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The Plot To Capture The Dardenites ~ Tiavain, SO, RoD

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2003 11:44 pm
by Astavia Dovanucci
The city of Tiavain was not good, nor was it evil, though it held elements of both within it's walls. It was a city who worshipped, but to many's surprise, it was not always Isonia that the natives and citizens bowed their heads to, their lips whispering up prayer. They prayed also to the moons and to Intop. They prayed to the monoliths. And more than anything else, they worshipped their words and their studies and their magick.

They were intuned to the flow of magick through Tonan. They watched sorcerors, mages and wizards who did not live within Tiavain's walls with interest and with caution and respect.

They needed to know more about these practitioners of the arts. What did they know? What could they do?

There was only one way to find out. To take them, capture them and learn.

There were three of special interest. Their names? Lyssia. Zanafien. And the Torturer..the Demon himself.

This was not a war, although to some it would seem so. This was an operation to capture alive the three and bring them to Tiavain, so that Tiavain could learn and grow ever more powerful.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 12:44 am
by Vranyl Kreuxtra

The vampiress was resting within the shadows as she looked over a scroll that was supposed to bear the last known location of the lich she was looking for. So much had happened in the time between her first meeting of him and now. She last remembered seeing him right as she had first felt the traces of her love coming back from the dead. He had left before she got a chance to speak with him any further. And now he was one of several powerful sorcerors that were to be... "strongly persuaded to visit Tiavain for the purpose of sharing information."

She rolled up the scroll and slipped it back into one of the pockets of her black dragonhide cloak. Due to the nature of this mission, her skills and particular enchanted items came in very handy. Travelling within the shadows due to the power of her shadow-melding onyx earring, V'ranyl had made her way into enemy territory alone and unseen. Once within range of several buildings she wanted to explore, she moved into a copse of nearby trees and shadowtraveled up into the innermost foliage.

Silently, the vampiress invoked a spell specific only to her vampiric kind... the spell of Soul Familiar. Concentrating deeply on an image in her mind, she felt a warm sensation coming from a small feline shaped tattoo she had gotten in the small of her back. After about a solid minute, from the pile of black clothing that now lay draped across a tree branch emerged a small appleheaded siamese cat with a small onyx earring in its ear and a collar bearing the sigil of the House Tarrant upon a hematite disk.

She shook herself briskly and went through the motions of stretching out her muscles, especially those connected to her sharp retractable claws. Once content that her transformation was completely intact, the little undead vampire kitty climbed her way down the tree and made her way to the buildings she was going to explore.

As much as she was ordered to seek out Zanafien and bring him back to Tiavain, V'ranyl was more interested in first seeing this lich again and personally thanking him for the kindness he had shown to her love and the help he gave to bring him back from the dead.

Then she would take him back to the city, if it were in her power, because all signs pointed to him being very much more powerful than she, a mere Thaumaturgist. He was at least at the level of a Val'Istar, from what reports she had gotten on him. More likely he was more powerful than even that, perhaps even on the same level as the Fanyare Istar herself.

V'ranyl only hoped that she got to the lich before the others who were sent to seek him out.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 1:13 am
by Shadowwander
The time of war came once again. This time it was the dardens we march upon. ShadowWander spoke with his war chiefs as he heard the calls of the horns to war. It was time, war was upon us. The plans were made , now it was time to call upon the minions of the deep. My creations my hordes of the shadows.

ShadowWander stepped out on the highest balcony of his black spiral. His eyes flamed, burning bright of hell’s furnace. He reached in a pouch, pulling out a hand full of a dust he had created. He threw the dust into the air. The dust seem to hang, spreading upon the slight breeze.

ShadowWander began to incant lightening sparked between his fingers, then the dust seemed to erupted in to a blue flame. ShadowWander’s voice boomed into the darkness. Speaking in a lost tongue.

ab accio apud ordeum adumbro brachium accipio apud adgredior!
Come to me, come my darkling hordes. I call you up from the shadows, the darkness from the nightmares of all that dream. Time to walk once more into the lives of the heathens and destroy all that you see. Come my Hordes of darkling.

ShadowWander watched as the shadows began to move, the darkness came alive with demonic sounds. The dead rose, the nightmares walked once again. They came to him with sharp claw and fang to do his bidding. His creation His darkling hordes.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 2:24 am
by TheMonster
Sitting in the study getting ready to make an addition to his book of memories Monster took a look out the window and to his surprise saw many flames rising up to the sky. He quickly rose to his feet knocking over the chair that he sat in and also causing the table to jump away. He turned towards the door and ran as fast as he could in the direction of where his advisors should be. They were in their usual chambers flipping through several papers.

Were there any sign that my buildings would be in flames today and who is doing it?

His head advisor cowarded away lowering his head to the floor.

Sir our banks were looted earlier in the day but we thought nothing of it. We have recently found out that Tiavan has declared war on SO and ROD

Walking straight to his advisor he opened his claws and cracked his knuckles at the same time.

You should have still told me of any actions on MY kingdom.

Continue his walk he pulled his hand back and then threw it forward slashing the throat of his now ex-advisor. He then began to think of what to do war wise. Then he began to wonder about the attacks on his realm. Why have they come here to burn my town and steal money? My defenses are weak and they must know that, so why have they done what they have done?

Force was how Monster learned and how he taught, so to teach his enemy the error he believed they had made he marched into one of their realms and began its destruction under the falling sun.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 8:20 am
by Zanafien
Gwidon could tell it was exhausting his lord to hold the portal open in order for the peasants and families of the men fighting to escape. They had been under siege from three realms in the guild known as the Mark of the Magus and had no reprieve from the constant war. Multitudes of peasants had died in the first few hours of the fighting, those of Foret caring little for anything save for land. It reminded him so very much of what the Seismic Reavers had once been like. He was extremely upset with Zanafien for refusing to take the offer given by Lord Taus, but the lich rarely took threats very well. In fact, for his reply to the missive, the sorcerors had rained down the magic of ages upon that lord’s kingdom while his intelligence agents had been spending a lot of time burning. The distractions had given them some breathing space, but it had not been enough to get all of the peasants out of their homes.

Yet, that was not the only thing Zanafien was doing which was causing him to lose his strength so quickly. Holding up the null magic field around the entirety of what remained of his realm was starting to weaken him as he fought off wave upon wave of magical energy from one source, and then had to turn his attentions to another in order to keep it from breaking through. In addition to this, he was already placing delayed blast fireballs in different areas around the town and keep for disposal of those enemies seeking entrance. Coupled with casting his own offensive spells in return, it was slowly eating into his reserves and he was constantly having to cast further out to drain emotions from those within the bounds of his reach.

“Gwidon! We have another army marching toward us!” A runner shouted as he entered the room.

The chief of intelligence glanced at Zanafien who shook his head. “Who are they?”

“Lord, it would appear they are part of the army of Tiavain. From our scout reports, it is Lord Aranor.”

The lich sighed audibly. “Get these people moving faster. I will open another portal but we have to go quickly.”

Reaching out, Zanafien began to draw the raw emotions from the Isonian troops coming toward his lands, reinforcing his anti-magic shell of protection to include even those on the ground, turning magical items into useless trinkets. He then did something he hated, but found to be necessary and started harvesting all the emotions from his own people to regain the strength to keep up with the pace being demanded of him. The scholars helping him had already been sent through the gateway to the healers on the other side, two having died from sheer exhaustion, and the remainder suffering from the same effects. Now, the lich held them all at bay, but even he was not indestructible. He was not a god to be able to wield unlimited power, although he could come close, but he had drained almost every vessel surrounding him.

“The last of them are coming now, my friend. Once they are through the portals, we can leave.” Gwidon stated, his small force of elite defenders surrounding their lord.

“We will stay. I have enough power remaining to cut a swath through Lord Aranor’s troops, which will slow him for days. Perhaps, if we are lucky, he will think it was one of the members of the Mark and go grind them into the dust. Somehow I doubt that, but it is always a worthwhile thought.” The lich replied in light humour.

“Is that a wise decision, Zan?” Gwidon whispered quietly.

“I don’t have much of a choice at the moment. I will need the raw emotions the damage causes to enhance my abilities to cope with the necessary arrangements for the possibility of a new kingdom and the holding of this one until it is obvious there is no hope. In fact, I should probably cause some havoc in their ranks now.”

He dropped the gates and murmured softly while closing his eyes. His body seemed to be left behind and he swooped away from the keep in the general direction of Aranor’s troops. The trip made his spirit sink as he had not fully realized the extent of the damage from the Mark but did not have time to dwell on that as he landed some distance in front of a column bearing the standards of Tiavain. His body solidified into a coherent image, presented before the host.

“You are not wanted here. Return to Tiavain and tell Fanyare Istar Donavucci, along with all the other houses, if they seek war, seek it elsewhere!” He shouted, annoyance creeping into his voice. Of course, he did not expect them to run from him, but he would give them something to think about. Pointing to the ground, a rumbling began as the very isle attempted to tear itself asunder with a massive earthquake stretching across the path the army would have to take should they wish to invade his kingdom. “The line has been drawn, and the earth rises to strike those down who dare move past it.”

With his last words, seemingly inanimate rocks took humanoid shape along the length of the fracture on his side, standing like sentinels and going on in each direction as far as the eye could see. Naturally, he would not begin to tell the invading army that most of it was an illusion. They did not really need to know that, but he would fail to mention some of these illusions were very real earth elementals.

