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Dawn of Westeron (Chapters 1 and 2 online!)

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Dawn of Westeron (Chapters 1 and 2 online!)

Postby Sir Bragallot » Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:12 am

Welcome to Dawn of Westeron! Inspired by The Kingdom Of Ikros, Andrastravia, Vincent Gage and many other castle websites, this is my attempt at a Lego tale. In the spirit of the mentioned websites, the first few entries will allow you to become familiar with the realm before you continue your way... Please tell me what you think, feel free to ask questions, or take your time exploring. Ikros wasn't read in a day either ;)

The page is still under heavy construction but feel free to comment all you like, as this first post will have links to all the other entries that will keep navigation quick and simple.


The World

From the mountains that shield the vast Western peninsula from the rest of the continent to the vast expansions of woods and the burning desert that borders the nation of Kerrat to the east, all through to the northern forests and up to the hills at the foot of the uncharted lands in the North, the continent of Westeron is a world filled with mystery and magic. The feudal Kingdom of Westeron in the West is beset by the fierce Bull Tribes, while at the same time, in Kerrat, the political strife between the ancient Knightly orders and Order of Magisters seems to be reaching its climax. The eyes of those who still hold knowledge of the past have seen the long forgotten, long ignored North begin to stir however, and the problems both realms are facing now will quickly melt away and seem irrelevant in the light of an ancient plot that threatens to engulf both realms, one that may bring back the grim reality of a time long forgotten...

Index - click to jump to page

Cast and characters


Story

~ Book I: Forsaken Heritage ~

- Chapter 1: The Joust
- Chapter 2: Dark Omens

Changelog:

24/08/13 - I've uploaded Chapter 1 and 2, so far they're unillustrated, but the story is there. If enough people get interested I will take the time to illustrate them.
Last edited by Sir Bragallot on Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:21 pm, edited 59 times in total.
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Re: Dawn of Westeron - an illustrated tale

Postby mencot » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:10 am

I have too comment on this, because it seems pretty cool. I have followed Ikros and Andrastravia some , a little and I find those stories and worlds very cool too.
To bad I don't have the time right now to follow this more closely, when our own LCC project takes up my forum time.
But continue, you have something good and interesting going on here :)
Sir Mencot Paladin and rogue
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Kerrat

Postby Sir Bragallot » Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:34 pm

Thanks! There's no rush, even if you read only a little each day, you'll likely catch up to me at some point! That's how I read Ikros :)

Kerratians

The most important nobles and knights of the Eastern state of Kerrat.

Lord Junatan
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Status: Prime Archon and High Magister, virtual ruler of Kerrat
Background: Junatan was an extremely talented student of the Magus Guild, but was eventually denied further learning from the school by Queen Lara, who deemed him far too dangerous to wield such power. Junatan traveled to Kerrat and was an accomplished mage by the time he got there, easily passing the Test of Truth. Junatan has been slowly working his way up the ladder and his vie for more cooperation between the powers that rule Kerrat has fallen well with the populace. Nobles have benefited from working with him as well, making him virtually the most powerful man in Kerrat.
Character: Junatan is very ambitious and has grand plans for everything. He is silver-tongued, possessing an exceptional talent for making others see it his way, and he has the power and intelligence to back it up. This comes in handy, as he prefers to let others do the dirty work for him.

High Magisters of Kerrat
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Status: Rulers of the inner city
Known as: Ice, Earth, Lightning
Background: The High Magisters are powerful battle mages. Each one of them has developed his magic ability in his own way and passed the Test of Truth, a requirement for joining their Order. They are the most influential people in the inner city of Kerrat and rule from Maralissa Palace. Contrary to the Magus Guild, they do not teach the art of magic, preferring to spend their time on matters of state.
Characters: Wearing the ornate white armour reserved to the High Magisters alone, every one of them carries himself with an air of pride and dignity. The High Magisters have recently worked together with the newest member of their Order, Junatan, closely, using all of their influence to help him fulfill his political dreams.

Lord Grahel Deverre
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Status: Protector of the Deverre family, Lord of Crowfort
Background: The Deverre family was already the most wealthy and influential noble house when Lord Grahel ascended to the role of protector, and his leadership has done nothing to change this, on the contrary. Rather than sticking to knightly business alone, Grahel began to get involved with the day-to-day affairs of the nation, most importantly trade. This gave his family an edge and saw it become not only powerful, but also loved, save for some merchants who think Grahel is in over his head. With their current power, this hardly means a threat to the knightly order at all though.
Character: Lord Grahel is cunning and intelligent. He spins his plots for ages waiting for the ideal moment to strike and this has made his family the biggest and most powerful in Kerrat. If you cross him, he'll hit you in a way you'll never see coming, but if you support him he'll see to it you benefit from it as well. Grahel has a great military mind and respectable skills but has laid down the sword for some time by now, claiming a lot of people possess a mind fit for military business, but few possess a mind for matters of state, and he'd rather focus on the right thing.

Sir Fabian Deverre
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Status: Lord Grahel's Heir
Background: Lord Grahel has many sons, of which Fabian is the eldest and thus his heir. This has Lord Grahel worried, for Fabian never really excelled as a knight or as a leader, and sees belonging to royalty more as a gift than as a duty. Fabian often brags about how everything will be better under his rule when drunk and openly mocks the other knightly orders, which has gotten him in more trouble than he seems to realize.
Character: Whereas Grahel is a patient, cunning man, Fabian is brash and arrogant, spoiled by the riches his heritage has brought him. Despite his failures, his self-confidence remains huge as ever, but no one really takes him seriously. He fails to see this, however.

Lord Skarr
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Status: Eagle Marshal
Background: Skarr was already a promising knight when Lord Grahel first became protector. He was once far more lively, until he was caught by desert nomads and spent a month in imprisonment, where he gained his scars. Since then, he became a completely different man. He proved his worth in Grahel's campaign against the desert tribes and served as second-in-command for a while. It came as no surprise that Grahel promoted Skarr to Marshal when the former chose to devote his mind to matters of state. Following his appointment as marshal, Skarr spent his time developing his magic skills and over time became a powerful mage knight.
Character: He is a quiet man, but his counsel is never far off when it is required. He is always calm and respectful, rarely showing any kind of emotion. Skarr has an exceptional mind for tactics, but often respects other's opinions even when he realizes they're in the wrong.

Laura
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Status: Second-in-command of the Eagle Knights, Battle Mage
Background: Laura traveled the far reaches of Westeron and trained herself to become a mage, and when she deemed she was ready she returned to take the Test of Truth that would make her a Magister. Her world shattered when she failed the Test narrowly however, but just as she was about to leave Kerrat for good Laura was offered a job in the Eagle Knight's army. Though not officially a knight, she managed to become the Second-in-command, likely because she taught marshal Skarr as well as several other high-ranking Eagle knights magic abilities.
Character: Laura is a perfectionist. She hates to be reminded of her failure to complete the Test of Truth and has been ever touchy since the incident. It has convinced her to push herself to her limit every second of every day, and she takes every opportunity to prove herself. Laura carries apparent resent towards the High Magisters, believing them to be no better than her.

Sir Jaiko
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Status: Eagle Knight
Background: Born from minor nobility, Sir Jaiko saw tough times as a page, always mocked for being 'closer to being a swineherd than a knight'. He always ignored the mockery however, and worked hard to become one of the best knights among the Eagle Knights. Lord Grahel sometimes leaves Jaiko in command on smaller missions, and the knight rarely disappoints.
Character: Sir Jaiko is rather nonchalant and easy-going as far as knights go. Though he is not bitter towards those who mocked him, he subtly reminds them of their mistakes when they praise him now. The knight is quite flamboyant, as can be seen from his strangely dyed and styled hairdo. He enjoys sparring and typically gets along well with even those men belonging to other orders, though he thinks the Crimson knights are sometimes a bit humourless.

