Author Topic: Chapter 5 - EFU: City of Rings Rumors & Gossip Thread  (Read 41095 times)

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on: November 22, 2022, 06:15:10 AM
-- More rumours from Baz'eel. It is said that the city has placed Janissaries at the borders of its Rings, and are heavily questioning any Ringrunners who are attempting to head further Kingwards. Many have been turned away. Boarding houses are refusing to house further guests from the Outer Rings, or have been raided by soldiers. There is talk of press-gangs, the unceremonious imprisonment of outspoken Ringrunners. Though no confirmed reports of such things...

--Elsewhere, preachers have taken to the streets of the city - promising the onset of something, or someone. The language is strange and esoteric, filled with allusions that are dense and confusing.--

--The Ashfolk, typically tight-lipped, seem to be forbidden from speaking to outsiders about any of these matters. Their dissembling gives purchase to fresh unease...--

-- Many now believe that Baz'eel is preparing for the coming of Count Senuspur, that the Sultan intends to take a stand against the renegade in his Ring... --

-- That whatever military adventures Baz'eel has embarked upon is intended to shore up their position in advance of the arrival of Comital forces... --

-- Others suggest that the Sultan, long envious of the King, intends to make common cause with the rebels and march upon Ring 1 in their company... --

-- A minority claim that neither of these theories hold. That instead whatever is occurring in the Great Ash Desert is something in and of itself, a happening with no bearing on the grand contest between Count and King.  --

-- These ill-tides, and more, are awash about the Ward, slopping around at the bottom of half-drunk tumblers and flagons. --

-- Slowly, tentatively, more rumours from Baz'eel arrives at last in the Peerage Ward.... --

-- Those Ringrunners that dare to brave the taboo speak of a terrible upheaval in that city within a city. It is said that the Janissaries, and other feared servants of the Sultan, descended upon the houses of many notables in recent weeks.  --

-- No one seems to know the cause of this purge, nor why the notables and priesthood have been targeted. It is obvious to all that it is related, in some obscure way, to recent military developments in Baz'eel, the details of which remain obscure and curious.  --

-- Some say that a pretender to the throne has risen to challenge the Sultan, and those arrested were plotting a coup against their sovereign. Others simply suggest that the Sultan has gone mad, lashing out against paranoid threats to his rule.  --

-- As for the Ashfolk themselves, they remain typically tight-lipped, refusing to speak of such matters to 'outlanders'.  --

-- Nonetheless, soldiers patrol the streets of Baz'eel in ever-greater numbers, and the borders of the Sultanate are tense, confused and dangerous... --


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on: November 22, 2022, 06:48:34 AM
[[ :: Year 2 :: ]]

A violent storm erupting from the Weald and manifesting as fire and light scoured a path upon the frostburn and winter ravaged lands of the Rings. An unnatural flame amidst spring seemed to bring to life this cause and purpose. Rumour abound as to the exact where and why, but most point their fingers at the Moonspear Bloodmage Igor Morozov. Regardless, his cause, purpose, and efforts were drowned out quickly... the brightest flames burn out the fastest.

-- A harsh and warm wind howls through the Weald --

-- The storm spreads towards the ponds and then the king's commons... turning all in its path to ash --

-- The storm of flame and power eventually ebbs towards the broken road of ring 101 --

-- The storm halts seemingly a moment... before turning back towards Ring 99... --

-- The clouds drift and begin to sway back towards the Peerage --

-- The horrible clouds seem to settle finally upon the peerage --

-- Purest light and blazing fire leaving only ash in their wake, they begin to attempt to consume it entire --

-- Variants of the Peerage make to its defence --

-- Yet the storms seems only fuelled by their suffering... something keeps it building and building --

-- The storm seems to twist, slowly, towards ring 97, though its parts are not separate... they only grow stronger --

-- Screams erupt from the Muckboy's squat, as the men there fight off the horrible elements --

-- Further out the storm wails, deeper yet towards Ring 96 --

-- The storm bubbles and smoulders over the ruins of Ring 94 --

-- The storm now reaches even into Ring 92.... ash and flames along its path --

-- The storm mixes with the fogs of Ring 90... -- 

Quote from: A series of coded messages ring out through the whispers:
Fly 'ome, sparrows.

[A series of unusual words are spoken in rapid, hurried succession!] Sandpiper! Coo at the Ash Tree! It's Waxbill-- WAXBILL-- Starling, dammit! [The man coughed and wheezed.]

'Nesting at ash tree.'

-- Upon the gates of Vestige a bright light of fire and ash rains down upon it --

-- The counts forces are quick to attempt to expel the storm --

-- In the far reaches of the rings the storm seems to die out... thrashing against a host it could not meet --

-- A resounding trumpet sounds from the Count's Drill, as the storm clears --

The conquest of the Greykeep, or rather it's control by House Blackhearth, has been handled in simple events. While offers were made upon it from both efforts of the Peerage and from the Count's forces, it simply appears that any agreements or prior oaths were disregarded... The offer of the Count shunned and the payments to House Velstra lost. However, a Velstra Retainer claims the hold for the Cinquefoil rose.

Quote from: Drill Whisper by The Librarian
Please clear your ramblings and wanton pageantry for a Royal Decree, it shall be succinct to wager against your attention spans.

By extension of Count Zarono Senuspur's generosity and benevolence, House Blackhearth and its Baronship will be allotted fiefdom and be left to their own devices provided they decry the Houses Velstra, Moonspear, Glitt and Orza for their treason,

and halt any ringrunners not pledged to Senuspur's service. Obviously, the Lordships of these four rebels shall be stripped of whatever useless mirth of station is afforded to them when the Usurper is removed.

Quote from: City Whisper by Mebril Blackhearth
Hark, City of Rings, hark and heed my call with keen audition! These are the words of Lady Mebril Blackhearth. Heed this announcement, for it comes from a Peer of your King:

In keeping with auld agreement struck with Fabian Winespill, Master Illusionist of House Velstra my tenure as Castellan of the Grey Keep draws to a close. I willingly and in good faith shall soon remit the title of Baroness back to Vale to mete as they will.

To those that have undertaken my Trial. Be you in the Ward, in the Rings, on the golden sands of Baz'eel or sitting now, perhaps, at the table of the King... Living or dead, I thank you for allowing me to be a part of your story, and for entrusting me with a facet of yours.

My Lord Blackhearth and I will, in the coming weeks, endevour to properly collect and preserve the works so-entrusted in keeping with the traditions of our House.

Promise keep. No dawn without darkness, but the dawn comes.

Quote from: Baroness Synia Winespill
Recall in the future, this day, when an ancient oath was upheld by those often doubted. Recall it and be inspired by the weight of honor and duty, the level of which compels us to obey our King in greater ways.

The banner of Velstra will flicker in these winds that howl upon the Grey Keep. The house of Glitt shall stand with us. The House of Moonspear shall cover our flank well.

Together, the Cinquefoil rose reforms and musters in strength to obliterate this wretched creature who proclaims himself a Count, yet fears to dare call himself King, for he remains unworthy.

I am Synia, diluted of Velstra, first of the Vanguard, and now accept this offering of Baroness until time my Lord deems me unworthy. I, Baroness Synia the diluted, will break the lines of this Count and repel his filth.
My mace will echo across the rings as it shatters shield and bone so loudly that our very King hears it true, and I will rise above my own blood to serve him like no other has. I will wear his livery, I will wield the weapon -

Rubies will break beneath the weight of my steel and I will spike the head of this Count upon it in honor of my father, in honor of our King. The Cinquefoil rose will NOT fail.

