1. Fan7asticMrFox
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    Fan7asticMrFox Contributing Member Contributor

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    Scrolls of Iria

    Discussion in 'Archive' started by Fan7asticMrFox, Sep 24, 2013.

    Scrolls of Iria​


    Story

    Our story begins in the vast realm of Hanavar, a continent filled with all manner of terrain; forests and jungles and deserts and plains, mountains and caverns and tundras and swamps.

    And nestled within the snowy peaks of the north is a kingdom known as Highguard, where the stout and hardened Karos family reside. They rule the mountains with a cold strength and a just fairness, seeking to uphold honour and truth wherever they can. But all is not well in Highguard, as whispers of evil and shadows have entered the keep in the night. Lord Robert Karos has been awoken to find his Commander incredibly worried in the study.

    You are a member of the castle of Highguard, safely tucked away behind its iron and stone. You are part of the house in some way or another, perhaps a chef or servant or squire, or maybe a farmhand, soldier or knight. Some will know magic; others the skill of steel; and perhaps one or two will have the craft of thievery. Soon your real journey will begin and your destiny revealed. But for now, your presence in the keep is nearly invisible, and the Lord and Ladies see right through you.

    (Your story starts late at night, with your duties finished and the castle quiet. You may be sleeping, or perhaps enjoying the company of others in your quarters.)

    Area

    The realm of Hanavar is large, stretching from the northern peaks of Highguard, all the way south the Marshes of Moar. The island is shaped like a star, each point at the North, South, East and West.

    To the East is a kingdom time forgot, filled with ancient ruins and secrets not yet unearthed. It is known as only as Iria. To the West is the kingdom of Sin’Das Rei, where the mysterious Drow dwell. But in the center lies ‘The Three Rings’. ‘The Three Rings’ are the collective name for the kingdoms in the middle, known as Darn, Boradith and Terog. They are ruled by three brothers, so that family bonds keep the peace. Though this has not kept true.

    Races

    Drow: Drow are dark elves and have kept themselves hidden away in the jungle cities of Sin’Das Rei. Most stay with their own, but some have sought a different life, one that holds more freedom. However the rest of the world are wary of the Drow, for they are mysterious and fearsome creatures. Most follow the law to letter, and do not stray from the rules set by their leaders, whether Drow or not. Though there have been some exceptions.

    Sun Elves: ‘Sun Elves’ as they are known have fallen from grace, with their homeland of Morolith torn asunder some hundred years ago. Its ruins sit on a small island to the West of Hanavar. At the time of destruction the Sun Elves seeked refuge in Sin’Das Rei, which was refused. So they looked to The Three Rings for support, but it came at a price. For these hundred years or more they have lived in Darn in camps of squalor, treated for the rest of their days as second class citizens. As for their relations with the Drow? Let’s just say it’s very icy at best.

    Humans: Ah the humans. A formidable group of strength and cunning. Few races have risen to power so quickly in a millennia - yet these folks are smart and organised. The Drow and Dwarves would be more fearful of their actions, if the Humans weren’t bickering between themselves. Unfortunately, the long held ‘family ruling’ law in The Three Rings is causing problems for the people, as each of the three brothers claims to be the true power of the kingdoms.

    Dwarves: The Dwarves are the explorers of the world. They travel the realm, camping in tents outside towns and cities, selling strange artifacts and showing off their crafting skills. Dwarves tend to be nomadic and have a tendency for violence, which they try to conceal in their inner circles. No one is quite sure where they came from though. Tales tell of them burrowing out from under the ground, but most believe it to be a commoner’s myth. Like the Drow, some have decided to settle and find stability.

    Combat

    I am hoping to bring a new type of combat to the forums, so this is a little experimental. It uses DICE. You have been warned.

    Each player will be allowed an action, which will be determined by their character. So wizards will not be limited to one ‘ice’ spell, for example. Instead the player will write the action how they want it to happen, ending their post just before the outcome. If they are ‘successful’ (which I will get to in a moment) then I will write the outcome of their attack.

    Here are some examples: A wizard casts a fire spell at the enemy, and it is successful so the enemy catches fire (and most likely dies). However there may be consequences to setting the man on fire, maybe he runs into a curtain in panic and starts a larger fire, which now endangers the group.
    Another example would be that a warrior swings his heavy longsword sideways towards an enemy. He fails, the enemy ducks and his sword lodges deep into a tree, giving the enemy time to strike.

    So how is an action determined? By a dice. I will roll a dice, and will then write the conclusion of the roll. The first dice in the game will be six sided, and if a 3 or lower is rolled you will fail your action. I will be completely honest with the dice, so if the games against you, it’s just your luck.

    However items can improve that luck. Specials Items (special armour, swords, trinkets etc.) will give you action points, which will be added to the roll for a higher score. (I will tell you when you have found a special item, you will not start with one).

    As the game progresses, larger sided dice (10 sided etc.) will be used, which will indicate harder enemies and more sway in the dice rolls.

    Now for Health. There will be no HP etc. Just three different states of health. ‘Healthy’, ‘Injured’, and ‘Fallen’. Fallen does not mean dead, but you can no longer participate with actions until after the battle is finished, or someone heals you.

    One last point. Actions are not just for combat. In special circumstances where, for example, a door needs to be picked by a thief, they will need to roll the dice. Not on every occasion, but certainly on the important ones. (P.S - Or a large warrior could roll to smash the door down, but you’d bring a lot more attention to yourself!)

    Classes

    There are three four classes – Warrior, Wizard, Thief and Ranger. But two of the same class can be different. For instance you could be a huge strong and muscular warrior, able to almost throw men; or you could be a small and agile warrior, cutting down men swift and silently. Wizards can be mages, healers, whatever! It’s up to your description what type they are! But just be fair about it – clearly a small and agile warrior isn’t going to be the strongest.

    Rules

    You know the rules. If you don’t then check the other RPGs. Just be friendly and play nice.

    Template - All profiles must be PM'ed to me for approval!

    Name:

    Gender:

    Race:

    Age:

    Appearance:

    Background:

    Class(Warrior, Wizard, Ranger, Thief):

    Class Type:

    Family History (optional):

    Any Other Information
     
  2. losthawken
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    losthawken Author J. Aurel Guay Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    Approved.
     
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  3. Fan7asticMrFox
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    Fan7asticMrFox Contributing Member Contributor

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    Chapter One

    Discs of red moonlight filtered through the small slits of the upper tower, bouncing off the marble floor. Lord Robert Jaros passed through the light in a hurry with his small candle leading the way. Each step clattered with an echo, and that echo jumped into the courtyard garden next to the open corridor. Robert was known for the hard lines on his face but on this night they were especially creased, and he pulled continuously on his greying blond beard. His heart lifted when he saw Merda at the door of the study, shuffling with her faded pointy hat. But it was not enough to remove the worry from his face.

    “Merda, he called for you too?”

    “Yes my Lord. Master Bane is quite distressed by what his squire told me.” She continued to play with her hat nervously, placing it on her head and then taking it off again. “What do you think it is?”

    “I do not know, but there is only one way to find out.” Robert gave three slow knocks to the brown oak door, and soon a sliver of warm orange creaked through its opening. The squire had attended to the door, while Master Bane stood by the desk reading scrolls and letters. The homely glow of the candles seemed to distinguish when it tried to reach the cold steel of his armour.

    “Master, your Lordship has arrived.”

    “Leave us Tonks.” Bane replied in a gruff, yet strained voice. The boy departed and the three left met in the middle of the room, with Bane’s face the palest. “My Lord, Merda. I thank you for coming on short notice. I have some grave news, which could not wait ‘til the morning.” His face looked so very gaunt from its usual fullness; he was a man of strength of light, but at this moment he looked quite ill indeed. His usual armour had been replaced but a much more fearsome dragonsteel breastplate, with ripples where the black metal had been bent. Even the sword was queer; his usual silver blade now exchanged for a longsword, crafted in stunning crystal, with ruby and onyx merging together inside.

    “I believe there is a plot against you, my Lord.”

    “Are you sure of this?” Robert asked.

    “My men have been shooting down ravens for the last few hours, and we have confirmed it in their letters.” Bane’s voice croaked a little. “I believe it is happening tonight.”

    “Do we have any defences?”

    “I have the full force of my two hundred men occupying the inner castle. We are ready to keep everyone safe.” Bane turned away to look at the moonlight creeping through the window. “It is a grave night.”

    “Indeed.” Merda said. “But who would be so vile to slit our throats in the dark?” At that moment, her question had been answered. A squeal rose from behind the oak door, followed by a heavy slump. The wood creaked ajar and the squire fell through, his eyes frozen and blood seeping from his mouth. Two armoured guards stepped into the candle light, each of their blades coated in crimson. They both wore the sigil of House Jaros on their chest, an ice blue phoenix.

    ”What is the meaning of this!” Robert shouted. The guards marched in without a word, their faces darkened by shadow and hauntingly emotionless. The eyes were the worst though. They shone the purest of red, like a pool of blood.

    “Master Bane, do something!” Merda screamed. And he did do something. His crystal blade already unsheathed, he took a step forward and buried it deep into Merda’s chest. The sword past straight through her, and she froze. Her eyes rolled up, and her rosy cheeks vanished. Bane pushed her off his blade and she collapsed to the floor.

    “Men.” His voice was shrill and ever so cold. “I will escort his Lordship to the cellar. Give the signal to the rest, leave no soul alive.” The guards left without a word and Master Bane turned to Robert, his eyes sparkling red. “Let us make for the cellar. Your time is almost up, my Lord.


    * * *
    The moon was a raging bull, its face red and angry. Its glow flooded across the land, the snowy peaks of Highguard turning crimson and the glacier waters flowing with blood. Malefius stared on through his tower window with a narrow look on his face. Such a night had not been seen in over thirty years and though he had been a younger man, Malefius remembered it well. Great darkness had consumed many that day. Truly, this was an omen. And a grim one at that.

    The old crone placed the quill back into the ink, rolling up the crispy parchment and stamping it with the house seal. His bones creaked as he picked himself up from his chair, aching his way over to the small rookery in the corner where his raven squeaked. Malefius took another solemn look at the horizon, the shadowy veil of red leaving an uneasy feeling in his stomach.

