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Sir Nathaniel

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About Sir Nathaniel

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    Roleplay Wizard

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    In that narrow space between brilliance and insanity.
  • Interests
    *Swordsmanship.
    *Writing.
    *Reading. (Love Fantasy)
    *Theater. (Especially musical theater)
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    Author.

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  1. "The other half of our number are noncombatants. They have no combat training or means to defend themselves." Nathan explained. "They do however have artisans, builders and engineers. People who will rebuild this town once the battle is concluded." Arthur nodded. "I'm sure it will shine brighter than it has ever before. And it'll be a fortress. Any attacker will find it too tough a nut to crack." "Indeed. But before then, I have a plan." Nathan smacked his fist into his palm. "Because the horde doesn't know we're here, and they are after our dragon friend here - we have the advantage of surprise. Gather up everyone who can work, we'll set up some additional defenses." ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Per Nathan's plan, a number of citizens, (most of them stonemasons) gathered outside the walls and began to fortify them wherever possible. Because there was only one major entrance to the city in the front, they buttressed the door and shored up any cracks that might have appeared. It was a task that was made easier by just how sturdy it was built. While the bulk of the enemy force was engaged with the defenders atop the wall, small groups would hit the enemy from the woods along the flank and from behind, most of them woodsman and archers led by Elias - as he had the most skill in forest fighting. Because there were so few, it was decided they would be volunteers who knew the risk. Twenty or so did volunteer for this task. Next, Gale and Isolde worked together to create pits filled with holy water - a virtual minefield of them outside the walls to act as traps for any advancing units. Each of them would be deep and wide enough to destroy or weaken about half a dozen foes at least. Since his expertise was in fluid movement, he figured that he would do best in open ground. Once the enemy force was driven back or weakened enough, he believed his best spot would be to lead a battalion outside to meet the enemy in open ground and possibly try to kill the enemy's commander. Max would aid him in this endeavor - as he would light the plain outside with his fire powers - giving them breathing room and cover to retreat if necessary. Arthur, given his expertise was in commanding troops was to hold the wall. He chose archers, crossbowmen and other missile troops to sustain their defense. Any advancing forces would find the defenders well protected by high walls or by murder holes. Finally, Igni would swoop in and devastate the enemy with her fiery breath, destroying as many of their war machines as possible, along with however many undead she could. Because she was the enemy's greatest priority, she was to be protected at all cost. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Three days and nights of uneasy peace passed, during which time, Nathan and his men hunted for deer or fished in the river - bringing back large quantities of game and fish for sustenance. Given their host's appetite and the size of the number of their people, they made sure to stock up on their rations whenever possible; a task which was much easier given how little of it had spoiled. Many larders and well stocked basements and cellars were to be found in the town; most of it either frozen or preserved with salt. The river allowed them an abundance in the way of clean, drinkable water. Finally, on the third day, just after midday, the first scouts began to return with news that the horde was inbound. No doubt, Nathan said, the enemy would be assaulting the town in force and try to overwhelm its defenders with numbers, but the defenses they had prepared would beat them back. Above all, he explained to his men, the priority was to kill the enemy necromancer in charge - if he were to die, the horde would crumble. With that, they took up positions, everyone following their assigned duty and waited. It was not a long wait, but it was difficult all the same: A calm before the storm. Off in the distance, visible even from the top of the wall, there were the telltale signs of an approaching army; the pounding march of withered feet and the stench of carrion carried by the wind. To those in high places, they could make out individual shapes here or there - towering flesh giants and creatures stitched together from multiple body parts. Ghastly war machines were indeed in the vanguard, constructed from wood and bone and loaded with flaming boulders. In the town, the people huddled together under the roof of the church. Women, children, the elderly and sick; all of their faces alight with worry. The one or two priests among them were preaching and praying; urging them to have faith. All along the wall stood lines of archers; Arthur and Nathan standing above the ramparts of the gate. Before the battle could begin, Nathan decided a little spying mission would be in order. "Arthur, open a line of telepathy." He rumbled. "I want to get a closer look at our enemy and let our allies know who we are facing." Arthur nodded, then closed his eyes in concentration. A split second later, his mind's eye opened and his brain was flooded with images of possible futures, but he ignored the visions, focusing instead on the enemy's leader. A tall figure appeared in his vision - at least equal to Nathan in height and in build. Long black hair hung over his shoulders and icy blue eyes looked up at him. They narrowed. The sorcerer in charge was clearly aware someone had attempted to scry his mind. A split second later, the vision was blurred and cut out - and Arthur nearly fell from the sudden feedback - but the last thing he glimpsed was... a talisman, emanating great power. Nathan put his hand on his comrade's shoulder to steady him. "What did you see?" Arthur shook his head. "I'm not sure, but the enemy knows we're here now. He's