A horrible message of perverted hope and a mind driven to madness are evident from the massive chasm now in the middle of the King's Commons of Ring 99. The painstaking efforts of such desperation plain in passing over the clouds above. A worried sight as consulates gather with how to deal with yet another horrible threat they would rather delegate away now festers upon the minds of those in the lesser Council of Peers. in rare sighting, a deva slighted brings some hope of absolution provided an end is brought to this "savior"...

-- Rumbles begin to resound throughout the King's Commons of Ring 99, from deep below its surface --

-- Crumbling cobble and pavement break away as a massive quake erupts in the King's Commons. Echoing harshly throughout Ring 99 entire, a massive structure begins to shift and form from broken and spewed rubble and waste from the drips below --

-- From within the center of the King's Commons a structure begins to appear, cloaked in painful red light it defies any actions those gathered might try to do to stall it --

-- Beckoning red glimmering lights sparkle from the inner rings a sanguine hue and begin to guide a floating enclave of what once was partly the Sepulchral Guildhouse. Horrible magics fly and swirl around its shape as it defies the King's Law in celestial fashion. --

-- Royal Wyverns serge and take to the skies only to be torn asunder by the recalcitrant mausoleum given flight. --

-- The voice of Ennugim Ishmenka breaks through the air of the rings and speaks clearly and crisp through ones ear bauble... --

Quote from: The Voice of Ennugim Ishmenka
Children of the Rings. Slaves of your absent king. Victims of the undoing and the Inert. Your fears, your worries, and your suffering is at end. I have deduced the only possible method of ceasing your misery, and saving your souls from the black godless abyss.

With this motion, and by the collected efforts of my students, we shall undo all that would be consumed and forgotten. I will rescue you all! Though it pains me to force this eventuality upon you, the black clouds grow close and it is only moments before there will be nothing to save...

The Crown and control of matters shall be settled, in what so ever fashion I may have them! Paradise shall be given and gifted freely to any and all by command of its power. No longer will you fear death, no longer shall you suffer life. All will be forever in peace.

-- As the floating ruin held together by loose and horrible magics continues to defy the King's laws, a red haze hemorrhages over the skies of Ring 95 --

Those that tried to halt in vain the forward shifting and massive floating structure were brought low... a sword draining memory and blood gleamed wickedly as the craft moved onward - kingward.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2022, 06:59:02 AM by Bearic »


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on: November 27, 2022, 09:18:28 PM
[[ :: Year 2 :: ]]

A strange magnetic and magical red storm passes through the rings with great speed. In only a week's time does it travel some 40 rings. However, it would not reach its destination.

-- The magical red storm and the massive ruin continues kingward, as it twists the skies and lands of Ring 87. A pale and sanguine figure of who once was Luna Wintergard beams unholy light guiding the craft forward --

-- Some small unrest wearies heavily upon the vassals of the Peerage. The bleak and desperate methods given by more unorthodox figures and continual flow of information from the inner rings has many contemplating. --

-- Many untrained and untalented a ringrunner has begun to flock towards the Drill in simple hopes of outrunning the ever-present horrors continually at their gates. Serfs of the Households and respective servants are mixed. --

-- Many worry they can not simply leave their lot in life. Those especially under care of House Glitt seem disheartened and nearly broken by the constant attacks against their holdings, the loss of family and friends and now a call to panic and abandon what ever they had left... --

-- The floating structure spiralling with negative energies passes over Vestige and the Count's Drill long before the promise rises upon the crumbled ringwall. No efforts are taken to stall the efforts of Ishmenka, at least, seemingly. --

-- Regardless of tolerances or otherwise, the ruin drifts kingward through the night's sky before cresting above Ring 72. It's storm raging and its path open. --

-- The recalcitrant mausoleum given flight breathes a horrible red miasma upon Ring 58, as it drfits forward, closer yet towards its goal --

-- As much of the Rings sleep, those brave enough, or hopeful enough to stall this cataclysm prepare. Rumours still spread that a Deva spoke to those gathered and unable to stop what has happened. Spoke of a possible path forward. --

-- Above Ring 56 the visage of Jeremiah Ashford, a betrayed and broken man, writhes in a horrible red storm. Just above the ruin stalls for the first time along its voyage. Walls of Earth and stone erupt from the grounds below to strike at and deter the path forward. --

-- Still, the floating monstrosity weaves through these traps and protections slowly. --

Those brave enough or desperate gather in Ring 99. As told, the Deva kept its word. A trumpet was gifted, a means to destroy the black opals that kept Ishmenka whole and empowered.

-- Within the King's Commons a blinding light begins to form and appear before the King's Statue --

-- A holy beam of light surges from Ring 99 and strikes at Ishmenka's Ruin. It is thin and direct, and causes no notable damage to the structure. --

-- The path forward for the brave is opened, a dead-end for them. A one-way passage into the floating ruin. -

A shade of the lich Ishmenka greets his guests with condescending remarks and pleads that the "children" invading his ruin reconsider their actions. He assures them they have no weapon or hopes to stop his plans. In a gesture of simplicity, his shade splits into six and sends waves of undead from one of his black opals.

-- Faces of the vengeful Uld and those that perished within Ring 94 seems to manifest against the heroic force --

-- the shade of Ishmenka seems to simply absorb any blows upon it --

-- Thousands of souls of the dwarves of Ring 94 flood the room -

The Trumpet gifted, despite its obviously deadly toll, begins to make a dent in the Lich's resolve. One by one the shades begin to fade and replace one another as dozens of spirits manifest. The Wizard Morvoren Adaira, or rather the captured and tormented soul of the dead woman, screams through the crumbling ruin.

-- Visions of a woman now fill the room, a horrible sight of someone sacrificed directly to Ishmenka's Revival --

-- Legions of undead flock to the shade as they continue their arts --

-- An ear-shattering explosion as hundreds of souls fly from a broken black opal along Ishmenka's jaw --

--A gruesome sight as the Archon's trumpet resounds and the very noise it makes ends the life of Meryl Fitzgerald--

-- The trumpet lies upon the ground now... --

The Lich, incensed and wroth spits venom upon the crowd and claims the games it plays are over. At Ishmenka's behest four Nightmares of terrible strength stomp upon the old and magically bound cobbles below them. Vines and foliage bleeding negative energy with every step the Nightmares take. Unholy flames and snarling heat escape from the beasts as they chase down at take the lives of any slow enough to not escape their path.

-- From the undead trees around you, four steeds of black undeath begin to move --

-- The massive ruin begins to shake and crumble at its edges --

-- The shades seem no more, though the toll was great --

-- Ahead, the dark arts of Ishmenka continue -- 

The doors are locked by magical energies. Ahead Ishmenka, even in defeat, seems untouchable as they channel their last Black Opal to operate the floating ruin. They now seem too busy, too focused to even respond to those they spoke of as mere children. The Archon appears and rains holy fire upon Ishmenka, something the lich seems to brush off unphased. However, all can hear before the Deva begins to move: "I will have what I desire, Ishmenka. They have done all the work for me."

-- Some shade of being runs up to Ishmenka and in cloaked and magical hand does it draw from directly his power source --

-- Some horrible trickery, and a disguise is broken... A ghastly figure reaches outward and grasps for itself the last black opal of the Lich Blacksmile --

-- A horrible laughter begins to fill the halls of the floating ruin --

Some strange rat like figure, cloaked in shawl and carrying a strange staff steals the last strength of Ishmenka. Any control of the ruin is lost, it does not take long for the floating object to meet a disastrous fate.

