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Old 06-19-2008, 04:32 AM
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Ashen Ashen is offline
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Because I have too much free time.

----------------

Prologue, Part 1 of 3

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Dragon Tavern

Ashen Talon was barely a man, even by Vokite standards, at fifteen1 years of age. He was a squire of Ajendra, just over six feet tall and with an athletic figure, owing to nearly three years of training back at Ajendra Keep.

Ashen stepped into Dragon Tavern, removing his helmet to reveal hair that was light brown in the light of the Tavern, though when it was in daylight (and when it had been properly washed) it was dark blonde. His hair was short and, because it was under a helmet all day, a tangled mess which looked surprisingly like an intentional (and shoddily done) spikey hairstyle.

"'Ello there, lad, what can I get for you?" the barkeep asked as Ashen entered the common room of the tavern.

"Nothing, I'm fine." Ashen said. It was a lie. In truth, he was broke. Squires of Ajendra, and the rest of the Vokite Empire, for that matter, were not given much of a stipend, being that the bulk of the treasury went to the constant war effort to keep the horrors of the north at bay, and Ashen had spent all of his on supplies to get him here.

"Actually," Ashen said, turning back to the barkeep, "I could use some information."

"Well, I'll do my best, lad. What do you need?" the barkeep said.

"I'm headed to Skyclaw Ridge, but the only route I know passes through the Talmean Highlands. Do you know of another?" Ashen asked.

"Why, sure, where do you think all the Mountaineers come from? Ya don't think they come through the Highlands everytime, do ya? That'd be quite a trip. The road that leads south out of town curves around south of the Highlands straight into the Ridge." the barkeep said.

Ashen nodded, but as he turned to leave, the barkeep said "Wait a bit there, laddie." Ashen turned back to the barkeep. "If ya don't know about the road to the Ridge, ya can't be a Mountaineer, an' yer not covered in skulls bones and what-not, so yer not a Deadlander...You must be a Steelie."

"A what?" Ashen asked.

"A Steelie, from up north2. From the Steel Empire." the barkeep said.

"I am Ajendran, if that is what you mean, from the Vokite Empire, yes."

"Steelies is Steelies," the barkeep responded with a grin, "We 'aven't 'eard from you folk for nearly a year now. Why don't you come down south anymore?"

"I don't know," Ashen responded truthfully, "Maybe because the northern front needs more men."

"Aye, I hope not. If you Steelies get overrun by those Ashpeak blighters, gods know that a Highland town like this place doesn't stand a chance." the barkeep responded. Ashen nodded again and left the tavern. It was barely noon, and he preferred to sleep alone under the stars as opposed to in a tavern full of foreigners, any one of whom might try to break into his room, kill him in his sleep, and steal everything he owns.3

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dragontavern.com/champions/kitsune

Talmean Highlands4
The four dark figures of Malkat and his famliy moved silently through the moonlit Highland plain. They had curved far north since leaving Bedua earlier that night. Malkat had woken up his wife, Tsai, his daughter, Kitsune, and his son, Nuo Ai. Nuo Ai was only seven years old and had been carried for the past two hours by his three older family members.

"Father," Kitsune whispered, walking next to Malkat, "How much farther to the town you said we're going to?"

Malkat looked at his daughters tired face. She was only fourteen years old, not even fully grown yet. She was thin, and short, and altogether not suited in the least to physical endeavours like this. She was perceptive and had a sharp wit, and great passion. She should be studying the arts in Talmea Proper, not fleeing from Zealots in the Highlands. At the least she should be in a Cathedral. At least she'd be safe there.

"It's not far, just about another mile. We can rest there, and you can sleep as long as you want." Malkat said, willing what he said to be true. He had no idea whether or not the town they were headed for would be safe enough to stay until dawn, just a few hours a day, let alone until noon. From there they could purchase a ride on a caravan to Dragon Tavern. They would be safe there.

"Father?" Kitsune asked.

"Yes, child?" Malkat said.

"Don't look now, but I think we're being followed." Kitsune said.

"What?" Malkat said, resisting the urge to check himself.

"Yes. What' going on, father? First we live Bedua in the middle of the night and now we're being followed. Who are they, and why are they chasing us?" Kitsune asked.

