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Constructing a Stronghold

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Related imageThe trek across Terrenus was long and arduous. Had it been Artemis alone, there was no doubt in her mind she'd have made the travel in a matter of days. Unfortunately those had no been her orders. Instead she was at the head of nearly a thousand trained soldiers. Mixed in with those soldiers were persons of both Ursa Madeum and Taen homage, filled with nothing but excellent skill and intelligence. Many of those following, while soldiers as well, where engineers, architects, builders, and the like. Though they traveled to build, they were also prepared to fight.

A the Emperor planned to mingle with the other leaders of Terrenus in order to come to some alliance, A.N.T. she believed it was called, he had also tasked her with constructing a stronghold near Ponkapoag Lake. According to recent rumors among the higher class of Ursa Madeum, the civil war in Terrenus was splitting the land into multiple regions. Each of which was filled with factions of differing ideology and military prowess.

The Blue Hills were in central Terrenus, and thus unaffected, but no real leader had shown their face in what the citizens were referring to as the blue region. A few days prior to her departure, Titus had explained himself to Artemis despite her strong urging that as emperor, she wouldn't dare question his orders. He was worried that someone ruthless and powerful would see that the blue region was completely unoccupied and decide it was a good place to put down roots. A large piece of land without a semblance of order or that of a despotic leader was exactly the situation he had just free Ursa Madeum of. 

He couldn't let something similar occur, even if it was hundreds of miles from Taen and even further from Ursa Madeum. Artemis knew the worries of her lord to be true and thus felt her pride surge like a river. Out of all the people at Emperor Titus' beck and call, he'd chosen her to establish what could result in being the empire's first line of defense again threats from the east. 

Riding a beautiful white horse to her left, Princess Teresa moaned. "Hey Artemis. How is it possible to ride a horse for so goddamned long? My ass is on fucking fire."

Artemis clicked her tongue at the princess' vulgarity. She'd previously had no right to criticize the princess, but among his other orders, Titus had promoted Artemis to the Princess' adviser. Artemis had felt like her heart would burst from her chest in pride. She believed being pulled from Everrun was something akin to a bad omen, but fortunately it had proved to be the stark opposite. 

"That's not how a princess should speak," Artemis corrected, shaking the blonde strands atop her head. The black horse beneath her neighed in response. "However, it's simply practice. Eventually you'll get used to it."

Teresa rolled her eyes. Artemis smiled but didn't say anything. The emperor had warned her that Teresa would be a handful. "How long until we get there? We've been on the road for an eternity." 

"A few more hours at best, " Artemis answered, reaching into the pocket of her saddle to retrieve a map. "We're just passing Ponkapoag Lake. Our destination is a few miles out from the lake and the haunted glen. Empress Red should be just up ahead though. We're just about at the meeting spot."

@Red the Ambivalent

Edited by Ataraxy

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HeroWarz - MMO - Ramirez                                                                                                                                                                                 More

 

Som whooped loudly as he flew through the air; propelled by twin jets of flame from his feet that, while he used smaller jets from his hands to stabilize himself. Ever since the Red Dawn he had made it a point to work on his flying skills so that he could increase his mobility, and gain a new angle to attack enemies from. How devastatingly effective it would have been if he could have swooped down on the Tyrant King's soldiers, raining fire down on them from on high? It had taken a while to transform his jet assisted jumps into anything resembling flight, but through lots of practice and plenty of crashes, he had finally managed, and he loved it. It could be argued his landings could still use a bit of work though. 

As he soared through the sky, he looked down at the thousand or so men as they marched towards the stronghold they would be fixing up. With the war in UM having ended so recently, he had been surprised when Titus had ordered them to mobilize again so soon. As he understood it, the Archangel was concerned that with a civil war on, and no real leadership in the Blue area, it would be easy for someone like the recently deceased King Damien to take control. Som didn't disagree, and had volunteered to go with the force to help things along. He was a General after all, and where the army went, he would follow.