-- The floating Ruin is struck by one of the defensive pillars of sand and stone --

-- The ruin begins to drift and connects with the side of a mountain face --

-- The heroes that ventured forward now seem trapped by the /deva/ that lead them here --

-- The only possible way out seems forward... --

The mages still among the heroes manage to break the now failing magical locks upon the doors to the master control room. Some manner of portal was still flickering with a path forward. As rumble and fire fell from the ruin now crumbling and falling apart without its master, those that could escape, did.  The portal leads just outside of Vestige where upon the skies horizon the flames can be seen to drift lower and vanish.

-- Quaking into the very sands around it, the Sepulchral Guildhouse slams into the grounds unwelcomed --

-- Whatever works Ishmenka had planned to halt the Nothing, are done --

Quote from: City Whipser by Baroness Synia Winespill
Overly bold, brave, and ever lacking wisdom. You'll be missed Meryl, even if ever a pain in my side. Your mother will know of your bravery and how you destroyed a lich this day.

Quote from: City Whisper by Oliver Merryweather
[His voice defeated, hollow, without any hint of emotion...] You /ruined/ it.. You killed Emily, you killed Jeremiah... You-. Why-. Because you cannot stand the idea of a world without a feast? I-... [His voice would crack, nearly tearful.] I won't forget 'at.. This isn't over 'en.. It would be by 'e Hands o' 'e Ward that somethin' /WORSE/ would emerge..

You /bastards/... I could've shown you how t' make an Opal.. I could've done it /for/ you.. Instead.. You ended all o' it.-... [A agonized choking sound swiftly follows as he swallows something..] Y-. You made me Kill Jeremiah, you made me kill Luna an' 'at fool boy o' a Knight. You made me kill 'e Patriarch for /nothin'/. You doomed /everyone/.

Y'aint won yet.. Ishmenka was brought back once.. I'll claw him from 'e fuckin' /SANDS/ myself an' do it again..

Quote from: City Whisper by the Scholar Doukas Domaclides
I congratulate you on your victory today. But do not drink too deeply, for what have you truly accomplished? What greater schemes have set to their next step? Wonder, while you feast tonight why the resistance was so bare. Contemplate while you drink why Oliver curses us so deeply.

Consider all these things and then know, you still are years from understanding the truth of today that has been in motion for longer than anyone alive. An inevitable plan still marches to fruition.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2022, 09:23:28 PM by Bearic »


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on: January 14, 2023, 03:31:18 AM
[[ :: Year 3 :: ]]

A petal falls from the Cinquefoil Rose, a Lion's roar fades into a whimper, Castle Moonspear Auld smolders in ruin and wreckage... A series of known misfortunes compile into these events and whisper on the winds common knowledge:

-- Some chaos in the Burgage as an alarm rings out, some merchant is assaulted by a band of Orza. A blackjack is hit in the crossfire --

-- A beaten and stripped Daniel Winespill is lead towards the Doorkeeper beyond the Peerage, dragged by Orzan Retainer --

Quote from: City Whisper by Glitt Huscarl Moros Thelle
House Orza, three of your retainers are seen in the light of day assaulting and attacking a man of the burgage and have caused more to be concerned. There are many of us who would hear to why you have brought violence and bloodshed unto our alleys.

So speaks Moros Thelle, in service of the esteemed Lord Bernard Glitt.

Quote from: City Whisper by Orzan Retainer Balthazar Lepida
Oh, joyous day. Attend to this message, City of Rings.

Quote from: City Whisper by Daniel Winespill
This is Daniel Winespill... of House Blackhearth [his voice sounds very weary and pained], and i've been asked to say a few things on the bronze. That House Blackhearth consorts with ch- changelings, such as Mil, Balz, and Rin.

We often... [a pause] hire them as guides to journey deep ring... [another pained pause]

We turned a blind eye to rumors... [another pause] for a long time...

-- A message rings out about changelings in the doorkeepers room as an alarm rings out --

-- Chaos and pain erupt throughout the peerage as a winespill's throat is cut after a group of changelings come to his misfortune, instead of aid --

Quote from: City Whisper by House Orza Guard
Synia Winespill, you friends with changelings too? Because a greenleaf moss covered changeling just got your kin slaughtered. Not Orza's fault they killed a man with a knife to his throat.

-- A terrible tale plays out on the gallows of the steadings --

-- A man driven to save a friend, driven by anger and rage, without caution, causes the death of his friend... the death of the gutterknife at his neck, the death of the girl in suit and station with orders to proceed--

-- The 'curse' of changelings plays out in its home theatre... bedlam, blood and war, as the noose is wrapped into a coil --

-- A short drop and a quick stop and then it's over. Legs swinging in the breeze. --

Quote from: City Whisper by Kristoff Orza
I want the Glitt maceman who bludgeoned one of my soldiers alongside that Changeling dead, Bernard. Decide how you'll be making that right for me.

Quote from: City Whisper by Lionguard Synia Winespill
Unleashed hounds get bit, it seems. What more of you Orzans that attacked my brother like gutter rats will be brought to justice as well. The changeling that forced the knife is already dead.

Quote from: City Whisper by Lord Anders Orza
...The whole purpose of this Rose tripe was to agree not to butcher one another in the streets and focus on bringing down my former associates in the Ruby host.

And yet again and again, my men are being killed. What am I to think? I am losing faith in that rail-thin Reeve of ours...

If these murders are not redressed, I will pull all my soldiers, capos, and knives out from this coalition. You will march on the Count's forces, entrenched, with a few highlanders, whatever geriatric old man Moonspear sends, and the pretend-knights of Velstra.

My House /is/ the Peerage's rank and file. We are your military. Velstra has no squadrons, Glitt no sappers or saboteurs. Moonspear has a duelist or three. I am greatly displeased, and I am not above doling my displeasure out evenly. Give that some thought.

The Promise Rises and Falls from the Sky over the Peerage, the worries of retainers and common men seem nothing more than they were, matters progress, people live their lives.

-- As the day turns to night and the time passes on, two arbalestiers atop the Castle Orza share a flask of whiskey. Scarcely a dram between them, but it burns well and stays in the throat. They take potshots at a straw dummy, the odd 'thunk' of bolts sinking in sounding o'er the Ward. --

-- It is known to the learned... that in times of old, the King would make his presence known through certain signs and omens. All know of the cloying mists which ebb and flow where His power hath been brought in force. But there are other portents... --

-- When a champion was needed in times of eld, one to take up the cause of the monarch against some bitter foe... often they would be tasked with a trial, to prove their worth.  --

Quote from: City Whisper by House Orza Arbalester
The bell's not ringing for no reason, fools - haven't got all night!

-- The hour strikes midnight, and the moon hangs full and heavy in it's celestial perch. To some it seems as if those brilliant, pale beams become animate, dart about the city itself. A trick of the eye, a delusion of lunacy, surely.  --

-- ..Cloven hooves clap upon the cobbles. In the pale light of the moon, standing proud and kingly, there is a White Stag all wreathed in mist. With placid grace, it picks its way through the alleys and tenements.. along the canals and across rooftops.  --

Quote from: City Whisper by Royal Huntsmaster Boris Grick
As I live and breathe...! One of the King's own beasts roams this night, friends - favor of our liege to the man who might catch it! A good omen, for our war on Senuspur. Is this how He means to choose our next champion?