a sorcerer alright. More powerful than anyone I've ever seen." The thought came, along with a memory to Nathan's mind. Could it be? "Did you get a glimpse?" Arthur nodded. "A man wearing red armor with an amulet around his neck." There was no doubt. "Arthur, let all of our brothers know it's an old enemy, one I thought we destroyed long ago." Nathan's eyes turned white as his pupils vanished as he willed a storm into existence. After a moment, a bolt of lightning shot down from the heavens and engulfed him entirely - nearly blinding all who looked with dazzling illumination. Moments later, he emerged - unharmed and transformed: His entire body now wrapped in gilded, steel plate armor - and his sword in hand. Eyes narrowed in resolve, just as a surge of hatred filled every portion of Nathan's being. "Let's kill him properly this time." ___________________________________________________________________________________________ At the head of the horde of living death, the sorcerer in charge was surprised at the sudden interference. More, he was annoyed. There were not supposed to be people here; much less an entire force of the living. The psychic that attempted to probe his mind was a mere amateur, but he was only half of a pair - together they might pose a threat to him, especially with what else was waiting. They had company - and a major irritant he thought had died with Iselyr, five years ago. "So, Nathan, still alive are you? And once again, you try to spoil my plans." He muttered to himself. "Very well." With that, he mentally signaled his troops to advance. Almost immediately, just before they could reach the treeline, dozens of them were ensnared in traps - spike pits and bear traps and falling rocks from the trees assailed his force. More emerged from the forest, only to be destroyed by gas deposits in the plain. Within minutes, dozens - almost a half a hundred of his warriors had fallen in explosions; their frail bodies ripped apart or pulverized by shrapnel. "A surprise welcome is it?" Antares murmured with a smirk. "I love surprises." Further along, his army advanced - approaching the town - only the left wing had failed to appear. Mentally, he reached out - only to find that several dozen more had already fallen. Probably an unwelcome hunting party in the woods - cutting down his troops in the flank. Sure enough, moments later there came a living party of humans emerging from the foliage and into the open plain and heading for the town. With a scowl, he followed their destination and looked at the city walls - sure enough, there was a familiar bolt of lightning appearing in the sky, which then shot down onto a single spot. "There you are." Telepathically, he commanded his warriors to move forward - the entire force as one. Like ants from a hill, they emerged from the forest - thousands of them, all approaching the city in unison. "Kill them all, my warriors!" Antares Draugur roared, drawing his sword and urging his skeletal horse forward. "Leave none alive! To WAR!!"
  2. Just want you both to know, I very much appreciate your patience. I hadn't expected my job and my life to take so much of my time up, but I should have a little something soon. Also, while I am very much an improviser, I do have some permanent ideas in mind. And I am always open to suggestions. Feel free to shoot me a PM if you have anything.
  3. Now, as we're all aware many of our toons are superhuman - though many of them didn't start out that way. Often they go through some form of Training from Hell, as the Trope is known. The kind of stuff that turns boys into men and puts hair on your chest and on your face. Though, it often varies in intensity and how it goes, it's generally geared toward tearing the trainee down and rebuilding them stronger than before. What I'd like to discuss this fine evening is exactly what your toon went through. For mine for example, the three brothers, Nathan, Max and Gale, they went through standard knightly courses - horsemanship, swordsmanship and chivalric honor - but their trials also included some extreme physical and mental training to improve on their attributes. For example, Nathan went through trials that included strict dietary changes, calisthenics and plyometrics designed to improve his reflexes, strength and stamina. He was taught to be fast as lightning and as hard hitting as a meteor. Then came his mental trials which included Magic. Taught how to become aware of and harness his body's functions through force of will, these allowed him to control his lightning & electrical powers as well as giving him a means of controlling his nervous system and bodily senses; a useful skill for enduring pain for long periods without breaking. Lastly came learning psychology, improving memory and leadership skills - all of which enhanced his charisma and heightened his ability to command. Max being the physical powerhouse of the team, included something resembling strongman style and endurance exercises. From a young age, he was taught how to surpass muscular limits and to push his body harder and longer than normal. A part of it also included Iron Shirt Trials, which heightened his body's durability through repeated striking, postures and controlled beatings, so his pain threshold increased and his every muscle can contract to become as hard as steel. Lastly, when he ingested the blood of the Archangel Uriel, his bones and cartilage were mutated into something more ethereal - making him able to withstand damage much more efficiently - this in turn made him him the team's ideal "Tank". Finally, Gale - who was taught gymnastics, balance, bodily coordination and flexibility. This all heightened his physical prowess and allowed him to become as fluid and changeable as water. His reflexes, hand eye coordination and reaction time were likewise enhanced to allow him to become as fast and agile as a cat. Gale's strength isn't as great as Nathan or Max, but he is much faster, more explosive and definitely the most fluid of them. Another aspect of his training was the use of continuous movement, almost dancelike movement, to allow him to make full use of his agility - and so he became superbly skilled at leaping and avoiding his opponents blows. What about you, dear friends? Any details as to what kind of trials your toons went through?
