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Classic Castle Roleplay: March - September, 2006

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Postby TheOrk » Wed Jun 14, 2006 1:09 am

E-11

Port Jozef

Theodore was out numbered three to one, but if there were to be any chance of saving any people, they would have to try and take out the soldiers. He looked at Valric. “If we don’t make it, I just want to say it has been a great honour fighting beside you.”
Valric grasped Theodore’s arm. “The same.”
The two and the twenty men behind them then drew their swords and charge the men holding the gate.


Huffing and puffing from several months of little exercise, Valric still managed to outdistance Theodore. The Royal Knight was weighed down by his plate mail and shield. Valric only had a suit of chain, with a pair of light gauntlets and greaves.

“For the King! For Castleton!”

“For the Emperor! For Legoland!”

The first of the invaders had his head turned away from Valric. The man seemed to think beating an urchin with the butt of his spear was much more important. At the last moment, Valric took his broadsword in both hands and poured all his strength into it. The knight’s head tumbled from his shoulders in a spray of blood.

Uttering an oath, the knight’s squire charged him, a sword in hand. His sword unable to make the distance in time, Valric threw him a steel punch. The squire stumbled backwards, a crack from Valric’s sword hilt sent him sprawling. As the squire reached for a dagger, Valric brought his boot down on his throat.

“Die scu-“

Valric looked up to see one enemy soldier reduced to bloody ribbons by Theodore. “Always have to jump right in, don’t you!” He laughed.

With a roar, the twenty Royal Knight soldiers slammed into the sixty odd Black Knights. Instead of letting their valiant foes be dashed apart on their shields, the Black Knights charged. Their unweildy swords cleaved through flesh were ever they met. The Royal Knight spears bounced off the Black Knight armour numerous times, but occasionally found the gap. One tall and stern Black Knight captian felled the defenders left and right with a giant mace. Only a few feet away, a general and a knight from Legoland were equaling the tally.

As Theodore battled one duel wielding opponent, another with a poleaxe charged him. In a red and black lightning strike, Valric hewed his arm off. Throwing his own opponent off with his shield, Theodore drove his sword into the gut of another soldier, looming over Valric. Laughing, the two knights moved back to back as another two more soldiers charged.
Last edited by TheOrk on Wed Jun 14, 2006 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Robin Hood » Wed Jun 14, 2006 4:10 am

TheOrk wrote:As Theodore battled one duel wielding opponent, another with a poleaxe charged him. In a red and black lightning strike, Valric hewed his arm off. Throwing his own opponent off with his shield, Theodore drove his sword into the gut of another soldier, looming over Valric. Laughing, the two knights moved back to back as another two more soldiers charged.


Grid: E-11
Location: Port Jozef

The enemy soldiers, whoever they were, were not top quality. Nor were they expecting an attack by armed men. When Theodore and the rest charged them, they were caught completely off guard and seven men were slain before they even raised a weapon. Ducking under a sword, Theodore thrust his own deep into his opponent’s belly. The man gave a slight moan and collapsed.
Not even taking a second to breath, the knight attacked another soldier. This one parried his first three strokes, but fell under a slash to his side. Hardly had the man fallen when another rushed Theodore. Caught off balance, things might have gone ill for the general, when Valric sliced off his arm.
“Thanks,” said Theodore. He quickly killed a man sneaking up behind Valric.

He looked around. Almost a score of enemy soldiers were now out. Three of his men had now fallen, but Theodore was amazed to have lost so few. The remaining forty or so men had backed up a bit and seemed uncertain as to what to do. Though they still outnumbered the Royal Knights, the swift felling of their comrades seemed to make the soldiers unwilling to engage them.
The soldiers didn’t need to worry about making a decision though. A horn blast echoed through the city, coming from the sea. At once the soldiers started marching toward their ships. All through out the city other groups of them did the same. It seemed that whatever their purpose was, it was accomplished.
Theodore didn’t plan on letting them go so easily. Motioning to the others he charged after the retreating backs of the soldiers.
The soldiers, upon seeing the Royal Knights come after them, started running. As they chased them through the city, Theodore called to Valric. “Try and take one of them alive. I want to know who they are.” The knight nodded.
The group slowly gained on the soldiers, whose handy work was now slowing them down. Finally, Valric grabbed the collar of the slowest soldier. Pulling them both to the ground he pressed his sword to the man’s neck. “Cry out and I’ll gut you.” Snarled Valric.
Theodore and his men passed them by and continued to chase the soldiers. They had to fall back though when the group came to the water. All seven hundred of the men had gathered there. Apart from the ones Theodore and Valric had dealt with, it seemed all had survived.
In groups of fifty the soldiers were transported back to the ships. None of them carried spoils of any sort. It seemed that they had only come here to burn the city down.
Theodore and his men stayed away from the soldiers, far too outnumbered to do anything, until only one group of soldiers still needed to be transported. Eight boats came to collect them. The last one though had a bit of trouble starting. The boat had been pulled to far up shore when it landed and now had to be pushed back into the water. This was what Theodore had been waiting for. Crying to his men he rushed the boat before it could reach the sea. Without the aid of their comrades, the eight men in the boat were swiftly felled. Theodore in his anger forgot to even save one for questioning.
The knight looked across the see. He saw the last boat being pulled onto a ship. Apparently they had either not noticed the missing boat or had been ordered to leave with all haste. With a final volley of flaming missiles, the ships set their sails and turned their sterns to Port Jozef.
As they faded from view, Theodore shook his fist at them. Who ever they were he would see to it that they were punished.
He turned around and looked at what was left of the city. Nothing. The fire had spread to all parts of the city leaving nothing untouched. Being a city mostly overlooked by the authorities, there were no castles or for that matter, any large stone buildings at all. Since it was abandoned to criminals Port Jozef had not grown, nor had it taken care of itself. Buildings had fallen apart; garbage tossed everywhere, the perfect firetrap. With no large river in the city, there had been place of refuge and no check for the fire. Of the thousands of inhabitants few had survived. The fire had claimed many, helped in part by the soldiers who held the gates against escape. The soldiers had also killed all they came across.
Still, a fair few had managed to leave the city. Either by smaller exits, or the through the gate Theodore opened, or by climbing over the walls. It was small comfort though. Port Jozef would never be rebuilt. Not only were there few inhabitants left, but also there was no reason really. The Royal Knights had many other ports, and Port Jozef had been nothing more than a huge thorn in the kings side for many a year. Some people would say the burning of Port Jozef was a job that needed to be done sometime; the fire merely took away the problem of doing it.
Few though held this view. Though a city ruled and filled by criminals, there had been many good folk. Folk who had tried hard to raise an honest living, despite living in a horrid city. Now, for those few who had survived, there was nothing.
Theodore saw Valric approaching, holding one of the enemy soldiers in front of him. Theodore looked at the soldier. “You had better explain this,” he said in an ice filled voice.
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Postby The Green Knight » Thu Jun 15, 2006 4:21 am

Grid: Around A-12
Location: Close to Mist Isle

“Well Smythe, what did the lookout repart?”

