Solo Know Your Place

Change is Coming

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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

Know Your Place

Postby Elias Caldera on September 22nd, 2018, 10:54 pm

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1st Day of Fall, 518


There was a time, once, where things weren’t so complicated.

He remembers the days when Ravok wasn’t the battleground of creeping shadows and warring factions he now knew it as. The days when he could walk down the canals without having to constantly look over his shoulder for the next knife aimed at his back, or the next opportunity to take a stab of his own. He remembers when the people he called his neighbors were more than just suspects and victims in the waiting. He remembers when all one had to do to succeed in this life was stay faithful and stay loyal to a god whose benevolence knew no limits. A time when his enemies were evident, and his purpose was clear.

There was a time once when Ravok was the simplest place in the world, and the biggest problems he faced was how to get out of his daily training with his cantankerous uncle.

He remembers the days when Ravok was just… his home.

Things had changed, as they always do, and so had Elias. Gone was the naïve and the foolhardy son of a fading house, replaced instead with the soldier whose scars now mirrored his regrets in their vastness and depth. He was changed now forever, and it was difficult to decide whether his city had changed too, or if his coming of age had simply brought a clarity to innocent, clouded eyes.

Truth be told, it didn’t really matter anymore. He’d learned a long time ago the past was just something that haunted you if you gave it too much credence. Better to learn from the mistakes and move on before they had a chance to drown your thoughts in nothing but ‘what ifs’ and ‘what could have beens.’ Tomorrow was where the stryfer now permanently set his gaze, and the day after, and the day after that. Or at least, so he liked to tell himself. Some things were easier said than done, especially when you had not but time on your hands.

Three days now he’d awaited a response, and for three days Elias had continued with his business as if nothing were amiss. Now, near the end of the fourth, skulking back to the barracks, the swordsman was ready to gut the next man who so much as looked at him funny if only it would settle his nerves.

Thankfully, he returned without incident, and there, waiting for him outside was a familiar face.

“Eventful day?” Inquired Malachai Quinn, brow furrowed in deepening consternation as he studied the approaching soldier with his one good eye.

He looked old. Old and tired.

“As eventful as the sea is red.” Elias responded somberly as he stopped in front of the old Drykas. It had been so long since he’d seen him last…

“Just as well then. A boring patrol is a successful one.”

“Perhaps for some. Me, I can’t stand it.”

Malachai frowned, running a calloused hand through his beard, “God’s work isn’t always all excitement and glamor. You know this.”

“Ah, still quoting scripture, I see? I’m glad success hasn’t changed you for the better… yet.”

With a sneer, the paladin shook his head and turned to leave, already three hard paces away before the words had left his lips. “Bah! I knew this would be a mistake!”

“Don’t you turn your back on me, Malachai!” Elias roared, fists tightening into white hot vices. “Don’t pretend you can just walk away. You came because you knew you had to. Because you know you can’t run from me anymore, Quinn. I won’t let you.” The paladin stopped, back still turned to his subordinate. Elias didn’t relent. “You can flee, but it will hound you. You can hide, but the truth will always seek you out. There is no escaping this… for either of us.”

The plainsmen’s whole body went stiff for a moment, and Elias wondered if he was going to have a little excitement on his hands that day after all. The answer came when Malac seemed to deflate, white knuckled fists falling limply to his side as he slowly spun around once more to address his accuser. Instead of shouting or yelling as Elias had readied himself for, the old man simply sighed and wordlessly motioned the mage to follow him. Both walked around to the area cleared behind the Vitrax training yards where the men practiced.

By the slanting light of the sun, evening was fast approaching.

“What do you want from me, Elias?” He sounded weak, defeated. This had clearly been weighing on him as much as it had Caldera it seemed, though in much different ways.

“First, we can start by just talking. About what we did… and what were going to do to fix it.”


Word Count: 814
Last edited by Elias Caldera on October 20th, 2018, 2:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Elias Caldera
Playa
 
Posts: 902
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Joined roleplay: September 14th, 2013, 1:28 am
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Know Your Place

Postby Elias Caldera on September 22nd, 2018, 10:56 pm

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“You know, you actually clean up rather nicely, old man. You strike a stately, regal figure when you’re not covered in six layers of dust and grime from the road. Oh, and that’s some very fine armor you’ve got there. That come as part of the package deal for our lord’s redemption, or just a little treat you got yourself on the side?”

The paladin paused, standing at the edge of the training circle. “I pray you aren’t here to waste my time with your pettiness, Caldera. I’m a busy man.”

The swordsman grinned, flashing false teeth and wicked intentions. “I’m sure you are, with your rank restored and your prestige returned, I can’t imagine there isn’t much time for anything save accepting adulation for a job well done anymore. Well, you know what they gave me when I came back?”