Sir Jorne
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Status: Eagle Knight
Background: Sir Jorne is the most recent addition to the Eagle Knight's ranks. He's so far struggled to take his place, but little by little his abilities are expanding.
Character: Jorne is a typically chivalrous knight who believes in the ideals of knighthood and often loses his sense of reality. He's never seen any true combat yet, but is all too eager to prove himself. This can only end one way.

Duchess Angelica
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Status: Crimson Protector, Lady of Grimkeep.
Background: Angelica was promised to the Lord of Grimkeep before she was even born. She spent an isolated youth in the Grimkeep, rarely being allowed to see the sun. When her husband died, Angelica refused to step down despite her lack of an heir and took over his role as Protector. She has since carried on the traditional ways of her order, largely isolating the Crimson Knights from most of the surrounding lands and rarely getting publicly involved with the others.
Character: Angelica is headstrong and stubborn, but not unintelligent. So far she has managed to retain a high level of authority even among the notorious Crimson knights and shown to be a capable, if not very innovative, leader. As the first female Crimson Protector in history, she requires it to be perfectly clear people have to take her seriously although she's a woman. To underline this statement, Angelica is always seen wearing armour.

Lord Goeting
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Status: Crimson Marshal, Lord of Szyl
Background: Lord Goeting was originally a commoner mercenary who fought shortly in the campaigns of Lord James the Black when he was still just a kid. When the war died down, he traveled to Kerrat, where he became a reputed arena fighter who has remained undefeated until this day. He was soon noticed and received offers from all knightly orders. Eventually he joined the Crimson knights, likely because their Commander at the time was very old and he had a bigger chance at leadership with them. By the time the Commander finally died, Lord Goeting had proven to everyone he was the most capable for the task.
Character: Dark, cunning and charismatic, Lord Goeting is everything a Crimson commander has to be. He is probably the only Crimson knight who's popular with the populace, largely because of his great jousting abilities. He is also a common advisor to Duchess Angelica in matters of state. It is believed he wishes to marry her to become the Protector of the Crimson Knights after Angelica's death, and though he has never openly proclaimed this wish, this has brought him at odds with Count Adam.

Count Adam
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Status: Noble, Lord of Frostfall
Background: Count Adam used to be an influential Crimson knight at Grimkeep's court until Angelica became Protector and sent him away, for she had never liked the man, and for good reason. Finding it scandalous that a woman could become Protector, Count Adam has done everything in his power to undermine her leadership and prove that he would be the better man for the job. He has some support among the nobles, since he always seems to know what's going on at the Grimkeep. Lord Goeting has proven to be a worthy adversary in this game, often thwarting the Count's twisted plots.
Character: He is a cold, harsh, and prejudiced man who is disliked by the peasants, who all live in fear of him. Though he is almost too old to stand up to the challenge, he tries to cross and outmatch Lord Goeting at every turn, making them rivals. Despite his obvious hatred for her, the Count has offered to marry Angelica on many occasions to inherit her title, and each time she has profoundly refused.

Dame Cassandra
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Status: Second-in-command of the Crimson Knights
Background: No one truly knows where she originated from. All that is known is that Cassandra was once a powerful mage who traveled the countryside until she offered her loyalty to the Crimson knights in exchange for knighthood. Seeing the benefits of having a female sorceress on her side who would prove women are capable as well, Angelica granted her her wish, further enraging Lord Adam. Since she joined the Crimson Knights Cassandra has taught the beginnings of magic to several apprentices, including the dark knight Xalen, but she refuses to teach them anything past the basics.
Character: Though reportedly once a stunning woman, it is claimed Cassandra's usage of the Black Arts has scarred her visage, so she always hides her face in public. She prefers to work alone and rarely makes public appearances. She is smart, but quickly riled.

Sir Xalen
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Status: Third-in-command of the Crimson Knights
Background: Xalen was saved by an Eagle Knight at a young age when rampaging mages attacked his village, but his parents did not survive, thus the Eagle Knight took their place. He trained to become a Knight to get his vengeance even though he knew he was not like the others. One time the Knight's sons saw him training and beat him up for it, but seeing how bravely he had defended himself, his stepfather finally decided Xalen could become a knight. Tired of hearing how a quest for vengeance was unsuited for a knight, he left the Eagle Knights and joined the Crimson knights instead, where he was knighted, which caused a lot of friction between the two orders. Cunning, powerful and resilient, he easily became an officer.
Character: Xalen is silent, always hiding his face and emotions, but his sarcastic remarks are never far off. He refuses to fight in jousts or mock fights. The dark knight is often shunned by the Eagle Knights for turning down their order, but barely seems to take note of their existence. The only person Xalen seems to open up to on any level is Sir Garth. Xalen is extremely unforgiving and driven by a lust for vengeance. Often when he's not at Garth's side, people don't know where he is at all, though some claim he is always searching to further his power and hone his skills.

Sir Garth
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Status: Protector and Marshal of the Dragon Knights
Background: The Dragon Knights are the only Kerratian order where titles are earned through vote instead of blood. As the son of one of the greatest Dragon Knights in recent history, Sir Garth was almost destined to become the next Protector. He took this attention very lightly and just did his thing, but ended up being the best choice nevertheless. Sir Garth is one of the few knights who can stand up to Lord Goeting in a fight and apart from Sir Jaiko the only one who has ever managed to unseat him in a joust.
Character: Garth has a very open personality. He is a very popular, young knight, always smiling and quipping. This might give him a false air of nonchalance, because actually Garth has an excellent eye for detail in everything that he does, as some of his more skilled peers have noticed. His best friend is the dark knight Xalen, despite the obvious difference between their personalities.

Lord Wrynn
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Status: Second-in-command of the Dragon Knights, Lord of Dragontown
Background: Wrynn was expected to take the place of the last Commander before Garth emerged and took this place. Despite this, Wrynn carries no grudge towards his Commander whatsoever. He has carried on his task as second-in-command, and become a trusted adviser to the young knight, often helping him in situations where a little experience is required and reminding Garth of what his father would have done during the seldom occasions where the knight is at a loss.
Character: Wrynn is greatly respected, and he treats others with the same amount of respect. He often voices how he feels concerned younger knights are living their lives too fast, and often storming forward too blindly. Younger knights find this endlessly amusing, and though he tries to hide it, Lord Wrynn sometimes does too. Apart from being a worthy second-in-command, Wrynn is also adept at overseeing the day-to-day affairs of the Dragon Knight's surrounding lands and can be considered as something of a governor at times.

Sir Brockram
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Status: Dragon Knight
Background: Born from a rich merchant family, Brockram was raised to realize he was always above the others. Feeling the life of a merchant wasn't challenging enough for him to deploy his enormous potential, he used his family's money to buy himself into the Dragon Knights. Though he struggled in his first years, Brockram continued to believe in himself and became a capable Dragon Knight.
Character: Sir Brockram is an ambitious braggart and sometimes seems rather simplistic because of it, but many believe his overbearing behaviour has a satirical edge to it and accept him for what he is, because he certainly doesn't lack for courage. His advice is usually taken very lightly however, for it commonly involves allowing him to charge off and deal with the entire opposition all by himself.

