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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.
T.A.Saunders
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:31 am

“You will not waste food. You will eat all your mother hunts.” The voice was not angry but the lash of the barbed whip across bare flesh made up for whatever force the words lacked.

Blood from the fresh wound trickled down bare shoulders of the youth who knelt and stared straight ahead. Golden eyes, so much like his mother’s swelled with tears but he did not shed them. “Yes, father.” He said instead. He kept his voice even, for even the slightest hitch in his voice would be a continuation of the lashing the young boy now suffered.

But it did regardless. The large hand holding the barbed whip raised and sailed down once more with the expected harsh crack, scoring another jagged red line that dribbled blood. The dark-haired, pale-skinned boy was too scared to do much more than flinch at the pain, stared straight ahead and maintained a straight back and properly held shoulders. “I am sorry I was foolish.”

“Foolish choices will kill those who depend upon you.” The calm, baritone voice explained. “Wasting food is foolish. You can never know when you will eat again. You must be strong for when enemies are upon you.”

The whip sailed down again and another vicious red gash joined the growing multitude of wounds there for the boy’s punishment. The man, the boy’s father, who lashed him with the barbed whip was relentless and seemed to register no compassion whatsoever for the act. He lashed the boy six more times without speaking, without instructing further. He punished him because pain would help the boy remember. Pain would make the second son of Nilharys, the Outcast King of Miroa do be more disciplined in his choices.

The large hand dropped the whip and Nilharys turned to leave the room. The magma-eyed Cambion did not stay to console his son or even help him to his feet. He left his child there, knelt and staring at the wall, because that was what a disciplined soldier would do. That is what Nilharys expected of young Arathys. Even when the sound of his father’s heavy boots became nothing more than a distant echo and the heavy iron door to the dungeon room had clanked shut, the boy remained focused on a single point in the wall until he was absolutely sure his father had left.

Only then did he allow himself a single choking sob as he got to his feet, coiled the whip and put it back on the rack where his father had taken it. The lesson was well-learned. It would not be the last time Arathys’ discipline would be tested.
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:32 am

“Here we are then. The Compendium of Outer Realms, all the lore the library has on the Heartstone of Khekis the Unmaker, the Songbook of the Last Lullabye, the Unfinished Chains and the resting place of the Shards of Yeviah, Life-Bringer.” The petite, blonde Quar`Vess librarian offered the brawny figure before her with a little huff for the wooden cart full of books she had to push on his account.

“You are kind to entertain my requests, Milyani.” The broad-shouldered figure replied. “Many of these books are forbidden to anybody not a student or an instructor at the School of Magic.”

“I’ve not forgotten what you did for my sister, Arathys,” The violet-eyed Quar`Vess woman replied, while moving out from behind the cart. She was a slender, gently curved beauty who, while choosing to dress modestly, understood that men saw through modesty with a jut of a hip or smiling a certain way. Her fondness for the Cambion before her was displayed with a small smile and a touch of the man’s bare bicep. “Since the Shar`Vaire have been integrated into our nation, slavers have been running rampant even still, trying to capture young Quar`Vess girls. She would be lost, were it not for you.”

Arathys knew what small gestures meant and perhaps at one time, he would have taken Milyani’s silent reward for his valor to his bed. He would have likely enjoyed the woman for a few nights before delving into the research he had promised Marcus, Mordecai and others and not thought much about leaving her spent to do so. But now the world was a different place and Arathys was a different man. Oaths have been given and they would not be broken for pleasure or power.

“It is what any person with a conscious would have done, Milyani.” He supplied while simply walking past the touch and took the handle of the wooden book cart himself. “I have little time my friend. There are matters in motion I must see to with expediency.” The response was cold, but necessary. To do less would be to invite further advances Arathys was uninterested in.

