Ulthuan

Ulthuan, Home of the Asur
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:43 pm 
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Pendragon
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Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 6:52 am
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Location: Cold, miserable and expensive Finland
Hey all!

Thought that I'd post my WIP army fluff here to get some feedback and ideas from fellow Asur. I also maintain that the warhammer world never went through the End Times, that this website and the characters therein are canon (as far as reasonably possible :P ), and that elves are not constantly on the verge of extinction (the British Empire collapsed, but the UK still does relatively well. Same with Spain and Portugal, although to a lesser extent. Point is, the Asur might not be a superpower anymore, but the cities are not entirely empty and abandoned. Ulthuan is the size of a continent with plenty of fertile land and flourishing trade, there's no way the population of the Asur would be as low as GeeDubs in their grimdark-fetish would have us believe) as it makes Ulthuan in the Warhammer universe feel far more alive. If you have a string of fluff you'd like to tie to this developing story, by all means let me know and I'd be happy to give your character or army a shoutout! Anyways, without further ado:

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Lionstone Citadel
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Where the Annulii Mountains meet the expansive woodlands of Chrace, close to the blighted lands formerly known as Nagarythe, stands the ancient seat of the Lionbane family and the home of the house's current lord, Prince Deral Lionbane. Built to meld seamlessly into the mountain on the foothills, incorporating the imposing and indominable Annulii into its defense, the Lionstone Citadel oversees a rich valley and the town of Tor Charta with its inhabitants. The citadel has been built of the light grey, almost white stone of the Annulii, giving the main gate, a stylized lion's head, a particular symbolism to those seeking protection within and those daring assault from without. Flanked by two tall towers, the main gate forms both a beautiful aesthetic piece for the elves to appreciate as well as a formidable obstacle for any enemy to overcome.

Multiple bridges, each watched over by a great and silent stone Warden, lead from the citadel into the surrounding areas, allowing easy entry to friends. Although usually a severe oversight in the defensive planning of any citadel, these bridges have been designed so that when an enemy attempts to storm the gates, the spellwork holding the bridges together can be undone from within the citadel proper, plunging any would-be invader into death with several tons of stone.

In addition to the defences of the citadel proper, the Lionbanes know the value of multiple lines of defense and constructed a smaller, secondary keep ahead of the Lionstone Citadel. This structure, affectionately nicknamed The Lion's Pebble, acts as the primary hall of justice in times of peace and, when the valley is under threat, to divide the enemy's strength, lest they leave a well trained and well supplied force in their rear as they lay siege.

The citadel proper also houses a fine library, mostly gathered by the uncle of the current lord of Lionstone, Lord Corlath Lionbane and the current lord's brother, Choradrian Lionbane. While lord Corlath was no mage, he appreciated the literary arts, as well as texts about more earthly matters such as harvest and hunting whereas Choradrian has expanded the library to include great many magical tomes and works about the younger races. Gadrial Lionbane, the daughter Deral Lionbane and apprentice to Choradrian, has yet to add to it, but she has spent countless hours pouring over the ancient tomes of the elven gods and nature.

As a fan of art, especially sculptures, Deral has decorated the Lionstone Citadel with beautiful statues of elven heroes and magnificent beasts. By his decree, every street corner is watched over by a majestic griffon or a proud great eagle and the streets are lined with heroes of old, such as Korhian of Chrace and Arthael of Saphery, the foot of each statue retelling the noble and heroic acts of these heroes of the past. By their sides stand silent stone spearelves and archers, each commemorated to a regiment, each telling the tales of their bravery.

Although the majority of the citadel's inhabitants are Chracian, the citadel and the town it oversees house a significant amount of elves from other kingdoms as well. The shrine to the gods is taken care of and guarded by members of the Phoenix Guard, Swordmasters of Hoeth can be seen sparring or about on a mission from Choradian or the Loremasters, Shadow Warriors are often seen alone or in small groups and Ellyrian horsemen can be found tending their steeds or sharing wine and ale with their cousins from other kingdoms. Traders from Cothique, Avelorn or the other kingdoms can be found in the marketplace and Lord Deral enjoys hosting any number of friends in times of peace. Although by far the rarest, even Caledorian princes can be found in the Lionstone Citadel from time to time, Lord Ramesesis of Tir Eloc most often the one being announced.

Notable Characters

Prince Deral Lionbane
Deral is the head of the Lionbanes, an old and respected family from the northwestern reaches of Chrace. Guarding Ulthuan from their vile cousins, the Lionbane's seat of power is the great stone fortress of Lionstone Citadel, built to grow from the side of the mountain like a natural extension. A curious mixture of traditionalist and progressive thinking, Deral is viewed as odd even by other Chracians and outright baffling by elves from other kingdoms.

The proud tradition of the Lionbane family has always been to follow the path of the White Lion. While this is no longer required of each child, at least the head of the family is expected to hunt down and kill one of the fearsome beasts that roam the mountains and forests of Chrace. Deral achieved this on the cusp of adulthood, hunting down and killing the mighty Carathic whose enchanted pelt he now wears.

Although Deral is a prince of noble blood, he does not enjoy the revelry of fine clothes and ”frivolous baubles” as he puts it, of others of his rank. He wears his long light-brown hair free, with the exception of a simple braid on the right side, and adorned with beads and feathers. Upon his brow sits a golden circlet with a multi-faceted emerald, matching the green of his eyes, as the sole symbol of his status. Standing tall even amongst the tall elves of Chrace, and built exceptionally strong, Deral has a physical presence that lends him immediate authority. Dressing in the dark green, brown and gold of his house in times of peace, he prefers silk and soft leather to the intricate and exuberant robes often associated with elven nobility. To battle he carries his huge many bladed battleaxe, as well as a smaller handaxe and a hunters knife, donning his simple gilded ithilmar breatplate, molded to reflect his physique with matching bracers and greaves as well as the white lion cloak that is his by right of hunt.

Deral is usually a well-humored man, keen on enjoying the small pleasures of life, such as hunting and music. He is light-spirited despite his great responsibility and is well liked by his warriors and the people in his care. However, when roused to battle, he is a proud and powerful warrior, fierce and full of grit. Whether he is fighting on foot with his bodyguard or witnessing the battlefield from atop his mighty lionbeast Whitefang, he can often be found where the fighting is thickest, seeking out the most dangerous foes in the battlefield to break the back of the opposing force.

A proud but modest warrior who places achievement over position and pedigree, he has often found himself at odds with the arrogant nobles of Caledor, more than once resulting in blows between him and the dragon lords. In fact, one of his most well-known achievements is the thorough defeat of four mounted Caledorian princes in a gauntlet duel, sparking a venomous feud with Beshil'ur Vartahlis, Drakemaster of the Second Flight of Dragonprinces. He also has a long standing, yet friendly rivalry with the Caledorian prince Ramesesis of Tir Eloc that has been well recorded. Deral personally trained the bodyguard of Ramesesis and the two respect each other greatly.

