too, the very air they breathed being ripped from his lungs by barely visible hands of res that had hidden themselves in the gale.

They were being suffocated!

Warriors began to fall to their knees all around him, starved for oxygen and any hope of escaping whatever abominable devilry had gripped them. There was no way to stop the swirling vortex’s that now enraptured their heads, no way to end their ceaseless, vacuous pull that claimed their every gasp.

How did one fight the wind itself?

How did one even control it to such an extent in the first place?

None of the Larks showed the same distress, each one of them perfectly content if not merely confused by the felling they were witness to. Eventually, Lark and slave alike all turned to the pale warrior as he made another sharp, decisive motion, this time with his fist towards the sky. Jakan was the only one not affected by what happened next, and from his place on the ground, such vantage gave him the perfect viewpoint to watch the nightmare unfold.

More than a dozen slaves found their feet ripped out from under them, their bodies heaved into the air by malevolent gusts of wind so great, it held them aloft like puppets hanging limp from their strings. Trapped in a sickening limbo between the clouds above and the ground below, the men and women Jakan had been fighting alongside seemed to find themselves frozen in an endless moment, one where everything went still and quiet. The winds howl had faded, the torrent of leaves and debris froze mid air, and the all wilds were silent...

It lasted all but a moment before another gesture by the mage brought a dozen bodies hurtling back towards the earth with catastrophic velocity.

No soul rose again after that, each slave reduced to a broken, uncoincsious heap on the floor much like Jakan himself, alive, but likely wishing they weren't.

Like that… the fight was over.

No! The drykas bellowed within the depths of his mind. No, it couldn’t end like this! Not after everything. Not after all they-

“Are you alright?”

He heard the familiar voice ask from afar, and as he strained his bleary eyes to affix themselves on the source, he saw the rider had dismounted and moved over to the slaver witch, even going so far as to rest a considerate hand on her shoulder. They seemed to know each other? Almost like Jakan thought he knew that voice. It was so familiar, but why? Where had he-

As blue eyes turned from the Lark woman to survey the field of sorrow and shattered hope, Jakan realized the answer to his question.

The recognition sent a fresh wave of hellish pain through his sundered body.

No. It couldn’t be…
Last edited by Elias Caldera on April 8th, 2018, 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Hero You Deserve

Postby Maya Lark on April 8th, 2018, 6:04 am

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The lark watched as the man looked between her and his arm. She moved one foot back anchoring herself and shifted the shield in front of her face keeping it partially hidden. Blue eyes watched the slave as he prepared to attack her once more. Pushing one foot back behind her, the girl braced for the impact by either his body or his blade on the shield. That was until he suddenly shot off to the right hitting the ground like a bag of rocks thrown from a rooftop. Shocked, the woman jerked up seeing the black clothed man sitting up top a Ravokian Bloodbane. The creature snorted and tossed its head wanting to continue the charge as its eyes flashed around the clearing.

“Who?” Maya asked while looking up.

She instantly recognized the man sitting atop the horse. Relaxing just the smallest bit, the woman turned and called her men back as the male raised his hand up in the air. There was an electric feeling to the air that the girl faintly recognized. He was going to show off and use magic the question that plagued her mind was, 'would it be her group or the slaves?' Which brought up another question how many slaves or slavers would be lost within the next few seconds. Taking a deep breath, she figured her words at the dinner party earlier in the season would come back to haunt her. The sudden gust of wind made the woman raise the shield to protect her eyes from the dust and small debris that was being picked up. Several of her men called out when the slaves started to freak out and wheeze.

Maya slowly moved the shield as she watched them claw at their throats. A sudden realization hit about what was happening, he was dragging the very air from their lungs. Quickly looking over at her men, she was glad to see that none of them were effected. Clearing her voice and taking a steady breath, the woman gave the order to check the captured slavers for injuries and recover any arrows. The dark haired Lark watched impressed by what he was able to do with his elemental magic. She was even more determined figure out how to learn the same thing. Flipping her hair, the woman walked over to the seemingly dead Reala. They needed to get him covered up on her way over the lurch of bodies in the air made her stop and look up beside his body. As the slave bodies hurled themselves to the ground, she silently cursed knowing her father would have her head for losing that many new bodies.