Sir Talaris
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Status: Dragon Knight Lieutenant
Background: Sir Talaris was born from high nobility, and he expected to become Commander of the Dragon Knights because of it. Life has often reminded him that he chose the worst order to rely on his heritage for recognition, and, while an adequately skilled knight, he has failed to tread in his father's - who had been Commander for a short time until he'd gotten killed - footsteps.
Character: Sir Talaris is angry and frustrated, and takes pleasure in humiliating others. He is easily offended and quick to draw his blade, seeing everything as a personal insult. Sir Talaris is known for openly confronting his Commander. Garth usually shrugs his criticism off and has shown extreme patience with Sir Talaris, yet the young knight continues to feel extreme contempt towards him.

Lyonne
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Status: Mage-in-service, Dragon Knight's Warrant Officer
Background: Lyonne claims to have been a wanderer for all his life until he, claiming he was sick of the solitude, journeyed to Kerrat to offer his services. Though he is clearly one of the mysterious Saah'di Mages (commonly known as 'Purple Mages'), he has refused to reveal any of their secrets or teach anyone. This has not stopped him from becoming a valuable asset to the Dragon Knights.
Character: Lyonne is quiet and reserved, preferring to observe rather than speak. Once he starts talking, however, the words flow out like a waterfall and it's easy to lose track of him. He is not ill-natured, but the signs of social isolation still show, as he is often the subject of jabs without seeming to realize it.
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Re: Dawn of Westeron - an illustrated tale

Postby Sir Bragallot » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:47 pm

Excuse me for double posting but I'm trying to make this so I can link to the posts.

The Dwellers

The Dwellers are descendants of the Wolfpack Guardians, the original feudal protectors of the Kingdom's border, whose place has now been taken by the Empire. In ancient times the Wolfpack refused to believe the undead threat had been contained and ventured North to seek out remnants of their enemies. For this, they were branded as deserters. They were believed to have long gone extinct, but signs and occasional glimpses of them are sometimes still discovered. Though not many are often seen together, it is estimated there may be a whole army of them spread out across the woods beyond the Kingdom. The Empire generally distrusts Dwellers, believing them to have become as savage as the Barbarians they fight during the many years their society has dwelled the northern reaches.

Miranda Oneshot
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Status: Ranger Marshal
Background: The Dwellers are believed to be lead by a young beautiful woman who is sometimes seen by Imperial troops when they pass the border, but always quickly disappears when approached. Some soldiers claim she is a spy for the Bull tribes, others believe her to be watching over them. A cause for less strife is that she is likely a descendant of the nobles who accompanied the Wolfpack North, for she moves with the same grace and silence that made these nobles legendary.
Character: Miranda is calm and contained, always alert of her surroundings. Though still very young, she has a feeling of agelessness about her. She prefers dealing with problems as quickly as possible.

Elare Bearclaw
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Status: Ranger General
Background: Bearclaw is the best ranger in the Dweller army, and he knows it. Well-experienced and talented, he has been a great teacher to Miranda since she took up the heavy burden of leadership.
Character: Elare likes to quip at other's misfortunes, but his intentions are never evil. His presence is almost certain to keep up the spirits of the other Dwellers.

Konrad the Wolf
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Status: Wolfpack General
Background: Konrad traces his lineage back to the Wolfpack lords who first chose to abandon the Kingdom to continue their quest against evil. He has lived up to their reputation, often becoming a spearhead for any Dweller endeavor and making up for the lack of true raw fighters within the ranks.
Character: A stout, proud man, Konrad likes to refer to himself as a knight or a lord, which is an endless well of amusement for the Dwellers around him. Though he will not admit it, he sees the humour in this as well. Regardless, he often expresses his dream of returning to the Kingdom and reclaiming his birthright.

Tangach
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Status: Werebear Chieftain
Background: When caught in a hunting pit, Tangach was rescued by Elare. Never having seen a human up so close, Tangach ran home to tell the tale, only to be banished by his Werebear brethren, who saw the Dwellers as nothing more than invaders. Tangach studied the Dwellers long and hard and finally challenged his Chieftain for leadership, claiming the Dwellers meant no harm. He won the fight and his clan stopped fighting the Dwellers, but were chased away by the other Werebear clans because of it, which left Tangach's tribe with no other option but to join the Dwellers.
Character: Tangach isn't as aggressive as most werebears, but very protective of his friends. Though he's not able to speak the human language, he seems to understand it and can express himself through gestures and growls well enough. He is much more energetic than his allies, often willing to push on when others stop to rest.

Mudi
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Status: Dweller, Self-declared General of the Dwarves
Background: Mudi claims to have come from very far up North. When he encountered the Dwellers, he immediately asked if he could join them. Able to tell tales no Dweller had ever heard and brew ale better than anyone else, he quickly became popular among their ranks.
Character: Mudi is a loudmouthed, beer-swelling dwarf as typical as they come, but he also has a great mind for technology and design, which has been a great asset to the Dwellers. Mudi always gets into trouble, but it is accepted as a fact that he simply has terrible luck. Although he is the only dwarf in the Dwellers' company he insists this only means he deserves the rank of 'general' by default.

Lorric
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Status: Dweller, Giant
Background: The only thing Lorric remembers from his childhood is that he grew up in the Northern mountains, where he was likely abandoned somehow. Being a giant, he survived, also by magically getting in touch with nature. Choosing to venture south, he found people with a lot of respect for nature in the Dwellers, and chose to join them.
Character: Lorric is a great protector of nature, and his ability to almost literally communicate with the land has been a great asset to the Dwellers. He dislikes 'the iron men in their cities of stone' as he calls them and is sad because there are so few giants nowadays, but the company the Dwellers give him makes up for a lot. Lorric can go into a berserk rage when something (usually the destruction of nature) puts him off, and one had better not stand before him and his earth mace when he is.
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Re: Dawn of Westeron - an illustrated tale

Postby Sir Bragallot » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:05 pm

Adventurers

Some of the better-known mercenaries, rogues and freelancers of Westeron.

Boss Laris
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Known as: The Purse King
Status: Virtual ruler of Syvall, crook
Background: Laris started out his career as a simple thief, but through a great amount of trickery and wit, he managed to gain a lot of influence in the rogue city of Syvall and over time could call himself ruler. Despite his obvious crime record, King Bastard has tolerated him because, as Laris proudly states: 'I am the only man who can keep Syvall under a degree of control'. Everyone who's spent enough time in the city seems to owe him certain debts, and Laris swears he could raise an army of mercenaries from the city in a day without spending a penny if he had to. He's also a very useful informant: whenever the Kingdom is in need of information, Laris would get that information. For a price, of course.
Character: He's a quick-witted crook, never to miss up on an opportunity to earn some quick cash. No methods are below him to get what he wants, but he's smart enough never to seem too guilty. He says 'Syvall is a world on its own' and claims he wants nothing to do with what's outside of it, but you can bet your head on it he's aware of any lucrative opportunities outside of Syvall as well.

Drakensy (credited to NapalmKing)
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Known as: Lord of Night
Status: Mercenary, Night Ranger
Background: Drakensy leads a mysterious band of mercenaries known as the Night Rangers. For years, Drakensy and his retainers have been fighting threats local authorities found no answer to, working for noble and commoner alike. Though no one ever sees him pass the mountains, he is often seen in both Kerrat as the Kingdom.
Character: Drakensy is a quiet and observant man. Though the Lord of Night may come off as scary to many, people who have worked with him are always positive, mentioning his trustworthiness and sense of duty. He rarely has a large group of men with him, but it is apparent that he and his retainers are extremely well-organized despite being so spread out over the land. Drakensy keeps to himself, rarely ever explaining his methods or any details about jobs he's done to anyone.