-- With his bow slung overshoulder and his kith around him, Lord Bernard Glitt bursts from his hall and stomps into the night. His bannermen, retainers, and sundry are not far behind it seems.  --

-- Velstra Vale is abuzz suddenly at that sight - where flippant rolls of the eyes had ruled, now there is a bustle as the Lion himself digs about for a long spear. Bowmen in purple motley follow after him, as he too races into the gloom.  --

-- A contingent of Orzan men, flatbows across their shoulders, seem to have already slipped ahead of the rest.  --

-- A dozen sightings of the white stag, rumors abound... it slips from fingers and ducks arrows.. darting from the swamps to the scraggles, some say it hops among the magma in the 94th, others say it bounded into the sewers..  --

-- Some see it bound across the rooftops, leap the great ringwalls in a vast clattering-bound, hooves unseating the fired clay of roof tile...  --

-- Somewhere in the skies above a falling star slides down the firmament and fades.  --

-- The night is quiet.. hunters still prowling.. but signs of the stag have abruptly ceased. Could it have been found?  --


 -- Shock as the Lord Bernard Glitt limps back into the Peerage Ward, a score of arrows and bolts sticking from his armor and battered shield.  --

-- The general alarm is only raised as it becomes clear.. that Nicholas Velstra and his retinue have yet to return at all. What disaster has befallen them?  --

-- Somewhere deeper in the rings, bold Moros crosses blades with one of the infamous Rubies. All the while, his lord writhes in his hall - beset by some wasting poison.  --

-- House Orza has become... quiet. Their gates yawn open, all living souls evacuated it seems... though the Old Castle Moonspear is not.... quite... empty. --

-- A sulphurous, horrible wind comes suddenly from House Orza, the Castle itself seeming to exhale some hellish miasma and somewhere in the catacombs below, a single spark is struck... and swiftly catches. --

-- The entire WARD shakes and quivers like an infirm pudding as explosions begin to thump and scream through the night, a horrible, Hellish cackle sounding across the ward, punctuated by the combustion of pure black powder. --

-- The castle itself crumbles, as it's foundations are obliterated, the rest of it... following swiftly, plumes of black smoke billow and writhe forth, dust and pulped rubble, innumerable treasures and troves of prestigious goods gone, a wall, mounted with beasts of the mongrelwoods, a stray camel's head... vaporized... --

-- Young Toby, the beggarboy is crushed to death by falling rubble and hellishly heated rock. --

-- The force of the explosion ejects a strange man from the castle, it's sole occupant. -- 

Quote from: City Whisper by Orzan Retainer Garreth Sterbough
And with that final destruction, House Orza is no more.. Kristoff takes most of the knives and capos toward Ba'zeel. And some men stay here at the Drill, to work with Anders. I'm not gonna pretend I was innocent in any of this. I'm not gonna beg for mercy, nor offer it. You lot will be coming for my head..

And gods be great, I hope you take it, for the monster I've become in my long, long life. But I'm not gonna go down without a fight.

Quote from: City Whisper by Ruul Velstra
Nicky! I don't know when you stole one of my warding charms, but this isn't funny anymore. Father's worried, and I can't scry you anywhere.

-- Over the coming days, the following facts become clear. --

-- The House of Orza is no more. Their castle is in ruins, detonated by saboteurs hands. Their soldiers, one and all, have disappeared into the night... --

 -- ...Only to re-appear, as the proud standard of the Unicorn is raised alongside the crimson banners of the Count.  --

-- Ser Nicholas Velstra, the Lion, is nowhere to be found. He has yet to return to the Vale... and his family now fear the worst. --

-- Some suspect he found his end in the night. Butchered by the sons of Grigori, in vengeance for their murdered brother. Still others cling to hope that he is simply lost... yet to return, or boldly embattled against the traitors. --

-- Lord Bernard Glitt has - by some miracle, or the hand of his bold retainers - survived the attempt on his life by the Ruby Vsaja Sumari. One mote of good news, amidst a torrent of worse. --

Quote from: City Whisper by Lord Anders Orza
My condolences and much luck to the poor bastards who still believe in your little conspiracy; mayhaps if the Ward had been more wise, had not continued to butcher Orza men who bled for it, this would not have happened.

Alas that it has. Nicholas died begging for his life, but alas I'd only a quarrel to give him. The rest of you will have it worse. If you have some objection to our new allegiances, if you need some answer as to why this happened --I answer in the words of our late father:

'Here is My Sword.'

« Last Edit: January 21, 2023, 06:51:31 AM by Bearic »


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on: January 19, 2023, 05:42:57 AM
Like a sigh word spreads through the Ward. Another meeting of the Peers, yet another. However many there have been, none are allowed to count. The Lords slunk through the streets, with no bannersmen or boon companions in attendance. Shamefully alone they made their way.  Most curiously, however, it is said that Marquessa Cazmaier was witnessed dragging the stupefied Lyon Moonspear through the streets towards the Council, drooling and murmuring to himself....

An unmitigated disaster.  Amidst the crumbling Council Chambers, with two of five thrones toppled to the floor from neglect, the three remaining Lords of the Peerage bickered over supplies and shortages.  Despairing, or damning one another, or dozing in haunted slumber, they callously disregarded the urgings of Jodfry a'Valar to bring them to focus.

When the near-catatonic Lyon Moonspear spoke, in broken whispers, of his father's return... and the promise of the coming of the nothing again, chaos erupted in the chamber.  Just as the negotiations came to violence, over the clamour of fists and swords, it rings out. Shaming one and all.  The voice of Elizabetha d'Auvergne, shaming the Lords for their bickering.  Remembering to them their duties, not to their own coffers but to their kin and their charges.

Yes, 'twas true the shadow loomed.  'Twas true that foes surrounded them.

...But so too was it true that their enemy on his cursed Drill was at his very weakest.  His followers were plenty, but the Count starved.

The cool wind whispered through the broken mortar of an ancient manor, rustling the leaves of a little sapling tree.

Somewhere, perhaps far, far away -- or perhaps not so distant at all, a broad-bladed spearhead gleamed in the darkness.

The weapons they needed were already  in hand.  The strength to wield them and the courage of great heroes was all they required.   And by the time she had finished, that courage and strength were overflowing. 

A horn not called for an age, or longer, echoes throughout Ring 99, outwards from the Council of Peers so loud that it hangs about in the air. It is agreed. The Lords, squabbling for so long, have come together at last. They shall march to war, towards ruin, towards Count Senuspur and his Drill.  Under the banner of the Cinquefoil Rose, the three houses would muster and march again.  To leave behind the toppled past, and wrest bright future from the hungering dark!
« Last Edit: January 19, 2023, 05:46:16 AM by Ironside »


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[[ :: Year 3 :: ]]

Quote from: City Whisper by Lord Norbert Velstra
You may think it easy. One more child of mine, gone. You may say - and I cannot say otherwise! - that 'twas his own hubris, his own pride that was his end. I would not protest it. Many of my children bear such sins, flaws, blemishes on the vine. You may have loved him, or hated him.

Yes, you may think it but another wound for old Norbert Velstra. One more to add to the growing callous on my heart -- but it is not. Each one, I weep for, and yearn for at my table. As I ponder the empty chairs. Winespill, Velstra. True or baseborn, they are my sons and daughters.