The librarian was suddenly thankful for the tall rows of bookshelves that shielded them from the other occupants, for the hot flush to her features at the rejection. She was about to say something to change the subject, when she noticed the Cambion was counting. But he wasn’t counting the books or the scrolls she had diligently piled on the cart. He was simply counting to himself. One, two, three, four over and over again. The strange behavior drew enough concern that she touched his back as he pushed the cart off. “Arathys? Are you quite…”

“No.” He knew she had heard him and there was simply nothing to be done about it. He needed the counting. He needed the discipline of the repetition to keep his mind together while he searched for answers for those that needed him. There was no time to be healed of the mental wound as he had been before and there was no one else that knew enough of both ancient and recent lore to even begin looking for answers. This task was his. It had to be his. “None of us will be if I don’t find what I’m looking for, Mily.”

And as she watched the man she knew as Arathys, Blade Summoner push the cart towards a large oak table, Milyani was left to wonder if the burdons of his life were finally beginning to unravel him.
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:33 am

Miyani had been exceedingly helpful. The various matters for Arathys’ research had been, for once relatively straight forward in the finding despite taking nearly two days to finish. The matter of Berwyn’s retrieval from the Void of Chaos will require a personal item of his as a point of attunement, a tether that Arathys was sure he could fashion from Ether and an Occultist that understood the strange realm, which would mean enlisting the dark-spirited Aeden’s help.

The matter of destroying the Songbook of the Last Lullabye, the Great Library in Farwind had somehow managed to collect the original scroll the historical account of the book had been written on. While his High Asyndi was a little rusty, he managed a proper translation after several hours. The method of destroying the book was plausible but incredibly risky. Zarah would have to willfully choose to pitch the book within a perpetually burning Elemental flame. That meant using the Elemental Forge in Am-Xitha for the task, but Arathys was also aware that the Songbook would compel Zarah to sing the song that wakes the Sleeping Terror.

While others (Zarah included) had postulated that it would be simpler to just kill her, Arathys shot that idea down immediately. Even if she did die and they didn’t destroy the book, eventually there would be born another female uth Braegon of Zorah’s bloodline that could be put in the same situation. It was better to destroy the book, Arathys firmly believed, even by the method detailed in the delicate, weathered scroll before him.

Arathys had also come for other answers to questions that needed answering. These were matters of personal honor that he felt required his action. To discuss these matters with others would be pointless because the he was uninterested in the opinions of others on the tasks he has chosen to put before him. There were times honor required one to act and not seek the blessing or approval of one’s peers. In this, the Blade-Summoner was resolute.

The first of these matters was the Shards of Yeviah, Life-Bringer. Yeviah, Life-Bringer had been a scepter belonging to the King-Priest Sarjen the Unyielding, last human king of Sengaard. The scepter was said to grant the wielder the ability to undo any debility, curse or affliction, including vampirism if the bitten had not yet feasted on the blood of the living. Needless to say, the vampires that took the Kingdom of Sengaard were none too pleased at the existence of such a relic.

So came the campaign to overthrow the kingdom and turn it into a nation controlled by the vampires. In the last days of the Battle of Sengaard, the King-Priest took to the field of battle himself, refusing to cower in his castle while his subjects fell in droves. And while Sarjen slew many vampires, he too fell in battle. The crystal scepter Yeviah could not be destroyed utterly by the Khavosian dark priests, so instead they broke it into three shards. Those shards eventually came with the vampire Ko`rashae Ri to Imarel and to the city of Sundown.

After the Sundown Civil War, the Shards were lost and scattered onto the black market, leaving few clues to their location. Finding them would be the first of Arathys’ personal missions. His own quietly fragmenting mind aside, there were others that could benefit from this potent relic, bringing them peace they might not find elsewhere. It was for them he undertook this task and perhaps for his own peace of mind, that he had did something to help those who needed him rather than sit idly by.
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:35 am

The Unfinished Chains and the Heartstone of Khekis the Unmaker were entwined matters. The Unfinished Chains were chains forged by the Dwarvish Master Smith Dunagal Glantheel from an alloy blended from Divinium and Quantyr that he referred to as Glanthium, as a tribute to his clan. The alloy, said to rival Vocorium in strength while having the unusual ability to repair itself should it ever be damaged, was used to make a set of four chains to restrain the possessed golem, Khekis.