“Two ships have left the harbor, captain. Headed south.”

“That’s it? Didn’t he say anythin’ about thar numbers or the size of thar ships? Do they look anythin’ like the ships described by the crab catcher?”

“Eh, I’ll go an getem.” Sydney mumbled and slunk off.

Captain Stormrider was in a very irritable mood. There was a reason of course. For one, he was in the middle of a thick and clingy bank of mist, which he didn’t like, and for two, he was in hostile waters trying to shadow an enemy that he couldn’t even see. It was a strange series of events that had led them there. What had begun as an ordinary raid on a Royal Knight trading port had soon become something else altogether. A hit and run attack on any of the wealthy merchant vessels sure to be there would’ve been well worth the time.

It would’ve been. But when the Hercules -a mighty crusader ship, originally christened the Aterops- swooped down its prey, it found nothing more the a burnt, decimated town and a few lobster catchers. Little time was wasted in acquiring a local to answer for the state of the port and when the pirates heard the accounting of frenzied barbarians and shallow bottomed ships, they all came to the same conclusion. There was a new faction viing for the title of “Terror of the seas”.

That was what brought them to where they were now. Surrounded by mist in front of a misty island. Burtrand was there to put these newcomers in their place. After all, he had the crew, he had his rock, and he had the Hercules. Who better to do the job?

“Ahoy thar Cap’in!” Burtrand looked up as his first mate climbed onto the poop deck though the mists followed by a wizened pirate with two rows of oak teeth behind a wry grin and large marble in place of his left eye. “Smythy tells me ye want some more information about these sea-badgers. Arrr Ahah Heh Ho He.”

“Marble eye?” Burtrand exclaimed! You’re our lookout on the fighting top?”

Oh… nay Cap’in. I be down here with ye right now, but ol’ Marble eye were up there lookin’ out fer yer ships not two minutes hence. Mr. Sharp ain’t ta feelin’ so well, ya see. Had a wee bit too much hipsy an dropped a barrel o’ pickled eels on himself. O’l Marble eye took his place, but don’t ye worry Cap’in. One eye’s as good as two when it comes ta usin’ a scope. I can guarantee that them’s the ships ye’re lookin’ fer.”

Burtrand stared skeptically at the pirate’s marble eye and confident wooden grin before eventually nodding his approval.

“Let them get out ahead of us then shadow them.”

“Aye-aye!”
Let us stop for a moment and ponder the signiture...





Ok, enough of that!
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Postby Robin Hood » Sun Jun 18, 2006 10:49 pm

Robin Hood wrote:Theodore saw Valric approaching, holding one of the enemy soldiers in front of him. Theodore looked at the soldier. “You had better explain this,” he said in an ice filled voice.


Grid: E-11
Location: Where Port Jozef used to be.

While Theodore and Valric had tried to help the people of Port Jozef, Aiden and Kae-Os had made their way to the docks, careful to keep out of the way of soldiers. They hoped to find Nina’s captor attempting to escape.

Upon reaching the docks, they observed many boats loaded with people trying to flee the burning city. The seven ships that had started the whole massacre were not letting them though. Being war vessels, they dwarfed every ship there. Spreading out to cover the bay that formed Port Jozef, they shot at and attacked every ship that tried to leave. Not even the largest pirate vessels were big enough to put up any kind of fight. The few boats that managed to get through succeeded only because there were other vessels being attacked by the ships.

Kae-Os looked across the bay past the fleet. “There is another ship there, far back behind the seven ships. It is a small one, a ninjarin, similar in design to the one that brought us from Boranis Dracis. It appears unmolested by the fleet.”

Aiden looked but could not see what the elf could. “I’ll take your word for it. That must be our quarry’s ride out of here. Can you see them?”

“Yes,” replied the elf, but he was not looking out to sea, but rather back toward the city. He pointed to about halfway around the bay. A man, holding a rather large bundle, was running across the docks to a small boat that was tied there. They watched the man throw the bundle into the boat, cut the rope, and start rowing out of the bay.

“Is that him?” cried Aiden. Kae-Os nodded. The two then ran to the docks and searched for a boat. They found one; the only one left in that area, and jumped in and started rowing. The boat was not particularly fast, being only a fisherman’s, but neither was the one that held Nina and her captor. Aiden and Kae-Os slowly gained on them, for theirs was driven by two.

Unfortunately, they were not fast enough. Even as the distance between the two was lessened, the boat holding Nina passed through the fleet and came along side the Ninjarin vessel lying there in wait. The ship took on the man and his captive and quickly turned their stern to Port Jozef, and sailed off.

“NOOOOO!” cried Aiden, as he and Kae-Os stopped rowing. The ship slowly disappeared from view. “Nina!!!! NO!” Taking his oar, the enraged Aiden smashed it on the side of the boat.

Not saying a word, Kae-Os slowly rowed them back to land. When they reached the shore the elf said, “at least we have a fairly good idea where they are going. As soon as this calms down we’ll find a boat and head for Boranis Dracis.” As he said this, the last round was fired from the fleet, and they too left, leaving two very discouraged companions and what was once a city full of misery.
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Postby Sir Kohran » Thu Jun 22, 2006 9:45 pm

My first post in months...it might be a bit weak, but I'm just trying to get back in the flow at the moment. This post ties in with Dan and Matt's attack on Port Jozef...this post takes place just before the attack. I'll continue ASAP.

"No," Gaeth grunted, looking behind him. "He left. A few minutes ago."