    “Come now little one, time to fly.” He whispered as he tied the parchment to the raven’s claw. In a beat of its wings the beast was gone, disappearing into the red of night.

    Malefius could tell that time was short. He edged his way over to the bed trunk and threw on his brown robe before grabbing the essentials and placing them in his leather pouch. Half a loaf of bread, some parchment and ink and a couple of maps, the odd potion and a few herbs. Finally he grabbed his long white edgewood staff from the corner of the room and motioned towards the door.

    There was a knock. And then another. Not loud, nor quiet and exactly the same each time. It was rhythmic almost, a drummed pattern on the oak wood door.

    “Who disturbs me at this late hour?” Malefius said gruffly. “Speak, or I will neuter you into a frog.”

    There was no reply. Only the knocking. Constant.

    Answer already!” He shouted. The door burst open, buckling under the weight of two armed guards with eyes as red as the moon. They turned their blades onto to Malefius with sinister grins and watchful stares, but the old man held up his staff.

    Burina Stampius!” The armed guards were hit by an invisible wave, blasting into the tall bookcase behind them, shaking the heavy leather bound tomes out of their places. One soldier cracked his back on the stone wall before plummeting down onto the varnished desk. The other collaspsed in a heap under the heavy weight of fallen books and Malefius took no time to scamper out of the door into the pitch black corridor.

    Treachery is afoot. I must get to the servants’ quarters. Only there would he be able to warn the Keep of its impending doom. The servants’ quarters had golden bells that could be rung for every room, but Malefius had a long way to go to get there. His study was at the top of the highest tower in all of the Highguard Keep, and the servants’ quarters were just one level above the cellar. Oh my bones, he thought to himself as he navigated the torch lit stairwells, circling lower and lower.
     
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  4. Love to Write
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    Love to Write I'm a lover of writing. What else is to be said? Contributor

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    Nikko Virmire

    Nikko sat alone in his room, bent over the pages of his book. He jotted down notes with the quill in his hand whenever he came across a fact that he figured would be in the final test. He sat at the desk in his room, a candle illuminating the pages of his book and shining off his armor which sat on a stand at the foot of his bed. A thick coat about his lean shoulders kept away the bite of cold as did the fire in the fireplace behind him. Though he had a mansion of his own Nikko prefered to stay in the Highguard Castle. The Virmire Masion was nearly an hour's ride from the castle. It was simply easier to wake up at the crack of dawn when all his studies and training happened right here in the castle.

    A light knock sounded at the oak door of his bedroom. "Enter." Nikko said. His voice was slightly higher pitched than most young men his age causing him to be the butt of many jokes; as did his feminine features. But he had gotten used to it.
    "Master. Your Uncle Dain is here to see you." Bartrand, his dwarf servant announced upon entering the room.
    "At this late hour? I wonder what for."
    "Shall I send him away?"
    "No. Let him in." Nikko closed his book and stood in honor of his elder.

    Count Dain Virmire swept into the room with a pride that only nobles could accomplish. He stood straight and tall, and had noticeable muscles. He was quite handsome and lean making him desirable among many women. But for those who knew him, like his servants and family, they feared and despised him. Nikko, for one, knew he was a wife beater and had a terrible rage that his servants were often the brunt of. Nikko also knew that Dain was extremely greedy and wanted his brother's fortune for himself.

    Bartrand watched the Count like a hawk for fear Dain might try and murder the one person standing in the way of his brother's fortune.
    "Nephew." Dain exclaimed with forced joy and embraced Nikko. "It has been a while since we've seen one another. How long has it been?"
    Nikko politely returned the embrace and then backed up. "Near five months now, Uncle. I apologize that I was too busy with my studies to come to father's memorial service." He lied. In truth he had worried about his family either finding out his secret or his Uncle attempting to assassinate him. Either prospect he didn't want to risk.

    Nikko gestured for his Uncle to take a seat by the fire and he did the same. Bartrand left the room but stayed close to the door in case the Count tried anything.
    "What has brought you here at this late hour?"
    "To wish you a happy birthday of course! And bring my nephew a gift."
    "My birthday?" Nikko blinked. He looked at the calender. Today he turned 17, he'd completely forgotten. One more year till he would be christened a knight.
    "You've forgotten your own birthday?" Dain looked amused. "Perhaps you put it out of your mind because this is also the day your twin sister drowned 10 years ago, is it not?" Though Dain said this, his look spoke that he didn't quite believe the story of Nikko's twin sister's death.
    "Yes." Nikko replied, his face a picture of sadness. "Perhaps that is the reason."
    "I remember her as a child. She was the most beautiful creature I've ever seen and so sweet. Always crying "Uncle!" and jumping into my lap. Her blond hair looking stardust in the moonlight. You look just like her. The same eyes, nose, hair. If you had a chest you could be her." Dain mused. Nikko looked down, not daring to look his Uncle in the face at the moment.

    "Well, lets not dwell on that. Here, I've brought you a gift." Dain reached into his coat pocket and Nikko stealthy slid his hand towards the dagger hidden on his belt. There was no need, however. The count brought out a box and handed it to him. "Happy Birthday, Nikko."
    Nikko took the box and carefully opened it. Inside was a black stone with an engraved blue rune. "What does it do?" He asked not daring to touch the magic.
    "It will protect you if your life is in danger."
    Nikko looked at his Uncle. Though he was suspicious, he didn't allow it to show on his face. "How so?"
    "Have you not yet studied about Rune Magic? Honestly, what are knights being taught these days?" Count Dain scoffed.
    "I know about Runes, but I would like to know how this particular one works."
    "Of course. You simply hold it in your hand, point it at the person who is trying to kill you, say the command word 'Mathis' and a blast of magic will knock the person away...giving you time to collect yourself and continue the battle."
    "I see. Well thankyou, Uncle for this gift. I will let you know the day it saves my life." Though he said this, Nikko swore in his heart never to use it.

    "So," His Uncle leaned back in the chair, obviously not ready to leave yet. "Has any young lady caught your eye yet?" Dain's lips lifted in a near imperceptible smile. Nikko's cheeks reddened slightly and he clenched his hands together.
    "And there is that look." Dain said with an amused smile. "That look of embarrassment you get whenever one talks of women. You really should learn to get over that. Otherwise rumors might start that you prefer other men."
    Nikko's face turned even redder and he squirmed, desperately wishing he was anywhere but here.
    Dain laughed, obviously enjoying his nephew's discomfort.
    "I have sworn not to think about women until I have become christened at knight." Nikko finally declared with conviction. "Until then, all my thoughts and energy go towards my studies and training."
    "Of course." Dain replied mockingly. Then he stood. "The hour has become late. I will take my leave." The count moved the towards the door. "But when you do decide to start pursuing a woman, know you can always come to me to advice. I know all about a woman's heart and her desires."

    Nikko stood out of respect of his Uncle leaving. "Thankyou for visiting me, Uncle. And for the gift. I'm sure it will save my life one day. Farewell."
    The room became silent once more as his Uncle left. It wasn't till then that Nikko heard his own heart beating rapidly in his chest. Bartrand came into the room, a look of worry upon his face. "Are you alright, Master?"
    "Yes, Bartrand. Thankyou. I think I'm going to turn in for the night."
    "Of course, young Master. I or another servant will be right outside if you need anything."
    Nikko nodded as the dwarf left and then he was alone once more.
     
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  5. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    The night was dark and painted crimson. The moon over Highguard's peaks shone an otherworldly red as a shrouded figure descended the steps from the nobles' residences to the merchants' quarter. The distinctive click of heels on the cobblestones were the only sounds amid the silent night as Serana made her way home from another late night rendezvous.

    The clouds promised more than rain. Serana did not like the look of it, nor the feel. That was why she cut tonight's encounter short and chose to travel by moonlight rather than be stuck out at dawn or forced to traipse home under a downpour. Clutching a shawl about her shoulders, she turned down an alley, walking swiftly but with sure, confident feet. She didn't fear the night. They were old friends.

    A guardsman nodded from his shadowy post as she passed, his eyes following her every step, studying the sway of her hips and the rhythm of her stride. "Good afternoon, Kiam," she said as she passed, with a fluttering wave of her pale hand.

    The guardsman straightened up slightly, as if the trance had been broken. "I – umm – ahem -- Afternoon, Miss Sylvania," he said after clearing his throat.

    It was a test. He failed. Poor man was so enthralled he didn't even realize what he was saying. Good afternoon? Ha, it's nearly midnight, Serana thought as she carried on into the night. She knew she shouldn't toy with him like that, but sometimes she couldn't resist.

    Serana turned another corner and emerged onto a wide, well-lit avenue, the main street through the merchant quarter. A few people were still out, despite the shops being closed for the night. She was quite accustomed to this, as there were a few taverns and bars in this part of town, which stayed open into the wee hours of morning. Serana continued on toward her shop, The Silver Lady, which was also her home. It was two stories tall and situated on a corner. The shop received quite a bit of traffic on most days… but never this late.

    Someone was standing outside, pacing impatiently on The Silver Lady's doorstep. The figure was cloaked and hooded. Despite this being a relatively safe part of town, Serana found her hand grazing the dagger hidden in her garter belt as she approached.

    "Excuse me. Can I help you?" she said, while there was still some distance between herself and the stranger. The person suddenly turned, as if surprised, and threw back her hood. It was a blonde middle-aged noblewoman and Serana instantly recognized her, even in the waning light of the street lanterns. "Oh, it's you, Leanna. Is something the matter?" she asked in a kindly tone.

    "Don't 'Leanna' me," the woman hissed and marched right up to Serana, who stood her ground and did not reciprocate the animosity. "I know what you're up to, Serana. Everyone does. I warned you…"

    "Is something the matter, Miss Maxwell?" Serana said again, twice as sweetly as the first time. She innocently cocked her head to the side.

    "Oh, so that's how you wanna play it?" Leanna Maxwell said. Her tone calmed, but her cheeks were still flushed with anger. She was a frail thin little woman, due to a lifetime of being waited upon by servants and such. The streetlamps made her gaunt face look almost ghastly.

    "You think you're so cute," Leanna said, sizing up the other woman, "with your fancy dress and your jewelry and those… those… breasts sitting up like a pair of baker's buns. Whore. You disgust me!"

