[Arkane] Cry out for a Hero

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TheDarkOne
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Re: [Arkane] Cry out for a Hero

Post by TheDarkOne » Thu Jan 21, 2021 12:03 am

"I caught some sleep here and there. To be honest, I don't sleep much these days..." Lucius admitted, staring off into space a little before he returning to his sense, looking over at her and giving her a small smile to show he was fine. He swirled his goblet around and took a drink, before returning his attention to the map. "However we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves. We don't have one city let alone planning the second." 

"As for the Broken King, its been a turbulent time for the Disputed Lands. Ever since the collapse of the Alvarr Kingdom after the loss of their Kingmaker, its faced subjugation and invasion by foreign forces. If it wasn't for the other two nations on the island, one of them certainly could have conquered it." He explained, moving his fingers over the map gently, tracing the outline of the land "In truth, its remarkable what the Broken King has managed to achieve. He's managed to bring some semblance of order and civilisation to a land many believe cursed. If he had a Kingmaker of his own, and didn't work off the back of the people, he might make a worthy ruler." 

When she offered him the orb he nodded in acceptance, taking it and putting it back in his pocket to keep it safe. Finishing his drink, Lucius rose to his feet to see off Elena, her fretting about his rest even more than Yuna normally did. "No promises, but I will try". Wishing her a good day, he returned back to the desk and sunk down into the chair, looking at the map in front of him. Their plan to scout around Treilony was ambitious, and fraut with trouble. Their attempt to gather intel would only alert the bandits to what they were hoping to achieve in the area, especially worrying as he didn't have knowledge of the area beyond the map. She wasn't wrong however, it was the best location for their capital. Lucius rubbed his eyes, feeling the pain as he did so. He was too exhausted to think, to the point he was almost nauseous. Taking himself off to bed, Lucius pulled of his boots and lay down amoungst the pillows, closing his eyes and waiting to fall asleep. 

The knocking on the door startled him awake again, somehow feeling even worse than when he finally dozed off. He felt sick, not helped by his head pounding. "I'll be right out" Lucius called out, rising up to his feet to start donning his armour. Sleep hadn't come easy, thoughts of what Illyria said racing through his mind. The gods and their servants sure loved to be vague. Pulling his surcoat on and reattaching his sword belt, Lucius went out to join the others. Clouds covered the sky, rain gently beating down as they prepared the rowboats to head to shore. It wasn't far to one of the few towns in the area, a small trading village on the coast situated at the mouth of the Iber. They were taking two boats, one to carry him, Elena and a few of his mercenaries to shore to reach the town, the other with some promising agents to spread across the land and gather news. Carefully moving down in his armour, Lucius joined Elena in the rowboat, and with a nod they were underway. 

The waves did most of the work pushing them into shore, and when they arrived Lucius began to give orders to prepare them, the two groups taking the ships further up the shore before setting to work in hiding them in foliage. When they were satisfied they wouldn't be stumbled on, Lucius bade farewell to the small group of six, some heading back along the cost towards the northwest while the others were charged with gathering intel around the Halls of the Broken King. With everything sorted, Lucius led the way towards town, walking alongside Elena. "Cant say this is the best plan in the world, but I've walked into worse." 

"Nearest town is Camlost, a small fishing and trading hub near the coast. For what little I know, the bandits have been exceptionally hard on taxing the area, leaving it destitute." Lucius explained, before struggling to make it up a muddy bank in his armour, nearly slipping a few time. He stopped every now and again to aid Elena or one of his men up to the top before carrying on. In the distance they could see a small village through the rain, smoke rising from the town with various sea birds circling above, eagar to snap up any fish carelessly left unattended. 

"Not sure what use we can be, so close to the bandits headquarters." Lucius stated, taking a short break to catch his breath.

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Re: [Arkane] Cry out for a Hero

Post by Arkane » Sun Jan 24, 2021 6:44 am

When Lucius awoke and exited the room, Elena took a moment to enter the room and gather some of her belongings she would need. First, she quickly equipped her leather armour, strapped her sword around her hip, and secured her bow and quiver behind her back. Wrapping a warm cloak around her shoulders, she met Lucius on the main deck and prepared for departure on one of the rowboats.