"Tyco!" Cal swore, before remembering his position as a man of chivalry.

"Ahem, anyway, we've got to go and visit the captain of that ship." he finished heavily.


Grid: E-11
Location: Port Jozef

Callomir and Gaeth had checked the ship out thoroughly, but no-one important was in. After several days of frustrated checking, Callomir gave up and, after much swearing and frowning, decided to stay in Port Jozef for the time being and see whether the mysterious raiders showed up again.

There was nothing. No sign of any more attackers, or any burning villages. He and Gaeth questioned many of the more normal folk in the city (those that could either put up with the crime and pollution, or those who simply had nowhere else to go), but they would give hushed answers that told them nothing, before retreatring back into the relative safety of their own dark little homes, not wanting to attract the attention of the gangs. Can't blame them, really, Callomir thought, they're just good people who want to make a living in this mess, and don't want to be disturbed by the outsiders. And so the boredom contined.

When Callomir heard that Sir Theodore - a man whom Cal had fought alongside during the Falcon-Lion War - had arrived somewhere, he had been eager to find him, but the city's disorganized design fashion and rude and unhelpful citizens made a search virtually impossible. He met up with two travellers - which they obviously were, as their clothes and manners (and smells) were a lot better than the average people of the city. He suspected that they were Elves, or at least somehow related to the mystical people. They said their names were Aiden and Kae-Os, and they were looking for a girl called Nina. Callomir told them he'd keep an eye out for her, though they knew nothing of the horned inavaders he was hunting. Once again, he could find no traces of what he was looking for.

Callomir was getting very aggravated. Always, I'm too late or off the mark! he muttered on a rainy Thursday, whilst he was stuck in a pub drinking some awfully dilute beer and with several prostitutes hanging over him.

So he and his men busied themselves with trying to restore some order to the corrupt city, taking out some of the more blatant criminals off of the streets they infested,whisltGaeth - Callomir's ever quiet ranger - hunted the darker fellows in the alleys. Callomir took to wearing his Royal Knight armour full-time, both for practical protection from the robbers and mobs that ruled the black city, and to hopefully have a patriotic impact on the better locals, which might help his mens' campaign agaisnt the crime. However, it was obvious from the start that they wouldn't make any real difference to the bloated, poisoned state of the city - but it was all really just to kill time. They were no nearer their real goal.

Until one month later...

It was a strangely grey and overcast day, with no sign of the sun, and a light fog forming on the sea. The waves lapped lethargically in the docks, licking the boots of all the latest con merchants and rogues arriving in their boats.

Callomir was sitting on a rotting wooden bench, working on a set of anagrams in a tattered newspaper. But once it dawned on him that the person who had written them had no education in spelling whatsoever, he tossed it to a nearby flock of seagulls in disgust, and rolled his eyes.

That was when an enormous flaming missile obliterated the nearest ship, as six other missiles struck the entire city.

Port Jozef and Callomir Brakanle and Dametreos would never be the same again.
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Postby Robin Hood » Fri Jun 23, 2006 5:30 am

Robin Hood wrote:Theodore saw Valric approaching, holding one of the enemy soldiers in front of him. Theodore looked at the soldier. “You had better explain this,” he said in an ice filled voice.


Grid: E-11
Location: Where Port Jozef used to be.

The prisoner that Valric had captured proved to be uncooperative. Despite all threats made to his life, he refused to speak. Valric would have just killed him, but Theodore, exercising all the restraint he could, said that they needed to find out whom the attackers were if they were going to get revenge. So the knight had the prisoner locked up to be dealt with later. In the mean time there was plenty to do.
Of the few people who had survived the destruction of the city, fewer now were left. All of the unsavoury people who had escaped had left at once, to seek new places of crime. Those who were left were common, good-hearted people whose livelihood had perished in the fire. All told there was less than three thousand people left. Though a small amount compared to the ones who had perished, it was still quite a lot of people to look after.
Theodore tried to help as best he could. First he sent messengers to the lords near by, asking for aid. He also sent word to the king, telling of the events and requesting orders. But for the moment, at least two or three days, he would be on his own. Gathering his remaining soldiers and all able-bodied men, he began the construction of simple shelters, gathered what food could be found in the surrounding countryside, and buried the dead. Of these there were few, for most of those who had perished had been completely consumed by the fire. But the bodies that were recovered were taken a little ways from the city and buried in a great mound by the sea. A stone was placed at the foot of the mound telling of the tragedy that had fallen.
In the ruins of the city nothing was done. It was left as it was, and over the years all remnants of the city faded away until nothing was left but a large bare patch of land. For it was hundreds of years before grass or any plant grew there.
While Theodore ordered this, he was approached by Aiden and Kae-Os. They told him of what had befallen them and said that they were leaving to continue the hunt for Nina.
“Chodan be with you.” Said Theodore. “I hope to see you again, though when that may be who can tell. Be careful though. Something in this whole thing doesn’t feel right. If you should find Nina, be wary.”
“Thanks,” said Aiden, “but I think we can handle whatever happens.”
“We’ll see,” replied Theodore. “Farewell.”
The two friends then left what was left of Port Jozef and passed south toward Dragonar and Ninjara.
In the meanwhile, the king heard of what happened and sent a large company of men, along a great store of food and clothing, to help the refugees. He also sent word for Theodore to return to Castleton with the captive. Valric was invited to return as well. After a week was spent in helping the refugees, the two knights took the prisoner and started on the road back to Castleton.
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Postby Robin Hood » Thu Jul 13, 2006 1:55 am

Robin Hood wrote:In the meanwhile, the king heard of what happened and sent a large company of men, along a great store of food and clothing, to help the refugees. He also sent word for Theodore to return to Castleton with the captive. Valric was invited to return as well. After a week was spent in helping the refugees, the two knights took the prisoner and started on the road back to Castleton.


Grid: G-8
Location: Castleton

Theodore had now been two weeks in Castleton and was currently pacing in his room. When he had arrived, the prisoner had been taken to the dungeons and interrogated. Nothing so far had been revealed about the identity of Port Jozef's attackers, at least nothing from the prisoner.

His armour and clothing had been examined, as well had his manner of speech. Though he said nothing of value, the interrogators learnt that he was a Black Knight, both from his speech and his armour. This didn't prove much though. He might merely have been born a Black Knight, but since then have joined the attackers. But they did know one thing. Whether he was the only Black Knight or not, the prisoners armour had been the same as the rest of the attackers. Therefore, they were either Black Knights, or were supplied by them.