Family Standard Bearer Khorean Strongheart
Khorean has been at the service of the Lionbane family since the time of Deral's father. Khorean is a somber elf, often lending a moderating influence over the bold and unconventional tactics employed by his lord. The master-at-arms of Lionstone Citadel he is responsible for the training of the soldiers in the service of the Lionbane family. A White Lion by training, Khorean proudly carries the Lionbane standard into battle, inspiring his younger wards into acts of legendary bravery.

Although not readily apparent, Khorean enjoys the company of his men a great deal when off-duty and can often be found with them in one of the wine houses of Chatens. Although a grim man when sober, Khorean lights up significantly under the influence of wine and readily speaks praise of others, often to great lengths. He is not afraid to let his respect show as he showers a particular brother in arms with praise for a deed on the battlefield or success in a hunt, often considered the highest reward a soldier serving under him can achieve.

A staunch traditionalist, Khorean views the new ideas and innovations the Lionbane brothers introduce to Lionstone with disdain. Although a skilled warrior and a leader of others, Khorean was born in a more simple time and is less travelled than the brothers and fails to see the reason they have for changing old and true methods and traditions.

Khorean is the only elf in the garrison whose age equals Ilmariel Hailarrow and Korhain Lionaxe and whenever the three of them gather it is referred to by the younger elves as the Gathering of the Old Pride. To eavesdrop on their discussions is considered the pinnacle of disrespect, one quickly and painfully remedied by the garrison. Even Deral will excuse himself if the three meet, unless asked to stay, such is the respect for the Old Pride.

Mage Gadrial Lionbane
As Deral's daughter, Gadrial had to prove herself just as any other in his father's eyes. Showing an aptitude for magic from an early age, Deral was proud to present her to the loremasters of the White Tower. Wild and free-spirited, Gadrial felt a kinship to the nature and the beasts that inhabit it, upholding the Lionbane family's ferocious reputation. Despite this, Gadrial is a very pious young woman and extremely respectful of the elven gods.

Although not Deral's only child, she has a young brother, Gadrial is the oldest and the only daughter. This put great expectations on her as a child and though her position as the heiress apparent to the Lionbane family, she was not given any favors. She trained with a sword and bow under Khorean since she could close her fingers around a handle and is as skilled with them as any warrior of the citizen levy. She would be more talented still, but her training was cut short by Choradrian's noticing of her magical prowess. As she was practicing with Khorean, Choradrian returned to the citadel just in time to bear witness to an amazing event. As Khorean pressed Gadrial hard, driving her back with heavy swings of his two axes, Choradrian felt the wind of Ghur blow and flow into the girl. Before the eyes of the astonished mage and the even more astounded master at arms, an astral image of a great white lion began to form around her, moving with her, its claws extensions of her hands, ending where the blade of her sword was. With this magical ally, she drove his surprised trainer back, finally knocking him to the ground for the first time ever.

After this revelation that Gadrial was truly sensitive to the winds of magic, Choradrian took her immediately to her father and recounted what he had witnessed. Khorean supported his claim and thus Deral agreed to send his daughter to Saphery to learn the arts of magic as his brother had done. Unlike Choradrian however, who directed his studies towards metal and industry, Gadrial followed a path more closely in tune with nature and the spirit of the beasts that inhabit it. She retained the Chracian traditional garb and added to it the protective runes and magical amulets that the other mages often wear as part of their more mystical robes. When she returned home to Lionstone Citadel, she was welcomed with open arms by her parents and new infant brother.

Due to the opposing natures of their schools of magic, Choradrian and Gadrial are often at philosophical discussions and friendly competition with one another. They do however love and respect each other greatly, and on the field of battle their spells work together like a well-led orchestra, bringing ruin to the enemies of Ulthuan.

Mage Choradrian Lionbane
Choradrian is the younger brother of Deral, but unlike his older sibling Choradrian was sensitive to the winds of magic. In his studies at the White Tower he became interested in alchemy and fascinated in the industry the younger races used to offset their lack of magical talent, and felt himself drawn towards Chamon, the wind of metal. When Gadrial was young, it was Choradrin that noticed her magical aptitude and brought her to the Tower, acting as her first teacher. Since then, the two have shared a close bond and a friendly competitive rivalry.

Born a mere ten years after Deral, Choradrian and his brother share a special bond. They are extremely similar in almost all aspects, save one. Where Deral is a powerful warrior, truly worthy of the title White Lion of Chrace and Lord of Lionstone, Choradrian is an average fighter at best. However, he was born with acute sensitivity to the winds of magic, apparent from infancy as he drew metal from his toys in floating streams of liquid gold. As soon as he reached adolesence, a contingent of Sword Masters of Hoeth arrived at Lionstone to escort him to the White Tower for instruction.

Always skilled in the use of Chamon, it was no surprise to his teachers when he became fascinated with the arts of alchemy and the technology of the younger races used to overcome their limitations. Choradrian was especially interested in the works on dwarves and dwarven industry, as they combined the workings of chemical reactions with their runic magic, something the humans, for all their crude promise, did not do.

In his time at the White Tower, the jovial Chracian made many friends with elves from other kingdoms, even with some of the Caledorian Dragon Mages (although to be fair, this was before the great schism between the Lionbanes and Caledorians). Although no warrior, he appreciated and respected the skill of the Sword Masters at the Tower, and found mutual ground with them as well. One of the friendships he forged was so strong that when he left the Tower years later Talhar Starhelm, the Bladelord he had befriended and his detachment returned to Chrace with him (at the consent of the Loremasters, who no doubt wanted a way to getting news from that part of the world as well).

As the master in charge of Gadriel's training, he taught the girl in the art of magic as well as literature, and ignited a flame for learning that has not been quenched since.

The Charoi Wardens (Citadel Guard)
The Charoi Wardens are the standing force of Lionstone Citadel, a professionally trained fighting force often led by Khorean Strongheart himself. Relatively few in number, Khorean has drilled each member of the Lionstone guard force to be equally proficient with the bow and the spear, giving the Wardens a versatility on the battlefield that makes up for their limited numbers. The Master Warden Kheral Strongvoice acts as the units second-in-command, leading his brothers in battle when Khorean is not present and seeing to their day-to-day operations in the citadel.

The Daroir Spears (Spearelves)
The Daroir Spears have a long and proud history in the service of the Lionbane family. Made up from the veteran citizen levy around Lionstone Citadel, they have often been called to arms to defend the realm against invaders and raiders and have served with great distinction. The unit's Sentinel, Ferthal Wildblood, has served at his post for decades and is the only one of his unit in continuous service to the Lionbane family.

The Sethai Kin (Archers)
The Sethai Kin are the younger levy soldiers that the Lionbanes can call to muster. As almost every elf in Chrace is knowledgable of hunting, these young warriors are given longbows, allowing them to put their deadly talents into use on the field of battle, watched over by the Lord of the Hunt, Kurnous. They are trained and drilled by the Hawkeye Ilmariel Hailarrow, a silver-haired noblewoman known for her uncanny accuracy and intimidating personality.