A light rain drizzled down on them as they finally boarded a rowboat and left the Firebird. A few mercenaries joined them on their boat, while another boat loaded with six other mercenaries, followed behind them. It was the second groups job to scout out the surrounding land and gather intel, while Elena and Lucius’ group travelled to the nearby village to gather information of their own.

Once they made it to shore, Elena hopped off the boat and waited for the men to hide the boats. Eventually the two groups went their separate ways and Elena and Lucius began their trek towards Camlost. Camlost was apparently a small fishing village hard hit by the Broken King’s taxes. It was at the village that Elena hoped to gather more information about the Broken King and gauge how preceptive the villagers were to be free of his reign. Lucius voiced his unease of the situation and Elena couldn’t help but agree with him. She felt quite uneasy as well, but they had little choice in the matter.

“I agree,” she began. “But we do have to start somewhere. Either way, the Broken King will eventually learn of our presence one way or the other. We’ll just have to try and be prepared,” she concluded, beginning her climb up a muddy embankment. In reality she just hoped that she could control the powers of her Kingmaker well enough to be of assistance. As they crested the muddy bank, Elena reached up to Lucius’ offered hand, grateful for the assistance.

“Thanks,” she said, eyes now on the small village below them. “Let’s proceed forward.”

She ventured down the hill with a careful foot, the beginnings of the village boarders now coming into view.
As soon as she entered the town, she could see and feel how somber the atmosphere was. It was like a depressed air had settled down over Camlost, leaving the village devoid of any joy or laughter. Most homes and buildings were made of wood; worn and rotting from the salty air. The roads were in poor condition and many of the storefronts...what was left of them...were bare. What little food was for sale was long past edible and consisted of stale bread and browning vegetables. And it was quiet, very quiet. Every movement she made sounded like it was ten times louder than it ought to be.

The townsfolk that happened to noticed the strangers walking down their roads quickly avoided them, many of them shutting themselves up in their houses with loud bangs of their shutters and doors. Elena soon realized they were afraid and her eyes saddened at the state of poverty the villagers were living in.

One of the merchants at a stall eyed them warily. Elena walked towards him, the man looking more uncomfortable the closer she approached. “Good day,” she said, in a friendly tone. The man merely nodded in return, busying his hands with rearranging his goods.

“We don’ get much visitors ‘ere,” he said, his voice raspy. “Best for ye to leave. Sooner tha’ better. Broken King don’ like foreigners on ‘is land.”

“So I’ve noticed,” Elena replies, keeping her town calm and even. “Is there someone in charge here in Camlost. Someone that I can speak to about the Broken King.”

The merchant grunts and nods his head. “Man in charge ‘ere is the head fisherman, Gibari. Likely down by the docks.”

With a small nod of thanks, Elena leaves the merchant’s stall and heads down to the village docks, sharing a quick glance with Lucius to make sure he was on board with the idea. The docks weren’t hard to find and immediately she could see two men loading a dismal catch of fish into salt filled barrels, which were then loaded into the back of a wooden cart.

“Apologies for the interruption, but do you know where I can find a man named Gibari,” Elena asked, interrupting the two fishermen.

“Aye, tis me,” said the first man. Gibari was a burly, muscular man, with wide set shoulders and tan, leathery skin from hours on the open sea. He was middle aged, with grey streaks forming in his dark brown hair and beard. Like the merchant before, Gibari is also surprised there are visitors in their small fishing village and quickly urged them to conclude their business and leave.

“I do not plan on leaving until I’ve learned more of the Broken King. In fact, I wish to confront him. It’s clear he does not treat the people of these lands well,” Elena replied, trying to sound more confident than she appeared. Gibari chuckled in disbelief, eying Elena, Lucius, and then the small number of men that accompanied them.

“I highly doubt a young woman like you can take on the Broken King!”

Up until this point, Elena had kept her Kingmaker and crest hidden underneath her cloak. But it seemed she would not be taken seriously unless she proved herself. Opening the front of her cloak up, an aura of heavy magic began to swirl around her. A rush of blue flames erupted at her feet, her Kingmaker glowing and pulsing with energy. The flames harmlessly rushed forward towards the two fishermen, lightly singing the ground at their feet as it circled around them and fizzled out. The glow of her kingmaker died down, Elena once again placing her cloak over it. The two men stared stunned at what they had just witnessed.

