Belelmund: The Folly of Sitanest

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Besyanteo
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Belelmund: The Folly of Sitanest

Unread postby Besyanteo » Mon Aug 13, 2007 6:13 pm

Brown and dried leaves fly through the air, a chill wind tossing them about playfully. They brush across a dirt road, well worn by many a cart and wagon wheel, hooves of horses and claws of chocobo. One of these leaves catches on the chest of a rather tall, dark skinned man, wearing fine silks and a thick Turban.

He stands by the leading wagon of a set of two, each drawn by a team of two horses. The wagons themselves are ornately formed and crafted wood, well padded within and decorated with patterned linen upholstery work and brightly colored silk curtains. The windows are made of glass set into hinges, and invisible to the naked eye, a thin layer of mithral separates the interior from anything that might hit the wagons too hard... They practically stink of wealth. Charles wants everyone to know whose wagons these are.

Outside, Charles' Guest, and their escorts: Ex-King Trevor Harvey, Charles' loyal Knight Daniel Hyral, Daniel's more than willing tag-along Myrnal Shalienza, and Trevor's self appointed bodyguard Kobakk Dorland.

The wind began to die down a bit, and the leaf fell from Charles's silk shirt. It was time to go.

(Ok, for those not already in the know: Not everyone who is going is showing up right from the very beginning. Those mentioned are the only ones that need worrying about for the moment. Get me sheets ASAP, and feel free to start CI!)

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Mon Aug 13, 2007 6:51 pm

We are vulnerable, but we are more than ready...

There was one thing loathed about his position... it was regalia. The pomp and circumstance... the putting on of false faces... all of it. It was the one portion of guiding his people that he wished he could do away with. But, as he was finding out, people needed it. They could not respect someone they could not separate themselves from. And the regalia, the pomp, helped at least distinguish him from the rank and file, make him look better, for all its hollowness. That separation, that elevation, however false, let people believe he was qualified. He was, of course, but never for those reasons.

Today, he thought, today all that showiness is finally going to serve a concrete purpose. A small one, perhaps, but one that will at least allay some questions in my mind

After checking over the wagon and letting himself be assured there was no danger, he called to his compatriates. "Are we all ready to go, gentlemen and ladies?"

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Unread postby FF Fanatic 80 » Wed Aug 15, 2007 2:17 am

Close to the king, a man leans against the nearby wagon, twirling one of the dry leaves between his finger. He wears a plain green buttoned shirt, their long sleeves currently rolled up his arms. Dark brown trousers cover his legs, ending on a pair of grey hiking boots. He hasn't shaved in awhile, evident by the light stubble covering his chin up to his ears. The rest of his hair is tied back, leaving a long blonde ponytail down his back. He looks about the current group with his hazel eyes, sizing up all those present.

Kobakk stands at the ready, constantly watching out for any signs of danger. Daniel appears lost in thought, leaning on his halberd as he gazes back at the capital. And then there is Charles, looking ever the pristinely dressed king. Which is a lot more than the man can say for himself.

Once, he was known as Trevor Reginal Harvey, King of Baron under the four century old Harvey family dynasty. That changed many months ago, when the nation's council of representatives removed him from the throne. Now, he merely plays the part of an ordinary, uninteresting traveller.

"I've been ready to go for a long time..."

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Unread postby Kai » Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:38 pm

A thin shadow of a woman found her way to the group with steps that gave no warning of her presence to those who weren't watching down the road. She wore black boots, dark grey pants, and a long-sleeve black shirt despite the relative summer warmth, and even the pack slung over one shoulder was black.

She was here at least partly as a favor to Daniel, and partly as a favor to Daniel's brother. While she didn't have any room to tell Daniel where and how to conduct his affairs, Stephan had seemed genuinely worried and Myrnal didn't like the idea of it. Ordinarily protection jobs were the worst sort of mercenary work, requiring an a priori acceptance that fights would be coming to you on someone else's timing and somoene else's terms. It was always a bad arrangement but Myrnal was willing to make an exception.

With a nod to Charles and the man who must have been King Harvey, Myrnal's silent tread brought her to Daniel Hyral's side. "Hey Dan."

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Unread postby FF Fanatic 80 » Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:25 pm

Daniel winces slightly, rubbing at a small bruise on his cheek while he gazes at the capital. He wonders what Kyra's up to, and how she's going to sleep without him home tonight. Or the many nights after. He wonders how the kids are, and whether they'll be alright without him there. He briefly wonders if his mother and brother will manage to get along without him around... but past history tells him to be cautiously optimistic.

He knows he has valid reasons to stay home in Doma, reasons the kings even mentioned themselves. But Daniel knows he has to go. Not just to protect both kings, but to protect Baron's future. While he may call Doma home now, in some way Baron will always be his home too. He can't stand by while the nation of his birth is in serious danger. Especially if Charles himself is willing to step in. He only wishes Stephan would understand why...

Daniel almost thought about their fight earlier, and why Stephan was so adamant about him staying home. However, his train of thought is interrupted by a sudden voice.


"Hey Dan."


Caught completely off-guard, Daniel briefly forgets that he's leaning on his halberd. Trying to spin around at the sudden voice, he looses his balance and promptly falls over.

"GAH!"

He falls face first into the ground, groaning at the slight pain in his forehead hitting the dirt. He pushes himself back up a bit, leaning his face back up to see what's in front of him. A pair of boots greet him, his eyes tracing up to the face above them. Then he recognizes the person looking down at him.

"...M..Myrnal? What are you doing here?"