Punik
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Status: Mercenary
Background: Punik only arrived in the Kingdom a few years back, and for many people he was the first Dwarf they ever laid eyes on. Punik began to work as a mercenary, and when he's not drinking, he's usually fighting. Despite his short size and apparently simple equipment, he gained a reputation as a fierce adversary, often jumping around like a rabid furball and hitting his opponents on the shins until they go down.
Character: Punik claims to be 'searching for something', but gives no more reason for his appearance in the Kingdom and any inquiry about where he comes from is usually met with a threat or a bop on the head. He's a greedy and aggressive individual, and anyone choosing to mock him over his size will likely end up with painful shins.

Droe de Alar (credited to Killer_Karetsu)
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Status: Hitokiri outcast, mercenary
Background: Droe was a Hitokiri warrior who was unhappy with the isolated way of life his people live, and left the South to become a mercenary. This shamed his family, and over time he came to understand he was no longer welcome in Hitokiri society, but with nowhere else to go, carried on his life as a mercenary.
Character: Droe hides his emotions in silence, but carries a lot of regret. The thrill of battle is the only thing that can keep his shame off his mind. He dreams to regain his honour in some way, but every time he fights as a mercenary he seems to move further away from this goal.

Boras Brewstone
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Status: Brewer, Mercenary
Background: Boras gained a fierce reputation as a mercenary when he was still young, nowadays he spends more of his time brewing beer and potions, though he occasionally still takes on jobs.
Character: Boras is an exceptional mercenary in that he charges his customers depending on how much he enjoyed the fight. If he enjoyed the fight enough he sometimes charges nothing at all, but if it was too easy, chances are he will take out his unspent anger on his employer. His brews are appreciated by many, and is some of the strongest stuff to be found in Westeron, Boras himself claiming 'one barrel of ma ale could lay waste to 'ntire battalion!'.

The Possessed Brethren (background credited to benkim)
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Known as: Tachi and Nodachi
Status: Wanderers, Outcasts
Background: They were once Hitokiri, and that's about everything anyone knows of them apart from the fact both are really old. As the story goes, at some point in their lives they were tricked by a dark deity, which caused them to become as they are, no longer accepted in society. The possessed brethren have been traveling the world, sometimes seen investigating old ruins. It is believed they are looking for a way to avenge themselves.
Character: They are unwelcome almost anywhere, and they know it, often shunning civilization. Both are almost entirely silent. They distrust other people for obvious reasons - they are people's favourite scapegoats - and seem to be under constant restraint. Their skills are superb, and any bad words about them are usually only spoken when they are far away.

Haldon the Forger
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Status: Master Smith
Background: Haldon the master-smith is a living legend amongst the populace of Westeron and Haldon had been crafting magical items long before King Bastard's reign even began and hasn't aged a day since then, causing many to believe he isn't actually human. Many of the magical weapons used around the continent were made by his hand.
Character: Haldon has a love for gold, and charges a lot for his services. Though he often seeks the isolated corners of the Kingdom to practice his craft, he is not unsociable. Conversations with him tend to be rather one-sided though, as he tends to talk of nothing else but his craft. He's not quick to anger, but anyone who has tried to steal from him over the years has commonly received a hammer to the face. Haldon remembers every weapon he's ever forged and when finding them back even speaks to them as if they're alive.

Rolys the Daring (background credited to Ross_Varn)
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Status: Scientist, hunter
Background: Rolys was born in a northern hunting community. As a kid he loved to steal from alchemists and experiment with their brews in secret, that was until he blew his neighbor's house up. Rolys was subsequently run out of town and took up the life of a wandering hunter, never giving up his hobby of brewing strange concoctions or working on weird devices.
Character: He's a crafty and clever, but somewhat insane individual who seems constantly wary people are after his designs and recipes. When he's not hunting or working on some device, Rolys tends to try and gain an audience with lords and knights alike, attempting to sell off his creations. So far he hasn't been very successful. He has a wide array of potions and arrows to use on his enemies, but only a dagger to defend himself with.

Aloysius Black (credited to Elmagnifico)
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Status: Wandering inventor, self-declared Royal Engineer
Background: Westeron has always favored magic over science, with gunpowder and clockwork being looked down upon as "dirty" and "uncouth", unworthy of serious pursuit. Gunpowder weapons were instead adopted by Starcapes, Hitokiri and Scallywags, further tarnishing science's reputation with the Powers that Be. Hence, mage-blind Aloysius, his mad inventions, and delusions of officialdom went unheeded by all, despite his development of a multi-round, semi-automatic arquebus.
Character: Aloysius has delusions of grandeur, as shown by his tendency to introduce himself as 'Royal Engineer.' He is an endless optimist however, always carrying on despite his lack of recognition. When he isn't working on any inventions, Black is constantly on the lookout for a chance to deploy them.

Squire Joul (credited to RunsWithLegos)
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Status: Scavenger
Background: Too restless to live a simple way of life, Joul quickly left his farming homestead, donning some broken equipment he found at the site of a skirmish. He began to travel the world, looking for places where there was something to be had. Because of this he is sometimes jokingly referred to as 'Scavenger Joul'.
Character: Joul calls himself a squire, but he has no master to serve. Oblivious and seemingly uncaring about anything but loot, it is a surprise to many he has survived his travels. Joul has an exceptional talent for digging up things, however, and sometimes discovers the most fantastic items where no one would have expected them.
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Re: Dawn of Westeron - an illustrated tale

Postby Sir Bragallot » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:59 am

Villains

Though undead sometimes still appear in Westeron naturally in the form of restless spirits or skeletons awoken by uncontrolled magic rifts, they rarely do so in large enough numbers to pose a serious threat. The reign of the King who defeated the undead army has long since passed, and it is accepted the undead as the grand force of destruction they once were are all buried and gone. What little is still known of them are little more than old wives' tales told to frighten children. Though the thought of a serious undead threat is not even considered, some names, at least, still live on through the stories.

Phineus
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Status: Deceased, Necromancer
Background: 'Phineus came from the North, where he had bred his army of monsters with the local populace as his fuel. We were never sure whether he was a living man or a raised body himself. When he converged upon us, Westeron's very foundations shook under his attack. Yet still he was eventually defeated, and disappeared never to be seen again.'
Character: 'He went about what he did almost pleasantly, no matter how horrible it was. It takes a certain kind of man to lead an army of darkness into human lands, and Phineus was just that.'

Aelcar The Shadow Wizard
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Status: Deceased, Undead Wizard
Background: 'At Phineus' side, or leading his hordes from the back, was often a mage of terrible power. Contrary to the necromancer, he never seemed to take pleasure in his work of destruction, but he was no less vicious for it.'
Character: 'He gave the impression to be working for Phineus against his will, although he was clearly evil. It is possible the Shadow Wizard had challenged Phineus' leadership of the undead army, and lost, becoming his slave as a result.'

Inferno
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Status: Deceased, fire demon
Background: 'Amongst them was a blazing demon, tall as the tallest men, burning with the very fires of Hel. The extreme heat radiating from the demon made approaching him alone nearly impossible, while any common weapon stuck into his body would simply melt down."
Character: 'He often stood behind the lines, burning countless men alive from afar without ever dropping his monstrous, fiery grin.'

Baron DeMorte
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Status: Deceased, undead warrior king
Background: 'The lands Phineus first conquered must have been controlled by another, for death can only be built upon life. One huge undead warrior represented the image of a defeated King, who had likely been one of Phineus' first victims.'
Character: 'The Bone King always charged the frontlines, fighting against impossible odds and seeking out the strongest opponents, as if he vied for his second death. No matter how many times he was destroyed, however, the Necromancer would willingly sacrifice any number of his lesser servants to resurrect him.'

Maloch of Blacklance
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Status: Deceased, demon warlord
Background: 'A demonic black knight leading from the frontlines, who tore apart defenders at will and bested the finest of our knights. His mere presence seemed to give the undead warriors around him more power.'
Character: 'A great devotee of evil, the demon known as Maloch of Blacklance went through great lengths to purge us humans, sometimes riding his cavalry around the countryside for weeks on end and leaving only rubble and corpses in his wake.'

