Quest Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Gossamer on March 20th, 2022, 5:27 pm

Vas shook his head. “They know Kalas by legend, not by anything else. They could be standing in the same room with him and no one would know him at all. It’s what he did that is legend, not because he has personal relationships with anyone.” The man corrected, understanding the bitterness laced in Alric’s voice. “And as long as he walks the world, there is still time for you to know him as well.” He added, glancing at Croix. “How he did what he did should be investigated further. I see only three possible ways how, and none of them seem that feasible. Though, in truth, that’s a discussion for another day.” He said firmly, knowing there was more important things at hand.

“They are indeed alive… and in small ways finding happiness,” Croix added, nodding to Alric’s thanks. “But it was through their doing, not through Arcadius’ actions regardless of how it seems. The creature wearing that man is not one to give anything up that he thinks belongs to him.” His tone was musing now, thoughtful as if that hadn’t struck him as curious before and it was just now starting to garner his interest.

“We are not asking you to bring it back,” Vas said firmly. “That’s not even something we could do. Sylir gave his life to prevent the utter destruction of everything. We miss him still today, but I think all of us would still stand and let him make that sacrifice all over again because it was worth saving.” His voice was grim, laced with sorrow.

Then it happened. For a brief time, he became a Mortanis… and maybe then, after that glimpse, he would come to realize what it was his father had actually done and what he had overcome just to stand chained in Arcadius’ presence bearing witness to what the man had done over and over again to the love of his life. It had been watching her push those dead children into the world, one after another, that had finally broken him, even after he shed his Mortanis chains.

It was a long time before Vas or Croix spoke. But when someone finally said something, it was Croix who did.

“There are never more than ten, perhaps twelve, of her followers of the Mortanis in the world. But she marks all she can with the red hand. Look for it the whole of your life, Alric. And if you find it, don’t try to free them. Their souls, most often, are tainted beyond imagining. Kill them instead. Kill them clean and quickly and never let them suffer. It takes something from her, those quick clean deaths.” He whispered, his eyes full of something like sorrow, matching Vas’ own gaze.

Vas spoke then. “She was born of the Valterrian too… that red-haired Goddess with the cold dead eyes. She’s a babe among the Gods but powerful in her own right. If we could arrange for her death, we would. But she is guarded by others… others that are incredibly powerful too. Rhysol for one, but he is not alone.” The big man said, shaking his head.


But that wasn’t the end of it all… that wasn’t the finale of their meeting. Florentin Arcadius was. And the soul stood there watching as Alric pushed himself to his feet, still shaking, his features ashen. He was transparent, like a ghost, though manifested enough to clearly see.

“Get ahold of yourself. This doesn’t help.” Arcadius said firmly, studying Alric as if he was as curious about the man as the man was enraged at him.

“My body is a vessel for a monster. But my soul has done nothing to you. I mostly live tethered to a decorative hourglass on the mantle of a tower fireplace I used to call my own private quarters. You’ve seen it. I watched you and the girl watch that monster use your mother while your father turned his back. I saw that. Why didn’t you stop him then, boy? Why didn’t you kill him? He was busy with his dick buried hilt deep in your mother. Surely you could have done something then? Something as easy as I could have? You were right there. So was your father. Surely your father could have, being chained to the wall like an animal. He could turn his back and give her privacy, so surely he could have wrapped a chain around that thing's throat and took his spirit from my body so I could return to it?” He said, rage burning in his gaze even though it was the rage of someone already dead. “And you’ll be joining me there if he has his way.” Florentin Arcadius said firmly.

“What gives HIM the right to take me? To use me? To use you? To use your mother as a broodmare? It’s the right of power. The world runs because of power. You take the power from him and you take his right to use it.” Florentin Arcadius said firmly.

Florentin Arcadius turned to the other two men. “He won’t be any use to you, to us, until he stops pointing fingers and passing out blame.” He said, shaking his head. “And he’s an idiot if he thinks he can resist Krysus if she touches him and makes him a Mortanis like his father. You’d best cut his throat and take the piece off the game. Let Westfall’s line die with him and her.” He tipped his chin to indicate where Lys had been sitting before that still appeared empty. “If you put her back, she won’t live out the season. She’d be dead already if he hadn’t found her.” Arcadius said.

Then he moved his gaze back to Alric, studied him – really studied him – and narrowed his eyes. “You are a mage now. How did that happen? In Sunberth no less…” The spirit cussed slightly, glancing back at the two men standing close but not too close. They glanced at each other in turn, and Croix cracked a smile.

“No… it wasn’t us. And it wasn’t in Sunberth. It was The Outpost. We think it was Yshul. She tends to do outrageous unexpected things like this. He, of all things, ran into one of your missing Granddaughters… the one your warchief birthed that had magic rather than healing. Now those two are as thick as thieves…” Croix said with a laugh, pleased as the Ukalas at his pun.

Vas just shook his head at Croix. “It’s a possibility… though it could have been other things too. All things considered; it was likely Her. She’s probably still laughing about doing it.” The big man added as if deciding just then himself what had happened.


Arcadius spoke up then. “Matari’s babes both lived then? He doesn’t know that. One of them is with him, as a healer, and he doesn't even know who she actually is. Talsis Lisuli is a powerhouse all on his own. The Lisuli can trace their mage lines back to the Seven Robes as well. His offspring will be strong, especially any Matari birthed. She’s chased after him since they were children together still wearing wraps. That means more than the Kois are involved. It changes things, slightly… in small ways he won’t anticipate.” He added, then glanced speculatively at Alric again. “He doesn’t know about this.” Florentin Arcadius said. “It will make his plans infinitely harder when he captures you.” He snorted, then shifted, arrogance filling his form.

“Why haven’t you lot just stopped him?” Arcadius asked, his voice as rage-filled as Alric’s was a moment ago. “I know you’ve been working against him. No one has that kind of bad luck without it being helped along.” He added. “But that doesn’t explain why you haven’t done more.” He said, speaking frankly and reining in his anger.

Finally, he turned to Alric. “I do resist him. I resisted him at every turn. That’s why I now live in an hourglass on my old mantle instead of sharing my body where I can do more good than simply telling time. I suspect that’s why these two are steering clear as well. He’s got something he can use against them… something they are afraid of.” He added, glancing at the pair again.

“He’s laid waste to the Kois. There’s not one member untouched and untraumatized by his actions. It’s a miracle they still follow him. But he’s killed everyone strong enough to actually resist him… at least he did in the old days when he was weaker. Now… well everyone knows there’s no point and the deaths have been so numerous that fighting back will actually end our tribe as we know it.” Arcadius said, then turned to the two men.

“What is it that he has that you are afraid of.” He asked, carefully.

Croix and Vas just exchanged looks.


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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Alric Lysane on March 20th, 2022, 6:44 pm

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Of all the things he had expected to happen when coming face to face with Arcadius, usually imagined in the darkness of sleepless nights or in the maudlin contemplations brought upon him by a few drinks by the fire, being admonished for being beyond upset at the whole thing had not been one of them. It doused him like a bucket of icy water, extinguishing large parts of his rage, though it didn’t vanish completely – he doubted that it ever would. His mouth, open still from wanting to continue his tired, shut slowly as his gaze glared hatred at the man – not the Arcadius he had seen, but close enough that he couldn’t prevent the memories flickering within his mind, doing little to help calm him. His fists opened and then closed, gripping tightly together.

He was still shaking from the experience of the Mortanis imitation…though it felt nothing like an imitation. He had thought they were going to show him something as if they would be watching another illusion map, a show of sorts rather than direct, personal and very painful experience burned into him. He looked away briefly, taking in the strange creatures Vas had brought with him, if nothing else so that he could have something other than the three of them to look at as he grit his teeth and saw the wisdom of the man’s words, loathe though he was to admit it. He was at the mercy of two gods and losing himself would only lead to him losing…well everything, as Arcadius had suggested. He had also looked at Lys’ chair, which made him narrow his eyes in thought, starting to suspect she was actually still there, but that for some reason he just couldn’t see her.

Gods…I hate this…in one day carted off like nothing, shown to be a lesser man than Kalas and now this…shade…soul…whatever it is…dressing me down for…oh…shyke upon all of it he took a deep breath in through his nose, crossed his arms across his chest to keep them from shaking, and tried to shackle his emotions once more. His attention was pulled back by Arcadius’ own accusations.

“I was there because of a Dreamwalker, I didn’t know I could have done anything, otherwise I might have tried,” he said, his gaze flicking back to Arcadius, this time coldly looking at him, “that was the day that I found out about all of this. I didn’t know anything before then. I can’t speak for the rest of it, if you can’t be blamed for the monster’s acts then by your own logic, I shan’t be blamed for others either” he stated, the words clipped as if he could feel himself biting every one of them off.

He studied the spectral form of the man for a while, trying to see why Vas and Croix had wanted him to meet the man. He looked the same, the voice was the same…though they way he spoke was different. He spoke of power and the suggestion was that the strong ruled thereafter, could take what they wanted, do as they pleased. It would have been amusing, the fact that that meant he was inherently a failure of weakness, had he not been trying to wrestle the tumbling emotions within into some form of control.

“The right of power can go and shove it, words spoken by those who just want to justify their own actions. I never had to justify any such thing, because I never thought it was right to enslave others to my will. No one should have that right, the fact that you speak so casually about such things doesn’t serve to distinguish you as better than that monster, just that you lost. I won’t be joining you anywhere, Arcadius. I started learning magic last season, the middle of…a little more time and I’d have tried to be ready to stop the monster…I was training to try to do so, still was up until I was grabbed today…or blown us both back to the Valterrian to end it all…but we are out of time. Sunberth has become a trap when once it had been a safe hive of criminals to hide in”

“No one puts a hand on her, I don’t care who it is, what it is,” he said, anger flaring in his eyes briefly once more before fading back to embers as he continued, “and I haven’t had my throat cut probably because the scales are still being weighed as to whether it would be a good thing. Probably right now. Or whether I be a, what was it…worthwhile piece on the board,” he said with a bitter tone, “and I think we’ve established already, thanks to Vas, that Kalas was the stronger. I don’t even know why he would put himself into that position, being her…but whatever the reasoning it was…either way I’m getting tired of being compared to him and wondering why the comparison is even relevant…if he is so good just bring him back for one last fight, problem solved….but…you don’t…do you?” his voice faded, his eyes looking at them each in turn, turning the thought around in his mind.