Descending toward the head of the column, Som cut his flames and came to a mostly graceful landing besides Artemis and Teresa; quickly transitioning into an ambling stride. He zipped up the black vest he wore; and grinned amicably.

"First an Emperor, now an Empress. Seems like I just keep running into royalty these days."

Edited by danzilla3

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Teresa giggled and sheepishly tucked a strand of loose blonde hair behind her ear as Som landed. A light blush crept to her cheeks at his words , one which did not go unnoticed by Artemis who cast a disapproving glance toward Som. "Don't forget about me," she said, hopping off her horse and taking a few steps toward the Taen general. "I count as royalty too!" Her words were accompanied by the vanishing of the cloud above her head, only for it to be replaced by a small sun which shun as bright as her smile. Whenever she saw the fire bender her heart sped up and her hands got all clammy. It was really gross.

When Som zipped up his black vest to cover his bare chest, Teresa felt her face heat up and she quickly looked away, hurrying back to her horse. It was enough that her stupid powers gave away her emotions but now she couldn't even keep a poker face! Some princess she was. Changing the subject despite her own previous attempt to keep it going, Teresa turned it back toward Red. "You've never met Empress Red before?"

Teresa herself had only met the Empress once or twice but had found the woman incredibly likable. Almost like an aunt figure. A cool aunt. She didn't know if her mom even had relatives, much less having met them, and the relatives on her fathers side regarded her with about as much respect as they did her mother since she wasn't a pure blood Archangel. 


While the princess talked and managed to turn more red than the blood in her veins, Artemis was forced to consciously resist snorting. She'd expected human girls to be so foolhearted during their teenage years, but from the offspring of an Archangel and a Seraph? And a princess at that? Artemis shook her head and waited for Teresa to climb back on her horse before speaking up. "We can discuss the general's history more on the road Princess. Do not get distracted from our main goal here." Although Artemis spoke loud enough for both Teresa and Som to hear, Teresa's retort was meant for only Artemis.

"Oh my gaia Artemiss!" she whispered, "just be cool, okay? Gaawwwdd." 

"Your father will not be happy to find his 16 year old daughter trying to flirt with one of his generals." Was all Artemis said in response before reaching over to grab the rein's of Teresa's horse and urge the horse along. Turning to Som- "It's possible that the Empress has already headed for the Stronghold's location. If that's the case we'll meet up with her there. The Emperor told me it was possible she would decide to make the trip without waiting." 

Although they had been slightly in the lead of the following soldiers, their minute or so of discussion had allowed for the first few lines to catch up. Once Som did or didn't choose to respond, Artemis would make it so that both of their horses started moving at a similarly quick pace once again. They would head for the meeting place with Red first and if she wasn't there, go straight to the Stronghold were she would most likely be waiting for them. 

@Red the Ambivalent @danzilla3

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With the success of the A.N.T.S meeting only days in the past, it was only fitting that with the newly founded Allies meet on terms fitting to broadcast their relationship. It was with one particular relationship that the Empress had garnered within Taen that she took special care to maintain. The Princess Teresa, such a bright young woman with so much potential, and the two of them had struck a bond prior to the Allied Nations meeting. Whereas Teresa saw Red much like an Aunt, to her the young woman was much like a niece in the same regard. Without proper family for the majority of her life, it was a new and exciting feeling to care for someone as if they were actually family.  

 

Because of that special bond they shared, Red found herself meeting with the young noble about the Blue Region, an area that she herself had been eyeing for some time, just hadn’t gained the resources needed to further investigate the ruler barren lands. When Titus had gave his wishes for her to meet, Red was more than happy to accommodate. Although she hadn’t taken with her some thousand soldiers as an escort, a few dozen well-armed men and the famed black Gryphon of hers made the trek. Still largely swollen with pregnancy, it was urged she not do much walking, so the trip was spent resting on the back of the big black feathered beast.  

 

She hoped Nyxau didn’t scare Teresa, or alarm any of the escort she’d likely have along. He was a gentle giant, and they shared a telepathic bond. Unless harm was coming Red’s way, he would lie idly by and allow her to do whatever business she was here to do.  