"Later, child. I will tell you everything tomorrow." Malkat said. What he didn't tell her was that he wasn't sure if they'd still be alive tomorrow, given they were still being followed by Ririsu5. Would they even be able to stop at Stonecliff if they were being pursued by that Zealot?

Malkat looked to his side again. Kitsune was no longer there. He looked behind him. Kitsune was heading straight for the half-dozen or so figures following them about three hundred feet behind. Malkat almost panicked. What was his daughter doing?

-----------

"Come, chosen of Ajen! The heretic is not far!" The small band of peasants cheered behind Ririsu. Her accusations had been poorly worded, she had no real evidence to back up her claims, but there was a famine in the area, and the local farmers had been looking for someone to take it out on. It helped that Ririsu was a beautiful woman.

The peasants were angry, now, at how long this was taking. They would not be back to Bedua until late the next day. Ririsu's job now was to keep that anger concentrated on Malkat and make sure it didn't shift to herself. She was catching up, however, and the heretic couldn't keep running long.

Suddenly, Ririsu realized that the heretic and his family had stopped moving. Perhaps they hadn't noticed their pursuers in the dark? Perhaps they had decided to give up and throw themselves at her mercy.

Something crashed through the trees and landed on top of one of the farmers behind her. Ririsu turned around to see what it was, thinking perhaps they'd been attacked by some of the foul things inhabiting the Highlands.

Whatever it was it had dropped two farmers to the ground before they could even recover from the shock of being attacked and was pummeling a third with its fists as the rest began to respond. Definitely humanoid, Ririsu realized as she pushed her way towards the fight, and short, too.

As Ririsu got to the front of the fight, she found that their assailant was none other than little Kitsune. Her nose was bleeding she seemed to be limping a bit. The girl was a good fighter for her age, but she was badly outnumbered. The real reason she was winning the fight was that she wasn't responding to the blows like the farmers were. While the farmers recoiled in pain from one of her punches or kicks, she dodged around their cudgels and shrugged off the blows they did land. She'd be in a lot of pain come round morning, but she'd win the fight.

The farmers finally backed away from Kitsune, clutching their injuries, several of which were bleeding. Kitsune had gotten her hands on an old knife one of the farmers had been using. She was still holding it, her weight shifted onto her left leg. Her right one was probably broken.

There was a pause in the battle as the farmers looked on at Kitsune, not wanting to back down from a fight with a fourteen year old girl, but also not wanting to risk getting another injury, especially not now that Kitsune had grabbed a knife. Kitsune turned in a circle, wincing in pain as her right leg, definitely broken, wrenched itself out of its proper position. She held her ground, though. Tough girl.

Ririsu looked into Kitsune's eyes, looking for a hint of weakness. She found plenty of pain, and also plenty of determination. This girl wasn't backing down. Ririsu would have to kill her. Ririsu drew her sunsteel dagger from its sheathe, pointing it towards Kitsune and smirking. "Think that rusty old knife of yours can stand up to this, heretic?"

Kitsune didn't answer. She just stared back at Ririsu and got ready for a fight. Before Ririsu could attack, however, two of the farmer from behind, ones who hadn't suffered particularly bad injuries, rushed Kitsune. She twisted herself around and slashed one of their arms near the wrist while ducking under their clumsy blows. Ririsu lunged for Kitsune, who tackled one of the farmers, getting herself out of Ririsu's reach.

Kitsune rolled to her feet painfully as Ririsu recovered her balance. Ririsu lunged again and Kitsune blocked the blow, but was knocked onto her back, her broken leg twisting up painfully beneath her. Ririsu recovered her balance again and stabbed her blade down towards Kitsune, who parried it away from her heart and into one of her arms. Ririsu stepped on Kitsune's sword arm, and prepared to plunge her sword into Kitsune's neck, when she was suddenly thrown off her feet by an explosion behind her.

Malkat stood there6. The farmers ran away, Ririsu cursing their names. She turned to face Malkat to find him ready to toss another bottle of a presumably explosive concoction at her. Ririsu ran.

Last edited by Ashen; 06-19-2008 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 06-19-2008, 04:33 AM
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Ashen Ashen is offline
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Stupid character limit.