“Do not underestimate me,” she said, eyeing Gibari with a stern look. “I am Elena Furyck and I have come here to claim these lands, but not as a tyrant, like the Broken King.”

“A K-kingmaker,” Gibari breathed, seemingly having a quick change of heart. “The Broken King is a fierce and malicious man. We all fear him and he rules over us with an iron fist,” began Gibari. “The punishment for disobeying his laws is death... and many do not dare to oppose him...not even speak ill of him. Although I’d like to make him pay for what he has done to us,” he concluded, clenching a fist.

Gibari explains that the fish they were loading into the cart was for the Broken King and his forces. It was the tax the village was charged to pay, as none of them had near enough coin. But because of this tax the villagers barely had enough food to feed themselves.

“Some of the Broken King’s men will be arriving later on in the afternoon to inspect the fish and take it back to the Fort,” Gibari said, looking at Elena and Lucius now. They clearly had some planning to do.

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Re: [Arkane] Cry out for a Hero

Post by TheDarkOne » Sun Jan 24, 2021 4:51 pm

Lucius followed Elena down the hill and into the town, making sure to rest his hand gently on his sword pommel incase they should come under attack. The villagers eyed they with wary suspicion and departed back into their homes as they passed, making sure to close their doors and shutters. A few children looked on at them with mild curiosity, but their mothers quickly gathered them up and shooed them out of the way. He had seen villages like this before after wars and raids, people just keeping their head down and trying to get by. For some people that was all they could do. He stood by and let her speak to the merchant on their behalf, making sure to keep an eye out. A few men hung back, watching them from what he could only assume was a tavern, eating and drinking but making sure they never took their eyes off the group. Lucius glared back at them through the slit in his visor, and soon they broke eye contract and left their table, each heading off their separate way. Unsure if they were villagers or bandits enjoying the spoils of the town, Lucius instructed his men to keep an eye out as they followed Elena to meet Gibari.

The man was strong, broad of shoulder and well worn from a life on the sea. Lucius had opened his mouth to begin chatting to him when Elena started talking, and so he kept his silence to let the princess handle things. The same confident princess took control of the questioning, the same princess that had haphazardly went off alone to steal them their flags to leave Alvantis. The mercenary made a mental note to educate her on her new responsibilities when she came into her throne, as he listened to the conversation transpire. As he doubted Elena's ability, Lucius spoke up "I wouldnt judge a book by its cover, even the smallest acorn can grow into a mighty oak. What matters, is her strength of will." 

The fisherman began to chuckle, and as Elena unclasped her cloak and showed them the power of her crest, flames danced around and bathed them all in a blue light. The men were not to only ones startled, the villagers watching through the gaps in their shudders gasped as well as some of their own men slightly taken aback. Only Lucius held his ground, after having stood before the heat of the burning bird, a few streaks of fire were trifling. But it had the desired effect, and the power of her crest seemed to fill the men with enough strength and bravery to share what little they knew about the Broken King. If they feared him this much, then the amount of men Lucius had at his command wouldn't be enough to assault his Halls, certainly not without the arrival of the others. As Gibari pointed out that some men would be coming down later to retrieve the fish, Lucius spoke up. "Prehaps we could discuss this in private some more, out of the rain? If you know someplace." 

"Aye...aye. Me place ain't too far." Gibari stammered, scratching his beard in thought as he weighed up the risk of even just talking to them with what the bandits would do "We don't have much, but the old woman wouldn't turn down guests. I'll get her to make us some food."

"We couldn't possibly, just some shelter from the weather will be all we need." Lucius said, thanking the fisherman "If you could escort my friends here, me and her majesty would like to have a look around town abit longer." 

Gibari paused for a moment, before nodding in agreement and signalling to follow him. Lucius pointed the way with his head to let few men he had follow the fisherman further up the beach and towards Gibari's hut. When they were out of earshot, Lucius removed his helmet and tucked it away under his arm. "Walk with me." He whispered, leading her back through the muddy streets. They passed crumbling homes and derelict huts, various stands and stalls abandoned and picked clean either by the bandits or whatever townsfolk remained. The two walked along the outer palisade, the stakes driven into the ground to provide some for of makeshift defense, but for the most part it was falling undone, several sections of the wall damaged beyond repair along with a few of the gates hanging off in disrepair. "I know you intend to try to help these people drive off the bandits, I can see it in your eyes." Lucius said softly so no one else would be able to hear, pushing his soaked hair back to keep it from dripping into his eyes "Were it anyone else, I would advise leaving these people to their fate, to avoid having the Broken King actively hunt us so early." 