Upon learning this, Lego XIII immediately sent messengers to King Edwin Wyrmsbane of the Black Knights, asking for information and, if they were behind it, the reason for the attack. It was now almost three weeks since message had been sent, and the king expected an answer soon.

Theodore paced again. As the days passed he grew more restless, needing something to do. His usual duties and pursuits seemed pointless at the moment. All he cared was learning who had attacked Port Jozef, why, and how to take revenge against them.

As the knight made his three thousandth pace that hour, he heard a knock on his door. He opened it and saw Robert, the king's personal guard. He was informed that the messenger had returned and was to give King Edwin's response. Lego had requested the general be there.

Theodore at once went to the throne room, stopping to pick up Valric on the way. Along with Lego, all the lords, generals and knights in the near area were assembled there. The king acknowledged the two and turned to the messenger standing before him and said. "You may say the king's response."

The man said. "Sire, King Edwin has this response for your questions. He does indeed know who the attackers are, but he in no way condoned the attack. The attack was lead and ordered by Duke Arlor Brandon, lord of the smallest of the five isles, Tasadawn. For what reasons the attack was made the king does not know. His personal crest is the serpent, which was seen on the shields of the soldiers. Since King Sirion died and the kingdom reordered, the Duke took the isle for his own and ordered things as he wished, paying little heed to the king. With his army weakened by the BloodVaine war and for fear of starting a civil war, King Edwin has let him be, so long as he leaves the rest of the land alone. The king sends his regrets and apologies about the loss of Port Jozef, but says that he can do nothing against Lord Arlor, for many people support him, and the king's hold on the throne is not as strong as he would like. What's more, Tasadawn cannot be easily assailed, and the Duke holds the largest army of any lord in the land. Once again the king sends his regrets and offers any aid that you might need." The messenger bowed.

For a long time Lego sat on his throne in silence, then he turned to the lords assembled there. "What say you?"
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Postby Sir Kohran » Wed Aug 09, 2006 12:07 am

That was when an enormous flaming missile obliterated the nearest ship, as six other missiles struck the entire city.

Port Jozef and Callomir Brakanale and Dametreos would never be the same again.


Grid: E-11
Location: Port Jozef

Callomir was knocked to the ground from the impact of a blazing missile on a house behind him. The house exploded in a burst of orange flames, shooting deadly burning debris everywhere. A piece of wood slammed onto Cal. Though his armour prevented any injury, he was knocked back several paces.

His mind reeling, Cal stumbled dumbly to his feet, staring at the montage of horror before him. The flaming debris had set many other houses alight, leaving the unaware people inside to a horrible death. Hundreds of terrified, screaming civilians dashed here and there, trying to escape the hungry flames and find a way out, many of them being trampled by the crowds in the process. The othermissiles had struckparts of the city, setting them on fire, andalready, the fires were quickly spreading, devouring the thousands of wooden buildings in their burning hunger. Port Jozef was in chaos.

A soldier's shout jerked Cal back into action. Someone needs to take charge, and find out what we’re fighting… he thought, …but does it have to be me? I’ve seen enough blood spilt in my life. Cal added bitterly. He ran to the nearest dock (which was burning up rapidly) and stared out across the sea (which was filled with refugees in overcrowded boats), just as a second wave of the burning shot flew overhead. He gasped as he saw a fleet of seven massive, dark ships, each with a ballista readying another missile.Who are they?! he thought. Looking out, there didn’t appear to be any faction’s emblem on either the flag or the sails. Dozens of figures swarmed on the decks. But then he saw trouble closer to home.

[

Cal’s heartbeat shot up. He was trapped; if he tried to run from the docks across the courtyard into the city, he would be seen and shot by the enemy archers before he could reach cover. All he could do was fight. Me, alone? Against six of them? he wondered. “Still, I must do the best I can,” he muttered.

Cal lay in wait underneath the docks, in the shallow seawater. A boat, filled with stern troops, pulled up near him. He spoke the Royal Knight proverb. “For king and country…and duty and honour.”

As the first soldiers splashed out of the boat, Callomir drew his sword.
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Postby Sir Kohran » Sat Aug 12, 2006 11:05 pm

Note: This post contains some graphic violence. Viewer discretion advised.


As the first soldiers splashed out of the boat, Callomir drew his sword.


Grid: E-11
Location: Port Jozef

Callomir sprang from his hiding place onto the boarding bridge, and swung his blade in a huge whistling arc that cleaved the surprised spearmen into two bloody halves. Stepping over the battered remains, he finished the sword's movement with a sweep that crushed a swordman's capped head in a spray of body liquids. The man's broadsword had struck his arm hard, but somehow the Royal Knight didn't register the pain; he just pushed the scale-mailed body away. Instead of retreating as he had planned, he moved into the waterlogged boat, slaying each of the advancing black-armoured soldiers in quick succession, as flaming missiles flew overhead. A spear struck his helmet, knocking it off, leaving the Royal Knight with a bleeding head. Silently, the Royal Knight raised his red-covered sword and dispatched the bearded soldier, even as the blood ran into his eyes, though it strangely seemed fine to him - he couldn't find a reason to wipe it away. The soldiers were agile, but not as skilled or as deadly as the Royal Knight they faced, which was evident as he slowly gutted a bluberring ruffian through the throat. Turning, an axe crashed onto his armour, as the Royal Knight split the offending man through his jerkined stomach with his blade, a wave of gore staining his armour and once smart lion garb. He turned to the two sailors, a middle aged man and a teenage boy, who desperately sprang for a loose knife, his face an image of terror. Without pausing his assault on the craft, the Royal Knight finished his task, slashing both down. He surveyed the heap of eight bodies he had made, an entire crew slaughtered, even as the small boat began to sink into the now bloody seawater, the waves lapping at the sinking corpses.

The Royal Knight turned and walked off the collapsing boat onto the shore, which was stained with the blood of civilians, even as another boat, packed with fresh soldiers pulled up. He picked up his helmet from the bloody waves, and calmly placed it back on his head, even as the blood poured down his face.