  4. Mentally, Nathan slapped himself. He had annoyed her. Such hadn't been his intention, but at least she was receptive to his offer. That was his window of opportunity and he was not one to let such a chance slip away. She seemed to have a selfish streak, he noted, but at the very least she had a system of morality. That was something he could work with. With time, he believed he could reach her. It was almost a manipulative thing, not at all unlike how he guided his men - teaching and encouraging them to allow that inner goodness to emerge. In her service, he very much hoped for a similar outcome. Such a thing would go a long way to building a lasting peace between the people and her. "I am human, yes." He responded then ran a hand through his hair after she sniffed him. "But because of my Magic, I believe I will live far longer than normal human. My powers are to command all electricity and lightning. Such powers can also enhance my physical attributes. That includes my lifespan. Compared to you, I am still a mayfly, but at the very least, I think I shall live two or even three centuries." He stood to his full height. "With the Gods as my witnesses, I accept your terms." He said after only a moment. "I am at your beck and call. Now, if you will excuse me, there is an... unwelcome presence approaching. I had best help my men prepare. But rest assured, you'll have a contract in writing later, at the victory feast." Before he turned to leave, he flashed her a winning grin. "And from the bottom of my heart - I thank you, friend." _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ It took a moment, as if he were processing her words, but Gale nodded with a smile and a short laugh. "You have passed my test, good lady." He said after a moment. "Forgive me, but I was only seeing what manner of woman you are. Rare indeed are any that respond so eloquently and so firmly to my rudeness. I see that you are spirited, too; a good trait to have. I rarely ever change my opinion, but you have convinced me of your trustworthiness. Rest assured, now we have no further issue." "Indeed." Said Max cheerfully. "The Gods smiled upon our Master when he found you. A figure of holiness you say?" He leaned forward, his white hair hung over his blue eyes. They practically glowed with eagerness. To any close observer, they could tell indeed he also had a touch of the divine within him. "I too am a servant of the Heavens. But my abilities are rather more destructive. My gift is to wield purifying flames. The enemy truly has much to fear from us: The Watchers and their new sister!" He pumped his fist in the air. "Come, let us prepare." _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Out in the fields, just outside the city walls, the Morn brothers went about their tasks with zeal. Under Arthur's tutelage, every man at arms who was trained for straight combat was organized into infantry units, each designated a number. Because of the lacking of uniform armor and armaments, whatever could be used as protection or weapon was pressed into service. Hopefully there was an armory or a blacksmith's shop somewhere in the city and they could get some proper equipment where it was needed. The living dead would be a similarly unruly mob, so to take the advantage, he needed both hardware and discipline. In that, at least, the task for organizing them into formation was made easy as the majority of his forces were long serving professional, knightly troops. The few that were green were still battle-hardened by the fighting in Nu Martyr, so he could count on that in lieu of actual combat training, at least until they could set up headquarters and formally instruct them at a later date. His task was similarly made easier by the fact these men were volunteers - and because of his own experience as a city guardsman. These men were fighting for their families and a potential new place to call home; both powerful motivators. "Commander, I have the count." Said the Sergeant in the front company, nearest to his right; a short, bald man with a neat black beard. "Our total strength reaches 422 men at arms and 78 volunteer militia. That is a total of 500 combat-ready troops." "501, Sergeant." Said Arthur, folding his arms behind his back. "That includes myself." "Yes, sir." Said the Sergeant. "If we can get some proper swords and spears, we will make the enemy pay." _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Elsewhere, just inside the town, near the inner part of the wall below the central keep where Igni resided, the younger Morn twin, Elias, found what he was looking for: A church dedicated to the faith of the Dragon God, Valjer. It was an old one; long since abandoned, but it was still beautiful. As was true to the Dragon God's faith, it was a simple wooden building with a shrine in the center, depicting the deity by a gold statue with rubies for eyes. Simple, yes, but large enough to safely keep the other half of the people they had brought: Those who were too old, too young or too ill to fight. "This will be the sanctuary to keep the nonmilitary personnel." He said, almost to himself. To his lieutenant, the swordsman that first spoke to Igni, he instructed. "Tell the citizens this will be their place when the battle is joined. Tell them to remain here until the fighting has subsided." His lieutenant nodded. To the depiction of the God, Elias grinned teasingly. "Great Dragon, my brother believes in you. If you truly are real, then we will need your aid." Ah, but then, they did have an actual Dragon, here, in this very town. Maybe He had given them His aid after all. ((The next post is when the battle begins))
