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 Satisfying expectations
Edmund Du Nord
Posted: Mar 23 2012, 05:06 PM


Duke of Fexlund
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 211
Member No.: 9
Joined: 20-April 11



A party of thirteen men rode with all the pace their tired horses could muster. They all wore armour and heavy swords fixed to their hips or saddles. Their clothes were all drab and without any family colour or crest. Their horses were all sweated and looked near exhaustion. The knights had pushed them harder and faster than it was sane to do so. But finally, after several days of travel, they reached their destination. The smell of salt on the fresh breeze, and the hot bright sun overhead were pleasant clues that they were in Keylea. The acrid smell of smoke and metallic tang of blood told them that they were in Atae. More specifically Castle Caras.
The Duke Du Nord hesitated as they rode up to the Castle. The last time he had been here was to make amends with Thanos Caras. Then it had been a sombre, but pleasant place. Now it stank of death and destruction. There was the distressed call of loose horses as the wooden stables leapt up in flame. And as the thirteen men rode forward, they had to avoid the bodies of those that had sworn to protect the castle.
"Sir?" Next the the Duke, one knight spoke warily.
The Duke grit his teeth and shook his head. They were here now, they would see this through. Edmund dismounted, allowing his faithful stallion to be loose until he called. The young Duke pulled the heavy hood of his travelling cloak up so it shadowed his face. The last thing he needed was to be recognised here.
There was the continued cry inside the castle, of pain and of victory. Drawing his sword, Edmund led his men inside. There were still fights going on, but it looked like his mother's thugs had beaten Caras' depleted knights. Edmund could only curse his friend for having left this place so unprotected. Of course, as his mother had predicted, everyone thought the ambush would be on her journey to Keylea, no one would have thought her aims lay elsewhere. Edmund shuddered and tried to hold back his disgust at the blood that was spilt in these peaceful halls.
He turned as he heard a scream, high-pitched and fearful. A man was pushing a woman against the wall, laughing at his prize. Without thinking Edmund ran his sword through the man's back (honour only comes into it when one is sure to survive), then pulled back, letting another bleeding corpse hit the floor.
At his actions, he gained the attention of some of the other fighters that were finally finished with their "work". One fellow stepped closer to him, taller than Edmund and broader in the shoulder, the sword in his hand looked as a light as a feather.
"You and your men are to stop the slaughter, and secure the castle. The women are not to be touched."
Edmund demanded, trying to direct all his anger into sounding authoritative. His eyes narrowed as the man approached close enough for blows to be struck.
"And just who do you think you are, this is my battle, in the name of a woman that you should prey you never meet." The man replied, his voice oddly soft for one so intimidatingly large.
But Edmund heard the threat of it and raised his sword just in time to deflect the man's first, testing strike. Behind him he heard his dozen knights draw their swords to defend him, but before they had a chance, the leader of the "army" paused, his eyes glancing down at the ring that was on Edmund's hand. The man quickly worked out just who this cloaked and hooded figure was in front of him.
"My apologies, sir, I didn't realise. General Pellean at your service."
Edmund hesitated, then slwoly lowered his sword when he was sure it was safe to do so. Ok, that reaction had been a little unsettling. Never had anyone bowed to his will so swiftly.
"Secure the castle, General Pellean. We are to expect company tomorrow. How many men do you have? And where are the children and Lord Solone?"
He asked, needing to know that they were safe.
"Five hundred trained warriors entered the battle, I have yet to count casualtie sir. Solone is locked in his own dungeons, we managed to catch him while he was... not at his sharpest. The kids are upstairs, in the nursery. They are unharmed, just as She ordered." General Pellean reeled off immediately.
Edmund nodded, taking it all in. This was not a good thing, not by a long way, that numerous people had to die today. Edmund could only be relieved that the Caras family had not been harmed. Yet. Edmund didn't know what to think, he could not understand how anyone could let the poisonous Duchess Rhiann escape, but how could anyone with a soul forfeit their family if they did not do so?
"Have the survivors taken away and locked up. No further harm is to come to them today. If I hear of any more of your men taking advantage of the maids, their lives shall also be forfeit."
Edmund looked down at the slug of a man that he had killed not moments ago. He could not understand how any person could be so vile. And yet what would these thugs have gotten up to had he not been sent? Was that why he was sent, that his mother distrusted their self-control?
Edmund sighed, putting the thought aside for now. His eyes fell to the woman that had been the potential victim.
"Are you ok miss?"
He asked wearily, offering her his hand to stand up again.


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Skaiyu
Posted: Mar 23 2012, 05:58 PM


Unregistered









Everything had been so sudden. No one could have possibly expected the wave of men and swords that descended upon the castle and its inhabitants. For the longest time, the days had simply passed, waves in and out and lives along with it - steady routines, relaxed airs, and a general aura of contentment. It was no wonder the castle had collapsed so quickly, in spite of the pockets of activity that were still going on.