-----------

Kitsune and her family had arrived at Stonecliff. They were staying in an inn and were replacing the bandages on Kitsune's arm. The sword had only grazed her, but the harsh Sunsteel weapon had done a lot of damage. One of her fathers elixirs was able to soothe the pain, and another was supposed to help her heal faster. Even so, they'd have to pay extra so that she could ride in the wagon of whatever caravan they hired to take them to Dragon Tavern.

"Kitsune," Malkat said, smiling as he handed her a third elixir, to counter the effects of the sunsteel, "Why must you be so brave?"

"You still haven't told me why they were after you." Kitsune said, changing the subject.

Malkat sighed. "Must you know?"

"Yes," Kitsune responded. "You said you would tell me when we arrived."

Malkat sighed again. "Very well...It wasn't anything sinister, really. It's been ignored a dozen times before, and I'm certainly not the only Alchemist who does it in the Empire. I simply conconcted a certain variety of potion that is determined to be too close to witchcraft."

"Is that even a crime?" Kitsune asked. She knew that Alchemists, being that experimentation was part of their job description, probably did this all the time without even realizing it until the potion was completed.

"Technically yes, but it is never enforced. Not unless a Zealot decides it to be worth enforcing and can find farmers hungry enough to get angry for no reason." Malkat said. The events of the past few days had greatly saddened him, and yet he also saw some hope in them. They were free of the Empire. Perhaps they could make it to the Mountain Kingdoms, to Talmea. It was not a course of action Malkat would take if he were in control of the situation, but he wasn't, and he may as well make the best of it.

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1In ancient or medieval cultures, people are considered to be grown much sooner than in modern culture, presumably because their societies are less complex and thus take less time to figure out (not to mention people seem to have been more responsible on the whole back then, as they weren't in a golden age). Thus, the Vokite Empire (Steel Empire as its known to tavern-goers), being less advanced, considers much younger people to be grown. Culturally speaking, Ashen is, for all intents and purposes, the equivalent of eighteen years old.

2There isn't a whole lot of really established canon backstory to this place, but I don't know if it's all in DM's head, just waiting to be implemented in game, or if it's just not there at all. I'm actually hoping it's the second, because if it's the first, I'll have to do a lot of ret-conning. For example, if DM already has a map, there's good odds the geography I've dreamed up is wildly inaccurate.

3Aren't you glad that this is impossible in-game?

4Known to tavern-goers as the Shattered Highlands.

5dragontavern.com/champions/ririsu

6 Who says Adults Are Useless?
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  #3  
Old 06-19-2008, 05:35 AM
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Gandolfo Gandolfo is offline
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Nice DiTLs. Short and yet descriptive.
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:07 PM
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Zaltark Zaltark is offline
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I had thought about doing this except using vanquished foes from the personal deeds tab, but I wanted to start from the beginning. And it only went back 1.5 levels of kills (like 20 or something). Still an interesting read. This is why I suggested an RP board. It so so possible for a good story to be made.
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Old 06-19-2008, 04:26 PM
Thorn Thorn is offline
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Exclamation Help!!

When i make a character it says im not logged in and it wont let me log create a character, and, when it does finally goes to the next screen i clicki click "confirm character creation" but it doesnt make the character, plz help!
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Old 06-19-2008, 04:34 PM
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Edited: Thorn posted again in Bugs. I'll post this there.
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Xel'thos he's a one man army. Not counting the Undead. His brother isn't as commanding, but he is just as undeadly!

Last edited by Zaltark; 06-19-2008 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 06-19-2008, 05:03 PM
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Unpredictable Unpredictable is offline
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nice story =p too bad im not in the story
can i b in ur next story
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Old 06-19-2008, 05:09 PM
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Rhialto Rhialto is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unpredictable View Post
nice story =p too bad im not in the story
can i b in ur next story
This is Unpredictable...
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  #9  
Old 06-19-2008, 10:39 PM
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Ashen Ashen is offline
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"Unpredictable" is not exactly a good name for a Black Seer of Vitheka. If you want to provide me with a name that wouldn't shatter willing suspension of disbelief, I'd happily add you in somewhere, and anyone else who wants a role in this story. I'll warn you in advance, though, I can't gaurantee you'll have a happy ending.

Also, the best way to get an RP board made is to prove the need for one. That's how we got our suggestions board.

