This forum exists for you to share your stories of your characters in the Ruins of Am-Xitha chronicle and surrounding lands. All posts in this forum should be In-Character and Narrative, please keep backups of your stories.
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:48 am

With the first of the three Shards of Yeviah in his possession it was time to seek out the middle shard, that was supposedly sold to of all creatures, a Jackalare then brought back to Lakeview. There was of course the business of turning over Tamar to the authorities in Windsong, but before he did, Arathys took the time to ask him a few questions while on the road to the city.

“How fast do you suppose this vehicle is going? Fifty? Sixty miles per hour?”

“Piss off.”

“I think sixty. It’s important for you to know because I can still steer it one-handed going that fast.”

“Plan on tossing it off whilst motoring mate? Again, piss off.”

“No. My free hand will be pushing your face against the top of the rear wheel unless you talk.”

“Piss off!”

Without further discussion, the hooded and cloaked Arathys took Tamar by the head and shoved his wounded and battered form backwards until his cheek was dangerously close the exposed rear wheel of the quickly-moving Steam-Cycle. Tamar could see the wheel quite clearly over the flared rear wheel cover that would normally be fine protection if he wasn’t being pushed over it. The sudden sputtering and simpering coming from the Hillsman thief told Arathys he might now be in a more conversational mood.

“Why is Lord Settasch looking for the Shards?”

“I’m…I’m not sure exactly!” Tamar stammered. “He always muttered something about returning his two brides for another go!”

“Another go?” Arathys asked while rewarding the man with a slight ease back from the rear wheel of the Steam-Cycle. “He means to return them to life so they can fight for him again?”

“Listen mate, that’s what I heard from him and I’m sure I wasn’t supposed to hear it! “Settasch pays in platinum so I don’t ask questions about his crazy talk, yeah? He’s always talking to that stupid painting of his great-great-aunt. Ugly bint if you ask me.”

Something didn’t add up. If this was Lord Thozual Settasch the Third, why would he be so interested in returning the spirits now bound to the Blades of Balance to life, just to have them fight each other, presumably to the death again?

“I don’t think that’s his great-great-aunt.” Arathys muttered while pulling Tamar upright on the bike. Assembling the scepter now gained a whole new measure of importance.
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:52 am

With Tamar handed over to the authorities in Windsong and them being made aware of the trouble Lord Settasch had been stirring in the countryside, Arathys was able to return back to the Edge of Dreaming hotel to plan his next step in returning to Lakeview. It had been on his mind for awhile now to do so anyway, since he and others discovered an old, run-down church that contained the remains of the First Cursed.

Arathys had learned, thanks to Valkyrie continually bringing him battered, beaten and traumatized Jackalare from her hunting to interview, that the First Cursed were made rabid and ferocious by the town-wide curse, turning brother against sister, husband against wife and friend against friend in hunger-fueled rage. The people in that church hadn’t been murdered directly by the witch that cursed them. They were made to murder each other by eating one another alive. Others, not so unfortunate to be locked in closed quarters, ran wild in the streets and into the woods to satiate their hunger.

What Arathys didn’t know was why the Shei witch, Aynai, had levied such a cruel curse to begin with. He knew she had been a survivor of the Massacre of Am-Xitha and had lived in Lakeview herself later, but all other records of her whereabouts had been lost through time and war. It was a mystery that he might never solve.

Since he was going back to Lakeview to find the second shard anyway, Arathys decided he would also take the time to re-visit that church, gather up the bones of the First Cursed and put them to rest. While he was certainly no priest, putting the dead to rest was only a matter of burying the bones in ground sprinkled with holy water. By doing both tasks during the day, he’d manage to avoid detection while most of the Jackalare slept.

But Arathys wasn’t researching the matter of Aynai or the First Cursed as he flipped through a stack of dusty, archival records in the Am-Xitha library. He was digging all he could find on the Settasch family, who surely would have come to this city to increase their renown and feed their hauteur. They had been a family of significant means at a time roughly twenty years before the War of Eternals, having gained vast wealth quickly from Calatite mining.