Back at the carriages, Trevor looks perplexed at Daniel's stumble to the ground. He then turns to address Charles.

"...you really weren't kidding about him being high strung, were you?"

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Unread postby Kai » Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:42 pm

The ninja did a fairly respectable job of keeping a straight face when Daniel spun off-balance and tumbled to the dirt at her feet. Though she'd likely never have admitted it, she'd been hoping for this reaction. It was gratifying, and there was always a chance that some one of these times she'd understand why Daniel was so panicky.

Myrnal looked down at the older man lying on the ground calmly and shrugged. "Figured I'd come." She pulled one hand out of her pocket to give Daniel a hand up. "How you been?"

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:43 pm

Charles chuckled to himself. "I could stand on the highest parapet of my castle and not pluck the C string. But, I would be lost without him."

"... though I may lend him to you, if you have need of him," Charles smirked, briefly. The smirk was quickly replaced by a look of stunned shock when all of a sudden, the cart bounced on its wheels from a quickly added wait. The king peeked at the rear of the vehicle, and found the bulky Baronian orc knight, Kobakk, taking his hands off the sack that held what seemed to be ALL their provisions and belongings.

Looking up from his task, Kobakk spied the eyes of royalty on him, and out of instinct and reverence, bowed. "Forgiveness, Majesties. I did not mean to startle you..."

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Unread postby FF Fanatic 80 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:28 am

Trevor just smiles, shaking his head gently from side to side.

"Please, don't worry about it Kobakk. If anything, making such noise lifting so many belongings puts me at ease."

He turns to the Doman king, still smiling.

"Wouldn't you agree, Charles?"



Away from the kings, Daniel finds his face turning beet red. He takes Myrnal's hand and helps himself back up. He then coughs for a moment, doing his best to brush the dirt off his armor and coat.

"I'm... I'm really surprised you're here. I don't remember Charles saying he hired anyone else to help?"

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Unread postby Kai » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:05 pm

Myrnal shrugged. Her eyes scanned the others as she spoke, and this time it wasn't just her typical habit of avoiding eye contact. Daniel she could be sure of, but the orc was a stranger, as was King Harvey. Might be appropriate to introduce herself to the man at some point. If their positions were reversed she might have wanted to know more about her own escort. "You know me. Always show up where you least expect me," she replied.

She left Daniel to go address the two monarchs. She gave a respectful nod to King Harvey. "Myrnal Shalienza. Good to meet you." She looked to Charles and raised her eyebrows. "But you I have met. How are things? You look busy."

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:16 pm

"This shirt isn't THAT ugly, is it?" the king quipped. "But, yes, I have had a lot to do. Including, apparently, accepting new temporary employees. It's good to have you along, though. Thanks for coming."

Remembering the other side of the conversation, he turned to Trevor and said, "As for the banging, it's actually kind of grating, BUT, if it means we're getting off quickly, I welcome it."

Kobakk, seeming extra reverent today, bowed once more, and said, "Then I shall finish my work quickly, King Charles. We should be on our way momentarily."

"Excellent," was the king's response, as he hopped into the front seat. "Let's get ready to depart!"

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Unread postby FF Fanatic 80 » Sat Aug 18, 2007 11:07 am

As Daniel watches Myrnal head over to the two monarchs, he can't help wondering about her answera. In general, he tries to give people the benefit of the doubt. Given the circumstances, however, he finds himself more suspicious than usual.

If she really was hired along by Charles, why be so evasive about it? Did she not want to talk about being hired by the King? Or was there something else going on? What reason could she have for not being honest about her intentions?

...then Daniel remembers the incident a few months ago.

A madman had tried to gain power via the plane of dreams. Myrnal had tried to stop him, along with another woman named Tassi, and found her own mind under the man's attack. King Charles himself had insisted on coming along to help, as did Daniel. In order to fight the madman, they had to cross over into the dream plane. While there, the pair saw bits and pieces of Myrnal's past. Many of them, Daniel was sure the dagger-for-hire didn't want other people to know. A fact reinforced when he tried to talk about it with his brother, and was promptly told to shut up about it.

Was this why she came? Is she trying to pay back some kind of debt to the King? Even if true, it still didn't answer how she found out about the trip. Outside of Charles, Trevor, Kobakk and himself, there were few people who even knew about the plan to leave today. So who could have told...

"Let's get ready to depart!" the king suddenly shouts, knocking Daniel out of his train of thought. Whatever her reasons, there was time to ask about it later.

"I'm ready as soon as you are, your highness." Daniel answers.

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Unread postby Besyanteo » Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:14 pm

Moments later, the various companions' belongings were loaded into the wagons, and they climbed in themselves. Their drivers got them rolling, and off they went!

Several hours passed by uneventfully. They rode over the rolling hills of Domador, and approached the northern edge of Hyraldor. Not much to pass the time, though, save for watching the country roll by. What are the various occupants of the wagons doing to entertain themselves?

(There are two wagons, each seat four occupants. There are five of you! Seat yourselves as you please.)

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sat Aug 18, 2007 4:28 pm

"So what's it like, Kobakk?"

"I'm sorry, sire?"

"First off, just Charles, or at least King Charles, for the duration of this trek, and secondly, what is it like being a lone orc in a human society? Must be jarring sometimes, the difference..."

"Oh, um... well, it's not, really. The Baronians have been very accepting of me, ever since I was a baby. It's like the entire nation raised me. I would probably be less at home in Gwa'AAG."