Oh, and what's DiTL?

-----------

Prologue, part 2 of 3

Bedua Border Guard Headquarters

"I need someone captured for me," Ririsu told Mason. Mason was an Agent of the Bedua Border Guard. He was thin, short, and dark haired, but he had an immense reputation as one of the most effective Agents in Bedua.5 Perhaps it was because he somehow managed to inspire loyalty in people two feet taller than him and twice as thick in both senses of the word.

"A lot of people need someone kidnapped. Why am I interested in helping you in particular?" Mason asked.

"I am a Zealot of the Empire, I could have your house stormed by a mob of angry peasants and have you killed." Ririsu said.

Mason chuckled. "You mean that band of a half-dozen rag-tag peasants that were unable to defeat a fourteen-year old girl in single combat?"

"She had the advantage of surprise." Ririsu said, but she knew her bluff had been called.

"No, she was simply an amazing combatant with iron will. And your farmers were incompetent cowards. But seeing as you have nothing to offer, I'll take the job only for a special prize." Mason said.

"What do you want?" Ririsu asked.

"Kitsune," he said, "And her family. I'll get them captured and imprisoned, but I'll need them alive."

"How many?" Ririsu asked.

"All of them." Mason said.

"No, I refuse!" Ririsu exclaimed.

"Very well, I have other fugitives to pursue." Mason said.

"Wait!" Ririsu said. "The mother. Tsai. Give me her. You can keep the rest."

Mason chuckled again. "Very well. I will turn the mother over to you. The rest I keep. Now go." Ririsu turned and left. Mason had no intention of keeping his promise. He would need all of the family for the plan he'd concocted. A plan that would be far more useful to him than any amount of money a humble Zealot could produce.

-----------

Al'Victus Undercity, beneath the Skyclaws

"Grigor!"1 Noah Talon called out as he saw his Dwarven friend. Grigor was rather tall, as far as Dwarves go, being nearly four and a half feet tall. He had a long, red beard which was styled into two braids, each ornamented with semi-precious metals like bronze.

Noah2 was, himself, about average for a Human at about five and a half feet. He had brown hair which was short and, for once, tamed. His beard was much shorter than Grigor's, just an inch or two of hair sticking out from his chin. Any longer and it might be a liability in battle.

"Noah? Noah Talon, is that you?" Grigor asked in disbelief.

"Yes, it is me," Noah said to his old friend, "How many Sky Guards do you know? What're you doing in Al'Victus? I thought you were stationed in Groldar." Noah said, gesturing to the vast undercity around him. They were on a bridge that led over one of the main corridors of the Undercity, with storefronts and inns built into the walls, as well as nearly three dozen passages leading to other parts of the Undercity. The bridge was sparsely populated, but the corridor down below was thronging with merchants and residents of the Undercity. They were only a few blocks from the door that led up to Al'Victus proper.3

"I'm on leave, here to visit my wife's clan. We just stopped by my own in Stromhelm4 a few days ago. What about you? What's a Sky Guard doing underground?" Grigor asked.

"I'm on leave myself. I've been travelling around Talmea5 for about a week, seeing all the big cities." Noah remembered visiting the Talmean capitol of Negea. It had been strange standing in what was still a massive and majestic city, and looking across the Negean strait and being able to see Ravenwatch in the distance, a massive congregation of pirates and scum.

"Ach, that sounds interesting. Never been west of Al'Victus myself. But so long as we're both on leave, why don't you stay with my clan-in-law for the night?" Grigor asked. "I'm positive some real Dwarven cooking will be better than the tavern food up on the surface."

Noah laughed. "I think you're right, my friend, and I think I shall."

------------

Dragon Tavern

"Kitsune, what're you doing down here?" Malkat asked. Kitsune had come to the common room of the Dragon Tavern. It was morning, the first morning Malkat truly felt safe since he'd heard that Ririsu was coming after him and his family back in Bedua, almost a week ago. They'd be safe here. Malkat still wanted to press on to Talmea, but that would mean a dangerous journey through Skyclaw Ridge. Perhaps they could get someone to protect them. They had no money to pay for a bodyguard, however, and residents of Dragon Tavern were not known for generosity.6

"I'm fine, father," Kitsune said, smiling a little, "My legs healed. Those elixirs you made worked."