He stared out at the flaming chaos that had engulfed Port Jozef - the raiders were charging here and there, killing whomsoever they came across. The barrage of falming bolts cotninued endlessly, taking out civilians and warriors from both sides. Royal Knight soldiers were attempting to hold back the enemy, in frenzied fighting through the tight streets.

He saw Sir Theodore - one of his old comrades - amongst the turmoil, hacking away at the invaders, felling them left and right. The Knight called for Cal's assistance, the soldiers and civilians needed his blade, he could even see Gaeth battling in the action, but...for some reason, Cal couldn't lift his sword and move forward. He didn't feel like he was able. All he could do was stare forward at the fighting, and think backward on the massacre he had carried out. He tried to reason with himself - he was removing a threat to the civilians and defeating the enemy...but just as before, he couldn't.

Callomir knew he should leave the shore - but he couldn't. Not even with the six enemy soldiers charging towards him. His whole world was still.
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Postby Formendacil » Wed Aug 16, 2006 6:37 pm

Grid: M-8
Location: Drullen Bell Keep

Bjarn, Lord of the League of Forestmen, looked up from his desk. The mid-August sun shone outside his window, slowly sinking into the west after another glorious summer’s day. There was a knock at his door.

“Lord Bjarn, sir,” a young lad, apparently new, since Bjarn did not recognize him, “there are some guests here to speak to you. Captain Elacil said you’d want to know immediately.” Elacil, previously Captain Anardan’s lieutenant, had recently been promoted captain of Drullen’s Bell guard.

“Oh?” Bjarn looked up. “Who is it?”

“Sir Æthered Dractor, sir,” replied the boy. “And three companions.”

“Dractor!” Bjarn started from his seat. “Lead the way!”

“They went to the infirmary, sir,” the boy replied. “One of their company was extremely sick- a coughing illness. Very weak too.”

Bjarn shook his head. Clearly, young Merina Valenti had gotten no better in over seven months. He made his way swiftly to the infirmary, to find Gonderin headed there as well. How the elf knew of their visitors before he did (Gonderin’s rooms were farther from the gates than his own), Bjarn did not know. He didn’t ask, either, but just nodded to his serious lieutenant.

Entering the infirmary, they caught sight immediately of the new Drullen Bell druid, Amara Foxfrond, finally appointed to fill Bella Turnleaf’s shoes nearly two years after her death. Clearly, the new druid was being kept busy. Sir Dractor hovered anxiously over the bed, his armour, which had been shiny and polished at Yuletide, was dinged and lustreless. His beard was messy and he appeared tired. At the other end of the bed stood William Jorgenson, the outlaw Royal Knight looking slightly worse for the wear. Sir Yves D’Auron stood next to him, looking perhaps the most cheerful and energetic of the group. And beside Sir Dractor, gazing down on the bed with wide, frightened eyes was… Merina Valenti.

Bjarn did a double-take. But no, there in the bed, unable to stop coughing, his body shaking with the effort, was Thomas Valt. The lad, who must have been twenty by now, Bjarn realized, looked as if he’d aged a decade and lost fifty pounds.

“Hemlock!” Bjarn exclaimed, attracting the attention of those around the head. “It is good to see you! But with Chodan as my witness, the lot you look awful!”

“Bjarn!” Sir Dractor turned to clasp Bjarn in a hearty bearhug. “It’s been entirely too long, my friend. How do you keep?”

“Oh, about the same as ever,” said Bjarn, his eyes straying to the bed, where Thomas was finally laying still, calmed by one of the druid’s drinks. “But what on earth has happened to you? Unless I miss my guess, the ailment Thomas seems to suffer afflicted Merina back when you departed after Yule.”

“That is so,” nodded Sir Dractor wearily. “Indeed, that has been the main end result of the time spent since I reached Orion.”

“As much as I’m burning to hear this tale,” said Bjarn, “I think it can wait awhile. You need to wash, enjoy some food, and rest. I’ll go immediately to the kitchens and have them start supper early, while you all wash up. You can tell me your story in my rooms after dinner. You haven’t forgotten your way there, I assume?” Bjarn’s nose twitched in slight amusement.

“If I get lost, I’ll just follow the scent of dusty armchairs and old ale tankards,” said Sir Dractor. “Unless you’ve finally given in and let the maids clean the old room out.”

“They did a light pass back in June, I think,” said Bjarn, “but I kept them on a tight leash.”

After a near-feast prepared short notice on Bjarn’s orders, Bjarn and Sir Dractor retired with Gonderin, Sir Yves, and William Jorgenson to Bjarn’s study. Thomas had fallen into a light sleep after eating, and Merina was sitting with him in the infirmary. Merina hadn’t said a word since they’d arrived, that Bjarn had heard, and seemed to be deeply concerned about something.
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Postby Formendacil » Wed Aug 16, 2006 6:38 pm

Grid: M-8
Location: Drullen Bell Keep

“So,” said Bjarn, settling into his favourite chair, and turning to Sir Dractor. “How did you end up meeting Thomas’s lot in Orion? I thought you were supposed to join HIM in Hemmerington.”

“That’s a long story,” said Sir Dractor. “It appears that Thomas’s grandfather, Harold Brakespear, was a bit more famous than we’d thought, because while Thomas was there a band of Fright Knight brigands attacked the village, with the goal of old Brakespear’s papers. Thomas, William, and several of the locals ended up driving the Fright Knights away- but while they were out of the village, a few of the Fright Knights had attacked the house where the papers were, and stolen them. Thomas, William, and Merina pursued them to Chevraport, on the Classic coast.

“They lost the Fright Knights there. It seems they probably went south into their own lands. But Merina’s cough was getting worse, and Thomas decided to abandon pursuit for the papers in favour of getting Merina to the city of Acklarion, in Black Knight territory.”

“I’ve heard of Acklarion,” said Bjarn. “Isn’t it something of an Elven city?”

“Not completely,” said Sir Dractor. “Indeed, the majority of the population is regular Black Knights- as human as you or I. But it does have a several hundred strong Elven contingent, the largest non-Forestman Elven population in Dametreos. King’s Sirion’s mother was one of them, and I believe Gonderin has some kin thereabouts.”

Gonderin nodded. “Including, I believe, one or two of the Dametreos-renowned healers who specialize in magical ailments- who I am guessing were the reason for taking Merina there.”