"Really? There were times when I snuck out of the castle as a boy, and walked among the people, and all lighter-skinned folks ... looked at me oddly. No one ever said anything or did anything, but I had NEVER felt like an outsider as much as on that day, when I was with them, in with them, and I still felt shunned."

"Well, if you had been ruler of Baron, that may have never happened. Not that I don't like your land, King Charles, but that sort of thing does not happen in Baron."

"Well, all the same, I'll still take my land over theirs. ... how much further is it? Time is of the essence..."


That conversation had happened a long time ago. It had stood out in Kobakk's mind for some time since the troubles in Baron began. He never knew things like this could happen in his home. He had iconized Baron, made it blameless, incorruptible. But now...

He watched as the king climbed into the wagon in front of his with the other Domans. He felt a feeling that was rare in him. He almost didn't recognize it. And as he thought about it, examined it, he realized what it was, and why it hadn't been immediately apparent.

It was envy.

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Unread postby FF Fanatic 80 » Sat Aug 18, 2007 5:19 pm

As the carriages make their journey across Doma, Trevor finds himself watching the countryside pass by. Even with the scars of the Malachias war evident, there is still much beauty to see on their journey. He can see that Charles' pride in Doma is well founded.

However, something else within the carriage presses on his mind at the moment. He couldn't help noticing Kobakk's hesitation earlier, as he watched the Domans enter their carriage. Something seemed to trouble the orc, and Trevor wonders what it could be. On the one hand, were it something that may prove disruptive to their trip, they should probably talk about it. But on the other hand, it could simply be something unrelated at all, and none of his business. Deciding to test the waters, Trevor turns around and faces the orc soldier.

"I couldn't help noticing you seemed... bothered earlier. Is everything alright?"


~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~


"Well... this is... certainly ackward..." Daniel thinks to himself.

Here he sits, between two people he can't think of anything to say to. Not from a lack of anything to say, but more due to odd circumstances.

There's Charles, the ruler of his current homeland. Someone he's always felt odd talking to. Despite the king's attempts to get him to lighten up, he always had this feeling of inferiority when he spoke with Charles. Not due to anything the King himself did, but more due to Daniel's own feelings. Charles is someone who has the weight of an entire nation on his shoulders, every day. How can Daniel possibly hope to relate to that? How can he talk to him like a normal person, when he bears so much responsibility?

Then there's Myrnal, a woman he technically barely know. However, thanks to the rescue mission involving her dreams, this is no longer quite accurate. He probably knows her much better than she'd like, in fact. There were many things he saw in her mind. Things, his brother pointed out rather loudly, she probably didn't want to talk about. Even knowing that, however, part of him feels compelled to ask her about. Perhaps whatever troubles her about her past, he could help her to resolve by talking about it. But as the small bruise from Stephan pulses slightly with pain, it reminds him to keep his mouth shut. At least for now.

Taking a deep breath, Daniel decides to try and break the silence. They were all going to be traveling together for a long time. He figures he should try and get used to talking to them both.

"Well, it was certainly nice of Charles to hire you along, wasn't it?" Daniel says, trying to start some kind of conversation with the pair.

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Unread postby Kai » Sat Aug 18, 2007 5:55 pm

"Yes," she answered slowly. "Lucky thing, that."

Luck is exactly what it was, and Daniel was probably the only one in this carriage who didn't know precisely why. Charles had received no warning that she was coming; there hadn't been time. If she'd been here to protect Baron's exiled king, she would have-- well, first and foremost she wouldn't have taken the job because she really didn't care. But if she had done it anyway! If she had done it anyway, proper channels would have been used. Proper permissions would have been sought and secured. Proper pay would have been sorted out and proper contingencies arranged should anything happen to their client.

But she wasn't here for Trevor Harvey, and that made all the difference.

Myrnal wasn't precisely sure whether she was here because she owed Stephan, or here because she owed Daniel. The debts were certainly different, but the result was the same. She'd found out from a good friend that he was concerned for his brother's safety, and that brother happened to have gone out of his way to resolve a situation that was going poorly for her. Even if she didn't honestly believe that he was there to rescue her specifically, he'd still done it in the course of his mission, and Myrnal had no right to expect that from anyone, for any reason.

People like Daniel, people who were willing to risk themselves even for the sake of people like Myrnal... they didn't deserve to risk themselves without someone nearby to look out for them. Not if Myrnal had anything to say about it.

Her conclusion hadn't taken much deliberation, though Myrnal's life would be much easier if she could admit that taking on the problems and perils of others did not in fact make her own disappear. A girl could hope.

"I figured I might be able to be of some assistance, and Charles didn't send me off," she continued vaguely. "So maybe I can find a way to make myself useful."

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sat Aug 18, 2007 6:53 pm

Kobakk breathed out slowly. "If I may speak freely, sire, this whole situation has burned at me since its inception. Baron ... Baron should exist to suport YOU, my liege. This... COUNCIL is nothing but a cabal of self-serving vultures who would sell their own mothers for a zante!"

Kobakk's face went forest green, a deep dark shade, a far cry from his usual yellow-green. With a bit of inference, one could come to the conclusion that he was, for an orc, red in the face with anger. Feeling the heat on his face, Kobakk realized what he was doing, and calmed down, breathing slowly, rhythmically.

"I ... apologize, sire. My lineage seems to pass anger management issues on hereditarily. But it does not change my stance. You are our king, and there is only one place for you, and that is on the throne of Baron."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Oh, I'm sure I can think of something," remarked Charles. "For instance, there MAY be attempts on our lives on this trip. I was wondering... would you have any insights as to... where a bowman might make his nest, or what kind of magical traps would be the smartest to use against us? That sort of thing?