  5. Ah, funny thing, Nathan's not anything more than human, but if his charisma and ability to inspire good in others IS superhuman. We'll make a hero out of Igni yet. Also, important thing to remember are the exact words he used. 😉
  6. "Well, not exactly. It is as you say; a well defended place. But the fact that you were here to begin with was indeed an unknown factor. I'm afraid I don't even know its name." Nathan replied coolly. His tone was still conversational and he did not flinch, nor stir when Igni's tail nearly struck him. He merely sat there, waiting and listening intently while she spoke. When he was certain she was finished, he folded his hands in his lap. He seemed to be perfectly at ease, despite the obvious displeasure of his host. "I suspect were there other, less scrupulous humans - they would not have thought twice about trying to end your life. I can assure, however that neither my brothers nor do any of these people have any interest in harming you or causing any more trouble." A pause. Then he continued. "And per your other question, I'm afraid all we have to offer at the moment is the gratitude of these people. Mine own as well. Though, perhaps the future may hold more." He regarded her curiously, not a trace of fear on his face. "If you truly wish it so, then we'll leave once this business with the dead is concluded. But, if you allow it, we'd rebuild this town - repair the damage done - and set up a new, better life for everyone here. For you as well. We would give any offerings of food you desire. But the truest victory, as I see it, is what we have to offer most - that would be the living proof that my kind and yours can coexist peacefully. Proof that dragons are capable of generosity... and kindness." He stood up, slowly walked over to the window where she had stuck her head through and put his hand on the wall. For a minute, there was a wistful look on his face, as if he were remembering something terribly sad. "Men have treated dragons so poorly in the past. I would see that end. I would see these people become peaceful and just. As I know all people can be... peaceful and just." With that, he withdrew his hand and stood at ease. His dark eyes looked into hers; they were filled with silent pleading. He was hoping she would understand he was being completely, absolutely sincere. A whim struck him and he obeyed it - and then he knelt once more. "On my honor - on my life, I swear - I speak nothing but the truth. And if you need more, I offer my life - in exchange for theirs. You say my name needs more preface - and so I would have men know me as Nathan the Dragon-Friend. If you would have me, I would gladly serve with you as your ally. And if my words ever ring false or bring me dishonor, I am your servant, for ever." He offered his hand. "What say you, Igini?" ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ "Well, that answers a great deal of what I would want to know." Said Max. "And if Nathan trusts her, so do I. Welcome to this... well, so far nameless city." Unlike his comrade, Maz had every intention of simply believing this woman was just that - an ordinary woman. She obviously had no ill intention to them or any of the people, so he held little, if any reservations about her. "I have only two questions of you, then." Gale responded with a raised eyebrow. The penetrating gaze had softened. He was still suspicious of her, but there was something about her - the fact that Nathan trusted her, that put him at ease. "The first being what exactly is a Soulspeaker? I'm afraid I have never heard of such a thing. And the second, if you would - is just what are your intentions towards our leader?" "Peace, Gale." Said Max firmly, putting his hand on his friend's shoulder. He looked at Isolde. "Do not take this question personally. My friend here is wary of all women." He explained. "Nathan was married... long ago, but sadly that union was divorced some seven years ago. It still causes him heartache every now and then." Gale snorted again. "Go and tell her our entire life story why don't you?" He said sarcastically. An annoyed glare from Max silenced him. "As you wish." He said mockingly. "We are a group of demon hunters who wish to eradicate the creatures of Hell. Gale, Nathan and I are from the now vanished land of Iselyr. And in Arthur's case... well, his twin and he only wish to help our friends and these people. That is all. So unless you are secretly a demon, or Gods forbid, a Succubi after our leader, you have nothing to fear from us, good lady." ((Post was much later than I wanted. I actually lost the first version, which was longer))
  7. Ever have a week where every day you wake up, life just gives you a hard kick in the family jewels? That's my entire month.