    "Well, I suspect you're alone in that sentiment, but everyone is entitled to their opinion," Serana said as she smoothly stepped around the woman. But Leanna moved to block her. Serana's eyes locked on hers. "I would like to enter my house, if you don't mind. Step aside, Miss Maxwell."

    "No! You listen to me," the woman hissed. "We're not done. I've put up with this nonsense long enough. Where were you tonight?"

    "Late dinner with a friend," Serana said and moved to step around her again, but Leanna blocked her a second time. Serana sighed and continued: "I was discussing a business deal with Lord Falsenn and-"

    "Liar! I know what you did to my husband -- to me! I won't stand by while you do it to another man, another family," the woman said, pointing a sharp finger at Serana.

    "And what, pray tell, did I do to your husband?" Serana said, though she already knew what was coming.

    "God knows what you did. God is watching, even in the night," the woman said.

    "Well, if I'm doing what you think I'm doing, that makes God a pervert and you a blasphemer," Serana said with a sly smirk. "Move, please. It's past my bed time. Go home, dear, you could use the beauty rest."

    "No! I will not move, whore. You think this is a game?"

    The smirk vanished. "No, chess is a game. This is a joke -- a tiresome joke. And since neither of us is laughing, I think it's time you left," Serana said. "Move. I'm not asking you. I'm telling you."

    "You'll hang for your adulterous ways," Leanna Maxwell said, still pointing. "Whore!"

    Serana's hand snapped up as quick as a flash of lightning and caught the woman's finger, bending it at an unnatural angle. Leanna whimpered as the other woman painfully twisted it.

    "Let's get a few things straight," Serana said, her voice a low, threatening whisper. "First, it takes two to tango. If it's a hanging you want, you should start by reporting your married husband, not the single woman you think he's having an affair with. Second, your husband is a fat, disgusting, gelatinous blob of a man-child, whom I would never allow in my home, let alone in my bed. I find the very idea of such a thing vilely offensive and I've half a mind to snap you in half like the insolent little twig you are. Third, don't let the fancy dress fool you. Try me, and I will take these shoes off and stomp a hole in your ass so deep the devil himself will crawl out the other side to see what the racket's all about."

    She released Leanna's hand and shoved the woman aside. "If you had let me finish," Serana said, "I would've told you I was discussing a business deal with Lord Falsenn and Lord Maxwell --your husband-- this very night. Dinner was fabulous, by the way. But I can see why he didn't invite you. Some women just don't know how to behave. If you want to talk business, invite a businesswoman. If you want to hear petty bickering and barking, invite your bitch-wife."

    "You're lying," the other woman said, slowly shaking her head as she nursed her pained finger. "There's no business going on between the two of you."

    "Believe what you will. I build empires," Serana said. "I've gone from the dirt to brushing shoulders with kings. Don't waste my time with the petty ramblings of a woman who doesn't know what it's like to climb, but constantly fears the fall." Serana sighed and offered a sweet smile. "Now, do we have anything else to discuss, Miss Maxwell? You're welcome to come inside, darling. I'll put some tea on."

    "Don't mock me," Leanna said in a low hiss as she backed away. "This isn't over."

    "Oh, I think it is," Serana said as she unlocked the door and stepped inside. "Go home and tell your fat, gelatinous blob-husband that Lord Falsenn and I are cutting him out of the land deal. Checkmate. I'll begin drafting the new contract tonight. We'll see what you have to say when we buy the noble quarter right out from under you." She smiled a sinister smile. "Woof, woof. Run home, little doggy."

    The door slammed in Leanna's face.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
  6. Newtonium
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    Newtonium Member

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    James Breckenridge

    James Breckenridge sat on top of the highest tower of Highguard castle, thinking. His skinny, jerkin-clad legs pulled up to his chest, he blew out a long-held breath, which he could plainly see, flicked a strand of hair from his eyes, and pulled his coat more tightly around himself against the cold. He would often perch here when he didn't want to be disturbed, as no one came up here except the birds. He had found the secret to bypassing the blocked-up staircase – a remnant of one of the old wars – long ago. He just had to climb out one of the windows, scale a large, rambling sheet of ivy and climb back in, and he could be perfectly alone. Out here, with only the wind and the moon for company, he would sit, maybe for hours, thinking.

    James looked out to the east, over the realm of Hanavar. From this high up, he could see over the mountaintops and look out over the Nathren wastes, a barren, desolate tundra stained, they said, by the blood of a thousand warriors. Tonight this legend seemed much more true as the blood-red moon tinted the landscape. He strained his eyes, and he swore he could just make out a line of blue on the horizon; the great eastern sea.

    James turned his thoughts back to the thing that was puzzling him, and had been for the last half-hour. What had wakened him? He remembered waking suddenly, sitting up in his bed with a jerk, but he couldn't for the life of him remember why. He had headed out here to try and think, but with no luck. Had it been a draught, or a noise or – suddenly, James remembered. There had been a noise, a noise softer than the cooing of a dove, coming from very far away in the castle. The castle was usually so quiet at night, after the nobles had gone to bed and the kitchen had become dark and quiet. His senses were so finely attuned that even a noise that small had woken him. But what did it remind him of? James thought for a moment, trying to think. It reminded him of a woman's panicked scream, but muffled from the thickness of the walls. With a sudden cold feeling in the pit of his gut, as if someone had dropped a chilled iron ball into his intestines, James realized that there were dark deeds happening tonight. In a daze, he headed back into the main body of the castle, and into the secret passageways, winding through the walls.
     
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  7. Arannir
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    Arannir Active Member

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    Falcor

    Two men occupy a dimly lit chamber. The first sat at a table, scribbling a letter. He had brown hair, a tanned complexion and wore a light blue attire. His sword lay in it's The second was laying on his bed, tossing a bag of coin. This bag was bulging and must've been carrying around one-hundred and fifty gold discs. He had jet black hair, pale skin and was tall. He was clothed in padded brown leather whilst his bow and quiver hung on the wall.

    "O Andros, I so long for her. I haven't seen her in an age."

    "Falcor, it's only been a month. You'll see her soon." replied Andros.

    Falcor added,"At least my love has provided me with enough goods to last us. But our moon sugar stocks are dwindling. I shall see her next week," he placed the purse on his bedside table. "This month has been hard on her, due to the amount of raids. She needs comfort. After her father died, she's been worrying so much"

    Andros nods. He isn't paying attention to any of Falcor's speech. His letter is clearly more important.

    "Whom are you writing to?

    He isn't paying attention. The parchment is flipped over. This is clearly important.

    "Andros, Whom are you contacting?"

    "Family," He said ignorantly, "Mother just died." A small tear escapes his eye.

    Falcor removes his clothes, leaving a white tunic to rest in. "I'm off to sleep, see you in the morning."

    "Night, I'll rest soon"

    Falcor closes his eyes. Andros still scribbling away. Just as the snoring moans of Falcor start, a huge commotion starts in the corridor outside their room. Could they be under attack?
     
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  8. Tara
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    Raven sat on the floor, staring at the flame of a burning candle; the only source of light in an otherwise dark room. "So still, so tamed and yet capable of destroying the entire castle if you let it loose," she told the cat that sat beside her. "You know, Shadow, this reminds me of the time before I came to Highguard."

    The cat turned his head to acknowledge Raven's presence, or the fact that she called him by name, but he did not respond in any way.

    "I'm worried, Shadow. I came here to find safety, but I don't believe things will remain safe for much longer. Do you sense it too?"

    Shadow stretched himself, and walked around the room before leaving through the window.

    Raven stood up and followed the cat to the window, but she did not leave the room. The wind playfully pulled at Ravens hair, like it had not noticed what the girl had sensed. Raven recognized what she sensed and she knew the world sensed it too. It was too quiet, it was like the world was waiting for something that was about to happen.
     
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  9. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    Mordin, Lydia, Thomas.

    Modrin rolled over to his other side, his legs trapped between a pile of blankets. Most days inside the rock-and-stone castle were frigid, and only the warm flickering of hearths kept them warm. But not tonight. Sweat glittered on his forehead, and he restlessly kicked his many covers further away. Ensnared by the horrors of a fever dream, he rolled over once more, then fell out of his bed, landing on the stone floor with a bone-snapping crack. Muttering some unrecognizable curse, he scrambled to his feet and rested his head on the edge of his bedstead, a pounding headache hammering out the will to get back into bed. Then he heard what he'd been hoping for all these hours that he'd been ailing: footsteps in the corridor. At last Thomas would return with the herbs required to cure him of his fever. He forced himself up and, rubbing his eyes, stumbled towards the door. With his mind barely awake, it took him several seconds to realize that there were several people walking down the corridor. Their steps were heavy, and there was a metallic rattle to their march. Nevertheless, he pushed the door open.

    A troop of five hell-blue capes rustled past him, like dead leaves in an autumn wind. There was something rigid and cold about the troop of soldiers that alarmed him, and he couldn't stop gawking at them. When they bashed in a door further down the hall, Modrin had made up his mind. He turned just in time to hear a muffled scream, then a thud. Alarmed, he sprinted in the opposite direction, his unruly hair dancing atop of his head. He glanced over his shoulder once, they hadn't spotted him.

    Lydia was just coming back from the stables, she had taken extra time on Liam's hoof, it had a tear that if not tended would have caused the poor beast to go lame. It had taken a little time, but she'd trimmed it down and cleaned it so that it shouldn't give it any problems. But now, she was coming back into the keep late and had missed dinner, by quite a bit.

    There was an odd hush about the place, she noticed. Coming around the corner, she heard something from down the hall, it sounded like blades being drawn. The sound echoed off the stone walls, coming back to her, and she started to move a little quicker, her senses heightened.

    Coming around a corner, she nearly slammed into a young boy, Mordin she though his name was. He skidded to a halt, pressed his index finger to his lips and motioned wildly with his other arm to head back.

    "What's the ma-"

    "Shh!" he hissed, then pulled her around the corner by her sleeve. Another set of armor-clad boots drummed through the halls, coming closer by the second. Hellish torchlight already glided around the corner, ready to reveal two more volunteers for the merciless slaughter that was taking place. Wobbling on his bare feet, Mordin hurried himself into an alcove and gestured for Lydia to hide herself into recess opposite of him.

