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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:03 am 
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Ultimate End Times Chronicler

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Hi Fellow Travelers of the Story Section,

I've decided to collect a selection of story 'fragments' from my army blog and repost them here. I'm afraid they are not - or at least, I don't intend them to be - a set of new, self-contained stories. Instead just a series of vignettes looking at the life, and world, of the Nagarathi misfits, that I know of.

I ask for some indulgence for the double posting! I fear that my little tales will soon be drowned out by the grinding of gears for the industrial production of better games that takes place in the more traversed parts of the forum. Or, to try another metaphor, I'm hoping that the little fragments I've written in the sands on the shore of the great interweb sea, won't be so quickly erased by the lapping of cyber-waves, and the tread of time, over here!

As always, thank you for reading and sharing!

Headshot

P.S. And I will try to put some sort of 'chronology' in place for the fragments. Just for those who mind that sort of thing! :D

P.P.S. Narrith lessa kynn'barr! :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 3:31 am 
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Chronicler

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Ha well I blame those misfit adventures for making this part of tHe forum my new home as I've become lost in my story lmao your fault! Though my writing is far from on par from your great story telling (hence I shamelessly stole some of your descriptions of the Nagarathi Roma as I'm sure my own attempt would have been sub par and rendered me a visit in the middle of the night by one of your undesirables lol) anyway keep the stories comin when you can ! Also any constructive comments are always welcome , I think my geography might be a little off as I read a more detailed map the other day. #-o #-o

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:16 am 
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Ultimate End Times Chronicler

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Hi Larose,

You are welcome to the Roma description. I hope to see more of those shaven-headed curmudgeons in your writing in the future!

Oh, and I'll gladly take a look at your story as soon as I can get some time away from the boss.

Headshot

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:23 am 
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Ultimate End Times Chronicler

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The original epilogue. It's the real starting place for the stories that have filled my head over the past few months (and driven my Everqueen nuts! "Are you writing about elves, again?!" :D ). So in all humbleness, I wanted to preserve it here in the story section.

Chronology: 'the future' (nearly 80 years from the first appearance of the current Shadow Prince, 'Spite')

An Epilogue...

The green and purple grass of the moor rustled softly in the breeze. Not a creature to be seen. Yet. The Shadow Prince thought. But they were coming. As surely as the tides. He stared longer at the empty vista. Yes, they were out there… But just not yet.

He sighed, and ran his hand along his shaven scalp. His remaining black hair was braided into a narrow strip from forehead to long queue in the back, in the manner of the Nagarathi Roma of the Western Hills. His fingers habitually lingered at the scars of his clipped right ear; a memento of the days spent in the nightmare hold of a Black Ark. His hand came forward to the scar running across his cheek to the cleft in the bridge of his nose. That was from the depths beneath the world. When the Host of Nagarythe had entered those cursed caverns to retrieve an artifact from the Ratmen….

Yes. He had been with the Host for nearly three quarters of a century now. Traveling about the far flung corners of the Eternal Empire on the business of Nagarythe and the Phoenix King. His face was a map to a history of war, carnage, and loss.

“Tim!” a woman’s voice called out. The anger, that was always just beneath the surface, flared inside him. His iron gray eyes turned to the source of the voice with venom. The tall, lithe form of the emissary was walking towards him. His anger immediately disappeared, like water on a skillet. To be replaced by a wistful emptiness in his breast. He sighed.

“Anna’Lis,” he called back. “You have been with the Nagarathi for decades now. You know our ways.” It was true. They had both joined the Host only days apart. He but a boy; she but a young elf maiden newly arrived from the distant vales of Saphery. Those years had been hard ones. She scarcely resembled the girl of that distant morning. Her hair still was gold like the morning’s glow, but the face beneath was marked with faded white scars on both cheeks. Her own map to a history of war. And the eyes…. The eyes were those of a person who had seen too much…. Too much of the grim misery that this world contained.

“Narrin’Tim died two summers ago,” the Shadow Lord continued. “His mother sang the dirge of parting. His father lit the funeral pyre. You remember. You were there.”

The woman blinked. “Yes, I…” she faltered. “I am sorry, Shadow Lord.” Her bright blue eyes held his pale grey ones for a moment. Nothing was said. She continued. “The scouts have returned.”

“I will speak with them. In a moment,” he replied. The woman turned as if to leave. The sudden grace of the movement reminding him again of the girl he had met all those decades ago. He wondered again why she had stayed. Even refusing to return to the Tower to complete her trials so that she could learn the inner mysteries, and join the council of Archmages. Instead, opting to remain amongst the ‘savages’ of Nagarythe.

She stopped and turned back to him. Nodding at the hilt of his blade protruding from the sheathe on his back, she asked, “Have you named it yet?”

“No, I….” It was his turn to falter.

“It is as you said. I have been among the Nagarathi for decades.” She smiled thin-lipped. “Doesn’t the Shadow Lord always name his blade?”

It was true. The Shadow Lord – the Dead Prince, The Nameless One – historically always gave a name to the blade he wielded in battle. And then, once he had fallen to the Second Death, the keepers of the histories of Nagarythe – the singers of the ballads, the writers of the tomes – would refer to him by way of his blade. He had no other name. Other than ‘Shadow Lord’. Already the songs were being sung of his predecessor, Spite….

“I will think of something,” he answered. She nodded, and walked away without saying another word. The wistful pain returned to his chest.

He looked down. He was garbed in the ancient black and gold armor of his station. Worn by countless Shadow Lords since the time of the Sundering. It was rumored to have been first crafted for a young Malekith. He didn’t know if that was true. All he knew is that he had worn it for two years now, and still it felt a terrible fit. Literally. The armor hung awkwardly across his shoulders. It pinched about his waist, and caught under his arms sometimes. It seemed to have been made for taller men….

On their own, the fingers of his left hand found the hole in the armor, just below the heart. Memories, unbidden, flooded back to him. That desolate shore two years ago. The Shadow Lord. The Real Shadow Lord. Lying there after the battle. Surrounded by the bodies of the Druchii Corsairs. Beside him, broken, his claymore, Spite. His body pierced by the Reaver lance…. He remembered holding him; cradling him in his arms. Weeping in disbelief. Calling for a healer. But none came. The shock in his mind still lay there, as surely as the hole in the iron bands across his breast. The Shadow Lord could not be defeated! He had seen him stare down the most hideous monster of Old World and New! Never flinching!! Not once! But there he lay in his arms, suddenly diminished. Just an elf. With the gaunt, pale features of his people. And he had cried like a child looking down into that beautiful face.

One last time those black eyes had opened and looked up at him kindly. One last time, those bloody lips had made a small smile. In a soft voice he had said, “Do not grieve for me, brother…. At last, I am free….” He had died right there in his arms.

And now he was Shadow Lord. Not by his choice. The Council of the People had called, and he had answered. In matters of war, the Shadow Prince has near absolute power in Nagarythe; only superseded by the Council, or the Phoenix King himself. But very few went to the role willingly.

He thought of Anna’Lis…. The cost was just too high.