He stopped talking then, taking in the whole of the conversation that had taken place – large parts of which he had either been too angry to respond to, or hadn’t been directed at him, and blinked. His eyes were tired, and his body felt like it had been through a hundred fights, he felt that he was only standing through stubborn willpower as it was. He couldn’t see a point to anything about this meeting unless the two divines were wanting him to do what the true Arcadius couldn’t do – stop the monster. It wasn’t as if he had much choice either, he’d never stop being hunted until he put the thing down anyway. He could run all over Mizahar, like his parents, and he’d fail at being hidden. And as for the Mortanis…well he supposed there would have to be another day that that would be dealt with…somehow.

And as for the new perspective upon his father…well that would have to wait for anither day to fully go over and tease around. He closed his eyes, leaned backwards slightly and took a deep breath in, exhaling it out slowly, tiredly.

“It doesn’t matter…what’s the point arguing over past tragedies when there’s one unfolding in the present? I’m tired of all of the violence and illusions – the making Lys invisible, the pretending anyone cares about me for me, and the beliefs that power and violence ever lead to anything but more of both. And I’m tired of being made to feel small because I don’t have the iron will of Kalas, able to resist the bloody goddess. I just want it over with, so I can get my peace and quiet" he said, voice turning dull and heavy.

"You, the real Arcadius, tell me everything you know about this creature…how did he do it, take over you? What is he? All I’ve ever been told is that he is older than the Valteriian but not what he is. Do you know how to stop him? Where is your hourglass? Could I get you back into you body with him, weaken him somehow?”

What is it that he has that stops them doing what should have been done before this shykeshow even began?” he asked, the last was half-directed at Vas and Croix, though he’d be surprised if they actually provided him a direct answer.

“What would happen if the Kois had a reason to believe resisting him was worth the suffering? You say he’s already wiped put most of the tribe, would it be possible to contact them, convince them to work against him? Talsis, or the Lasuli, would they be able to be an ally and how would that be achieved?” he looked at Arcadius then, wondering if any of this was worth it but not seeing that he had much choice, he needed somewhere to flee to, perhaps it would be better to hide amongst other Benshira amassed against him.

“What do you want of me?” he asked, that question directly address to Croix.
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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Gossamer on March 20th, 2022, 9:32 pm

Arcadius looked Alric straight in the eye and said firmly. “Your biggest problem right now is your ignorance. He got to me because he wore me down. He got me to the point I was so tired that all I wanted was for it to be over with. He got me because it was exhausting being made to feel small, in a constant fight for my life, and being compared to others that would have suited him better if they’d have been around… especially our ancestors. I just couldn’t… no wouldn’t be on my guard all the time and looking over my shoulder. That wasn’t the life I thought I wanted to live and it wasn’t the life I felt I deserved. I wanted peace. I wanted quiet. And I suspect, in a way, that’s what my life has been reduced too now… living on a mantle as a timepiece. He got me because I got tired of him threatening my entire clan, my children, their children, and everyone in all the lands… and that made me weak.” He hissed; his transparent gaze angry.

Arcadius’ message was clear, crystal clear, as he stared at Alric.

“He’d kill all the Kois if they resisted him now… every man woman and child. And he’d move on to the next tribe and the next one until the desert was turned into a lake of blood.” Arcadius warned. “And you are as naïve as a child if you thought that because you were with a Dreamwalker you were powerless. Do you know what they can actually do? They just don’t read the chavi of people they walk… they can alter it. They can change the lives of those people. All they need is access to their chavi. You had the most powerful weapon in your hands if you were standing there with a Dreamwalker, especially one that might be open to suggestion or bribed to help.” He added.

“A tweak here, a nudge there, something remembered, something forgotten, and the whole world could be changed.” He shook his head. “They are rare though… and you need ones with multiple marks to get that range of power. Nysel is selfish sharing his powers. The Dreamwalkers are few and far between.” He said thoughtfully.

Vas shook his head at something else Alric had said. “You mistake us comparing you to your father. Kalas burned off all that he was sluffing off Krysus’ influence and her marks. He can’t be what he once was, not ever again. He drained every last drop of djed from his djedpool… and most people never come back from that. Most die. He survived though… and that’s why we are somewhat shocked a mortal did it. I suspect it was because he had something to live for. He survived, didn’t seem to mind the tradeoff, and moved forward. Most of your kind couldn’t do that… not in the least and not without death. Not as a Priest. Krysus has your heart and soul at that point, because you need that pain, that suffering… you need it like you need the breath in your lungs. It just tells us that Kalas’ bloodline is more than what we thought it was. Arcadius’ bloodline is as well. So, we look to you. A combination of both, infused with divine here and there, its quite astonishing and flexible.” The big man said.

Arcadius shook his head. “Nothing astonishing about it. Most mortal bloodlines, especially magelines, have been carefully tracked and researched, strictly bred for power for ages. The tribes aren’t the only ones that do it. Everyone does. Djedlines count too. You can very well be written out of your family or your djedline for going around them. Why do you think that he picked Serena? And why do you think he was so angry Kalas already had her? He might have burned out all he was escaping the Mortanis for her, but he still had the capacity to carry on, living his life, and protecting it from further influence. You Gods are just too arrogant to see it. Each generation, humans get stronger, and they will get stronger faster than the Gods because they live faster lives and their children’s children grow up and carry on… you have a conversation over a hot cup of tea or a good glass of wine, and three generations of Arcadius get stronger while you weren’t paying attention.” He added.

“I know the Valterrian set us back a bit, but this man here…” Arcadius pointed at Alric. “He’s every bit as strong as a Nymkarta before the death of the world. The only difference is he’s been brought up in ignorance. And that makes him far more dangerous than his ancestors ever were. He doesn’t know what is and what could be.” Arcadius added.

Arcadius turned to Alric. “The right of power is going to be the only thing that will defeat Sran’tuka.” He said with a sneer. “And its because of me and mine that you and yours exist. If there wasn’t some sort of bloodline competition and who could engineer the most power, the strongest offspring, the richest of the rich… you’d be nowhere and nothing against him. You are enjoying the fruits of your ancestor’s labor. It’s ‘Competitive Advantage’ at its finest. Prosperity is created not inherited. It does not grow out of your natural endowments, Alric. Your natural endowments are a result of the pressures of competition and challenge, based on innovation and aggression… either aggressive defense or aggressive offense. Having rivalries drives this. The more you create and assimilate knowledge, the more your role as important grows." The man took a breath.

"You can do with it whatever you will, but if you want your world to be safe for you to do as you will in it, such monsters need to be defended against. It’s not my concern if you decide to enslave people or not. It isn’t my concern if you decide to hold the territory If you hold territory, you will do it to feed your people and make sure they prosper. And you will have to be aggressive to do it. The Kois did not keep slaves. I did not keep ex-Mortanis in chains. I kept my family healthy, happy and looked to the future for the best of my tribe as all the leaders who have come before me. I eliminated people that got in the way of that. You cannot argue that the Nymkarta did any less. They ruled Alahea for thousands of years, surviving through wars, famines, and prosperous times. The desert tribes held the same principles, no more no less. We remember this because we were part of Alahea too.” He said, drawing a breath, even though he was just a spirit standing before them.

“The Nymkarta cherry-picked some of the deserts best to infuse their bloodlines with as well. Just as the desert cherry-picked from them in times past. It is the way of things.” He said, then glanced back to study the seat where Lys had been sleeping. “The only way you can enforce that no one lays a hand on Lys is by your own power; your own right to say that. The only way you can stop someone from hurting her is through your own action and your own aggression. You can’t reject it in one breath and utilize it in another. You’re undermining your own authority doing so, and tying your own hands.” He said with a curled lip. There was judgment all over Arcadius’ face, and it wasn’t judgment in favor of Alric’s attitude. You haven’t had your throat cut because no one’s been strong enough to do it yet. Stop being so blind.” He said, shaking his head.

“I bet there’s even blood on your hands now. Have you killed? Have you stolen? Of course you have. You use your power to do such things… your breeding, your aggression, your dominance. You don’t have a collar around your neck because no one has yet to put one there. That means one of two things… you’ve been incredibly lucky or you’re strong.” Arcadius said.

Croix shook his head then, to something Alric said. “Kalas WAS stronger. You haven’t been listening. He’s nothing to no one now other than if he would be willing to pass his strength on to others by offspring, but I think we are smart enough to know that’s a non-starter at this point. His mate has been made barren by Sran.” He added, stepping forward to stand between Arcadius and Alric for a moment.

It wasn’t like the pair needed to be broken apart, it was more like he was actually trying to refocus them from each other. “We compare you because you are him… you have his power all of it… plus the Nymkarta’s power from your mother’s side. That leaves a big question mark hanging over your head. And it’s just beginning to wake in you. That means you can take out Sran or you can be taken out by Sran and make him even stronger than he is now. I think you know this yourself. We don’t bring Kalas back because we can’t. There’s nothing left in him to bring back. His freedom cost him everything that evidently wasn’t important to him.” The smaller man said, offering Alric a smile that was somewhat bittersweet, almost ironic.

Vas snorted a laugh at Alric’s other words. “No one can make you feel small but your own insecurities. And from where I’m standing, I see plenty of pigheadedness. You are a lot like Kalas in that.”

The silence stretched after that, with Alric thinking quickly and then gathering Arcadius’ attention once more.