“Guard us well, friends, and know you have my eternal appreciation for your aid in this.” He stated to a rock figure beside him.

Returning to his ghost-like form, he returned to his keep, weary now from the expenditure of such power.

“Leave me, and make sure all have been evacuated from the city. The fissure I created will not hold Lord Aranor for long. We know him to be a very intelligent individual and he will figure out how to get across. Once they find there is perhaps only half a hundred earth elementals waiting on this side, it will only be a matter of time.”

Gwidon nodded and moved from the chamber to do his lord’s bidding.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 8:52 am
by Lyssia

The people of Tiavain stretched their forces towards us again, they dared to look towards the red desert. It was as she had expected when she had first laid eyes upon the messenger hurrying from the terrirtories of the southern-most tribe, the Voralphian. War had, as always come to the alliances once more, a little sooner than she had hoped but as soon as she had expected. It seemed the sorcerous powers of the Isonians were eager to battle once more and set their strength against that of the Officium. Those of Tiavain has struck first, perhaps thinking that a mere show of force would drive them to their knees. An amusing thought really, those who truly knew the Officium's ways would have realised that such a show was like a red rag to a bull when it came to the Dardenites. They might not have had much left to them but they had exactly what they needed, they had strength of will, and that determination had brought down guilds far vaster than those of the city of Tiavain could even dream of. And it was what would bring down the walls of the city once again.

The red desert had been struck harshly in the first attack, the people of Culaearien giving up their lives willingly rather than become slaves to those who followed Isonia's banners. Oh Lyssia knew that several of those within Tiavain's walls paid no more than lip-service to their Goddess, but they followed her willingly and that was enough to mark them as her foes. There had been a time when Lyssia had not born ill-will to those of Isonia, not truly caring about their faith one way or the other. But with the previous age that had changed and now a hatred as deep as that she felt for Foretians beat in the Sidhe's heart for those who followed Isonia. It was hardly an unexpected turn of events considering what she had been through, it was however a turn of events that had cost many Isonians their lives already.

They struck in the darkest hours...the messenger continued, speaking of losses and battles though he didn't seem to notice that the sorceress was not paying attention to him. No her attention was caught instead by the map laid out before her, detailing the city of Isonians and their defenses. She had stood before such maps a thousand times or more, not imagining the people that they represented by rather just thinking of them as a faceless foe, a creature that had to be destroyed. That would be destroyed. Though they had little left to work with, what they did have would be used like a well-placed blade; apparently able to do little damage yet striking where the armour was weakest. A cut here or there, stabbing in where those of Tiavain had not adequently protected their hides, yes there were weaknesses, ones that could be exploited and used to bring down the walls.

The sorceress smiled and waved the messenger into silence, They struck us? Yes they did, wounded us, but we live still, that wound was not fatal, a mistake on their part indeed. Now we shall rise up and form ourselves into a blade, one that is more than capable of finding the fleshy underbelly of the city. Let them huddle behind their walls, it will do them no good now they have caught the attention of the Officium. The mesenger scurried away quickly, replaced in turn by four men, each one wearing the loose dark clothing that most wore in the heat of the desert lands. One was more heavily armoured than the others, the representative of the eastern tribe known as the Alcmenelian. Two others seemed to cling to the shadows, almost as though they were a friend and ally, making up for something that they was missing, a pair of the warriors of the southern tribe, the Voralphian. Standing tall to her right was the cold figure of the leader of the Nibinbrethian, the tribe responsible for guarding the central settlement. And finally towards the back of the crude chamber stood the lithe figure of the leader of the Himmetian, those who kept the mountainous western border.

Lyssia turned back to her map, trailing one finger over it, digging the tip of her nail into a particular area. This one, yes this would be the one to meet the anger of the desert tribes, the one responsible for sending magic against the Torturer's realm. It was perfect really, it tied in so well with the Sidhe's own plans, she could hardly have hoped for better. After all she needed to gain the trust of her allies within the Officium, a difficult task considering her past clashes with Maledict. But how wonderful would it be if the Sidhe witch, the one they didn't trust, struck out fast and hard against the one who had brought harm to the realm of her 'leader'? It would fit in perfectly, yet another brick in the wall of trust that she needed to build, the wall that would hide her true intentions and plots away from the rest of the Officium.

I don't need to know what we have lost, I need to know what we have left, I need warriors for a little trip into a certain area of Tiavain.

Th representatives looked from one to another, most of their forces were away to the south and the east, readying themselves with Silus to take back their homeland from the invaders. Of the rest, they were back in their home territorites, repairing and mending the shrines, preparing them for the work to come. They were needed there to watch the horizon and defend what was left to them, they could not be spared. Finally the figure from the Himmetian spoke up, I have two hands-worth of lads that I could spare from the moutains. They know how to ride and fight and bloodied themselves in the last wars of the age. They are no great warriors, it was to be another four moons before they were to be formally trained, but they are eager for blood, eager and fierce.

Have them readied within the hour with fresh horses, tell them that they will get their blood. And they would, the sorceress would see to that, they would strike out at the Isonian city and slaughter any who stood before them. It didn't matter that the soldiers, or boys rather, that she took with her would be nothing more than eager teenagers, it would be enough.


Figures moved through the darkness before the city of Tiavain but not a sound was heard. The lads given to her from the Himmetian tribe ranged from fifteen summers to nineteen but each one of them had grown up surrounded by the harshness of the desert and the faith of their people. They knew how to behave even if they had not yet been properly trained by their tribe, knew to remained quiet and keep their swords shealthed till the last moment to prevent the metal glinting in the faint light. Lyssia could imagine how their hearts were pounding, outwardly they seemed calm and patient but inwardly she would have bet that their puse was racing, their hands sweating as they expected to hear the call of the sentry calling out the alarm as they saw them. But the call never came and the small force continued to move, searching out that section of the city that they were to strike against.

Lyssia raised one hand, bringing the group to a halt before pointing towards a non-descript section of the city, apparently no different to any other. The sorcerss smiled, yes this was the place, this was where they had sent the sorcery from, where their defenses were weak. Weak enough that two hands-worth of people could be the blade that struck through it to the heart. It was where it would begin, but it most certainly wasn't where it would end, the Sanctum would see to that. Go, she whispered, the words barely out of her mouth when the mounted boys charged towards the city that had harmed thir homelands.

The Sidhe woman smiled as she heard the first clash of steel against steel, the first scream as a guard met his death. Though they were not yet recognised as men by their tribes, her boys would certainly cut down many who were far older than them before the night was through. She rode slowly up, following the trail left behind by the small force of the red desert, hearing the cries of the Isonians. From boys of the Himmetian there was no sound, as all others of the tribes they fought in silence and with their Lord in their heart. Those that fought against the tribes soon learnt that it was always the way of the desert fanatics, fighting in silence, speaking only one word and that only when they fell. Not a word would be spoken by them till deth was upon them, then they would cry out 'Darden' and rush towards their enemy as best they could, giving their lives for one last chance to strike at their enemy. Not that the sorceress expected that to happen in the battle before her, the boys would be enough to easily overwhelm those that they went against.

Death had come to Tiavain, red-blooded, fierce death with the faces of boys who were not yet men. The soldiers of the city were cut down, did they even comprehend what had come out of the red desert to harm them? Had they thought that they would be safe behind their walls? Did they wonder at the boys that killed them, thinking them spirits and not flesh at all? Did they look towards the sorceress on her pale grey horse following them, smiling, nodding encouragement to her 'warriors' now and then as they looked towards her or showed her the head of some heathen? Perhaps, perhaps not, perhaps fear blinded them, or perhaps it painted those images upon their minds more clearly than any other as they were sent forth to be judged by Darden.

The screams became lessened, the hooves of the horses drowning them out as the boys chased down the last few. Eventually they tired of their sport and returned to the sorceress, herding one poor Isonian soul with them. The Isonian tried to run but there was no where to go, beyond back to the curved blades of the boys, or forward to look upon the Sidhe sorceress. Deciding that the woman was the lesser evil he ran towards Lyssia, the Sidhe woman smiling softly at him as if she was in a merciful mood. She slipped from her horse, the fae woman standing face to face with the man of the city, blood running down one side of his face where he had been earlier caught by the flat of a blade. Lyssia reached out and pressed two fingers against the blood, This is normally the point where you as me to let you live, she said as gently as if she were praising a small child. But there's not need for that because I intend to let you live. I have a purpose for you. You are going to become my messenger because I feel after all the life we have taken from this area of Tiavain tonight, I should really give something back. A gift, the wrods sounded hollow and cold, the merciful mask slipping just a little, A gift for Astavia Dovanucci.

It is a gift of words so I trust that you are listening well.
The sorceress met the Isonian's gaze, making sure that she had his full attention before she said anymore. You will find a way to pass my message to her. I would speak it to the wind for I know that she is a mistress of such things, however the last message I spoke thusly did not reach her ears. Or if it did, she chose to ignore it, I wonder if she will choose to ignore this one?, the sorceress's smile became a smirk.