    She obliged, taken aback by the fear in the boy's eyes. She had seen him around the castle a few times, always just in passing though, and he had never looked like this.

    Keeping her voice to a low whisper she asked, "What is happening?"

    He shrugged, he was just as clueless as her. He'd seen the stable girl a few times before, but they had never talked, he didn't like to talk that much anyway, especially not to girls. Two more soldiers rushed past, their armour stained with blood splatters. Mordin only barely kept himself from throwing up.

    When he was confident they'd gone far away, he crept out of hiding. "Are they raiding us?" he whispered, edging closer towards the young woman. His chest heaved rapidly, as if he'd been running for miles on end. Wether he was trembling from shock, cold or fever, he couldn't tell, but he was shaking like a twig, and looked up to Lydia for guidance.

    The boy was looking to her for, something, but she had little to offer. She had been shocked to see the castle guards rushing past, blood splattered and armed. But she did know that they hadn't come from outside.

    "I don't think so," she replied. "No one came in from outside the walls... I don't know what's going on..." she said, unsure. "Maybe the other servants know, we should try and get to the servants quarters... I think."

    It was all she could think to do, and plus her quiver and bow where there in her room. If they really were under attack, she would need those. Silently she crept out of her hiding place, and then gestured for the boy to follow.

    Meek like a lamb, he trailed after her, but aside from a few raspy panting, he didn't speak a word. They had almost reached the quarters when a large lump of shapeless flesh obstructed their path. Mordin stepped up to Lydia's side, horror and disgust driving his brows together in a twisted grimace. Before them lay one of the cooks, his belly hacked open and a dagger protruding from one of his eye sockets. Desperate for a grip, Mordin clinged to Lydia's side, burying half of his face in her clothes, hoping that staring at the lifeless pile of blood and flesh with just one eye, would make it less gruesome.

    Lydia gasped and pulled the boy back down the hall. There was a storage room just of the side corridor, she pushed him in first, then followed, bracing the door with a broom.

    "Oh gods," she whimpered. There was no reason that the guards would have killed Fatty, he was no traitor or spy... She didn't know what was going on, but all she knew at the moment was that she was terrified of what would happen to them if they were found.

    Mordin became convinced that his heart, pounding relentlessly against his ribs, would give them away. He tried to hold his breath as best he could, but soon gave up. Unable to see much further than three inches ahead of him, he couldn't see himself getting out of this place anytime soon. Something small squealed and bolted away underneath him as he plopped down on the ground, still trying to calm his breathing. He rested his head against the wall and trained his eyes on the shadow of Lydia in front of him. "Who are you? Why are you helping me?" he whispered.

    Lydia was still in shock from seeing the cook split like a pig.

    "Ly- lydia. My name is Lydia, I work in the stables. And why wouldn't I help you?" she said after a moment. She tried to muster up her courage, but there was a noise of boots passing outside the door and she flinched. Finally, she regained composure, and tried to smile, despite the all encompasing darkness. "What's your name?"

    Mordin gazed at a point in the darkness where he assumed Lydia was standing, or sitting. He couldn't tell in the dark, he could only sense the shifting of the air whenever she moved.

    "Mordin," he replied quietly. Just then a strip of light slithered underneath the door, like a toxic snake. Someone pushed the handle on the other side, but Lydia's makeshift barricade did its work.

    "Mordin, are you there?" a voice whispered.

    He edged towards the door and pushed his ear against the woodwork. "Come on out Mordin, we need to get a move on, they'll find you in here!" the voice slurred in alarm.

    Mordin shot a glance at Lydia, then unblocked the door.

    The bright torchlight blinded him for a moment as it flushed into the room. The man in front of him began to take shape, his distinct watery eyes ablaze with concern, his skin wrinkled by worry and his hair blackened by the darkness of the night. It was Thomas. Mordin took the man's hand and shot up a curious look. Thomas took the hint, "how I found you? All magic leaves a trace," he answered. Mordin's brows met in the middle. "Later," Thomas hushed, before his eye fell on Lydia.

    "It's not safe here girl, the castle is being massacr-" he stopped his sentence right there as an idea popped up in his head. "You're from the stables, right?" He didn't wait for an answer, "Head back to your room and take only what you need. Then go to the stables, cut the two fastest horses loose and lead them to the southern gate. Wait for us there. If we aren't there in five minutes, head to the nearest castle and tell them what happened." Thomas wasn't really asking, but instructing. "There shouldn't be any soldiers outside, they have already swept through that place."

    He handed her a dagger and a few pieces of gold. "Five minutes," he repeated, then spun around and hurried himself through the corridors, dragging Mordin after him.

    Mordin stared at Lydia over his shoulder, his pale blue eyes radiating with a mixture of concern and reluctance. Then the hall turned dark once more as Thomas an Mordin stepped around a corner.

    --

    Never before had Mordin changed so fast, and still he could feel the seconds tick away mercilessly. Thomas rummaged through their shared room ,grabbing things left and right, only to throw them in a small rucksack. Some clothes, a book, several potions, a piece of rope, two pocket knives, a loaf of bread, a slice of cheese and some other oddities ended up in it. Mordin had exchanged his pyama, which was an oversized tunic reaching down his knees, for a rough, but better fitting tunic. He jumped into his leggings, tied them around his waist with a small belt and threw his cape over his shoulders. Lastly he hooked his dagger, for slicing herbs and plants, onto his belt. They started headlong through the dark and quiet corridors, jumping over the occasional body every now and then. The cold, fresh night air sliced at their skins as they ran across the back courtyard, towards the southern gate.

    The time for stealth had passed, speed was of the essence. In the privacy of their minds, Thomas and Mordin both prayed that Lydia would be there.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
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  10. Simpson17866
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    Well, I am most definitely not a fish, Marcus thought as he jerked his face out of the bathwater. While he was forcing the air in and out of his body, he blew out the candle on the stand next to the bath; going by the bands of color that had not yet melted, he had only been able to stay under for a little under 2 minutes before it started to hurt, and that was without the additional exertion of swimming. If he had instead been depending on a spell to let him breathe under water, he worried that he would only have closer to 1 minute to reach the surface if the spell wore off – or was extinguished by a foe – and any real-life circumstance that would require him to use magic at all would probably have him further under than that.

    Of course, after what had happened the last time Master Tiberius made him try re-casting the spell while he was already under water, Marcus was more than willing to just keep practicing holding his breath without magic for a while longer.

    After drying himself off, Marcus considered whether his next course of action should be to practice acrobatic rolling – should a levitation spell fail and require him to roll for a safer landing – or to go yet again to the castle library to hope that whomever Master Tiberius’s older student was would be there and that they would somehow be able to identify each other. Then he smacked his head when he remembered that the library had more room for rolling on the floor than his quarters did anyway. He grabbed an eye-patch from his desk and covered his left eye so that it could have time to accustom itself to the dark hallways, then he hoped that there would be enough torches lit along the walls that his right eye would not need to.

    ***

    With only 3 wrong turns this time, Marcus could finally see the library doors at the end of the hall. He still felt that he would need to spend more time tomorrow looking for architectural and details that he could memorize as landmarks.

    Before he could get close, Marcus heard people in armor running towards him through the hall around the corner. They sounded too close for him to get through the library door before they reached him, and he did not want to risk a flogging for getting in the way of the castle guard. He didn’t think there were any doorways that were reasonably close behind him either, nor could he be certain that any would be unlocked even if they were close enough. Since he could not get out of the way of these men by going forwards or backwards, Marcus whispered, “Avius,” and felt a great mass of air force him to the ceiling. Hopefully, he had made the wind short enough that the men on the floor would not be affected, at least not enough that he would get in trouble even after trying to avoid them.

    The men rounded the corner and ran closer and closer to where Marcus had been standing, and he hoped that they would pass without noticing him.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
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  11. AnonyMouse
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    Serana shrugged off her cloak and hung it on a stand by the door. Home sweet home, she thought as she made her way through the darkened shop. Various oddities were for sale on the shelves and in locked display cases. Many of them she'd made herself; sometimes intentionally and sometimes as the results of failed experiments. Even when her alchemy didn't work, it tended to produce some interesting and bizarre items.

    She paused by the window and peeked through the curtains. Leanna was gone and the streets were empty once more, except for the occasional passerby. Good, Serana thought. I was afraid I would have to chase that psycho-woman off with a broom.

    She headed up some stairs at the back of the shop, which led to her living space. Her home was small. The entire first floor was occupied by the shop and much of the second floor was used as storage and a lab. That left very little room for herself and her assistant. But that would all change soon. She was moving up in life and finally getting where she belonged.

    When she arrived upstairs, she expected to find her young assistant, William, asleep in his hammock. Instead, she found him huddled under her bed, peeking out from the shadows. When he saw her, he dashed out and quickly put his arms around her.

    "Is the scary lady gone?" William asked. "She was knocking for hours. I didn't open the door."

    William had recently turned twelve. Four years ago, she found him begging on her doorstep and took him in. His parents were farmers somewhere beyond the walls, but they'd died of famine nearly a year before Serana found him. William dragged himself to Highguard all alone. He reminded her of herself and, though she felt strange when he called her 'mama,' she knew he was more than a mere assistant to her.

    "You're a smart boy," Serana said as she pried him off of her. "The crazy lady outside is gone." She smiled. "But what are you going to do about the crazy lady right in front of you?"

    "I'll go to sleep and pretend she's not here," William said.

    "Excellent idea," Serana replied and shuffled him toward his hammock. "Off to bed, dear. Mama needs her wine and her alone time."

    "Are you doing magic, Miss Sylvia?" he asked.

    "Not the kind of magic you think. I'm going to write words on paper and watch as it turns into money," she said with a sly grin. "We call it a 'contract.' It's a slow tedious magic, practiced by wizards called 'lawyers.' But it's very effective. I'll show you when you're a little older."

    William nodded and began to crawl into his hammock, but was cut short by a loud thud against the side of the house… followed by another… and another… and another…

    "Come out, you heartless wench!" a woman's voice was yelling in the street. It was obvious who it was. "Come out, you harlot, you beast of the night! I know what you've done…"

    "Some people just don't know when to quit," Serana muttered under her breath. "William, get mama's sword."

    "But you don't know how to use a sword," the boy said.