“Exactly,” said Sir Dractor with a nod. “But we’re getting ahead of things. Thomas and Merina took the main road out of Chevraport, the Imperial Highway that leads to Orion. At the same time, I was making my way to the coast by the same road to rejoin Thomas.”

“And you met each other, I assume?” Bjarn said.

“Had it not been for William, we’d have passed each other without noticing, I think. We both stayed in a large village in different inns one night, and if William hadn’t gone barhopping to the inn I was at, we’d likely never have met each other.”

“Chodan is good,” said Bjarn. “I’m guessing that you and Sir Yves went with them to Acklarion?”

Sir Dractor nodded. “And that was an adventure in itself. Not one of danger so much as of culture. Quite possibly Gynthaunt in the Fright Knight lands is a stranger city, but having not been there, I have to say that Acklarion is one of the strangest cities I’ve ever been in.”

“Because of the Elves?” Gonderin raised an amused eyebrow.

“Not so much the Elves…” said Sir Dractor, “as the orks, trolls, dwarves, goblins, and whatnot. I didn’t know so many non-humans lived in Dametreos- or in a city with that.”

“Dametreos always has more surprises in store,” said Bjarn, with the air of someone who had long since figured that out.

“Anyway, the Elven healer that we found confirmed what we suspected,” Sir Dractor continued. “Merina’s poison WAS of magical origin. The healer said it was a miracle she’d lasted so long. Apparently, we were doing the right things in keeping her from coughing as much as we could.”

“And did the Elf manage to heal it?” asked Bjarn. “Merina seems healed from all I could tell.”

“No,” Sir Dractor shook his head. “Apparently, being a magical illness, there’s only a magical way to cure it. The person who is ill has to go to a spring somewhere in the middle of Fright Knight territory, on Kingdom Island. While there, they have to bathe in the spring, drink a flagon of its waters, and leave a tress of one’s hair on its bank.”

“Tough luck if someone’s bald,” noted Bjarn, running a hand through his own, grey, hair. “Did you go there?”

Again, Sir Dractor shook his head. “No. We were going to, but it was at about this time that we were attacked.”

Bjarn whistled lowly. “My friend,” he said, “you seem to have a talent for attracting attacks.”

Sir Dractor nodded grimly. “Except that it was Merina who was attracting the attention, this time,” he said. “After crushing the skull of one of the brigands, taking another captive, and driving off the rest, we learned that it was Merina who they were targeting. Apparently someone in the criminal underworld was hired to see her killed. The brigand didn’t know any more, but it was clear there was a large prize on her head.

“It was April by this time. It was clearly too dangerous for Merina to try and make her way in safety to the Verkûl Spring- the Spring where she could be cured. In her condition, it was too dangerous. We were just a short ways out of Acklarion, so we went back, to get another healer’s opinion, and see if there was anything else we could do, since the Verkûl Spring was looking out of the question.

“Well, the next healer we met said that it was still the only way to cure it, but he did have a suggestion for us. Apparently, there is an old bit of magic by which one can transfer the symptoms and ailments of a disease from one person to another. Doing this would allow Merina the full strength of good health, which she would need to get to the Verkûl Spring.”

“And is that why Thomas is coughing and weak?” said Gonderin, catching on.

“Aye,” replied Sir Dractor. “He wouldn’t let anyone else do it, though William, Sir Yves, and myself all offered.”

“Young love,” nodded Bjarn, amused. “I remember it well. I’d have done the same.”

“The thing this magical change is that it still leaves you with someone who is, in appearance anyway, sick. Thomas felt weaker immediately, and it was less than a day before the coughing set in. When he collapsed during the next attempt brigands made on us, it was clear that we wouldn’t be going to Verkûl with him. Needing somewhere safe to put him, we headed back here.”

“But this was back in April,” Bjarn said. “How did it take you four months to get back here?”

“Well, we went slowly, for Thomas’s sake,” said Sir Dractor. “And there were a few attacks to fend off. But we also got a little sidetracked. Do you remember Elbadar?”

“Wasn’t he a Dragon Master?” said Bjarn. “One of the Sorcerer-King’s lackeys?”

“The same. Apparently, he received a summons to the Old Ruins- something about a gathering of heroes. In any event, we met him by chance on the road north of Acklarion. At the same time, we received a weird sort of summons ourselves, to go to the Old Ruins. At least, I did. The others weren’t exactly specified. In any event, that held us up a few days.”

“But a few months!” Bjarn persisted. Sir Dractor smiled as he held up a hand.

“As I said, it was slow going. We ran into a little trouble crossing into the Royal Knight country. Apparently, William is a bigger outlaw than he thought.”

“Aye,” William nodded ruefully. “I’d have thought that the whole kingfisher business would have been forgotten after a decade and the Falcon war, but apparently I’m still wanted pretty badly in the Royal Knight mainland.”

“To make this part of the story shorter,” Sir Dractor continued, “William was arrested, and the rest of us were held at the border until the Royals were sure that we weren’t dangerous criminals as well.”

“Dangerous! Pah!” William laughed scornfully. “Poaching isn’t a dangerous crime.”

“Serious criminals, then,” said Sir Dractor. “Sir Yves checked out quickly enough, as one of their own knights. Merina, Thomas, and I were released a few days later, but William wasn’t going to be released. It took us three months and quite a few gold crowns at the provincial court to get him released.”

“I’m still banished from the realm for life, though,” said William, a bit ruefully. “So if you are looking for settlers, I’m in need of a home.”
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Postby Formendacil » Wed Aug 16, 2006 6:39 pm

Grid: M-8
Location: Drullen Bell Keep

“And that was it for adventures?” asked Bjarn. “It seems to me that you had more than enough of them.”

“Quite, and we aren’t done yet,” said Sir Dractor. “We need to get to that Verkûl Spring- and the sooner the better. Thomas hasn’t been handling the illness much better than Merina, and he’s been bearing the symptoms now for as long as she had when she gave them up. For both their sakes, we need to get to that spring.”

“Both their sakes?” asked Bjarn. “How does all that work, then?”

“If Merina dies, then Thomas is instantly cured,” began Sir Dractor. “If the illness kills Thomas, then they both die instantly. If Thomas is killed, then the illness returns immediately to Merina- which would be really bad if we’re in the wilds of the Fright Knight jungle at the time.”