"Oh. And protecting us in general with your considerable library of skills would be welcomed, also...."

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Unread postby Kai » Sat Aug 18, 2007 7:56 pm

Myrnal snorted derisively. "My considerable library of skills?" She folded her hands behind her head and leaned back against the inner wall of the carriage. "I kill people. That's about it. If I'm not killing anyone at a given moment it's a welcome change, but it also means I'm not doing anything useful," she finished. Her cynicism was perhaps getting the better of her, but that wasn't an unusual condition for Myrnal.

"As for what traps are best to use on us... I'd be surprised if it made a difference. Every time I've ever followed people around protecting them, trouble came to us when it was damn good and ready. I'm sure it will this time, too."

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Unread postby FF Fanatic 80 » Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:50 pm

Daniel can't help being disturbed by Myrnal, as he listens to the dagger for hire speak with the king. While he is certainly no stranger to ending lives, it is something he hates to do. Hearing someone else talk about it like an everyday activity both disturbs and angers him. He's tempted to yell at her about it, asking how she can speak so easily about ending the life of another.

...At the same time, he's hesitant to do it. She is, after all, a friend of Stephan's. They already had a long and violent argument over this mission. The last thing Daniel wants, is something to fight about when they arrived home.

For now, he simply remains silent, listening to the rest of the conversation.


~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~


"...I'm afraid, Kobakk, I can't completely agree with you."

He turns his head away from the orc for a moment, looking out into the countryside.

"Baron does not exist to support me, and never has. Baron exists to support her people. Without the support of those people, the rulers of Baron are nothing. I'm sure you know this story Kobakk, but it bears repeating. When Odin entrusted our first king to rule, he had brief but important instructions for his rule."

'Never forget, that your power comes from your people. Lead on their behalf, and Baron shall rise above all who challenge her might. Lead for yourself, and Baron's enemies shall burn her to ashes.'

"My own father told me many times, after reading stories about our ancestors, the importance of our people. Without their faith in us, without their trust in our decision on the nation's behalf, we are nothing."

Trevor turns back to Kobakk, his usually aloof expression replaced with a stern one.

"I betrayed that trust, Kobakk. Despite my good intentions, I went above my authority as King. I should have fought for their support in going to war. I should have gone out to every village and every city in the nation. I should have looked every mother and father in the eye, whose children I would send to fight, and convinced them why that sacrifice was needed."

He averts his eyes, this time looking down at the wooden floor of the carriage.

"But I didn't. I sent our troops because *I* wanted to. Because *I* felt it was the right thing to do. I thought I could speak for the people of Baron without actually speaking to them. And because of that, I am no longer your king."

He looks back up at Kobakk, his face still stern, but somewhat sad as well.

"I know you hate what the council has done. But it was my mistake that made their takeover so easily accomplished. So please understand, I am not going back to reclaim my throne. I am going back because my homeland is in danger. I will be damned by Odin himself, if I stand by and leave Baron in their hands of such horrible people. I will make sure Baron is purged of this evil from within. And if the people wish another to lead after... then so be it."

Trevor turns to look out the window again, watching a passing lake as Kobakk takes all this in.

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:02 pm

"Now now, don't sell yourself short, Myrnal," said the king. "Killing people is not just a lone skill. You have to learn to be sneaky, you have to learn to use a weapon, you have to dress the part, you have to be able to get into your opponent's head... heck, if killing people were a well-recognized job, you'd need to go to school for ten years just to get hired."

He sighed. "And I'll be blunt. We'll need to be smart to get to Baron in one piece. I've made it very clear to the council when and how we're getting here, but deadly hard to find out from anyone else. Basically, if they want me dead, they'll strike me on my way there, or when I arrive, and pass it off as a tragic accident.

"So, basically, folks, we have to live in order to succeed. Can you handle that?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kobakk looked at his feet. He always looked there when he was feeling down. He never intended... ever even imagined it was like that. How could he not want to be king again? He... he WAS king. There was no other place in Kobakk's mind for him. But... obviously... times were changing.

"I... I had no idea you felt like that, liege. I..." He gulped. He FOUGHT so that these words would never be true. "I will support you, even as a ... citizen.

"But you are right," the ex-knight said, as a diversion. "This council needs to be no more." Then his curiousity crept up on him. "How ARE we planning to do that? I am no politician, which is why I can think of no real way to upset them, save for the people crying out, and I cannot see them wanting to remove them so soon after your ... popular exit...

"Simply, put, sire... what is the plan?"

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Unread postby FF Fanatic 80 » Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:29 pm

"I'll do whatever it takes, your highness... but..."

Dan looks hesitant to speak for a moment, looking between Myrnal and Charles. Something has been bothering him for much of the trip; something he is nervous about bringing up. He fears appearing foolish, or losing the confidence of both people in front of him. But if there is an explanation to ease his fears, he wants to hear it from the King himself.

"...I have to ask, because it's been bothering me for a while now."

Daniel closes his eyes, taking a deep breath before asking his question.

"Why didn't we bring more of the guard with us? Surely, it wouldn't surprise anyone that the King of Doma has guards around for his protection?"


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Trevor smiles at Kobakk, encouraged by the former soldier's support. He hates to disappoint the loyal man, but the orc deserves to know his true intentions. He had much time to reflect on all this, both during his imprisonment and his recovery in Doma. As much as he wants to be King again, his mistakes are partially responsible for this situation. He knows the people of Baron may never trust him to rule again. If he is to be of any use on this mission, Trevor knows he has to accept this. No matter how painful the thought of ending his family reign may be. But as he said to Kobakk, his own feelings are not important right now. What matters is stopping the bastards trying to ruin their homeland.