While the aunt was the head of the household, as he expected from his own observations, it was the reviled Lord Thozual Settasch who was truly the most infamous of his family, including a long-standing, sordid affair between himself and the Ladies Ilissai Kasha and Frulin Kiza. It had been a great matter at the then, fledgling Grand Duchy of Brookshire’s court that Ilissai and Frulin had been tightly bound lovers before Thozual, but later was tangled in their trysts, much to the disapproval of his aunt.

Despite their notably deep affections for one another, the relationship was a tempestuous one for all involved, Arathys discovered as he read on. Ilissai and Frulin often found themselves in clawing, punching, wrestling altercations over all manner of things both at court and elsewhere, much to the amusement of Thozual. He enjoyed watching his two lovers fight, then would take them both to his bed it was rumored, to partake in the bright and fiery passions that such fights ignited. Evidently, the Duel at the Settasch Estate was one the man did not believe would result in death of either woman, having paid an assassin to end his aunt when things got started. In the end, both Ilissai and Frulin lay dead in his arms and his aunt was hung by a garrote from the balcony where she had watched the duel.

“This must be why the Captain of the Am-Xitha Guard could use both blades together but…” Arathys murmured to himself as he closed the book. “Separately, Kasha and Kiza would find their way into the hands of hosts that would allow them to continue their fight.”

The Captain had been able to tame both swords, likely because he had been a domineering sort, like Settasch and had been aware of their bloody past far more than Arathys had been before releasing them from his custody and into the hands of their current owners. This, ironically was a relief to the Blade-Summoner; so long as the souls of the two rivaling lovers were bound to those blades, this exceedingly long-lived Lord Settasch probably could not resurrect them, even with the Scepter of Yeviah. It also meant that taming the blades was going to mean resolving the rage between the two rivaling lovers that’s been festering for approximately 1,700 years.

Solving that problem would have to wait. There had to have been a connection somewhere within these archived journals and ledgers that might give some insight as to why Thozual was still alive. The man had been human and nothing more significant in his recollection of the events. The Settasch family (along with Thozual’s two tumultuous lovers) often came to Am-Xitha to mingle, socialize and commit to all manner of debauchery and double-crossing. Even with the demise of Ilissai and Frulin, Settasch still came this city to sit in on the political intrigue taking place at the Great Hall and visit the Hotel to drown his sorrows in lust and liquor, according to more than a few accounts Arathys now paged through.

“Nevisasha Stormwillow.” Arathys stopped on the name as if his attention had been bolted there by a hammer. Moving to an account of Nevi’s visit to the Edge of Dreaming Hotel that corresponded with a date Settasch had been also noted at the hotel. Nevi was the Half-Elvish prodigy and First Childe of the infamous Shei vampire, Ko’rashae Ri.

She must’ve turned him.” Arathys thought to himself while closing one of the dusty journals with a succinct ‘thwump!’ that punctuated his displeasure at this discovery. Nevi had been a madame in both Brookshire and later Sundown, but before that the Half-Elf vampire had been a highly-sought escort. Nothing so classy as a Nahara, simply a high-priced whore that could behave herself in high society. She would certainly be the sort Settasch would have drowned his troubled mind in and she would have been the sort to turn such a man, for the connections he could make for her.

“I’ve a roughly 1,700 year old, possibly mad vampire to reclaim a shard from and keep from getting the other two shards.” Arathys considered to himself, while closing the journals and replacing them on the time-weathered shelves. “The first one will be safe enough in the Hotel, but by now he’s likely heard of its taking. He’ll move on the next shard soon, if he hasn’t already.”

Arathys’ work was cut out for him. It was time to get to Lakeview without delay.
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:55 am

He knew someday that Valkyrie’s Jackalare rampage was going to cost him. The celestial servant of the Spirit of War had grown on him. She tried to kill him once, but once they were beyond the small issue of him being a Half-Demon, they started getting along famously. To the point she had adopted this cat-like mannerism of bringing him her kills for a sort of morbid approval. Most of those happened to be Jackalares.