"However, as I know you are more stubborn than any other princess I know, I suggest we lay a trap for them. Currently we don't have the numbers to risk an all out engagement." Lucius went on, stopping in the middle of the southern gate and looked off into the distance. Just along this road alongside the river, far into the distance, was the Halls of the Broken King.  A short 30 minutes march away, and the moment word got back they could be sure that reinforcements wouldn't be far off "It is here they will come from, we need to make sure each one falls. With a few oil pots, we could cut off their retreat and hope that into he confusion that we few can win." 

"Do know that we are directly endangering the villagers. If we fail, its not only us who will pay the price." He continued, looking back to Elena now, his face grave and serious as he talked to her "Do not lie to Gibari, and stress that we need all the help he can give. The villagers will need to evacuate afterwards, I'm sure the Firebird could handle a few more souls. Just make sure you are ready to see this through, should you wish to start." 

When Elena confirmed she understood, Lucius let his demeanor loosen a little. "Come then, let us introduce ourselves to our hosts." Walking back towards the coast with her, they made their way into Gibari's home and entered after a short knock. The rest of the soldiers were gathered around a small simple wooden table with bowls laid out before them, each squeezed tightly together on a myriad of small stools as a womans shrill voice echoed throughout the hut "You know its nice to know when you're planning on bringing over company! I could have made myself up for them, had tea waiting!" 

"I never knew meself did I!? No point in shouting at me over it!" Gibari howled back before reappearing in the room. Before long they were met by a small, elderly woman who shuffled in with a iron cauldron far too heavy for her to be carrying alone. One of the men made a move to help her but with a single icy stare from her, he immediately sat back in his chair. Placing the cauldron in the middle of the table, they could see a thin fish soup mixed with some vegetables. She ladled some into the bowls, offering it to the men. When one tried to respectfully decline, she smacked her with the back of the ladle "Its rude to refuse food from your host, you're scrawny enough so get some meat on those bones!" 

"Thank you for your hospitality, you shouldn't have had to do all this for us." Lucius thanked her, but he too refused a bowl of food. Before she could explode back at him, he spoke up again "Just some tea for me thank you." 

"Its grand, we don't get many visitors around her after those bloody bandits moved in up the road. Drove away all the trade." She grumbled, before hurrying off out of sight again. She returned with two ceramic mugs of tea, which Lucius gratefully accepted before taking a sip. The tea leaves were a little off and stale, but nevertheless, the warm beverage helped ward off the cold from outside "Keep telling this lot to get off their arses and drive them out." 

"With what, our nets and harpoons? There's too many of them." Gibari responded with

"Maybe there wouldn't be if you lot have got off your backsides earlier!" She exploded back at him

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Re: [Arkane] Cry out for a Hero

Post by Arkane » Wed Jan 27, 2021 6:58 am

Elena thanked Gibari for allowing them to use his home to convene and speak more of the matter. If this was to work, a lot of planning needed to be done and executed in a very short time. They had no time to waste. As the rest of the mercenaries followed Gibari to his home, Elena followed Lucius in the opposite direction. She knew that he wanted to speak to her privately and frankly she wanted to hear his counsel. Nodding, she agreed to walk with him along the poor excuse of a palisade.

Once they were alone, he began to speak to her about the consequences of what she wanted to do. She knew that planning such a resistance to the Broken King would come at great risk to the villagers, but how could she just stand by and do nothing? Especially when she had a powerful Kingmaker that could turn the tides for the better?

“If I can’t even help the people that are suffering right before my eyes, why should I be given the privilege to lead them in the future? If I am to conquer these lands and form a nation, these people deserve to be saved,” she replied, gently. She knew the risks and she nodded to him in understanding. This was one of the many difficult choices she would have to make...just as Irrilya had warned her during the third trial.

Thankfully, Lucius went along with her desire to save the town and its villagers. The plan was to ambush the Broken King’s men that were coming to the town to collect the fish. To do this, they would lay a trap for them with oil to cut off their retreat back to the Fort, where they then would be picked off one by one.