My gift is this, a question "What price is a person's word worth?" The sorceres frowned. No, perhaps not, that is a little too vague I think for my purposes. Perhaps then it should be "What price is a woman's word worth?". No, no, that will not do, it needs to be more precise. The sorceress placed one of her fingers upon her lips, apparently deep in concentration, though it was all no more than an over-the-top act. Finally she smiled again, Ah I know, "What price is your word worth?" It's a question isn't it? How much is the word of Astavia Dovanucci worth? Do you think she has ever 'stretched' her word? Do you think she has ever broken her word? She laughed suddenly, the Isonian before her staring at the Sidhe in confusion even as the boys broke ranks, giving him a way to flee. It was an oppurtunity that he took advantage of, running from the Sidhe and her laughter, turning over the meaning of her 'gift' to Astavia in his mind.

Lyssi watched him disappear into the darkness and then climbed back onto her horse, Come along, it's time we retreat a little, this land will be useless to them for the period of this war, as useless as if we had salted it ourselves, rather than using the blood of its own citizens. The horses and their riders set off, they weren't going to retreat far, just outside of the city, keeping it in sight. There would be plenty of work for the Himmetian boys before the war was done.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 9:02 am
by judiama
Judiama sat in wait with her horses of war. This should prove to be an interesting foray into the Darden lands. It was unusual for the city to war with the main objective of kidnapping. But it might prove to be very rewarding, for the three personages to be kidnapped were powerful and wise in the ways of magic.

As she sat upon Everlight, waiting, Judiama's mind wandered.
"Lyssia, now that is a name to incite terror in the hearts of many Isonians," Judiama thought. She remembered the many wars where Lyssia was the turning factor in the downfall of a warring realm. " Lyssia, it will be interesting to learn THAT one's secrets," Judiama said softly to one of the grooms who were helping with the horses.

Zanafien and the Torturer were not personally known to the Lady Judiama. But if the leaders of the houses of Tiavain wanted them to study they must be powerful indeed. The five waiting war horses were just insurance to make a quick return to the magical city. As the war raged, Judiama sat with her charges and took only defensive actions against any heathens that approached her. The job ahead was too important to get caught up in the general melee.

Thaumaturgist of House Nim'Ostas
[shadow=blue]Istari d'Tiavain[/shadow]

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 10:27 am
by Maledict
Striking at the heart of the Officium was never an easy task. Firstly, the attackers had to make their way through a narrow mountain pass which was guarded from above by archers and rock throwers. By the time the army sent by Tiavain had reached the city proper, their forces had been cut in half, the dead bodies of their fallen comrades strewn behind them. The smell of fear lay heavy in the air when they saw what lay before them.

Maledict had been waiting, having caught some of Tiavains thieves only half a turn of the sandglass ago. He knew they would be coming and he was ready to defend his city. Demon and soldier stood behind him, waiting for their leader to give his signal, they didn't wait for long. As soon as they saw The Torturer's skin melt away and reveal the demon that lay beneath they rushed forward. Steel clashed against steel and teeth ripped and tore at the armour of the would-be attackers. The archers of the pass had lined themselves up so as to face within the city and rained a flurry of death down upon the unfortunate Tiavains.

Huge arcs of blood sprayed up into the night sky and quickly fell back down, spattering onto Darden and Isonian forces alike. The Torturer rushed into a group of four Tiavain troops who stood back to back with their swords shaking nervously in their hands as they tried to cover all possible sides. The one facing in Maledicts direction screamed involuntarily as he saw the demon racing towards him. Even so, he did not break the formation. His training would be his undoing. The soldier raised his sword and looked into the stygian black eyes of the demon who was now upon him. Maledict pushed with all his might, knocking all four men down onto the ground with a thud. He then wrapped his long fingers around the swordhand of the man who had been facing him and twisted until he could hear the crunch of bone.

The soldier screamed out his agony to the uncompromising heavens as every bone in his wrist was crushed. He began to beg for mercy but he should have known that mercy had no place in this part of Maxim. No place at all. The Torturer continued twisting the man's wrist and eventually a long stream of blood gushed forth as the skin finally tore away from crushed bone. All that the soldiers three comrades could do was lay where they had fallen and watch the scene with a look of horror firmly etched into their faces while the demon attempted to rip swordhand and sword away from arm. Does it hurt, little man? The demon snarled. Do you feel the despair? As the last word spilled from his mouth he gave a final pull and the hand tore away from the arm. The soldier let out an earsplitting scream and held his bloodied stump with his remaining hand in an effort to stem the fresh flow of blood the flooded out.

The fingers of his other hand still gripped the hilt of his sword, and in turn, Maledict gripped the hand. When you face the judgement of Darden, tell him that you died by your own hand. He then raised up hand and sword together and plunged down with all his might. The steel of the blade sliced effortlessly into the soldiers throat, cutting through gristle and bone and muscle before finally bursting through and into the hardened soil. The only mercy this soldier had been given was a quick death. The Torturer looked up at the skirmishing troops and yelled out.
This man has been shown too much mercy! Take out the bellies of these remaining, let them die slowly.

Take him alive! He heard one of them shout. Take the demon alive! On hearing this, Maledict's lipless maw twisted into what looked like the rictus grin of death incarnate. Long talons clicked together eagerly and he suddenly turned away from the skirmish, heading back into the city.

The fools wanted him alive, did they?


He took his horse and slipped out of the city through a spidering web of underground tunnels know only to him and Nufan, his most trusted of allies. The Torturer had fought against the city of Tiavain before and he had not forgotten how to get there.

Just before his escape he had seen huge bolts of dread sorcery light up the night sky as Isonia's faithful finally realised that this would be the only way they could destroy his armies.


He hated it. It was true that he had once held arcane powers but that was a long time ago, before Eisheth had given him the permanent body that he now inhabited, a body that would never twist and deform itself into the ugliest of visages as the darkness of the shape-stealer flooded through it.

He had made many mistakes during the days prior to his meeting of the Eisheth and Felldion. The biggest of which had been to steal the shape of a female dragon, the mate of Ragnarol. The dragon had died in her attempt to fight back against the unwelcome inhabitant of her body and Ragnarol had sworn a bloody and terrible vengeance upon the Torturer.

This vengeance had come in the form of having everything sorcerous stolen. Every arcane rite that Maledict had known, had suddenly become unknown, and from that day to this, it had always been that way. Of course, it was true that the blood of the Sidhe Witch now ran through his black veins, which had returned at least a little of his previous powers, but he would never use them, he hated her too much to allow himself such a luxury. Only he knew of the power hidden within him and it would always stay that way for he would never give Lyssia the satisfaction of knowing that her blood had made him more powerful.

The city of Tiavain came into sight just as the first fingers of dawn light crept across the skies. Dark eyes narrowed and scanned the area, searching for foe or ally. His gaze finally settled on a small group of horses that stood just out of range of the city wall archers. With a tug on the reins he spurred his huge black steed toward the small group. Even though he had been riding all night, he had kept his demonic form, hoping to strike fear into any of Tiavain's troops that he might have met along the way. Fortunately for them.. he had met none.

One of the horsemen turned to face him as the sound of his own steed's thundering hooves reached them, but then the rider noticeably relaxed and turned back to speak to one of the others. It was a woman.


Within moments he pulled his horse to a halt beside the small group of riders and noticed how young they all were. The Sidhe Witch fought alongside children now?

So. He hissed the words out through clenched teeth. You are the first to arrive, I see. The Torturer dismounted, his gaze never leaving hers. He wasn't sure whether how he should feel about her being here already, although her presence did seem to point towards a loyalty towards him and the standard of the Officium.

Finally the demon tore his gaze away and cast it upon the city walls. They said they wanted me alive. He whispered. I came to find out what they intend to do with me once they have me.

When he had said this he began to slowly walk toward the city.


PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 12:12 pm
by Tamlaine
The fire burned strongly, warm tongues of flame flickering and dancing, charring the wood black. A thin plume of smoke rose in the still morning air.

Although it was barely past dawn, the nomads' camp bustled with life, clansmen and women greeting the dawn reverently, moving around, caring for the herds, preparing breakfast, fetching water.

Tamlaine, Khan of the Steppes Nomads, stood before the fire-pit, hands outstretched, feeling the warmth of the fire overcome the early-morning chill. From somewhere within the camp, the lilting strains of a harp rose to greet the dawn.

There was a sudden commotion, the sound of galloping hooves, of raised voices. Stretching, the Khan turned away from the fire to see what brought a rider to the camp so early in the day. Striding swiftly through the camp, Tamlaine soon discovered the new arrival. The man's horse, lathered and sweating, was already being lead away by a clansman. Tamlaine repressed a sudden surge of irritation. Whatever it was ... this had better be good. No clansman would ride a horse as hard as this outlands messanger had - not without an overpoweringly good reason.

Spying the approaching Tamlaine, the rider bowed deeply. Noble Khan, by the oaths of friendship that exist between your people and the sacred office of the Sanctum Officium, I greet thee. By those oaths do I call upon thee, great Khan, for the lands of the Officium are assailed once more by the forces of the Bitch Goddess.

Then I, Tamlaine, Khan of the Steppes Nomads, acknowledge the ties by which you call upon. In the name of my people did I kneel before the Torturer himself to pledge my blade and the blades of my clansmen in service to the Holy Church. If the Officium now rides to war, then the warriors of my clan will ride with them, and the thunder of our hooves shall contribute to the hymn of battle. Tell me one thing, messager, tell me ... who seeks to make war on the Sacred Office of the Demon?

The citizens of Tiavain, Khan Tamlaine. I believe you know the way to their city

What? You jest, outlander.