He had started asking her to bring him Jackalares alive and for roughly a week, she did. It was beneficial that Arathys at least knew how to field dress wounds, because bringing prey home alive meant Valkyrie beat them till they stopped moving. When they injuries were tended to as best as he was able (or with the very occasional assistance of an infirmary attendant) Arathys fed them and asked them questions about Lakeview and its history in exchange for their freedom. Most didn’t know. The younger ones didn’t know and didn’t care. But the older ones, the ones that paid attention to their oral history when the shaman told it, did. Those were the most useful and gave the Blade-Summoner a great deal of information, even if they were more than disgruntled, thanks to his kittenish companion, Valkyrie.

He really couldn’t explain to the Jackalare he set free that she was not really acting on his orders. She kind of was. At least she wasn’t killing them…for a week. But then greater matters took Arathys’ attention from his research on Lakeview and Valkyrie decided it was time to start killing them again. He knew because one day, she brought him an arm from one that had skin-shifted into a man. Those big, bright eyes of hers looked exceedingly pleased. Arathys just couldn’t scold her, even though he probably should have. Now that choice was coming back to haunt him.

“You are the Question Man!” One of seven Jackalare surrounding Arathys barked angrily. “The one who sends the winged whore to kill us!”

It had been during the day! Arathys had never encountered this many Jackalare and well-armed with rifles, guns and a few boromandite weapons he could see. And while he could likely dispatch this lot, it wouldn’t be without injury. And there would be more. “I am the Question Man, yes. But the winged woman is…disturbed in her mind and thinks she must bring me Jackalare!” Arathys wasn’t even convinced by that statement.

“We will bring you to the Shaman! She will know what to do with you!” Another, larger Jackare snarled while taking the stock of his rifle ramming it hard between Arathys’ shoulder-blades. As powerful as the Cambion was physically, the blow brought him stumbling to his knees.

“We should kill him like his winged whore kills our people, then bring him to the Shaman. Feast on his heart, take his skin and go find the winged whore.” Another suggested, while keeping his rifle trained on the Cambion. “She would never know, until it was too late.”

“No!” The large one countered while stepping in closer to ‘protect’ the prone Arathys. “He asks questions. Questions nobody asks. There is a reason. The Shaman will know what to do.”

Going to see the Shaman was both a blessing and a curse. The shaman he understood had the second Shard of Yeviah and it was a curse, because Valkyrie just couldn’t stop killing the damn Jackalare!
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:56 am

Arathys supposed it was just deserts that he was bound at the hands and feet, knelt before this Jackalare Shaman. He had questioned dozens of them in the fabricated prison in the Hotel, though he treated them as well as one could be expected to be treated locked in a cage. The bonds were iron. If he was pressed, he could snap them and possibly take the Jackalare woman hostage. With so many lingering nearby however, the plan would require the proper moment, if he tried it at all.

The Shaman was relatively young as far as Jackalares go, with a soft golden fur and surprisingly soulful eyes for creatures that prey upon the hearts of mortals, to steal their forms. She was lithe, built for running Arathys surmised and donned simple leather halter and skirt that was ringed in multicolored finger bones. Tucked in her belt was the second Shard of Yeviah. It had been ornamented with feathers and leather trappings but there could be no mistaking it.

Quinsa studied him with a sense of empathy he had not expected, given the howling, jeering pack of her kin surrounding them, baying for his blood. He really needed to talk to Valkyrie once this was straightened out.

“I am Quinsa,” The svelte-framed Jackalare Shaman began. “Now that you know my name, you must share yours, Question Man.” Her voice was calm and gentle as she spoke to the somewhat battered Cambion.

“Arathys, Blade-Summoner.” The aureate-eyed Half-Demon replied while shifting a bit to find comfort in an entirely uncomfortable position. While he didn’t expect the Jackalares to know anything about Miroa or his father, he maintained the practice of never revealing his real surname or his title, unless absolutely necessary.

“My pack is one of many in this area,” She explained. “Not all are as…peaceful as we are. Those we kill are poachers mostly, sometimes bandits. We steal their skin and infiltrate their camps. You would be impressed with how many are in this area.”

“The forest surrounding the swamp and the lake to the east is immense. I’d not be entirely without suspect of such things.” Arathys wanted to ask immediately thereafter as to why they had attacked Valkyrie, but he thought better of it. That would really be a question that answered itself; they probably attacked her because she is Valkyrie!