Skaiyu hadn't seen it first hand. In fact, it was her great shame that when the first blow was struck, she was fast asleep in a rocking chair next to Christopher's bed in the nursery. The only thing she had heard was a cut-off alert, and the lingering echoes of a man's death. She'd awoken with a start and immediately jumped up to check on the young toddler, who was blessedly still asleep, before darting over to the window to see if she couldn't determine the source of her alarm. Already, the great rolling clouds of smoke from the stables could be seen curling over the ramparts, and a terrified, shrieked chorus of whinnies heralded it. The governess felt her heart rise into her throat, choking back her breath and making it hard to think. Lord Jairus had spoken of a war, and had evinced raids in her mind; she had awoken to her worst nightmare.

Her first action of any real authority had been to secure the doorway, and begin smuggling panicked nursemaids into the nursery. A couple had brought their own children, and it hadn't been long before Skaiyu had seen nearly half a dozen young faces that she didn't yet recognize. Snapping out a quick (albeit common-sense) order to hold the room, she mustered her courage to extend the range of maid-gathering a bit further. "Where's Maria?" Some shook their heads, others murmured under their breaths in despair, and Skaiyu herself - determined not to have another fiasco like the one she had witnessed with her tribe - left to retrieve the missing woman.

Seeing the chaos first hand, in the heart of the conflict, was nearly too much to bear. The young woman skirted along the walls, her skirts held fast in one fist to avoid their intrusion into the center of the hall, and attempting to avoid any notice on the part of the combatants on either side. As much as she wanted to, she couldn't do much to help those that were falling to the blades of the invaders; her condition barred as much, and there was little one, untrained woman could do against a soldier. What was she going to do, talk them to death? Bore them with history lectures until they fell asleep on the floor? Laughable, even as she ducked behind a torn and sagging tapestry at the provocation of a feminine scream.

From her vantage, she saw it happen. Maria had been grabbed, it seemed, on her way to safety and had been thrust roughly against the opposite wall from where the blonde stood hiding. Skaiyu's fingers tightened unconsciously around the worn handle of the preening knife she had grabbed last minute, a lingering reminder of her former traveling companion, and sire of her unborn child. She took several quick, calming breaths to steady herself, but no sooner than she emerged from her hiding spot, a second man stepped in and ran the first clean through. Skaiyu froze, her large brown, doe eyes widening in shock and panic, at a loss as to what would be the best thing to do next.

Maria accepted the proffered hand, pulling herself back to her feet shakily and nodding her affirmation. Everything was well - she was shaken and a little bruised, but no harm done. The young governess, in the meantime, had gathered her wits and courage to intervene, putting herself between the pair and veritably hissing and spitting like an angry cat. "The nursery, quickly!" she snapped, before turning her attention to the "gentleman" and eying him warily, her pitiful excuse of a weapon held awkwardly between them.

"What do you want?" she snarled, hesitating between retreating in the general direction of the rather large man behind her, and starting a confrontation with the not-as-large man before her.
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Edmund Du Nord
Posted: Mar 24 2012, 03:13 PM


Duke of Fexlund
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 211
Member No.: 9
Joined: 20-April 11



Edmund closed his hand around that of the stricken woman, and as he helped her to her feet his pulse raced and he had to stop himself from shaking. Maria. As in Maria Caras, once Duchess of Keylea. Shit. Edmund had known her, vaguely, as a person that had only earned his respect at court on the rare occassion of her attendance. And now she was almost the victim of being violated by one of these thugs. Edmund felt sick, and at the sight of the blooming bruises on her cheek and arm, he felt the anger rise up again, cold and hard.
But before he could curse the men or his mother for this whole disaster, another girl pushed herself between himself and Maria. Edmund only had time to blink and jump back from the unsteady knife the girl held. General Pellean moved forwards, forever a man of action, to dispatch the trouble-causer.
"The women are not to be harmed. Get on with my orders."
Edmund snapped as the man dare step within attack distance of the new blonde.
General Pellean paused, not used to being stopped, or ordered around. But he shrugged, deciding it waas better to just save face. On this occassion. "Fine, you deal with these two. But watch out, that one looks like its got a sting!"
He laughed at the "threat" of a young woman with a knife and walked away, calling out to his men to regroup.
Edmund tensed and waited for the man to leave the immediate area. He was afraid that if he moved he would lose control and kill him, or (possibly more likely) be killed.
The Duke turned his attention to the two women. His knights had drifted to encircle them, but kept their distance.
"Drop that thing and escort Lady Caras to her grandchildren."
He said wearily, having no time to play games with a little girl when there were bigger concerns. Much bigger.


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Skaiyu
Posted: Mar 25 2012, 05:05 AM


Unregistered









That's right. Lady Maria Caras, the very same. It was no small wonder that the young governess had gotten it into her head to risk a similar fate as the many around her to go track down one woman. It would strike her fancy later that she had struck out into the thick of battle to bark at the matriarch of the household, and to brandish a weapon at the Duke of Fexlund. She had stepped far beyond her smallish role in the household, and what did she have to show for it? A growing audience of invaders with weapons and armor, encircling her like vultures around a sick calf, and an exasperated brush-off. Oh sure, later when thing settled down, perhaps when she was recounting the story to her family back in the desert, she could pull a laugh out of the entire situation; for now however, it was a mix between irritation and anxiety that overcame her.