Standing up and moving to a closer spot to sit down, he begins to explain their plans.

"Primarily, we want to make sure Charles gets there in one piece. I have no doubt they're aware of his trip into the Kingdom. If they're willing to overthrow one monarch, I can't see them being above killing another."

"As far as when we get to Baron, that's harder to answer. We know the council is up to no good, but the 'what' part of that is sketchy at best. If we want any chance of stopping them, we're going to need more information. So for now, the plan is two-fold."

"Charles will meet with the council, along with his knight and the others for his personal protection. He will see what he can find out via official diplomatic channels. Our job, in the meantime, will be looking into the council's activities. In paticular, the information you all found at Tanascus worries me... very much."

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Tue Aug 21, 2007 11:12 pm

"Tanascus..." Kobakk did not look back on that memory fondly. Whatever item the council had secreted away, it would definitely not be good for the people of Baron.

"I wonder what that 'item' was... any ideas?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"It surely would not," replied the king matter-of-factly. "But you must remember that there is strength in numbers, small ones as well as large. A large strike force, though more secure for ME personally, would be more likely to lose lives. I won't sacrifice my men on a hunch.

"And, yes, I know your next question," he anticipated, "Why am I risking YOUR lives? Well... you're both far too competent to die. Kobakk and Trevor as well. Anything that gets thrown at us, I'm sure we'll weather it just fine."

... that reminds me... I will have to keep an eye on Trevor...

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Unread postby Kai » Wed Aug 22, 2007 1:51 pm

"We're not too competent to die," Myrnal answered sourly. "No one is too competent to die, at least in my experience. Most of the people I know...." she shrugged. "All they have on their side is luck. Luck and the willingness to make sure no matter's who's the most competent... the other guy is the one who dies."

She slowly turned her head over toward the king, and her eyes followed a moment later. "But you forgot one very important thing, your highness. This is Doma. Domans don't ask the guard to do anything mercenaries haven't tried first. It's an unorthodox first line of defense, but as a rule it seems to work okay."

Plus, she thought. There are a lot of things you can get mercenaries to do that you can't ask of the guard. If you need someone sent to trial, call the guard. If you need a kitten rescued from a tree, call the guard. Call people like Dan. If you need someone to die, need to keep someone from dying, or simply need the threat of force at your fingertips... you call mercenaries. You call people like me.

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Posting before I forget again, Dan is stoically silent =(

Unread postby FF Fanatic 80 » Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:24 pm

Trevor lets out a sigh, leaning back against wall of the carriage.

"I don't know what it could be... but it's bothering me a great deal. A link between the people involved in overthrowing me, and one of the darkest times for our kingdom? I don't think it's mere coincidence. I fear it means something far more terrible is at work here."

He closes his eyes to think for a moment, as Kobakk takes in his words. It's hard to believe it's been eighteen years since that time. That one defining moment that changed his life forever.


He vaguely remembers playing with blocks, perhaps trying to recreate the nation's great castle. Then he heard the loud footsteps, turning to see the Chancellor approaching. He could tell the man had been crying. Even at that young age, he knew something terrible had happened. And with choaking words, the chancellor told him his father was dead.

He didn't want to believe it. His father couldn't be dead. He already didn't have a mother, his father had to be ok. He couldn't be without both of them. He remembers smashing his tower of blocks in anger, one of them flying right at the chancellor. The advisor's forehead started to bleed, and the young prince quickly realized what he had done. Unable to handle the enormous grief and guild, he started to cry. He sits down in the rubble of his block tower, sobbing into his hands. Then he felt a pair of arms around him, as the kneeling chancellor held him tight and cried along with him.


For years, he wondered how the disaster in Isalia came about. When he took his place as King, Trevor tried many times to order an investigation into the fallen city. But each time, he only met resistance from many of the politicians. There was always something more imporant going on. It seemed they were content to keep moving forward, rather than revisit that dark time. But in light of the discovery at Tanascus, Trevor questions the council's motives. Did the council know something about the sinister forces unleashed at Isalia? Were they merely trying to cover their own mistakes, under the guise of serving the people?

If they had something to do with the Isalia war...

If they were responsible for that horrible loss of life...

If they were the reason his father had to die...

There will be hell to pay.

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Fri Aug 24, 2007 12:29 pm

"I admit, it is a fairly nice system," the king conceded. "It may be a bit more expensive, but it keeps the guard for operations that require larger forces, and the mercenary corps seem to have more unique skills than can be taught in the academy.

"And, you're right. Everyone dies. I just think you're lucky enough to not die today, or next week, or at least till the end of the month. Is that so wrong?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kobakk did not respond to that last comment, and simply stared at the landscape as it ran right to left before him. It was not fair. It was not right, what was happening. And he, at that moment, felt powerless, utterly powerless to stop it. He gritted his teeth, angry at nothing. What could he do to stop this?

"Nothing is ever going to be the same is it, sire?" he lamented. "Even if we tear out the council at the roots, and even if the people sweep you back onto your throne, things will never be the same. Our nation has a black mark on it that will never wash away.

"... I have never felt so weak."

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Unread postby FF Fanatic 80 » Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:49 pm

Luck?

That's it? Luck?

He wonders if there's something he's not understanding about the King's recent words to Myrnal. With the safety of two monarchs at stake, he doesn't want to just pray for 'luck' on his part and Myrnal's. There has to be actual plans in place, should they find themselves under attack. Perhaps the King already knows, and he simply hasn't picked up on it? He wants to make sure he understands it, so he'll be properly prepared to act. At the same time, he fears looking foolish by not understanding it on his own.