    "Insert the pointy end and twist. I'm a fast learner," Serana said. But she was only kidding. Although the idea was very tempting, she had no intention of stabbing the woman. She made her way over to the window and drew back the curtains. Leanna was in the street, armed with a dozen eggs.

    "Come down here and face me!" the woman said as she pelted the shop with another egg. "You homewrecker. You man-stealer. Have you no heart, wench!?"

    "I have plenty. I keep them in jars in the pantry," Serana teased and laughed as an egg splattered on the glass in front of her face. Oh, look, the guards are coming. Have fun in jail, she thought as a pair of armed guards approached Leanna from behind.

    "Perfect," Leanna said as she turned to face them. "I'm glad you've come. I'd like to report this woman for-" she was silenced by a sword in her gut.

    Serana covered her mouth to muffle a scream and ducked down, praying the men hadn't seen her. She watched as the men left Leanna bleeding in the street and continued on, heading next door. The poor woman was curled up, clutching her bleeding abdomen as the guards went door to door, slaughtering anyone foolish enough to answer.

    William approached her. "Miss Sylvia, what's happ-" she quickly clamped a hand over his mouth.

    "Bad things, William. Bad things," she said in a whisper. "Grab as many potions and empty vials as you can. Mama has to go." She stealthily made her way toward the stairs, while her mind raced to figure out what was going on. If the guards were in on it, it could only mean one thing: a coup. But why the merchant quarter? It made no sense. Why kill the town's main source of income and commerce?

    She had to see what else was going on. She had to see how far the murders went. Was the entire town being slaughtered? Madness, she thought as she descended into the shop. Serana headed for the front door while William went toward the back, where she stored old potions and remedies. A pair of soft leather boots muffled her steps as she moved in darkness.

    She peeked out the window again, to make sure the coast was clear, then headed out into the street. Leanna had dragged herself to the doorstep of The Silver Lady and lay wheezing at her feet. "I've got you. Stay quiet," Serana said as she carefully dragged the woman inside the darkened shop and shut the door. William helped get her behind the counter, where they tore away her bloodied blouse and applied the healing potion.

    "Is she going to die?" the boy asked.

    "I don't know. She's passed out from the shock," Serana said as the wound began to close. She took a satchel of supplies from behind the counter. "William, you're the man of the house now. Mama has to go. You should be safe here, but we can't truly be safe until we know what's going on." She looked at Leanna. "Keep an eye on her. If she wakes up in crazy mode, slip her something to ease her memory…. You know which one."

    The boy was trembling, but nodded. "M-mama… why are the guards killing everyone?"

    "A better question would be 'why are their eyes as red as the bloodmoon?'" Serana replied. "Or 'why do they move like the walking dead?' There is magic afoot, William, and not the lawyerly kind. I will get to the bottom of it. Lock the door behind me."

    She took a black cloak and shawl from the hook by the back door and set out into the night, headed for the keep via the dark alleys.
     
  12. motormouth1312
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    Tyson shot

    Tyson remained hidden as he had watched James shiver and walk back into the tunnel, he sniggered when he walked in, his closest and oldest friend had yet to realise he was a matter of meters away,
    camouflaged on the snowy balcony post , almost perfectly hidden.

    But he could tell something was troubling him, so he held back and watched him, Why was he up at this time at night, and second of all places be up here?

    Tyson was tempted to clime back down to the mountings and continuing hunting a deer he was tracking, his clime up the tower was a easy one, years of practice and a clear and easy path allowed him to see for miles across the barren lands but his closest friend was troubled and that concerned him more, they had been best friends the moment Tyson had tried to pick that blokes pocket, a weeks worth of food that money would of got him but it ended up with Tyson the wrong side of a punch and he had saved him.
    Tyson swiftly an silently walked to the dark passage, he slowly walked inside wandering through a very damaged stair case leading down wards, it only took Tyson a few seconds to realise that further down was James room
    He heard a fierce roar from further in the castle, a commotion he did not know of.
     
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  13. Simpson17866
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    The library door opened. Marcus didn't recognize the man who started to come through, but the soldiers that had been running under Marcus's hiding place stopped, turned around, and the soldier in what was now the front of the group charged and ran the man through with a spear.

    Marcus held his mouth to stop himself from screaming, but he heard a scream coming from inside the library where somebody else must not have thought to do the same. Clearly, the soldiers heard her too, because the entire group ran through the door. For the next few minutes that Marcus could've sworn were hours, the library was filled with even more screaming, weapons ringing, shelves crashing... From Marcus's height above the doorway, he couldn't see anything beyond the tide of blood that overwhelmed what had been left by the first victim. He had never been witness to this much death, violence and bloodshed before in his life, and he was completely paralyzed with dread.

    Until his wind gave out and he started falling.

    He kicked away from the wall to give himself enough forward impetus that he could roll when he hit the ground, but even trying to aim along the hallway instead of across, he still hit his head on the opposite wall. At first, he thought that the library carnage only sounded quieter because he injured himself, but when he heard some of the soldiers running towards the door, he realized that they had merely paused because they heard him outside.

    "Celeritus." Running half a dozen times as fast as he could've without his spell, Marcus didn't care where he was going, he didn't care how lost he got, he didn't care if all of the books and scrolls, crystals and potions in his quarters were never seen again, he just needed to run away until the screaming stopped.

    It didn't work. Down every few hallways he tried to flee into, there was another cacophony of blood and death, metal and madness. When his magic ended and he couldn't even run anymore without it, he came across a hallway desecrated with the blood and corpses of a slaughter that had already completed. Marcus barely heard himself thinking that the soldiers probably wouldn't come back to a theatre they had already conquered, and he found himself walking into a room where a father had been teaching his daughters how to cipher, barely even noticing himself closing the surprisingly loud door behind him to keep the monsters out.

    He hadn't cried when he watched the first man die, he hadn't cried the whole time he had been listening to the library, and he hadn't cried the whole time he had been running. He started now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
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  14. Fan7asticMrFox
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    The Fall of Highguard

    Two by two with eyes of red, they searched Highguard. Through every alleyway and every door, burning down buildings and cutting down lives. The northern and southern portcullises were the first to fall, sealing off any chance of escape. Then came the farms inside the walls, lit up like the plains of hell. After that the soldiers split, some forcing stragglers into the castle while the others tore apart the town, marching with purpose through the market square.

    Many tried to run. Man, woman and child all cowered and fled from the corrupted armies, only to catch themselves on sharpened steel. Their search was ruthless and their eyes haunting, deep like the blood that flooded the streets, running through the cracks in the cobbled stone. No one escaped. For the crimson moon saw all.

    Shrill screams shattered the bloodied night, death clinging to every wall and door. The smell of burning flesh filled the air; rotting corpses lining the streets while the shadows of evil marched on, their eyes corrupting all. Those that managed to survive, that managed to fight, became slaves themselves. The corruption leaked into their souls, a spray of red filling their bodies and denying them control. They returned, unholy and dark, stabbing their sword into their wife, mother, father, sibling and child. And then they marched on, strengthening the evil.
     
  15. Tara
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    Raven looked upon the wooden chest for a moment before she finally opened it. Inside the box was a knife in a black leather sheath. Raven unsheathed the knife and held it up so the flame of her candle was reflected by the silver. The knife was too long for a dagger and too short for a sword, had a black leather handle and was decorated by one single ruby. The weapon was the only valuable thing Raven had ever owned. For 5 years it had been under the bed in this room and now she would have to use it... again. The moment Raven had shoved the chest under the bed she had wished she would never have to handleit for a second time, but she knew she had no choice now.

    "This has safed my life once, I hope it will do so again," Raven whispered. The scar on her back itched, almost like it was trying to remind her of the only night she had ever used this weapon.

    For a moment it was that night again. For a moment Raven was 9 years old and lost in the forest; running, trying to get to safety or at least trying to get away from him. She tripped, fell, tried to get back up again and failed. The man was standing next to her, he raised his sword and let it come down. Raven rolled away just in time to safe her life, but not in time to keep the sword from cutting through the skin and tissue of her back. The man had lost his balance for a second, but in that second Raven had thought about the knife. Don't use it unless your life is in danger and this weapon will safe you like it has once safed me. Those had been her mother's last words. Somehow those words had helped Raven to find the strength to get up, despite the pain she was in, unsheathe the knife and drive it through the man's chest.

    The amazingly vivid memory almost made Raven drop the knife. "Focus," she told herself. "I really need to cut off a part of this dress, so it won't hold me down if I have to run." Hearing her own voice calmed Raven down a little. "I need to get to a safer place, or maybe I need to get to a higher point to overlook the situation."

    Raven blew out the candle before she walked toward the door, but then she thought of something; she had heard screams and footsteps in those halls just moments ago and whoever had attacked Highguard could still be there.

    Raven turned around and froze on the spot. "Shadow," she whispered when she realized she had only seen her cat entering the room. "You'll be my death someday. Come on, we have to leave before the intruders return," Raven put the dagger back into its sheath and tied the sheath to her waist; there was no need to hide it now.

    "I suppose we will have to go out there to find a safe place now." Raven took a deep breath, opened the door and walked into the dark hall. As she did so she quietly prayed that she was not making a mistake by leaving the safety of her room.
     
  16. Macaberz
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    Thomas, Mordin, William, Serena, Leanna.

    Thomas jerked Mordin back when they were about to round a corner. A stinging scent of ash and fire burned in his nostrils. Carefully, he peeked around the corner. The roof of one of the gate's towers slid off and landed with a loud crash behind the burning gates. Smoke, dust, blood, ash and fire assailed his senses, overwhelming them in an fierce assault. Their escape route had just been cut off, and Highguard was burning. Through an alley they went, nearly tripping over the dead and the dying.

    Mordin squeezed Thomas's hand tightly, his eyes burning underneath his small hood. They froze as a troop of red-eyed soldiers drove a pike through a screaming girl. The pointy end came out just below her neck. Mordin snapped his eyes shut and covered one ear with his free hand, but could still hear the gurgling and spluttering with the other. The soldier then turned around, a pair of glowing red eyes settled onto them. The pike was forcefully janked from the convulsing corpse and the soldier began to march, almost casually, towards them. Mordrin noticed that the man's nose was broken, twisted in a strange angle, he walked with a beggar's limp dragging one feet, and barely lifting the other. But the soldier didn't seem to notice that several of his bones had been shattered, he simply stared at Thomas and Mordin with the intention to kill.