“I told you how he took me over. I got tired of the harassment, the constant fight to be free, and in a moment of weakness and distraction when I was soaking up the peace of the world, he got me. He used a recovered device, that has no name, it was from before the Valterrian, something medical that was used to store the souls of people with extreme wounds until their wounds could be healed enough to restore them to their bodies. It was from a time when medicine was different from now. It was corrupted in its repair and he discovered it could store souls in objects and transfer souls from one body to another." Arcadius said, losing a bit of patience.

"I was old when he took me and now things about me are wearing down. My mind is aged, and likewise, my body hurts when the weather cools. My mind is slower than it was, and my power is waning because of overuse and overgiving. He needs a new younger host. It is also riddled with growths; the tumor clusters are a result of his abuse and overgiving of his power. He’s running through all the Kois healers, burning all of them out trying to help him and hold back the disease. It runs in my family. Interbreeding so closely often exposes such flaws in the bloodlines.” He added. “The device itself isn’t much good without the knowledge of how to use it. I would know how to use it if I got restored into my body, but I’d have to know how to use it in order to do that in the first place. And of course, I do not. I suspect his first in command also knows, but I cannot confirm that. It would be better simply destroyed. That’s the only way the remaining Kois will survive.” Arcadius responded.

Vas nodded. “He’s running out of time. He needs a new host or this one will be his last.” The big man said, then glanced at Croix. Croix nodded.

Arcadius continued. “The Kois won’t work against him. They’ve seen too much, been through so much… there’s not much of them left now that could fight… and fewer still that would. What could you possibly offer them that he hasn’t already thought of and destroyed or worse yet used against them? Their freedom is gone, it was only an illusion anyhow. Power is the real strength in the desert.” Arcadius said, shaking his head again. “The Kois isn’t your answer.” He added.

“The other tribes wouldn’t work to help the Kois, either. There’s too much blood on the sand for that. Half the stories you hear from the Burning Lands are true, or just fragments of truth and most of the Kois are behind them. The other tribes would work to wipe the Kois6 from the desert completely. Even now he’s sending out lieutenants to search other regions to move to and regroup in… to retreat and leave the Kois to fend for themselves. He has them in the artic, the giant forests of Taldera, even in the jungle.” He added, shaking his transparent head.

“He won’t have much success. I cannot see my people thriving outside of the sands. Our traditions are too ingrained in the Burning Lands and our links with them.” Arcadius almost seemed sad, as if he would change that fact if he could. But there was no evidence of anything being different.

“You could try to contact them, but they have no leadership left outside of the Fortress and you can’t access it. You’d need someone of Kois blood to find it for you. I’m not sure anyone would take another stranger there ever again. The other tribes wouldn’t believe you even if you came to them with the truth. They would believe that even if all this is happening, and that they indeed were next, the Kois are getting what they deserve. And the truth is, Sran is stretched thin as it is. He won’t touch the other tribes for a while… if at all. He’s held up at the fortress, and only desperation will cause him to make his move and leave it. His leaving it will be an opportunity, a big one, but only that. And I told you where I was… in the tower in my mantel in my suite. It's in the main room, an hourglass… but you can’t get there. And if you don’t use the device to retrieve me, I’m lost if the vessel housing me gets broken or misplaced.” Arcadius said thoughtfully.

Finally, Alric asked Croix a question… a simple one. Croix had a simple answer.

“I want you to kill the Arcadius Lieutenant that’s in town… its his second in command. He already lost his other in the jungle. It would be cutting off an appendage of this monster. And in exchange, I’ll make sure the Mortanis know you are dead. They are all, to a man and woman, in this city together at once. That means you have bells to live at best, unless you do this thing and kill this lieutenant.” Croix shifted his hand, waved it, and another form materialized.

A man stood there, from the desert, with long hair bound up behind his head, a scar running across his forehead making him distinct looking. He was dressed as a Benshira with a set of curved blades on his back. Some of the background of where he was showning around him. He was in Tall Johnny’s looking around, waiting for a drink from the bar. There were other Benshira with him, but they were not close to him. Instead, they were scattered about the Casino, some playing games, others simply observing. The patrons looked nervous as if something out of the ordinary were going on probably because of the sheer amount of Benshira in the place. The man himself had a hardness to his gaze like he was hard enough to be chipped stone…. every emotion beat out of him and nothing left but something monstrous beneath the surface. “His name is Iganth. It means cold wind.” Croix supplied.

“Do this, and there will be hope for you. But it will be dangerous. If you seek him out in the open, the Mortanis will be there as well. They might very well get you before you get him. Lys can stay here with us.” He added, giving Alric time to think things over.


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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Alric Lysane on March 21st, 2022, 12:19 pm

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“Yes, well…that’s what happens when you spend your life in a mage hating city you were dumped in,” he looked from Arcadius to Vas and Croix then, “safer perhaps, but not much scholarship there. At least not that I know of. Illumination of knowledge isn’t Sunberth’s strong point…so here we are. I’m used to looking over my shoulder…but…even though you’re an arrogant shyke…you’re right. I am tired of thinking about this…Sran’tuka. I’m not sure wanting peace is a weakness…but fine, I get your point” he conceded begrudgingly, gaze flicking back to him.

He tucked away the knowledge about the Dreamwalker, he hadn’t known then that they had such power, so he had missed his opportunity. Not that it could be one without prior knowledge. Much as he was growing to hate the true Arcadius, the stereotypical arrogance and power hungry nature of the mages of Sunberth stories quite apparent, he was right about knowledge being power. He had been trying to learn as quickly, and as safely, as was possible because he had been shown that fact. Yet he hadn’t had much in the way of a strategy for discovering about, or dealing with, Arcadius beyond raw force…did that make him much better than the real Arcadius? Maybe a little, in some ways they were different, but it didn’t seem by enough from where he was standing…and that hardened something within him – the decision and desire to not be just another hungry mage.

But I know where they are…assuming they didn’t flee for some hole somewhere…and these new things…hourglasses and pre-Valterrian items…politics and cultures, locations and perhaps long discarded plans by this ghost…it’s more than I had yesterday he thought to himself quietly, just watching and listening. He found himself wondering why he hadn’t just walked away in frustration already, he knew more than most that he wasn’t always the most sensible when his temper was frayed.

Why did he stick around? Was it because he felt he’d just be killed if he left…or was that just a convenient excuse? Eyris had told him that true knowledge and wisdom was as much about knowing one’s self than anything else. The memory of their meeting would be emblazoned into his memory for the rest of his life, the same as the visions Vas had shown him that still left him shuddering. Yet…for all of its horror it seemed to disprove his claims that he was tired of everything…not like Arcadius had been, or was. He had been capable of such atrocities when forced to, cajoled to or needed to. What would happen if he took that and turned it into the opposite? Converted his evident capacity for evil things, and instead found the motivation for something good instead? He frowned slightly, wondering if this ‘game’ had been going on for much longer than even they had told him.

“And look where all of that careful breeding, planning and self-righteous arrogance got you, a ghost in an hourglass, getting to watch everything you worked for go up in flames and drown in blood. I don’t claim to be innocent, but that doesn’t make me anything like you,” he sighed, “I refuse to become you too. I don’t feel the need for power to feel powerful…but…I will grab and use it for Lys, and a dream of a better future than the childhood we had. And save me your triumphant smile at the admittance, I’m starting to see why Sunberth was at least half-right about mages…some mages”

“So, no other way than an inevitable confrontation then? No sneaking into the fortress, or somehow poisoning an already dying body to encourage it along? No allies under his nose, or internal battles to take advantage of…and nothing but time’s sands running out and Sran’tuka’s inevitable leaving the fortress for one last fight? Fine…might as well be a dramatic ending too given the rest of the story” he muttered, almost to himself, his questions largely providing little in the way of possibilities, though they had provided welcome knowledge.

He was calmer now, and had not missed the fact that ‘Croix’ had seen it fit to get in the middle of them both, to put an end to further bitter exchanges. He was right, of course, it didn’t help anything even if it did make him feel better to vent out all of his anger and bile, until now he felt somewhat more centered. He did, however, snort back at Vas’ suggestion of pig-headedness, it was rich coming from all powerful beings who were at the same time wanting him to do work because, as Arcadius had suggested, they were perhaps tentative to do so themselves…at least directly. This whole scenario was beginning to feel like some last-ditch intervention. He was grateful, in his own way, but it wasn’t lost on him that the gods were possibly turning to a mortal for something.

“You show me what being a thrice marked assassin is…just to ask me to be an assassin?” he asked, an eyebrow raising in surprise.

He looked over the images the flickered before them all carefully, noting the appearance of Iganth, noting that he seemed to have seen a few scrapes if the weaponry, movement and scars were anything to go by. Tribesman, quite a few of them, were dotted around him and he seemed relaxed, almost as if simply seeking out a few drinks and some blood sports were all that he wanted…that was until Alric saw the eyes. Cold, dead…bereft of hope and probably any empathy at that too. He looked at the surroundings – Tall Johnny’s – and his mind frantically tried to think of what he could do. He wasn’t used to planning out someone’s death…or was he? He’d just felt like he had done it many times over…was that…preparation?! He stopped a shudder before it could break out across his entire body, but he felt unclean inside.

“But there are no guarantees that they won’t learn that I still live later…assuming I survive? So, I buy from a few bells of life to…maybe a few more seasons, if I’m lucky? Sounds like a rough deal,” he said, scratching his chin before looking over at the supposedly empty chair, imagining the Lys was there, his eyes turning sad before slowly hardening once more, “not that I have much choice. Yes, I know, you always have a choice…but not many good ones. Not if I want her kept safe too. But bells isn’t a lot of time to come up with a plan, I can’t just walk in there and run him through. And sneaking…well…I suppose I’ll have to make it up as I go won’t I? Any advice from the divines?” he asked, not really expecting any but it was always worth asking.