Lorn Lightstalker
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Status: Deceased, vampire warlord
Background: 'A truly wicked soul, the vampire lord was believed to be a barbarian who had willingly accepted the unlife to become 'immortal'. A true terror to the populace of Westeron, he haunted them day and night, striking at homesteads and killing people in their sleep.'
Character: 'The vampire lord stalked at night and no wall could stop him, for he crept and leaped like a shadow across ravines and battlements alike. The Lightstalker enjoyed destroying weaker foes and would often leap over our defenses to cut at our archers. Whenever he was wounded, the fiend would sap the life from enemy and ally alike to replenish his strength.'

Shadows
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Status: Elite Assasins, Bodyguards
Background: 'Shadows are the reason the phrase 'May the Shadows get you!' is still used in Westeron today. No leader who took up the sword against the undead was safe from them. They were the Elite, always guarding the Necromancer when he was in peril. Possessing unnatural agility and sleek physiques, we did not believe them to have once been human.'
Character: 'They would avoid any open combat when they could, but appear from the shadows and defend fiercely whenever the Necromancer was in danger, never once showing any sense of self-preservation as long as they perceived a threat to their master.'

Undead Desert Kings
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Status: Deceased, undead elite mage-warriors
Background: 'The Desert Kings of the ancient kingdom of Avernes were buried deep in their temples upon their death. When Phineus descended on the deserts and unleashed his hellish magics upon them, they discovered they had not buried them deep enough...'
Character: 'They were as fierce in death as they had been in life, only with the added unholy strength and spells the unlife had bestowed upon them.'

Undead High Templar
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Status: Deceased, undead elite infantry
Background: 'The High Templar as Avernes stood as one against the undead army, and so did they die and rise again as one too after their defeat...'
Character: 'The Undead High Templar fought hard to defend their Desert Kings, as they had in life, and with equal skill. The only notable difference about them was that they no longer showed any kind of restraint or mercy.
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Re: Dawn of Westeron - an illustrated tale

Postby Sir Bragallot » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:48 pm

The Bull Tribes

The Bull Tribes are previously unknown fierce barbarians from the Northern Hills who have been at war with the Kingdom, most notably the Empire, for decades. It is suspected the Bull population one day became too great for the Hill-lands and they weren't suited to living in forests, and that's how they ended up attempting to conquer the Kingdom. So far the tribes are stuck safely behind the border mountains and the fortresses of Starkeep and Lionmaw however, and generally they succumb to infighting too often to overcome these formidable defences.

???
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Status: High Chieftain (?)
Background: Some Imperial commanders claim the Bulls are showing up in greater numbers and have become more organized. They also believe a man must be uniting them all, for warriors of different clans have begun to show up together in battle groups more often, and their sigils are becoming less divers.
Character: If a man were to be able to unite the Bull tribes, he'd doubtlessly have to be not only strong, but also cunning and charismatic.

Voytek (name credited to Zupponn)
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Status: Bull Ranger
Background: Voytek has always been a scout for his people, giving information to all different chieftains and doing whatever he felt was the best for his people. He often worked alone, never once joining a conflict between his own people, although many chieftains would like the skilled ranger to work for them.
Character: Voytek is sarcastic and witty and has no need for formalities, which often upsets his betters, but he is way too respected and valuable to his people for them to take action against him. He is willing to forego traditionalist ways if this is the best choice for the Bull nation. Though a patriot, he also often criticizes his people for being 'bigoted and stuck in useless traditions.'

Sir James
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Status: Outcast, turncoat, general
Background: Sir James was an Imperial captain who suggested the Kingdom should negotiate with the Bulls and perhaps grant them land, since he believed there was enough space left in the Kingdom for their people and it was the easy way to end the war. Emperor Nathaniel had him stripped off his rank for this outrageous idea. Sir James, frustrated, crossed the border and joined the Bulls. Although originally distrusted, his skill as a warrior and commander and knowledge of Imperial cities and tactics gained him a place among the Bulls' most respected warriors.
Character: Sir James has become as savage as the Bulls, and is obsessed with getting vengeance on Emperor Nathaniel. He now slays his former kinsmen without remorse. He is a master at teaching men discipline, and it is accepted the Bulls became a far stronger and more disciplined force since he's been training their forces and teaching them tactics.

Valarius
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Status: Bull ranger
Background: Valarius is a feared Bull ranger who hunts Imperial scouts for sport. He can run an ambush single-handedly and his knowledge of the land is second to none. Apart from Voytek he is likely the most proficient ranger, and it is believed he will become the best once Voytek's age catches up to him and he gains more experience.
Character: Valarius is good, and he knows it. He is young and brash, and very devoted to the Bull God. Valarius often seeks out the icons or spies on the Bull God's creatures, and has tried approaching them on many occasions. He likes to refer to his enemies as 'sacrifices', and any of them who get caught by him will end up as a sacrifice to the Bull God or his creatures.

Rax
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Status: Bull berserker
Background: Rax stabbed one of his own eyes out as a part of a wager to see who loved the Bull God the most. All his life he has been training to become a warrior, and since he was able to swing an axe he's been sighted in almost every major battle the Imperials have waged against the Bull nation. He has fought for many chieftains, but always refused to go up against his own people, much like Voytek.
Character: Rax isn't too bright, and he's the only one who doesn't seem to realize it. Though a respected warrior, his opinion isn't sought after on complicated matters, though he will always give it when he's in earshot. Rax is also a huge devotee of the Bull God, preferring to wear Bull skins rather than armour. Though a berserker, he knows when the time has come to retreat, believing 'it is better to fight another day.'

Three shields
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Names: Carius, Weasle, Angrix
Status: Chieftains
Background: Traditionally, the Three Shields are the three most powerful chieftains in the Bull Nation. Even if they're at odds, they form a council that meets regularly to discuss the Bull tribes' best plan of action against the Empire. In the past, these meetings have often lead to violence.
Character: Each chieftain represents one of the Bull's prime qualities. Carius represents courage, Weasle stands for cunning and Angrix is a symbol of pure strength.
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Re: Dawn of Westeron - an illustrated tale

Postby mencot » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:19 am

You have made some very cool figs for your story, I especially like the bull tribes figs and there the three shields :tasty:. Amazing and funny background stories for theme all :D.
Waiting in eager to read the first chapter :D
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Re: Dawn of Westeron - an illustrated tale

Postby Medieval Guy » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:45 am

Cool! I look forward to the story progressing.
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Re: Dawn of Westeron - an illustrated tale

Postby Sir Bragallot » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:16 pm

Thanks guys! I'll soon have to continue this in another forum that can support my awesome pictures and move this section, but despair not: I'll keep you updated here and also post the links every time something new is finished and you'll still be able to just reply here. I'm excited about getting the first chapter up as well - more stuff keeps coming up to delay me but it'll get done eventually!
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Re: Dawn of Westeron - an illustrated tale

Postby Sir Bragallot » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:35 pm

I'm able to repost everything here and am currently in the process of doing so. You'll be able to get there easily through my sig or this thread, and I'll keep you updated here whenever I post something new. The cast will be improved on the new page, so stay tuned :mrgreen:
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Re: Dawn of Westeron

Postby Sir Bragallot » Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:55 pm

Chapter 1: the Joust

“CLANG!” The hammer hit the gong hard. Before the sound had even died out, Sir Garth had already aimed his lance forward and driven his heels in his horse’s sides. The familiar sound of hooves galloping across the dirt was almost drowned out by the huge cheer the crowd gave. Garth took in a deep breathe of fresh morning air as his muscles tightened beneath his armour. So far he had met staunch opposition, and his body was painful as a result, but he was only two fights away from the title! As he fastened his grip on his shield and lance, he looked across to his opponent thundering towards him. Even in the darkness behind his helmet, Lord Adam’s eyes were fiery like the very sun itself, and those eyes, those hateful eyes, were descending upon him like crows on a fresh corpse.