    1. Ganu_Candali

      Ganu_Candali

      I sat through four thyroid biopsies at one point mate only ONE of said biopsies had any kind of surface numbers.  The other three were all raw yolo style.

      But yeah buddy sorry to hear you're having bad luck there's always a light at the end of any long tunnel.

  8. Going to try to post tomorrow. 

  9. I appreciate your patience, both of you. The next post will be soon. It's time we get this show on the road. The Necromancer in charge of the horde is a real nasty piece of work.
  10. Already done. A mile or so. It's just a decent sized town, enough to fit about 2-3000 people at most. It's tightly packed buildings mostly but with lits of parks and open spaces.
  11. Jeez. I just based its size off and density off Helen, Georgia. Which has a population of 500. I didn't intend for it to be so massive. Better modify it.
  12. "You can provide blessings? Your coming is a sign from Heaven itself, good lady." Max said cheerfully. "The Gods are with us today." "Right, well. Let's get down to business." Said Arthur, drawing his spear. "Seeing as how some of us have less favor with the Gods than others, we'll leave you three to discuss the matter. Come Elias." With that, he turned aside and headed back into the crowd to fulfill his plan. "See you soon at the victory feast!" Elias said in parting with a merry wink and a grin. When Gale, Max and Isolde were alone, the two exchanged a glance. The two men were silently at odds, as could be seen in their eyes, despite their bond - and the fact they were as brothers. Max seemed utterly, palpably content. Gale for his part seemed to be glum and glaring at any who locked eyes with him. "So, we're not going to question how she knows these things?" Gale said after a long pause and with a contemptuous frown. "We're putting a lot of trust in a stranger." "Gale, be nice." Max said. "I trust her. Like us, she's clearly a follower of Heaven." "Fair enough, I suppose." Gale replied after another pause. "But I'm not satisfied just yet. If we're ready, let's go find some barrels and fill them with water. Then we'll put them on the ramparts and await Isolde's blessings." "After you, brother." Said Max. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ "I appreciate the compliment, but I forgo any form of title, beyond 'Sir', so you may simply call me Nathan if you wish." Nathan replied. When she drew attention to the slab of rock, he walked slowly over to it and set himself down upon it. "And you are correct. There is a horde of the living dead heading this way. I am glad you are aware of how they pose a threat, but I believe they are coming for you. The fact they are not in greater haste shows they are not aware we are here. Else-wise, they would be making for this place with all speed. More recruits for their army. This gives us time to prepare." Nathan paused for a moment to let his words sink in, then resumed. "Another thing I am aware of the agreement you have made with my brothers, but I am having a thought. Before we get to that, though, I have questions." He tilted his head, his dark eyes meeting hers. "Foremost among them is, how long have you been here? I suspect it may get very lonely." ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ~Many miles away~ An army of the living dead was on the march. It made steady progress over the rolling hills and fields; trampling over any living plants in their path - the touch of their withered feet causing the land itself to rot and decay. The path they trod marked and burned the soil black with corruption - a taint that would remain for long after the horrid army had passed on. There was a full five thousand of them - under the direct command of a single, living man. He had been an ordinary man once - and then a mage of some repute and power, but he had dabbled too deeply into the black arts and succumbed to the temptation for greater knowledge; greater power - and he had strayed too far from the path of the scholar for any society to welcome him. Such matters no longer concerned him, however. He learned long ago that such things as morality and law were limitations. Once he was freed, he found he much preferred the company of the creatures surrounding him. The living dead never questioned him, never talked back or refused to follow his orders, nor did they ever complain or stop to rest. In many ways, they made perfect soldiers. All they really demanded was the small price of a bit of Mana to keep them animated - and they would unhesitatingly slay any foe he directed them at - and then they would add any they killed into his ever expanding army and further add to his power. On and on the cycle went, until his knowledge of the dark arts reached unimagined heights. Among them was the ability to "see" the aura of living things and "feel" the energies they gave off. This particular power was especially useful in rooting out those who tried to hide from him. One particular day, out here in the wilderness - he found her. Dragons were rarely seen on Valucre - and they were among the mightiest predators in the world. He could scarcely wait to add her to his collection. Such a creature would make a magnificent prize; the energy she breathed would be a powerful asset - as would her claws and