And now he wore the ancient black and gold. He hated the armor. It was hideous and impractical. The old thing was crisscrossed with rents, damage, and hasty repairs. Mail links were bent from the force of ancient blows. Scars signifying the terrible cuts of the blades of ill-remembered foes of the Shadow Lords from prior millenia, could be found scratched upon the bands here and there. It was ill fitting. It provided little protection. It was….impractical!

Last spring he had been called to the Phoenix King’s Council in Lothern. He had scarce believed his eyes. The high walls and glittering towers! The white marble minarets that reached so high they seemed to pierce the very clouds! And as he, and his brothers, had made their way through the column lined avenues of that gorgeous metropolis – a spot of pallid skin, lanky dark hair, and worn earthy brown clothing, amongst the fair people of the southern lands – he remembered how passing in front of a tavern, a group of young Caledorian nobles sharing morning wine in the patio of the place, had openly gawked, pointed, and laughed at his awkward, and anachronistic, garb.

His anger flared. His hand had sought the hunting knife concealed beneath his belt sash. Don’t these young fools know the sacrifices the Nagarathi have made?! The sacrifices of the Shadow Lords, so that Anlec would not fall, and keep war from the southern lands?!!

But then, like so many other times, the words of his predecessor had come unbidden to his mind. “They may laugh at us,” he had once said. “They may treat us with contempt. May even despise us.” Those dark eyes probed his own in the silence that followed. And then the Shadow Lord had said:

“But they are the only kin we have left. We must love them.”

Immediately the anger had calmed inside. And he had walked on without incident.

Later he learned that the young Caledorian nobles had been found the following day by the tavern staff, bound and gagged in their beds, and dressed in the robes of Dwarf women. But when he had confronted his Shadow Warrior brothers, they had looked at him with such innocence in their faces that he could not mouth the prepared rebuke.

But the armor…. He shook his head, remembering the Phoenix King’s council. There, for the first time, he had met the other Lords of Ulthuan. High Lord Seredain. Victor of countless battles. His brilliant plate seemed to flow across his muscled torso like quicksilver. The Prince of Chrace. The very air seemed to shimmer around his burnished armor, harkening to the potent magics deep within.

Why o why would the Nagarathi continue to use this scarred heap of metal and leather?! he wondered. Whatever enchantments it had once contained, had long since faded into nothingness. And with the many rents and tears, memories of battles from yesteryears, whatever protection the armor offered was negligible….

But still…HE had worn it. And that is why he wears it now….

Suddenly a different memory emerged. A long forgotten time, from when he was still new to the Host. Across distant seas they had travelled past the Tower of the Sun, to the sultry jungle lands of Ind. There one moonless night, he had sought solitude away from the Host, atop a cliff overlooking the sea. That night, under those strange stars and constellations, he had known a loneliness like never before. An empty isolation from his family and friends. A bitterness against the call to the Host. He had missed his people. The sounds of the camp. The smells of the cook fires. The songs of the elders. The voices of his friends. He had tried to be angry, wondering why he had accepted the charge to join the host, but instead he had just sunk into a cold feeling of utter isolation.

That night, the Shadow Lord had found him. Had stood beside him, with a comforting hand upon his shoulder. He had looked up at the Prince. The armor was there right next to him. It was the first time he had really seen it up close. The starlight had seemed to play across the broken rings, and scarred iron bands. They had talked of nonsense things. Of home and hunts. The memories had given him solace. As had the Lord’s calmness and good humor. Towards the end of that sleepless vigil, he remembered turning to the Shadow Lord and asking him if he was ever lonely….

The memory was clear as glass. The Shadow Lord had turned to him and smiled, and said:

“I am Nagarythe. Why should I ever be lonely?”

At last he understood. The new Shadow Lord turned to find those scouts. There was work to be done.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:04 am 
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Something Cool

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GAH! Why did i have to read this again?!


SO SAD NOW...

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:19 am 
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Well played Sir
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So sad, even though everyone assumed it was coming, it still hurt.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:24 pm 
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Hmm, nice idea of collecting the various stories.

Headshot wrote:
Chronology: 'the future' (nearly 80 years from the first appearance of the current Shadow Prince, 'Spite')


Does this mean that it's eighty years after what you're writing now? Sorry, confused. :oops: :?

So is he called Spite?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:03 am 
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Ultimate End Times Chronicler

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Elithmar of Lothern wrote:
Does this mean that it's eighty years after what you're writing now?


Not quite. During the stories I am writing now (in Tor'Alessa), the Shadow Prince has held his title for some years already. Let's see... the stories in Avelorn (midwinter's tale) were about five years after his 'coronation'. That was in spring. The battle with the evil Druchii happened sometime late that fall, or early winter, and it is once again spring 'now'. So it is about year six into his 'reign'. So... the death is about three quarters of a century in the future from 'right now'.

Still time for more stories! :D

Elithmar of Lothern wrote:
So is he called Spite?


Only posthumously. After one goes through the ritual of the 'first death' to become Shadow Lord, one gives up their former name and titles, and becomes just 'Shadow Lord' or 'Shadow Prince'. The elf you were before is officially 'dead'. Then after the Shadow Lord falls in battle (or is executed), he then is known to historians by the name of the blade he wielded. In our case, the current Shadow Prince will be known for his claymore 'Spite', and so in all the songs and tales will be referred to as 'Spite'.

It makes sense that way. During life, their is only one Shadow Prince, so everyone just refers to him by that title. But after he's dead, since there have been numerous historical Princes, it would be hard to know to whom one was referring to without some specific nomenclature; hence the posthumous naming after blades!

Sorry to confuse. But I wanted the Shadow Prince role to be an 'office', not a 'personage'. To show the durability of the Nagarathi way and culture. They die. But they continue....

Headshot

P.S. and for some discussion of who the Shadow Prince was before the first death, see Cal or jwg20's stories!

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:32 am 
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The first real development of the Palin'Tanith character. One of my favorites. Though he was never intended.... :-k

Chronology - Just after the return from Bretonnia, and the battle with the dwarfs there. About 'year 3' I think.



In the mountains of eastern Nagarythe….

The Shadow Coven had finished their enchantments, and the cowled and cloaked magi were slowly filing down the passages and exiting the shrine. Narrin’Tim could see the new Nagarythe stone, now set firmly in the base of the shrine’s obelisk. It’s glow was no longer dim; but bright with life and power. Along with the other stones in the obelisk, it filled the interior of the shrine with a warm golden glow.

Nearby the Shadow Lord stood, and on either side of him, Princess Tarabeth and Anna’lis of Saphery. The four gazed in silence upon the shrine’s stones for a few moments. Then the Shadow Lord stepped forward, and placed one hand lightly on the obelisk face.

“We have lost so much of our history,” he said softly, head bowed slightly. “To time. To treachery. It is good to get even this small piece returned.”

He stepped back and turned towards them. A sad smile on his countenance. Then with a nod, he pulled himself erect, and faced the young Chracian princess directly.