Unimpressed, Garth eased up just as the both of them were about to pass one another. Turning slightly on his saddle to get out of the path of his enemy’s lance, he elegantly slipped the pointed end of his weapon past his opponent’s shield. Seeing this, Lord Adam quickly tried to adjust, but the this maneuver would mean his downfall… Literally. Lord Adam’s lance crashed against Garth's shield, near his shoulder, and unbalanced him, but it wasn’t nearly enough to knock him from his horse. While Garth pushed his own arm though, the Lord of Frostfell was launched into the air, and as the lance splintered against his armour, his helmet was sent flying, revealing a most shocked impression on his face.

Garth smiled silently behind his visor. He wasn’t cruel enough to take pleasure in his opponent’s misfortune, but then the thrill of victory was addictive and Lord Adam had never truly given anyone much reason to like him. Readjusting himself in the saddle, Sir Garth thundered past his fallen opponent, quickly coming to a stop. A squire ran up to him and collected the broken part of the lance he still held. He quickly opened his visor to get some more air and rubbed his shoulder a little, but just as he was about to turn his horse to greet the assembled crowd and the nobles, he spotted an urgent warning in the squire’s eyes and heard the cantankerous voice of Lord Adam behind him.

“This isn’t over, knave!”

Garth looked over his shoulder, his eyes widening slightly as he saw Lord Adam striding towards him, a wooden axe in his hand. His determination evoked cheers, but more from the nobles and fewer from the crowd, Garth could tell. He didn’t know what surprised him more: that Lord Adam had recovered quickly enough from his fall to justify getting another chance at victory or that he was risking going at him without a helmet on, which was actually against all rules.

“I’d almost forgotten how seriously you take yourself,” Garth sighed jokingly, flipping his visor shut and dismounting. His squire was fast, he had to give him that, and Garth had another spear in his hand before his feet even touched the ground. He felt more comfortable fighting with his double-edged pike, his normal weapon of choice, and felt himself trying to treat the spear like it was the same weapon. By this time Garth’s opponent was charging towards him, and his squire had to hurry to pull his horse out of the way. The crowd made an approving roar as Garth threw his shield off to the side, seeing it as a sign of bravery. It was actually a purely tactical decision: Garth wanted to end this fight fast before he would exhaust himself: there was a finale waiting for him. He also felt he couldn’t take the risk of dealing Lord Adam a fatal hit now that the man had chosen to fight without a helmet.

As his opponent reached him Garth jammed his spear up before Lord Adam even managed to bring his axe down, keeping the weapon locked above them even as Adam attempted to force it down. His opponent was seasoned and clever however and Garth knew not to underestimate him: before he could twist his opponent’s axe out of his hand, the lord before him yanked his spear towards him with the blade of the axe. The tremendous pull nearly disarmed Garth, bringing him out of balance.

Adam drew back his axe for a fatal blow and Garth knew he wasn’t going to be able to bring his spear up in time again. As Lord Adam flung at him, Sir Garth bent backwards with a grace the people knew only he possessed. Any other knight would have surely lost his balance trying to move so agilely in his armour. The axe whizzed just past his neck, and the crowd made an amazed, almost relieved sound.

The miss had brought Lord Adam out of balance: his side was turned towards him, and wide open. Not pausing at all, Garth pushed his speed to its limit, rushing forward and locking the blunt part of the spear behind his opponent’s legs while simultaneously slamming his shoulder into Adam's body with all his weight.

The force of the clap seemed to shake his entire being, but it was what it took to finally bring Lord Adam down: the knight flipped over his spear and hit the ground. A worried sound went through the crowd, but moments later people were cheering again. Garth took no chances and quickly held his opponent down with the spear while reaching down to restrain the hand that still held on to the axe. Garth let out a deep, exasperated sigh. He had let this fight take too much out of him, and he knew it.

After a few painful moments where Adam was still struggling to break free despite his obvious predicament, Garth flipped his visor up. “Yield?” he proposed, regaining his usual smile. As expected, it took Lord Adam a few more moments to find his words.

“Yield,” the lord of Frostfell finally grunted in a low voice, though his tone betrayed he had not truly accepted defeat. Garth nodded and with a smile, let the older knight go.

“Congratulations, sir,” his squire said to him as he came and took the spear from him. Lord Adam had meanwhile already disappeared into the crowd, foregoing the formalities and snapping something at his desperate squire about ‘loose stirrups’.

“What, are you surprised that I won?” Garth quipped, turning to salute the nobles for the third time that day. The first time had been after he'd unhorsed his own lieutenant, Sir Talaris, who no doubt hated him even more now, and the second after he'd beaten Dame Cassandra, the second-in-command of the Crimson knights.

Nearly all the important people in Kerrat were gathered on a dais built specifically for the occasion, even Duchess Angelica of House Crimson, who rarely left her castle. Sir Garth wondered how she could look so miserable on a day like this, especially after one of her rivals had just bitten the dust. Perhaps a smile would hurt her face, Sir Garth mused.

As little as Angelica seemed to like the outside, today was simply a too important occasion for even her to stay indoors. The tournament was held in celebration of High Magister Junatan’s appointment as the first Prime Archon of Kerrat, a measure the Knightly Orders had agreed on to create a more unified Kerrat under a more central leadership. As Prime Archon Junatan would have full jurisdiction over the city-state of Kerrat and bear the highest military command, outranking even the protectors and the marshals of the noble families and their assorted knightly orders. It should've been an exciting prospect for anyone to get that much responsibility, but it seemed to Garth Junatan was rather bored with the spectacle, and doing little to hide it. Lord Grahel, commander of the Eagle Knights, looked far more excited: his best knight was about to fight. After a brief bow and a round of applause, Garth returned to stand among the rest of the contestants. Many had already been beaten, their armour dented and bruised, but none could leave until the ceremony was over.

At least they had something to look at, because the next match promised to be exciting: Marshal Goeting of the Crimson Knights would be going up against Sir Jaiko, a promising Eagle Knight, and the winner would have to face Sir Garth in the final. The commander of the Crimson Knights was the clear favourite, but both Garth and Jaiko had bested him on occasion. As Lord Goeting silently passed him by, Garth felt the same feeling of dread well up inside of him as he always did when the man came close. He didn’t truly fear him, but it was almost as if his body was trying to warn him and keep him aware of the Crimson Marshal's clear air of skill. When Sir Jaiko, passed him by Garth wondered if the young knight felt the same. If he did, he was hiding it well.

“To the Shadows with these contraptions, see what they do to my hair!” Jaiko quipped as he put on his helmet. Outside of tournaments, he refused to wear one, but here the rules obliged him.

Garth chuckled. “I don't think it's your hair you should be worried about.” Jaiko had bought into the upcoming Kerratian trend of dying and styling one's hair into a spiky maze that oddly reminded Garth of a flail. Some knights - mainly Crimson ones - mocked him for it, but then Jaiko, who was only from minor nobility, had never paid much attention to what others thought.