So I have a dozen, or more - is not each one precious to me? You wished to leave this place behind? Fine. You lost a brother, can I begrudge that? No

But... but to steal one of my sons, as you went.. monstrous. Horrible! Damnable! You snakes! You vipers! I curse the name of Orza, and I spit my cup, all the wine's rankled sour now... my boy, my boy...!

Where is Adrian? Where is little Merryberry? Annette, bold singer, is that you? Declan, Damian, Daniel.. my poor, misled boys! Nausica? Theobold? Gabrielle? Aloysius? My Vale is so quiet, of late... once it was full, you know, with the pitter-patter of little feet; of my children and their laughter!

Ah! But I.. I am drunk, yes - drunk. The last of the wine has finally been drunk, the bottom of the last bottle now stares back at me. Who stares from inside? Why - naught but a miserable old man, who with all his riches can never buy back a child...

In the dead of night bade by Ruul Velstra a band of the Houses summed, the Cinquefoil Rose, boldly leap into ruins and encampments old held by Squatter, Countsmen and Minotaur shrouded in a painful and obscuring fog. They recover from it a prize of the fog and blood that drenched them in their actions and vengeance substantiated.

When goaded Ruul gave them reward, but promised them yet that his revenge was not sated.

--More strange and confusing tidings from the war in the Desert. Carrion-birds can be seen circling ominously over Ring 55. Those in Baz'eel report columns of Janissaries hurriedly departing the city, all grave in countenance. It is whispered that the Sultan has suffered a defeat..--

--... that Baz'eel is losing control of its war with the 'renegade' Ibtihal, of whom little is known other than a name. That the Sultan could lose himself in some internecine struggle when terror itself loomed at the edge of the world is spoken of with great incredulity. --

-- The civilized world scratches its head, as the Desert seems to fall headlong into chaos and confusion. Why, they wonder, does the Sultan not commit himself to the struggle between King and Count in the stead of his petty, local strife? --

Quote from: City Whisper by House Glitt Huscarl
Hear the word of Lord Bernard Glitt. In grim anticipation of our march, he has seen fit to Knight the armsman Moros Thelle. Folk of the Peerage! Attend to the Lord upon the bridge, and behold the naming of a new champion. Our blades thirst for Comital blood. They shall not be waiting overlong.

-- Through the Ward, upon the lips of so many worried faces, between packing (for many are resolved to flee the ancient Ring 99), there is talk of a new champion to help lead the armies of the Peerage as they march to awaken Count Senuspur from his brooding upon the Drill: --

-- Ser Moros, called the Last. --

-- The meaning of this epithet is unclear. Many say that Lord Glitt has broodingly foreseen his own demise in the battle to come, and that he believes he will Knight no other after Ser Moros. --

-- Others believe the Lord was making a poetic point about fate, that the age of Knights is ended, that however the coming strife is to resolve itself, the Peerage shall itself be changed, or else unmade.. --

-- But there is scant time for such talk, between the choice between food or valuables for the Kingward Road... --

The Promise sets upon the Peerage, as it was any other night. As it was any other day.

-- A lonesome crow lands atop the abandoned Sunpurse manse, ruffling its ink black feathers, beady eyes watchful of the streets below. --

-- A night of auspices. --

-- A breeze blows soft through the chill air of the Peerage, whipping leaves to dance about the streets. --

-- And on the back of those wayward leaves, a faint whisper... --

-- A calling. A beckoning... --

-- They dance hither and thither, a quiet whisper in their wake. Waves of gathered leaves, roiling and twisting... the door of the old Manse of Sunpurse blows open... --

 -- ...and by the whispers and the wind, they are welcomed within... --

-- A crowd slowly makes its way, following in the wake of the wind's beckoning. At their head, the newly anoited Ser Moros, the Last. --

Within the room spins the leaves of the trees transformed and gifted avoidance from the Sunpurse Curse by magics of the Auld ways. Unfettered by the  cruel reach of the harbormaster, the grandfather; the lord of the house of Lessors: a gift is bestowed upon those that would end the sanguine cycle.

-- The bough of the little tree, its outstretched arm, stretches to meet the spear-tip. It is a quiet thing, and quick - sinewy twigs grow to bold ivy, wrapping tight the blade. Tying it tightly to the bough -- which itself becomes firm, sturdy. --

-- And where there was an outstretched hand, there is now a spear. A weapon ripe for wielding. Pluck it from the branches, hero. --

-- Ser Moros the Last takes the spear in his hand... The golden tip glimmering in the candlelight. --

-- There is a gust of wind, emanating from within the manse... a great exhale relief... --

-- And upon the tree, new life blossoms. --

-- A final gift. Many fruits... wrought of the last labours of Phelan Sunpurse. His final gift. --

-- And it is done. The final labor borne, the fruits of it now shed. Seasons change, hearts change. Short or long, lives are lived - for Young Phelan, fishing under the cool shade of the willow trees, it was a good one, and well spent. Those boughs gave him comfort, and now he gives it in turn. --

-- And the leaves change in the manse, going brittle and bronzed. The bark dries. Dying is not so terrible a thing, when your life has been spent well. The little tree fades to dust with a smile. --

-- That same wind, blown among the alleys of the Ward, ferrying these would-be heroes to claim their last gifts, carry the lifedust of Phelan outward, into the skies beyond... --

Elsewhere, within Dusk's Cradle, two Lords, the other two of the petals Rose, dote upon the daughters of their own household. Dames now, they command the respect due those Knighted upon the Banner of Velstra and Moonspear: Dame Synia Velstra the Beloved, and Dame Jagoda the Just

Quote from: City Whisper by Dame Jagoda the Just
So speaks Dame Jagoda. We go to war, but I am not under the dillusion that we fight some faceless force of evil. We go to fight men and women crafted by our wrongs. We fight not to punish, but to redeem. To find vengeance.

And to see it all put right. Dim no torches.

Three petals, Three hopes, Four is weak, and five too many.. Three as the Lady who watches us, Three as the promise that keeps us, Three the Departed. A wilted rose still has thorns. and a spear has it's point.

-- Clouds clod together above Ring 99, tightening in ranks as if to ward away the morning sunshine. --

-- An overcast, cloudy sky. The inevitable promise of gentle rain. --

-- At long, long last, long-lost light penetrates the very uppermost level of Oldspyre tower. A dark place left light-lorn for so long finally sees itself basked in glorious warmth. --

-- And a woman that had waited for so long finds herself no longer yearning. --

-- Promise fulfilled. --

-- All things are fleeting, some for good and others for ill. In the Dusk's Cradle, the Lady seems... less resolute. Her stalwart vigil over the yawning chasm feels... fainter. Songbirds flit about the upper awnings. Lady Niobe's daily prayers and rituals resound less fully. --

-- The torches of the Promise, once proudly gleaming now are... simply torches. The sun will rise tomorrow. Of what use are these wards 'gainst a darkness that will pass? --

-- Something has 'changed'... and something is waning. --

-- Prayers and Orisons to the Lady, the Promise, and the Lord Departed hold less might than they once did. The magic, divine and bright, is fast fading --
« Last Edit: January 21, 2023, 06:52:07 AM by Bearic »


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on: January 21, 2023, 06:47:52 AM
[[ :: Year 3 :: ]]

-- A quietness lingers upon the Rings, as they hold their breath for the events to come... these past days, supplies, men, warriors have been ferried out of the Ward, into the Rings beyond in preparation... --

The fearful flee, and the brave rally their nerve. A reckoning centuries in the making comes, on the winged heels of the Ward's newest champions. The time is soon to come... --