“I will give the villagers a choice. They can continue to live as they have been, or they can use this chance to potentially change their quality of life,” she nodded, intending to be honest with them.

Once she and Lucius had finished speaking, they made their way back to Gibari’s house and joined the rest of the men around a cramped table. It was then that Elena met Gibari’s wife, Ana. She seemed like a strong and proud woman, unafraid to speak her mind. Elena immediately took a liking to her.

“Thank you for the tea, Ana,” Elena said with a small smile, holding the warm mug in her cold fingers. Taking a sip of the tea, Elena actually didn’t mind the taste and it warmed her bones after the persistent treatment of the cold rain. Unfortunately, the atmosphere in the small space began to get heated as Ana made her displeasure known. She had no love for the Broken King and wished the men had done something sooner, to which Gibari became defensive and added his two cents on the matter.

“That is what we have come to discuss,” Elena said, interrupting the married couple as they argued loudly. “As I was explaining to Gibari before, I plan on using the power of my Kingmaker to retake the lands from the Broken King and form a new nation.”

The attention now on her, she explains what her goals are for the undeclared lands, and that the first steps to conquering the lands and forming a reputable nation, was to dethrone the tyrant king.

“It’ll be dangerous and I can’t guarantee that there will be no casualties, but I believe that this is what needs to be done to start changing things here for the better. I know we are short of manpower now, but we are waiting for our companions to arrive aboard two more ships.”

“Hmm,” Gibari nods, in understanding, scratching his beard in contemplation. His wife seemed more than eager to get things rolling. “I’ll call a meeting of the villagers and see where they stand,” continued Gibari. “I reckon some will flee, afraid of the consequences...but I know more will stand and fight, having nothing else to lose.”

~ ~ ~

The villagers attended the meeting and the results were exactly as Gibari had predicted. However, more people chose to stay and fight than Elena had anticipated. With everyone now on the same page, preparations had began to go underway. There were men fortifying the walls, while the woman gathered oil and began placing them in various containers and pots. Another group of men were preparing makeshift weapons, and others were outside the gates setting up the structures for the oil trap.

By late afternoon, all was as ready as it could be; the oil trap laid and ready. Men with ranged weapons such as harpoons, bows, and spears, stood along the ramparts near the entrance of the village. This is where Elena was also positioned, each one of them hiding out of sight until the Broken Kings men were in position for the trap. The rest of their motley crew were on the ground, waiting to ambush the enemies once their comrades above had rained arrows and harpoons upon them.

Even with the power of her Kingmaker on their side, Elena was becoming nervous, never having been in such a battle before. But she would not sit back safely when she had the ability to really make a difference in the battle. Ditching her cloak now, she proudly wore her Kingmaker, intending to use its power if things went awry.

Suddenly, one of the men alerted the rest of the company that he spotted riders on the horizon. The Broken’s Kings men were on their way to collect what was due and would be upon them in soon. Readying her bow, Elena took in a steadying breath, hoping that luck would be on their side.

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Re: [Arkane] Cry out for a Hero

Post by TheDarkOne » Wed Jan 27, 2021 3:30 pm

As plans were agreed and put into place, things began to take motion. Most of the men and women had agreed to fight, with none judging those who deemed that they had too much to lose. Instead those villagers were given rudimentary clubs and hoes to defend themselves as they waited next to the water's edge, using what remaining fishing boats to sail down the coast until they found the Firebird, being sure to look after the children. Lucius himself helped to gather up the oil pots and direct where they were to be placed. The plan was relatively simple, worked out between the princess and himself, as the bandits entered they would come through the chokepoint and into the killing field. Then it would be Lucius' job to lure them in before lighting the fire. As soon as that was done, the others from above would spring up to inflict as many casualties and chaos that they could before he and a few men hidden on both sides charged. This should cut off any hope of escape and take a few men out that they would have to deal with later anyway. Lucius had obtained one of Gibari's tattered cloth shrawls that hung low so as to hide his armour underneath. Soon their lookout gave the call that they were on their way. 

It was time. 