"Well, good," Malkat said, "Judging by the grimace on your face when you swallowed them, it was a hard earned recovery."

Kitsune laughed a little. It was the first time she had since they'd left Bedua. Malkat was glad to see her in good health again. Kitsune sat down at the table with the rest of her family. "Any news from Matamune?" Kitsune asked. Their older brother had left to become a Steamcrafter in Dacia a long time ago.

"It'll be at least a week before word gets to us, Kitsune. There's nothing to for now but wait." Malkat said. Kitsune nodded.

"Here, Kitsune," her raven-haired mother, Tsai said, "Have some cider," she said, offering a glass of apple cider to her. Kitsune took it gratefully and drank a sip. It was ice cold, a welcome relief as the walls of the tavern did little to keep out the summer heat.

"Hello, Malkat," a low voice came from behind them. "Have you been having a good stay at the Dragon Tavern?" Kitsune turned around to see who was speaking. He was short, thin, and overall not very intimidating. Judging by the look on her fathers face, he was a lot more dangerous than he looked.

"I sincerely hope you have," the man continued, without an ounce of sincerity in his voice, "Because it's about to end." Kitsune didn't like the sinister tone he was speaking with.

"We're well outside the borders of the Empire, sir," Malkat said, "And under the sanctions of the Dragon Tavern. You can do nothing to harm me here."

"Oh?" the man said, "I think you'll find I can." A band of about five thick goons armed with sunsteel weapons stood up from around the bar and moved to surround the table. Malkat and his family stood up and moved away from the table to a clear spot in the bar.

"Give up, Malkat. We don't want to make a mess in front of little Nuo." the man said calmly as a pair of much thinner, more athletic, and smarter looking underlings stood up from a table near the door and blocked his escape.

"Hey!" the barkeep shouted, "There's no fightin' in this Tavern or anywhere near it!"

"If Malkat has the intelligence to become a skilled alchemist I'm sure he's smart enough to surrender to a superior force," the man said, at once calm and threatening. "So what will it be, Malkat? Do I bring your family back to Bedua in binds...Or in pieces?"

A pair of Sky Guards stood up, drawing their Runesteel blades. "Step back from that family, you mooks, or we'll dice you all to pieces!" one of them threatened. The goons turned to attack the sky guards while the man jumped at Malkat, swatting a vial of acid Malkat had thrown at him aside with his Sunsteel weapon.

The man missed Malkat, but landed on Tsai, who was carrying Nuo. He stuck a small dart in Tsai's neck, who almost instantly went limp. Malkat jumped at the man in a blind fury, but he was getting older and the man was still in his prime. He threw Malkat off of him and into a table, then pulled Nuo up, putting the Sunsteel dagger to his neck.

Kitsune had been fighting the two guards at the door, and losing badly. These weren't untrained, cowardly farmers. These were professional assassins. They hadn't even drawn their blades, instead beating her halfway senseless. Suddenly the man called out "You can surrender and you'll all live, Malkat. Even her. She's just sleeping. But if you don't give up now, I'll cut his throat out."

Kitsune was so focused on her little brother she didn't even notice one of the men behind her raising a long wooden tube to his mouth and blowing one of the poisoned darts into the back of her neck. As she slumped to the ground, she wondered if what the man said was true and she was just going to sleep...Or if she was going to die.
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:39 PM
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Ashen Ashen is offline
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Once again, the character limit is annoying.

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1dragontavern.com/champions/grigor

2dragontavern.com/champions/noah-talon

3Al'Victus and Al'Drommo are lineages exclusive to the two Dwarven classes...Yet the Al'Bantaal and Al'Balvol lairs in the Shattered Highlands are abandoned Human fortresses. I have concluded that Al'Drommo and Al'Victus are Human some of your smaller Human cities with much bigger Dwarven Undercities built beneath them.

4Every location mentioned in the lineages of Dragon Tavern has been included into the world of this story, however there are also multiple locations that have been completely fabricated. Stromhelm, the Dwarven capitol Undercity, is one of them.

5I don't know about Bedua specifically, but he's 80th in the entire Empire. That's pretty respectable.

6Maybe if magical steel weapons and armor weren't so overpriced, we'd be a bit more charitable.
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