Quinn leveled a hard, singular glaring eye against the younger soldier. “You’re lucky they let you back in at all, Caldera. If even half of the shyke I hear you’ve been up to since our return is true, then you should consider yourself blessed to not be right back in those dungeons, let alone in a shallow grave, boy.”

“Oh, so the old cyclops cares enough to keep an eye out for me. Just not enough to come see me himself, is that it?” The smile Elias had been wielding was strangled into a snarl. “Or perhaps it was just to make sure I didn’t spill our little secret to the wrong people…” Something dark and sinister took hold of the paladin at mention of their betrayal, something that Elias had not bore witness to in a long time, and truth be told, it unnerved him. Never the less, he did not flinch away, nor did he permit himself to relent. This was too important to simply ignore anymore, and he knew full well the Drykas would not go so far as to raise a hand against his fellow stryfer. Not because of what their uniforms demanded of them, or what their order’s strict rules implied. No, those things were secondary to the bond both men shared. For as much as they may have bemoaned and belittled each other, Malachai and Elias were brothers, and it was a brotherhood forged in blood and sealed with deception. In Ravok and before Rhysol, there was no stronger union.

“What we did…” the paladin began, each word strained with great care and consideration “What we had to do, down in those ruins, was the right thing. We agreed. We made a pact!”

“We were wrong!” Elias growled, quivering with the fury that flooded him in face of the old man’s ignominious justifications. They were the same lies he had been telling himself for months now since the end of their penance, and he would suffer them no more!

“We. Were. Wrong. And you know it just as much as I do. We were given a choice down there and we chose to serve our god and our nation, but it was a lie.”

“We did what we had to do, Caldera!”

They were talking over one another now, harsh words and spittle mingling like ice and fire amidst the late evening airs. Tense and terse, they argued like men on opposite sides of the battlefield, neither seeking a fight but neither willing to be the first to back down either. Before long the two soldiers were in each others faces, throats horse from the roars and shouts until the vocal duel -which had quickly devolved into little more than a brawl- crescendoed with one quiet question.

“What did they die for?”

Malachai’s eyes widened, caught off guard for just a moment before his scowl returned. “What?”

“What was any of it for?” Elias’s tone had shifted, and so had his demeanor. The rage hadn’t left him, he didn’t think it ever would, but for the moment it had been tempered. “When they dragged us out of those prison cells and filled our hands with steel again -with purpose again, I thought everything would be ok. I thought I was getting a second chance.”

“You’re alive, aren’t you?” Malach retorted coldly.

“Have you forgotten them? Our brothers and sisters. The people we fought and died with out there, so the two of us could be here, now.”

“Criminals and reprobates.” Quinn spat. He could not match the Caldera’s eyes now.

“And all dead, except for us. And for what, Malachai? What did we accomplish out there? The chance to return? To come back to this?”

There was a pause, damning and painful, but Elias could tell the grizzled Drykas knew exactly what he meant. What they had seen, what they had experienced out there, in the wilds, or in those foreign lands during their hunt for the artifacts, it had changed them. Corgan, Tonic, and all the others who had committed themselves at first to the promise of redemption, but then in the end to ideal of something else entirely, they had all known a truth that could not be denied, not even by the paladin in his blind and desperate devotion.

“So…” Malach sighed, wiping a gloved hand over his leathery face. “What is this then, hmm? Am I to be dragged into your misery because you’re suddenly lonely in your regret? What’s done is done, Elias. There is no going back.”

The smile the young stryfer shot back seemed to unease the older man. “That’s where you’re wrong, Paladin.” He took a step closer and the drykas frowned. “I’ve been thinking about this for a very long time –waiting for a very long time, for the right moment, the right opportunities. That time is now, old man. My promotion is all but confirmed, and my commission is forthcoming, even despite the best efforts of my enemies to stymy my ascent.”

Malach didn’t look as shocked or shaken as he should have been. Disappointing considering how momentous the news had been for Elias. “So, you’re a commander now, are you? And the first thing you want to do is jeopardize that with this foolishness? You should be celebrating, not-”

“Oh. but I am celebrating, Malach! My ascension is at hand, and with troops under my command and real power finally within my grasp, what better triumph to commiserate my new position than using its authority to its fullest extent. Not just for meaningless vainglory or greed like all of these self-aggrandizing peacocks that infest the ranks, but for something real…”

“Elias…” the paladin tried to caution.

“Something true and worthy. Something glorious, as god intended… You know she’ll be here soon.” He said at last, tone and pitch shallowing like a puddle.

“You need to be careful.” Malach sternly tried to warn again, but it was to no avail.

“You were the one who first showed me how decrepit and rotten the heart of all this was. You were the one who helped open my eyes even when I wouldn’t believe. What is your redemption worth, Malachai Quinn? What is entry back into paradise worth, when the gates have rusted of their hinges and the ideals that made us great are all but forgotten. What is that uniform, that blade, that eye you try and hide mean, when the price is everything we hold dear? Hmmm, answer me that. Look me in the eyes and tell me you can bare to watch our order continue on for one more petching day like this anymore. Because I can’t, brother. I can’t stand it anymore.” He was breathing heavy now, exhaustion seeped into his hardened features, but not from any kind of physical strain.