    Mordin was nothing more than a useless sack of pale skin and chattering bone, he could almost feel those swirling pools of red consume him, as if they were tugging at the strings of his soul. Thomas was the first to shake himself loose from the mesmerizing stare. He yanked Mordin to the side and they rounded several corners into overwhelmingly quiet streets until they reached the back of a shop.

    "Stay here," Thomas breathed as he let go of Mordin's hand. He was just about to throw his shoulder at the door when he noticed a small, shadowy figure inside. He stepped back and knocked on the window, hoping that whoever was inside would let them in.

    William had never been so afraid in his life. Many minutes passed since Serana left them to scout the city. He wondered if she was alive. He could smell the smoke and hear the screams. Every time a shriek pierced the night he wondered if it was her. Was that her death cry he'd heard moments ago?

    He took to huddling in the corner with Leanna Maxwell. The noblewoman was awake and seemed to be doing well -- well enough mutter curses and ill omens under her breath and use words he'd never heard any sane person use. Even Serana, at her worst moments, had never spoken like that. Leanna's lips scorched his young ears.

    Fortunately, things had been relatively quiet. The sounds he heard were distant; at least one or two streets away. Whatever those men were doing, they seemed to be done with the merchant quarter. Did that mean everyone was dead? William's young mind picture all of his friends and neighbors --the baker, the barkeep, the cobbler, the seamstress-- dead. All dead!

    When he heard a knock on the back door, he nearly went into cardiac arrest. The boy flinched so hard his shoulder nailed Leanna in the nose. She muttered a string of curses and rebukes but, by now, it was nothing he hadn't heard before.

    "Answer it, boy," the woman said.

    "No, it's the bad men," he hissed. "Shhhh…"

    "So what. We're all doomed anyway. Let them come. I'm ready," Leanna said. The words might have sounded bold, were she not trembling. Her voice cracked. "It's probably that bitch-mother of yours," she added after a pause.

    The stranger knocked again. William didn't want to move, but his legs obeyed. "She ain't my mum," he said as he stood, "but she's a heck of a lot better than you." He knew it wasn't Serana at the door; she had a key. But the thought of dying in here, alone, with the wretched noblewoman was just too unpleasant.

    Whoever it was, they hadn't kicked the door down yet; they couldn't be all bad. He nervously undid the lock.

    "Thank god," Thomas breathed as he heard the door click open. He didn't take any risks and practically fell through the door, Mordin stumbling after him. It was dark inside, but the crackling orange glow of the burning city lit the house just enough to make out a small, terrified child in front of him. "Keep it unlocked," he said, "you don't want to be trapped in here if they set the place on fire."

    Mordin stepped beside Thomas, feeling more confident at his side. He stared sheepishly at William, feeling slightly intimidated even though he was just a kid and appeared equally upset and scared.

    "You're Serena's kid aren't you?" Thomas asked. He'd bought a thing or two from Serena in the past, a rare bronze and copper kettle and the cape Mordin was now wearing. "Is she here?" He asked hopefully.

    William nodded uncertainly when the old man asked if he was Serana's kid. Then, realizing he technically wasn't Serana's kid, his nod reverted to a slow shake of his head. "Sh-she's not here," he said in response to the man's second question. His gaze drifted to the other boy, but quickly snapped back to the old man. "She went to see what's happening."

    He heard the floorboards creak behind him and nearly jumped out of his skin, but it was only Leanna. She was still bloodied from the attack, but her wound seemed to be gone. She held her hand over her midsection. "Oh, great," she said, rolling her eyes. "A boy and an old man. We're saved. It's a miracle."

    William frowned at her, but a thought occurred to him. If 'a boy and an old man' could survive out there, maybe there was still some hope left. Serana was still alive. She had to be.

    Mordin had took it upon himself to barrage the injured woman with an icy gaze. He didn't like being called a boy, he was eleven for crying out loud! Nevertheless, he remained silent.

    "H-how bad is it?" William asked the old man, unable to stop his voice from trembling. Thomas stepped forward and squeezed William's shoulder, trying to reassure the terrified child, but failing.

    "It's a massacre," he sighed. He was about to tell the boy that the gates had been destroyed and that they had no hope of escaping, but he couldn't bring himself to it. Instead he stepped further into the room, and obliged to the silent pleas that everyone was sending at him. Pleas for guidance. "She told you to stay here, I presume?"

    William nodded to the old man's question, but then reconsidered. "I… ummm… not exactly. I mean, she didn't say 'stay here,' so... ummm… does that mean we should leave?"

    "Her exact words were 'lock the door,'" Leanna said icily. "I was conscious enough to remember that much. Give it up, boy. She's probably already made a run for it and left you behind."

    "She wouldn't do that!" William said in a harsh whisper. It took every ounce of strength not to scream in the woman's face.

    Suddenly the back door flew open and a cloaked figure burst in, with a dagger in one hand. William nearly soiled himself, but it was only Serana. She threw back her hood and took in the scene in one sweeping glance. "Door unlocked. Strangers in my house. Children just don't know how to listen anymore, do they?" she said.

    Mordin, startled by the sudden sounded, stumbled backwards into Thomas's chest. Alarmed, Thomas tapped into his memories, his mind flooding with words of old enchantments as he prepared to blast the sudden intruder away. Then he saw that it was only Serena, and lowered his guard. "Tell me about it," he sighed, relieved.

    William stammered over his words, but she cut him off. Mordin just looked offended.

    "We need to go," Serana said, looking to the old man. "Those things are sweeping across the entire city. The gates are shut and I think they've set the fields blaze. The keep is the only place left."

    "You mean the keep where the guards are housed?" Leanna said. "The evil, red-eyed guards that are slaughtering everyone…"

    "It's defensible. The few survivors I saw seem to be headed in that direction" Serana said. "Staying here is a death sentence. We should go while those demons still have others to kill. We can use the chaos to our advantage."

    Thomas turned to face Leanna. "She's right, you know. I saw the gates burn myself." His voice trailed off as he thought of the poor stable girl, she probably had been butchered as well, at the gates, and he had sent her there. Swallowing down his conscience, Thomas straightened his back and nudged Mordin towards William. "Stick together," he said, then turned to Serena. "The main roads are crawling with soldiers, taking the servant's entrance in the east seems the best bet."

    "Good idea," Serana replied. The old man seemed familiar, but she couldn't quite place a name. Now was hardly the time; she could sort it out later. She moved to the back door and peeked out. "It's clear, for now. You take the lead. I'll bring up the rear. We'll keep the…" she nearly said 'children,' but immediately thought better of it. "We'll keep the young men in the middle."

    "I'm coming too," Leanna said, as if that fact had somehow been in doubt.

    "Of course you are," Serana sighed. "Stick with me."

    Thomas nodded and carefully led the way. Most of the roads were littered with rubble and corpses, which they tripped over in turn, reduced as their sight was by the black smoke that clouded the streets. Mordin kept close to William, he didn't speak a word to him, but William's anxious expression told him that he wasn't the only scared young man.

    As they sneaked their way towards the servant's entrance, Thomas kept an eye out for the stable girl, perhaps she was still alive. He desperately wished she was, he couldn't bare the thought of having sent someone into certain death.
     
  17. Love to Write
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    Love to Write I'm a lover of writing. What else is to be said? Contributor

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    "Damned monsters." Nikko swore as he chopped the head off an approaching red-eyed knight. "There will be hell to pay when I find the man who enchanted these poor knights." One of the women Nikko was escorting screamed in terror. He whirled around in time to see another red-eyed knight approach silently from behind. He swung his axe at the servant and Nikko just barely managed to stop it with his blade. "Bartrand. Get that woman to the servant's quarters." He yelled as he fought the knight, the clang of steel echoing through the hallway near the servant's quarters. The stocky dwarf stared at his young master, for a moment with worry. He was barely 17 and was simply a knight in training. Could he defeat a full-fledged knight? Nikko nodded reassuringly, as if sensing Bartrand's thoughts. The dwarf sighed, caught the woman by the wrist and led her to safety.

    Nikko and the cursed knight circled one another. It was during this moment that he noticed the red-eyed knight wore the insignia of Highguard. "What are you doing!?" Nikko demanded. "I'm not your enemy!" The knight did not respond. His face showed no emotion. Without warning he charged and Nikko blocked his blade. "We are allies! Why do you cross blades with me?" Again no response.
    Nikko found himself in a difficult battle, barely managing to keep the cursed knight's blade from stealing his life. As he fought, he began to feel a darkness growing within him. An evil that knew no bounds, an enchantment to steal his will and soul.
    So that is what happened you. A cursed enchantment has corrupted you. I will relieve you of your curse, brother in arms.
    "Hemera, burn bright! Destroy the darkness!" Nikko commanded his sword. The enchanted weapon glowed with a fierce brightness, blinding the knight for a moment and filling Nikko with warmth, chasing away the dark that would consume him. The boy took that moment to remove him of his head. Blood sprayed towards him, speckling his face and wetting the tunic that he wore over his armor. The knight fell and Nikko lowered his head in sorrow as the glow upon his sword, faded.


    ------------------------------


    Lydia quickly and quietly ran through the halls of the castle, she needed to get her things from her room. She didn't have much, but what she did have she valued; her bow and knife, a few pair's of clothes, and a pendant left to her by her mother. It was all that she had left of her, and she didn't want to lose it.

    A few times she skittered to a halt as she heard shod feet coming down the halls. It seemed like the guards were roaming around, looking for survivors.

    Again as she ran, she head boot behind her, and quickly looked around, searching for a place to hide, but there was nothing but an old tapestry on the wall. She slipped behind it, hoping they hadn't noticed her.

    Seconds felt like hours waiting for those awful boots to pass, but eventually they did. As soon as they were out of earshot, she realized she'd been holding her breath. Moving out from behind the tapestry, she finally made her way back to the spot where they'd seen Fatty, the cook, dead. His body was still there, his blood covering the stones. She chocked back a cry when she saw him, but tried to focus on getting her things, and getting out.

    Suddenly, she heard sounds of fighting up ahead, and saw a light shinning down the corridor.