“Fine. I accept. How do I get…close to there? Could I have used the door this entire time? Or are you going to do that hand waving thing you keep doing?
~ Thanks to Gossamer/Shiress for post Boxcodes ~
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Alric Lysane
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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Gossamer on March 22nd, 2022, 3:55 am

“Your parents knew what they were doing… putting you in Sunberth. It was Kalas. I know for a fact you had watchers.” Croix said stoically. He didn’t want to get into certain childhood issues with a grown man, but there was only so much he’d tolerate from the pup who didn’t appreciate the sire. “There was more scholarship than you realize. You’d be worthless raised in courts, pampered and tutored. Here you have been hardened, self-forged, and have survived to adulthood to find a few things people don’t usually get. You have an incredible sense of self. You now have an awareness of your past. You have love. You even have family. That’s a lot for a child dumped with nothing. It’s even no surprise to me you are wearing a fortune of magical items and you have plenty of coin to feed yourself and the little lass.” He added. “Stop feeling sorry for your child self. You live like a king among beggars.” He admonished, shaking his head.

“Wanting peace isn’t a weakness. Its assuming there will be peace that is. Fighting for peace is a noble goal. Don’t confuse the three in your head. Peace isn’t something you are owed. Peace is something you win by right, by strength, because you have the power to keep it. You’ve never in your whole life looked at the world from a place of power and strength. You look from the gutter and gaze up. That’s not where you stand, Alric Lysane. You stand where you choose to stand.” Vas said, interjecting himself politely into the conversation once more.

Introspection. More conversation, and Alric and Arcadius faced off. Vas and Croix could see how the soul pained seeing the man in flesh and blood. They witnessed how the displaced spirit studied the newcomer, judged him, and slowly came to grudgingly respect him. And after a time, they too saw how he crossed the line, one he himself had always firmly drawn in the sands of the deserts.

“You would be wrong if you expect a triumphant smile from me over you actually listening to these two hopeful Gods and this tired foolish old man. You’d be dead wrong. Maybe the man who wears my former skin has earned your judgement, but I am not Sran’tuka. I love my people. I love my family. He’s been doing things in my name for years, but he is not me. From me you’d get only gratitude for not turning your back on this mess that is not of your making. I think he chose wrong in deciding he wanted a Nymkarta next. I shall enjoy what you are going to do to him in the end. It might not be right now; it might not even be a year from now. But his reckoning will come, and I hope to hell it would be from your hand. I am grateful for so many things you both know about and don’t know about. With his attention on you, others have been allowed to flee and survive. You think your parents are still alive because they are of no use to him now. But you’d be wrong. That was the word he spread; the story he told to make himself feel better and explain their escape. They are still alive because Kalas and Serana have proven to be worthy adversaries and don’t know how to fail. He didn’t break them, even though they both bear the scars he left them with. He’d wish nothing more than both of them dead. I know most of what he knows. And I know a bit extra besides. There is so much I wish I could tell you. I just don’t know where to start. There’s a lot I have to thank you for as well. Let these two help you help them. They can’t openly take action because such interference will cause ripples elsewhere. That is doubly true if more of their kind is behind Sran’tuka’s actions. And we all know the world has held tentative balances since well before the Valterrian.” Arcadius whispered softly.

“But they can use pawns. They can slip wildcards into the deck. They can drop hints and leave marks and carve unsuspected pathways. That’s what you are, Alric. You are a wildcard, and a powerful one at that. I know you hate games of power. You’ve said as much. But this is one that needs to be delicately played.” The spirit added, glancing at the two who stood with him.

They duo returned Arcadius’ transparent gaze, then the trio turned looked at Alric unified. They watched the thoughts cross his face, and his level of thinking ramp up to higher spheres in his brain. All this new information would take time to process. It would be a miracle if Alric could climb out of his gutter mindset and look at things from a loftier position. There was much power abound, but it didn’t have to be used for ill gain and abuse. It could be used for so much more. Before Sran’tuka, Arcadius had been one of the finest leaders the Kois had ever had. The tribe had prospered under his rule, expanded, and enjoyed a high quality of life. All Alric knew of him was the legacy of greed and torture, pain and suffering. But the spirit the duo had summoned here was not of that ilk. He was something else. He was a caretaker and a shepard of his people that had made a mistake and trusted the wrong sort. He’d even allowed one of his daughters to fall in love with a Lisuli because it was good for the tribes to exchange blood and comingle occasionally. Both were strengthened from it.

“You don’t have to confront him, Alric, if you don’t want too. You just have to wait him out. At this point it’s a game of avoidance. It won’t be long now.” Arcadius said thoughtfully. “With one of his lieutenants already down, and if we can manage the loss of a second, he’ll be furious and worse than that, he’ll be isolated and alone. He was hesitant to send them out to begin with, but the rumors of you being here were too much to pass up.” The spirit continued. “And even if he takes another body before he finds you, it won’t be your body. It will be a holding cell; a last chime fifth bell save.” He said, shaking his head. “Still dangerous, but not what he’d be with you.” The Kois leader said softly.

Vas softly shook his head, his eyes on Alric. “I showed you what you would become under Krysus’ Marks and Her Favor. We do not ask you to become that. Don’t mistake Croix’s request. You can take life and still be reverent of it. You can kill cleanly without pain. You can kill with a greater purpose knowing the sacrifice of that one life will gain hundreds their freedom and the ability to live a good life free of oppression. You say its apples and apples, but I say its apples and oranges.” The man who was not exactly a man said patiently.

Croix laughed at Alric’s statement about guarantees and assumptions. “Life is about favors; both earning and calling them in. If I say I can make the Mortanis forget you ever existed… I’d be a liar. But I know someone who can and she owes me a favor. Vas is here because of a favor he owes me as well. The Goddess of Memory can make sure something or someone will forget all about you if I ask her too. Do not fear that statement. We’ve only told you the truth.” He said softly, glancing at the night sky as if worried too much time had passed.

Croix glanced at Vas. He was the expert on what Alric finally asked.

Vas nodded, then spoke finally. “Do the unexpected. They will expect a plan, a well-thought-out and well-executed scenario. Don’t do that. Do what you are good at and innovate new techniques from Sunberth. These are cultured desertbred men. If you play your cards right, they won’t know what hit them.” He said, then gestured out a window.

Croix called out more directions. “Tall Johnny’s is out that door, down the corridor and down the steps to the main level. It’s two blocks west. You have tonight. They will be gambling a few more bells for sure, though after that they will be looking for exotic food, drink, and women having written off the night as wasted when none of their scouts report back having found no one of your general description. He’s watching the Dovecote for a potential escape, and he’s got men watching the warfs for departing ships. At this point, tonight might be your only chance. He’s thinking you might have already left Sunberth.” Croix said softly, then glanced at Vas. “Am I missing anything?” He mused, raising an eyebrow at Vas.

Vas shook his head. “We’ve helped all we can. Arcadius, time for you to go back.” The big man said, then gestured to the gasvik who moved forward. One creature seemed to enfold the spirit in its enormous bat wings and in a moment both creature and spirit had vanished. The other just looked on, unimpressed.

“I hope you can think on your feet. I’ll send the second Gasvik with you to add some help. They can’t be seen by most mortals. But I assume you have no trouble seeing him because you keep watching him. It’s your bloodline doing that. “ He said with a grin. “His name is Jade.. .and if you ask him to distract someone, fetch something… simple instructions… he will.” Vas said, walking over and scratching the creature affectionately.

“Go now. This is all the help we can give you. Lys will be safe here with us. If you return, all will be well.” Vas commented as Croix moved to open the door that he’d gestured to a few moments before.

Alric would find Tall Johnny’s exactly two blocks away and the scene set exactly as the vision had shown it. His target was still at the same table, and there were Benshira scattered all around in the crowd. Some where plainly dressed, others wore tribal gear. All were set apart by the golden tone of their skin. Alric had to be quick about a plan… and remember the advice he’d been given.


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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Alric Lysane on March 24th, 2022, 5:47 pm

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He took in the words from all three of them, admonishments as well as advice, but had no words in response. Truthfully, he wished that he had days to spend, discussing and debating, teasing out knowledge and facts, but he had run out of time. They all had, it seemed. He wasn’t sure what he had been expecting from Arcadius, but he knew that this meeting had not been it. He found it difficult to hate him on principle, as he had at the beginning. He had assumed there had been some sort of dark pact, some power promise that had ruled him into the trap of his life – it was deflating to hear it was far simpler, and less dramatic than that. He couldn’t take it all in, it was too much and with a sense of dark amusement he was taken back to that day with the Dreamwalker – and his poor reaction to it. It seemed he was fated to have many such moments in his life.

“For what it’s worth, no one should have don to them what was done to you,” he said to Arcadius, meeting his spectral gaze, “I do not know when, but at least one day you will be free to face whatever comes after. By my hand, if possible. Thanks for the advice Vas, I’ll try to puzzle it out in the next bell or so” he sighed, eyes moving to where Lys was sitting, he was sure of it even if he couldn’t see her himself. His gaze lingered for a while, sad before hardening as he turned and made his way to the door Croix had opened for him.

“Come on the Jade…why do they call you Jade? Colour of your eyes perhaps? Yes…yes I can see it now. I wonder, would you be able to tell me all about Vas? No? No I suppose not, that would be too easy eh? How about his advice, must’ve picked up his turns of phrase over the…uh…centuries? No? No, foolish of me to ask” he spoke to the Gasvik, largely to help keep his own nerves in check as his voice faded for those still in the room and he made his way down the stairs and to the threshold of the building, peering out into the night.

It was an overcast night, at least that much luck was with him – Leth’s light made it easier to hunt in the night and he wished to pass through the streets unseen if possible. He lingered for a few chimes, going over what he had been told and sifting grimly through his memories of being a marked priest of Krysus. He was out of his element, not used to fighting much outside of street brawls and definitely not used to facing down commanders of groups of men. He had bene told to do what he was good at…but what was that? He was okay at magic, he supposed, but Sunberth would kill him if it caught him using it. Sneaking and knocking heads might get him close to the bastard…but that wouldn’t kill him for him. He wracked his brains and pinched his brow with a groan as Jade stared on impassively.

“Hey Jade, mind getting me a cloak from somewhere? Getting a bit cold already” he asked, the Gasvik making some noise he couldn’t quite place before disappearing upon his quest.