I speak the truth, great Khan. Already do the forces of the city of Tiavain assail the lands of the Officium, and the lands of the Renegades of Despair also.

Tamlaine scowled and spat

You would have though that the heathens would have learnt their lesson from the last time that they presumed to strike at the Sanctum Officium. They were defeated then and they shall be defeated again. All that their leaders have done is offered us an excuse to take our vengeance upon them once again for their follies of the past.

Know this, Oh Khan, the leaders of Tiavain are driven by vengeance of their own. Not vengeance upon the Sanctum, not vengeance upon the Renegades ... vengeance upon those within those alliances who once flew the banners of the battle-goddess.

Those who once flew the banners of the Istari d'Tiavain.

A reunion in blood

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 11:39 pm
by Misty Moonlight
Rumour had reached her ear from the townspeople; Rumour that the warriors from the city of mages were here for only three people; Rumour that they wished only their capture, and only for questioning. But, how could that be? The lines on her territory had been encroached, and shortened, and more blood from her townspeople had been shed than that of most of the others. Yet, as they took a great portion of her land, and yet as they slaughtered many good people in the process, they left she, herself untouched. Why? They knew what she was capable of... Or did they? For that matter, why touch her realm at all, when the people they saught did not reside here.

Yet more rumours reached her ear, and the people began to whisper about her being the cause of all of this. Misty went to one of the smaller comunities that she had rule over; One that resided near the borders. Feilds had been burned, and cattle had been slaughtered, and children had been taken, and women had been violated. Men cried at the sites of their homes and their families; women screamed out in the agony of their dead or missing children. Men from Tiavain just stood guard, and they had set up a hanging tree to hang all that did not agree to come to worship Isonia. The half elvin woman walked among the distruction, and she felt the suffering of her people, and she knelt aside a dying solgier. There had been no-one left to take him to medical, and no-one left to stay with him while he took in his last breaths.

Taking his hand in hers, the pain he felt racked her body, and she faught back the screams, for now this man shall die with dignity, and this man shall die pain free. Her breaths were gasping as she leaned in closer, and rested her head on the man's shoulder, as she whispered in his ear. "Darden has seen it fit to allow you to feel the pain, and to allow me to take it from you... Go in peace, for you have been blessed, and your bowl runneth over." The man gasped for air, and then shook a little as his life fell away from him, as did the pain in her body. The guilt Misty felt at this moment was overwhelming, and her whole body cried out.

She wanted to go there; she wanted to visit Astavia herself; she wanted to show them what it felt like. Though it was true, she had left something very valuable hidden away within the city, she decided not to go. Not now. She would send her forces with those who'd already left... What was left of them anyway, but she would stay here. Here is where her home is, and here is where she was needed, and let the city revel in what it had done, for...

Revenge, and hatred are the acids that will carode even the purest of hearts.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2003 12:37 am
by Shadowwander

The night had come, the skies were filled with fires upon the lands of Darden and Isonia. This war was a vicious war, that all will remember for eons. The scribes had begun to quill the tells of death and destruction. Heroes and villains. Honor was the banner of all on both sides.

ShadowWander stood a top the mountain, near the great opening of a cavern. He watched as the ground seem to move like a wave upon the seas. But it was no wave, it was the hordes unleashed upon the lands once again. The darkling hordes were known to those of the guild Sanctum Officium. At one time they moved to the symphony of Darden. Some still sing the hymns of the song of destruction.

But this time they moved under another banner. Marching upon the lands of Darden. But we march wearily. I know the power of the guilds of Darden. I have great respect for them. The demon with in him. Sung the songs still in his study. This time he was interested not in land nor treasures or slaves. But the magic and knowledge that the guilds held of his brethren. The demon realms.

Sanctum Officium was well known for their demon powers. As well he had heard the same for the guild Renegades of Despair. This shall be most interesting. The gates of hell themselves are opening for this war. All shall feel the tremble of the heavens and the abyssal realms. For that I can not wait, to see the carnage and the cruelty to be unleashed. The suffering shall be a play of pain and pleasure.

So I call upon all with in this war, let us make the worlds tremble, let us make children cry and the weak tremble. Let us unleash the dogs of war, and the hounds of hell upon all lands, so they may tremble.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2003 2:44 am
by fosphora
"OW!" A stone thudded off Fosphora's human liason. While he glared off in the direction of the little birdie who had dropped it on his head, Fos picked the rock up and turned it between her paws.

Bad idea. The words were chalked pale white on slate gray.

"Hum. Evidently we got somebody's attention. Maybe it was that war declaration...they don't sound too enthused about our attentions." Fos smiled. Well, it was sort of a smile, the nubash hadn't quite mastered the art of smiling. The effect was something like a dark hole opening up in her already black face to expose a series of even darker grinding ridges, not exactly the most reassuring sight up close. Using a claw she scratched words onto the rock, then heaved it up over the castle's wall.

A faint but definite "OW!" rewarded her efforts and her liason appeared somewhat mollified, although he still continued to rub the lump on his head. This lasted only until Fos unceremoniously shoved him out of the way. A good sized boulder landed where the two had been standing, another message scrawled across it.

not really but they happen and that was annoying last night :p

"Yup, they do seem to be a wee bit annoyed."

"What did you write'm?" The liason asked, irritated. His forearm was sporting a large red area where it had met with one of many rocks strewn about the landscape. He was def going have beautiful purple bruise to show off in a few hours. "And do you really have to bait them?"

"What?! All I said was something about there being few good ideas when it came to war. Besides, it wasn't as annoying as his friends burning our temples down two nights in a row. Actually, picking on his little kingdom was quite fun. Hmph!" And the droben scratched words to that effect onto the boulder, had a few men load it into the one catapult they had constructed, and sent it hurtling back over the castle wall.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2003 6:58 am
by Lyssia
They waited within sight of the city but far enough away that no attack could reach them. What did those within the city think that the riders were waiting there for? Perhaps they thought that there was some wicked purpose behind the small group of riders? Perhaps they thougth that they were, that they could be ignored. But already one section of their city knew better, one had already felt how dangerous the handful of determined Himmetian boys could be. Even though their red desert homeland had been hurt badly the will of its people had not been broken, indeed if anything the attacks had only made it stronger. But that was always the way of the Dardenite people, pain did not break them, it only made them stronger, more willing to give up their lives in the service of their God. And it didn't matter to them how many times they had to teach that fact to those who followed Isonia or Foret, teach it they would, over and over, painting the words of their lessons in the lifeblood of their enemies.

When Lyssia had first sheltered in the lands of Culaearien it had shocked her to see how willing, almost eager its people were to throw themselves into battle. They did not seem to care whether they were wounded or killed, gladly sacrificing themselves if it bought further glory and heathen souls to their Lord of Sorrows. She had seen them kill themselves rather than be captured, throwing themselves upon the swords of their foes even as they themselves lashed out with their last dying breath. There was no reasoning with the people of the red desert, their beliefs were set in stone and could not be altered. The Sidhe had seen rampaging enemies try to convert them, offering to spare the tribesmen's lives or family if they would only accept the word of one of the other Gods. She had also seen how the tribespeople had reacted to such offers, cutting down the soldiers between the preacher and themselves before finally showing the heathen priest the secrets of Darden's worship in the desert...a long, slow death awaited such preachers.

The desert folk did not convert, they would die before ever bending knee to Foret or Isonia.

Another approaches, the voice of the youngest boy broke into her thoughts. She looked up, expecting him to be pointing towards the city, expecting to see some force from Tiavain coming towards them to investigate exactly what they were doing. But he was not looking towards the city, instead he gestured quickly in the other direction, his eyes shining as though he had just been blessed with seeing a vision of Darden Himself. It's the Torturer himself, come to tear down Tiavain's walls and put the heathen mages to the sword. The awe in the boy's voice almost made the sorceress laugh, she could see and hear how he idolised the demon that was headed towards them. Lyssia knew well how highly the desert people thought of Maledict, how they looked upon him as the one who would lead them to do Darden's will. Their view of Maledict was very different to her own.

She looked coldly towards the demon as he reached their position, trying to hide her hatred of him behind heavily-lidded eyes. It would not do for the Himmetian to see her true feelings for Maledict, if they saw how much she despised him the rumour of that rift would quickly spread to all the four tribes of the desert. Besides she had ensured that she had reached the city first in order to breed trust between herself and the rest of the Officium, not to lose the trust that she had within the red desert. She had one and she wanted the other, and it was not so difficult for the sorceress to look upon the isle as a chess board and see all the pieces of her plan coming together. As of late things had begun to go her way, slowly of course, so very slowly so as not to raise suspiscion. Her pieces were moving into place, setting the trap that would eventually strike out at all those she hated and blamed for what had happened to her over the ages. When the time came they would all suffer, the Foretian, the Isonians, even Maledict, no, especially Maledict.

Lyssia listened to Maledict speak, not answering just listening. Oh what she would have given to know his thoughts, to know what he had thought when he had seen her. She would have given a great deal to worm her way into his mind and know what had passed through his mind when he had set eyes upon her. But such a gift was beyond her powers and she knew too well the meaning of the phrase "Be careful what you wish for". Indeed from the demon's actions she imagined that soon enough those of Tiavain would know that phrase all too well themselves. They wanted the demon? How very amusing, truly they did not know the fire with which they were playing, and it was a fire that would burn them badly.