The Thalui Brotherhood (Shadow Warriors)
The Lionstone Citadel is very close to the border with Nagarythe and because of this the citadel is frequented by the grim elves of that dark land. The Lionbanes have been long, staunch allies to the Shadow Warriors of Alith Anar, as the northern elves tend to band together as the first line of defence against the warriors of Chaos and the hordes of Naggaroth. The Thalui Brotherhood in particular has forged strong bonds with the lords of Lionstone, and while trade flourishes during times of peace, the Brotherhood will readily lend its sinister skills to the use of the Lionbanes in times of war. The Brotherhood's Shadow-Walker, known only by his title, is a man of controlled demeanor and a calm, calculating mind. He offers his advice only if asked and carries out all tasks with ruthless efficiency that makes even the other members of the war council uneasy.

The Thanan Shrine Guardians (Phoenix Guard)
Although remote and far from the Shrine of Asuryan on the Inner Sea, Lionstone Citadel houses a regionally significant shrine to the Creator God, Asuryan. This shrine is tended to and guarded by a small group of the eternally silent Phoenix Guard, who one day simply walked up to the gates of Lionstone Citadel and, to the surprise of all inhabitants, immediately made their way to the shrine without a guide. Gadrial can often be found with them, although the exact reason baffles his father greatly, as the Chosen of Asuryan make for poor conversationalists. The shrine's Keeper of the Flame is Ethael Flamevoice, a tall and powerful warrior-monk, equally skilled with his ceremonial halberd as he is bare-handed. After a few bottles of wine, Khorean will swear up and down that he has seen Ethael chokeslam a Khorne Bloodletter to the ground before dispatching it by snapping it's unholy neck.

The Ceyl Detachment (Swordmasters)
After he returned from the White Tower, Choradrian was a full-fledged mage, well-respected for his abilities and keen mind, as well as his outgoing and positive attitude. He had befriended the Bladelord Hattoriel Silverblade and when the time came for his return, Hattoriel led his subordinates with him. The Ceyl Detachment has found a permanent home within the welcoming walls of the Lionstone Citadel, working with the White Tower to keep the Loremasters informed of events in the north as well as scouting young elves with aptitude for either the path of the mage or the swordmaster. In battle they are a fearsome addition to the Lionbane forces, cutting a bloody path through scores of enemies with unmatched grace and speed.

The Hundred Manes (White Lions)
The guardians of the Phoenix Kings since the days of Caledor the First, the White Lions of Chrace have a long and proud history, filled with courage and unyielding sense of duty. The Hundred Manes are the most elite fighting force Deral Lionbane can field, a hardened veteran regiment one hundred strong forged in a hundreds of battles and skirmishes. Every elf has proven himself to be courageous beyond reproach and powerful enough to tear the ears off a rampaging orc. The Hundred Manes accompany their lord wherever he goes, following his lead to the most dangerous battles without hesitation. Deral's personal bodyguard, the Guardian Korhain Lionaxe, has served in his post since Deral's birth and despite his advancing years, is as deadly as the day he slew his own lion to earn his place by the Phoenix King's side.

The Elthrai Reavers (Ellyrian Reavers)
Deral's father Dorhal Lionbane recognised the skill and talent of the Ellyrian Horse Lords after witnessing them in battle for the first time. Their daring feats earned his respect and he proposed a cooperation agreement with the Ellyrian prince Harranhal. Harranhal would provide the Lionbanes with a unit of light reaver knights to serve as outriders, scouts and messengers and the Lionbanes would teach this unit how to operate in traditionally unfavorable terrain. The outcome was such a success, that after the first group of reavers returned from Chrace, Harranhal and Dorhal signed a long term pact that there would always be a unit of reavers stationed at Lionstone with a rotation time of 2 years. Only the Harbinger, a young noble at the time called Raethar Wildwind, would remain at the citadel, to speed up the training. Now that Raethar's son has taken the task, the citadel boasts the first Chracian Reaver Knight in living memory.

Cadaith (White Lion Chariot) and Harathoi (White Lion Chariot)
The Lionbane siblings have both been considered progressive by many, but out of the two Choradrian has shown even more creativity than his brother. When studying at the White Tower, he also studied the art of warfare and noticed that while chariots made for powerful weapons of war, if their initial momentum failed and they were trapped, they were quickly overrun. However, if pulled by something more fearsome than Tiranocii horses and manned by the finest warriors in all of Ulthuan, these glass cannons would turn into fortresses. Upon his return, he brought his idea to his brother who immediately gave his consent, and before long Tiranocii charioteers had been brought to the citadel to act as consultants and advisors in this new endeavor. Although initially highly sceptical of the usefulness of chariots in such densely forested and mountaneous region as Chrace, the Tiranocii took pride in their work and aided by Chracian craftsmen built the first two modified Tiranoc chariots for the Lionbanes. Their true shock came however once they learned of the beasts that were to be harnessed to the chariots. As the dumbstruck Tiranocii looked, four Chracians in white lion pelts led four great white lions to the courtyard. The four elves were the handlers and raisers of the Lionstone pens, where all of the family's beasts and animals were cared for and raised for their purpose. As the four lions were attached to the front of the chariots and the elves climbed aboard, the citadel and the Tiranocii cheered at the sight of such cooperation between Asur. As the lions roared in response all present knew that the power of these new weapons was unmatched.

The Senlui Battery (Repeater Bolt Throwers)
The walls of Lionstone Citadel are guarded by more than the warriors of the Lionbane family. Sharing much with the neighboring kingdom of Cothique, the ever-jovial Lionbanes have many friends in the Cothiquean navy and have managed to purchase a battery of finely crafted Eagle Claws from their sea-faring cousins. Originally they were manned and operated by warriors of Cothique, but in time they passed this responsibility to the Charoi Wardens. Despite this changing of the guard, elves of Cothique are always welcome at the Lionstone Citadel, whether it is to trade, share drinks and stories or to join forces against a threat from the north.

The War Council
The war council of Deral Lionbane is made up of Khorean, the mages Choradrian and Gadrial, and his commanders from each unit as well as the Master of the Beasts, Halthar Beashur and the Master of the Battery, Morethion Fargaze. Deral places much trust in this inner circle of commanders and rarely does he go to battle without sharing his plans and consulting with them ahead of time, as he knows each of them can provide a unique point of view and valuable insight.

Family Relations
Caledorians
Chracians and Caledorians have feuded with each other for ages. The vastly differing cultures of the kingdoms cause the elves of each province to view each other with disdain. The Caledorians look at the Chracians and see savages clad in furs, lacking the regality of the other kingdoms and the proud long history of Caledor. The Chracians look at the Caledorians as arrogant and vain, elves dwelling in the glories of their past and closing their eyes from their present. With both parties being outspoken and forthcoming with their opinions, this has led to significant clashes between them.
The Lionbanes are no different. Deral Lionbane in particular has developed a deep feud with the dragon princes. Never one for vain boasts or unbacked words, Deral has found himself opposed time and again to one Caledorian prince or another, who seeks to leverage the ancient glories of his homeland to gain influence and prestige, regardless of personal achievements.