“And once Merina is cured by the waters, then Thomas is cured up here?” said Bjarn.

“Not quite,” said Sir Dractor.

“There’s always a catch,” Bjarn shook his head. “What is it here?”

“Thomas can only then be free of the illness if the person who he is suffering it for, kisses him,” said Sir Dractor with a bit of a smile.

“I see why he wouldn’t let anyone else take on the task,” said Bjarn. “And why everyone was so willing to take it on.”

“It was a matter of logistics,” said Sir Dractor with a shrug, “though I imagine that wasn’t exactly displeasing. Thomas is the youngest of us, so he’ll likely be able to bear with the illness the longest, assuming he takes care of himself. He had a bad bump on one of the ferries coming into Delvarden Gard, and that jolted his lungs enough to set him coughing. We’re lucky we were as close to the fortress as we were.”

“Well, you’re here now, and I’ll keep him in good health,” promised Bjarn. “And good company. Will you and Merina be heading out right away then?”

“In a couple of days,” nodded Sir Dractor. “We’ve found a ship departing Delvarden for north coast of Orkosan- in the Eastern Knight’s Kingdom part of Kingdom Island. It’s leaving in a couple days time, so we’ll be here that long, at least. Long enough for a few games of chess, and to hear the local news.”

“There’s not much news to tell,” said Bjarn. “We’ve had a nice, quiet, and very fertile summer. The crops are huge this year. Which isn’t so bad. Those Viking raiders that were troubling the west coast of Dametreos last fall have gotten bolder. There were raids across the whole northern edge of the continent, as well as Lion Isle, and a tribe of them seem to have made a base in the Forestmen holdings on the Fell Isle. They’ve made raids all across the Forestdweller lands since about June. Because of where they’re located, it’s pretty much impossible to come at them from the land. Gonderin and I have been planning an expedition for the fall, to drive them out, using our navy.”

“Bjarn, two Ikrosian ships do not make a navy, even if they’re the largest vessels in these waters,” said Sir Dractor with a grin.

“Well, they’re the only ships in these waters with the capability to match the Viking longships,” said Bjarn. “And I mean to have my lands free of that scourge. Pity you’re departing- I could use your nautical skills.”

“You’ll just have to make do, I’m afraid,” said Sir Dractor with a hint of a sigh, “my errand cannot wait.”
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Postby Formendacil » Tue Sep 12, 2006 2:27 am

Grid: Q-18
Location: Envika Sorgodh

Andrei Bartavlo climbed the stairs in the entrance hall of his old home. Envika Sorgodh hadn't changed a bit, as far as he could tell, in the year that he'd been gone, as Fright Knight ambassador to Orion.

The clear, loud step of boots on stone echoed through the empty halls as he made his way to his lord's rooms in the main tower. When he arrived, he found Lord Vækadær waiting for him.

"Andrei, it is good to see you. You have the papers?" Vækadær wasted no time getting to business.

"Yes, Milord," said Bartavlo, pleased to have very good news to give his lord, after many setbacks. "Drazzuil sent them to me, once he shook young Valt off his trail. The mess around Castle Dracul has thrown all of our nation's mainland into turmoil."

"As well I know," said Vækadær. "And what of the Witch? Is She-of-the-Barrow sending you back to Orion?"

Bartavlo nodded. "Either she does not suspect how useful I can be to you there, or she does not care. I suspect the latter. She knows more than you credit her."

"She is like a fat old spider," said Vækadær dismissively. "She cannot see past the cobwebs she has surrounded herself in. But it is of no matter. You have terminated the search for Thomas Valt?"

"Yes, Milord, as soon as the papers were safe," Bartavlo nodded. "Valt is no longer of concern. But I know of his whereabouts, because of the search for Merina Valenti."

Vækadær frowned. "She has not been finished yet?"

Bartavlo shook his head resignedly. "Her companions have thwarted every attempt of the underworld to kill or capture her, despite the very substantial bounty placed on her head."

"And where is she now?"

"They made it to Drullen Bell, last report I had," answered Bartavlo.

"Where's she's pretty much safe," Vækadær frowned. "What of the illness? If she was in Acklarion, she must have been successfully infected. How long does she have- at the very best."

"Ten years," replied Bartavlo. "That's what the healers in Gynthaunt estimated, if she could remain in perfect peace. A year is a lot more probable. As little as days or hours, if the right events occured."

"A year I could wait," said Vækadær. "Ten years I can't. I've waited long enough for Count Ollero's family to die. Increase the bounty, but otherwise do nothing additional towards seeing Lady Valenti killed. Meanwhile, with the papers of Augustus Alexander Smith, I am ready to begin forging the armour that will be needed."

Bartavlo nodded.

"What about E'terriole?" he asked. "We still have the Classic in custody. Is he still needed for anything? He's been given up for dead in Orion."

"Oh yes!" Vækadær gave a rare half-smile. "Captain-Colonel Marcellinus E'terriole will be every bit as useful to me as those papers- or as Merina Valenti's death will be. Through the combination of the three, success will be assured."

"As you say, Milord," said Bartavlo, long accustomed to ask no farther. "Is that everything?"

"I believe so," nodded Vækadær. "If I require anything, I will, of course, inform you. Enjoy your week at home, before you return to Orion."

And without a backward glance, Vækadær strode away, leaving Bartavlo to his own devices.
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Postby Formendacil » Wed Sep 13, 2006 9:20 pm

Grid: M-24
Location: Old Ruins

Elbadar was tossing and turning. He was moaning, and sweating profusely. He was, in short, having a bad dream. When he awoke in the morning, he was tired and troubled.

He sought out M'dagril after breakfast.

"I dreamt about the Sorceror-King again last night. About his sword, more specifically. It seemed to me that he was coming back- to kill me," he told the ancient mage.

"Perhaps he is," suggest M'dagril. "You betrayed him, and cost him the Wizardsbane."

"That's something I still don't understand," said Elbadar. "You control the powers of the city, even if you didn't control the Wizardsbane. Why did you not help fight off the Sorceror-king?"

M'dagril sighed. "I've told you many times, Elbadar: we did not have the strength. We were charged with a much more serious task: to hold the city until a King should return. The Wizardsbane, the very magic that defends the city, they are mere tools in this effort. The key thing was to survive and remain here until that day should come. A handful of ancients like myself could not hope to take on the Sorceror-king."