teeth, but better still was the fact that if he could subjugate her corpse, she would be a mount fit for a lord. Of course, to challenge such a beast without proper preparation would be... unwise. So he had bided his time, gathering recruits from local graveyards and collecting any that might be wandering the land without direction until his host was strong enough. Now he was certain of it. The dragon could kill hundreds, even thousands of his warriors but their numbers would eventually overwhelm her, especially when he unleashed his secret weapon - the ballistae; war machines crafted from bone and loaded with iron tipped harpoons. A single shot from one of them could pierce a castle wall - surely that would be enough to weaken her, if not bring her down. Even if that failed, his army had other war machines; catapults mostly, meant to launch spiked iron balls and rubble. Then there was the fact the necromancer himself was a formidable sorcerer - well versed in the dark arts. "Make yourself ready, dragon." He murmured to himself as he rode along his skeletal horse. There was a grin and a flash of fangs beneath his parted lips. His dark eyes were alight with excitement. "Death is coming for you."
  13. "Oh?" Said Gale, crossing his arms and raising one eyebrow skeptically. "And what, pray tell are these skills of yours?" "Peace, Gale." Said Elias. "Jameson said he thinks her trustworthy, so let us allow her a chance to speak." "Agreed, brother. Though, I think that when the time comes for the battle to be joined, she should join the rest of the civilians in hiding." Arthur interjected. Time for a strategy, he decided. "Likely, the necromancer in charge is going to be confident - thinking he'll just storm right into the fortress and kill Igni. We'll need to blunt the attack before they can get a foothold in here." "I can do that." Elias said, raising a hand. "I will organize those who are experienced in the wild into hunter cadres. We'll be the first line of defense out there. We'll set traps, dig some pits and trenches - and we'll hunt down individual units whenever possible." "Good idea, little brother." Said Arthur. "Next, we'll need to man the walls. The horde will probably try to force their way over the walls through sheer numbers and through the main gate. With that, I think I'll organize the militia and set our soldiers into infantry lines, both atop the curtain wall and behind the gate, in case they breach it." "And I can provide magical support from the ramparts." Gale said, drawing his sword. "My water-based magics can deal serious damage to the undead if the waters are blessed by a priest." "Then we'll find one who was ordained properly in a church." Said Arthur. "Any other details we may have overlooked?" "There is the matter of where to put the noncombatants as you pointed out before." Elias said again, then he gestured to Isolde. "This includes Nathan's lady-friend here." "Right..." Said Arthur, biting his lower lip. His eyes scanned the rooftops. "We'll need to find a safe place. Look for a church or temple. Any holy ground will do. That'll be our last line of defense, or if we need a rallying point, that'll be it." _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Nathan ascended the grand staircase leading to the central keep, impressed at the craftsmanship and the sturdiness of the stones beneath his feet. Whoever had constructed this town clearly had done so with intent for it to last. The stones showed no signs of decay, not even cracks. As he reached the top, he turned and looked down for a minute at the town below. At its peak, he mused, the town must have been beautiful - a jewel of military might and architectural wonder. Whoever built it designed it not just to be a fortress but also a work of art in itself. It was quite large; approximately a mile wide across, fortified with high walls and carved right from the rock and stone that made up the hill it rested upon. Just a bit further along, a mile maybe from the town he could make out the sight of the river - glistening in the late afternoon sun, stretching as far as the eye could see. Turning his gaze down, he scanned the buildings and structures. The settlement was large enough to fit the entirety of the people they had collected - possibly even more if the wreckage were cleared from the streets and the buildings refurbished. Grain silos and smoke filters from the forges were visible here or there, as were the gardens of individual houses - many overrun with fruits and flowered plants - likely to add to the town's beauty and provide its citizens with additional vegetation. Further, just outside his vision he knew there was the gate he had entered - a motte-and-bailey with strong double door made of solid iron. The staircase he was standing upon was at the pinnacle of the hill - leading into a cozy villa that, he guessed, in times of emergency also be used as a central keep. This then, he figured was where Igni made her home. In all likelihood, the citizens that previously occupied it had left after hearing of the approaching dead - or they had become the living dead themselves after Whispernight, allowing the dragon free rein to move in. With that, Nathan turned about. He got no more than three steps when a whim struck him and he obeyed it. Figuring there was no way the dragon would welcome him if he came armed, he drew his sword, Godsend - sheath and all from his back and laid it to rest, at the top of the staircase. Doubtful he would need it in any case. "May the eternal heavens watch over this meeting." He intoned quietly. "Gods, give me wisdom and clarity for what is to come." With that, he inhaled a deep breath and walked forward. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ To any outward observer, Nathan might have seem a flea compared to her, even though he stood at full six foot three inches tall; with broad shoulders and limbs that were thick with muscle underneath his simple brown habit. Long, dark brown hair hung about his shoulders over brown eyes and a rugged, bearded face. His lips had the ghost of a smile as he looked upon the dragon before him. The creature in question was quite large - almost as big as Mladris, he mused, but unlike the Red Wyrm she was not scaled and spiked. Rather, she appeared to be a subrace of the species he had only read of in books. He was quite fond of dragons - and the fact that she was kind enough to spare his brothers when they spoke showed she was civilized. She seemed to regard him as he approached. He stopped a considerable distance before her, then swiftly dropped into a kneel. He hoped this would make him as nonthreatening as possible. If she had any lingering doubts as to the group's intention, he hoped to put them to rest with this. "Greetings, Igni. I am Nathaniel Jameson, the leader of the Watchers team. May I speak to you on a matter most urgent?" ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ((OOC: Meant for this to be sooner, but life got in the way))
  14. The ride to Kethlerin was uneventful at first glance, but Nathan's senses were sharper than any normal man's. He could feel the change in the wind - hear the sound of rotting footsteps - and when they drew close enough, he could definitely smell the stink of carrion. There was no mistaking it. The undead were on the march. These were not like the mindless rabble he had fought before. These were different somehow. Organized maybe. Likely a necromancer or a Death Knight was behind this. The closer they drew to their destination, the more numerous and more thickly they became. Turning Spero aside off the main road, Nathan directed his horse to where he could get a better glimpse. As they approached the top of a nearby hill, his eyes caught what he was looking for. Definitely an organized band of the living dead. Hundreds of them, probably more were heading north. With a grimace, he turned his horse yet again, being careful not to unbalance his traveling companion. She clung to his back with her arms just narrowly reaching around the length of his chest - though she'd find wrapping around his waist much more easy. He urged his horse a little faster, praying silently that the horde was heading somewhere else because if not, the odds would very much be against them. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ "The dragon has permitted us to stay until Nathan arrives." Arthur said to the crowd. After the meeting with Igni, he had called for a meeting with the entirety of the populace. Unlike Nathan though, public speaking was foreign to him. As he looked into their faces, he felt his nervousness increase. Men, women, children - all frightened, desperate and eager to find shelter. "She has promised to leave us alone until such time." "Where else shall we go?" Said someone, a man from the crowd. "This town was built and cared for by men. The dragon has let it fall to ruin!" Several among the crowd began to murmur in agreement. "Yes, but it was men that abandoned it." Arthur pointed out. "When Whispernight came, this dragon Igni found this place and made it her own. We are guests here, not hosts." "By who's authority?" Someone else yelled. "Where is this leader of yours?" "He is approaching now." Arthur raised a placating hand. "I have it on his authority that he will be arriving within the hour." "And do what?" The first man shouted. "Rule over us? Guide us like sheep? Is he to be a King then? Are we to lick his boots?" Several more were beginning to murmur - many of them angry. Arthur knew the moment that tempers flared, this would turn into a disaster. He was about to speak again when suddenly, his prayer was answered, and he fell silent with a smile. "What's he that asks so?" A powerful voice came, echoing off the town square's walls. Everyone turned, astonished as a brown robe clad figure on horseback emerged from between two buildings. "A citizen, discontent? A King, you say?" Arthur could not help but notice that Nathan was not alone. On his horse, clinging to his back was a woman he did not know. Regardless, he turned back to the Watcher's leader, listening carefully as he raised both his arms, as if to try and take in the whole crowd. "No, my fair people." He continued. "I would never presume to rule over you and yours, least of all like a King. Not unless every one of you wish it so. Even then, I would not do so gladly. Rather, proclaim it among your kin that every man and woman here is free to leave as they please. Their passport shall be made and compensation for their departure. You are not chattel. I would no sooner see