Using the break from being watched he sighed, leaning into the wall, and taking stock of what he had – which was mostly what he usually wore. Broadsword, various daggers and a Bagh Nakh hidden about his person. Magical clothing, sure, but not of the ‘smite your enemy’ variety. He banged the back of his head upon the wall gently, thinking frantically and realising that he didn’t have anything particularly special that would set him out as successful.

So what on earth does he mean? New techniques from Sunberth? What techniques…bloody cryptic… he thought t himself as Jade reappeared with a rough, muddy cloak and he thanked the Gasvik before slipping it around himself and pulling up the hood.

“Well…Sunberth…tell me what is special about you…thugs, criminals…drunken…louts and violent….violent…son of a..” he muttered to himself as the edges of a rough thing came to him and he set off carefully down the street, keeping to the sides against the walls but not obviously so. He didn’t run, running always meant people knew you were running from something, walking was normal and so could be ignored.

Sunberth hated outsiders. And the gangs hated each other. The Benshira in town were not only outsiders but in the payroll and lockstep with the Sun’s Birth. The fact they liked to gamble would only ingratiate so long, at least until they started to win too often, or if the accusations of cheating bubbled up…and a hundred other superficial but deathly important suspicions that were almost ingrained into the Sunberthian psyche. If he could use that, get his own people to unknowingly ally with him against these outsiders…well a lot of people died in tavern brawls and street scuffles…that was just Sunberth. Croix hadn’t specified he had to be the one to make the final blow, though he wouldn’t say no to doing so given the petcher’s affiliation. He hummed as he kept his eyes open, peripherals wide and seeking out any distinguishing shadows as he made his way to stand before Tall Johnny’s.

“Front entrance is too open, but…Jade…thankfully everyone who knows any of the pretty lasses who serve drinks in Sunberth knows there are servant entrances” he muttered under his breath, taking a turn to the right and slipping down the side of the building, towards the side doors that the faceless workers used throughout the night, both for work and their own dalliances out of sight of the owner.

Getting to the door he found it latched from the inside and, peering around a few times to make sure he wasn’t being watched, he pulled out the dagger from his hip and slipped the blade into the crack created when he pushed the door. A few jiggles and a slide diagonally later, and the latch was pushed aside, and he was crossing the threshold, closing the door firmly behind him to prevent easily attained suspicion. He kept his hood up as he strode through the corridors, a mental map of Tall Johnny’s in his head and working out which passages would take him towards the bar he sought.

“Oi!” came the light toned call of a voice he didn’t recognise, and he paused, turning towards the source, ready to pull a weapon if they looked like they were about to be either of his hunters. Fortunately, it was one of the workers he had seen before when fighting in the cages, their eyes searching his face but finding no recognition, and he thanked the gods. “Whatchu doin here?”

“New worker, sorry don’t know my way around yet. Slipped out for a smoke,” he patted the pipe and pouch at his wait with a sheepish smile plastered across his face as best he could, “tryna find it back to casino bar. Supposed to move some shyke…hey! You’re uh…damn they pointed you out to me…Hugh, right? Yeah, they say you’re quite the talker with the lasses. Think you could help me out?”

“I dunno,” he seemed to consider whether he should be convinced and was eyeing Alric’s tobaccos pouch, “you smoke?” they asked, the silent suggestion clear.

“Course, gotta keep warm somehow. Best baccy I could find, blue vision…very nice. Here, for not dropping me in it for vices, eh? New friends” he took a generous clump of tobacco out of the pouch and handed it to them, watching with some small regret as they nodded, licked their lips, slipped it into their own pouch and nodded, giving him directions to where he wanted before darting off upon their own business.

He set off once more, lighter of his favourite past time but even lighter of step as he started to peer around corners as he got closer. He didn’t want a commotion beginning before he could even try to sow some chaos in traditional Sunberthian style. It wasn’t long before he was at the back room of the bar, waiting in a corner for the woman he knew was doing the serving there to step into the room. When she did so he let her get enough of the way in to be sure she was alone, listening to the footfalls upon wood as best he could and hearing only one set. When she was far enough in he darted forwards and wrapped his hand around her mouth before dragging her back into the shadows, feeling her thrash out and shushing her for a few chimes before she finally calmed, unable to wriggle free and instead fell silent, surely wondering what terrible fate was about to befall her He felt sorry for her, truly he did, but time didn’t allow him much in the way of finesse or manners.

“Easy…easy,” he whispered softly, as soothingly as he could, “look I’m not going to harm you. Calm down. Look, if you listen and be smart you’ll make an easy twenty five miza in a bell of work…interested?” he asked, not taking his hand from her mouth until she had nodded several times slowly.

“Alright…letting you go now but you need to stay silent or those golden skins are going to be running through you first, that much I know”

“Petchers are pinching my arse every time I pass! Thinking they can take advantage of good Sunberth folk…oh you know what I mean!” she hissed softly, turning to face him and glaring at him, fairly in his opinion, “bloody outsiders! Make my skin crawl, hate the lot of them! What’re you to them?”

“Let’s just say that we aren’t on the same side…I’m sorry for this. Pretty lasses shouldn’t have to put up with me,” he tried for a small smile as she looked him up and down, giving him a look that might suggest otherwise, “don’t have much time. Hundred miz, in this pouch for you, twenty five for you and seventy five for the drink…wouldn’t want to owe Johnny”

"Fifty"

"Thirty"

"Fourty"

"Fine...thrity five...or jsut take the lot, I don't care so long as they're pissed and not thinking straight...or less straight than usual when pissed"

“Pissed? What are you on about? What do you want from me?”

“To do your job. That miza pays for all of the drink in the casino, especially the tanned ones and the one's they're gambling with, until it runs out. Constant drink…overflowing drink…understand? I want them drunker than they’ve ever been. I also want the servers – or you if you’re the only one to be able to – to get word to the Sunberthians in there that the Benshira work for the Sun’s Birth. Quiet like…think you can do that?”

“I dunno...it’s pretty weird and I could get in trouble…a lotta miza though...”

“What’s your name?”

“Lily” she said, looking at him as if daring him to make fun of her.

“Beautiful name for a beautiful woman. Look, spread the rumour or not, don’t want you getting in trouble. But if you could then all the better. Just get them all drunker than usual. That’s your job right? Serve them until they lose all their money and chat them up so they feel important? Seems like just doing your job to me”

“Where will you be?”

“Nowhere, I’ll be gone soon” he said, placing the pouch upon the table to the side of them with a solid jungle of miza, nodding at her encouragingly. He waited for her to gather up a handful of glasses and a few bottles upon a tray, sweeping out onto the floor once more, before he leaned to peer around the corner and look upon the scattered tables, spying the commander still sitting and watching it all, slapping Lily’s ass as she swept by with a sound of surprise.

“Jade…still there, friend?” he asked, turning to see the Gasvik peering at him intently, “see those three tables over there? I want you to go stand by them, yes? Nodding is a yes? Good. Well when I wave at you later…flip them all. Understand? Sure? Excellent. Go on then…and thanks Jade”

He would wait, hopefully only for about a half bell or so, drinking happened quite quickly in casinos as the serving staff made sure the punters were drunk and foolish, perfect marks for taking them for all of their worth. He was hoping that a brawl would break out, or at least enough of one that it would draw every eye – and a few extra bodies – towards its inevitably gravity. If the opportunity presented itself, he’d have a go at the commander…if not…well then there was always later and at least some of his entourage would likely be swallowed by good old Sunberthian violence. He hoepd he was in for a show, but suspected the opportunity for elimination wouldn't come too easily, Tall Johnny's was still fairly open as places went and he remembered the warning about Mortanis.

Still, if all he achieved was the beginning of an attrition that sent them to private rooms in a brothel, tired and naked focused upon lust, well then he'd take that and see what more damage could be done along the way. It would be simple enough to retrace his steps and step back out into the night if it came to it.
~ Thanks to Gossamer/Shiress for post Boxcodes ~
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Alric Lysane
Carry On My Wayward Son
 
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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Gossamer on March 30th, 2022, 4:38 am

Arcadius’ spirit nodded sharply at Alric. “It’s worth it to know that I deserved it for allowing him to wear me down. In my acceptance of my situation, I let him torture my children, hunt my grandchildren, and all but guarantee there will be no generations of my direct bloodline afterwards. When you live a life in this world, Nymkarta, you come to its end and understand all you have left is what you leave behind in the form of your deeds and your children. If you’ve lived a good life, your deeds have ensured a better future for your children. That life you lived should be filled with love and simple joys, teaching your children the value of a sharp mind, strong body and open heart.” Alric’s mortal enemy told him quietly, watching him thoughtfully. “Your future is unwritten. Not even the Gods can say what it will be. Only you get to decide, Alric. Make wise decisions.” He said in his strange desertborn accent.

Then it was time to leave and the Gasvik went with him. Even though Alric didn’t expect the creature to answer, he did indeed get one. “I can tell you many things. Vas lets us choose our own names. In the sunlight I am the color of the deep green stone which is said to bring luck. I too bring luck.” [/] The Gasvik whispered in his mind, its lips not moving, only its limbs turning to follow Alric with its wings tucked. It’s voice was inhuman, not actually a whisper, almost like softly exhaled words spoken under one’s breath. It’s alien intelligence caressed Alric’s brain featherlight and foreign. [i]”Vas has lived an incredibly long and colorful life. Unlike many others, he escaped the Valterrian turning himself into pure energy not unlike djed and lived on in his decendent’s mortal djedline. It was an unusual existence. Us Gasvik guarded them. We watched, waited, and when the time was right, we brought him back into the world in his natural form. This was recent. He is not fully yet back to himself. ” The creature breathed, its voice silent in Alric’s head.

The creature took wing as soon as they were out into the night, following above, rooftop to rooftop. And though no one told him and no voice whispered in his head, Alric seemed to know it would not go far and would indeed be there for him with a quiet word or loudly uttered thought. At his request, a cloak was indeed acquired and presented. The Gasvik remained quiet, melding into the shadows as Alric thought things through.