    Carefully she peeked around the corner, the guardsmen that had gone past her had just had their heads removed by a young knight. He didn't have the sinister look of the other guards, and his eyes weren't glowing.

    "M'lord!" she called in a hushed voice, "For which side do you fight?" she risked.

    There was still a good bit of distance between them, and if he proved to be foe, she thought she would be able to evade him.

    Nikko turned as he heard the quiet voice. It was a terrified young woman, with pretty brown hair and the garments of a servant. He recognized her as the stable girl. She had often cared for his own horse. "For Highguard and it's citizens. You're the stable girl right? I'm Nikko, the knight in training with the brown mare. The one with a white patch about her eye." He said reassuringly, as he wiped the blood off his face.

    Once he spoke, Lydia remembered him immediately. "Thank the gods!" she exclaimed, and moved closer. "What is happening? Is it a coup, or a rebellion?"

    "The Lady Merda is dead and Lord Jaros is missing. I fear a coup but I cannot be sure."

    She gasped when Nikko told her about Lady Merda. She had always been kind to Lydia when she would go to the stables.

    "How awful..." Lydia said, covering her mouth.

    He clapped a hand lightly upon the stable girl's shoulder. He was barely an inch or two taller than her. She looks to be a few years older than me and yet I am the one comforting and protecting her. He thought with a hint of amusement. As is it should be for a true knight of the realm.
    "What's your name, Miss?"

    "I am Lydia, and you were right, I work in the stables. I was trying to get to my room to get my things and then try to escape the castle..." she replied. "What are you planning to do, m'lord?"

    "I plan to get everyone who has survived out of here alive. I make for the servant's quarters. There are places to hide there till the danger has passed." Nikko replied, determination upon his feminine features. His brow creased as if he carried many cares and worries upon his shoulders. "Is your room far from here?"

    "No, it's on the near side of the servants quarters, not far from here," she replied.

    "Then I'll escort you there, but only grab your few most precious items. And make haste, more cursed knights may very well be on their way."
     
  18. Newtonium
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    Newtonium Member

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    The Passages

    James bolted along a short corridor, racing towards his room. He could smell – no, he could taste – the coppery tang of freshly-spilled blood creeping through the floor, the ceiling, the walls. The clang of metal on stone, metal on metal echoed around the dim passageways, along with the plaintive, piercing screams of the wounded and dying, both inside the castle and out. Panic tore at his mind with grasping fingers, and a stitch laced his side with agony, but he kept running. He glanced down one of the side corridors as he ran, and caught a glimpse of a figure slumped on the floor, lying in a pool of her own blood. The light of the moon flooding through a small slit window gave the whole macabre scene an ethereal quality and caused the walls to look like they had been painted in the poor woman's blood. James turned one final corner and darted into his room, quickly locking the door behind him.

    Trying to get his breath back, he stumbled towards his fireplace. Behind him he could hear the tramping of steel-clad boots as the soldiers drew closer, searching the castle. In a rush, James fumbled for the secret catch by the fireplace, a brick that concealed a switch. With a gasp of relief, he found the brick and pushed hard, feeling the gritty stonework sink into a hidden recess. The centuries-old mechanism engaged, first dropping the ashes of his last fire into a bucket beneath a grille, then slowly sliding back the rear of the fireplace. The clanging footsteps grew louder, and to James' panic-laced mind, every footfall sounded as loud as a cannon blast. “Hurry up!” he thought, as the false back of the hearth slowly slid out of sight into the wall. After what seemed like an eternity spent in the incomperable agony of waiting, though it must have been only a few seconds, the gap was wide enough to allow James passage, and he darted through, quickly hitting the switch to close the hidden door. As the last rays of blood-red light faded, James saw a booted foot smash through the door, and thanked Bre’thir, god of thieves, for his luck.

    James straightened inside the dark passage, his head barely grazing the ceiling. It was a little-known fact that the builder of Highguard castle had built a maze of secret passageways inside the castle walls, as well as a series of rooms underneath the basement, deep in the ancient roots of the mountains. James had discovered the passages quite by accident as a boy, and prided himself on knowing every inch of them, as well as most of the secret entrances. He reached to the side, where, in a small, dusty alcove, he had concealed an oil lamp, a flint and a firestone. He readied the oil lamp, striking a spark from the firestone to ignite the wick and then coaxing the fire gently until he had a small flame, burning brightly enough for him to see by, at least. James took several steadying breaths – the tunnels had always made him feel calm, isolated, as they were, from the hustle of the castle – and set off.

    James trekked through the passageways, his shoulders bumping the walls on either side. He kept glancing through the numerous, well-hidden slits in the walls, hoping, willing there to be some other sign of humanity, but the only figures he saw were corpses, and the guards. He didn’t even know what to call the guards now – were they human or beast? Their eyes glared out of their sunken sockets like rubies set deep into the recesses of a skull, seeming to cast an unearthly light of their own. James looked into room after room, corridor after endless corridor, but everywhere he saw red; the red of the moon, the red of the guards’ eyes, the deep, rich red of blood. He looked into one last room – the teaching parlour where one of the nobles educated his daughters – and stopped dead. For there, sitting on the floor, was a young man, crying.
     
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  19. Arannir
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    Arannir Active Member

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    Falcor

    The rumblings in the main corridor awoke Falcor, who had only just drifted off. Just as he regained his vision, the captain barged straight in. He had broken the latch on the door and most of the surrounding guards, who had been asleep a good hour, jumped at this terrifying crash.

    Jonas, the captain of the Eastern Barracks, was plump and red-faced, even more so about a possible threat. His silver armour glistened in the torchlight. He looked grand. But that was the grandest sight in the hallway. But his eyes were unnaturally red; Jonas had green. Falcor knew something was up.


    Many soldiers were scurrying past Falcor's and Andros' chamber. Most tired and un-knowledgable about what was happening. A few even had helmets the wrong way round and boots on the wrong feet.

    "Round up your men, Lads" His deep voice bellowed.

    "What the hell, Jonas? It's midnight. Who would attack us?" A startled Andros said. He didn't notice that the jump had caused the ink pot to fall over his neatly written message. A good pot of the writing fluid costs six gold, money he can't waste.

    "His Lordship has commanded that we kill every last citizen. They have been plotting a rebellion."

    Falcor had finally come out of his dazed state. "This doesn't sound like him. He is a good person, who would rather interrogate the few perpetrators than massacre all his people."

    "Get dressed now. That's an order!"

    And the door slammed behind him, creating echo in the already busting passageways. That echo could easily wake twenty men in deep slumber.

    ---

    Andros and Falcor, all fully suited up walked into the corridor surrounded by ten archers and ten soldiers awaiting orders.

    "Kill them" said a recognisable voice. It was Jonas. Each and every man started to advance on them. Their swords and bows already sheathed. Their eyes blood red, just like the captain's had appeared. But in a spilt second, Andros jumped in front of the incoming swoop of axes, swords and arrows. The ultimate sacrifice for his friend.

    "Leg it"

    Falcor did. His ran like his life depended on it, as it did. He gained at least fifty feet on his attackers as the tore Andros apart. His agility lost them in a high speed chase, through the maze that was the Eastern Barracks. He quickly found himself running towards the servants quarters, where he could find shelter with friendly faces. They could use a master bowman if they where to survive.

    And all that was left of Andros was a decapitated corpse, that trickled streams of blood...
     
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  20. Tara
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    Tara Contributing Member

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    Raven had heard the sound of steel agains steel and the cries of people dying when she had made her way through the massacre in and around the castle, but now the silence was deafening. "The living have been slaughtered and the survivors have gone into hiding," Raven whispered. Even though her words had barely been more than a thought on the wind they cut through the silence like the swords of Highguard's own protectors had cut through the castle's people.

    The ongoing fight had moved to another part of Highguard and now all that was left here appeared to be the dead; the scent of blood in the air was so strong Raven could almost taste it and the stones were painted red with the blood of the fallen servants and warriors.

    Although she had both seen and faced death before, Raven had not expected it could be anything like this. Death was supposed to be quick and quiet, it was supposed to take people one at the time, not all in one night. Raven did not want to admit it, but this scared her; who know whether all of the bodies on the ground were those of the dead? What would she do if whoever had invaded the castle was still around here, somewhere, dying but not yet dead? What if this person would find her?

    Calm down, fear won't help me right now. I need to think, Raven walked toward the closest part of a building and sat down agains the wall, hidden in the shadows. She ran her fingers through her cat's fur while she considered her possibilities; the servants quarters were clearly quiet and they offered hiding spots, while the keep was most likely the place where others would go. And should she go there on her own, or should she wait until she had found someone else?

    Without a warning Shadow jumped up and ran away.

    Raven, who did not know what had scared the cat, held her breath and moved closer to the wall. She knew she would not be found here, but what she didn't know was who -or what- was approaching her hiding spot at that moment.
     
  21. motormouth1312
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    motormouth1312 Member

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    Quick fire: Tyson

    Tyson saw the door close and cursed that he hadn't been fast enough to run into the hallway James ran into, he cursed again as he fumbled with the wall trying to feel for some sort of a switch to which he could find none all he earned from his troubles was dusty fingers, he grumbled and tried a run up to try to break down the wall, nothing happened, but a huge crash further in the castle echoed through the stairwell, something big was happening. he ran back up the stairwell to a window, crumbling to bits but still intact, Tyson climbed out off it so he stood on a ledge

    Heights never troubled him, it was nothing compared to someone swinging a sword at you, Tyson took a deep breath as he stood up straight just outside of the castle, screams seemed to echo through out the castle, blood curdling moans and yells of pain and fear, it reminded him of the day his father died, he shivered as the cold air reached him, it filled his body strangely with a warm sensation of the great outdoors, he shook his head and looked at the wall 90 degree's to his right, a simple jump if there was anything to hold on to when he landed.

    He could see a small window, only a few meters left, it was a stone sill he could land on and the move on to the very large hole with vines growing from bushes at the top of one of the main castle walls next to it.

    'If I die here I swear to Any God I'm going to kill myself afterwards' he muttered as he readied himself, his suddenly pushed him self off the ledge, he seemed to go for a long time but only a matter of seconds later his arms and chest hit the window sill, he madly scrambled to grab hold of something ,luckily a vine was just a matter of inches away and he quickly grabbed hold as his body slipped over the edge.

    his whole weight of a 18 year old hung from the vines which slowly creaked as he swayed in the wind, he sighed in relief as he started to pull him self up, the top of the wall of the castle was only a few meters away and he quickly scaled up the side.