What did they want with the demon though? Now there was a question, though not as much of one as the one she had earlier spoken to the man in Tiavain. She wondered if he had made it to Astavia and given the so-called white mage the sorceress's 'gift'. Of course it was entirely possible that the man had died on his way, falling foul of the city's defenders as they saw a man racing towards them, his face a fearful sight, blood stainging his clothes and features. It wouldn't have been too much of a leap of the imagination for them to mistake him for one of the fanatics and struck him down before he ever had a chance to pass on the words that Lyssia had given him. It was of no consequence of course, she would just make sure that there were others within the city who were given her 'gift' for Astavia. It would amuse the Sidhe just as much if Astavia never recieved her 'gift' and instead it just spread among the ordinary citizens of the city. She oculd imagine it well, each one whispering to the other "What is the meaning of the Sidhe's words? Why did she question the worth of Istar Dovanucci's word?" Yes that would be enough for Lyssia, and the answer was one that she would freely give, a secret that she would gladly share if any asked her.

She looked towards the young Himmetian riders, Wait here, it will not be long before others arrive from the desert. Silus will soon send those he can spare from the defenses and I would think that our new allies from beneath the sands will be eager to taste their first blood of the age. Join with whichever forces appear and take your orders from their commander, I know that you will fight bravely for the sake of your homelands. They boys looked a little confused, not realising at first that the sorceress meant to follow Maledict into the city. It amused her to think that what the city had wanted they were about to get, but it amused her more to know that they had no idea of what they were really getting. The Torturer was no gentle lamb, easily cowed, easily tamed, no he was a force unto himself, one that could threaten to rip the very foundations of the city apart. Yes this was certainly something that she wanted to see for herself.

We will fight in the Lord's name, One of the slightly older boys said, unsheathing his blade and catching the early dawn's light upon the metal surface. We'll take many into death with us, and each heathen that we release from their prison of tainted flesh will be a gift to Darden. A gift so that He might deliver the Vison-Seeker Ebony back to us. Ebony, poor blind Ebony, the human had fallen into a death-like sleep when the Sanctum's banner had fallen and her son had disappeared. Now both had returned with a fury in their hearts but still Ebony slept on, her soul wandering the ethereal winds, unable or unwilling to return to its flesh.

The sorcer gave no reply to the boy's words, instead nudging her horse forward to follow in the footsteps of the demon. As she looked towards the city she smiled, Oh yes Tiavain, you should be so very careful of what you wish for...because you might just get it.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2003 11:07 pm
by Valor
The people of the City were sure to slash out at him with their magick. He prefered the tangible blood that he could watch seep from the wounds of his victims. Magick was abstract, it depended on a mental connection. He disdained the use of it against the unfortunate ones that crossed his path. Personally, he avoided use of it altogether, but rather instructed his arcane adepts to summon leagues of the viscous animals.

He felt himself slipping deeper into the lust, the lust to feel the blood of those who threatened the livelihood of his followers, his minions, of him. He wanted to reach out across the lands and pluck each ones heart from their body, he wanted to pile then in a central spire and watch as the musk of burnt bodily organs stank across the lands. Purifying it from the taint that had spread when the people of the city set eyes on it.

He fought back the rage, and anguish of lost loved ones, of lost lovers, and lost friends. He fought back the desire to sweep out of his chambers, gather his sword and steed, and decapitate any who approach his citizen's gate. Some say it will be his downfall, his weakspot. He loved his people like he loved his children. Advisors told him it was unhealthy, but he didn't care, they were his children, they relied on him to protect them, they relied on him to ensure they had enough food, they relied on him to provide them with the surplus to afford a small shelter.

The assembled heathens appeared through the evening sunset, their shadows replacing parts of the dying sun. He grabbed a quill and scroll and etched in calligraphy.

Carefully, he rolled it up and placed the seal of the Officium upon the end. Stepping outside his chamber he turned for the young man incharge of barricade defense. Send this scroll to the enemy commander, don't hit him though, just close enough so he knows its for him. Let your best man do it.

The advisor nodded and bustled out of the adjacent room. Silently, Valor retreated to his chambers, just in time for the first streaks of lightning to bless his outlying fortifications.

I received the note in my scribe...

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2003 12:21 am
by Kain_Dragonhand

Kain read off of a scroll handed to him with the seal of Sanctum Officium. Fetch me the one who brought this here. He ordered one of the pages present. He quickly penned out a message.

As you read this note the furry of Isonia's power will be striking you down. Good luck, I shall see you on the battlefield.

The one was brought forth, Take this to your commander, tell him I look forward to seeing what he can do. Kain tossed the scroll to the man who brought it. Then motioned for him to leave, and he did so, rapidly.

Kain looked to the page, thank you, now go to my advisor and tell him to prepare the godesses temples. Kain then left to assemble his troops. The elven force prepared itself to march upon the foe, as massive lances of lightning jolted out across the horizon. The night sky was awake with flames as the war raged on. [/quote]

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2003 1:37 am
by TheMonster
[ooc: thoughts orange speech red]

Monster had the delight of attacking the realms of Isonia spilling the blood of her people. Any opportunity to harvest fresh dead bodies for his own meals indeed brought great delight to Monster. He had laid siege to two realms now both times accomplishing what he was sent out to do, kill as many in as short a period as possible and regroup at home. The warriors of Tiavin were sure to soon show up at Monster's doorstep knocking and looking for a fight.

It had been two nights both nights where we had made war on other lands in the morning that he sat waiting this attack that had not come. Instead he found his buildings becoming large bonfires and no matter how hard he tried Monster and his men could not stop this from happening. Then the third day all he could see was fireballs and lightning blasts flying overhead and pummeling even more of his realm.

Why do they not attack! This is cowardly fighting a war from afar and in the shadows not even face to face. The status of my army had not changed much over the days. I am still heavily forted for offense, but I would still rather lose in a battle then in the dark like I am now!

The Army had been waiting all day and finally Monster's wish came true. The warriors of Tiavin decided to show themselves, and by this point Monster's defense was weaker then it had ever been for a portion of his troops were out aiding his allies.

The banners were a happy site for Monster. A smiled crossed his face as he ordered his troops to ready and line up in formation. They stood there on the outskirts of their lands staring the enemy down. Their numbers greater on this day, but to Monster and his men that meant nothing.

The orders for the enemy to charge were heard across the field with a horn blast. Only a minute later did Monster signal for his charge to begin. He fought like the beast he was swinging his large axe at every enemy withing reach. Every swing no matter how careless looking served a purpose eiter to kill or throw off guard. Looking around Monster noticed too many of his men were falling by his side.

Fall back slowly. Bring our ranks closer together so we have a better chance to defend ourselves.

The battle only lasted for about another hour. It seemed his enemy had taken what they came for and were ready to leave. A taste of his own medicine but the experience was very educating. Next time he would be better prepared for something of the sorts.

The war is not over my time to slaughter is still to come

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2003 1:17 pm
by Astavia Dovanucci
The gate was drawn open and a lone figure bearing a white staff in one hand emerged. It was Astavia, herself, which was not immediately apparent to those who waited just beyond the reach of the archers upon the walls. Beside her, something, it was not clear what yet, floated in mid air. It was transported by an Unseen Servant.

The plot to capture three of the most powerful Dardenites was progressing well. The armies of The Sanctum Officium and The Renegades of Despair had been engaged by Tiavain's own, creating a cover for their plan. Under the cloak of the chaos of war, three were to be taken alive and brought to the city. The war was a ruse.

That Maledict, himself had come to Tiavain, Astavia considered a lucky turn of events. She knew what had transpired against his armies and understood why he had come. His armies had been broken and the armies from Tiavain had pressed forward determined to capture the Torturer alive. The Torturer's pride and position would not allow him to be captured, for to do so would be to admit defeat. It would be far wiser and more inspirational to his followers for him to take the initiative and walk into the lion's den, so to speak.

Astavia could see the mounted form of The Sorceress Lyssia. She did not believe that Lyssia was aware of Tiavain's plans for her, but she soon would be. Astavia had received Lyssia's 'gift'. It had brought a wry smile to her lips beneath her veil. Astavia, in return, had a gift for The Sorceress, one which matched what had been given to her. Time would tell, whose word was good and whose was not.

It was risky, walking out to meet Maledict alone, with Lyssia and her band behind him, but the risks were worth taking. Astavia had no need for armies.

She stopped some twenty feet away from Maledict. Any eyes could now see that it was a large crystalline hourglass set within a framework of wood and bone, which floated in mid air in the hands of the magicked servant. It was about one foot high, the lower half of it filled with golden sand.

"Greetings Maledict.", she called across the distance. With a sudden movement, she plunged her staff into the sand, so it stood freely in front of her. In her other hand, she bore a golden box, which she now opened, taking somthing from it which she held outstretched towards The Torturer. She started to chant, spilling the contents of the box, sand, onto the sand of the desert.

Instantly, as the grains of sand hit the ground, they rose again, joined by those of the desert floor, creating a swirling storm which grew greater and greater rising and moving in time with the increasing speed and pitch of Astavia's voice. The sands rose up and whorled out to swirl around Maledict, trapping him within their whirling wall, growing denser and denser until he was lost from view. Then they began to move, stretching and forming into the likeness of a tornado; the thin end stretching, reaching until the tip of it was upon the hour glass, the rest still about the place where Maledict stood. With a great suction, the glass started to pull the tornado of sand within.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 6:47 am
by Maledict
The demon arched a brow as the woman walked out of the city and stood before him. A grin crept across thin lips and he bowed mockingly at her greeting, then as he looked up at her again he saw the sands coming for him. Maledict crouched down on his haunches as the sands created a tornado around him, of which he was in the eye, a peaceful place that belied the fury that wrapped and twirled it's way up to the skies.