Yet, even among his enemies in Caledor, one stands above the rest. Lord Beshil'ur Vartahlis, Drakemaster of the Second Flight of Dragonprinces, carries a special enmity with Deral Lionbane. Rarely is there genuine hatred amongst the Asur, but after his utter humiliation at the hands of Deral before scores of witnesses, not least among them Prince Imrik himself, Beshil'ur has held a grudge so fierce that the dwarves of Karaz-a-karak themselves would be impressed, if they cared for Elven affairs in the least. Never one for the political games of Ulthuan that some nobles engage in, Deral has found at home a foe more impeccable than many of those who invade his beloved lands. More than once has Beshil'ur's machinations robbed Deral of needed support in matters of politics and trade, even defense. The close council of these two lords fear that whenever they come together that blood will spill. Thankfully, the distance between Chrace and Caledor is vast, and neither party has much need to visit the other.

Not all dealings with Caledorians are as unpleasant though. Deral Lionbane has forged friendships and alliances even amongst the dragon princes, though more often than not with those considered queer by their kinsmen. Lord Ramesesis of Tir Eloc is one such friend. The same day that sparked the feud between Beshil'ur and the Chracian lord saw the forging of a friendship. Lord Ramesesis had asked Deral after the White Lion had bested his opponents on Finuval Plain to train his personal guard, and the Chracian had accepted. Since that day the two have formed a strong friendship and a friendly contest of arms and wits ensues whenever they meet. Deral even gifted the Dragon Prince with a griffon, the sibling to his own, to ride into battle as lord of the skies.

Saphery
The Lionbanes have not had many magic users in their history, which makes the recent generations remarkable by comparison. Corlath Lionbane, uncle of Deral and Choradrian, Choradrian and Gadrial have all shown sensitivity to the winds of magic, making the official relations between house Lionbane and the White Tower a new phenomenon. With the three consecutive generations of Lionbanes, the bonds of camaraderie between Lionbanes and the elite of Saphery have blossomed. Choradrian in particular has made friends amongst the Loremasters and Bladelords both. Deral's experiences with the nobles of Saphery are more limited, but he has the greatest respect for the mage-princes of that magical realm, able to handle the magic and sword with equal finesse.

Cothique
As the naval power of the North and fellow guardians of the most dangerous lands in Ulthuan, it is no surprise that the Lionbanes have long and deep relationships in Cothique. The merchant houses often visit Lionstone Citadel to trade in goods and the Lionbanes have their Cothiquean allies to thank for their Eagle Claw batteries. Trade and military interests, as well as personal relationships between the Lionbanes and several noble houses of Cothique keep the elves of Cothique and Chrace as the closest of friends

Eataine
As the seat of the Phoenix King the Lionbanes have visited Lothern often. Each head of the Lionbane family has at one point served in the Phoenix King's White Lions and the Lionbanes are proud to provide some of the men to his personal bodyguard. This has allowed the Lionbanes some access to the Eatainean politics, but as Deral has little interest in that world the relations are not as strong as they may otherwise be. Deral holds the Eataine navy in high regard and considers the elves from that kingdom to be more progressive than most, so he enjoys their company when the possibility arises.

Avelorn
The elves of Avelorn and Chrace share a love and respect for the nature and it is natural that the inhabitants of these kingdoms often get along. The mother of the current lord of Lionstone was from Avelorn and Deral has the utmost respect for the elves of that forested realm. Gadrial has strong ties in Avelorn, even some suitors, but none have yet caught the eye of the free-spirited maiden. In times of crisis, the Lionbanes have always been able to rely on the elves of Avelorn to come to their aid.

Yvresse
The home to one of the most respected elves in the eyes of Deral Lionbane, the coastal kingdom of Yvresse is otherwise little known in the North. Although Eltharion the Grim is one of the most renowned heroes of the Asur, the Lionbanes have not had much dealings with the Yvressians. The family has one or two allies in Yvresse, but mostly the Lionbanes and Yvressians are indifferent about one another.

Nagarythe
Another staunch ally of the Lionbanes. Although lacking the political structure of the rest of Ulthuan, the Shadow Warriors of Nagarythe and the elves of Chrace are natural allies. As most raiding and invasion routes by Chaos marauders or dark elf raiders go through Chrace and the Shadowlands, the Lionbanes have forged strong alliances with many Shadow Warrior clans, offering quarters and safety in the Lionstone Citadel to any band that wishes in. This has led to the Thalui Brotherhood taking permanent residence there, finding like-minded elves who’s primary concern is the defence of the realm.

Tiranoc
The two kingdoms are as different as the rolling plains and the vast forests. The Tiranocii and the Lionbanes have limited official contacts, although some friends can be found amongst the charioteers. It was Tiranocii craftsmen that allowed the Lionbanes to develop their lion chariots, some of their most powerful weapons, and Deral has not forgotten this.

Ellyria
Ever since Dorhal Lionbane, the Lionbanes have had a strong ally amongst the horse lords. The wilderness and forest training provided by the Lionbanes to the Reaver Knights has brought the Lionbanes, Ellethan and Wildwind families very close. Deral continued his father's tradition of teaching the Reavers to operate in forests and difficult terrain, forging the bonds even stronger.



To be added:
The Great War Against Chaos, the story version of the AoD from way back when, visits to the Old World, etc.

_________________
Prince Deral Lionbane, head of the House of Lionbane, Lord of Lionstone and Warden of Tor Charta

Luna, try not to beat them too hard. They are proud about their pseudo-glorious past and their present nothingness, you know.
-Elmoth, about Caledorians


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:23 pm 
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A mighty fine piece of writing there! The regiments of renown, the politics, the geography, the VIP's of the city. It has it all.

Honeslty, I never understood how Ulthuan would get so underpopulated with a mild climate and fertile soil. Compared to Naggaroth, with it's sand-tier soil and non-existent agriculture, It always baffled me how on earth High Elven troops cost more than Druchii ones in the army books (suggesting the latter to be more numerous).
A huge + for you there sir for not buying into the edge of extinction narrative and producing an inspiring piece.

I'm putting this thread under watchful eyes of my reavers, so I never miss an update.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:22 am 
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This story is based on an Arena of Death hosted years ago on this very site, but I believe it lost to time. Back in the day I had quite a feud with the Caledorian members, and this was the conclusion of that. The AoD was run by another member on the site (somehow I recall Joran). No results have been altered.

Part 1: A Duel of Finuvial Plain

The Feast was well progressed and the best accoutrements had been plied from the Storehouses in Lothern. It was rumored that Alarielle herself had blessed this day, as the sun shone bright and warm, and a cooling northern breeze slaked off the heat of the day. The merriment seemed to be shared by the local wildlife as well. By rumor, even the famed Twins, the heroes of the victory, would be attending. This was a most celebrated day, as 200 years had passed since the Witch King's defeat here at the Finuvial Plain.