Ushering everyone into their positions, Lucius made sure the shrawl was pulled around him as he mock gathered several barrels and loaded them onto the back of the cart. As the men got closer, he could hear their laughs and jokes as they came to collect their tax, but he couldn't turn around until he was sure that they were inside. As he waited with his back to them, he heard their leader shout out to him from a horse "Oi mate, your haul needs to be better than last time or ole Jack here will have to drag you up to meet the King in person. Wasn't pleased with your catch last week." Again Lucius said nothing, reaching his hand between the barrels to grasp onto the sword hidden there. Their leader spoke again, this time more annoyed. "You deaf? I'm talking to you." He shouted over, his horse shaking its head nervously as if it sensed the trap. "Jack, go give him what for." As soon as Lucius felt the hand on his left shoulder, he turned round and buried his sword deep into the man's chest. He made a quiet gurgling noise as his comrades looked on in shock, before Lucius used his free hand to push him off the blade falling down dead. With a word of power, Lucius shot a spark of flame at the oil pooled around the gate. 

The whole place went up like a bonfire, fire spreading to form a solid path blocking the bandits escape with the leader thrown from the saddle as the horse reared in panic and fled. There was about 25 give or take, all drawing weapons as projectiles began to rain down from behind them. Lucius watched as one man was dropped by a well thrown harpoon, another two on fire after the elderly Ana tossed an oil pot onto them, desperately clawing at their neck and face to get it off them. With a yell of encouragement, Gibari emerged with three of the mercenaries from both sides, setting into those boxed in by the fire. Lucius charged from the front himself, cutting two down with quick, precise slashes. A third rushed him with a spear, but Lucius dodged to the left and grabbed the wood, trying to twist it out of the attacker's hand, to no avail. Using his sword, Lucius crudely cut the wooden shaft in two before twirling the head of the spear around and buried it in his eye, blood spraying across his face. Looking up, the battle was nearly over, quick but exceptionally brutal. Most lay dead, save for a few still in combat with Gibari and the infantry, with those above unable to get a clean shot. Out of the corner of his eye he could see the leader who got away, crawling on all fours after the horse threw him, now trying to reach the western gate.

Lucius tore after him, leaving the others to finish off the wounded and dying, splashing through the mud and puddles scattered about the village. The chase was on, the leader ducking in-between huts and buildings to try to break line of sight but Lucius wasn't far behind. While his armour slowed him down, the man's leg must have been hurt in the fall as Lucius was still gaining on him. Rather than follow him around a hut, Lucius ran up the hill it was perched on to cut him off, tossing his sword to the side as he spotted the perfect time to strike. Leaping down, Lucius caught the man and dragged them both down into the mud, wrestling with each other as the man kicked him away. As Lucius recovered, he just saw the glint of the man's dagger and ducked to avoid it, now on the defensive as he blocked and dodged the man's attacks. One clumsy strike later and Lucius let the blade slide past him before grabbing his arm and knocking the weapon away. The two fought hand to hand, his heavy mailed strikes driven into whatever part of the body he could reach while the bandit punched and grappled. Their footing in the mud was treacherous, as so when the bandit ran at him they both fell once again, this time fighting while prone. He could feel the bandits nails dig into his exposed neck, but Lucius overpowered him and forced him onto his back, the man still fighting back as hard as he could. Grabbing his neck, Lucius pushed him down hard into a puddle of muck and water, holding his head under the surface. 

One...two...

The man fought back as hard as he could, Lucius feeling scratch marks on his neck but he put as much distance as he could between them.

Three...four...

He began to kick furiously, trying to shift Lucius body weight but he pressed down firmly. Occasionally he raised his head to try to scream but it only caused his mouth to fill with water and mud before Lucius forced him back down. 

Five...six...

The man's struggles began to weakened, still fighting but the strength was failing him with each passing second. Covered in mud, Lucius closed his eyes and pressed in harder, pushing him further down.

Seven...eight...

Unconscious now, the man fell limp and lifeless, Lucius still refusing to open his eyes. Using his gauntlet to pin down his neck, he wrapped his other hand around his head. 

Nine...snap.

Finally opening his eyes, Lucius looked down at the puddle. The man looked back, his face purple and eyes bulging with fear. In that moment Lucius wasn't there, his ears ringing as the rest of the world was blocked out. Drenched in rain, blood and muck, Lucius let go and looked down at his hands, covered in mud but shaking still. He brought his fingers round to form fists, holding on tightly until his hand would shake no more.