This is it, Dovanucci? He tossed his head back and laughed a coarse and grating laugh. You send sand to destroy me? The tornado increased in momentum and The Torturer could feel it begin to pull him toward the hourglass that Astavia had held. Foolish girl. Pain began to wrack his body, and he knew what was coming. Long fingers of agony curled around every muscle and every fibre and he let out a long drawn out cry of pleasure as his body was torn away from him and thrust forth into the glass whilst the true Maledict, the essence that was demon had been left behind by the now calmed fury of sand. His body may not have been able to resist such magick, but his true form could.

A viscous pool of oily black was all that remained upon the ground. To the casual observer this would seem like nothing of real importance. To those who knew Maledict this would be recognised as his purest form, true darkness, true evil, true demon. What Sacris had said Maledict once was didn't matter anymore, all that mattered was what he presently was, and nobody could deny that the present Torturer was all demon.

The viscous pool shimmered and moved, choosing it's intended target before making itself known to Astavia. Let her think she had him trapped in her hourglass, let her revel in her victory. A host had been chosen, one of the archers that stood atop the city wall would be perfect. In the blink of an eye a thin stream of the fluid arced across the sky and into the left ear of the archer until all the fluid had left the ground.

Black tendril wrapped themselves aroun the insides of the archer, flooding into his muscles and heart. His eyes became stygian black and he crouched down in pain as The Torturer took control of him, pushing the soul deep down into the darkest recesses of the mind. One of the two archers that stood beside the now host body of Maledict leaned over to see if his friend was okay whilst the other one wore the look of a frightened rabbit and wondered if what he'd just seen had really happened.

Hey, Sarton, you alright there?

Maledict pulled an arrow from the quiver on his back and pounced to his feet. In a flurry of motion he grabbed the caring archer by the hand and twisted his arm tightly around his back, the demon then reached around with the arrow and placed the tip of it into the fleshy part beneath the man's chin. Do you know what you just did? He yelled down to Astavia.

Before she had the chance to reply he plunged the arrow into the caring archer with such power that it ripped right through the man's head before finally cracking skull and forcing it's way out of the top of his head. The Torturer grabbed the now dead body by the scruff of the neck and allowed it to dangle like a puppet in his grip, all the time he was smiling down at Astavia.

I have many names, Dovanucci. He snarled. One of them is Shape-Stealer. Perhaps now you know how I inherited such a name. The shape's that he stole did fight back eventually, and the fight usually resulted in their faces and bodies twisting beyond all recognition. Do you know the sacrifices she made to stop me from doing this to innocents? Maledict let the body that he was holding drop awkwardly from the wall, grinning maliciously as it hit the ground with a thud. He then pointed to Lyssia. All her hard work gone to waste.

The other archer that had been stood beside him shook visibly and a damp patch appeared in his britches as he tried to take in what was going on. Fear was such an ugly emotion and Maledict enjoyed watching it's effect on people. Well now, this is a situation, isn't it? He reached out and grabbed the archer that had soiled himself and pulled him close, wrapping his fingers tightly around the man's throat. Although the archer tried to speak, or rather, tried to beg for his life, no words came out, only a low keening noise akin to an injured dog.

Shall I kill more of your people? He then turned to look down into the city. Shall I steal more shapes and let each one kill another until there are none left? Eyes narrowed and his gaze flitted between Lyssia and Astavia. He couldn't help wondering how the Sidhe Witch was taking all of this. The bond of blood between them was finally broken, without his rightful body there was no blood and he hadn't once used the arcane powers inherited from her.

The body that you just thieved from me was a gift from an old friend. He mentioned. It is the only vessel that can retain it's original shape when my darkness floods through it. Bodies already inhabited by a soul cannot. I doubt that you would wish to see what happens to them eventually, it really isn't palletable.

Fingers squeezed tighter around the throat of the soiled archer. Know this, Dovanucci, I am nothing that you have ever dreamt of, none of your nightmares compare to me. You should show more wisdom in what you try to capture and ask yourself if you really want to know what I am. The archer that he inhabited was already showing signs of the demon, fingernails had become talons which scraped at the throat of the one he held.

Now, realease my body before I do something you regret. A low chuckle reverberated in his throat before slipping across his lips. Or before the Sidhe Witch gets angry at having her hard work ruined. The Torturer shrugged. Whichever comes first.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 7:07 am
by Silus
Sitting atop the thick sliver of rock that juts out from beneath the red sands I watch the movements a mile or so away. It's the first time since this war began that I've had the chance to just sit and watch, it's always been "attack here" or "defend there" so far. Hurried and chaotic, the tide of the war turning this way and that as unexpectedly as any sandstorm. Again we are teaching the heathens Darden's song, again we must teach them that the Sanctum are no easy prey. They will lose far more than they ever hoped to gain through this war, I will see to that myself, these invaders shall come to understand their mistakes in striking out at us. Mother would not want it to be any other way, she would want the heathens bloodied and battered, she would want their screams to join with those of the Lord's eternal chorus. And if that is what Mother would want, then I shall make sure that it happens.

The heathen city has sent yet another army to the red sands of Culaearien, I can see them marching across the land, no more than ants from my position. Tiny black ants waving their banners, seeking to take that which is not theirs. Foolish creatures, to think that they could take the sacred lands from our grasp for long, there again they are not the first to think so. Perhaps they imagine that they can seize them from our hands and transport them back behind their pretty little walls. They do not understand, these sands were given to the tribes by the Lord Himself, though they might be taken from us by force, slowly, grain by grain, they always trickle back to us once again. No heathen can ever rule over Culaearien for long, the red sands themselves will turn against them, burying their would-be empire in the desert.

I can't make out which 'House' has sent these latest troops, not that I care, one heathen is much like another, all of them deserving only to die. Many have been sent to face the Lord's judgement and many more will follow their path to the afterlife. How I wish I could hear their cries as their unworthy souls look upon the glory that is the Lord of Sorrows, realising too late that they set themselves against Him. How I wish I could listen to their pleas for mercy and forgiveness, only to be found too blackened with sin and cast out from His light for all time. Mother has described to me what happens to those heathens sent before him, her words have given me the strength to dispatch them from this world. They have to be killed, it is the only way, those who follow the banners of purple or silver, denying His truth, have to be killed, there is no other way.

Messengers have told me that the Sidhe witch has travelled to Tiavain, seeking to take the battle to their precious walls. I don't know what to think of that turn of events, no matter what the priests say I will not trust her, I cannot trust her, not till I know the source of Mother's illness. The witch says that it wasn't her fault, but what if she is lying? What if she was behind the Foretian's who captured me? After all didn't the witch once find solace under silver banners? Yes she did and though that was a long time ago, though she may have pledged herself to Darden and the Officium, I fear that she is still tainted. I fear.

No I cannot, I cannot let such weakness pollute me, Mother always said that I did not have anything to fear. She always said that we was merely carrying out the Lord's wishes upon the isle and that there was no force that could turn us from it. But if that's true then the Lord intended Mother to fall into the strange sleep that holds her, He meant the witch to first take over and then become my advisor. An advisor? My advisor? How I can trust her? How can I trust a single word she says, a single course of action she suggests when in my mind I keep imagining how she might be responsible for Mother's condition? All I can do is keep my trust in Darden, it is the only way.

The heathens below turn back on themselves, not realising that the tracks they follow are their own. I would strike out at them with the few tribesmen that I have left to me but these ones they have sent are no threat. For the red desert is vast and the inhabited sections small, and this 'army' that Tiavain have sent are in no danger of stumbling across the homes of the tribes. The Isonians are lost, following their own tracks which they think to be ours, travelling only in endless circles, rather than coming anywhere near us. Some realms call upon deep banks of fog to confuse and trouble their enemy, we have no such need, the desert protects its own and can send the senses reeling. The heat can make many see what is not truly there, perhaps that is what has happened to these poor unfortunates. Maybe the heat has conjured for them images of cool water and undefended homes, but they are always just that little bit further away, just out of their reach, temptations leading them one way or another.

Now?, the voice asks softly. The leader of the Alcmenelian tribe waits below me, waiting to hear which way I will go on this matter. The tribe waits, the heathens travel in circles, we could wipe them out if you will only give the word, Blessed-Beast.

Yes I could have this army of Tiavain wiped out, their souls given up in offering to the Lord, their lives taken in payment for what their brethern have done. Or...No, I growl, Let them be, let them walk in circles or find their way out. They will return to their city and speak of how there was nohting to be found in the red desert, they will think that we did not know that they had turned their eyes towards us again. Have your men take a note of which 'House' this army comes from, we'll deal with it later, when they do not expect it. I run my claws over the surface of the rock, already imagining the taste of the blood of those that hold alligiance to this 'House', already hearing their screams.