Wincing some at the sound of crunching, the woman turned to look at Elias when he dismounted and walked over putting his hand on her shoulder. She looked at him with a strong confident gaze not showing any fear that she may have felt. Of course any one with half a brain could tell she was still on edge and nervous from the encounter. She had been training with her brother for such an encounter, but that was nothing compared to truly fighting for her life.

“I am well thank you. It has been many moons since we last meet, Elias. Now I am glad the experience did not end badly. Though you could have left them alive. My father will be furious to know that his cargo was killed. Especially such skilled workers, oh well my men are alive that is all I am worried about. The last thing I wanted to do was deliver the news of death to families,” Maya stated and looked at her men as they checked on the few injured men in the cages.

A hand grasped her wrist, the girl instantly let out a shriek as she turned and kicked the body in the side. A grunt came from the male's body as he released her causing the woman to stumble back into the chest of the man behind her. Reala grunted holding his side now before turning some to look at her with a glare. The woman panted some as her heart raced against her rib cage trying its hardest to jump out and run home. She had been through hell that night, and the last thing she wanted to deal with was one of her slavers pretending to be dead so that he did not have to fight along side everyone else.

“Reala! What in the shyke is wrong with you!? Have you been faking your own death this entire time you pig headed shyte!? I wish you had died then my life would be easier without you!!!!!” Maya snarled at the top of her lungs.
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The Hero You Deserve

Postby Elias Caldera on April 24th, 2018, 4:12 am

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He had watched… and he had waited.

Watched as the slaves had taken up their positions amidst the trees.

Watched as they had knocked their arrows and studied their traps.

Watched as they had wreathed themselves in nature’s guise alongside vengeful oaths of blood and freedom.

Watched as the Larks came stumbling into the maw of their demise like lambs to the slaughter.

From a distance he had observed all these things and more, quiet and patient as his auristics painted a picture more pristine and perfect than mortal eyes could ever hope to match. Beneath him, his stallion stirred, agitated into unease by the screams and violent sounds of combat just beyond the ridge where they waited. To the nameless steed, the din of death and desperate men were cause for alarm, but for the pale rider atop its back, it was music to his ears. His machinations unfolded as if on a playwright’s stage, the tale taking shape exactly as he had written it and now performed for his ever-demanding approval. The slaves were fighting and the Larks were on the ropes already, hopelessly outnumbered by their former livestock turned punitive punishment. The arrogant fools had sprung the trap and sunken into its perilous depths without hope of escaping. Good, he had thought with malicious resolve. Good, watch them squirm and die for their troubles, it’s what their kind deserve. He’d worked hard to see this day come to fruition, and now that his plan had gone off without a hitch, all the need do was sit back and bask in the self-satisfaction of a job well done.

It was perfect…

Or at least it had been, until she had arrived.

Maya… petching … Lark.

The name rumbled around in his thoughts like a jagged stone, cutting and scraping at the congratulatory bubble his mind had encapsulated itself in until at last, with a resounding sigh of contempt and embittered intent, it had popped. Damn her for being the one they sent! Damn her for playing on his sentiments and idiotic sense of sympathy. The Larks deserved what they got and more for what they had done to him -what they had stolen from him! For it to be her of all people, a familiar face in this completely unfamiliar territory, was utterly unfair. Why had fate decided to throw her ilk in the mix if not just to toy with him? He had seen one of the slaves, Jakan himself of all people, raising his bow to end the heiress’s life, and an instinct had taken over his will before Elias had even realized it. A wave of wind, unnatural and unceremonious, had been summoned by his res and had knocked the slave’s shot off course, sparing the young woman. Why had he done it? The reasons were simple and cynical, though still they upset him for the justification had came after the fact, not before. This hadn’t been the plan… saving Larks wasn’t the petching plan!