The crowd held its breath as the knights prepared themselves. Lord Goeting had rarely suffered a defeat, and had unhorsed his first two opponents - the unfortunate Sir Jorne and Sir Brockram - with the greatest of ease. The Crimson marshal had beaten Jaiko more times than Jaiko had beaten him, but the knowledge that Jaiko might stand a chance made the match all the more exciting. The gong sounded, and the knights charged. The first few moments were already enough for Garth to see this wasn’t going to end so well for Sir Jaiko, and he was unseated seemingly effortlessly by the black knight. Goeting's eyes met his briefly before he turned to the nobles perched upon the seats.

Garth sighed, mentally preparing himself for the duel, and moved over to his horse.

"I put money on you!" Lyonne, a mage in service to his order, shouted from the crowd.

"Thanks for putting me at ease," Garth remarked, acknowledging him with a smirk.

“You ready, dragon?” Goeting asked as the knights passed each other by.

“As ready as I can be for someone like you,” Garth quipped. It was unlikely the Crimson knight would underestimate him, but it was worth a shot. His opponent chuckled briefly at that notion and then turned away.

The knights took their positions, and the serf was about to hit the gong to signal the attack. The crowd soon fell silent, holding their breath in anticipation. Garth inhaled deeply, preparing for the worst, when suddenly his ears caught the sound of someone running onto the tournament ground, screaming for help. The serf looked up as well, his arm stopping inches away from the gong, and the attention soon turned to the desperate-looking man.

“Fire! Smoke on the horizon!” the man yelled. Everyone stared at him in wonder, and a worried murmuring rose up amongst the nobles, knights and villagers alike. Garth looked out across the city walls and squinted, and indeed, there in the sky, far away, he saw smoke. Judging by the distance, one of the desert towns was on fire.
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Re: Dawn of Westeron

Postby Sir Bragallot » Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:07 pm

Chapter 2: Dark Omens

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Lord Goeting was the first to react.

“Everyone who has a horse, with me!” he commanded. When he raised his voice, men from all three knightly orders alike tended to obey. Lord Adam was amongst those who drew back into the shadows, but that was to be expected. His recent fall would give him a good excuse to stay. The first thought that hit Sir Garth was that this would take away his chance at the title. Garth scolded himself inwardly for being so egoistic. His would-be opponent looked over his shoulder and called out to him: “We’ll settle this later, dragon!”

With that, the Crimson marshal was off, a small group of knights following in his wake. From the corner of his eye, he could see Lord Junatan and the assembled nobles abandon their seats and scatter like a flock of birds. Sir Garth hesitated, but then called for his squire, who brought his double-edged battle pike, a heavy weapon with a silver coating that required as much strength as it did skill. With the pike in his hand, he went after Goeting, slowly gaining on the other riders. What fools they must look like, Garth thought, riding through the streets of Kerrat in their joust armour. Goeting had taking the right decision however: it would take the city watch far longer to get to their horses and mobilize than it would for them to reach the village. The people cheered them on urgently as they rode through busy streets, commoners, soldiers and nobles alike making way quickly for the knights. All the while Garth doubted the purpose of it all.

<i>It’s no good just charging off into the desert like this</i> he thought. What good were swords and valour against fire? Still, the decision was made, and there was no turning back now.

The group was already charging through the city gate, into the burning sands, when Garth finally gained on his companions, getting close enough to see who they were. The mage knight, Laura, was riding at his side. Cassandra of the Crimson Knights was there too, as well as the High Magister known as Ice, who seemed to have borrowed Sir Jaiko’s steed. Their magic would be able to help douse the flames, while the knights would be able to quickly take care of any kind of raiding force that had caused the fire. It all made far more sense to him now.

By the time the city walls had all but faded into the distance behind them Garth was already basking in sweat, and he could tell it was the same for most of his companions. Though Sir Garth had become accustomed to wearing armour even in the hot climate of Kerrat, today was exceptionally hot, and he’d already been tired and thirsty when they had left the city. It was then Garth felt a breeze. At first he basked in the pleasant feeling, but when the breeze became stronger, he realized it wasn’t such a good sign after all.

“A sandstorm!” Ice shouted, pointing south. Looking out across the sands, Garth could tell he was right. Laura, Garth and Goeting immediately closed their visors, for what little good it would do them. This wasn’t going to be pretty.

“Take cover!” Lord Goeting commanded, but that was easier said than done. The desert had no high spots or rocks to cover behind: it was almost completely flat. They formed a circle with their horses and laid down, keeping close to their steeds in an attempt to use the animals as cover, but they knew that would be insufficient in the end as well.

“Well, at least the sand will put out the fire,” Ice said.

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” the gravelly voice of Cassandra commented above the growing sound of the raging storm. “Have you seen what burning sand does to people?”

Garth knew this couldn’t go on. This was no ordinary storm, and as the sand was beginning to hit into them violently he realized they could very well become buried under it if this lasted too long.

“Ice, any chance you can turn the heat down a little?” Garth asked, hoping he wouldn’t sound too muffled while he was keeping his head down. Ice didn’t seem to hear him, and if he did, chances were the Magister thought that wasn’t their main concern right now. Garth would bet his head on it the mage had some way of keeping his own body temperature down though, as the only thing he seemed to be suffering from was the sand that was hitting him in the face.

“Laura,” Garth then said, looking at the mage who was a little bit closer to him, hoping she would hear. “Can't you keep the sand away from us? At this rate we might get buried alive!”

“You’re asking me to quell a storm this big? That’s beyond me,” Laura said, and it sounded as if admitting it made her angry.

“I see now why you never made it to the order of magisters," Cassandra bit. "He wants you to create a dome to keep the sand off us, not quell the entire storm,” Cassandra bit. Though he would’ve phrased it a little bit differently, Garth was somehow grateful to Cassandra for saying what he was thinking.

Garth could see that jab had aggravated Laura, and the mage rose from the ground with squinted eyes, lifting her staff. The air blew violently around her and she seemed to be conjuring a mini-storm around herself which hit the sand away from her. Garth would’ve been able to appreciate her efforts better if it didn’t make the sand that ricocheted off her barrier hit him with even more velocity, but after a couple of moments the agonizing feeling was over. Opening his eyes, he saw Laura holding back the storm by sending the air whirling around the entire group in the shape of a tornado.

He pushed himself up, watching others do the same, and stared out across the desert at the raging storm. Garth noticed how Ice was shooting Laura urgent glances, as if he was trying to correct her or worrying her spell might break at any given point. Perhaps he was aiding her, Garth couldn’t really tell. After what seemed like hours, the storm finally ended.

“Well, at least it did put out the fire as I said,” Ice smirked. The smoldering remains of the village were near now.

“If there was anything left to save, it’s too late now,” Cassandra said coldly. “We should go back.”

“I haven’t lived through this to go back without investigating the site. Let’s go,” Lord Goeting said matter-of-factly. Luckily he’d had the clarity of mind to bring a flacon of water, which he passed around. Garth didn’t recall seeing him pick it up, but accepted it thankfully either way. They each took careful sips, making sure some remained for the journey back. It wasn’t near enough to quench his thirst, but it was better than nothing.

“My god…” Laura said as the village came in view, or better said, what remained of it. Most of it was buried in sand, but the charred foundations of the buildings were still well-visible.

“Great. The sandstorm wiped out all the traces,” Laura sighed.

“I told you there was little we could do here” Cassandra said.

“Keep your guard up, whoever caused this might still be in the area,” Garth interrupted before the mages would start bickering, squinting as he scanned the surroundings. A mere moment later Goeting motioned for them to keep quiet and gave an urgent look. From the look on his face, it was clear he had heard something. Garth heard it too. A scraping sound, and soft, muffled grunts were coming from the center of the wrecked village. Without speaking a word, the party drew their weapons and pressed forward into the center of town as silently as possible.