 

The meeting spot was a common turnoff for travelers, a cozy little diner and Inn that stowed away the tired and the hungry. She hadn’t gone inside, but the commotion of a few dozen soldiers and a rather large animal with talons had stirred the residents inside. After a few minutes outside, a stoutly old woman had peeked through the shades, found herself with widened eyes as she spotted the blonde sitting on the Gryphon, wearing clothes fit for a traveling ruler, and was outside with water and a parcel of bread. ‘Ease’. The single word fled through the minds of the soldiers and beast alike, where the tension had mounted at the sudden arrival of the greying woman, they settled and stood at attention.  

 

With a smile that could melt hearts, Empress Red patted the side of Nyxau and he lowered to the ground, allowing her to slide from his back with only inches to drop. “Ma lady, is such an hon-or, please rest--” Outstretched was the glass of water and bread wrapped in would looked to be tanned animal hide. “Please, I’m your guest. I will pay.” It was unknown if the Innkeeper recognized who Red was, but with the royal escort and clothes to match, it wasn’t hard to figure out her standing.  

 

Bowing repeatedly and scurrying backwards, she graciously accepted the coins Red had pressed into her palms and fled back inside, a curious excitement to her steps then. “It won’t be long now, Princess Teresa and her escort should be arriving shortly.”  

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Som wasn't much of a romantic, but he would have had to be blind and deaf not to notice the crush Teresa had on him. Personally he thought it was cute, but harmless; certainly not the horrid fixation that Artemis seemed to think it was. Of course, the elven woman had never really taken to the man many of the female (and some of the male) soldiers referred to as, "General Badboy." Maybe it was because she didn't think the pyromancer took his job seriously enough. Maybe it was because SHE had a crush on him. He would never understand the way a woman's mind worked.

"I could never forget about you my dear," Som replied to Teresa with a smile and a wink, "And no, I've never met Red before. Before I met your old man, I'd never met any kind of royalty."

Som next turned to Artemis, "I'll follow your lead then."

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Teresa and co. made short work of the distance separating the two nations. Not thirty minutes passed before Teresa reached the turn off and rushed to the diner where the Scarlet Empress was waiting atop her Griffin. Although she was slightly surprised by the large creature, she came from a city of angels with various creatures straight out of many strange mythologies, so it wasn't as large as shock to her as it was to some of the many soldiers following in her wake. Artemis, especially, was surprised. Albeit the emotion currently filling her was caution toward the beast instead of fear or surprise. If it made to eat the Imperial Princess, it would quickly become a powerful opponent. 

That being said, the prized creature of Taen Empire was a baby Hydra, so the general anxiety that normal civilians would feel was minimal. Instead most soldiers were filled with a sense of admiration for the woman who tamed it and curiosity for the beast itself. 

However, Teresa waved a hand in their direction and a hush quickly fell throughout the thousand soldiers. Her word was that of the Emperor's, and nondare disrespect the Angel-King. "We'll rest for a moment," she declared, letting Artemis repeat the order so that it more easily spread through the ranks. "But we will leave soon so don't get comfortable." Turning toward Red, Teresa gave a hearty wave and a wide smile as she ran up to the Griffin. Originally she hadn't been sure what call Red, and had decided to just say Red, but her father insisted otherwise. Without the Empress' express permission, even saying Aunt Red was 'unprincess-like.' 

"I'm glad you could come Empress Red," Teresa said, a small sun shining above her head, the usual gray clouds no where in sight. 

Next to her, Artemis bowed in respect. It was not as deep as one given to the Angel-King, but in acknowledgement of the Imperial Princess' preference toward the Scarlet Empress, the bow was lower than what most non-Taen royalty would get from the huntress. "It's a pleasure to meet your acquaintance, Scarlet Empress."