“You are a curious one, Question-Man Arathys.” Quinsa continued. “You have asked my pack-mates much about this ruined town of Lakeview and it’s secret. Why do you wish to know such ancient things? Many Jackalare are thankful for what Aynai the Elf-Witch had done. We do not see what we are as a curse.”

“I sought only knowledge, not a means to undo what has been done.” In truth, Arathys didn’t think the witch’s curse could be undone anymore. So many generations of Jackalare born as Jackalare, it was simply who they were now. “But this day, I do not come seeking answers. I seek the very crystal you carry at your hip.”

“Oh?” Quinsa responded with both amusement and piqued curiosity. “That is a different matter.”
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:58 am

“Why do you seek my healing crystal?” Quinsa asked the bound Cambion.

“One whom my oaths binds me to requires its healing properties,” Arathys explained. “That is a piece of the Scepter, Yeviah, Life-Bringer. It is a holy relic once belonging to Sarjen, the Unyielding, Last King-Priest of fallen Sengaard. Once reassembled, the scepter is believed to have potent healing properties, including repairing otherwise untreatable wounds and conditions.”

“Nothing is given, Question-Man Arathys,” Quinsa said finally, after a quiet study of the Cambion. “But all things can be earned. You will show us your worth and by that you will either earn my crystal or you will feed my kin with your heart, your meat and your bones.”

The words sent a chill up Arathys’ spine. He had heard them before in a story told by the one to whom his oath had been given. It was a way she explained to him how he might achieve what he sought, through a story of the Twin Goddesses, Thyia and Theesa. To hear them again from this shaman was no accident; Arathys believed that he too was being tested, though no by any scale these Jackalare would be immediately aware of. The Blade-Summoner issued a single nod. “I accept.”

Arathys was yanked to his feet by the large Jackalare that had demanded he be taken to Quinsa. As he undid the shackles with the skeleton key he carried, the Cambion noticed the dagger in his belt. It was a long in blade, but thin with a gentle curve and a swept handle wrapped in simple leather and crafted from boromandite. The handle itself was telling in that it was too small for a brute like this Jackalare to use properly as a weapon. He had seen this weapon before and knew well to whom it belonged. Retrieving it, however was going to prove to be challenging.

Quinsa, the ‘Brute’ and Arathys moved through the leering, snarling pack of Jackalare that had congregated at the center of Lakeview for this impromptu sentencing, down the unkempt, broken street to what looked to be an old jailhouse. With the Brute opening the door, the trio went inside where various prisoners were kept. It surprised Arathys just how sophisticated this pack of Jackalares were with their codes of law, even if they were still bloody. No different than the very laws his father set down for his own kingdom and probably more merciful.

“Your winged woman is not here to stand for her crimes against my people, but you are.” Quinsa explained. “But I am not without eyes. You are not a wanton killer, though I see the red upon your soul.”

“In order to grant forgiveness for her crimes, you must judge one who carries as much guilt as your winged woman and choose their fate.” The shaman continued. “If you choose foolishly or opt to not choose, they will be cut down and you will replace them in our cells, where you will await the death your winged woman requires by our laws.”

“My decision has not changed.” Arathys stated, while turning to face the prisoners. Many of them looked like cutthroats, thieves and highwaymen. “Show me the one I am to judge.”

“He is Padroth and he is to your left.” Quinsa stated, while motioning to the Brute next to Arathys.
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:59 am

“Have you gone mad?” The huge Jackalare howled as he took a step back from the pair. “I have been nothing but loyal to you, Shaman! I have defended you, I have shed—.”

“Yes, you have shed blood on my account.” Quinsa interrupted. “But not in my defense. You have been murdering those who you saw as rivals in your desire to become my mate. Foolish Padroth, did you not think their spirits would not whisper their doom to me?”

“I feel no shame in culling weak males that would not fill your belly with a strong pups,” Padroth stated with a slow curl of his lips. His muzzle was filled with yellowed, jagged teeth that had chewed through bone often. “But you would have me judged by this outsider? Perhaps it is you I should cull.”

The burst of crimson light within the shambles of a prison house and the ominous hum of twin Ignited Ether Blades punctuated the next words to leave Arathys’ mouth. “You will surrender or you will fall.”