Khekis had been a creation of Dunagal’s brother, Bromhan, who had dabbled in occult practices and attempted to fuse the spirits of the deceased with powerful metal bodies, so that fallen comrades could rise again to battle for the clan once more. Rather than the spirit of a fallen brother or sister however, Khekis’ Heartstone possessed by a lurking demonic spirit, who craved the golem’s powerful body.

Once Khekis was brought up to power and his Heartstone placed within the thick Kaalcite-armored frame, the demon within set about slaughtering every Glantheel clan Dwarf he could find. The clan’s soldiers engaged the golem with machines of war, but only managed to wound the rampaging construct. Knowing what must be done, Dunagal, who had planned on using his chains as a divine means to restore broken items if linked together in a circle, instead offered them to his Thane, Jadal to bind Khekis.

With what soldiers they had left, Jadal and Dunagal led a charge against the golem in the very foundry he had been made, managing to use the Glanthium chains to hold the creature fast to the wall. Bound by the holy might of the chains, the demonic spirit within the Heartstone had been trapped and without souls, the fiend eventually weakened to the point that the golem was forced to go dormant. Dunagal died in the fight however, taking the secret to creating Glanthium to his grave, it is widely believed, hence the name ‘Unfinished Chains.’

Arathys believed that the secret of Glanthium was not lost, but rather still locked away in the same forge Khekis had been buried within on orders of the Glantheel Thane. Even if the actual method was lost, he was fairly sure if he could recover those chains he would be able to find a smith that could discern how Dunagal fashioned the alloy. The Unfinished Chains, once finished in a circle as they had been intended, could be used to restore the Shards of the Scepter of Yeviah.

This meant of course, removing the Heartstone first so the Chains could be somehow unlinked from the golem’s body. There was no mention as to why the Heartsone was not simply removed and exorcised once the possessed golem was trapped in the various volumes Arathys had poured over. The Heartsone itself was a unique crystal, found in the deepest reaches of Clan Glantheel’s mines that were rumored to near the heart of Ishaela itself. A splendid thing of variegating hues that had sparkled gently like starlight, until the demonic spirit corrupted it, it was believed to have some innate ability to keep a soul safe. Perhaps in possessing the Heartstone, the demonic spirit was also trapped within it, Arathys considered while pouring over this last volume.

Once he saw it cleansed, the Blade-Summoner believed he might well have a purpose for that as well, but for now, he had more immediate tasks to address. His next stop would be Tashran to attempt to locate the Shards of Yevieh. If they had passed through the black market, somebody there would know who bought them, fenced them or stole them. It also wasn’t getting any easier to count away the howling in his mind, even if it had lessened a bit. Arathys feared, as he departed the library, that he was running out of time.
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:37 am

“The last time I was here Benny, the information you gave me was false. I was displeased.”

“I assure you, Arathys on my mother’s grave that I speak the truth!”

“There was no fragment of the Star of Bae-Lorh hidden in the Am-Xitha Council Chambers.”

“I had it on good authority there was! A Half-Elf of Tallis-Shei descent from…somewhere near!”

“I did find a very nice bottle of wine in there, however. That might be why I haven’t expressed my displeasure with you.”

“You see! All worth the trouble. Perhaps you will not shoot your friend, Benny?”

“If your records are good, I will consider the matter closed.”

“Of course they are! Look!”

The trip to Tashran had been a trial of Arathys’ patience. The crowded city that was as much under the sway of the Hazjid as it was Windsong Republic law had its own set of moral and ethical codes. The Tashrani were an extremely tight-knit people who saw to their own and rarely let in outsiders. Benny Hamal was an exception. Whenever Arathys wanted to dig up a relic or find certain types of information, he was one of the first people he sought. The problem with Benny was, if somebody wanted his secret kept quiet or if he thought a lie would make him money, Benny became a little less than reliable. Of course, reliability could be changed considerably in the long-bearded, rail thin man with the influence of a large Blacksteel Revolver pressed to the man’s brow.

Benny’s business was selling baubles. Benny’s real business was fencing hard to find and illegal magic items to interested buyers. Since it was generally common knowledge that the Shards of Yeviah, Life-Bringer were brought together to Tashran and ended up elsewhere separately, Arathys rightly suspected the man of pawning them off to different buyers so he could raise the cost of each Shard. Most of the peddlers in this city did the exact same thing, but because Benny had so many well-to-do clientele amongst the Shar`Vaire and other surprisingly legitimate people, Arathys checked here first.