Ulthuan had healed greatly from that dark era, both the land and her people. Here, on the very battleground of the fateful battle where they shook off the oppression of their dark cousins, the very warriors that fought the bloody conflict returned to pay tribute to the fallen and remember the courage and prowess of the living.

As it was the bicentennial feast Phoenix King Finubar had requested that all veterans of this holy battle come arrayed in their armament. They would revisit this battlefield dressed as they were on the day of carnage, to remember well what they had endured. He wished them to retrace their steps as best they could, and mark well where a brother in arms had fallen. Such is the memory of elves that nearly all the fallen were recalled and revered by their surviving brethren.

The entire field was quickly relived, though they purposefully avoided one area. In the center of the plain was a small patch of barren and blackened ground. It was cursed earth, for there fell the abominable servant of the Witch King, none other than Urion Poisonblade. It seemed, he had been so corrupted and evil that, even though his corpse was removed, the land would not grow where he had been slain by the Everqueen champion. Finubar wished to wait for Tyrion's arrival to commemorate this noble victory.

Though the Hero Twins were delayed, the casks of wine had been breached and the celebration commenced in full revelry. Old commanders kept the rapt attention of small groups of the young levy, instructing them with tales of how they had deftly cheated death, and saved the lives of their charges through skill and speed. In much livelier groups, comrades made the nearby hill ring with their battle songs, eagerly shouted to be heard all the way in Naggaroth. The Tiranocii commenced in impromptu chariot races and many of the Ellyrians responded in kind. Across the plain there was celebration of life and growth. The only noted exceptions were the silent Guardians of the Shrine of Asuryan. But those that knew them well did notice that their gloomy demeanor had lightened such to the point that they almost seemed content.

The day wore on, and the flowing wine was turning the revelry more towards debauchery. Yet many of the more serious and senior veterans of the battle had begun to assemble around the Black Plain. Amongst themselves they recounted the finer details of the duel that changed the fate of their race.

”I remember him very well,” remarked Prince Imrik, taking a long draught from his goblet. ”Poisonblade was a terrible foe, even to behold with his swords still sheathed. I had seen him in other battles, and even from the sky I could always know where he was about his master's business, for there the blood ran reddest. I think none other that Tyrion could ever have bested him. Too bad Arhalien and Korhian had to fall before he could silence The Dark One's assassin.”

”In my darkness, I have long replayed the memory of that epic contest,” mused the brooding Eltharion. ”I had not the skill then I have now attained, and I would have fallen had I tried to fight him. But I have discovered many flaws in Urion's technique. Tyrion also committed several slight but distinctive errors. His skill likewise has vastly improved these last two centuries. But two hundred years ago, he possessed one key attribute that Poisonblade did not. This was why he stood victorious.”

The crowd expected him to continue, but after several moments Lord Deral Lionbane asked the question all were thinking, ”Speak on White sword, what do you think this was?”

”Don't you know?” came his reply. ”Are you all blinder than I? Tyrion succeeded because he did not believe himself to be superior to his adversary. He did not walk in haughtily like my Lord Arhalien did. He knew Urion would have secrets he had not revealed and fought a stalling battle. Tyrion knew he was in danger standing before the Scion of the Witch King and did not presuppose his victory. He waited and frustrated the assassin with his defense. All the while watching and learning where Urion favored his weight, his grip, his response time, and all the other details that make the difference between life and death. Tyrion knew he could be killed and that knowledge made him cautious and patient. That knowledge was the difference between him and Urion, and also Korhian and my Prince. He studied and learned from his opponent, while waiting the opening that the overconfident Urion eventually provided.”

”True,” concurred Korhil, the current Commander of the White Lions. Korhil had risen to his position, succeeding Korhian on this very battlefield. ”Tyrion is a mighty warrior. He always has been highly skilled, even before his tutelage by the famed Hallar. But I never recognized how wise and humble he is in when fighting for his life.”

”Yes, he is truly heir to Aenarion's legacy,” responded a very subdued sounding Eltharion. ”He is one of the truly Pure among us, and the only elf I would follow without question. My Prince Arhalien honorably gave his life here, but he was haughty and overconfident. That was his downfall. How anyone could expect to prevail against that Assassin in single combat with a spear is pure foolishness.”

”He simply wasn't skilled enough and vainly thought to elevate his province by trusting to pure luck that he might defeat Urion,” derided Lord Beshil'ur, Commander of the 2nd flight of Dragon Princes. ”He was long jealous of the might of Caledor, and thought that even by his death he would elevate the fame of Yvresse. He did not train for combat adequately, as we Caledorians do. Most any warrior of Caledor would have performed better than he. We put great importance in our martial training. Urion would not have found a Caledorian so easy to slay as those that fell here.” Smugly he drained the last of the wine bottle in his hand.

”How dare the both of you insult my fallen Lord,” hissed Lionbane.

”Hold a moment, my brother”, pleaded Korhil.

”No! Here they go too far!” shouted Deral. ”On one hand Eltharion makes the claim that Korhian was overconfident and prideful. And then this earthbound princeling here flagrantly claims that any Caledorian is more skilled in the duel then a Lord of Chrace.”

”Earthbound princeling! I'll have your head . . .” Beshil'ur never had time to even draw his sword.

Eltharion had leapt through the air and taken his sword from the scabbard before the Drakemaster had the chance to grasp the hilt. In the same instant he was at Lord Deral's side with a firm grip on the haft of his Chracian axe. ”Hold! I have something to say before you two release the venom of your words.” Beshil'ur acknowledged his predicament and relaxed his stance while holding out his hand for his family's sword. Eltharion tossed it to him while he continued. ”Lord Deral Lionbane. You believe I have sullied the memory of your fallen Commander. I never disrespected him. You are rightly enraged by comments here, but you have no cause to hate me for anything I have said.”

”But you have said that those who fell to Urion were foolish, overconfident and unskilled. These are scandalous accusations to. . .”

”No! I have only criticized my own Prince, Arhalien,” corrected the Blind Warden of Yvresse. ”I said he was overconfident and haughty, and a fool to enter a duel with a spear. I never said that both were guilty of the same faults. Korhian's only error came in not realizing the danger he stood in front of. He focused only on his offense. He cared nothing for his own life, ready to lay it down in defense of his King. That is the honored tradition of the Lionguard, and it was something very natural to do for him. Let me clarify that Korhian's fight was in every way superior to Arhalien's, and he did not volunteer out of pride or delusion, but out of sacred devotion to his duty.

”However,” Eltharion turned to the seething Drakemaster, ”here we have much to be offended by.” Beshil'ur took a small step back. ”I have outlined the faults of my own Prince, but you impune the honor of lords of other realms. You blatantly suggest that any Caledorian is superior in arms to the Lords of Chrace and Yvresse. Truly bold and inflammatory words from one who wasn't even here to shed is blood on this field.” Despite the blindfold he wore, all could see the contempt on his words.