There was a pregnant moment that Arathys and Padroth stared at one another, sizing one another’s commitment to action. When Padroth circled to get closer to Quinsa, Arathys kept the Ignited Ether Blades in an ‘X’ positioning and mirrored the movement, to keep himself between the Brute and the shaman. This really wasn’t about whether the shaman could defend herself, Arathys believed. This was about making a choice. Choosing to intercede in a matter that truly did not concern him or leave them to their conflict and escape. It was a choice to do the moral thing, the just thing rather than the tactically sound thing.

And at the end of that moment, Padroth also chose to commit himself to his choices. A blood-curdling growl rumbled from his powerful chest as he lunged at Arathys and Quinsa, heedless to what damage the burning red swords may do to him. Death was the only escape now; either his or theirs. Should he succeed, blaming the murder of the shaman on the outsider would be a simple thing.

There wasn’t much room to fight in the small prison house. With two Jackalare and his own brawny frame crowded inside, there was simply not enough room to maneuver. When Padroth leapt at the pair, Arathys crouched down and snapped both Ether-Blades outward and simply braced for the impact. Padroth, who has never encountered the likes of Ether-shaped weapons charged headlong into them, believing he would simply recover from the damage as he might from a normal weapon.

The burning red Ether Blades sheered through his abdomen and pushed out of his back, immediately filling the room with the stench of burning, living meat. But Padroth was strong and had fully given into the notion that he had to kill the pair; despite the moral wound, he continued to push, till his great clawed hands grasped Arathys by his skull. Lifting the Cambion in the air this way, he threw him through the prison house window with no more effort than one would give to discarding the trash.

The throw had also knocked Quinsa aside, but left her unharmed saved for cuts from flying glass, as the Blade-Summoner tumbled and rolled onto the jagged cobblestone outside and laid still there. It was well within the Shaman’s power to stop this conflict and truly, save herself. She was empowered by ancestral spirits of the Jackalare and could likely bring Padroth low. However, this was a fight of choices. In her mind, Arathys and his choices were as much on trial as Padroth was; this was a battle blood and the ever-watching spirits had to decide, not her.
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:01 pm

“Get on your feet.” Padroth snarled as he stalked towards Arathys, who had done little to move from where he landed. “I want your heart still struggling for life when I pull it from your chest!”

The wounds Padroth had suffered from the Ether-Blades were severe, but because of the nature of the weapons, the wounds did not bleed. They were cauterized from the heat of them and while there was burnt organs and muscle struggling to function, the adrenaline and the sheer, unadulterated rage for this who turn of events kept Padroth moving, kept him craving for blood. When Arathys did not respond, either with word or with action, he closed in on the Cambion and picked him up by the neck of his Etheric Armor. “You are no judge of Jackalares. Your pathetic ma—“

Padroth was interrupted for the second time tonight, not by words but by a familiar long-bladed dagger being shoved into the tender part of his chin, through his tongue, pinning it to the roof of his mouth and ultimately spiking the point of it into Padroth’s brain. Arathys had taken the long dagger when he had been hoisted in the air by the brutish Jackalare. While probably not the preferred method of re-claiming the weapon, Arathys was in no position to be picky!

Gurgling, the Jackalare dropped Arathys, though somehow remained standing for a moment. Even with the long dagger yanked out, the damage was still done. Padroth would die here. His damaged brain could not process the defeat of the moment though. Only minutes of life equated to what primitive functions remaining that the Cambion too must die. Dark eyes narrowed and an incomprehensible bellow of anger spilled forth from the bloodied mouth of the creature as he threw himself at the Blade Summoner with the last vestiges of his fleeting strength.

Having been stunned by getting launched through a window and sent tumbling onto the street, Arathys was still dazed enough that he reacted a half-second too late and was once more bowled over by the incensed creature. Hands were raised to block angry swipes of razor claws, but Arathys would still suffer a swipe down the right side of his face and a smashing of his left forearm so hard that it actually shattered the Etheric Armor there and fractured the bone. The long dagger had been knocked from his grasp in this melee and there would be no way to focus long enough to trace the Rune of Great Swords to summon his Ether-Blades. This Jackalare was going to die, Arathys knew. He simply had to survive this death-berserking from Padroth.