“Princess Tarabeth of Chrace,” he stated in a commanding voice. “For what you have done for us these past days….and for the courage you have shown! I name you, Friend of Nagarythe! You shall always be welcome amongst the People.” He bowed to her.

Then standing tall once more, and with a steely look in his eyes, he added, “And if you should ever have need of us, call, and we shall come!”

Tim turned and looked at the princess. Her eyes were wide and filled with tears. But her face….it looked as if it would soon outshine the very watchstones of the temple!

Tim smiled, and gave her a bow too. Then quietly he exited the shrine alone. Outside it was night on the mountain heights. Pines rustled, and the stars shone like Asuryan’s diamonds. In front of the small temple, bonfires had been lit to ward off the chill. Here and there, members of the Host were raising the pavilions, or breaking fast in small groups. In the days to come, a watch – both magical and physical – would be set about this shrine. So that its safety could be ensured for the coming years. The Host would take the first steps towards that. A step to ensuring the peace and prosperity for not only Nagarythe, but all of Ulthuan as well.

Suddenly pensive, Narrin’Tim made his way to the edge of the camp, politely rejecting the invitations to join his brothers at the fires. He walked towards the wood’s edge along the Rift – the Great Sea Cliff; the place where mountain met sea. He stood near the edge. Here the sky looked so vast, he felt as if he could reach forth and touch the heavens…..

He pondered the Shadow Lord’s words. Yes, we have lost much, he thought. He had never before stopped to consider just how much. How many tales of heroism had faded into a silent death of oblivion? Or how many fallen brothers had fought and died bravely in titanic battles against unspeakable foes…. And now are no longer remembered? Their blood and courage alike, merely echoes in the winds and stones of Nagarythe. What monsters or demons from the nightmares beyond had been slain through unheard of efforts of sacrifice and courage by heroes of old? Heroes whose very names have now been forgotten.

How many tales of valor had been allowed to die in the mists of time because they were tainted?

Tainted by the presence of Malek’Kith…. The greatest Nagarathi of them all….

It was a bitter thought. He strolled further into the forest. A few minutes later he spied Palin’Tanith, seated alone upon a log; apparently also lost in his own pensiveness. Tim hesitated, and then thought once more on the Shadow Lord’s words. He came up beside the old warrior.

“Brother,” Tanith greeted with a forearm clasp.

“Brother,” Tim replied. Tanith nodded to the log beside him. Tim sat down.

“What bothers you?” the gravel-voiced warrior asked.

Tim pursed his lips. “Is it true,” he hesitated. “Is it true what they say? That you went with the Phoenix King’s army to the….North?”

Tanith looked at him curiously. “Oh they still say that do they?” he asked with a chuckle. “Yes….it is true. Though that was an age ago. No one these days speaks of it.” He paused. “It didn’t go well…..” He finished with a slow shake of the head.

“Is that…?” Tim couldn’t finish.

Tanith nodded. “Yes. Most of these.“ He pointed to his face. “Are souvenirs from the Land of Chill.”

“How-?” Tim shook his head. “I am sorry. I shouldn’t say-“

“I was captured by the Khainites there,” Tanith said simply. “They held me for two days.” His eyes seemed to fade away as he now stared into the past. “They revel in pain…. They tried to break me.” He finished softly.

Completely absorbed now, Narrin’Tim asked, “How did you escape?”

Slowly shaking his head, eyes still lost in the distance, Tanith replied, “That was the damndest thing. The damndest thing!” He paused in thought, then said, “I was rescued.”

He paused again. Haltingly at first, and then with speed, he continued, “A young Shadow Warrior had tracked them to the temple. He made his way inside…and as I was being led to the alter…he…he fought his way through the Khainite guards. A dozen at least! The great blade-wielding executioners of the mad northern cults….” Tanith shook his head quickly as if to wake from a dream.

“Then he killed the Hag Queen! Took her head, right in front of her own bloody altar!!” He gave a barking laugh. “The damndest thing I ever saw!! I’ve never seen anything else like it in all my centuries…. Him coming there. Risking everything. Just to find me…” His voice trailed off.

“Narrith lessa kynn’barr,” he finished quietly.

“Narrith lessa kynn’barr,” Tim repeated. It was the Old Nagarathi dialect. In the man tongue: “Never leave a brother behind.”

Silence descended between them. After long seconds, Tim ventured:

“Who was this Shadow Warrior? Where is he? Why isn’t he in the Host now?”

Tanith gave him another curious look. “He died,” he said simply.

“Oh.” Tim nodded. “In the North? During the war?”

Tanith held his gaze a little longer. Then looked once more to the overhanging stars.

“No boy. He survived the war. He returned to Nagarythe. I remember on the ships coming home, sitting next to him,” he said. “I remember the smell and taste of salt on the sea breeze. It was the taste of freedom that I thought I would never know again. Of coming home….”

“And I remember him….him talking about the young wife who was waiting for him in Nagarythe….” His voice faded into reflective silence. He stayed still for a moment, then suddenly gave out a great barking laugh again. “I remember how he said he wanted to come back to Nagarythe and be a gardener. A gardener! Can you imagine that?! A Nagarathi gardener.” He chuckled ruefully.

“Then how-“ Tim pressed.

“He died in Nagarythe, boy. Going on three years now.” Tanith stared hard into his eyes. He then stood, and adjusted the bow upon his back. Looking down, he finished, “I will say no more.”

True to his word, the old veteran turned and walked back towards the camp without uttering anything else.

Three years?! That would be the time….

Tim swallowed. His throat dry. He sat alone in the forest for a few minutes. Then slowly, his mind lost in a new found history of bitterness and dreams turned to ashes, he walked back towards the burning fires of the Host.


***

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:38 am 
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Well played Sir
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A repost, but I enjoyed reading it again ^_^

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:41 pm 
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Sorry Tiralya. They are all gonna be reposts in this thread. I'm just gathering things up. Nothing new here.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:45 pm 
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A glimpse at some of the other players in Nagarythe.

Chronology: This is after the events of 'midwinter', and just following the battle with the Druchii. So towards the end of year 5.


Dramatic Prelude

The waves frothed and churned. Granite grey water smashed against black stone, spitting out streamers of white into the evening sky. Above the rocks and sea, a cliff, precipice and sheer. It towered over the water a hundred meters or more; its face worn smooth by the actions of a millennia of the fury at its feet. Water on rock. Over and over. The elemental struggle.

Here and there about its craggy protrusions one could see the brown bundles of sea bird’s nests. The grey stone was streaked with their dung, and the evening air was filled with their cries. But otherwise, there was no sign of life. No trees grew amongst the stone; no vines; no brambles; no grass. It was earth, sky, and water. Nothing more.

Except…. At the top of the cliff – at the very end of a mighty promontory – rose a tall, slender tower. It was unlike anything else in that desolate landscape. It was crafted of white stone that seemed to gleam beneath the evening starlight. The lines of its make were soft, and curved; they rose to the heavens with a supple elegance. And, most importantly, it seemed…new. The stonework; the fine carvings; the buttresses at the tower’s foot. None of these things had seen the force of time. Not like the wasteland among which it stood.