I will deal with them later, for now...for now I have other plans. Plans that would make Mother so very proud of me.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 7:53 am
by Zanafien
Rested and healed, recovering spent power by draining every single person around him of all emotion, a wellspring of energy swelled within. He wondered if it had truly been mere moments since Gwidon had reported Tiavain armies had been chasing his decoys, having identified him in locations around the isle, and sometimes, even within their own encampments. The discovery that Tiavain was in the process of attempting to capture him had lead to the creation of several illusionary templates of his personage, but to find the war was but a cover for a misguided plan to obtain the persons of three people. He was one, confirmed by several of his most stalwart intelligence agents, and two others although their identities had not, so far, been assured. The lich knew this was nothing more than a reach for knowledge, having gone through that particular phase in his life, believing brute force to be the key, which would open the scholarly pursuit of ages. He had found it a fruitless path to travel, gaining only what he wanted to hear from the unwilling participates, and garnering nothing they held close to their hearts. Now, Astavia sought to travel a worn path he had once taken, but he wondered how she would obtain the knowledge she wished for so much, should he take a hand in the game.

“Lord, we have confirmation!” One of his spies interrupted his silent contemplation. “Maledict and the sorceress Lyssia are currently before the city, and they are the other two Tiavain seeks to gain.”

He raised an eyebrow slightly. “An illusion?”

“No, it is very much real.”

Sighing, he reached into his desk and pulled two small objects from within. As he stood, his hand grasps the staff as it levitated to him.

“Then I have no choice left to me. I can not allow Astavia to forcibly take knowledge, for it is not the way such things should be gained. A meeting of the minds or a discussion of different techniques, but not by holding hostages and attempting to take by torture, or other means is necessary. Perhaps I will be able to reason with her?” He stated flatly. Hefting one of the small objects to his eye, he stared at it for long moments. “If not, then she will give me no alternative than to show her things she may very well not wish to see. Perhaps it is time I created a diversion which will require Tiavain armies undivided attention, at least for some time.

He had not required the use of that particular gift in a very long time. Now, it appeared he would need to use it in order to achieve a specific goal. “Inform Gwidon of my decision on his return. He is well aaware of what to do in most situations, and I trust his judgement in all others.”

The intelligence agent nodded and watched silently as Zanafien faded from sight.


The teleportation flowed smoothly, his will gently ebbing rather than exploding when he did certain other things, which required large quantities of energy. He had concentrated on Astavia, knowing her well and scrying her before his trip to find her exact location. He was somewhat surprised to find her out on the sand, but nevertheless, went forward anyway. Even then, having seen where she was, but not having been there before, could have gone wrong and as it was, he came out of his journey a hand span from the ground. Landing quietly, he surveyed the current situation with a trained eye saying nothing, but watching and waiting while Astavia was concentrating on some sorcery she unleashed upon Maledict.

Stabbing his staff into the ground, he gathered his thoughts before speaking. “And so, Fanyare Istar Dovanucci, you seek to gain through force what you could have by negotiation, or through study?”

While speaking, he used on of those gifts he had and sent out a calling for the undead to rise, a call so powerful that it transcended faiths. The fact was, it had nothing to do with what god or goddess someone believed in, but was more of a father calling out to his sons and daughters. Naturally, some could resist but even then, it was sheer torture not to answer the summons. From the corner of his eye, he watched in fascination as the tattered remains of a Dardenite soldier exploded from the ground, and others following suite from the depths of the sands in order to do the bidding of their brother above.

“I’m afraid we cannot allow this to continue. You have brought war to my kingdom, killed my peasants, their families and my friends, all for knowledge.” He stated coldly. “I understand, I truly do, considering I did much the same thing ages ago, but the price is far to high for very little return. If you had but sent a missive asking our presence, I would have come, and I am sure these others would have taken it under consideration. Now, however, negotiations must take place between us, or the city of Tiavain will turn into the battleground you have brought to my kingdom. Even now, the forces of my undead begin to enter the city, intent on slaying all those who dwell within. Those so slain by the hands of these Van’atu shall rise and aid in the slaughter. There is one way to stop this, Astavia, and you hold the key.”

His hand rested on the staff, empowering it should she make the mistake of using magic against him and waiting patiently for her reply while keeping an eye on how Maledict was faring. Obviously, he was not too happy with the current situation, which Zanafien could understand completely.

Zanafien relaxed, not due to having other Dardenites around, but because he needed to. The constant battles lately had worn thin on him, and he had been very close to unleashing the swarm upon the city. Fortunately, he had thought that one through and decided against it, considering those could get out of control at times. Now, it was time to figure out what they needed to do to correct the current problem.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 10:10 am
by Lyssia
Even as the sand made its way towards the Torturer the sorceress could almost feel what was about to happen. It wasn't a vision of any sort, just a sensation, almost a feeling of having been here before. In a way she had, she had definitely been present the last time Maledict's body had been taken from him, taken by her hands, by her actions. But though she almost knew what was to happen, still the sorceress did not make any move to stop it or try and alter its end result. Only her horse moved, turning its head from the whirling sand and flicking its long, wild tail. The Sidhe merely watched events unfold before her, looking from the obscured form of the Torturer, to the 'white' mage of Tiavain, to the archers upon the city walls and then to her own hands. Not once did she react, seeming instead more interested in dislodging grains of sand beneath her finger-nails than moving to stop what was happening.

Had Astavia truly thought that she could capture the demon with such a device? Surely not, surely any that had truly thought to try and capture Maledict would have known better than that? If she had wished to attempt it, she would have at least researched her prey better, and Lyssia did not think that Astavia would be so foolish as to play the game that she was a part of without being fully informed. In which case something else would occur, some other play on behalf of the mage, something that the sorceress would be on her guard for. And of course, if that were not true, if the hourglass and sand were all the Tiavain woman had, well perhaps the game would grow far more interesting still. If she had been in Astavia's place then she would most certainly have had another card or more up her sleeve. There again if she had been Astavia she owuld never have tried to capture the demon; kill him? Yes, but capture? Ah well she supposed that was the way of the shorter lived races.

Unlike the demon assuming his tue form, Lyssia could not feel what else would happen, could not tell which way the sands of time would flow. That they would flow was a given, but which way they would dance was another matter entirely. Perhaps if Ebony had been able to throw off her shroud of sleep...visions of the future, no such things could not be trusted, especially not if they were, as Ebony and the tribesmen believed, a gift of Darden. The Trickster God was a devious creature, tricking follower and heathen alike, His sense of humour sometimes seeming gentle, at other times wickedly barbed.

The sorcerss did not watch as the archer was taken over by the ink-black soul of the demon, she did not need to see the repercussions of Astavia's actions. But still she could not help but wonder...did the 'white' mage realise the fate that her actions had brought upon that archer? Did she realise what would happen to the men and women of the city if Maledict chose to leap from one fleshy home to another? Somehow Lyssia doubted it. Or if she did realise...well then perhaps House Dovanucci would have been better off moving nearer the black monolith and away from the white. An interesting thought really, but not one that would help the unfortunate who had been taken over by the demon, whose flesh was slowly warping because of the new 'inhabitant'. And what of the archer's soul? It was still there, still aware, did he know what was happening to him? Did he realise that he woud more than likely meet his end because of Astavia's actions? Perhaps, she trusted that he would at least retain enough sanity to make his peace before it was too late.

And yet behind her cold, expressionless mask, there was more going on in the Sidhe's mind that simply wondering where events would take them next. There was the old familiar flicker of anger, not just towards the demon now, but also towards Astavia. The 'white' mage had no idea of the 'sacrifices', as Maledict had called them, that Lyssia had made, no idea of what she had bargained with to ensure that the Tortuer would no longer twist another's flesh, that he had flesh of his own to inhabit. And now all of that was undone, but even so the debt of Lyssia's sacrifice was not, that the Sidhe would still have to live with. The sorcerss had risked her very soul and all because some mage wished for knowledge it was all undone. One of her hands balled itself into her fist, her nails digging into the soft skin of her palm, threatening to draw blood.

It had been the final debt, the last one owed and the last one to be paid for, that had given the demon back his flesh after she attempted to kill him. She had bartered with an unknown spirit and given up some of her own blood in order to repair the damage that she had done. She had become bound to an entity that she had cared nothing for in order to make sure that Maledict would not have to taint another innocent soul with his own darkness. And now it was all for naught because some mage decided that she had to have Maledict's secrets. It was enough to make the sorceress scream, in her mind at least, at the actions, thoughts and goals of certain souls.

The appearance of Zanafien surprised Lyssia far more than Astavia's little trick or the resulting actions of the demon. His words caused her to smile a little, here at least was one who understood that knowledge could not be taken by force as a soldier might take land or a thief gold. Knowledge was a cruel and demanding mistress, one that required study and hard work from her disciples, not brute force. Perhaps it was only with time that a soul came to understand such things, perhaps the lives of certain races burned too brightly and too fast for them to ever come to complete understanding. Maybe no one ever truly understood, not the youngest or the oldest of races, perhaps not even the Gods lived for long enough to understand it all. Certainly no one, not even the Divine, lived for long enough to learn from all their mistakes.

It amused her to hear Zanafien tell Astavia that she should have sent a missive, asking for their presence rather than doing what she had. 'White' mage indeed to do what she had, killing thousands of innocents just because she cared to find out one thing or another. Perhaps Zanafien might have answered Astavia's message and spoken to her of what she wished to know. Somehow Lyssia doubted that Maledict would have done so, though the thought of the white mage and the demon sitting down and discussing matters over a cup of tea did amuse her. And as for her? Once in the previous age she had come to Tiavain, seeking out some possible cure for the ailment that that struck down Ebony. If Astavia had asked her of magic and similar matters then perhaps the sorceress might well have answered her and been glad to do so. But matters had changed since then, the sorceress had changed since then, fire and fury at wrongs done changing her, reminding her if another time and another place.