“The buyer of the Shard with the headpiece, is this address correct?” Arathys asked while squinting at it. He knew where the estate mentioned in the ledger was. He had been there not too terribly long ago. There had been brigands there attempting to break into the manor there, but he had never found out why. The puzzle piece of it suddenly fell into place.

“It is. I keep very accurate records. You never know when some golden-eyed demon is going to want to threaten you with a gun!” Benny found it difficult to check the address, with the barrel of the Blacksteel Revolver pointed at his head but he managed and confirmed it.

“This next entry is vague. It was to be delivered to Lakeview? There is nothing there anymore. Nothing but Jackalare.” Arathys inquired of his captive audience.

“Again, I keep accurate records. He was a nervous man who wanted it delivered there because he did not want to be found with it. Said it was for the shaman. I am a business man, Arathys. I do not ask questions that do not concern me.” Benny was feeling a bit nervous himself, but handled it well. It came with the business that sometimes people threatened you with firearms and magic.

“This last entry states that a Lord Thozual Settasch the Third of Luisellia purchased the final base fragment.” Arathys said more to himself than to the poor Tashrani fencer he currently held at gunpoint. He knew all these places because he had been to all these places at some point in his life. The whole think smacked of divine meddling, something Arathys had been growing quite annoyed with in recent days.

“Fortuitous I have kept records dating thirty years back, no?” Benny said with a wide smile.

“If anybody comes looking for this same information, lie to them.” Arathys replied, while holstering his sidearm and replacing it with a coin purse that clinked delightfully on Benny’s counter.

“What information? My records are Lasher droppings!” The fencer chirped while slamming shut his ledger.

Arathys’ next stop was a little manor just outside Windsong City. The Lady of Quality and the humble merchant lord that lived there were in more trouble than they probably knew.
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:40 am

“Without ideals, you are nothing. You are meat that walks without purpose or honor.”

“You would allow me to choose what I believe?”

The flat of the longsword that Nilharys slapped his son upside the head with rang loudly with the fury of the blow, sending the boy sprawling in a dizzied haze of near-unconsciousness. Looming before the dazed boy with the imposing threat of his weapon poised at his throat, the magma-eyed Cambion replied to his son.

“You will whether I wish it or not. Know that it is your ideals that make you strong. Cowards do not have ideals, they have fear and weakness.”

“Sometimes a coward is merely a coward father and fears because they are wise to.”

The words came as Arathys jumped to his feet and traced runes in the air, to reconstruct the Ether Sword he had been fighting with. The flickering white blade was not a perfect conjuration, but it would suffice for getting knocked around by his father. These training sessions were just as much about Nilharys giving his son an understanding of pain as it was about teaching him to use the weapons he conjured.

“Cowardice is never wise, Arathys. It is a choice to fail those around you.”

The Cambions spun together in a fierce clash of weapons that threw Ether-made sparks across the training room, illuminating it in a hazy glow of white and pale red. The sinister gleam of Nilharys’ magma-orange eyes as they narrowed began to make the boy shudder internally with the prospect that if his father felt he was weak, he would cut him down without hesitation. His own blood. His own son.

As the lock of swords broke with Nilharys stepping within Arathys’ guard and smashing a forearm across his temple, Arathys knew he would never have the same ideals as the man above him. The boy reeled again, parrying aside blow after vicious blow from his increasingly aggressive father to the point he was forced to take the Ether Sword two-handed in order to maintain a defense.

“Cowardice is not a choice! Not everyone can be brave! Not everyone can be strong!”

“And that is why you are weak, Arathys.”

With the words delivered with that same measure of unnerving calm, Nilharys slammed the longsword home through the conjured blade his son had been using, causing the weapon to burst and dissipate in a flash of ethereal energy. The swing followed through and a deep gash was cut through the armor Arathys wore, into the meat of his chest. The wound would have been a fatal one were it not for the demonic power that flowed through the boy’s veins.