Elbadar shook his head. He had seen what M'dagril, Al'laxi, W'llessan, and the other eleven could do in the seven months he'd been there. But it was true that they were all VERY old. W'llessan, the youngest, was over eight hundred. And they certainly took this task of holding the city until a King would return, despite 1500 years of waiting.

"If you say so," Elbadar gave up. "But these recurring dreams have me worried. I don't want to bring the Sorceror-king down on your people, if he is back. And all he needs is permission from the Emperor or one of his officers and he can waltz right in here. I'm thinking I should leave."

"If you feel it necessary," M'dagril sighed. "Al'laxi will be disappointed. You are her favourite of the students."

Elbadar rolled his eyes. Seven months earlier, the Mages had sent out a sort of telaharm to all kinds of "heroes". It was a group that had included all sorts of diverse characters. Among those who actually had some sort of heroic reputation was the duo, Alex and Aros. Elbadar himself had some reputation, but his betrayal of the Sorceror-king, and subsequent mutiny of his regiment had perhaps tarnished his image, somewhat.

His company. All seven of them. And himself. What a pitiful remnant of a regiment that had once numbered two hundred. Again, as he had many times in the past months, since Oris Del Grakken's shameful betrayal, he dreamed for a moment of rebuilding his regiment, the Sorceror-King's First Dametreosian regiment- a name that Del Grakken's rebuilt group of traitorous brigands kept for themselves.

"I don't know that it's necessary..." said Elbadar, "but I do think it a good idea. For all that you've been gathering heroes to train into some kind of protection brotherhood, the city isn't really well-protected. And I get a definite sense from the dreams that the Sorceror-king is coming."

"But this sword, this very distinctive sword with green flame... it belongs now to Captain Del Grakken, does it not?" M'dagril asked.

"He carries it," said Elbadar. "I would not say he owns it."

"Still, perhaps it is not the Sorceror-king you meant to be concerned about, but Captain Del Grakken," suggested M'dagril.

"Or maybe it's both..." said Elbadar. "I am sorry, Mage M'dagril, but I think I am meant to leave, and rebuilt my regiment. If the Sorceror-king does return, I wish to be seen as having maintained a loyal regiment, whatever personal treacheries I may have entertained. And it is time I reminded Del Grakken who the true commander of the First Dametreosian Regiment is."

"Then go," said M'dagril. "But do not forget us. If the day comes when we Mages have all passed on, and the King has not yet come, it will fall to our band of heroes to preserve the city- and the throne- until his return."

"Chodan willing, you will have not only me but an entire regiment to count on," said Elbadar. "But for now, my seven men and I must depart."

"Where shall you go?" asked M'dagril. "Dragonar is dangerous for you, and Ajaxx still wishes your death. And you have said you want Dragon Masters only in your regiment."

"That is true," nodded Elbadar, "but Governors Drock and Caimlin still hold Boranis Dracis and Monilious Dracis against him. And Caimlin and I have some friendship. I can hopefully recruit my full two hundred there."

"Then good luck in your departure," said M'dagril, leaving Elbadar alone. "We shall pray for your safe return."

"Don't hold your breath," Elbadar muttered to himself, as the old man left. He began to pack.
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Postby Formendacil » Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:31 am

Grid: M-8
Location: Drullen Bell

Thomas Valt did not like this whole illness deal. In the several months since Acklarion, he had found himself sympathizing more and more with Merina's sorry state of affairs over the winter. At first it had just been a matter of easing back on things whenever he'd started to feel a need to cough, but now...

Well, now Thomas had had the symptoms of the illness as long as Merina had had them. And he wasn't in much better condition than she had been. The return to Drullen Bell had been too dangerous to allow for a non-strenuous ride. Now he found that even at his best, his most normal, he had little stamina, rarely felt energetic, and didn't dare do much, lest he start coughing.

This grated on an otherwise healthy, and generally active, young man like Thomas. He couldn't even go through the motions of fencing, much less spar with Gonderin or one of the Forestmen guards. There was very little to keep his mind off Sir Dractor, Merina, William, and Sir Yves who were by now somewhere out to sea, to the south, probably past the Classic coast, on their way to the Verkûl Spring. Not only did it irk him to be unable to join them, he was worried. With the bounty on Merina's head, she (and her companions) practically had a bull's eye painted on her.

To the credit of Bjarn and Gonderin, and several of the others at Drullen Bell, they tried quite hard to keep him occupied. Bjarn, who dearly missed his chess games with Sir Dractor anyway, played many a mean game of chess with him. At first, Thomas was soundly defeated every time, but he was a fast learner, and was soon giving Bjarn a run for his money- though he had yet to actually beat him.

Gonderin's attempts at keeping Thomas occupied were more varied, ranging from engaging him in long after-supper conversations by the fire, to inspections of the Drullen Bell barracks and armouries, to finding him strange and captivating books from the Drullen Bell archives.

"Check."

Bjarn's voice cut into Thomas's thoughts, and revealed to him that, having drifted off into reverie, he was losing. Again. He moved his bishop.

"You don't want to do that," said Bjarn gently- but with a truly evil grin on his face. "That leaves your queen open to attack."

"It's either that or put my king in check again," said Thomas.

"Why, so it is!" said Bjarn gleefully, taking Thomas' queen. A couple moves later:

"Checkmate."

Thomas conceded defeat, knocking over his king.

"Another game?" asked Bjarn. Thomas shook his head.

"I think I'm ready to turn in. I'm more tired than usual tonight. Must be the climb up the rampart stairs this afternoon."

A climb that he wouldn't have give second thought to, back in March.

Bjarn nodded understandingly.

"Get some rest. Gonderin told me you told him that you didn't sleep so well last night."

"Bad dreams," said Thomas.

"About Merina and Sir Dractor?" asked Bjarn, leaning forward.

"Well... they were there," said Thomas, hesitantly. "But mainly what I remember is a sword, wreathed in green flame."

"A sword in green flame..." mused Bjarn. "Now why does that sound familiar?"

"I don't know," said Thomas, "but it rings a bell for me too. Anyway, goodnight, Bjarn."

"Goodnight, Thomas."
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