”Why you meddling...” Beshil'ur was bodily restrained by another son of Caledor, Lord Ramesesis of Tir Eloc, Warden of Tor Caeln, Prince of the West.

”Let me address this. Calm yourself brother,” he whispered in his comrade's ear. Louder he spoke to the growing crowd, ”Good Eltharion, your prowess and honor is well known to this assembly. But that is a hard accusation to bear. We followed the command of our Prince. All reports indicated that the weather would not permit the commencement of battle for another week. We used the haste of our dragons to cross the Inner Sea overnight and defeated an entire army of Druchii assaulting Tor Caeln all by ourselves. If any other realm heard their home was under attack, and knew they could leave to defend it, and return in 3 days time, still days before the Witch King could begin his attack here, I surmise that many would have left. While we erred and the weather abated far too soon, what happened was not done rashly.”

”But the predicament is the same, oh silver tongued Ramesesis” Eltharion was not placated. ”Here a Dragon Prince of Caledor accuses the rest of us of incompetence, when not a single Caledorian was present.”

”A lie!” shouted Beshil'ur ”A Caledorian was there.”

”You call me a liar, how so?” spat the Swordmaster. ”I was there. I carry the scars. Do you?! I know that no Dragon Prince rode that day, neither on the field nor soaring above. You followed after the dishonored Prince of yours, he that abandoned his King and then renounced to be his subject, rather than face the justice of Finubar.”

”Asarnil's shame is his own, not ours!” cried Ramesesis.

”And your lie is your claim of no Caledorians,” jibbed Beshil'ur. ”Did the Witch King's hospitalities erase the memory of where the Lord of your Order comes from? You place so much confidence in him; tell us why he did not answer Urion's call. Perhaps he is not so great as legend portents. Enlighten us if you can. Why is this ground free of Hallar's blood or even his sweat?”

”I never forgot anything, no matter all the horrors the Evil One inflicted on me.” Eltharion was quite near exploding. ”To enlighten you absent ones, Hallar was consulting strategies at Finubar's side when Urion strode to the field. He did in fact draw his swords at the sound of the challenge but he was restrained. Caradryth, the Captain of the Phoenix Guard barred his path. As he tried to pass the Phoenix Captain, he found the halberds of a dozen guardians of Asuryan leveled against him. Caradryth motioned a slitting of Hallar's throat and pointed to Poisonblade. When asked if his fate was to not slay Urion, Caradryth gave one long nod. He retorted to his silent oppressor that no one would slay the Assassin, to which Caradryth shook his head. ”Then it is for another warrior to stand victorious and achieve his destiny?” asked my Lord. The only response was that all the Phoenix Guard lowered their halberds. Thus it is clear that is was written in the Chamber of Days that Tyrion should be triumphant. I challenge any elf to lay blame to another who followed the words written there.

”To speak of the smallest details, yes he was born in your realm, but he is hardly a Caledorian now nor two centuries ago. He hasn't been in any saddle since before I was born. He doesn't even claim to be of Saphery now, merely a servant of the White Tower. You are grasping at straws foolish one.”

”Eltharion!” The call came from behind him. Deral Lionbane stood defiantly with his axe in both hands. ”I acknowledge my hastiness, and apologize for believing you had insulted the memory of Lord Korhien of Chrace. You are blameless of such insult. However this one is not. Stand aside and let this guardian of sleeping dragons come forth and prove his claim of so-called skill.

”Beshil'ur Vartahlis, Drakemaster of the Second Flight of Dragonprinces, and braggart of Caledor, I, Lord Deral Lionbane, of the White Lions of Chrace, defy you to prove your claim that any Caledorian is worth more in a duel than any Lord of Chrace. I am such a lord. I stand here on hallowed ground to receive proof of my supposed inferiority.” He shrugged of the restraining hand of Korhil.

”Bah, you Deral,” The Drakemaster was non-plussed, almost dismissive. ”You are well skilled in battle, but in a duel, wielding that big axe, it would slow you too much. You would be thrice defeated, fighting Caledorians.” Likewise Ramesesis was holding his sword arm, his voice in a whisper but seemingly chiding his rash companion.

”Very well, Dragon pup,” responded the White Lion. ”I will meet your boast. Any three Caledorians of your choosing I will defeat. In succession! As the first falls to me the second may immediately draw his sword. We are here in our battle dress, then meet me as you would if it wear battle, your horse and all. My question for you is, do you have the nerve to face me yourself, or will hide behind your countrymen and send others to answer for your words.”

The air was alive with the passion of the assembly. Some in fury, others in fear, most in excitement. But most it was the barely contained rage that passed from eye to eye between the defiant White Lion, and the flippant Dragon Prince.

The Warden of Tor Caeln, could see no way to calm the rage present, but perhaps he could control it. Slowly stepping between them, he inserted himself in Deral's gaze. ”Mighty Lord of Chrace, my lesser brother has spoken rashly today. Likewise you have spoken hard against him, and the rest of my brothers. But your harsh words are not liable, nor undeserved in the face of such pompous and defamatory accusations made by Beshil'ur. As his commander I am embarrassed at his brazen disrespect, and would answer your challenge myself to erase the shame my subordinate has done me. Let me give you an honorable contest of arms, Lord to Lord. You have courage. I give you that. I would learn firsthand if your skills match your courage. In fact, I have need of a man like you in command of my bodyguard. If you do well or even win, I might offer you that position. But still, should you best me and it shall be clear that no three Caledorians could gainsay you. If fate grants me victory, then be at peace and go your way without shame having only found ill fortune against a worthy equal.”

”Noble Ramesesis, Prince of the West,” answered Deral. His voice was even and smooth but his face was still scowled, as if he was staring straight through Ramesesis' chest, still locked on the face of his hated opponent. ”You speak to me in fairness and honor, and I will grant you absolution from your shame, as you request. But forgive me from refraining from retracting my challenge to your Drakemaster. He has made preposterous claims, and regardless of our match's outcome, I intend to make him eat his words. A reckoning is owed and a lesson must be taught.”

”Very well Lord Lionbane.” At the sound of this new voice, Deral did brake his gaze. It was Imrik, Lord Prince of all Caledor, breaking his long silence in this discussion. ”I agree with my Warden. Beshil'ur should learn restraint from the wine bottle. He has spoken poisonous words, and brought dishonor to me and all other Caledorians. A lesson must be taught indeed. As such I forbid him from answering your challenge himself. Let him live in the shame that others had to fight to support his ridiculous claims. That is assuming that there are three of our brothers that are willing to volunteer to vindicate his words. If there be not three that will support him, then let that be a sign that he speaks not for our realm, and I will pronounce him banished along with the one or two that support him. This is the decree of Caledor, spoken by its Prince.”

”Agreed. He is your subject to command and I will not contest your will, though I hope for his banishment. Thus I would be free to hunt him down and confront him myself.”

”I understand,” replied the Dragon Kin. ”Then see to your honorable duel with my Warden, whilst we see if Beshil'ur has enough loyalty from his friends, to save him from himself.”