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Re: [Arkane] Cry out for a Hero

Post by Arkane » Fri Jan 29, 2021 6:28 am

Elena could hear the men’s laughter and rude remarks. The Broken King’s men were getting closer and had entered the village through the gates. She watched from her hiding spot along the palisade, the Princess hidden behind a strategically placed barrel. Elena could see Lucius was in position as well, along with the rest of the mercenaries and Gibari’s men. The bandits passed the spill of oil on the ground, Elena’s hands clutching her bow tightly. Soon.

The men began to call out to Lucius, becoming more aggressive the more he ignored them. Watching from her higher position she brought her bow up, beginning to pull the string back. As soon as Lucius lit the flames, they could rain death upon them. And then, one of the Broken King’s men threateningly placed a hand on Lucius’ shoulder. Not a second later, that same man met an untimely demise; Lucius stabbing his sword through the man’s chest, pushed him off of it, and simultaneously sparked the oil on the ground.

The area lit up like a spectacular bon fire. Her comrades voices boomed in war cries beside her, and Elena released her first arrow right into the neck of a bandit that was also unfortunate enough to be engulfed in flames. Arrow after arrow she let fly, the sounds of battle eventually tuned out; instead the princess concentrated on the sounds of her bowstring twanging with every arrow she released. Each man she killed. From the right side, Gibari and his men joined the fray, Elena saving the head fisherman from an attack aimed at his back, with a well timed arrow.

But it was Lucius that was the powerhouse behind their assault. He was like a wild bear surrounded by flames. Any and all that came near him ended up dead on the ground. And in the blink of an eye, the battle was over. There was one runner, but Lucius had proceeded to chase the last bandit that tried to escape. Victory cries filled the air as the villagers celebrated their victory, Elena smiling along with them, relieved their plan had worked.

She took the stairs down to the ground, careful to avoid the still burning flames. The Princess was confident that Lucius would be able to take care of the runner, but she still wanted to make sure he was alright. Following in the direction that he had ran in, she eventually found him kneeling over the bandit, the man’s face submerged in a puddle of water, having been violently drowned. The energy that Lucius was emitting seemed...different.

“Lucius,” she called, approaching him slowly, brow furrowed in concern. She watched as he slowly stood, shaking hands clenched into fists. His eyes looked distant, like he wasn’t there for a moment. “Lucius,” she called again, this time getting the man’s attention. “It’s over. We’ve done it. Are you injured,” she asked, placing a gentle hand on his forearm.

~ ~ ~

The next part of the plan was the arduous bit. The majority of the villagers had either fled before battle or escaped to the safety of the Firebird. It wasn’t safe to remain in the village, knowing the Broken King would most definitely retaliate. Elena and Lucius lead the rest of the villagers towards the Firebird for some much deserved rest.

When they had arrived, they found that a makeshift encampment had been erected along the shores. Small fires were burning in the sand, the remaining villagers making food for the crew of the Firebird and the returning men and woman from the battle. Things were a little disorganized, but at least they had a moment to regroup and get some rest.

After a moment to settle down, the leader of the other mercenary group that had set out with them, had news to report to Lucius and Elena. He told them how the rest of the villages and farmsteads throughout the country were largely empty. The rumour was that all of the people in those towns had been rounded up like cattle, and forced to work at an ore mine called Ulfton Mines.

Sharing a look with Lucius, Elena nodded at the mercenary, before releasing a small sigh. “That should probably be the next place to investigate. Tomorrow, then?”

~ ~ ~

The next morning came quickly. Realizing the delicacy of the situation, Elena and Lucius decided it would be safer if the two of them investigated the Ulfton Mines on their own. They had to keep an extremely low profile, which would be impossible with a bigger party. After gathering all the necessary supplies, and securing two horses that had belonged to the bandits that were killed the previous day, they set out.

“According to the report that Gustav gave, there’s a small mining town not too far from the actual mines,” said Elena, looking at a map of the country as her horse followed Lucius’. “It’s where the woman and children of the miners live while the men work at the mine....if it’s true that the Broken King is making these people slave away at Ulfton Mine...well I’m afraid at what we might find.”