The spray of brain matter caused by the Blacksteel Revolver was impressive by anyone’s standards. The fragmenting Starmetal round at point-blank range turned Padroth’s head into a smashed, over-ripe pumpkin in a single muzzle flash. Arathys was forced to spit out bits of brain and bone that had gotten onto his lips and into his mouth as he rolled the corpse of the brute over to finally find his feet again.

Re-claiming the long dagger from the ground, then placing it within his belt, Arathys lumbered wearily to where Quinsa had been watching. The golden-furred shaman had shed tears for Padroth, he knew for the glistening of her dark, soulful eyes. There were no noble words from the Jackalare Shaman, no bits of wisdom. She merely extended the second Shard of Yeviah to Arathys and said nothing. When he claimed it from her grasp, she wrapped her slender arms about her torso and left the scene in wordless grief.

She had loved Padroth, but made the choice of duty over love. Something Arathys understood too well.
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:03 pm

He didn’t have to do this. The dead that lay strewn over the inside of the church in Lakeview were not restless and they weren’t haunting anybody. They merely lay in their tangled, broken poses from trying to eat one another, shoot one another and kill one another. The carnage that this room must have held on the fateful day of the Cursing was almost more brutality than even Arathys could stomach. That was the reason he did what he was doing now. This scene did not need to be frozen in time any longer. It needed to stop. They deserved the dignity of rest.

Since Quinsa returned to the rally at the center of the abandoned town, the Jackalare seemed content to let Arathys roam here for the time being. It was coming close to dusk and their time for hunting, so perhaps they had larger matters to attend to than the Cambion and his piling of bones in the yard outside the church. They probably didn’t even know what had happened here…or at least most of them didn’t. Quinsa knew, other elders knew. But the time of caring about the past was fading from these Jackalares. Ironic, that Arathys saw the same in those he now associated within. Perhaps the world was trying to forget, so the same horrible mistakes could happen again.

The old, rusty shovel Arathys used to dig the pit in the church yard did its job admirably, for being hundreds of years old. Like the shovel, the yard was unkempt and worn, but it was still hallowed ground. It would still serve its purpose one last time. Once the pit was dug, all the bones and personal effects Arathys could find were placed within and sprinkled with a flask of holy water he managed from an infirmary attendant. Once emptied, the Cambion slipped it into his belt pack and turned to face the rising moon, Ishaela. It was tradition amongst those who worshiped Zorah to bury the dead at moonrise, so the Huntress may claim them as her moon crossed the sky,

“I do not know your names or who any of you were in life.” Arathys offered in eulogy. “I do not know if you earned this fate or if a darker thing brought it upon you, but that is not for me to judge. I commit these remains to the ground so you all may find rest. Sleep now and find Mother’s embrace.”

Arathys began solemnly shoveling the dirt over the bones and trinkets he had found in the church, which allowed his mind to wander while working. He wondered if the day would come that his fate would be like theirs? Just some bones found on some far off battlefield or simply found, in some forgotten place, alone. Arathys didn’t fear dying alone, but rather took it as an expectation. In choosing his path in life, he understood that there would be times others could not or would not follow or stand beside him. No matter how much zeal they gave to their own oaths upon speaking them, Arathys knew oaths, like people broke when keeping them was too difficult. Such betrayal was his to endure before; Arathys almost expected it when things grew dark, like now.

The last shovel-full of dirt was tossed into place and the burial mound was patted flat with the end of the shovel. Arathys gave the mass grave one last glance then removed his hotel key. The archway to the churchyard would do as a portal creation point home, though as Arathys stuck the key into the air within it and turned, he almost wished he’d taken a horse or even that Steam-Cycle here, if only just to digest his thoughts on recent events and events to come.

There was a lot to think about and damned little time.
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:05 pm

“Arathys, this is wrong.

“By his own laws I would be doing the right thing. I’m living to my ideals, Vajah.”

“You are the commander of the Miroan armies, second in line to the throne. You have duties here!”

“I command an army of monsters and murderers. Aside of Duar, his kin and you, I see nothing else.”

“Monsters or not, they are your obligation. Betray that obligation, your father will end you.”