His horse, still the nameless, mangy and loyal beast it had been since the day they had met, renewed its prancing as if it sensed its master’s unrest… or his indecision.

The sorcerer placed a calming hand upon the beast’s neck, and with grumbling determination, set heel to flank and bid it forward. The animal needed no more invitation for action, and together, they surged towards the melee at a break neck pace, ripping through the underbrush and foliage like a force of nature towards the fight.

In the end, it had been the right choice. The slaves were undone and the Larks, despite their contemptible masters, were safe, Maya herself included. It had taken a considerable amount of convincing, but Elias knew that he couldn’t have called himself one of Ravok’s protectors if had simply stood back and watched as one of his city’s most prominent daughters was destroyed because of his botched plot of futile vengeance. Frustrating as it was, this young and beautiful aristocrat of the slaving house did not deserve the fate he had intended for another.

Another chance would come for bloodshed soon enough, but in the meantime, the scarred soldier needed to play his part as the diligent guardian lest he draw any suspicion to his true role in today’s calamitous events.

In the wake of the havoc his rather showy entrance had caused, the slavers were slow to react and merely bumbled about themselves as they struggled to find their wits again. It was Maya’s sudden and powerful commands that finally got them moving with purpose once more and Elias found himself particularly impressed with the girl’s resolve, though not at all deceived by the brave face she was putting on. He could taste her apprehension on the air as he drew nearer, and it was plain as day to the aurist how unsteady the sudden bloodletting had made her. She was likely unfamiliar with combat and command, yet far too proud to ever show it. What struck the stryfer however was the apparently genuine expression of gratitude for saving her men’s lives as he had. In her own way, she seemed to truly care about their well being -the mark of a true leader if ever the Caldera had seen one. He hadn’t expected that.

“You were fortunate my patrol carried me this way.” Elias said gruffly, lying through his teeth with all the grace and ease of a man speaking about the weather. As he did so, he made no attempt to hide his harsh, dissecting gaze as he scrutinized the girl’s form from head to toe. “The wilds are no place for little girls.” He went on, cold eyes perhaps lingering a bit too long on certain aspects of the young woman than they had any right to. She was a stunningly elegant woman, one of refinement and poise, and utterly unsuited for the wilderness in every way. She was a city girl, much like Elias was a city boy, but looks had a habit of being deceiving. The Lark had somehow managed to hold her own in the brawl that had incurred, staving off attack after attack with the collected nature of a warrior true.

Again, he had not expected that.

"But I can see you did more than hold your own here." His tone was... appreciative. Admiring even.

Elias shifted uncomfortably, prepared to continue his deceptions, but as Maya screamed, he found the words lost in his throat. Instead his hand flew to his blade’s hilt in the shock, but as a swift kick revealed the truth, the soldier released his weapon with an annoyed grunt.

Reala, despite the fact that he had two arrows sprouting out of him like some kind of absurd tree with its feathery branches, was somehow still alive and kicking- or more accurately, grabbing. The lady of house Lark hadn’t been all too pleased with the unexpected discovery however, and as she practically jumped into Elias’s arms to get away, it became clearer still just how much of an effect the scare had had on her. Her veneer of calm had begun to crack, revealing the truth beneath -the fear, the anxiety, the nerves frayed and raw. As she screamed and bellowed at the poor sellsword who lay bleeding on the floor, the girl beneath the façade was unveiled for what was perhaps the first time.

Once more, the mage’s hand found Maya’s shoulder. This time, he gave a firm and commanding squeeze, garnering her attention with hopes of dispelling her panic and fury, if only for a moment. “Be at ease, my lady. Not everything is as it seems…” Elias began, slowly turning the young Ravokian heiress around so that she would face the field of sorrow and bodies the reimancer had left in his wake and reveal the truth about those his magics had sundered. Many had begun to stir from where they had fallen, though listless and in great pain, the slaves were still alive. The goods were damaged, not destroyed, as Maya had previously been led to believe through no fault of her own. “And not every decision is so clear cut.”