"...your highness?"

Daniel swallows rather noticably to Myrnal and Charles, appearing nervous before he continues to speak.

"Please, don't take what I'm about to say the wrong way, since I may not entirely understand your reasoning here. That said... our entire plan for this trip isn't just relying on 'luck' for myself and Myrnal, right?. There's another reason we're keeping our numbers low, isn't there?"

He waits for the King's answer, nervous about his potential reaction.


~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~


Trevor can't help but frown a bit at the orc's despair. He partly blames himself, for giving in to his own low feelings and ranting about it. No matter how he may feel about his own future, he had to make sure Baron would have a future itself. Depressing the few people willing to fight for that future was not going to help with that.

"I know things seem pretty bad right now, Kobakk. But believe me, this isn't the first time darkness has come to our homeland. The fall of our country's namesakes, the Barons, should be a glaring example of that."

He pats the man on the shoulder reassuringly and managing a small smile.

"Things may seem bad now, but it is far from the end of Baron. As long as there are people like you and me, who want to fight for Baron's future, there's hope."

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:02 pm

The king sighed. Daniel was always such a good man, and he hated to keep him guessing like this. He should have leveled with him from the start, but he liked to play with him too much. That was done. "Alright. So perhaps luck wasn't the best word."

He placed his hand on Daniel's shoulder. "Perhaps absolute faith would be a better one. Daniel, you've proved yourself to me time and again over the years. I have every confidence in your abilities, and you as a person. Taking a risk on you is like taking no risk at all."

He turned to Myrnal. "The same goes for you, Myrnal. Granted, I haven't known you nearly as long, but my faith in you is no less. I... can sense true excellence in you, Myrnal, and betting my life on it doesn't seem like a mistake.

"Now, are all your doubts allayed? Are you feeling better about your missions and yourselves? Can we stop worrying about every little thing? Yes? Good. Now, let's enjoy the ride, shall we?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kobakk said nothing for a moment. He wanted to say the Barons were unworthy, that the Harveys won the throne the right way, with the will of the people behind them. But he knew that was no argument.

"There will always be hope, majesty. I will see to its survival myself. And whether or not the time of the Harveys is past, the time of the Council is nigh. I will only allow just persons to rule my home..."

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Unread postby Kai » Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:19 pm

Myrnal squirmed a little at the king's open expression of confidence in her. If he knew what she'd done, what kind of priorities she had... he wouldn't feel that way. He thought he knew. He thought he had everything figured out just because he'd stood on a dirt road in her mind and watched a battle replay that had long faded from relevance.

He saw one little incident and thought he could count on her. Why? Because she had problems? How did that follow? Everyone had problems, and that didn't make any of them more reliable.

Immediately she wanted to yell at him for being an idiot, for meeting her and immediately staking his life on her action or inaction. Everyone who'd come before him and made that choice had regretted it, or at least they should have. Someday they probably would. The only thing holding Myrnal back from correcting Charles' error was the knowledge that she was here on his good graces. Something more important than his clarity was at stake: Daniel's safety. She needed to be here to keep an eye on him.

"Yeah," she joked. "No pressure, right Dan? He just has absolute and total faith in you, willing to stake his life and the life of another monarch on your skill and dedication." She gave him a thumbs-up. "So do your best!"

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Unread postby FF Fanatic 80 » Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:48 pm

Daniel isn't sure what to say at that moment. Truth be told, he feels his anger rising quickly at the entire situation. But considering the present company, he feels he needs to keep quiet. So Daniel remains silent to Myrnal's question, as he thinks to himself about the current situation.

He wonders why King Charles has to answer like this so often. In one breath, the King swears that he trusts Daniel. But in the next, he remains vague and evasive when asked about his intentions. How can Daniel believe in the King's confidence, when he won't answer a simple question? How can Charles trust Daniel with his life, if he won't trust him with his plans?

...but now was not the time to bring it up. Daniel needed time to think this out. So he simply leans back and closes his eyes in thought, for now.


~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~


"Now that's more like it, Kobakk." Trevor tells the orc, smiling cheerfully, "If we're gonna get through all this, we need to keep positive. No one ever got much done being depressed all the time, right?"

Almost immediately after he speaks, the former king feels something different about himself. Since losing his throne, the entire situation left him feeling somber and depressed. Something quite the opposite of his usual demeanor. But now, for the first time in awhile, he feels some hope about turning things around. And with that hope, a bit of his mischievous self is coming back as well.

Suddenly, Trevor's lips turn up in an impish grin.

"In fact, all this positive talk has me thinking over my current look. The hair and beard?"

Trevor draws his fingers through his head of blond hair, then rubs at the small bits of stubble on his chin.

"Too obvious. They'll be 'expecting' me to look as ordinary and plain as possible, right? However..."

Trevor gestures a bit with his hand, subtle streaks of magical energy trailing behind as he whispers something. Suddenly, his hair and stubble, blonde a moment ago, is now a rather bright, hot pink.

"The last thing they'd be expecting is a man with hair like this. Am I right?"

Trevor watches for Kobakk's reaction, still grinning impishly.

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And now for something completely different.