And…below the tower, at the base of the cliff, there was one other artifice of hand and mind. Twin prongs of a stone quay jutted out into the frothing water, forming the smallest of artificial harbors, in which the seas were tamed; or at least placated the tiniest of fractions.

And it was towards this harbor the boat made. It was a light craft, slender and elegant of form. Designed to dance among the waves rather than crash through them. Though its wood was of a rich blackish hue, the discerning eye could tell that the design of its lines were sisters to those of the tower above. The same people. The same imagination. Had crafted these things with a shared eye towards practicality and beauty.

As the mind turns to people, the eye discovers them, there! Waiting at the end of the quay. A small group of tall and wiry individuals, heavily robed and cloaked in black wax-cloth to ward against the wet and chill. The eyes of the beings in this group are of many hues, yet they all share a slender, almond like shape. And they are all fixed upon the approaching craft.

At last the craft reaches the quiet of the interior of the breakwater, and glides along the edge of the quay. Two of the watchers spring into action, throwing and catching lines to their counterparts on board. The remainder move to the section of the quay, where a narrow ramp has been lowered from the craft. They wait. Patiently. But expectantly….

And then a solitary figure steps to the top of the ramp. The wind tears at the figure, but he does not bend. The blackness of his cloak flutters like the rapid beating wings of a great raven; and yet the figure within stands still. Black and gold. Black and gold armor are revealed as the cloak blows this way and that. Long streamers of hair as dark as the night sky above, flow in the breeze. And black eyes, more dark then the depths between the stars, stare downwards at the waiting party.

“My prince!” the leader amongst the waiting party calls. “Welcome to the Blighted Isle!”

The black clad figure strides down the ramp. The waiting party backs away cautiously. They are young. They feel young. And they know that which stands amongst them is very, very old. And the distance, the weight of years, the memories. All of these things can be terrifying. Especially as the lifeless black eyes sweep over them, seeming to see into their very hearts.

“They are expecting me,” the newcomer made it a statement, and not a question.

“Yes, my lord.”

“Then lead on.” The waiting party form about the ancient one in positions of an honor guard, while their spokesmen takes position beside him, and then as a group they walk to the stone stairs, that climb a narrow, circuitous path to the tower above.

As they climb, the prince asks, “What news of the tower?”

“It is finally completed. The last stone was set in place merely a fortnight ago,” the guide answers. He shakes his head. “It was begun only a few decades after the Druchii invasion. Yet, the seas, and the land, made the toil long, and treacherous. Now it is done.”

The prince nodded his head. “And the waystone?”

“Safe and quiet within, my prince. The damage the Druchii did has been repaired. And now we watch…and wait,” the guide said. “There is a full centuria of the Guard here now. As well as the teams of Shadow Warriors and archers you assigned. We…we occasionally send patrols further into the island’s interior.” The guide said reluctantly. Almost fearfully. “Not far. Only far enough to make certain of the desolation…to check for raiders.”

The prince nodded again. “That is your purpose here.”

The rest of the climb was done in silence. Heads were bowed against the cold, wet, and wind. The steps were carved with skill and care; and yet water and stone conspired against the unwary. Caution was demanded.

But then, some quarter of an hour later, they stood before the great oak doors at the base of the white stone tower. The guide signaled to the watchers within, and the doors opened with a groan. The party entered.

And the sudden silence and calm were almost deafening in their own right. The entry foyer was warmed by braziers set against the wall. The cold stone of the floor was softened by a thick carpet of bearskin. Two guardsmen stood within the foyer, dressed in long white capes and silver mail. They held gleaming halberds of white gold ithilmar, and matching helms, depicting the phoenix rising. Within the helms’ closed faceguards, black eyes, not unlike those of the newcomer, watched the arriving party. There was the briefest of nods between the guardsmen and the ancient lord. Then the guide said,

“I will inform the Speaker of your arrival, Shadow Lord.”

“There is no need. She knows already,” the elf lord answered. “Take your brothers to your quarters. Rest. Then attend to your duties. I will wait here.”

The party of Shadow Warriors salute in the manner of the north, and then disappear down a side passage, leaving the black-clad prince alone in the foyer with the two white robed guards.

But not for long. The interior doors swing open, and a young elf maiden steps into the foyer. Her robes are of the cleanest white. As is her long silken hair. And her eyes! The almond eyes of the Asur people, in her had manifested in a solid, pupil-less silver.

Just like… the Shadow Lord starts to think. But then rebukes himself. There is no time for reverie.

“I am the Speaker for the Keeper of the Flame, Shadow Lord,” the girl in white greets. “He bids you welcome and asks that you accompany me to the stone. A message awaits for you.”

Without another word the girl turns to the tower interior. The Shadow Lord falls in step beside her.

As they walk, the pain of the similarity between this girl and…. another, before. It continues to gnaw at him. He finds the urge to converse press upon his thoughts.

“You are from the Shrine then?”

“Yes, Shadow Lord. I am newly arrived here to serve the Keeper in his duties,” the girl answers.

“Then you are a priestess?”

“I remain an initiate. I have not witnessed the secret flame yet. I will serve in my humble capacity for some time to come.” As she spoke they pass through another set of interior doors, into the tower heart chamber – a bare, open room filled with an amber glow, the source of which, the only presence in the room: an obelisk bedecked with the waystones. The very magical substance that keeps the winds of power from corrupting and destroying the world, bringing the end of times for both mortal, and immortal, alike. It is the protection of this site for which the tower was built, and so many fell elven warriors were stationed.

The Shadow Lord sweeps his eyes across the room. There is nothing else.

“The message?” he prompts.

The slender girl steps before the waystone obelisk and reaches forth her hands, palms upwards. She bathes in the warm amber light for several long seconds. Slowly she turns back around, with a stilted movement. Her eyes are now rolled back into her head. The whites are all that are visible.

“Shadow Lord,” she speaks in a powerful voice. “The Host will travel to Elthin Arvan, to the land now known as Bretonnia. There to await my word. Make haste! And do as the Phoenix commands!” With that the girl stops and shudders. And the room is silent.

The Shadow Lord turns to depart, without saying another word.

The girl hesitates one moment, and then says, “My prince. What will you do?”

“I have received a command from my King,” the Shadow Lord answers without stopping. “I will obey.”

“Wait!” the girl suddenly cries out. The Shadow Lord stops and looks back. He sees the girl standing awkwardly, conflict written across her face.

“I…my mother was of Nagarythe, Shadow Lord. That is why I speak out of turn,” the girl explains quietly. “And while I am no priestess, I have heard the whispers within the temple. I have seen the things that are yet to pass. Some of them at least. And though I know the King’s words, I must urge you caution. To make undue haste will lead to nothing other than failure and the ruin of all you hold dear!”

The Shadow Lord turns back towards her. “Speak then,” he says gently. “If you will.”

The girl hesitates another moment, and then steps closer to the elf lord. “You, who have been to the Beyond and back. You have seen the things past our world,” she whispers. “You can see what I know. Take my hand.”