Where Garth had expected to see some great, ravenous beast was instead a squire who seemed to be digging, and was completely oblivious to their arrival. He was using a mace as an improvised tool to clear some sand and charred planks off the remains of what must have been a merchant’s house.

“Can’t you show a little more respect for the dead?” Cassandra scolded the young man as she pulled him up by his collar. Garth smirked a little as the squire dropped his mace and reached inside the sand, apparently hell-bent on getting whatever trophy he was hoping to find.

“Yes, cut it out, you scavenger. This is outrageous. These people have only just died and someone’s already looting what's left of their homes,” Ice said, shaking his head.

Goeting walked up to the squire, motioning for Cassandra to put him down. She complied begrudgingly, putting the youth down rather harshly, but not before gracing him with another disgusted look. “Who are you? Do you know what happened here?” Goeting asked the scavenger.

As Goeting started questioning the young man, Garth turned away and walked around the remains of the village centre, looking for clues. If I was really a dragon, I would have figured this out in no time, Garth thought to himself. Legends spoke of dragon knights who could magically alleviate their senses to the level of a dragon's, or even turn into one. The secrets of the ancient dragon magic had been fading from his order long before this day, but SIr Garth was one of the few who still had some semblance of control over it. A dark green light flared up brightly in his eyes as he called upon what little magical skills he possessed. Colours faded, and the world seemed to turn green. Objects, even the ground below, meant nothing to him, as he could look straight through them. He could feel the shapes of his companions around him, smell the sweat and charred wood more clearly than before, yet he found nothing, except-

“Watch out!” he heard the shrill voice of Laura, and a sudden sound alarmed Garth to a presence behind him, as if something was bursting up out of the sand. His concentration was broken, and in a heartbeat the world returned to normal. He instinctively turned around, swinging his pike around and bringing his shield up defensively, but before he felt magic ripple through the air and smash into the thing that had jumped up out of the sand. By the time he’d lowered his shield to see what it was, the creature was already gone, ripped apart and destroyed utterly by Cassandra’s magic.

“Thanks… I guess,” Garth said, looking over to the mage, whose black staff seemed to be emitting smoke. No matter how many times he witnessed her power, the knight was always impressed by it.

“Did you see what it was?” Goeting asked urgently, having lost interest in the gibbering squire, who immediately charged past the knight to continue his digging.

“I didn’t see it clearly. I saw… claws … It went too fast,” Cassandra said, shaking her head a little.

Goeting nodded. It was unfortunate they hadn’t managed to identify their attacker, but he much preferred it over one of them getting hurt. “We need to see if there’s more of these things buried in the sand. The storm has buried all the clues. Laura, you know what to do.”

This time the mage caught on more quickly. She gave a nod and quickly raised her staff, conjuring a whirlwind around the group that quickly blew the excess sand in the area away. Sir Garth could only cringe as the storm died down and the charred bodies of the dead were revealed.

“Not all of them died to the flames, it was definitely an attack,” Cassandra stated grimly, looking the bodies over.

The tireless squire seemed to have lightened up entirely: he was digging near the body of a man clad in black, who still clutched a spear in his hand. That was odd.

“Look, it seems one of the villagers tried to resist,” Garth called the other’s attention to it.

“That is not a villager,” Ice said, practically bumping the squire aside and giving the dead man a nudge with his foot to flip him over. He bent down and recovered a pouch of gold, opening it and showing it to the group. He took some of the coins and watched them as he let them fall back into the pouch one by one.

“There’s mainly Kerratian coin, but a lot of different kinds too. I’d say he was a mercenary,” Ice stated before idly tossing the gold to the squire, who caught it happily.

“The only question is, was he defending the villagers when he fell, or was he one of the attackers?” Goeting thought out loud, speaking to no one in particular.

“My guess would be whatever attacked me is also responsible for this wreckage,” Garth stated, looking around to see how the others reacted to his claim. No one seemed ready to oppose it.

A sudden cry startled them and broke the group out of their thoughts. Garth had already fastened his grip on his pike when he saw the squire clutching an item above his head. It was a silver handle with a red crystal on the one side that emitted a red glow on the other side. It wasn't unlike the wands the High Magisters carried, but it was different in nature... darker. Garth tried to call upon his dragon sight once again as he studied it, but his magic didn't answer his call.

“A wand?” Laura said surprised, raising her eyebrows.

“I’ve never seen one like that before,” Garth, who wasn’t an expert on magic wands but had spent enough time around the High Magisters to know at least something about them, admitted.

“Who’d leave a wand in the middle of nowhere?” Ice said, baffled.

“It could be a fake, like those fortune tokens foreign merchants always sell. It could be nothing,“ Cassandra said.

“We should go before another storm kicks up and we die of thirst here. We’ll return later to investigate this site more thoroughly,” Goeting said, meeting approval with most of the group. The adrenaline and tension had kept their minds off the fatigue, but right now all of them – especially those who had partaken in the joust – felt just how worn out they were.

“That, that’s mine!” the squire yelped as Lord Goeting wrung the wand from his hand.

“I already gave you that gold for your help in the investigation. Don’t be so greedy,” Ice said with a crooked grin, stepping forward. As the squire backed away from him, he bumped into Cassandra, who had crept up behind him.

“You have a lot of explaining to do,” the dark sorceress said. “You’re coming with us.”

Meanwhile Goeting approached Garth, handing him the supposed wand. Garth was reluctant to take it. Though it was only as big as a dagger, the dark brimming crystal gave it an ominous character that made his entire arm tingle when he took it in his hand.

“We need to find out whether this item had anything to do with this raid.”

Garth nodded, thinking he knew where Goeting was heading. “Perhaps Lyonne will know more.”

“No, I want you to take this straight to Lord Junatan,” the Crimson marshal immediately said. “I don’t want to entrust this to someone who thinks they’re smart enough to figure it out by themselves,” he said with a nod towards the accompanying mages, “and I can’t be bothered to do this myself. I need to take my men into the desert find whoever's responsible before they cause more harm. And when I find them…” Goeting left the next words unspoken: it took less than half a brain to figure out what the Crimson marshal would do to the enemies of Kerrat.

They left the village in a hurry, fearful of being caught in another storm, and full well knowing the trek back through the desert was going to become hard on them. Any water they had left was soon spent, and the knights and magisters alike were too proud to ask for a sip of the flask the squire had with him. Although Laura initially helped by casting a refreshing breeze, she soon tired out as well and by the time they were about halfway Garth was sweating profusely and his skin was red and hot to the touch. When they saw a dust cloud indicating riders were moving towards them, the group was initially worried they wouldn’t have the strength left to fight if they were met with enemies, but they finally rejoiced as they saw the Crimson and the Dragon knight’s banners rising up above the riders.

“Lord Goeting! Sir Garth!” the knight at the head of the march called. Sir Garth smiled as he recognized the face and voice of his second-in-command, Lord Wrynn. A cheer went up from the group as the riders approached.

“After the storm had passed, we sent out riders to look for you,” Lord Wrynn explained as water was passed out along the party.

“Good, this means I can carry on my investigation immediately,” Lord Goeting smirked as he looked at his newly arrived men. If the Crimson Knights didn’t feel much for elongating their mission, they didn't show it.

“I’ll fill everyone here in on what happened. You should head back to inform Lord Junatan as fast as you can,” he told Garth.

Garth didn’t much like the prospect of being shoved aside and leaving this entire venture in the hands of the Crimson knights, even if he could follow the Crimson marshal’s logic. He looked past Wrynn to address his officers. “Talaris, Brockram, take your men and support Lord Goeting. I think I’ll be able to get back to Kerrat without an armed escort, he’ll probably need you more than I do,” he smirked.

The two Marshals shared a look of understanding, then went their separate ways.
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Sir Bragallot
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