Unread postby Besyanteo » Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:37 pm

It has been, thus far, a pleasant trip along the plains. Dan even thought he'd picked out that cave he spent a night in a few years back, though it could simply be a hill that looks similar. The atmosphere was peaceful and, the personal problems of the riders aside, very relaxing. It was, apparently, not meant to last. The lead driver opened a sliding metal window and spoke in a tremulous voice without bothering to turn to look into the slot:

"Er, Yah Highness, sir, there's somethin' up ahead! Looks like a gang o' bandits!"




The driver was right, but at this distance he could hardly tell that he was only half right. A gang of bandits was indeed along the road. However, they were not alone. Neb Nueva, Leothe, Anetta Faustus, and one hired mercenary were also there, fighting for their lives. Neb had originally hired two other men, but they already lay on the ground, dead. One was a pincushion of summoned arrows, and the other had been fried by a blast of white light. This battle had only just begun, and those still living were all fresh for this fight... but as it stood, it looked to be a very close contest indeed. Members of Neb's party have already fairly leapt from their cart, and are engaged against two wiry human men, who look disturbingly alike and wield twin short swords, a towering ork eagerly brandishing a longsword and a shield as well as some mismatched armor, an elven woman in extravagant crimson robes who holds a staff, and nekonian man in common clothes, who holds a mace and seems to be drawing symbols in the air with his off hand.

The wild eyes, wiry men rush forward as though they were a single being, and bear down on Neb's last mercenary. He puts up a valiant struggle to block their blows, but there's simply too many. He's quickly impaled and falls to the ground dead.

(Combat, as if you couldn't guess! Init: Myrnal, Human1, Dan, Human2, Neb, Annetta, Leothe, Ork, Elf, Nekojin, Kobakk. Neb is up! Myrnal and Dan count as held initiative until they reach the fight.)

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Unread postby NebulaQueen » Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:54 pm

One thing was clear to Neb: these weren't ordinary bandits. While she had expected the likes of the humans and the orc, the elf and the nekonian were definitely unusual.

Or maybe not, she thought, as she recalled her brother's checkered past. His own abilities certainly didn't stop him from taking more...questionable work when he was younger.

However, she didn't have time to think on this further, and the orc seemed like it was a much more immediate threat than the enemy mages. She turned her attentions towards him, and began to chant a spell that would hopefully stop his charge right in its tracks.

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Unread postby Besyanteo » Sun Sep 09, 2007 3:00 pm

The Ork was about to charge up, about to cause Annetta alot of pain if anyone had to guess... And then he suddenly comes to a halt mid-step, frozen in time. Well, that was easy.

(Annetta!)

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Unread postby Shinigori V2 » Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:45 pm

Anetta stared calmly at the orc that had, moments before, been charging her. With her thumb, she eased a small nekonian looking sword out of it's scabbard, taking is slowly in her other hand.

She looked towards the next nearest bandit, pulling the blade completely.

"You know not what you do. Be gone, and perhaps you'll find salvation."

With that, she darted forward, making a series of quick, light slashes, before turning her back to the man and snapping her fingers, before returning her blade to it's sheith.

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Unread postby Besyanteo » Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:01 pm

Annetta's blade flashes in the sun, seeming to cut through the body of the suspended ork with little resistance. However, nothing seems to actually happen to him... Until she sheathes the blade. With a loud clatter of metal and leather, the Ork's sword, shield, armor, and shirt all fall to the ground in finely cut pieces. The Ork, however, seems unharmed aside from suddenly being nude form the waist up. He's still frozen in place.

(Kelne is up!)




Despite Charles's lack of response to the driver, the wagons are still rolling forward... He hasn't been ordered to stop either, after all.

"S... Sire?"

(Charles had a chance to post earlier. He's explained why he didn't... I'm not slowing down.)

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Unread postby Kelne » Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:14 am

Leothe would have placed good money on the group's ability to easily fend off any ordinary group of bandits. He would have lost that money. Three of them were dead already, and there was no guarantee the rest wouldn't follow.

The orc, at least, had been neutralised, much to his relief. Orcs tended to hate archers with a burning passion. Not that that had stopped this one from letting arrows soften up the foe before engaging. Gods only knew how they justified that sort of double-standard...

Elf or not, one did not reach a thousand years of age out in the world without developing a keen sense of priorities. The two humans were obviously experienced at fighting together. Working as a team, they would overwhelm each of them in turn. Leothe wasn't about to allow that.

Even as the pair turned their heads, seeking a new target, Leothe drew back his bowstring, setting his focus upon the one on the left. Specifically upon that one's crazed eye.

(Zen shot, targeting the head.)

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Unread postby Besyanteo » Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:44 am

Leothe pulls back on his bow, and let's it fly... and in the process, does something he likely hasn't done in centuries: He strikes his fingers on the bow string after releasing. The trajectory of his shot is ruined, sending it flying off harmlessly into the grass. His fingers hurt pretty bad after that, too.

The Elven woman in red sizes up the group, and and then turns to her nekojin companion. He nods, and together they throw their hands into the air...

And suddenly the Ork finishes his step from earlier! He's been freed from Neb's stop spell! And as though that were not enough, a jet of red from the elven woman's hand strikes and coats his being... He grows slightly, and eyes become blank red panes. The two casters smile derisively, as the hulking mass of green and red advances on Annetta, and pulls back it's arm...

A second later, the world is stars and flashes for Annetta. She has a vague sense of pain in her head, and she feels like she's walking through deep water. The pain steadily grows as her vision clears, and she can see the enraged ork still standing over her, getting ready to give her another one.

(Annetta takes 37 subdual damage! She's at 81/118 HP!)