-- Amidst the pained howls of a tortured beast and the baudy laughs of drunken merrymakers, amidst the vice and terror, the rebellious Count's forces speak their oaths and promises, under the watchful eye of their would-be King. --

-- Many multitudinous loud trumpets are sounded, each from the uppermost spires of the Ward of the Peers ... --

-- The nursemaids and peasant-folk of the Peerage huddle together as trashgulls let out their all-too-familiar squall overhead. --

-- Master Orenzio hammers out a piece of armor for one of his last customers ... perhaps his finest creation ever... --

-- Mrs. Minchin dickers over the price of rent, increasing it by three times ... her renters are outraged... --

-- Apprentice Designer Lebril Thielin, one of the last remnants of old Ticker Square, grows increasingly nervous that the second time won't be the charm... --

-- There is a sense of ... finality. --

-- If not for this Peerage Ward, then perhaps for the world itself. --

-- It is for the ending of her play that Elizabetha d'Auvergne, the famous actress, emerges once more for a walk-on performance ... --

-- A new sun rises, a red dawn. With it, the exhale. The time is upon us, for good or ill. A shadow lingers, heavy, above the liberated Vestige. --

-- The great gate of the peers... is left open ... --

-- Tumultuous times. Folk march to their defeat or to glorious victory. Such things are hard won, and hard lost. None can say who will emerge triumphant. --

-- But there is a singular certainty: men will die, tonight. --

-- The trail of the Ward's finest continues onward, in the wake of the Drill's destructive passage; each crumbled and abandoned district bringing them closer... --

-- From tumble down cityscape, to the frozen tundra... past abandoned homes, long since raided or abandoned by Comital forces, or other miscreants of the Rings. --

-- The prize, in sight. Trepidation ripples through the vanguard like a biting wind... The force, arrayed. The bridged river the only obstacle remaining... --

-- A delaying force of mercenaries sallies out to meet them on the frozen river... --

-- A cataclysmic battle is about to unfold ... --

-- The once peaceful town of Vestige... now a bloodbath for a world's destiny... --

-- Crows pick at the dead. The Ward is come, and breaks through the barricades to sack the camp. It remains remarkably undefended, though from the darkest corners the dead, and shadows emerge to claim their due. --

-- Chaos reigns, the perpetual snow stained with the blood of the Count's mightiest defenders. Among the corpses, jackals pick through the packs of slain foemen... --

-- A quiet settles over the Vestige... the wind is calm. Shadows stir... --

-- The passage to the Drill lays open...--

-- Comital mercenaries emerge from the various tents and camphouses about the Drill... --

-- There are screams from within the Drill as the Peerage vanguard enters, slaughtering and killing with brutality. --

-- Eddie Goodtimes get beaten up. --

-- The man once called 'Reeve' hosts a tense conversation with Drayson Sparrowbroth amidst death and betrayal, long-time bartender at the Spinning Groat tavern. These men have known each other for many years... --

-- There is much discussion within the Drill. The Count has fled deeper into Stormharbour, the remaining Rubies at his side. The tale of Stormharbour's curse is well known --

-- Doubly so now, seized and controlled by the Count's forces. There is the sound of drums from within, and the faint whisperings of darker things yet. --

-- A small group, the tip of the Spear, is to descend beneath the streets of Stormharbour. Brave the curse, and the Count's elite forces, while the remainder hold the line, with the Drill now seized --

-- As the discussion is had within the Drill, reinforcements come to set up and reinforce the siegeworks.--

-- Barricades are set, catapults drawn. Preparations made... --

-- small number of camp followers have begun cleaning up the bloodshed, tending the torn and battered tends. Preparing the Vestige for what is to come... --

-- The snow falls. The blood isn't so clear, now. --

-- The Tip of the Spear prepare themselves to follow the darkened walls, and into the sewers beneath them... --

-- How long until these fields shine a bright crimson once more? --

-- An ominous feeling in the air. Anticipation. Concern. The victory was too easily won. Too few fallen. What horrors await? --

-- The barricades are set, ready for the counter assault. --

-- A hatch, buried almost by fresh snow... --

-- The snowy air cuts to the bone, more than ever.--

-- Far in the distance, the faint sound of infantry... --

-- They're drawing ever closer. Forms, some large and some small, shamble onward with grim determination. --

-- A moment of unnatural calm, and then - they've begun to arrive. --

-- The wind howls. Hope shakes, insecure once again in your bodies. --

-- A smattering of grim laughter as men who's only love glitters, gleams and clinks kindly in purse step forth into the gallow's ever tightening noose. Your life- and theirs- for a hefty smattering of ducats. --

-- Cackling at the gates. Ahead of you. Beside you. Behind you. --

-- Atop the barbican gate of Vestige, the orange banner flies tattered beneath the comital. Watching as the warriors of the 99th are slowly ground down is Anders Orza, evidently left in command. --

-- A pause in the clamor of battle... no more reinforcements in sight. --

-- Beneath the siegeworks, in the gloom... more terrible monsters, garbed all in ruby red, await the brave few who aim to steal into the comital holdfast. --

-- Comital mercenaries, their lives bartered for coin and blood, fight tooth and nail against the sieging forces. Hardbitten men, living unhappy lives - still, better a bitter one than none at all. --

- The battle lessens at the fore as reinforcements come slower and slower. The smoke of battle drifts along, howled away by the strong winds. Blood-stained, gore-speckled, viscera-coated; the men and women stand at the ready to push forward. --

-- Bare your blades, raise your shields anew. Something drives on the Count's creatures - a relentless zeal, a ferocious fury. --

-- Armaments from above.. --

-- A great howl from the fortress. A groan, or a sigh. The air around it shimmers with strange energies. The host of the Peerage lets up a cheer, even amidst the thick of the fighting... --

-- A pause in the fighting. A woman can be seen walking, gliding, smoothly over, across, past the battered and the broken, the dead and the destroyed. --

-- Mortal form bled out on the stone, yet the work is not concluded. Swift spear strikes made quick work of the flesh, but such a man is not so easily undone. Our works linger, our spite, our ambitions, and all the misery we have wrought. The soul lingers in the terror remembered to the survivors. --

-- t gleams in the darkness ahead of them, as the tide of shadow rushes in to claim it. A Bitter, Angry Soul. Crimson in the dark. --

-- From the inky black sky, that ripples like water, a surge forms. A cloying mist of darkness. The deluge erupts. --

-- It comes. It comes seeking to claim him. That lingering orb of hatred. --

-- The mood shifts at the gates. The Count's final reinforcements begin to arrive. The mood shifts to dogged survival... --

-- All-consuming... the darkness spreads... --

-- The deluges rages. It ROILS. The blackness come to claim that which they so desperately desire. --

-- The gloom grows thick and heavy ... --

-- And from it issue so many whispers, so many confused cries. Old, familiar words.. --

-- The tendril-like fingers of the creatures of shadow and desire, of wanting grasp at the crimson soul. As the anchors are struck and destroyed, it weakens... it HOWLS in pain, and frustration. It's end is near. --

-- Now unprotected, the deluge roars once more. They fling their full force upon the lingering soul. --

-- The Spear in Moros' hand hisses, roars. A familiar voice... deep, gutteral. Strong.--

-- 'ROHOMUAJI!' --





-- Moros fights his way free of the thousand hands, all probing and scratching. He leaps forward, thrusting the spear deep. --