Gently, he swiveled the girl back around towards Reala. “If you lead these men, then you have a decision to make, and letting them see you like this does no one any good. Actions, not words will decide how men view you.” Cold eyes shifted dangerously from the blue gaze of the young scion of and back down at the injured slaver before them. “You must make a decision here and now with this one. A decision that will have consequences.” Reala stiffened, watching with uncertainty as the two of them spoke. “Either spare him for his cowardice and earn the gratitude of one, and perhaps the adulation of a few others… or sentence him to a fate fitting his failure and earn the umbrage of some, but the fear of all.”

This was clearly not his business. He had no place dictacting to a blooded member of a noble family, yet never the less, there he was, dissuaded not at all bu his overly pretentious claims. By her outburst it was plain to see she needed a guiding hand in this, but more importantly, the sorcerer was curious now to see how the girl would react. She had piqued his interests with surprising ease already, but perhaps there was even more to this Lark whelp than Elias had yet to discover. That desire to pry further was what fueled his boldness now, driving him deeper down this unexpected path fate had taken them on. Perhaps it was worth seeing where it led.

“I saw how you conducted yourself in the heat of the fight, and your courage was admirable. But now you find yourself in another fight, just as dire, just as crucial. How your people perceive you will determine whether or not they will follow you to the ends of the earth, or abandon you when you need them the most.”

With that, the stryfer abruptly released his tightening grip, making sure she understood the gravity of what was about to happen -of what needed to be done. Whatever her decision would be however, Elias would not interfere, but she had to know it wasn't just her entourage whose impression she now held in the palm of her hand, but Elias's as well.

Slowly, tensely, the pale swordsman began to draw his blade from its sheath. By the time the steel was held aloft in his hand, Reala was already on his knees, begging his mistress for mercy.

The intention was clear. The blade was hers to command should she find the need for its razor sharp edge.

“Actions… not words.”
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The Hero You Deserve

Postby Maya Lark on May 5th, 2018, 3:50 am

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Maya smirked when the man's eyes raked over her body. She was not afraid to let anyone see what she had worked so hard to obtain and maintain. Looking at the man, the girl saw a very confident if not rather peeved Ebonstryfe member. If she played her cards right then he could be a rather useful contact to have in her back pocket. The young woman was not one who tended to fight when she could talk her way out of danger. Her adrenaline was still racing through her veins after the brawl had finally ended. A hand on her shoulder made the girl turn and look at the man. He spoke about the slaves as if they were still alive, but she couldn't see how after the fall they had taken.

“You never know what secrets a Lark holds,” Maya responded with a smirk.

Her stone face fell when it was revealed that Reala had been faking his death the entire time. Snarling, she turned back to face Elias as he spoke trying to calm her down. Taking a deep breath, the girl forced her anger to quiet itself. Slowly she opened her eyes and turned to look at the man before her as he begged for her forgiveness. Her girl stayed silent for some time debating what would be done with the man. Her mother would have him castrated, her father would have his fingers cut off with a rusted knife, and her brother would skewer him with a blade straight down his throat. Looking up at all her men watching them curious as to what she will do put pressure on the woman. The long blade that Elias held beside her was at her disposal as well. After several more chimes, the woman made her choice she raised one hand causing everyone to silence.

“Reala, you kneel before me begging forgiveness for being a coward. You took an oath to protect the Lark family no matter what it cost you. As of right now, you have went against those vows and brought great disgrace not only on yourself but on the Lark estate. My father would have your fingers cut off on sight. My brother would have driven his blade straight through your neck. My mother would have you castrated,” Maya stated. Rolling her eyes the woman snarled for silence when he grabbed her legs and cried on her, “ENOUGH! I will do none of those.”

“Oh thank you for your mercy miss!” Reala stated and began to stand up.

“I have not granted you mercy fool. I just simply said I would not injure you,” Maya explained and motioned for her men to move up, “Reala, you will be stripped down here in front of your coherts and placed within the slave cages. From this moment forth you have lost your freedom. Welcome to hell.”