Alric got into Tall Johnny’s without any issues. His tactics worked, but only because his bribe involved a good quality tobacco that the other man truly appreciated. He managed to get further in, accosted, but Lily didn’t like being manhandled. Had he just flashed that pretty face at her and asked for her help, things would have gone a lot better. Instead, he grabbed her, bargained, and gave her gold. No one just gave a barmaid gold like that… especially not that much if the weight of the bag was any indication. The man was an idiot though if he thought she wouldn’t get in trouble for this. Tall Johnny had eyes everywhere. Nothing got past him, not even a pretty stranger wanting to stir up trouble. It didn’t stay on the table, of course, not where he put it. Lily had it and it had vanished almost in the blink of an eye.

She loaded up a tray of pints which took her a chime or two to fill, nodded her agreement at Alric, and headed out into the casino to start passing out drinks among the tables. She greeted people here, there, and gave everyone a pint she came across. When the tray was empty, she came back for refills and kept glancing up a the second story, as if keeping an eye on something up there. At the far wall, near the dividing line between the Casino and Fighting Pit area…. a stairway climbed up to the second floor. An Akalak guard standing duty at the base of them casually stretched, and headed up the stairs.

Jade had followed Alric, quiet, but oddly enough Lily didn’t seem to see him. Nor did the man he bribed with the tabacco. No one was paying the Gasvik any attention. It was as if no one could see him. And still he shadowed Alric. [i[“I’m not an idiot.”[/i] The creature said, moving to do Alric’s bidding. By the line of its shoulders and the set of its tucked wings, Alric could clearly see that the creature resented being ordered around by a human. But he was here at Croix’s request, and he followed the man’s wishes despite his misgivings.

Meanwhile, Lily flooded the area with drinks, making sure everyone had one in their hands, gambling continued, and oddly enough, the Akalak guard seemed to double in number. They wandered in from all over, and if they weren’t Akalak, they were big humans and stout Isur. The Benshira named for a Cold Wind kept gambling, his men eyeing the Akalaks while the Akalaks eyed the Benshira. Tensions were high. The Benshira weren’t drinking… at all. But everyone else was…. quite heavily at that. Lily had proven true to her word and there was at least half a hundred mizas worth of drinks being flooded into the Casino… and the coin was being shoveled over to Tall Johnny as dice were tossed, chips were stacked, and roulette wheels where spun.

While Alric waited and observed, pieces moved across the board being played by unseen hands with a more advanced whit. People came and went, the crowd thickened as word spread that liquor was flowing freely at the Casino that night. It hadn’t taken long. And the moment quiet footfalls registered in Alric’s ears, a hand clamped down on his shoulder holding him firmly. “Care to explain why you are trying to bribe one of my best waitresses and softening my clientele for what I can only think of as an attack?” A deep voice asked. The man that had his hand on Alric was tall with a carefully waxed mustache. His accent was as smooth as bourdon and his scent was a fine masculine spice. He gently turned Alric around, peering down at him with a raised eyebrow.

“I recognize you. You’ve fought in the cage a time or two.” He said thoughtfully. “Now… you have exactly one chime to tell me what’s going on or I’m going to toss you in the pit and see how long it takes my best fighters to tear you apart.” The man said viciously with an amicable tone and a lovely warm smile. If anyone was watching them – though no one was close enough to hear – they’d see it as one friend greeting another. Tall Johnny’s body language was relaxed, even eager, as he faced Alric. The Akalak guards that had quietly saturated the drinking crowd, were positioned to encroach.

“Walk with me as we talk. Smile. No one likes a brawl or even all out war in a civilized place.” He said, gently shoving Alric ahead of him, slapping him lightly on the shoulder and gesturing for the closest waitress – ironically Lily – to bring them a round as they headed for the private stairs. Alric had no choice but to follow, several guards closing in, and the group moved up the stairs to the more private gambling tables and to an office overlooking the whole complex below. Tall Johnny let him in, and they both stood by a glass wall overlooking the downstairs fighting pit and a bit of the bigger gambling tables on the right.

Jade followed the group with Alric silently, weaving in and out of the crowd without touching anyone despite its enormous size. No one seemed to notice him.

“You’ve got some explaining to do. Why are you buying everyone drinks, bribing my waitress that is also my girlfriend, and what in the hell are all these desert scum doing in Sunberth?” The man asked, his voice still silkily smooth.

Below, one of the sterner desert-bred men suddenly crumpled. There was no one around him when he went down. But when he hit the polished wood floor, a pool of blood slowly began to flow from beneath him as if someone unseen had slit his throat. The Akalak below swarmed to deal with the situation and the body was hauled off even as a cleanup crew came to deal with the blood. No one around blinked. And Tall Johnny shook his head. “Damn Mortanis. They’ve been picking off the Benshira one by one all night. I wouldn’t mind but they throw in a regular every other kill to keep the Benshira from feeling targeted.” He said, his tone sounding a bit… bored.

“Talk.” He ordered, giving Alric his full attention.


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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Alric Lysane on March 31st, 2022, 4:23 pm

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There was no real plan, but whatever he had cobbled together, in the ten chimes or so journey to the building seemed to be working well enough. The punters were getting more raucous and leery, the noise levels growing and the Benshira were getting quite uncomfortable to his eyes – which amused him slightly. He frowned, though, as the guards increased in number, but he shrugged it off as par for the course given the growing rowdiness. They were employed to keep the peace after all. He was about to signal Jade, the commander now gambling and at the table he had indicated to tip over, but he never managed to do it. Instead he was intercepted and, for a moment, he thought the Mortanis had him. Then he realised it was much worse than that and supressed a whimper.

“Oh fu-“ he began to say as he was turned around, shortly after hearing the soft approach of footsteps, seeing who it was and fear tingling within. The words died though, thankfully, instead replaced with a silent resignation.

There was little he could do but be shepherded at Tall Johnny’s mercy. No, that wasn’t true, he could have died then and there but that wasn’t so much a choice as it was blind luck, and the fact that, despite being ruthless, the man was known for being at least somewhat charitable towards Sunberth’s citizens. Alric might have reflected upon the fact that he was also curious, but he was too busy wondering if he could figure out how Vas had changed into the pure Djed form, and whether he could crawl into someone there and hide until everything had blown over. Instead he found himself playing the part, a marionette for a time as he plastered a smile across his face, didn’t quite manage to act his posture as relaxed as Johnny did, and was escorted upstairs.

“Believe me, I didn’t want to be doing it either, but I’m short of choices. There wasn’t much of a plan, I didn’t have much time” he said, voice carefully neutral as he tried to hide his fear, though he suspected it would be picked up on as the man was famed as the best of gamblers, and knew bluffs or lies when he heard them.

Shykesshykeshyke…Tall Johnny!...well done Alric you’re definitely going to die this time....Shyke were the general thoughts going through his mind before he took a deep breath as they began to climb the stairs and tried to reign himself in and start thinking properly.

He managed to start doing an assessment of his odds, and running through various permutations of what the following handful of chimes might bring. Most of them weren’t particularly pleasant but something that had been said at least gave him some hope, and perhaps something they could find common ground upon – he didn’t like the Benshira either. That was good, he thought, it meant that they had a common…if not enemy then dislike. He rapidly thought through what he could possibly say, sifting through it and knowing that revealing everything in Sunberth might be as good as a death sentence…but not all of it was needed, surely? He had been asked what he was doing there and that was…well not simple enough but…more simple than the rest around it. It was as he looked through the glass to the gamblers below, and the door shut with quite a final sound, that he was finally unable to avoid the questions asked.

“I didn’t know she was your girlfriend,” he said quietly, turning just in time to see Lily enter the room with a tray that contained two drinks, pointedly putting his down upon a table but passing one to Tall Johnny, who leaned in for a kiss before taking the bottle he was offered and placing it to one side, “I’m sorry...Lily” he said once she was finished, getting a long look before she left and the only escape was once more closed to him.

He bought a few ticks of time by picking up his drink but waited, watching the other man and waiting for him to sip first before he tentatively sipped his and felt a very delicious burn seep down his throat, stepping back to the glass just in time for his captor to join him and for the death to be witness by both. He nodded quietly at what was said, the event showing him how ill-conceived his…well it hadn’t been a plan really…but whatever it had been was worth a slit throat clearly. He sighed, downed his drink and knew there was no point putting things of any further – if the man was going to end him then he’d rather get it over and done with but he hadn’t heard of him being told as a needlessly bloody man and so now he had to trust to a new wager.

“My name is Alric, and I didn’t want an attack on you, just the scarred face commander down there – Iganth…means cold wind apparently. Probably something poetic about being a cold wind of death across your face before you die or something…pretentious bastard. They’re here for me and I only found out they were here about…a bell ago maybe? I kill him, then vanish, and they head back home. Sunberth defeating the outsiders again, robbing them blind along the way probably, and I get to live another…I don’t know…however long it buys me. I like living so either way it’s a good number. They’re in bed with the Sun’s Birth and working for a man called Florentin Arcadius…mad petching mage…like out of the old stories mad. I’d like to get to kill him one day too, but killing Iganth would weaken him, and make his enemies laugh and applaud”

“I just knew he was here, and I was running out of time. I didn’t want to ruin your evening, but you have to play the hand you’re dealt and I’m not nearly as good a card player as you are. As for the gold spending…I wanted them all drunk and hoped that maybe a good son of Sunberth might save me the trouble and put a knife through their ribs. Maybe after someone tilted a table and the gold fell to the floor…gold that would go straight to you as disputes like that can never be resolved and so…the house wins. I used my own gold…well because it would be ruining the evening and seemed the right thing to do”

“And that…is that in terms of why I'm here doing this, instead of fighting in the cage again” he said, his eyes occasionally flicking to watch Jade, wondering if the creature would actually intervene, if Tall Johnny was going to stab him. He doubted it, he clearly didn’t like him that much and didn’t want to be there – what was one more dead human after all?