-- A life. For a life. --

-- A life. For a life... --

-- A life... --

-- ...for a life... --

-- As the final blow is struck, the promise of Rohomuaji - the red spear, that trades life for life, is fulfilled. It takes the ruddy soul of auld Senuspur into itself, and then --

-- SHATTERS! A hundred splinters spray about the shadowed glade, and the ambitions of the Count come finally to their end. --

-- ..Alas, that the promise must be fulfilled. Those same splinters find Moros the Last's heart, and bury themselves deep. And his life ends. Traded for one, and for a thousand. --

-- Meanwhile, above the great gates of Vestige, the Orzan banners are being swiftly struck down by men in orange and black. Not a single soul of that house even stepped foot to challenge the heroic besiegers. --

-- Anders smirks, taking a final drag from a loose cigarillo. He upturns a mock salute to the brave heroes below, and then disappears beneath the walls. --

-- They return, from the shadow and darkness. From the whirlpool of inky black, thrust into the bloody battleground of the Vestige. They charge, emboldened, into the back line of the lingering creatures... --

-- As the Captain falls... you notice the body of Ser Moros the Last... the many bodies of the dead all strewn around you... --

-- Seven score and more of them, heaped up upon the once peaceful snow of Vestige... even now... beginning to grow thick with snow and ice. --

-- A cheer rises up from the haggard heroes, 'Moros the Last! Courtland! Otto! Syl! Atlem! William! Grim! Seamus! Fierce Chakravati!' and a score others, the dead are extolled by the lucky few who survived. --

-- The rumors that spread about this day run far and wide... they are contradictory and conflicting in almost every way. --

-- But one fact remains consistent across them all: Ser Moros the Last held the key to defeating the Count, and he gave his life to use it. --

-- Retainers of the three houses begin to arrive at Vestige slowly, paying homage to the dead burning upon the fields of blanketed snow --

Quote from: City Whisper by Dame Synia Velstra the Beloved
Countless heroes spend their last as that which you see now, as if the Lantern of Stormharbor itself were still pure and existing. That warmth of their life, that glow of their intent, that /light/ of the Last.... It shall soon sway from this celebration, from these comforts, and focus upon you wretched and lingering things that escaped our Cinquefoil Rose this night.

Count Zarono Senuspur:

Ah. The hour is upon us.

Dame Synia Velstra the Beloved:

Count Senuspur. [She lends him a bow of her head... just slightly]

Ser Moros the Last:

It has been some time...

Count Zarono Senuspur:

[Senuspur, lets out a deep, courtly bow.]

Dame Jagoda the Just:

Your crimes are too numerous to count, you'll forgive if I do not list them.

Count Zarono Senuspur:

Welcome, all. Brave errants. Welcome to my House. [The Count's lips are pursed, his hand upon a rapier which gleams coolly even in the dark.]

Ser Moros the Last:

[Moros offers the Count something else. He offers a Lady's favor.] This wood, it's from the Tower. [Moros slowly reveals a spear, made from the wood of Phelan Sunpurse. The Spirit of Rohomuaji... The Spear to slay the Count]

Count Zarono Senuspur:

I remember, as a boy, the duelling clubs of the Old City. You see this scar upon my cheek? A merchant's son etched it into my skin. It has remained with me, even now... [He ignores the spear, quite pointedly.]

Ruby Emerice Guoremor:

[Entirely encase, Ser Emeric stands alert, as the Count greets his guests. His longspear, having supped from the blood of Kings, glows a sinister red.]

Count Zarono Senuspur:

 Of course, I couldn't let such an insult stand. He cut deep, you see. A mark upon a Prince's son.

I remember...

We met upon the shores of the Island Ymph two weeks thereafter. The air was hot, there. Your sweat got into your coats, into your jerkin.

That day...

That day was such a day.

I skewered him. The man who made this mark upon me. [He presses one solitary finger along his cheek.] And I gained a reputation, then, as the premier duellist in the City of Old Port.

But that...

That was long ago.

[He draws his rapier in a long, slow motion. The sword, it shines. He regards it with a kind of louche disdain...]

Dame Jagoda the Just:

To think... Imagine if you had used all this time, all this life to be a hero, not a villain... You could have walked to the king with all behind you. Our sins stand before us, and you your own. This fate is our own making. Blame no one.

Emma Falltower.

[She looks to the spear held in the hands of Ser Moros before looking back to Zarono, a hatred filling her eyes.] you... you t-took away my only chance to ever learn who my parents were. Who I am. Who I was supposed to be. You burned it down, erasing my family's legacy. I'm not here for the King, I'm here for revenge...

Count Zarono Senuspur:

You could have followed me, you know. My path was the path to truth. A luminous truth. Of this dread, fetid world. It's tawdry reality.

Ruby Emerice Guoremor:

[He steps forward, a moment in time...]

Count Zarono Senuspur:

But you have chosen a dream in its stead.

Ser Moros the Last:

I have brought somethign with me... Something you forgot. A /Promise/. The Lady in the Tower, the Lady in Waiting, how her grief has touched me.

Dame Synia Velstra the Beloved:

[She glances to her allies making ready...]

Ruby Emerice Guoremor:

[He spins his halberd...]

Count Zarono Senuspur:

 And you think I fear this little device? Yet another mirage, another fantasy, dreamed up by a frightened little boy.

Dame Jagoda the Just:

A dream, carried in the hearts of men is as real as any spear.

Ser Moros the Last:

Phelan was brave. That much I have come to learn.

Count Zarono Senuspur:

[His eyes twinkle.] I was not speaking of the young master Sunpurse.

Dame Synia Velstra the Beloved:

[She glances between the Count and them once more] Who?

Count Zarono Senuspur:

At any rate... you shall have no truths from me. No ribbons, no bows, no ending to the tale.

You have forfeit that, I think.

Shall we dance, then?

Dane Jagoda the Just:

Let battle be the reward we reap, Count.

Ser Moros the Last:

Very well then. May we keep the Promise.

Emma Falltower:

For Jodfry! For Ticker!

Ruby Vsaja Sumari:

You're in for a surprise, sweet dove.

You're to see the truth of it all.

-- Count Zarono Senuspur's body lay prone on the cobbled floor, bleeding out along the length of the spear... --

Ruby Vsaja Sumari:

You're to gaze into the absence of beauty, and there...

You'll come to know yourselves.

-- The sound of a heartbeat, drub-drub, drub-drub, drub-drub.. resonates in the chamber as Vsaja languidly speaks. --

Ruby Vsaja Sumari:

Let me look upon his eyes, one last time...

And you can continue your journey.

[He steps quietly through the darkness, looming over the Count's ancient body.]

[He draws a flower from his cloak, cone vibrant, now dying.] This dear Count, is what I have become...

[He kneels, and plants a kiss on the Count's cold, dead forehead. A piece of theatre...]

Onward now, sweet doves. Fly, into Shadow...
« Last Edit: January 21, 2023, 07:05:06 AM by Bearic »


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on: January 21, 2023, 07:53:00 PM
[[ :: Year 3 :: ]]

Yesterday came the banners of the Cinquefoil Rose. The players of that great ballad, summoned by Elizabetha d'Auvergne - that famous actress who has been a common sight at the gatherings of the Cinquefoil Rose - marched in a storm to their curtain-call upon the battlements of old and ruined Stormharbor. There was a great and terrible clash with much death, where the warriors of the Peerage fell upon the last defenders of the Count Senuspur, much drained of their power and their fury in the year since the Vizier's defeat.