“No, father. I choose to be brave for those who can’t be.”

“One day, we will test your ideals as I have tested you. You will likely find the results similar.”

Nilharys tossed the longsword down next to his wounded son with sharp ‘shrang!’ of the weapon hitting the cold marble floor and left the room without further word. It was hard to say whether he was actually disappointed in Arathys or was simply testing his beliefs and how committed he was to them. It was a founding principal of the Outcast King’s new kingdom that all must have ideals and live to those ideals with every waking breath. To choose otherwise was weakness. Those who betrayed their ideals for mercy, for acceptance and for love were worse than thieves and murders in the new Kingdom of Miroa.

Arathys considered the oddity of having your own ideals and sticking to them in the face of a father who continually told you that your belief system was flawed as one of the on-looking attendants hurried over to see to the wound the boy had. Laying still in a slowly drizzling pool of his own red life, Arathys decided then and there that his ideals would never be accepted in the court of his father. What he believed was the diametric opposite of what the Outcast King attempted to beat into his son every chance he found. Instead, it only confirmed everything Arathys believed for himself.

Daemian, his elder brother thought as his father did. The crown prince of Miroa was more dismissive of his younger brother’s misgivings on the savage laws and ethical codes his father had set down as law. Even if Nilharys perished and his mother crowned Daemian as expected of her, nothing would change. Miroa would continue to become this nation of war-ready and blood-thirsty people who favored strength over compassion, culling the weak over protecting them.

Arathys knew that one day, he would have to leave Miroa behind. He would have to be the Outcast.
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:43 am

The trip from Tashran to Windsong was an uneventful one by the measure of Arathys’ usual adventures. He had chosen to take a passenger class airship rather than simply using his Edge of Dreaming hotel key to travel instantaneously; one never knew when those two teleports it allowed for could come in handy. Aside of a Lasher bull breaking out of his pen and a young pick-pocket attempting to lift his coin purse, the ride had been happily dull for two days.

Sparing the young blonde-haired thief a trip to the authorities, Arathys instead paid the girl a few gold and saw to her having a room and a meal on the voyage in exchange for any information she might have on people looking to fence ‘rare and valuable’ magic items. While most of her information proved notable but not useful for his purposes, Arathys did manage to find out that a man referred to as Lord Settasch had been paying ridiculous amounts of coin to help ‘forcibly acquire’ a crystal shard from a local family.

This made a great deal of sense when laid atop his encounter with the brigands at the home of the merchant lord and his lovely wife. His arrival upon their estate had been an unexpected one and was meant to go unnoticed. The estate was the home of his traveling companion at the time and was meant as nothing more than an introspective visit then departure. With the spotting and the eventual melee that ensued with the three brigands they encountered, Arathys had dispatched them swiftly and had not thought to take one prisoner.

They had been there for the top shard of the Scepter of Yeviah that the merchant lord purchased. While it wasn’t immediately clear what somebody like a member of the Settasch household would do with such a magic item, Arathys was not inclined to find out. There was one that needed its power back at the hotel and several including him that would find great worth in its gifts. While the screaming of the unborn thing of Chaos in his head had grown still, the echo of it was still there. He could feel the reverberations of its absolute, horrible evil ping-ponging inside his head. The counting seemed to help that too, but Arathys always internally feared one day counting would not be enough.

As the airship docked in Windsong city, he drew the hood of the simple, russet brown traveling cloak he had purchased in Tashran, along with a pair of well-crafted Blacksilver broadswords he wore low on his hips. It was important to keep his identity a secret should the merchant lord or his noble wife come upon him. His companion had been quite specific about secrecy in any dealings with them. Arathys had vowed to honor that wish and did what he could to conceal his identity.

While his normal black and silver great-cloak would have sufficed, he had given it to another as his Irisyn-Alu, a token of some kind that has followed a Shei warrior into battle and acts as that warrior’s vow that he or she will protect that person at all times and at whatever cost. It was commonly given to an individual of great importance or great personal admiration. Aside which, the leaping lion that comprised the clasp would have been enough of a give-a-way to his identity as a Warrior of the Kingdom of Miroa.