chains on you, good people, than I would myself." No one spoke. Nathan continued. "I would only ever consider myself nothing more or less than a friend and guide to you. I give you now what no tyrant would ever give to those they oppress: A choice. You may leave and run and follow your own way - or you may stay and join me in this new endeavor. One I have been thinking of since the war's end. We rescued you people from Nu Martyr to save you from the living death. Now, we have here in our hands space to rebuild, clean fields to till and food aplenty for everyone in game and in fishing from the river." "How shall it be so?" The man from before said. "The dragon in charge here has said she will only let us stay a while." "I will go before her myself and negotiate." Nathan replied. "Surely if she is sentient to speak and civilized enough to allow us safety, then she will be reasonable. I have spoken to and secured aid from the dragon, Mladris. I guarantee she will be even moreso when she learns of what I have seen." Now came the hard part. Everyone fell silent. No one spoke. No one even dared breath. The Paladin might have been addressing a crowd of statues. "There is a force of undead - not unlike the horde we escaped from, heading this way. From what I can tell, they will arrive in no less than three days time." Nathan paused again, from the terrified faces of the people, they realized exactly what that meant. "I will not lie. The odds are not great. But we do have two advantages in our favor: The element of surprise and unity." "What do you mean?" Someone else said. "The horde does not know we are here. If they did, they would be approaching much faster: It would mean more lives to add to their ranks. Likely, the sorcerer in charge is after this dragon. I for one do not intend to let them have her or any of you. As I said before, you may run and hide or you can stay and fight." Nathan paused for just a moment more - this time to step off his horse. With one hand, he reached up and helped Isolde off as well. With that, he stepped up a few steps on the grand staircase that led up to the central keep and turned to face the crowd. "For our second advantage, we have our unity. The horde may be numerous but they are also mindless. Cut off the head and they will crumble. Our force is not so easily broken. When first we united, we understood that there is nothing we could not do when we worked together." This time, Arthur chose to have his voice heard. "And all the foes we faced, even when hope seemed lost we never gave up or gave in. Together, we triumphed!" Elias spoke up next. "We're all so different and unique. But now, here we all are standing together like this. We're a team - and we always will be." "And no matter how far apart we are-" Gale continued. "-Our paths will always bring us back together. We're family." "And all of our friends along the way helped us in our fight." Arthur spoke up again. "We need your help now. We've helped you to safety and now we ask only for the same thing in return." Nathan picked up, deciding now was the time for the grand finale. "And surely, when we win the day, we will have a future. A better future. Free of fear. Free of the undead - and maybe even more than that. A chance for a new beginning." He clenched his fist and raised it up. "So I say let them come! We will show what unity can do. People, are you with me?" "We are with you, Nathan!" The entire crowd roared back, erupting into thunderous applause. To his comrades, Nathan turned aside with a grin. "Hello everyone. Did I miss anything?" Now it was time for the Watchers to have their reunion. Max was the first to step up and embrace his mentor in a great bear hug. Nathan's legs dangled an inch or two off the ground, despite the fact that he was a full six inches taller than Max. "It's great to have you back, Master." When he let him down, Arthur put his hand on Nathan's shoulder, allowing him a rare smile. "Good to see you're safe, Jameson." "And you brought a newcomer." Elias said with a merry wink and a grin, nudging the Paladin with his elbow. "Who is your lady-friend?" "This is Isolde." Nathan replied, gesturing to his newfound companion. "I met this young lady on the roads near the Cold Mountains, on my way back from meeting Mladris." "Indeed? Tell us how you came upon her." Gale said with a frown, crossing his arms. His dark blue eyes were dark and narrow with suspicion. "A young woman, alone, unarmed in the countryside?" "Yes." Nathan replied levelly. "You know as well as I that it would be ac rime against chivalry to allow her to go unattended. I trust her." Gale's fierce glare softened somewhat. "Well, if our leader trusts you, then I will as well. He has always gotten us through thick and thin." With that, Nathan turned back to the woman. "These are my compatriots. My brothers. Max, Gale, Arthur and his twin, Elias. My dearest and closest friends." Each man stood up and saluted as his name was called. "And I do believe now, I shall go and make yet another new friend." He turned to the staircase and began to ascend. "This should not take long. Please excuse me, good lady."
  15. Sounds splendid to me. I have always loved history. Making a fictional one myself? Wunderbar!
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