Little noticed at the time was a vessel bearing the bulk of the might of House Orza, the murderers of Ser Nicholas Velstra (called "the Lion"), up and away from the battle in what was surely a decisive decision by Lord Anders Orza to quit the field. The figure of Knife Auria Sellic could be seen standing upon that vessel's pier as she stared out upon those she and hers doomed to death, with Oskar Thorne standing amidst many other soldiers.

Then came the battle. A meager host emerged from the Drill. Sabhat Ju-Urdai, long an erstwhile foe of the Peerage, fell slain in the chaos.  In those cruelest of tragedies, Doukas Domaclides, Sabhat's dark servant, convinced Sabhat to fight and die for sake of the Count and quit the field rather than share his fate.

Nass Brokenpeak, the last of the Count's kobolds forced to fight and die at his whim, shared the fate of its many clutch-companions when it died upon those frozen fields. Its frozen mithral armor buried forever.

Among the many traitorous Peerage warriors fighting for the Count was Jaime Lachland, tragic figure from a tragic background, who discovered that the world cares little for the drama of tragic tales. He died in seconds and the world forgot his name.

Many others died, among them: Xiv'rahk Shuul, the former assassin, Jawick Aschenfreude, Astara Goldmint, Saschka Delmastro and Eddy Berkshire.

It is said some small remnant of the Count's host fled rather than fight a doomed battle; some even turned on their former brothers in arms. Among these survivors, Oliver Merryweather and Tommy Francke were seen departing together towards old, frozen ruins... and then to parts unknown.

The fields of Vestige were whet with blood. When it was over, Jodfry a'Valar, called "the Reeve", confronted Drayson Sparrowbroth, long-time bartender of the Spinning Groat and a long-time friend of "Him Upstairs". There there was a great and terrible revelation: the Count Senuspur, along with all of his rubies, had disappeared into the walls of Stormharbor.

It was decided then by the gathered knights, among them Dame Synia the Beloved, Dame Jagoda the Just and Ser Morros the Last, that the bulk of the Cinquefoil Rose would distract the Count's remaining mercenary force who held the walls while a small team descended into the depths to confront him.

The team was as follows:
- Ser Moros the Last, of Glitt and the bearer of The Countsbane,
- Dame Jagoda the Just, of Moonspear and brush companion of Lord Lyon Moonspear,
- Dame Synia the Beloved, of Velstra and a legendary hero of the Peerage Ward,
- Mathans MacBriar, sturdy huscarl of House Glitt,
- Emma Falltower, a student of the Reeve,
- Lirwyn Naeranye and Hathir Nalaeyrn, Moros' inseparable ringrunning companions
- and Sasha Kovalenko, a mysterious man from foreign lands,

They fought through countless hordes of the Count's defenders, slaying the last of his loyal rubies and eventually arriving at his sanctum. There Ser Moros' spear struck true, and did so with great ease. The blood mage Ojo had perfected his weapon; the Count died in one piercing stroke of Moros' spear-thrust. Impaled on the blade, the Count crumpled to the ground, sickly shade oozing out his lips as the world seemed to shift and shimmer.

The heroes came upon a dark forest, where a great battle was had as agents of the Nothing sought to steal for themselves the last vengeful soul of the Old World. Ser Moros the Last gave his life to deny them their victory, bringing the spear to bear once upon the Count's far more powerful soul in a cataclysmic and titanic battle. A life for a life, the world chanted as Moros fell to his knees.

In the aftermath, the world was different. The Drill is now under the control of the forces of the Cinquefoil Rose, though - as always - the representatives of that group quickly turned to bickering and arguing about what to do with that terrible device. Some, including Dame Synia even wanted to set the Hound free to undo the Count's great wrong. Amidst this bickering, the Peerage still stands, sturdy and strong, but as some poets begin to ask: for how long?


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on: January 22, 2023, 07:42:13 PM
[[ :: Year 3 :: ]]

The Peerage Ward was swallowed in an all-consuming tide of black this evening; Pauper Ponds, Little Ticker, the Burgage, the Steadings ... all of these old places, now nothing more than empty voids of blackness. Capable knights, heroes, adventurers and otherwise made their way to the Drill, but only a few commoners were able to do the same.

Notably, the House Moonspear was nearly completely devoured by the Prince in Shadow who arrived in all his fury: the Marquessa, Lord Lyon, Lady Niobe Greywood and others. Among the survivors was Dame Jagoda the Just, who chose the path of true honor over dying alongside her comatose Lord, and made her way to the Drill alongside a few scattered remnants. For all intents and purposes, that great house has ceased to exist.

It is said that the House Moonspear did take one great enemy with it: the Pale Stranger was slain by the blade of a mysterious Moonspear paladin. Now his machinations shall trouble the Drill no more.

Jodfry a'Valar, the Reeve was not seen in the battle to defend the Peerage, nor was Lord Norbert Velstra or Lord Bernard Glitt. These three appear to have evacuated the ward and allowed others to die in their place. Now, the Houses Velstra and Glitt and their chosen seconds are largely in command of the Drill, at least for now.

As for House Orza and its wayward Lord, Lord Anders Orza... they have still not been seen after the great battle at Stormharbor.

House Greywood was completely destroyed, the Lady Esther Greywood preferring to stay and die with her house than flee like a coward. Many other smaller houses were also destroyed... The Marquis de Savary fled the Ward long ago. The House Kwhajar is still unaccounted for.

At the Drill, Emma Falltower has been anointed some sort of people's representative by Dame Synia the Beloved...

Tensions are rising, however, as the need to drive the Drill onwards is reinforced again and again...


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on: February 03, 2023, 07:43:23 AM
[[ :: Year 3 :: ]]

Strange rumors flood much between those lingering and clamoring together among the packs of displaced refuges housed by the Cinquefoil Rose.

The absolute panic that has transpired in such short time has lead to a string of disappearances. Lost sons and daughters unaccounted for become a common occurrence. Claims and causes range and vary, though some things are treated as fact, whether or not they be so:

  • It is spoken shadows and black gates appear and disappear at their want, taking lives in the process.

  • That the madness that drives Ruul Velstra, whether desire to find his lost brother, anguish from losing his prior life, or want to enable the drill to further break forward, has torn open rifts and seams at breakneck risk.

  • That some horrible contract was fulfilled by demon or devil to avoid the Nothing's Path. That brimstone pits of ash and death open to those foolish enough to enter.

  • That some Gremlin comes in the dead of night and steals your belongings, children and all else you do not keep safe and well hidden or watched.

  • That the Toyfolly, once trusted servants and manufacturers of most of the known Rings supplies are horrible strange monsters hoping to twist and transform those they can capture into gnomes... and whispered still that some Toyfolly Difference Analyzer has been seen traveling through the Rings and kidnapping those unaware.

  • That goblins, kobolds, lizards and otherwise have been capturing victims in flight and sacrificing them to their gods, or worse, once more enslaving them to rebuild their empires.

These and more troubles continually affect the lives of those hoping to break the path for the common man Kingward. Though bands of monsters, bandits and worse stall and assail the camp of the Cinquefoil Rose near daily, some good has come of it all. Rescue missions lead by Elizabetha d'Auvergne have saved the lives of many, lodging for any and all has been availed, and furthermore the Drill by hard work and effort has begun to move forward once more. While only a ring ahead now - crushing housing and alley in Ring 81 and its Frigid Ruins - the process has become learned and proper fuel can now be gathered to power its mechanizations.