The twin Blacksilver broadswords were also important. Like any notable warrior, they could be identified by their weapons. The blazing red Ether Blades Arathys used in combat were a hallmark to any who would face him without knowing his name. The weapons were unique even amongst other conjurers who always strive to make more durable and more powerful constructs from the Ether. While Arathys could not match the might of some of the great creatures and defenses his peers could shape from Ether, Arathys’ Ether Blades were unmatched in the carnage a summoned weapon could unleash.

While these simple choices were probably not enough to hide him from somebody that knew the Blade-Summoner well, they would deceive those unfamiliar with him. As Arathys departed the airship via the rickety gangway, Arathys disappeared into the bustling crowds of Windsong as just another sell-sword looking to bloody his blades and make a name for himself. It was time to find some manner of transportation and get to that estate; there was no telling what he might find there upon his arrival.

* * *
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:43 am

“Aw c’mon then poppet, give us a kiss! Might not gut ya then!”

“I’d sooner face the gutting. If you mean to murder me be swift about it. Your odor is a slow death.”

The words earned the dark-haired Tallis-Shei woman a backhand across her delicately sculpted jawline, leaving a rather unpleasant-looking bruise there. Her assailant, whose dirt-smudged face might have actually helped improved the look of him, leered at the woman who was presently bound at her hands and feet. The slack of the rope had been used to draw her hands up and over her head, where the rope was looped around a cement column.

Khonjin!” the woman spat in the Shei tongue. “If that is your best, I’ll die of boredom before stench!”

The shabby thief was about to punch the She-Elf in the face with a fist wrapped in the metal confines of a pair of brass knuckles when three of his compatriots and a tall, Quar`Vess man came through the front door, leaving it wide open. The Quar`Vess man had dark hair and tranquil, silvery eyes that looked almost clear as he lifted his head and stared at the thug near his wife. The humble merchant lord sneered perhaps in the first time his wife could remember.

“You have the crystal you were so eager for. Take whatever else your filthy hands can manage to take and begone from my home!”

“Oh we’ll leave certainly,” responded one of the three men that had entered with him. “Our orders were to fetch this bauble then kill the both of you for all the trouble you’ve been to my client. All you had to do was sell it to him and you’d not be with your bitch of a wife here, battered, beaten and roughly five minutes from being executed.”

“He wanted to buy it for a third of its worth.” The clear-eyed Quar`Vess replied. “Had he made a reasonable offer, I’d had considered it. All this trouble for an enchanted bit of crystal sculpture?”

The leader of this band of thieves, who dressed a bit better than the other three pushed aside the length of his olive canvas duster and yanked out his Spitfire pistol with dramatic flare. “Ask your god in th—“

“Hey Tamar! Somethin’s comin’ towards the front door!”
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:45 am

‘Vrrrreeeeweeer-Vrrreeeeer!’

In all the long years the merchant lord and his devoted noble wife have lived, had they ever imagined somebody would come to their pleasant home with cobblestone walkways, lush green trees and large ponds with exotic fish swimming within to actually rob them. It was simply unheard of this part of the world on the outskirts of Windsong City where Crusaders sent their squires to patrol for trouble.

Nor had either of them ever imagined somebody would be flying down their cobblestone walkway on a Steam-Cycle, through their front door. The two thieves guarding that door never had a chance as the rider of the vehicle sprung from atop it and let the loud, fast traveling machine strike them head on. The dirt-smudged fellow had been one of the unfortunate pair. The front wheel, as it popped up obliterated his head, neck and most of his left shoulder, before it stopped spinning and slid on a red slick of the man’s blood. The other fellow had just enough time to turn to avoid a similar fate, only suffering a concussion from the vehicle’s tailpipe as it went airborne from the inclined walkway to the front door.

Tamar barked orders at his remaining man, who pulled a long-bladed knife and turned to plunge it into the heart of the Moon Elvish noblewoman. The figure who had been atop the Steam-Cycle had landed not far from the knife-wielding thief. There were no words, no threats to offer. The hooded and cloaked figure never actually stopped his flow of movement and seemed to simply run past the thief.