She holds out one tiny white hand. The lord reaches forward…

And as their fingers touch, he finds himself standing in summer-lit fields of green. Rows of wheat, soon to be ready for the threshing, stand nearby. And a small farmstead, of human make.

And the sound of battle is in the air….


***

Dramatic Epilogue

…The Shadow Lord released her hand, the vision of the trolls devouring him and his men still filling his mind.

No. No, that would not do at all. This mission will require careful planning before it began. He would need to harness his resources, and perhaps, curry favors.

Thoughts preoccupied on the letters yet to write, the Shadow Lord turned and left the inner sanctum without a backwards glance.

Yes, when the Host was ready, they would release a storm upon the Old World. The likes of which men and elves would remember for generations!

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:15 pm 
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I like the fact that this is going to bring together all the different parts, as it's a bit hard to find all of them scattered through your battles.

I liked this one... ;)

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:25 am 
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And this is the first appearance of the soon-to-be star-crossed young lovers, Anna'lis and Narrin'Tim.

Chronology: Year one. Though technically not the first appearance of the Shadow Prince, this was the one that launched the crew as characters.

Dramatic Prelude –

The Shadow Warrior, Narrin’Tim (Tim to his friends!), walked across the grey gravel beach and stared at sweep of heath rising above. Even the grass of this place seems dead, he thought, gazing at the rustling grey of the slope. He turned. Behind him the Hawkship, ‘Sunset Hope’, lay at anchor in the bay. The beach itself was slowly becoming crowded with the cargo and bodies of the Host. To one side stood the tall, lanky figure of the Shadow Lord, already wearing the archaic black and gold armor of his station. He was in whispered conference with the young captain of the ‘Hope’, Ellinth Tir, whose youthful eyes were studying their surroundings with ill disguised anxiety.

Youthful! Narrin’Tim snorted. He was one to think such. He was the youngest of the Host. Just recruited from his kin little over a fortnight ago, due to sureness of foot and eye. And while it was true that he could hit a raven on the wing at a hundred paces, he did not know battle. Not like the others.

But then – no! – he wasn’t the youngest. There, stepping lithely from the bow of one of the Hope’s runners, was the new emissary from Hoeth. She was obviously just entering her womanhood. And with her green and white robes, rose-colored cheeks, and short blonde curls, stood in stark contrast to the pallid skinned, gray and brown robed folk of Nagarythe. No, she was from another part of the Ever Kingdom; somewhere beyond the mountains. It seemed as distant to him as the black faces of one of the moons. Standing there, her breath fogging the cold morning air, amongst a backdrop of his dour kin, Narrin’Tim thought that she looked like a patch of clear sky in an otherwise grey winter’s gloom. He did not know her name; she had only just arrived a few days ago. She did not know battle either. This. This would be the place that they both learned it.

They had come to the island of Telmoth, in the storm ridden seas north of Nagarythe. A desolate wasteland of life-drained gray. Here, so close to the black altar of Khaine, the Death Whisper, life was not permitted. Even now, just thinking about it brought a pang of fear and despair to this chest. And…something else. Even in the mountains and rocky hills of Nagarythe, its call could be felt. Sometimes the young and elderly would be found dreamwalking the woods at night, harkening to its voice. Sometimes they would not be found at all. But here - here so close! - it was like a red-hot needle buried into the flesh above his heart, twisting, and turning him physically toward the alter. Bile and nausea filled him. He did not want to be here. Not here of all places. It was this place the Host had come before. He had seen the broken and bloody bodies of the remnants who had fled this place. He remembered how the previous Shadow Lord had been sent to the Second Death - the long walk into the haunted caverns beneath Anlec – as punishment for his failure here. And now his successor had brought them back.

It couldn’t be helped. The Sea Guard had spotted the Boneships of Settra plying the coasts here. This close to the Altar, whatever ancient magics the liche-dead were working could not be allowed. So the Host had come to cleanse these islands. Somewhere, he thought, looking at the jagged gray hills surrounding them, the dead walked. And schemed.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:28 am 
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Elithmar of Lothern wrote:
I like the fact that this is going to bring together all the different parts, as it's a bit hard to find all of them scattered through your battles.

I liked this one... ;)

I've been keeping up and I have to say bringing them all together is brilliant, each one I reread I pick up something new ^_^

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:24 pm 
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And another one of my personal favorites. (Man this thread is all like a little party for me! :D Forgive me!!) The Shadow Lord's 'real' introduction- it was this toss of the dice that created the character!

And I discovered, in the words of my college roommate,

"Wait!! He's a BADASS!!"

Chronology: Year one. Battle with Settra's raiders.


Dramatic interlude –

Narrin’Tim lay in the mud. It was night over the valley. Overhead shone a dazzling array of strange constellations – bright reds, greens, blues – which gave the night an otherworldly cast. He tried to stay silent; not to whimper. Already one of their band was lost. One moment he had been running right beside him, the next a black feathered arrow sprouted from his belly. In the night a garish chariot, illuminated by eerie green will-o’- wisps rushed off. The archer, a man-skeleton, grinning at him as the chariot raced away…green points of light in his eyes. They stopped to check their fallen brother. He gasped like a fish upon the shore. Even Narrin’Tim could tell that the wound was already festering; some foul magic of the barb. The Shadow Lord shook his head. Holding the fallen man's arm tight in his grip, the Shadow Lord himself drew the killing blade across his throat.

Now before them lay that witch-light vale. Staring through the tall grass, it was like looking into the nightmares of a thousand hells. Row upon row of long dead warriors, garbed in ancient rusty armor advanced. Towering above them all, a terrifying colossus, part man, part desert beast; green balefire burned in its eye sockets and open jaws. Its skin was a dark grey granite stone. Its mass of hundreds of tons shook the earth as it strode forward with a terrifying purpose. Before it, the thin lines of the Nagarythi wavered. Even now, he could see the proud pennants of the sea guard of the Hope begin to waver and drop.

Narrin’Tim looked to his left. His other brothers lay there beside him. Fear was etched in their faces. One covered his head, face pressed into the earth, and sobbed. Narrin’Tim realized the ground was warm and moist beneath him. He had soiled himself.

He looked to his right. There, standing on the crest of a low hill overlooking the valley, was a lone elf, the Shadow Lord. He wanted to yell, “Get down you fool!!”, but fear had stolen his voice. Instead he just stared. Tall, erect, with long black mane drifting beside him in the night breeze, the Shadow Lord watched the vale. But not in passivity. Narrin’Tim could see his face was twisted into a feral snarl – teeth bared; eyes narrowed. His hands were clenched into fists, level just before his waist, as if bound by invisible chains. The muscles of his arms and neck appeared to strain from some great exertion.

Before them the colossus strode onwards; seemingly oblivious to the Elf Lord’s fury. Its granite skin ripple as with the muscles of a great cat as it moved to within pouncing distance of the sea guard. But then…it appeared to stumble. A look, almost as of surprise crossed the nightmare visage. The great monstrosity froze in place…and shook! There! The rippling of the things muscles was now speckled with something else. Cracks! Cracks in its stone skin! Bits and flecks of its surface began to tear free and fall to the ground. The thing threw its head back and belched green fire into the night sky with a mighty roar. Then it froze completely. Seemingly from within the things chest came the slightest of sounds: a tinny voice, like of a man, many years into his winter, appeared to cry out in agony and frustration.