There was the faint sound as another moment where slit throats and a collapsed corpse took place, taking up both of their attention for a few moments. Alric looked upon dispassionately, it was a Benshira this time, and truth be told he wasn’t sure he had the extra energy to care about anyone else dying this night but himself and Lys. Croix and Vas seemed easy going enough, not that he had much experience with gods, but he couldn’t be certain Lys would be safe if he died this night. No, without his association perhaps she was simply a new breeding mare for Arcadius. The thought twisted his guts and tightened his jaw slightly.

Nothing is right about this evening he reflected, looking upon the well dressed, presentable and at least outwardly civilised companion he was sharing the room with. He wondered how much was a façade and how much was actually some deep yearning, a wish that Sunberth truly was a better place.

“Mortanis again…gods why can’t things be simple for once?” he said, frowning for a moment before a small smile began to creep across his face, “no, that’s not right is it? I suppose things aren’t worth winning unless it’s complicated winning it” he said, eyeing the man briefly.
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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Gossamer on April 2nd, 2022, 5:22 am

Tall Johnny snorted. “They are all my girlfriends.” He said, grinning at Lily as she sat down the drinks. He reached out, trailed his hand across her bare shoulder, and traced it down to slide across the curve of her rump. A light smile played across his lips. Lily returned it, attentive and only having eyes for the man who touched her. Tall Johnny didn’t seem like he was in that big of a hurry. He casually sipped his drink, studied Alric, then together they watched a life be snuffed out like it was nothing. It _was_ nothing. That was the reality of Sunberth. Life was fleeting and it was less about the story and more about the pull and push of forces and Tall Johnny’s curiosity about which would win. Life was a contest, a game of chance, and one either remained distant to one side or one played with the odds so they fell in one’s favor.

Tall Johnny was a player. He never stood at the side letting things pass by without directly interfering with them. That particular game of roulette wasn’t in his wheelhouse.

“Alric.” Tall Johnny intoned, as if he were testing out the width and breath of the younger man’s name. “Alric.” He said once more, then took another drink of the amber liquid. Tall Johnny listened to Alric’s story, but he didn’t glance Iganth’s way. The Benshira below were all the same to him. He didn’t care who lead them or what his name meant. They were cows to be milked dry and sparks to be snuffed out. The men of the desert weren’t even a problem at the moment because the Mortanis that were overrunning Sunberth were taking them out for the folks hereabouts. No, the problem for Tall Johnny were why the Mortanis were here in the first place and how the in the shyte they were going to be persuaded to leave. And lo and behold the solution might have just presented itself to him neatly, wrapped up in rough-hewn package of a man mysterious pretty young man.

“Nice story.” Tall Johnny said with a sigh. “But it doesn’t tell me why they want you. Mortanis don’t just…. vanish. If they wanted a specific Benshira dead, he’d already be on the floor down there. Seems to me they don’t care if a cold wind blows or not, unless they are saving him for last. And that’s not their way. They kill hard, fast, and take out the most dangerous targets first. You are telling the truth. I know that much. But you aren’t telling the whole of the truth. And it’s a pity. I gave you a chance to explain things to me. And you aren’t doing a very good job of it.” The owner said, finishing off his drink and setting the glass aside.

“So I guess we will do this another way.” He added.

Alric had started out strong, but the short hand version of his tale was not at all satisfying to the Casino owner. “So… you paid good coin to get the whole house drunk in hopes they tore it up and did your dirty work for you?” He asked, lifting an eyebrow, getting a far clearer picture now. “I’m all for softening a particularly tough opponent up, but not at the expense of an all-out brawl … in… my… home.” The man enunciated each word as if weighing and judging Alric’s soul.

Jade watched, but he didn’t interact. The humans couldn’t see him anyhow… none of them save Alric. And he was just lucky enough to be able to pick up on the Gasvik’s visage because his kind had been mixing blood with the Gods since time was young. The Gasvik would have flipped those tables had Alric asked, but Alric hadn’t sent the signals he’d said he would. And besides, Jade was curious now. Alric was supposed to be a Nymkarta and those kinds were the last big hope for Mizahar bringing in a new age, a golden era where places like Sunberth wouldn’t last. But here the fool was talking his head off and saying nothing to a man who wouldn’t tolerate such nonsense. Ivak made the right decision, Jade decided, Championing the young man who’d burned down half his section of the city in grief and would have never taken no for an answer. That Nymkarta had been something… someone… Kova’s direct decedent. This one? He was shaping up to be third or fourth son material at best. In all likelihood, his family would have shipped him off to the church as one of their obligatory donations. Why in the world was Vas trusting this situation to be resolved again?

The Gasvik snorted in disgust. “You are messing this up with the other mortal.” He whispered into Alric’s mind. “Less quantity, more substance.” Jade urged, then backed up slowly until he was right beside the door.

With that final comment from Alric, Tall Johnny gave up all hope that he’d actual get any sort of tale out of the man that would make sense. He hadn’t even flinched at the mage comment. Sunberth might have hated mages, but Tall Johnny knew a few and that was probably one of the reasons his building was pristine and had never burned down with all the fires, floods, and natural disasters Sunberth leant itself too. When in Sunberth, do as the Sunberthians do. But that didn’t mean he was stupid.

Tall Johnny made a gesture and one of his men approached. They exchanged a few words in a language that Alric didn’t understand, and the man rushed off. Within moments, the man below – Ingath – was approached and calmly left with a couple of Tall Johnny’s men. The rest of the Benshira in the crowd didn’t crack any emotions over their leader leaving, but they did fan out even more, as if casting a wider net, not sure what was about to happen next.

At about the same time, half a dozen of his bigger men showed up outside the door where Alric and Tall Johnny spoke. “I’ll give you a choice. Come with me and we’ll see that this all gets settled in a civilized manner. It seems like the time for talking is over. Pity that. It’s was a wasted opportunity.” The entrepreneur wasn’t above giving assistance and aiding those in need. It wasn’t like Tall Johnny threw scraps out to the homeless and starving orphans every day when food got spoiled enough to not be serviceable in the kitchens. That would have just made those poor starving people sick. Instead, he fed rotten and spoiled produce and leftovers to pigs which in turn were slaughtered to go back on his menu. He was opportunistic to the core and enjoyed life that way.

So Tall Johnny strolled out of his office, down the hall, past multiple doors in a small sea of his uniformed personal guard, and finally opened a door to a stairwell and began descending it with Alric in tow. Jade followed at a casual distance behind everyone else. They all went down several levels, further than Alric could judge ground floor, and came out into a deep dank hall that was obviously part of the cave system below Sunberth. There were rows and rows of cages housing all numbers of beasts and even some with men in them.

One of his guards, one not having traveled with the group came up to him, and the men had a short conversation. Nodding, Tall Johnny turned and passed under an arch and into what could only be said to be a gladiatorial theater… a place where fighters were rested between matches and weapons were picked out, people outfitted, and strategy planned.

“He’s got four men with him. You can pick four men from these gladiators here.” Tall Johnny gestured around. It was still early in the day so there hadn’t been any fights yet, and every man here was fit and healthy. “Then grab weapons of your choice… and we’ll see you in the pit. Ovak can sort out which one of you is in the right and gets to live. I suggest you talk strategy. You have ten chimes.” Tall Johnny said sincerely.

“Then you’ll get your chance at The Benshira. And we’ll see what you say about whether or not the Mortanis all go away. They either will or you will be losing the protection of this place in less time than you know. Ten chimes and we’ll see you in the pit.” The man said, then offered Alric a charming smile. “Choose wisely and take whatever you need from the shelves and racks.” He added. Tall Johnny hadn’t given the Coldwind fellow the same opportunities. In fact, he’d rounded up most of his men and cherry picked from the remaining Benshira before the Mortans took them all out.

If Alric was dead set on wreaking his place, he was going to let him fight it out in here alright. They were just going to do it in the pit so there was an audience, heavy drinking and gambling, and the house would gain from the whole thing regardless of what fight these men brought into his establishment.

Alric was indeed given ten chimes… then once those chimes were up and he’d picked his team… their side would be escorted out into the pit. The fight, it seemed, was already getting announced because some unholy creepy stuff was being called loudly into the crowd about desert men, their reputations and pitting them against the well-forged men of Sunberth’s streets.


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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Alric Lysane on April 2nd, 2022, 9:49 pm

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Alric did nothing but frown at Jade, his own mental thoughts attempting to remind him that he had little to no experience before this night of dealing with gods, Gasvik, politics or the like. Jade was being fair in his assessment, but he was tired of the recrimination in everyone’s voices so far this night. He knew all too well how imperfect he was, he didn’t need to be reminded by circumstance he hadn’t even asked for, then judged for being found wanting when he had strayed so far out of his depth that he might as well drown now and get it over and done with. He was biting everything back though, yet deep down he was angry. The fear was there still, rippling through him, but as the night had progressed, he had felt something else, a deeper pool that he usually held in check. But the night had been tiring and he had had just about enough. When Tall Johnny suggested a fight, it was something he at least knew how to do, and so he said nothing and followed.

Not that I have a choice he thought bitterly to himself, rubbing his forehead and pinching tired eyes as they walked.

“Mortanis do vanish when a god asks another god to…make them vanish. To forget. Look I don’t pretend to understand all of the details, I’m just a piece on a larger board…as I keep being reminded,” he glanced at Jade pointedly, “I was just told by two gods that I had the choice of killing Iganth or probably not living through the night” he finished, downing his drink as Tall Johnny had, knowing that whatever he said there was no backing out anyway, one way or another he’d have to deal with the bastards, it might as well be through an old fashioned Sunberthian pit fight.

“Tall Johnny,” he said to the man’s retreating back after his instructions, “the reason they want me is because I’m Kalas’ son. Apparently, everyone knows who he is” he finished, not sure if the man heard or not as he was gone soon after and he had little time to waste.