‘Shrrippp!’

The dark-haired Elvish woman would only receive a nick from the knife at her chin as the weapon flipped in the air and a spray of thick, crimson gore as the hand and the forearm connected to it were simply cleaved free. The thief reeled in agony and clutched his bloody stump, before falling to the floor in a sad, sobbing heap.

With one man dead, one unconscious and one bleeding out, Tamar suddenly didn’t like the odds and how fast they changed. Using the Spitfire’s rapid-fire capability to send a hail of angry, muzzle-blazing gunfire in the direction of the preternaturally swift figure with the Blacksilver blades, Tamar then turned to make a run for it with the top Shard of Yeviah clutched in his free hand.

‘Ptaaang!’

Tamar had not however expected one of those bullets to be reflected back at him. The round burst through his left knee and lodged itself in there, rather than making a clear passage and sent the man sprawling with a howl of pain. The Shard slid through blood-slicked marble and landed next to the crashed Steam-Cycle with an anti-climatic ‘clink!’

“You will answer for what you have done, but not here.” The hooded figure snarled out in a graveled, menacing baritone. “If you resist me, I will end you.” The unwavering rabid yellow flame in the hooded figure’s shaded visage was enough to unnerve the wounded Tabar for the moment. To ensure the thief leader didn’t go far, the hooded rescuer walked over to the Steam-Cycle and lifted it by its tailpipe then set it on Tabar’s good leg. The thief leader roared again in anguish and spat obscenities that neither the red-haired Quar`Vess merchant or his Shei wife had realized existed in the Common tongue!
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Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:46 am

The hooded figure moved to free the husband and wife, but was paused by the woman who gave him wary regard. “Why are you doing this? You are no Crusader of Kaal or Windsong Hand of the Watch.”

“I act to aid one that you and your husband hold dear.” The hooded figure offered as an explanation. “I cannot tell you more, except to say I require the shard to help them.”

“So you’re here to steal it too?” The Quar`Vess merchant sputtered in exasperation. “Doesn’t anybody just pay for things anymore!”

“No.” The noblewoman murmured to her husband. “Had he been here to simply take it, why free us? He could have easily dispatched them and us. I believe he speaks the truth. You know well our d—“

‘Thrack-Thrack!’

The thief that had been knocked unconscious from the flying Steam-Cycle had roused and had taken a shot at the couple with his Lawgiver revolver. The sidearm was legendary for its accuracy, though that had a great deal to do with the shooter not being dazed. Having no time to draw his swords to attempt a deflection, the hooded and cloaked rescuer simply shielded the still bound couple and soaked the two shots, one passing cleanly through his right shoulder and the second ripping a hole in the hood and cutting a jagged line across a shadowed cheekbone.

The Shei woman could see the aureate glitter of the hooded figure’s eyes and the wreath of rabid yellow flame that burned within them for the damage the bullets had caused. A split second though, not long enough to make out details of their rescuer’s face as he snarled, whipped around and hurdled one of the Blacksilver swords, end over end into the man’s sternum with such force, one could not only hear the sickening splintering of bone, but the loud ring of the metal as it slammed through the marble behind him.

“Unbind me, I can fetch our house physician to see to those wounds.” She offered gently to their rescuer, even as he moved to do that very thing amid more howled obscenities from Tamar.

“No.” The whiskeyed voice of the hooded warrior murmured, while cutting free the Quar`Vess merchant next. “The one who seeks this shard will continue to send more men until he is stopped. Tend to yourself and your husband. Should you require further protection, I will see to it.”

“You only wish the crystal shard to aid somebody we know?” The merchant said while claiming his wife in weak embrace. “Take it as your reward for our lives then. Perhaps you could tell me one day if its rumored purpose is true then.”

The hooded figure glanced back at the Quar`Vess merchant and spared a pained smile as he moved to collect Tamar and the dented up Steam-Cycle. “You will know.”

Without further discussion, Arathys left on the sputtering Steam-Cycle with the crippled, cussing Tamar and the first shard in hand. The trip to the Windsong Tower of justice would be an interesting one.
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