Green fire filled the cracks of the monster’s skin. With a deafening noise, the thing disappeared in a burst of fire, stone, and smoke.

Narrin’Tim threw his head down. His ears were ringing with pain. The battlefield had become oddly silent. He looked up. A cloud of ash and rock dust had descended, obscuring the view of anything more than a few feet away.

Then movement! A flash of gold and black. Striding out of the ash came the Shadow Lord. His armor appeared to trail black vapors as he came closer. Heat and steam seemed to rise from his bloodied hands. The Shadow Lord stopped before him.

“Come brothers, there is still much to be done.”

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:22 pm 
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Oh yes, I remember this one. Quite a while ago now, wasn't it?

One of the most epic moments...EVER!!!

;)

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:49 am 
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Elithmar of Lothern wrote:
One of the most epic moments...EVER!!! ;)

QFT!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:10 pm 
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And the first meeting of Tarabeth. (And an attempt to work other people's fluff into my stories.)

Chronology - early year 3.



Dramatic prelude –

A light snow drifted down through the boughs of the black pines. The air was crisp, cold, and thin. A bloody sun slid into a purple horizon in the far west. The first stars began to burn in the coming night sky.

Among the fir trees ran a single, narrow trail, already frost-kissed and bathed in a thin shroud of white. Along this trail a lone rider plodded. The horse was as white as the surrounding winter frost. Its rider likewise was garbed in white: a long hooded cloak of the finest ermine fur completely shielded the rider from the chill. Within the hood, bright green eyes searched the surrounding trees. Wary.

For this is Nagarythe. A haunted land. A place unwelcome to strangers.

A sound cut through the evening still. The rider slowed. It was the sound of water on stone. Ahead the trees thinned, and an evening sky a riot of oranges and purples loomed. The rider dismounted and led the steed forward. The gap at the trees marked the edge of a drop. Below lay a grey, frothing sea, lashing upon teeth-like rocks. The drop was so vast, the rider could see the sea carrion birds, floating like tiny white and grey specks, between where the rider stood and the vast ocean below. The mountain here was shorn, as if by a vast blade, and plummeted in share madness for many leagues to the depths below.

The rider pulled back their hood, revealing the face of a girl. Her features were fine and angular; the slender almond eyes, and long ears, marked her as one of the elder race. The long, scarlet hair, twisted into braids with bands of silver, and the white gromril tiara upon her brow, marked her as more than that – a scion of one of the Great Houses. A Lady of the Asur.

Still the face was that of a child. A girl who had just seen her first century pass. She clucked and quieted the white mare; soothing the beast with a hand upon its brow.

“We are far from home, Swift Talon,” she whispered to the beast. “But this must be Nagarythe now.” Again she gazed out at the shattered landscape below, shuddering a bit at the horror of the forces such damage attested to. She turned. “Come,” she pulled on the reigns and led the horse further on.

The trail soon entered a clearing. A stream cut across it and plummeted over the edge of the nearby cliff. It was just a thin rivulet really, she thought. But if seen from sea, the waterfall the stream fed must be taller than the white towers of Lothern, she marveled. She led Swift Talon away from the edge, and to the stream, allowing the mare to sip from the cold mountain waters.

“You deserve more of a rest than I can give you,” she said with a sad smile. “But we mustn’t tarry for long.”

“You have traveled far then?” a man’s voice queried suddenly.

The girl looked up, startled that she had missed the man’s presence. There, seated upon a stump, sat an elf, wrapped in a cloak of leather and fur, whittling with a hunter’s knife upon a bit of stick.

“Yes,” she hesitated. And then continued a bit more boldly, “I have just crossed the mountains from Chrace.”

The hunter – for that is what she took him as – looked up at her with a burning intentness. He was pale of skin and dark of hair, like all the people of Nagarythe. His hair was long, but his scalp was shaven upon the side. His was an aged countenance – weather-beaten by harsh life.

“Crossing those mountains alone is a fool’s journey, “ he challenged with a snort. “Those rocks are haunted by all manner of fell beasts.”

She stood a little taller. “I am not afraid of any beast,” she replied haughtily. “I am Tarabeth, of the House of the Western Peaks! My brother is the greatest hunter of all Chrace! The Lion Prince of Chrace!” she said with great pride in her voice.

The hunter had returned to his whittling, seemingly unimpressed by her words. She grew hot at his insolence, but stilled her harsh rebuke. It is true what they say in Chrace, ‘the ways of Nagarythe are not our own’, she thought. Though that was often used as a slur, meaning a foolish or ridiculous act. Her brother had said it to her once many years ago, when he had found her room filled with the frogs from the castle pond….

“As I am a stranger here, I wish to ask for guidance,” she said in a more even tone.

The hunter nodded. “She will do,” he said as if to himself.

Suddenly they were no longer alone. Shadows detached themselves from the surrounding trees. Elves, dressed in long fur cloaks like the hunter’s strode into the clearing, fencing her and her mare against the cliff drop behind. The were all dark haired and pale skinned. Many had shaven heads, with the remnants of their hair tied into wild braids or tails. A few had black-marked skin.

Her hand dropped to the long dirk at her waist. “What is the meaning of this?!” she demanded.

The winter fur cloaks began to drop to the ground. Under them were long capes of black-scaled leather that glistened oily in the evening light. Armor fashioned from similar stuff covered the torsos, and great curved blades sat in sashes upon their hips.

“Druchii!” she hissed. Her long dirk was in her left hand now. And with her right she unclasped her ermine cloak and threw it at the face of her closest assailant. Before the corsairs could react she shoulder charged him, knocking him to the ground, and rolled past him. Leaping to her feet again, she jumped the brook and made for the tree line….

Only to come up short as two more Corsairs loomed before her, smiling grimly, wicked curved blades held before them.

“Don’t damage her!” the elf from the stump called. “The price will be higher in Karond Kar if we keep her face pretty!”

She was surrounded again. Her right hand reached up to the small of her back and unhooked the tool there. It was a Chracian hatchet – a distant cousin of the great woodsman’s axes that the Lion Guard wielded. The hatchet was a light, one-handed tool, of many uses. One of which happened to be weapon. Dirk in her left hand, hatchet in her right, she attacked.

Tarabeth was young. But she was a princess of a Great House of Chrace: she had been trained in the use of weapons from a time when she first walked. And the past decade she had spent at the White Tower of Hoeth, studying with the finest blademasters of the Ever Empire. She had spent long hours in the fencing halls training her muscles and instincts, and as the first Corsair lunged at her, he paid for his overconfidence as the hatchet struck home, cleaving fingers from hand. He howled in anger and pain.

The next came at her more carefully, curved blade in guard position. Still she ducked his heavy blow, and stabbed her dirk into his forearm. He reeled back, spilling bright red blood.