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TheDarkOne
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Re: [Arkane] Cry out for a Hero

Post by TheDarkOne » Fri Jan 29, 2021 3:26 pm

Elena's voice sounded distant in his head, until she spoke again and gently rested her hand on his forearm. With a few blinks he snapped back to reality, his hands slowly relaxing, "No...no I'm fine thank you."Lucius responded, still slightly in a daze as he pushed himself up to his feet, "We don't have time to bury the bodies, the smoke will be visible from the castle. Let's gather everyone and make tracks." Following Elena back to the others, he stopped only to retrieve his sword that he had discarded during the chase. Cleaning the mud off as best he could, Lucius sheathed the weapon and retrieved his helmet from the wagon. Helping the remaining villagers with their remaining possessions, they made they way out the western gate and off back in the direction they came. Along the coast they sound found the rest of the villagers, lighting fires to keep warm as well as to smoke the fish they had caught before boarding the Firebird. Joining their camp, they were pleased to see that Gibari and the rest of them had survived the ambush, and they cheered at their small victory. They offered to join them but Lucius politely declined, not forgetting to return Gibari's shawl. 

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

Just before night fell, a few of the scouts that had set out returned, each soaked through with the rain earlier in the day and pleased to get a chance to rest by the fireside. Lucius and Elena joined them as they gave their report. "So what you're trying to tell me is that every farmstead you came across is abandoned?"

"For the most part yes, there's a small town to the north west that seems to have resisted the bandits and are willing to lend their aid in ridding the land of them." The head scout explained, taking out a small, crude map and pointing to the region the town was in. His finger then moved to south of the Halls, pointing at a particular mountain range that swung around to join those between the Disputed Lands and the Sultanate of Auresia. "One of the men spotted an ore mine here, said it was buzzing with activity. Best guess is that the bandits are using forced labour to harvest the ore." 

Lucius pondered it for a moment before thanking Gustav and sending him off to get some food. "Certainly worth checking out, if only to get a grasp on the situation. Just the two of us though, we can't afford to give anything away." 

"Morning comes quick, let's get ourselves some rest." Lucius suggested, pushing himself up to his feet and resting a hand on Elena's shoulder. As she took herself off to one of the tents to sleep, Lucius settled down under one near the beach and sat next to the fire, using a stick to stoke the embers to keep things burning. The skys were beginning to clear now, the stars managing to shine through small wisps of cloud. The sound of the tide coming in was soothing, but despite this he could still feel his heart racing from earlier. Something was wrong with him, ever since his father's death he was unable to sleep and although Yuna's magic helped him rest, it wasn't for long. She had voiced her concern before, but there was no use in worrying until it became a real problem. His men needed him, and Elena needed a solid rock to cling to in the storm. Lucius looked out across the waters that were bringing Isabelle and Elias to the Disputed Lands. With their arrival, and if they agreed to join them, they could make their dream of a kingdom a reality. Lying down with his head resting on a sandbank, he watched as the fire slowly faded away. 

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

Awaking early, Lucius stretched and yawned as he wiped away the sleep from his eyes. Setting to work he gathered a few water skins as well as some preserved fish for their journey, placing it in the saddlebags of the horses they won back at Camlost, not the powerful and noble horses currently resting below deck of the Firebird, but enough to save them the long walk. He awoke Elena not long after, and the two of them set out towards Ulfton Mine. They kept off the road for the most part to avoid any patrols, and after an hour or two of riding arrived on the outskirts of a mining town. It was no more than a few wooden hovels gathered around the foot of the mountain, the sounds of work being done within. Lucius pulled his horse off to the side and tied it to a fence alongside the treeline to keep put of sight, and guided Elena around to a vantage point. As Elena spoke her displeasure, he grunted in agreement, coming up the side of the mountain until they had a clear view within. 

In the center of the town was a large hole with an elevator system being used to bring the ore up from underground for processing by the women and children. The place was surrounded by watchtowers manned by archers, keeping an eye out for anyone trying to escape. He didn't spot any men within, only women moving the rocks to the forge and then taking completed iron and steel to carts for what he assumed were delivery. Children were also working, the older kids turning the great wheel that operated the elevator. They wore little clothes, same as the woman, and dirt and soot covered nearly every available inch. When work slowed, a master was on hand to whip the motivation back into them. Turning away with his back to the rock they were peeking over, he looked at Elena.

"Cant see the men, they must be kept separate because that hole isn't the miners entrance, just for the ore" He said quietly so that his voice wouldn't carry on the wind "We can sneak in to try and get more information but we would stick out like a sore thumb." 

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