"-Oh, right," Teresa started to curtsey but Artemis nudged her from behind, stopping the action. As Teresa was the Imperial Princess, normal courtesy did not call for her to lower her head. In all the excitement to see Red, someone Teresa considered to be like a favorite aunt, she'd begun to completely mess up the formalities.

Edited by Ataraxy

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A little under 2 months later...

Teresa and her party of soldiers had spoken to the Scarlet Region's Empress for a few hours before showing them the stronghold's foundations. Of course at that time there hadn't been much to show and Red needed to take care of her territory, not to mention she had been pregnant, so the meeting didn't last very long. With all the authority she'd arrived with, Empress Red had departed not long after night fell. Teresa had urged the Empress to stay for the night, but duty had called and thus the Scarlet Empress vanished into the night with her entourage. 

In the present day, Teresa lounged about in the completely constructed stronghold's throne room. She wasn't the Queen or King or Empress or Emperor but fuck it if she wasn't going to sit in the throne. Plus, not like there was really anyone around to stop her. Artemis had left soon after the Empress to, she guess, do other stuff for the Titus. Not that anyone told her stuff. As she stood up from the throne, a thin man barged into the throne room, a look of clear excitement written across his features. 

"Princess! I think I've found something that will interest you quite a bit. It's a little far but..." his voice trailed off.

"What? What is it? Is there a war for me to fight?" she asked, mockingly taking a karate stance. Little did she know that war currently raged all across Terrenus. 

"It's a tournament that takes place in Hell's Gate. The winner gets a castle anywhere they'd like!" 

Teresa looked around with a raised eyebrow. "Carter, I don't know if you've noticed but I'm not really in the need of a castle."

He laughed. "True, but this won't be the Emperor's castle. It'll be your castle. You just need to win."

The princess' eyes lit up at the idea. "Cool cool cool! Carter go find Som, tell him there's been a change of plans. I'm not gonna sit around her 'overseeing,'" she exaggerated the word's syllable's, "stuff that I have no clue about. Time to fight!"

@Red the Ambivalent @danzilla3

Edited by Ataraxy

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When people thought of pyromancy, they often focused only on the obvious ability to control fire; which was understandable, as it was pretty cool. But many people forgot that fire and heat have uses beyond incinerating ones enemies. It could be argued that humanity only truly began to advance once it had unlocked the secrets of fire to cook their food, warm their dwellings, and light the darkness. Once those essential functions had been taken care of they realized that it could also be used to forge, weld, and cut metals, and propel their vehicles, and so much more. Civilization could not have begun without fire.

Currently Som was reminding some of the troops of this as he welded a support with his bare hands. Though he greatly preferred his mercenary work, the young General had often taken work in construction to make ends meet for his sister and mother. Now that Taen was a bastion of relative stability while the rest of Terrenus was plagued by war, they had decided a few weeks ago that it was time for them to move to the pocket dimension. By the time he returned to Lunaris, his family would be there to greet him.

The sound of someone calling his name snapped him out of his thoughts, and he was soon taken to the throne room. He snapped out a bow before addressing the princess. 

"A tournament eh? Those can be fun."

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Along with proving to her dad that she was mature enough to handle herself, winning the tournament would also show Som. Teresa blushed slightly at the thought but covered it up with a cought. She tucked some loose strands of hair behind her ear and stood from her father's throne. Her red sundress swishing from the random gusts of wind her excitement unconsciously summoned. 

"I think so! I've never done one before," she said, her words coming out too fast to take a breath. The princess grabbed her sword and held it up into the air like she'd seen some knights do a few months back. "Do you think my dad will let me? What if you took me there? I'm sure he'd be okay if you came with me! You're one of his generals after all."

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Outside of Stronghold's palace sprawled miles of land, each plot with varying levels of completed construction projects. Though Emperor Titus' plan was to allow Stronghold to expand until a city of its own right, he also found it extraordinarily important for it to maintain its original purpose in guarding the empire from the growing factions to the east. To that end, the central area of Stronghold had risen a large stone wall, separating the military, various public housing districts, and the royal grounds from the rest of the city. The walls reached nearly fifty feet already despite not being completed. The stonesl wall was engraved with powerful enchantments, both those of attack and defense. 