“Fools!” the stump-elf snarled, now striding towards her with a cruel reaver blade in each hand. He leapt at her in a flurry of blows, crisscrossing blades coming at her from all sides. It took all of her skill to stop the rain of blows. Only to find the Druchii Corsair standing there, perfectly at ease, smiling at her in amusement.

Her temper flared. How dare he mock her?! She lunged at him. With viper's speed, a flick of the corsair’s boot – dirt and gravel struck her eyes. She winced, and tried to clear her eyes. Only to feel the iron butt of a scimitar slam into her lower abdomen, dropping her helpless on the ground.

“A tip princess,” the Corsair gloated. “Learn your knife-play in the dives of Naggaroth, with your life on the line, not some fencing hall. Take her.”

Her eyes were filled with tears of shame and pain. She felt rough hands seize her firmly, stripping her of her weapons, and dragged her to her feet.

What would happen to her now..?

Suddenly an arrow struck one of the Corsairs in the throat. He dropped with a gurgle. Another arrow flew a split second later striking one of the men holding her in the shoulder with such force that he spun about. A young elf, charged out of the trees then, bulling past another two and grabbing her arm, while slashing wildly at the Corsair holding her other arm. The Druchii sprang back. The stranger pulled on her arm, leading her to the trees.

She blinked past her tears. At first, the strange elf seemed another Druchii. His scalp was shaved, except for black braided row from forelock to long queue in the back. His sword was curved like the Corsairs. But he was dressed in grey and brown leathers and long furs. “Come!” he tried to hurry her.

But she was still recovering. She staggered. A mailed fist came out of the darkness, striking her would-be rescuer square in the jaw. They both fell in a tumble.

“Grab her you idiots!” Once again the Corsairs pulled her to her feet.

A shaven headed Corsair, with black and silver demon markings along his neck, stood over the boy-elf as he pulled himself to his hands and knees. “What do we do with this one? Take him too?”

“No,” the Corsair captain replied. “Hold him against that tree.” He nodded at one nearby. In his hands now was a Druchii crossbow; the metal rasped as he loaded a bolt. “We’ll pin him there. As a reminder of who the true masters of Nagarythe are!” A cold laughter filled the clearing.

Nearby, Tarabeth watched helplessly. The tattooed Corsair and another hauled the boy-elf up to the indicated tree. The tattooed one smiled grimly and said, “It seems to be true what they say – only the stupid ones were left behind in Nagarythe!” He and his friend laughed. “Can’t you count boy?! There are thirteen of us! Did you really think you could defeat us all and escape?”

The boy – Narrin’Tim – looked up. His jaw was purple. But his eyes were defiant. “No,” he said past bloody teeth. “I was just hoping to buy some time until HE got here.” He pointed with his bruised jaw.

Tarabeth turned. Out of the shadows, a flicker of black and gold. And then another elf was striding across the clearing.

The Druchii reacted swiftly. The newcomer made a fist in the air in front of him. The closest Corsair dropped like a rag doll where he stood. The next two fell to a pair of lightning fast blows with fist and elbow to their throats. Then from a scabbard hung across his back, a great blade, nearly as long as the elf was tall, leapt to life. As it swept from its sheath in a single glittering arc, throats were cut and raised wrists severed.

Tarabeth blinked. She couldn’t believe it! She had witnessed some of the great long blade masters’ demonstrations in Hoeth, but this…. She had never seen a master of the “Faran Khaine” – the Lightning Cut – in battle before! It was a whirlwind of spinning blades, long black tresses and cloak flapping like raven wings, as the stranger cut a bloody swathe through the Druchii ranks. In seconds only the Corsair captain remained.

The two elves, Druchii and Asur, circled.

“I have a whole ship’s company of warriors waiting nearby,” the Druchii captain stated boldly.

“You did,” the stranger said simply.

The Corsair’s boot flicked. Tarabeth tried to shout a warning. She needn’t have bothered. The Druchii’s leg met the tip of the long blade with a sickening sound of cracking bone. Then with one swift turn, the stranger spun about and ran the length of the blade through the midsection of the raider; hefting him off the ground with the force of the blow. For a split second the Druchii squirmed in the air, several feet of silvered steel protruding from his back, until the elf warrior stood erect and dropped the now dead corpse from the blade.

Tarabeth tried to catch her breath and stay steady on her feet. The stranger wiped his long blade clean with a piece of cloth, before returning it to its scabbard. He helped the injured boy to his feet, and then the two of them came over towards her.

“I am….I am, Tarabeth of Chrace!” she said, valiantly trying to not sound frightened. “I have come here to find the Shadow Prince of Nagarythe!”

The stranger, his face partly veiled by long raven hair, eyed her with cold, black eyes. Then slowly he said:

“Well, Tarabeth of Chrace. You have found him.”

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:20 pm 
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That was a good one. I was surprised to find that they were corsairs. And then the last line of the Shadow Lord...'you have found him'. Okay, nit the most original but, heck, it worked. ;)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:47 am 
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I remember this one well, one of my favourites.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:58 pm 
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Well you get sucked into the world of taxes and diminishing returns and when one wanders back into the misty vales of Ulthuan....they threaten you with punji traps!!

So to stave off the recriminations of the Yvressi, another fragment.

This one, the prelude to the dwarf battle. So sometime around year 3, I think. Oh, and the first appearance of our man Flynn, the Eatainian epicurean.



Somewhere near the coasts of Bretonnia….

Narrin’Tim’s falchion crushed the skull of the last of the undead warriors. Bones and rusty armor collapsed to the stone floor. He looked up. The Shadow Lord, his great sword, Spite, already sheathed, picked up the fallen torch from the floor and placed it in a sconce along the columned wall. The light flickered and danced in the blackness. The red-stone walls seemed to shift in the shadows; the close ceiling pressed down upon them. Along the walls were stone reliefs of the Dawi – the People of the Stone – from ancient times. Horned Kings watched the room with stern expressions.

“Narrin’Tim. Watch the passage,” the Shadow Lord commanded as he moved further into the room. Tim glanced back down the dark tunnel from which they had come.

“It is but a Dawi tomb. I sense no Elder magics,” Anna’Lis said from close by. She stared with a frown at the walls of the coffin-like chamber; a light sweat glistened her brow. Narrin’Tim understood her feelings. He was of the People of the Wind; he did not like being this far underground either.

“It must be here. It must!” the Princess, Tarabeth, countered. Sounding a touch frantic. “This is the room! This is where my spirit guide led me. In the dream! The watchstone is nearby! I know it!!”

Anna’Lis looked to Tim with a scowl and a roll of the eyes. She had made no secret that she thought this a fool’s quest. Chasing the dreams of a young magus. Tim was becoming more inclined to agree with her.

“The Dawi would not like us in one of their tombs,” he said. “Perhaps we should leave?” Narrin’Tim had never met a Dawi. But from the stories they sounded dreadful. He had no desire to meet one in person.

“Princess! Anna’Lis!” the Shadow Lord called from where he knelt across the way. “Come. What do you make of this?”