But still the sorceress did not react, still she did not call upon the Art to protect her or strike out against the one who had quite clearly marked herself as an enemy. No instead Lyssia continued to sit upon her horse and merely watch what occured around her, almost as if it was no more than a play upon the stage of a theatre and she was the audience. The sorceress had not spoken a word to any of the other players in the piece, she simply watched one or the other, waiting to see what move each would make.

Finally she sighed and spoke, Enough of this game, give the demon back his flesh Istar, you gain nothing through this course of action. Unless of course your aim was to bring further pain and suffering upon the people of Tiavain?

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 10:53 am
by Neve
Never Solis felt the call to the dead. So, the fools had approached the city, as if it were unprotected. A city of mages! Such an action was not brave, it was stupid. Never put down the book he had been reading. He held out a hand and the giant form of Bathasar handed Never Bu'urzh Ongrim. Using the staff to pull himself to his feet, Never smiled a familiar smile, on which did not reach his eyes.

Darras.. The young apprentace stepped foward. I feel the restless, someone has called to them. Ready the others, you go take control of the undead, in small waves. No one can hold control of them all with several others trying to take a small portion for themselves. They will fall like drops of water from a glass with a small hole. Soon, there will be nothing left of his hoard. And do take some of that... Blessed water we liberated from our dear priests of Isonia. If you cannot gain control, then make sure they do not walk any longer.

Never himself was heading for the trouble at the walls. A small, unseen deamon had brought word of the events. Deamons and sorceresses, at the gates of my city, Never thought. Unacceptable. The tunnels would take them to the front in little time. Little time at all...

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 11:14 am
by Demetria
She'd watched Tiavain's troops as they had exited the pass, giggling softly as Maledict and his troops easily cut the soldiers down. She never tired of watching heathens decimated. Watching her mate lead in their destruction was a sight to relish. Of course, it was seldom that the enemy would keep pouring through the pass without attempting to retreat when faced with such odds. She could hear faintly that one of their generals was screaming somthing to his troops. She was too far away to hear what was said however, so it came as a bit of a shock when Maledict turned, leaving his men to fight while he disappeared. Frowning, she'd left her vantage point to go find her band of thieves.

Within minutes of reaching the heart of the war activities, she'd learned all she needed to know. Tiavain had set out to capture the Torturer. Maledict in his usual way had decided to meet them on his own terms to show them their folly. She couldn't help but grin at the thought of what he would do to them for their arrogance. If he was going to meet them on their own turf, the least she could do was to take the battlefield to their encampment. Motioning to the small group of cutthroats and spies she'd gathered to herself, they silently made their own way out of the city and toward the enemy.

It had been a long night. She was often overlooked because she kept to the shadows. She kept to the shadows this night as well. They never knew who was there. By the time she was through, the enemy was sorely lacking in means to worship their bitch- and she'd had one of their sorcerers in her grasp. That was when the real fun began.

The Torturer had come by nis name deservedly and Demetria had learned at his hand the methods to make one talk without allowing the victim to die. She couldn't claim that she was an expert as Maledict himself was, but she felt some sense of pride as she looked down at her work- what was once a strong, arrogant sorcerer was now a blubbering mass of ooze. Ooze was the only term that could fit, since there was not a piece of skin left intact or an orifice that wasn't leaking blood, mucus or some other bodily fluid. Yet the wretched creature still lived, and now babbled different rites to her that he had used to wreak his magics on the Dardenites.

Demetria hadn't a clue as to what the incantations meant or would cause. She hadn't asked the man that. She didn't really care. All she wanted was the spells themselves, so that she could use them against those who dared to come against her own. She was able to use them after all. Hadn't the journal she'd read, stated (in her birth mother's own handwriting) that she came from a lineage of sorcerer's? Hadn't it said that the ability to wield magic was in her blood? She'd not told anyone of her newfound ability. She hadn't quite known how to bring it up. But now seemed like the perfect opportunity to test herself and see if the journal spoke true.

Again, taking her small band of thieves, she'd made her way to the city of Tiavain. In the distance she could make out the gathering that was Maledict...and a few others. She didn't bother herself with wondering who the others were, just yet. Instead she deliberately went around to the other direction, so she would be on the opposite side of the city. Then she began her work.

Standing on the edge of the city she began to unleash her magic on the heathens. Fire was her chosen element and the fire rained down in torrents on their unsuspecting heads. She could see the archers that lined the city walls as the flames engulfed them. Their screams of shock and agony. What she did not see was their charred remains. It was very odd. Motioning to two of her thieves, she sent the men to drag back one of the archers who had fallen from the wall after her fires had engulfed him. Her eyes widened as she looked at what she'd wrought.

Instead of blistered and burned skin and bone- there was deformity. The man's skin had been affected- but it had shifted on his body, giving his body the appearance of a melted candle. His face sagged and drooped, the folds of flesh falling over his eyes and mouth, then melding together in a macabre mask of what the man had once looked like. His hair grew in tufts on a mostly baldened head- but the tufts there grew course and stuck up like the bristly coat of a wild boar. The mans hands had been forged into mis-shapen claws, the bone curling around toward itself and the joints fusing together. One of his legs had grown to an unnatural length while the other had atrophied, the foot drawing in on itself to form a "club" with tiny toes. He was in short, a work of garrish, brutal art. And she had somehow caused it. Her fires, had not acted as fire at all, but had been corrupted into something else entirely.

What an interesting turn of events. Her soft giggle, slowly grew until it was a high pitched cackle that carried on the wind and into the city she was tormenting. She unleashed her raw, untrained abilities at them, letting her power speak for itself.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 11:54 am
by Aranor
ooc This was posted with permission and will be edited only if Murdock wants anything added or deleted.

He smiled this war was being hard fought. By the rumblings of his men it had been rumored that they were close to capturing one of the three. They had been fighting against his men and were going to have to continue a fight to capture. He had not thought much of anything he had his secrets untold to most of Tiavain as another way to take care of things. He smiled the spells he had worked were going to come in handy if needed at all. He grinned and set forth into the lands. He had not noticed that his troops had switched over who they were fighting. It was still a bloody battle he watched some friends fall. He had not yet felt threatened he knew some of the lands he had claimed for the city had been taken back or just destroyed. This did not anger him at all this however did make him more sure of what he needed to do. He needed to follow through with the orders. Then a word came they had found where orders had been getting given from. He sent a strong troop of men consisting of men and beasts. His orders were simple. Kill everything and bring the leader of the kingdom only alive. He was the only one that they were interested in. The men went and searched out killing those that they ran into. It was obvious who the leader was and was not. They fought with him, the battle with him was as hard as the battle to begin with. If they were taking him it was not going to be for an easy taking. Aranor spoke the words silently to Summon the Pack, a pack of wolves was now aiding in the quest to capture one. After hours of battle, and hours of planning and replanning. The word came back. The leader of this kingdom had been captued. The orders went out that the mages were to keep this one from being able to use magic, and that he was to be kept a close eye on. Since he was being held by the back of his team of warriors and mages he had not seen the one they captured.

He led them all back to Tiavain wanting to not bring attention to themselves they stopped at the keep that belonged to the house. That is when he found the grave mistake that was made. It was not one of the three that was wanted that his men had caught it was the one who had spent a short time in Tiavain, his name was something like Murdock wasn't it. He sent messengers out to let a few know of the capture and the mistake made. Not being sure what to do yet he sat there and looked at him.

It seems after escaping from here long ago it would seem this was a fitting return. Though you were not the one we were intending to capture and I am not sure if you are even worth keeping. So tell me do you like things that slither and hiss, I have some pets who would love to come and play. Oh and if something is needed let me know, I am sure you could use a drink. I would not want one to think that I was anyhting less than a gracious host.

He had dismissed most from his presence keeping only those that were needed. He shook his head as he sat there watching him.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 12:23 pm
by Shadowwander
As the war fought on the veracious was growing. He looked upon the latest kingdom that his minions had moved upon. Fire and the smell of burning flesh filled the thick air. Watching as the darklings began to do the mop up. Chasing down the ones that were to be slaves and those to be sacrifices. The wounded was no matter to him. They would feed the shadow demons.

As he watched, a small shadow servant formed from nothingness near his ear, began to whisper of the fight between Astavia and the Torturer. And another was near by. A grin curled his lips as he heard the name Lyssia. He indeed knew both these names. It was time for him to come face to face with those of his past.

As shadowWander turned he peered into the mind of the small shadow servant getting the exact image of where they were. With the image with in thoughts, ShadowWander spoke the ancient language as swirling mist of darkness was born. He stepped thru with a few of his Shadow Darklings. The shadow Darklings were a creation of his beyond the darkling hordes. But one of most interesting features.

As soon as they stepped into the mist, a drop of the sand in a hour glass. They stepped out on the sands before the city of Tiavian. His gazed turned to the figures that stood upon the sands. His eyes burned with the dark furnaces of the abyss. A grin curled his lips.

Greetings to all, seemed all were having so much fun. I had to come out and play.

His gazed darkened even more, as he watched them ready for almost anything.