Artemis, standing atop the newly constructed walls, looked down at the rising city outside of the barricaded portion. More and more people were streaming into Stronghold as rumors of their strong defensive mechanisms spread across Terrenus. Combined with Emperor Titus' reputation, there really was no reason not to venture or even move to one of his cities. Stronghold being the closest for many on the Terran mainland. 

After hearing about the huge influx of recent population, the Taen soldier had quickly dispatched a message to her emperor. Her responsibility swiftly switched from overseeing and keeping an eye on the imperial princess to organizing Stronghold so that even those not within the Great Walls would be safe from invading forces of any kind.

And so she would stay at Stronghold, working toward that end. To protect and to serve.

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"Ma'am, we have a small problem." Artemis turned to face the speaker; a young man with shoulder length brown hair and a fierce pair of yellow eyes. If it weren't for the pointed ears denoting him as an elf, Artemis might have thought him draconian. She didn't have any official standing in Taen Empire as her position in DICE required her to be many people and no one at the same time.

"What's the issue Derick?"

"The materials we brought from the surrounding wild lands is proving to be too unstable to support the larger buildings," he said, shifting to put weight on his other leg. "We've tried enchanting it but..."

"But what?" 

"The enchantments are being rejected."

"What?" The DICE soldier looked up at the young elf incredulously. "The Mork'Outh enchantments are being rejected? By normal wood?" How was that even possible? The Wildlight enchantments had been tried and tested in both Ursa Madeum and Lunaris. 

"Sort of ma'am. It's holding up for smaller buildings but after passing a certain weight limit the wood splinters and becomes useless." 

That was certainly odd. Although after she mulled over the possibilities for a moment, it occurred to her that due to its nature of originating from the land of Taen, it was extremely possible that it needed to be connected to Taen for the enchantments to hold. Or, at least to reach their full potential. A while back she'd overheard Emperor Titus mention something about Taen's Loci expanding to Ursa Madeum around the time they started using enchantments. 

"Thank you for letting me know," Artemis said, nodding toward Derrick. "I'll alert my supervisors and pass down their decision. In the meantime, try to find mainland enchantments to support the larger buildings. I'm sure at least a few of the new comes are enchanters. Let them contribute to their new home a little."

"Aye ma'am."

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Summary: Knowing that there are factions of increasing strength in Terrenus, Emperor Titus Demetrius of Taen Empire (soon to be Veluriyam Empire) sends his daughter, Imperial Princess Teresa Demetrius, to a plot of land a few miles South-West of Ponkapoag Lake with nearly 1000 Taen citizens. Over the span of three months Teresa and the citizens built up a small outpost. The outpost has been dubbed as Stronghold due to its focus on defensive mechanisms and purpose of being the empire's first line of defense against aggressive factions. As time passed a few hundred settlers trickled into Stronghold forming a small city around the outpost. It is still relatively small but is proving to be an area of reprieve for those wishing to escape the conflicts of Tia.

Artemis notices that enchantment magic relying on Wildlight magic doesn't work to it's full potential because the Taen Loci has yet to fully encompass Stronghold. Princess Teresa decides to participate in the MOBS tournament.

 

Minor Summary: Taen Empire establishes a small defensive stronghold a handful of miles South-West from Ponkapoag Lake. A small town has grown to surround it. 

 

Consequences:

1. More information is known concerning Taen's spreading Loci

2. Taen Empire has a slightly larger area of influence and may spot incoming aggressive actions from Terrenus East. 

3. Stronghold will no longer be housing a member of the Imperial family. 

 

Opportunities:

1. Nations too far from the Blue Hills or Ursa Madeum can better connect with the Taen Empire.

2. Research why/how the Taen Loci spreads from place to place.

3. Help develop Stronghold until a larger city and make it more able to protect against aggressive forces.

@supernal

Edited by Alexithymia

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