_________________
Prince Deral Lionbane, head of the House of Lionbane, Lord of Lionstone and Warden of Tor Charta

Luna, try not to beat them too hard. They are proud about their pseudo-glorious past and their present nothingness, you know.
-Elmoth, about Caledorians


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:02 pm 
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While the Caledorians retreated into a heated debate, Lord Deral Lionbane and the Hunter Captain Korhil clasped hands and stared into each others eyes. To look from one face to another was to look from night to day. In Deral's eyes one could find all the pride and grit of his people, mingled with righteous indignation. Korhil's face bore the look of concern and care and a longing that such strife did not exist in his brother Lion. He finally broke silence, ”You don't have to do this, my old friend.”

”But the challenge is set and I won't back out now,” replied Lionbane. ”Could you have done anything different than hunt Charandais, who you now wear, when you heard he was proving such a menace? Nor can I let this derision pass unanswered.

”Ramesesis!” he shouted across the chaos of voices. ”I await you in the eastern field. Do us the honor of bringing your steed, for the challenge is to face each other, as we would in full battle.”

The Prince of the West, disentangled himself for his countrymen and sang a long low note. A regal mare of jet black mane came across the plain at an instant to her master's side. The trappings on the steed were of the same rich, shimmering black and a vivant red. Watching her gallop, it seemed that she ran with ribbons of red silk continually flowing around her. When the Warden of Tor Caeln lept to her saddle, his matching red armour blended seamlessly. If it were not for his bright blue cape, the rider and horse might have been mistaken for a centaur or something, as if they were but one entity.

”A magnificent animal Lord Ramesesis.”

”Thank you good Deral,” graciously receiving the complement. ”She is from my father's stables and he thought her too powerful to be yoked to a chariot.”

From watching the two of them en route to the eastern field was a sobering sight. The White Lion was renowed for his height, even amoung the tall elves of Chrace. Walking next the the Warden he was surprising close to being on even eye level with the mounted Caledorian. Next to the ornate and glamourous trappings of the Dragon Lord, he looked almost savage by comparison. Under his Lion Cloak, he only wore a golden breastplate, and matching grieves on his shins. They were very ornate, the breast plate molded to match his muscular physique. But with the animal skin on his back and his naked arms and thighs, he seemed a ruffian next to the heraldy of the Prince of the West. But they knew each other well. Deral was not barbaric any more than Ramesesis was vain. Both wore the honored traditional garb of their homes. Lionbane gave long affectionate strokes down the handsome mare's mane. Seeing them interact so carefree, one might think them old friends and confidants, rather than two warriors about to unleash hell upon eachother.

”That is right,” reflected the White Lion. ”You have roots outside of Caledor. I had almost forgotten. And then your wife is from here in Saphery, no?”

”She studies at the Tower, true, but she is from Averlorn.”

Lord Deral nodded in recognition. They had arrived and were getting a feel for the area, and how much space the trailing crowd was giving them. ”Tell me my worthy opponent, why is it that you bard not your great mare, seeing how she is of such exemplary stock?”

”When I strode amoung the clouds, my beloved Kreshilas, wore no barding.” Ramesesis eyes welled up a touch at the memory of his dragon mount. ”My griffon Sorvitahr, like wise will not wear it. I feel it best to continue the tradition with Prifficar here. It also seems to me to inhibit our effectiveness in tight terrain.”

”Well I have kept my boots on Ulthuan all my days,” Deral spoke even and slow, and it was apparent that he was preparing his mind for the coming blows, ”and I shall not attempt to counsel any elf of Caledor, Tiranoc, or Ellyria as to the merits of steeds and combat from a saddle. I know my axe and if you are prepared to face it, I am ready to receive you.”

”Honor. Asuryan's blessing upon you, noble Lord of Chrace.”

”For you I will answer the custom Great Warden,” Deral Lionbane opened his eyes when Ramesesis initiated the traditional salute. ”But to your kinsmen, I hold them not in respect. Belhaniq of Naggarythe, will you give the signal?” Both the Shadow Warrior's and the Prince of the West's heads nodded in agreement. ”Then let us begin, Ramesesis. Honor. May Isha smile down on you.”

The salute completed, now the crowd waited without even drawing breath. Many had been placing bets and arguing the various achievements and advantages of the two veteran commanders. Now they had nothing left to say. With sword and axe, every question was about to be answered.

Belhaniq was very cautious in his movements. He knew he had been chosen due to his impartial heritage, and he wished to remain neutral. In a long fluid motion he drew his sword and held it high. For long, eternal heartbeats, his blade hung in the air. Then dropped it in a flash and both warriors were charging into the fray.

Deral ran lithe and cunningly to his left. Ramsesis responded in kind, knowing that in his saddle he must not allow the swift Chracian to run round the rear of his saddle. Deral smiled to himself and deftly jumped back right and rolled further. With this sudden reversal he was now bearing down on Ramsesis exposed left, rather than his sword arm.

He called on the enchantment bound to the Lion Pelt of Carathic, gifted him by his mentor, Korhil. At Korhil's request the pelt had been empowered by the archmages of Hoeth to grant the bearer the fury and might of the slain lion. Thus wearing this seemingly innocent pelt, Deral had the potential to call upon the spirit of the lion itself to accompany him. It was no easy feat, particularly owing to the fact that Lionbane had never studied the arts of Aethyr. But he had gained familiarity with the enchantment woven into his lion cloak and could predictably summon it's forebearer's ethereal form.

The crowd watched as the winds of Aethyr flooded into the cloak, filling it to it's proper form and Deral's hands beginning to grow claws. But in the same instant, the magic was stolen from him as a white disempowering light passed from the Dragon Prince. He had stolen the moment to bring Prifficar round. ”My wife has taught me well to sense and counter the minor sorceries.”

”Little difference,” countered Lionbane. ”I have other tricks.” Crossing the final steps, they both swung their opening blows. The Warden of Caeln was indeed surprised that Deral could match him in speed, wielding such a large axe. It should not be possible with such a weighty weapon. Both their first blows were equally countered by each the other. A second lighting exchange of strikes were likewise perfectly met and stopped by each other. Deral managed an agile reversal of momentum and made a lethal hack at the Dragon Lord's left leg. Ramesesis managed to catch the leading edge of the axe and parry it just enough to make it harmless.

At this moment the Prince of the West realized how Deral was achieving such speed. The White Lion was using an unorthodox grip. The right hand was not kept at the pommel of the axe, but about a third of the way up the shaft. His left, the typically mobile hand was firmly gripping the weapon on the shaft between the twin yokes of the axe head. Thus he clearly had a greater control over the cumbersome weapon. Using this more balanced grip, Deral was forgoing the added power of the Great Axe, and in exchange for this sacrifice, was able to move as quickly as if he carried a standard halberd. Thankfully, Ramesesis thought, this will spare me the savage blows, but he knew it would be harder to predict him with his fast reactions.