The two elf-maidens rushed past Tim, hurrying to the Lord’s side, but being careful to not come too close to each other. Between them was no friendship in the making. And they seemed to be particularly acerbic whenever Tim was around. He couldn’t understand them at all. They were a study in contrasts. Anna’Lis of Saphery; so tall, with short hair of sun-touch and curls. She moved with an exquisite grace, like one of the great river birds of his homeland. Narrin’Tim had never seen a more beautiful creature….

But Princess Tarabeth. She was younger, and smaller. But she also possessed more….curves. And dressed in the form-fitting white leathers of Chrace – soft as suede – little about her figure was left to the imagination. As she knelt over there, Tim could almost see….

Focus, Tim! He rebuked himself. Imminent death! You are in a haunted tomb, fool!! He turned his eyes back to the passage.

“It’s…elvish! Written in Ithalmar! On stones beneath the floor covering!” he heard Anna’Lis marvel.

“Yes,” the Shadow Lord answered. “But those serifs have not been used widely in some time. Not since the age of Bel Shanaar.”

“What does it mean?” Tarabeth asked.

“That the Dawi must have built this tomb above an Asur structure,” Anna’Lis ventured. “Perhaps sometime during the war between our Empires?”

The Shadow Lord nodded. “Check the walls. There is a chance that some of the original structure survived, and perhaps what we are seeking lies there.” They fanned out.

A minute later, Tarabeth called out. “Here. A breath of air! From the mural!” She was facing the largest, and most dour-looking of the Dawi Kings. The Shadow Lord walked up and ran his hand along the stone.

“Stand back,” he commanded. He drew Spite, and with a turn delivered a thunderous strike upon the wall with the pommel of the blade. The mural cracked, and then collapsed upon the floor. A soft white light filled the room. Beyond the hole, another chamber was revealed. The light trickled out from within. Narrin’Tim, without thought, drifted over to the opening. He saw a smaller chamber. In it was a simple stone sarcophagus. And behind it a hulking, Dawi statue. A crown of burnished gold sat upon the statue’s head. And in its stone hand, a hammer of silver gromril. At the peak of the hammer sat a crystal, white in color; though it swirled and shimmered with its own light.

“The watchstone!” Tarabeth exclaimed. “I knew it! Kurnion didn’t believe me! But I told him it was real!!” She was positively dancing with joy. Then she slowed and frowned. “But what have the Dawi done to it?”

“They have wrapped it in dwarf metal,” Anna’Lis replied slowly, studying the object. “And those runes there trap its magics. That is why I could not sense it.”

“Is this the one? The Nagarythe stone?” the Shadow Lord queried.

“Yes, that is what the Lioness in my dream told me,” Tarabeth answered. “This stone is linked by lines of power to the ward that lies in the mountains between Chrace and Nagarythe. With it, the damage can be repaired. The magic flow return to normal….We must take it back with us!” She took a step forward.

“Wait!” Anna’Lis barked. The princess halted. “We must be cautious. So that no harm is done to us…or it.”

“I am a mage too, “ Tarabeth pouted slightly.

“This is no summoning of animal totems or butterflies!” Anna’Lis snapped. “Only someone who has been trained in True Magic, will have a chance to still the winds of power, so that the stone can be safely handled….”

Suddenly, a voice echoed out of the dark tunnels. Narrin’Tim glanced back the way they had come. “My Lord!! A great force approaches from the south!” It was Elvish. One of the Host waiting above.

The Shadow Lord turned to Anna’Lis. “What do you need?”

“Time,” she answered.

“You will have it.” He turned back the way they had travelled and started off at a run. “You two, come!” The three ran back the stone passages and up the flights of stairs until they emerged into the cool morning light.

The Captain of the Hawkship, Harvest Moon, Aaryn’Flynn, was waiting for them, already dressed in full battle armor. “My Lord, a large force of Dawi are approaching from the south.” As he spoke he was hurriedly tying his long blonde hair with blue ribbons, forming it into a tail. He was a handsome, and vain man. From Lothern originally. But Narrin’Tim liked him even though he was an outsider.

“Dawi?” Tarabeth started. “Can’t we send someone to parley? They are not the mindless brutes like some other races….” She finished, and touched the tiara on her brow almost wistfully.

Narrin’Tim was watching the bright Autumn sky while she spoke. The carrion crows had already shown up in anticipation. But it was a black speck moving slowly through the sky-center that had attracted his attention. It seemed to be getting larger.

“What is that?” he wondered aloud.

“Scatter!!” the Shadow Lord yelled and shoved him aside. A square cut stone, the size of a small cart, slammed into the ground where they had stood only a moment before. The earth shuddered with the impact, and a crack, like nearby thunder filled the air. Tim’s teeth seemed to vibrate with the aftershock.

Coughing, and spitting out clumps of dirt, Flynn looked up from where he lay. “So much for diplomacy,” he quipped.

The Shadow Lord stood tall with a snarl. He called to the Host, “Positions!!!”

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:06 pm 
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Young Eataini Prince
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Ah, you can't blame us for the traps, we can't just let you wander away again. ;)

Welcome back.

I remember this one, another of my favourites (in case you hadn't noticed yet, they're ALL my favourites :D ).

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But it was a black speck moving slowly through the sky-center that had attracted his attention. It seemed to be getting larger.


:lol: NEVER a good sign if it's getting larger! I think 'scatter' as the Shadow Lord said, is the best plan when huge rocks start falling from the sky.

Now don't make us get the traps out to keep you here! :D :lol:

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:30 am 
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Well played Sir
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I remember the first encounter with Tarabeth, and the mention of a dawi tiara. I was shocked(I hate dwarfs), seeing her reach up and touch it when asking about parley was priceless ^_^

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:50 am 
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Good to see you back headshot

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:45 pm 
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@Sulannar

Thanks for the welcome! And it is good to be back. I mean other than the glib threats being leveled at me by Yorkshire and somewhere-off-the-coast-of-Tasmania. :D

But I've had a tale of Narrin'Tim kicking around inside the old bucket for a while now. So if I ever find the time, energy, and interest(!) in putting it down on digital paper, I will post it here for you lot. Just to see what the Host has been up to....

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:56 pm 
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Headshot wrote:
@Sulannar
Thanks for the welcome! And it is good to be back. I mean other than the glib threats being leveled at me by Yorkshire and somewhere-off-the-coast-of-Tasmania. :D


They have been laying traps for quite some time I guess, just to make sure you are true Nagarathi. :wink:
A story would be great. :D

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:13 pm 
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Hey, get over it! You can't stay mad at us forever, you just love us so much. :P

A story? Yeah! A new one too. I like the sound of this. I just want to make sure, there were no Eatainians harmed in the making of this story, right? Just checking. ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:59 am 
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A new story sounds cool. They always inspire me write a few of my own and continue with my army. On that note any work on your own army or any new battle reports?

Threats you say, from Yorkshire and Tasmania! :lol:

(Joking)

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:13 am 
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Well played Sir
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I'm not exactly close to Tasmania, but compared to the other regulars...

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