He had ten chimes and a dozen or so men to pick from, all of whom looked far better fighters than he was if he were truly honest with himself. He saw two already warming up with the swords and shields, watching them both move and noticing their fluid movements, their blades better used than he could his own – which meant they were better than him. Adding to that they wore rough leather armour and helmets, which was more than most of the others wore and so he indicated to the two fighters and one of the guards went to round them up. Scanning the rest, eyeing the weapons hanging in their racks, he knew he already had a wall to block the Benshira…now he wanted something that could dart in and hamstring them like a good street fighter could.

“Who here is good with a bow?” he asked the guard who Tall Johnny had been left with.

“Bow?” the guard snorted, “not enough space here lad. Javelin, short ones, maybe. Can still use them in close”

“So that then?”

“James! Get over here and grab your damned gear! Now!” the order was barked and a lithe, smaller man who wore no armour but gauntlets and had a short sword strapped to his side. Alric watched him grab his javelins and be put with the other two he had already chosen.

Alric walked over to them and they stared at him dispassionately. It was to be expected, from their perspective they were being partnered with him for no reason, but Tall Johnny asked it. Perhaps that was enough for reason but that didn’t mean they had to like it. He didn’t try to smile, or charm, they deserved better than that if they might die in the following chimes. He instead wanted to ask their opinion, hoping it would make them see him slightly differently.

“If you could choose another for this team who would it be and why?” he asked them, watching them as they looked at each other for a few moments before one opened their mouth.

“Ballak. He’s a netter and spear man. Good too, survived lots of fights. We already got range and a grinder with the shields. We needs a trapper, someone to slow one of the bastards at least, make them easy pickings”

“Fought with him before?”

“We’ve fought with all of us before. Some of the longest running pit fighters. Sunberth knows our blood if not always sober enough for our names”

“Ballak it is then” he said, nodding to Tall Johnny’s guard and waiting for Ballak to join them, steel armour along one arm, the one carrying the net, and a spear that looked barbed and brutal…as well as stained to rusting with the blood of many.

“Alright, so we got our team. We’ll be up against 4 Benshira and their commander. By the loos of them upstairs they’re lightly armoured so will probably be fast. Swords only was all Is aw so we should have an advantage there”

“Why’re you here?” Ballak asked, the rest suddenly getting curious and leaning in to ehar him.

“Because they’re bastard outsiders who’ve come here to come grab me. I’m being given the chance to show them that Sunberth doesn’t roll over that easy…nor me. Now we can argue about whether you want to fight with me or not but either way the rest of them are still up there drinking your drink, petching your lasses and making Sunberth their playground. You want that?” he asked, looking at them in turn and getting a sullen shake of the head before continuing

“Good, so…you’re the experts but I think we have you two shields in the middle and Ballak and…James…oaky, you on either side? Yes?”

“We’re called Hunter and Oscar”

“Thank you, now Hunter and Oscar you go in the middle with me. I want to kill the Commander. But if you want to cut him up a bit or knock out some teeth be my guest. The rest…slaughter them. Sound good?”

“Put James on the right and Ballak on left”

“Sounds good to me, long as you tow agree? “ he asked, looking at them. They nodded and then they were spending the last few chimes getting ready and Alric was standing at the gate, hearing the roar of the crowd and closing his eyes, offering up a silent prayer – even to Croix and Vas – they he live through the fight. He was nudged in the ribs gently by one of the others.

“Won’t work”

“What won’t?” he asked, suddenly worried.

“Don’t find peace in there…it’s anger you want. Rage so deep and red you don’t care if you bite their throats out. The tame ones get killed. Don’t get us killed you bugger”

It was then that the gates opened, light temporarily blinded them, and the roar of the crowd rolled over them, consuming their ears and tearing into their souls. Alric felt as if a wall of sound had slammed into him as he walked out, watching the other lads raise their weapons and shout. He lingered briefly to tell Jade to distract the Benshira without being seen if he could, trip them, whatever. Then he raised his broadsword and shouted, lost in the moment before his gaze fell upon the enemy and for the first time in a long while all he could feel was an unspoken anger and hate. Their plan settled into action almost immediately – Ballak and James taking up their positions and Alric led Oscar and Huntur through the middle, directly towards the centre of the group of Benshira.

It was James that struck first, sending two javelins flying in record time towards the right side of the enemy, one javelin somehow deflected by a whirling blade and a duck but the other striking true, burying itself into the throat of one of the Benshira, a roar of exultation filling the pit and flooding the ears of the combatants. Ballack almost ran forward next, the next whirling around and then snapping out, the Benshira target trying to dodge but instead stepping right into its heart, to jeers from the baying mob above. His enemy ensnared Ballak darted in to thrust his spear through the gut of the Benshira, pulling it back and thrusting it in several times as they slowly fell to their knees and then fell to the floor lifeless – another roar erupted and Alric could almost feel his own red mist surge, his anger and hate solidifying into a hot lance, directed at Iganth.

He almost could have been asked to admire Iganth when he barked his orders at the remaining two Benshira and sent them to attack the flanks, leaving him alone with Alric and the two shields. The man, however, had nothing in his gaze but coldness and malice, so any sense of mercy died in those moments, not that there was much beforehand. He set the same, slow pace as the two Benshira engaged Ballak and James – both f them being put into troubles. Some quick skirmishing and James was backing away, almost falling to his knees as his shoulder was slashed and blood sprayed, staining the dirt and turning it to mud to cheers and boos. Alric sent Hunter to help James and glanced at Ballak – he had also fallen abck and was bleeding but his injury was a slashed forearm and so he was still a more effective fighter.

Thank Ovek for that, need a few more moments…hopefully he thought in the brief number of free ticks before, on cue, both he and Oscar burst forwards to assault Iganth.

The whole time they had been slowly pacing, the other two doing a much better job at being menacing than he did, he had been focusing and concentrating with all of his mind on the energies lashing and crackling through him – the Flux coming to the fore now as he had little else to lose at this point. He was keeping it in his upper body for now, not wanting to seem too quick or enhanced for when they would break away and attack. Besides which he wanted the strength behind his blows and end it quickly if he could help it.

They had muttered together that the shields would go high and he would go low, on the off chance that the shields concealed the unarmoured Alric but also because it left the Benshira commander very few places to go in terms of dodging. It proved somewhat effective as Iganth was forced to engage Oscar, parrying the sword and ramming a punch across the man’s jaw to send him staggering. He had lost sight of Alric, though, who had slipped in sideways, his broadsword coming around and down to slice through the hamstring of Iganth’s right leg. He could have joined the crowd in its jeers as the Benshira leader was bled but instead had his own punch that sent him stumbling back, instinct taking over and his Flux lashing into it, the force making it seem as if Iganth had stumbled as all fool outsiders would against the might of Sunberthian muscle.

The announcer was trying to scream over the crowd and commentate some of the most disturbing things Alric had ever heard but thankfully they were being drowned out by the mob, baying for more blood. More blood they would get as James and Hunter would work together – again high and low – but this time with enough brutal force to get the Benshira they were engaging to flip - arse over the rest of him – to the joy of the crowd. Then both of their weapons were buried in the Benshira and they were turning to see that the fight was going in their favour. They nodded at Alric and Oscra before running to try to help Ballak – who was struggling and now a second wound had left his leg gushing red, sending him backwards to the packed dirt, unconscious. Alric had little time to think about him, though, instead Iganth now surging forwards to attack him – and him alone. Oscar lingered back as he had been asked – Alric wanted the bastard and so Oscar would only step in if Alric were about to get killed.

There was another almighty roar, telling Alric that James and Hunter had only just prevented Ballack from being finished off and a manic grin crept across his lips as he ducked under one attack, deflected another and then jumped over a third before kicking Iganth back. Energy coursed through him and he knew, deep down, that this wasn’t who he was, but he didn’t care. This was his first chance to strike back against Arcadius and, so far, it had gone better than any of the nightmares he had imagined. It was almost freeing to know that even when nothing that night had gone his way he still had managed to somehow turn it around. He nodded at Oscar, knowing now that Iganth was slow and hampered further by his bleeding leg – Oscar went to help finish off the last Benshira other than Iganth.

“You and me Iganth, where’s your master now? Far away and helpless. I’ll find him too and then he’ll suffer just like you” he snarled as he darted in, his blade slashing and turning, thrusting and forcing Iganth to desperately move and turn with an injured leg, increasing the bleeding with the movement as he deflected Alric’s attacks.

“There will be more, street rat, there will always be more. Killing me achieves nothing, the fight never ends. He never ends” he barked back in broken common before launching his own attacks.

Alric had never been a cruel man but on this occasion he enjoyed dancing around the blade, deflecting and then slashing another gash here or there, his arms or his leg. Alric wasn’t quick enough even with the Flux that flowed powerfully, to avoid every attack and a few thin lines of red had cut through the front of his clothing, but he wasn’t seriously injured. The warmth blooming across his chest, if anything, signalled that he was more alive than ever. Eventually, though, it was time to end it and the fun of stringing out Arcadius’ commander became tiring even with the energy of the crowd fusing with him. He frowned, focused upon Iganth’s blade and stepped in at the right time, slashing through the tendons of the forearm and the weapon went flying, skidding across the dirt floor. He rammed his blade through the man’s stomach, twisted it and pulled it out, watching him fall to the floor before marshalling the last of his Djed into a last strike – sending the head to roll towards the corner of the pit.

"Off with his head!" the shout rang out as Alric felt a grim satisfaction at tha man's ending.

The last Benshira also fell with Huntur and Oscar’s weapons cutting him into pieces and the crowd roared, the pit filled with baying and Alric raised his weapon, bloody and dripping, to shout back with the rest of the Sunberthian fighters – all of who had somehow survive, even if two of them needed medical attention and quick. The team began to help them get back towards the entrance to the pit after lowering their weapons, chants still ripping through the enclosed battleground. Alric, for his part, helped support James as the others carried Ballak.
Last edited by Alric Lysane on April 5th, 2022, 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
~ Thanks to Gossamer/Shiress for post Boxcodes ~
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Alric Lysane
Carry On My Wayward Son
 
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