Maya snaps her fingers and instantly the man is stripped and thrown into a cage. They began moving around collecting the bodies returning them to their places. Once all of them were gathered, the woman gave the command to finish the delivery before turning to Elias.

“I do hope I have not disappointed you. You may come with us if you wish, I would like to get to know you better after dropping them off,” Maya stated and began to follow the group back.
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The Hero You Deserve

Postby Elias Caldera on July 30th, 2018, 1:18 am

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2 Weeks Earlier

“That’s all?”

The trepidation oozing from the young man's lips was as palpable and thick as the stink of mulled wine that followed in its wake. It was agitation well deserved, and by all rights should have been stronger, but a mixture of powerful drink and even more powerful magical had served to addle the poor fool’s mind to a point of perfect compliance.

“That’s all.” Elias replied with an easy smile, his words as soothing as a mother’s. He placed a gloved hand upon the boy’s shoulder, gripping it firmly, reassuringly. “I promise.”

Hollam looked up at him, eyes glazed over beneath the bright, lantern lit ambiance of the dingy tavern. That anxiety was still there, still fighting the good fight within the confines of his muddled thoughts, but it was a losing struggle, one that ended in abrupt defeat as the soldier shoved a pouch full of coins into the mercenary’s chest and the tell tale jingle of easy profit filled his senses like the all consuming crack of thunder overhead.

“A-alright.” The young man finally answered. He was staring at the gold now, and little else in the world seemed to matter quite as much. “I’ll tell you what you wanna know.”


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A dreary smile slithered its way unto the stryfer’s pale lips as he watched Reala dragged away. Futile pleas of mercy and prayers went unheard and unanswered as what were once his comrades -now his jailors, threw his squirming, screaming bulk into the very slave pens he had worked so hard to escape.

Cold eyes turned to Maya as she addressed him, proud of herself and rightly so. Part of him wanted to cheer and clap and shout her praises, for what she had done had been truly inspired in a way, but instead the swordsman simply contented himself with a admiring nod of approval. “Brutal. Efficient. Profitable. A Lark through and through.” He cooed in veneration. In return the slaver gave him a look before departing to oversee the cleanup of her affairs, but Elias did not move to follow immediately and take her up on her offer. Instead, he watched her go, callous eyes coveting the sway of her hips and bounce of her curves as she departed before suddenly darting up to catch another’s gaze staring back at him.

Hollam nearly flinched at the realization he’d been spotted, but as Elias began to walk among the quieted clamor of the other slavers going about their business, the mercenary soon found himself in stride alongside the stryfer as the two cloaked themselves in the façade of inspecting the fallen. Inevitably, the family sworn sellsword was the first to speak. “This wasn’t what we petching agreed!” Hollam hissed between gritted teeth. Nerves had set his fingers to a jittery twitching, and there wasn’t a moment that went by where the blonde youth didn’t have his eyes darting from left to right in uneasy surveillance of all those who strayed too close for comfort. “You promised it-”

“I lied.” The stryfer snapped dispassionately, and this time the Lark did flinch as the scarred soldier came to an abrupt halt. “And I suggest you begin doing the same if anyone comes asking questions, unless you want to end up like your friend back there.” He growled, attention swiveling slowly to the remnants of a man still lying on the forest floor before them. “Then again, I can only imagine what a family like theirs would have in store for a traitor.”

“I…” But no more followed as Hollam, eyes wide and watering with uncertainty, began to consider his situation in all its terrible severity.

“You’re petched.” Elias stated matter of factly, focus still fixated on the trembling body of the broken slave at his feet. The man was trying to speak through bloody lips, and his hand, shaking with a crippling tremble, was forcing itself to rise. “Anyway you look at it, you’re petched.” A gloved hand dipped into the confines of his cloak and withdrew something before subtly pushing it into the sellsword’s grasp. “So might as well get paid and keep your mouth shut.” Elias finished as Hollam realized what he’d been handed was his second half the promised gold. His hands too were trembling with a foul concoction of panic and anger that flowed off of his aura like a hot wave, and in turn it made the bag of coins he was gripping jingle with an unerring melody. There was a brief moment there where Elias thought he might actually have to reach for his sword, but soon enough the jingling stopped and the pouch disappeared into Hollam’s pocket without another word.