But here, the Dragon Lord had parried this swing and now, in half a hearbeat the Charcian would have spun around and exposed his back. Ramesesis thought to capitalize on this and struck a well aimed stab at Deral's upper right back. The shimmering blade flashed out and would taste the first blood of the day. But his family's enchanted sword, the Blade of the West, was denied. Inhuman speed had carried the Chracian axe full circle and the flat of the head lay against Deral's back. Such was his proficiency in this half-handed style that Deral's enormous axe was both weapon and shield. The Lionbane truly had many tricks. Ramesesis adapted quickly and allowed his family sword the skip across the axe blade and made a well placed cut at the left shoulder of the Lionguard. Deral was ever so slightly, yet importantly, too far from his saddle. The strike only resulted in an inconsequential scratch. But Ramesesis had another problem to worry about.

Deral had continued his pivoting and was now bringing his axe down in a crashing overhead blow. If his adversary was on his right side he could easily catch the blow with his sword, but on his left he was vulnerable. Now it was the Warden's turn to smile at his own surprise. The blue cloak he wore was far more than ornamental. Spun and carefully woven with the enchantments of Asuryan it was tougher than Ithilmar, confusing his adversaries and fouling their attempts to strike him, and it warded him as well. Ramesesis grabbed the cloak in his left hand and raised it as he would a shield, while calling on his mount to raise up on her hind quarters. Thus elevated he could catch the axe blade before it gained too much momentum. Aided by the Dragon Armour on his sleeve, it was just enough to save him from a vicious wound.

Prancing on her hind legs so, Prifficar saw her moment and kicked at the left arm of the axe wielding menace. She connected perfectly, but Deral wisely loosed his hand's grip on the axe and allowed the arm to be knocked away. She had struck true, but little more than a fading bruise had resulted.

While the Dragon Prince resettled to the ground, Deral Lionbane seized the initiative and summoned for the spirit of the great lion Carathic once again. Ramesis was ready for this and as before, the white dispelling light shown forth. But it flickered and sputtered out. In the smallest of margins, Deral has bested him in seeking control of the Aethyr, and the Lion Cloak sprang to life around it's master. The maw of the lion began a silent roar as is merged with Deral's head, at which point the transforming elf finished the roar. The paws of the cloak likewise sought out his hands soon the massive paws that appeared wear unable to keep a hold the axe so deftly wielded. Deral appeared every bit a true LionGuard, having the form of both Lion and Elf at the same time.

In bestial fury he sprang at the mounted elf. Ramesesis valiantly deflected three fearsome swipes of those enormous paws. The Lionspirit Deral bit directly at the parrying sword hand, but succeeded merely in biting the base of the blade. Another paw raked at the Caledorians back but was fouled in the cape. Releasing his bite, Deral brought his left paw full force into the side of Ramesesis' head. The blow was so mighty that even he had worn a helmet, it would have availed him naught. The claws were sure to leave a terrible wound, but the magic imbued in the brilliant blue cloak rallied up and covered the left side of his head in far better protection. The momentum knocked his head over and Deral lifted himself up a bit more and bite down hard on the exposed right shoulder of the Dragon Lord. His fangs of the lion spirit bit deep and though the Dragon armour was red, one could see the blood flow.

Lord Ramesesis fought through the pain and tossed his sword to his left hand, while praying to Isha to aid him in ending this enchantment. The pain was too great and he could not concentrate his mind enough to undo this sorcery. With fist and sword he struggled to strike or punch the great feline that had locked its jaw on him. Caledorians train themselves in off hand use of their weapons but the sheer bulk of the enchanted form of Deral proved to be too difficult to land a proper attack.

The mare however found her moment. As Deral held on to the Dragon Lord's torso, his feline legs were dangling in front of her chest. She arched her neck and bit a leg with all her might as she strained to pull the Chrace Lord from her back. The illusion gave way at her bite and his elf's leg could be clearly seen there as well as the greave that barely spared his flesh from her teeth.

Releasing his own grip on Ramesesis, Lionbane pressed his advantage once again before the Caledorian could react. The Warden was ready for this onslaught of teeth and claws and beautifully parried four blows. He knew he could end this empowering illusion if given moment to concetrate. The moment never came. In a mighty leap, Deral used the strength of the lion to jump directly over horse and rider. The right forepaw slashed at his back and was lost in the cape, never to land a claw. But as he came down on the other side, Deral kicked out behind him with both rear paws. They landed square in Ramsesis chest, cracking the dragon armour and the warding cape was unable to cover him quickly enough.

Deral attempted to land his jump on one paw, and stumbled, rolling across the grass. At the same time, the Prince of the West had been fully knocked out of his saddle and likewise came crashing to the turf. Gasping for air Ramesis lay clutching at his chest. Deral stood, knowing their fight was over and released the spirit form of Carathic back into the cloak. He raced over to his fallen opponent to see to him, calling for the maidens to attend and heal the Dragon Lord. Lord Lionbane never reached the side of Ramesis. His path was suddenly barred by a blade that every Asur knew well. Sunfang.

”What foolishness goes on here!” Tyrion's voice bellowed across the gathered crowd. ”Why does an honorable Lord of Charce disgrace himself by attempting to kill a Prince of Caledor?”

Before Deral could answer the charge, a voice sweeter than a flock of nightingales delighted his ears. In every elf around, it filled them with bliss and peace. Alarielle gracefully lighted her touch to the threatening hand of her escort. ”Stay your hand my love, and allow me to revive this anguished lord. Then we may learn the truth from both.”

In the fervor of the conflict it seemed that the Everqueen, her escort, and a small retinue had arrived in the throng. She serenely knelt at the writhing form of Lord Ramesesis and held out her hand over his wound. A warm silver glow showered down on his chest and his breathing instantly relaxed. The signs of agony erased themselves from his face and in moments he lay in near complete repose. The Beautiful hand of the incomparable Everqueen passed it's healing light to his bitten shoulder as well. As she rose, Alarielle bade him, ”Can you tell us why this violence has occurred on our day of celebration.”

”Certainly M'lady.” Ramesesis rose and stood next to his previous adversary. ”Great Prince Tyrion, I would ask that you sheath your holy sword. Lord Deral Lionbane is innocent of wrongdoing. He has rightly bested me. I challenged him to an honor duel, to save my name from shame of my inebriated countryman, and the Lord of Chrace has proven his proud heritage in a feat of arms, beyond contestation.” Tyrion relaxed his arm and readied to put away his blade, as Lord Ramesesis of Tir Eloc continued. ”Good Deral, I acknowledge a perfect victory to you. Your skill is terrible to face. I feel pity for any of my brothers who have spoken their support to Beshil'ur. Perhaps you will best all three of them."

_________________
Prince Deral Lionbane, head of the House of Lionbane, Lord of Lionstone and Warden of Tor Charta

Luna, try not to beat them too hard. They are proud about their pseudo-glorious past and their present nothingness, you know.
-Elmoth, about Caledorians


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