The continued lack of response leaves the driver one recourse: to continue on as he had been going. They hadn't been terribly far up the road to begin with, and they wagons were now close enough to the fight to distinguish what was actually going on. A cart filled with clocks and nick-knacks, one group fighting to defend it, the other seemingly doing their best to kill the owner and guards of that cart. By now Trevor and Kobakk could hear the goings-on as well, inside their own wagon. What will they do?

(Technically Kobakk's turn, Myrnal and Dan are still able to use their held initiatives this turn if they want to.)

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Unread postby FF Fanatic 80 » Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:49 pm

Daniel blinks for a moment, thinking he is simply hearing things from the driver. But then he looks out the sliding window, and can see for himself the ongoing skirmish. Despite the driver's question being directed at the King, Daniel can't help but react.

"Oh dear Goddess... STOP THE CART NOW!!!"



~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~



Trevor tilts his head to the side, then pokes at his ears.

"Kobakk... is it just me, or do you hear something going on out there?"

He moves to the front of the cart, knocking on the sliding window.

"Driver, is everything all right out there?"

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Unread postby Besyanteo » Mon Sep 10, 2007 6:05 pm

Trevor and Kobakk's Driver opens with window slot, and responds some hesitation.

"I'm not certain, my lords, I can't see round the front wagon. But... it sounds like there's a scuffle ahea- Oop, hold on."

The driver of the second wagon pulls back hard on the reigns, bringing the horses to a stop. This is rather jarring for the ex-Monarch and his knight, but it had to be done: After all, it wouldn't do to ram to front wagon, which had also just stopped very abruptly. The lead driver was supposed to signal the rear driver in cases like this, but he was already very on edge, and Daniel yelling at him hadn't helped greatly. Still, the end result was precisely what Daniel had desired: The small caravan stands at a halt.

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:12 pm

The thought kept cropping up in Charles' mind.

Do I really NEED to say anything?

Once the trouble ahead arose, instead of saying anything, he just sort of... looked at Daniel. It wasn't supposed to say anything more than "What do you EXPECT me to do?" Yes, he could make a flowery speech about how they should help those less fortunate, that they should be ever-vigilant in the fight against villainy and oppression. But he'd never keep a straight face through that. All he did, all he HAD to do was give Daniel that look. Myrnal would follow, and the help would be properly rendered.

Once they were gone, the king silently knelt, watching the action unfold. Today, he would not fight. He was just slightly too valuable, at least today, to be cut down. But he had chosen his allies well. They would not disappoint him.

And if they did, well... there was always plan B.

It then occurred to him he should probably WORK on that plan...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"... trouble."

Kobakk shoved himself onto his feet, and drew his weapon.

He called it his swak, but in reality, its true name was Ondeko-Bachi, the Devil's Drumstick. The funny little nekojin who had forged it for him called it that name. It was the biggest weapon he'd ever forged, he said. Truly a fearsome weapon, that not even one of his own kind was able to wield it. He even claimed that a demon that once held dominion over Nekonia held a weapon like this, and only by the providence of Nekogami was he defeated.

Kobakk liked his name better. In orkish, swak meant something very important.

"Hit".

Kobakk rocked the entire wagon when he leapt to the rear exit. He looked back at his goofy king. "You stay here, sire... we need you alive. Driver? Block any incoming arrows." That last sentence was said as a smirk crossed his face. Swinging to face the action by using the rim of the wagon like a stripper pole, he ran to join his compatriates...

(Just gonna use the turn to GET to the action.)

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Unread postby FF Fanatic 80 » Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:53 pm

With the raging battle going on, Daniel doesn't paticularly notice the King's gaze. He is, however, very aware of the danger coming. The carts need to keep away from this battle, before the bandits notice. He taps on the window, letting the driver know he's about to speak.

"Turn around and signal the other cart to follow you." Daniel tells the driver, "Keep yourselves at a distance until we have this under control. But, Goddess forbid, if anyone comes for you, head toward us at the battle."

He then turns to Myrnal and the King.

"Your highness, I have to insist you stay here until we deal with this. At least in here, you won't be an obvious target. Myrnal, I'd prefer someone stay behind with the Kings and drivers, just in case. I don't know your abilities very well, so I'll leave it to you. Should I stay, or should you?"

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

Trevor sighs as the Orc leaves, then turns back to address his driver.

"I don't expect you to do anything of the sort, sir." The former king says with a grin, "If there's anything I can do to help, let me know."

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Unread postby Kai » Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:45 pm

Myrnal bristled at the suggestion that she split from Dan. It was possible he hadn't had time to notice the ninja sticking to his side like a burr, but eventually she'd have to tell him in no uncertain terms that he wasn't getting rid of her.

Except this time it did really make sense.

"Son of a bitch," she growled softly before shaking her head in resignation. "Fine. You fight better in the open than I do. At least you did the couple times I saw you. This kind of fight... not my strong point. You should be aware that it's probably not as simple as it looks. If there are bandits here do you even know which ones are which? Or are you just going to start swinging and figure things out when it quiets down?"

Now that she'd said it, Myrnal realized that was almost certainly exactly what was going to happen. She threw a sullen and resentful glare at the king before shaking her head in resignation to Daniel. "In a toe-to-toe fight you have a better chance than I do, but if you get hurt I will skin you, you understand me? If only to keep Stephan from skinning me when he finds out."

In her own gruff way, Myrnal was trying to tell him to be careful. Her only saving grace was that Daniel had at least as much experience receiving that sort of coarse concern as Myrnal did showing it.

"I'll stay. If something changes or you want a hand, don't you dare leave me here just because you're afraid the king needs someone to wipe his ass in combat. You need my help more, you let me know, all right?"

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