The young man took a practiced breath and then looked down, no doubt only just noticing the slave for the first time. “Who’s this?” He asked uncaring.

“His name is Jakan.” Elias replied softly, blue eyes now locked with the browns of the once proud and noble Sunstrider clansman. His hand had finally found the power to raise itself, and from his shattered and mangled fingers, one protruded outward, quivering and weak, but none the less powerful its damning accusation as it pointed directly at Elias. Hate and fury filled the dying Drykas like a damned river desperate to break free, but with no power left in his sundered body, there was little else the slave could manage. As Elias slowly lowered himself to one knee before the man whose mind he’d poisoned with hope and bravery, he could see the tears of rage begin to slip from the huntsman’s battered eyes. Jakan knew who he was, and he knew he had betrayed them. He tried to speak again, to give voice to his abhorrence for the creature who’d been their salvation and their ruin, but all that came were the wet, guttural grunts of a dying man.

“He was a good man, I think.” The soldier said, reaching out with a gloved hand to take the slave’s in his own. The res, small and imperceptible, trickled from the mage’s hand in a hundred tiny bubbles. Too minuscule to see with the naked eye, the magic flowed from him like a microscopic swarm of locust. Though individually they moved, their target was all the same. The magic flowed into Jakan’s mouth, nose and eyes, unperturbed by barriers in their permeable form as they seeped into the slave and delved deep into chest. There they found the heart, weak and rhythemless, but beating none the less.

“A good man who deserved better.” Elias whispered as Jakan of the Sunstrider clan breathed his last, his heart suddenly seized by a murderous hand of ice.

As the life finally faded from the hunter, Elias picked himself up from the ground and turned to leave, content no one had seen or would ever understand what had truly transpired between them. “We’ll speak again, Hollam.” He muttered assuredly over his shoulder without looking at the sellsword still standing there. “My work has only just begun, which now means so has yours.” And with that, he left his informant and nonchalantly stalked off into the moaning, meandering mass of slaves and slavers going about their business none the wiser.

When he next returned it was mounted atop his steed and next to Maya herself. Though the young princess’s offer to join the caravan in its return to Ravok had been a gracious one he’d humbly accepted, the styfer now had an offer of his own for the Lark heiress. “A trip back Ravok is a long one, madam Lark. A woman of your stature need not tire herself needlessly with such a journey on foot. Here…” He said, sliding himself backward on his saddle to provide her room enough to sit in front of him. If the near scandalous intimacy of such position he’d offered Maya was clear to the swordsman, he did a superb job of hiding it in his composed expression, though there was that extra curl in his smile that might of spoke otherwise as he extended a hand for the Ravokian countess to take.

“I agree." His breathed through pale, scarred lips. "I find myself... intrigued. Yet, more importantly, I feel the hand of fate and god in this meeting between us, Lady Lark. Ride with me, and let us discuss our fortuity this day… and perhaps other matters as well.”
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The Hero You Deserve

Postby Zavya on January 28th, 2019, 6:27 am

Grades!

 
Elias
Skills Earned:
  • Horseback Riding +1
  • Intimidation +1
  • Leadership +1
  • Reimancy +2
  • Rhetoric +1
  • Socialization +2
Lores:
  • Lore of Jakan's death
  • Maya: Hidden depths he didn't expect
  • Maya: Lark slaver
  • Reimancy: Hurling bodies with gusts of wind
  • Reimancy: Wind

Comments: Beautifully written, as always.

P.S. Thank you for not using this template any more. That red on black made my eyes bleed lol
 
Maya
Comments: If you come back and update your CS, I'll be happy to pop a grade over to you! :)


If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to PM me!
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