“I am aware.”

“You will leave me behind as well then?”

“You could run with me. You have no love for the demons, clockwork corpses and cutthroats we fight alongside. I see it in your eyes. They betray you.”

“No Arathys, it is you who betrays me. I gave my oath to you that I would love you till all turned to dust. But look now, your honor does just that. I will remain. If you choose to be a coward, so be it.”

“A coward would stay against their own ideals. A coward would continue to betray their own beliefs and live a dutiful lie. Call me what you will, Mithdanah. I have chosen my ideals over a duty that was never my choice. Please, come with me. You do not need to stay and suffer this any longer.”

“Never call me that again. If you leave, I will be lost to you. My eyes will no longer see you.”

Arathys studied the Moon Elf wizard for a long, considerable moment. Her long, straight platinum blonde hair framed her delicate visage and did well to punctuate the determined expression she held. Rose colored eyes had narrowed into thin slits and her full, unpainted pink lips had, for the first time he had known his beloved, a look of disgust for him. They had planned to be married. They had even spoke of doing so after completing the campaign against Skaryn the Exiled’s remaining forces. They had given their oaths to one another and for his part he held faith, even in the face of his choice.

It was clear enough that her oath had not been as strong as he had believed.

“Then it pleases me, for you will not feel the pain of loss in my departure.” He said at last, while placing the golden lion insignia of his father’s army on the table that created what now seemed an uncrossable void between them.

Arathys left Miroa that day on the back of one of the Tundra Drakes his father’s army utilized as a cavalry unit. There would be no more good-byes. It was enough to suffer Vajah breaking her oath to him to indicate that he was indeed alone with his ideals and that duty could cast aside love.
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:06 pm

“After all these centuries, I’ve found them. They are elusive though. Trapped perhaps.”

“Leave them be you fool! Your vanity at being fawned and fought over has destroyed this family!”

“No Auntie, it is you who destroyed this family. You made me kill you.”

“Imbecile! Had you chosen one and saved our family’s reputation, there would still be one!”

“I had to kill them all. But I had to kill you first Auntie.”

“Belligerent twit. I did nothing but see to your well-being!”

“All the little vipers in the nest. Slithering, biting and poisoning. They died because of you.”

“Tell yourself whatever you like. All this time alone has broken you. A shell of a pompous fool.”

“Not alone. I have you Auntie. I will always have you.”

Long fingers reached up and touched the painting of Lady Giselle Minerva Settasch, last matron of the Settasch family. The white-haired bint was not improved by an artist’s brush despite every attempt to flatter. White hair had been drawn up in a tight bun and her features were exceedingly narrow and bird-like. With her empty brown eyes, hooked nose and inability to smile in any way that did not seem bestial, ‘Auntie’ Settasch’s spirit matched her crow-like look.

Lord Thozual Settasch liked that Auntie was in this painting. She had arranged with the house necromancer that should she ever be slain, her soul would be transferred to this portrait to be retrieved later. It was her favorite of her ungainly renderings. Thozual had the foresight to have the necromancer assassinated right before the big day. The day he would have Ilissai and Frulin to himself and the rest of his treacherous family would be dead. It hadn’t panned out that way though.

Something happened that day that he could not explain. The swords he had made for his lovers betrayed him or had been tampered with somehow. They were supposed to not damage either woman very much. But they did. The twin short swords seemed almost intent on killing the other woman. This was Auntie’s doing. That’s why Auntie was still in the painting and always would be until he had Ilissai and Frulin back. Then they could all be together and Thozual would finally burn this painting. That’s why he liked it. He wanted to watch her burn. Thozual wanted it to burn while he made love to his Ilissai and his Frulin. He wanted to take them both on the ashes of Auntie’s painting. Thozual became a vampire and waited over 1,700 years just to fuck two women on a burnt up painting.

“Have you found our thief?” Thozual asked of the slender figure that stood at a respectful distance.

“I have.” The feminine voice replied while sliding her delicate hands within her black and silver-trimmed robe sleeves. “He comes for the last Shard even as we speak. Scrying was simple. He is not masking his approach.”

“Well done. Then it’s time we prepare to receive our guest.” Thozual was most pleased, indeed.
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