“I weep for Ravok.

I weep for what we have become, and for what I know we could be… and I know you do to. I’m begging you, Malach, help me. Help me save this city from itself.”

The old mage was silent for a while. His chin held high and that dour look settling deep upon the pale ghost of a boy who’d followed him into hell and came out the other end a changed man. They both had. How many seasons had their holy mission kept them from returning home. How many days and months had they been forced to fight and kill and forage in the name of atonement. It had to be worth something, and not just a place amidst the fetid corruption they claimed to serve, but more. It had to be mean something!

The training grounds were unusually barren at that time of day, and absent was the sound of clashing steel and pained grunts and soldiers and aspirants alike collided, testing both their resolve and their training amidst the red sands. This place was a hallowed in a way. Consecrated in the blood of the devout and holy in its purpose. To stand here, amidst so much of the stryfe’s history, seemed fitting.

“How…” The paladin finally cleared his throat and looked about the hollow yards one last time before proceeding. “How would we begin?”

Elias smiled.

Thank god.

“From within.” The swordsman answered truthfully. “Your company, its new, untested. Do you trust any of your commanders?”

“Not enough, but such is our way.” Malach grumbled contemptibly. He was a man all too willing to surrender to convention, but in a city like Ravok that was tantamount to suicide, or worse, stagnation. Elias would help him through that, he owed the old man that much. “You’ll need a right hand then, a prime to stand by your side.”

A ‘prime’ was an informal term used in the Ebonstryfe to denote one who acted as a another’s second in command. Ranks within the holy army were few and their definition and purpose vast as a result. It was to be expected then to have more than a few unauthorized names for roles pop up over time within the rank and file. A prime to a paladin however, was specifically a soldier or ranking commander who held the Paladin’s trust enough that their word held as much sway as the master they served. A second in command if you would. Elias could think of no better a man to serve within the stryfe than Malach himself. He may not have been willing to admit such a thing so openly, but the truth was, the Caldera would have been honored, if not relieved to fight alongside the sullen Drykas once again. It had only ever been at his side when his place in the order had ever truly made sense since his exile, and so when Malach reluctantly agreed to put in a request that Elias join his company, the ardent battlemage was exuberant, even if he did a fair job of hiding it.

They would make a fine team together, just as they had forged themselves into during the hunt for the artifacts that had been the catalyst of their meeting. It was just vindicating to know the old voider felt the same.

“I still have friends with the stryfe who may be willing to listen to what we have to say.” Malach admitted after a while of quiet discussion.

“Good, I’ll need a list then. I took your advice you know, started making friends of my own. We’ll need to concentrate our strength, combine our powers before we can hope to truly make a stand. This disease we face infects every inch of our city, old friend. If we are to fight it, to put an end to the sickness that has brought us so low and see our people reborn anew, it will take time and dedication.”

“I am a patient man, Elias. You need not concern yourself with my discipline, not when you should be more focused on your own. One false move, one wrong word, and it won’t matter how strong your magics or how convinced you are of your beliefs, they’ll kill us all with so much as batting an eye. I’ve seen it time and time again.”

The reimancer grimaced and placed a hand on Malach’s shoulder. “Don’t fall victim to their propaganda. The Black Sun aren’t as omnipotent and all seeing as they like to make us believe. They are fallible, just like all men, and Rhysol revels in their mistakes as much as he will in our achievements. I can feel it in the air, Malach. There’s a buzz of hope, a charge of anticipation. Ravok is ready for this. Our people our ready for this. They need us, Quinn. For change is the way of our lord, and this city has been listless for far too long. We’ll fix that. We’ll save our order. We’ll save this city.

We’ll save them all.”


Word Count: 2137
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Elias Caldera
Playa
 
Posts: 902
Words: 1255874
Joined roleplay: September 14th, 2013, 1:28 am
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 7
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (2)
Overlored (1) One Million Words! (1)
Ravok Seasonal Challenge (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

Know Your Place

Postby Vanguard on December 8th, 2018, 7:54 pm

Judgment Is Upon Thee!



Elias Caldera
Skill Rewards
  • Intimidation +1
  • Persuasion +1
  • Rhetoric +2
  • Socialization +3

Lores Learned
  • Malachai: A brotherhood forged in blood and sealed with deception
  • Malachai: Will attempt to make Elias his Prime
  • Malachai: Knows some people that may join them
  • Self: Remembers the days when Ravok was just his home


If you have any questions or concerns about your grade please send me a PM.
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Vanguard
Testing Your Mettle
 
Posts: 51
Words: 27537
Joined roleplay: August 31st, 2018, 1:39 am
Race: Staff account
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