    He dragged himself over and did a forward roll, in the process of pulling his bow and loading an arrow, no one seemed to be on the roof so he replaced the arrow back into his white quiver but kept his prized long bow out , he could walk over to the middle and see right over into the cloister, he dropped from the roof into a lower level balcony inside the cloister, at least he was safe for now.

    he looked over the balcony when he heard a scream and a blood thirsty cry as the sounds of hacking and slashing pulsed through out the castle, what he saw was sicking, a man who Tyson didn't recognise as a guard was chopping up a body of a woman , two other men where closing in on a boy and what appeared to be his mother.

    Tyson drew out an arrow and placed the side of the head of the arrow to his lips before he placed it into his bow, Tyson directed it towards one of the two men closing in on the mother and child, the nearest one to the door.

    He took long deep breaths as he drew back the string, everything seemed to slow down as he looked at his target, he heard his heart beating and the blood pulsing in his head as he let go of the string and the arrow flew directly at the man's head.
     
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  22. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    James stood for a moment, staring at the figure that sat in the room before him; he couldn't believe he had found another living soul. He searched his memory for a moment, trying to think of the young man's name. He had seen the stranger around, he was sure of it. The name hit him with a jolt - Marcus. James made his way around to the other side of the room, and opened the secret entrance - the false back of an ornate oak cabinet built into the wall. The panel of wood slid silently to the side, and James stepped through into the darkness of the cabinet. Before him, he could hear Marcus' muffled sobs. James opened the door and stepped into the room, and Marcus looked up at him in surprise.

    **

    Marcus heard a door open somewhere extremely close. He jerked his head around and saw a man, somewhat younger and scrawnier than himself, come into the room from what Marcus had thought to be a cabinet. He didn't seem to be carrying any weapons, and he seemed to be as afraid as Marcus himself was. This was not one of the monsters, this was another survivor.

    Marcus forced himself to speak, "Is there anybody else?"

    **

    As the man before him spoke those words, the whole horrifying enormity of the slaughter in the castle hit James with the force of a cannonball. Fighting back tears, James mutely shook his head.

    "I didn't see anyone - anyone alive," he said, after a pause. They sat in silence for a moment before James swallowed and spoke. "You study magic, don't you? Do you know - do you know what made the guards like this?" An image of a guard's face hovered before his eyes, staring at him out of those diseased, possessed eyes. He looked up and out of the small window at the moon, a single red eye of the heavens.

    **

    Marcus looked back to the floor. "Yes, I study it, but no, I don't know this. Master Tiberius would, but -" He took a couple of seconds to calm down. "The physical magics were always my forte more than the mental." He looked back at the younger man. "I'm guessing you know how to get out of here?"
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  23. Fan7asticMrFox
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    Fan7asticMrFox Contributing Member Contributor

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    Malefius, the Old Fool

    Castles are not a friendly place for the frail, Malefius was reminded, blundering his way down the stairwell. Every footstep came with a creak and every breath came with a cough and grumble. I am too old. Too old and too cold he thought, feeling his way along the icy wall, guiding himself towards the torchlight below.

    Malefius stopped at the landing, holding close to the stone wall as the clang of boots echoed near. The servants’ quarters were known for their homely feel, where common folk could relax away from the theatrical lives of highbornes. But not tonight. The usual cackle of two old hens chatting had been replaced by the hard clink of chainmail, and the busy stone corridors were now lonely and narrow, with red eyes hiding in the darkness.

    The wizard scampered across the clearing, hiding inside an alcove as more guards past. They never seemed to blink, he noticed. Nor did they grunt or heave or shout as they cut men down, each death as silent as the last. Malefius shivered at the thought. What foulness had breached Highguard, the Keep with mountains for walls? Most enemies had to fight their way through treacherous blizzards and crumbling cliffs just to get the gates, let alone the castle.

    And what of Merda? She had shuffled nervously out of their shared study without a word, mumbling something or other about Commander Bane. Why had he not sent for Malefius as well? Perhaps this old wizard’s age was becoming too much to burden for council, as the stairwell had proved. But still, it did not make much sense.

    For now though he needed to get to those bells. The Keep had to know. The old crone fizzed across the corridor to another alcove, hidden away from the torchlight. There was a pale oak door and slowly he began to open it, forcing out a shrill squeak from its hinges.

    “So much for subtlety Malefius.” He whispered to himself, quickly shutting it back with the same results. The echo of footsteps fast approached, and he made haste for the table in the middle of the room, trying desperately with all his elderly might to push it towards the door.

    Movement in the dark room. From the corner of his eye he saw two shapes forming. Two by two they hunted. He spun to see a pair of boys shaking with fear by the varnished cabinet, ogling their wide eyes towards him. His mouth stayed ajar, stunned as to how they had survived, but there was no time for that now.

    “You two! Help me with this table!” He said.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
  24. Crumpets
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    Crumpets Contributing Member

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    Key stumbled back against his desk, desperately fumbling for something, anything to hold. Heavens, I didn't know I was a wizard! He brought his hands up to his eyes and stared at them in horror, simply imagining the blood on them. It was true that he'd always hated Margaret, but murder? How was he to know? He'd never used magic before! And yet, the proof stood clear as day: There she stood, crimson blade protruding from her chest, just as he had imagined it. It was so innocent; he was just daydreaming, as always, and suddenly BAM! Sword through the heart. Staring hauntingly back at him, Margaret's body crumpled to the ground. Damn damn damn damn! How are they already here? As sudden as his magic had sparked to life, two guards seemed to appear behind where Margaret stood. "No! NO! It's not what it looks like! I'm not a murderer! W-w-wait! I can explain!" The guards appeared to pause, waiting for the explanation, an explanation which Key eloquently presented in the form of a lunge towards his shield, a hard shove, and a graceful flight down the hall.

    Running. Running. Guards. Turning. Running. Where am I running? Guardroo- nope, terrible idea. Doubling back. Guards. Crap. Kitchen? Nope. Cellar? Key came to a sudden halt, stairs to the perfect refuge beckoning to him. Oh ho ho ho YES! CELLAR!

    The heavy doors flew open, revealing a black silhouette to the dark and dusty room. Out from the shadow walked Key, chuckling to himself as he sealed the doors behind him. "They'll never find me herOHMYGOD! STAY BACK! I'M MAGICAL!" Key practically flew onto a shelf, holding his hands menacingly towards the slumped figure on the ground. "I'M NOT A MURDERER! I SWEAR! I CAN EXPLAIN! I HAVE THIS POWER THAT I NEVER KNEW I are you bleeding?" Coughing blood, the figure turned towards Key, revealing his face to be that of Lord Jaros. "OH GOD I'VE DONE IT AGAIN! MY LORD, I AM SO SORRY, UHH, UHH-" Key frantically knocked countless bottles of expensive wine from the shelves before fishing a few oats out of his pocket, which he threw towards the lord. "-UHH HAVE SOME NUTS. LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL. That's how you stop bleeding, right?" Not working. Plan B: Beg for forgiveness. "Lord Jaros, I am truly sorry, I am a pitiful orphan deserving of all mercy and forgiveness and I am and will always be your loyal servant–" –servants... SERVANTS! "SERVANTS! HELP! THE LORD JAROS IS BLEEDINGandit'sdefinitelynotmyfault! COME QUICKLY AND HELP YOU FOOLS, LEST HIS DEATH BE AS IF BY YOUR HANDS!"
     
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  25. Arannir
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    Arannir Active Member

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    Falcor

    (Contains one use of Inappropriate Language)

    As Falcor approached the servants hall, he didn't know what to expect. Bloodied corpses lay in the corridors. A scarlet stream started to form down the middle of the passage. Innocent men and women had suffered, but he didn't know why? Was it because of Lord Jaros? If so why do such a thing? But he had a hunch it wasn't his fault.

    The dingy passes, home to the cleaners and cooks, were especially spooky even without the fallen staff. Doors still open with red splatters down their fronts, rooms with ram-shackled furniture and people who didn't even know they were murdered. Throats slit during sleep. Falcor didn't like it one bit.

    He'd only been down here once before. It was his first night in the castle and Falcor had lost his way. He was only twenty at the time. The only real thing he could remember was that he got an absolute bollocking from Mr Parson, head butler. His stern words rang around in Falcor's head. He'd only hope to see him alive.

    ---

    The store room, home to all the castle's food, was in sight. He just hoped there wasn't any hostiles behind the wooden double door. Falcor wasn't taking any chances though. He removed a Hylian arrow, one of the finest, from his expertly made quiver. His father's bow, his parting gift from his family, was finally loaded.

    Falcor reached for the handle and twisted it. It didn't move. "It must be sticking" he muttered to himself. He tried again. No progress. The archer pressed his ear against the door. He could hear breathing. Heavy panting. The inhabitant was scared. The door had been barricaded.

    "Hello. Anyone in here? It's me, Falcor."

    No reply, only the pants.

    "Hello," He tried again. "I'm here to help. I can protect you."

    This time he was successful, on getting a reply. A stern but scared voice. Afraid that he may die. "One doesn't need help"

    "Parson, I can help. We must all try to survive together. What do you need?"

    "Are you not one of those demons? Sent from hell to kill me."

    "I don't have red eyes, if that's what you're asking. I wouldn't be speaking to you, nor would you to me, if I were one. If I was one of them, I'd be trying to smash this door down. Let me in!"

    Reluctantly the old butler did so, moving a make do barricade of tables, chairs and barrels but only enough to help Falcor through. Once the archer got through, he helped Parson push the chair back into place.

    "What the hell happened to you?"

    Parson's shoulder was erupting blood. An arrow stuck in the wound. Falcor ripped a piece of cloth from a nearby roll and placed it around the tiny spear. It helped for a while but it wasn't too good. Falcor remembered he had Lava Flower remedy (healing potion) in his left pocket and applied it to Parson's gash. It seemed to work. The wound healed up within the minute.

    "Let's sit" said Parson, without much gratitude and they both slumped to the cold stone floor, as all the chairs where keeping the monsters out.
     

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