The order to spare the innocents was repeated, and truthfully, Skaiyu relaxed a bit. She hadn't heard the initial decree - her own heartbeat had been too loud at the moment - and her initial assessment of the situation settled. Life through the lens of an Aknatari's eyes allowed for far darker assumptions, and even though she had clearly witnessed the slaying of the other man, the girl wasn't about to put her trust in someone new at this point.

She felt the hairs on the back of her neck as she overheard the comment about her "sting" (which really rather made her feel ridiculous to have the reality of her situation so flippantly put), and she ventured a quick glance over her shoulder to note the dispersal of the men that had gathered. A small sigh of relief slipped past her otherwise tightly pressed lips, and while she did take the breath of space to step back and reach for Maria, she stubbornly tightened her grip around the little knife. Her pride didn't want her to flee, especially after the jibe from the General, and the frank dismissal. She wasn't some child to be underestimated! Her lips pursed in a grimace, her temper flaring for a moment as the notion to jump forward and see how many holes she could poke in him before someone stopped her, but a soft hand grasped her shoulder and urged her away. Now is the time to go.

Skaiyu's frown deepened, but her arm relaxed and the hand with the knife dropped to her side as she sidestepped away from the Duke, shooting him one last angry glare before she lead the older woman away, and towards the nursery, and though she refused to spit the words in her mind for fear they would have a poor reaction, she resolved that if she saw this man again, she'd have more to say to him than a waved dagger.

[[Nurm... I assume there are going to be others joining us in this one? Otherwise, I'll change it up a bit. biggrin.gif]]
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Edmund Du Nord
Posted: Mar 27 2012, 01:46 PM


Duke of Fexlund
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 211
Member No.: 9
Joined: 20-April 11



Edmund nodded to one section of his knights, and three of them gave shallow bows and began to shadow the blonde girl and Lady Caras. The men escorted them up a flight of stairs and to the nursery, where several of General Pellean's men were looking extremely bored, and extremely annoyed at the constant banging and shouting that came from small fists against the locked door. They looked up at the arrival of the armed men, though their eyes lingered longer on the women, especially the younger, prettier one. Damn Keylea had some fine women, no wonder the Caras' were infamous lotharios.
One of the knights, Sir Hann stepped between the prisoners and the soldiers. "General Pellean wants you to report downstairs. We are to take over watching the hostages."
The men looked suspiciously at the knights for a moment, measuring them up, but then shrugged. This was a prime opportunity to loot, none of them wanted to be stuck here on babysitting duty. They muttered their consent and picked up their swords and axes and moved off to the staircase, their voices getting loud again as they recounted their recent victory.
The knight who had spoken shook his head, disgusted at these men. If he had any choice they would kill the lot of them. But that was not their task here today, they were here to serve Duke Du Nord, and to make sure the Caras family was unharmed. Besides, one Duke and a dozen knights against a brutal army might make a romantic story of bravery, but in reality it would just end in death.
Sir Hann turned to the two women in his charge.
"Go, see to the children."
He glanced down at the blonde girl's excuse of a weapon. No knight of any worth would allow himself to be hurt by such a knife, but he wasn't about to take any risks.
"Hand it over."
He ordered, holding his hand.

Back downstairs, Edmund gathered the other nine men and they made their way through the castle, looking for the dungeons. Unfortunately none of them were well-acquainted with the layout of the castle, so they resorted to searching; also taking the opportunity to assess the behaviour of Pellean's men. Some of them were looting, and others were in a more destructive mood, but thankfully they met nothing that made Edmund draw his sword again. Those that they did meet they directed to the entrance hall to report to their General.
Eventually they found the dungeons. These were small, two small cells, one of which looked like it was used as an extra storage room. Obviously the Caras family had little use for a place like this.
The second small cell wasn't locked, but jarred shut creatively with a broken broom handle and a chair. Edmund sighed at the barbaric men in Pellean's army.
He moved forward to speak.
"Lord Caras?"
Edmund kept his voice low, and looked through the bars for any movement from the youngest Caras brother.


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Solone caras
Posted: Mar 27 2012, 03:20 PM


Landless Lord
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Group: Low Noble
Posts: 337
Member No.: 18
Joined: 27-April 11



As Solone heard the sound of bodies descending the stairs he pushed himself slowly back away from the door. He had been sitting near it, his knees to his chest and his fingers in the grate as he examined the half-cocked apparatus that was keeping him in here. A chair, mostly, and some sort of...stick. It would have been infuriating had he been of an entirely sound mind. Instead it was just curious, and a little unfortunate.

Hands behind him, palms flat to the cool stone, Solone dragged his ass along the floor until he was a leg and a half away from the door (and by the sound of it the men were about to enter), and then laid back, heaving a sigh. Splayed on the floor like so, one leg thrown out casually, the other knee bent up with the bare foot on the ground, his arms splayed coolly to his sides, Solone waited to find out who was coming to kill him. he didn't close his eyes until they were almost peering in at him.

Late this morning, Solone had awoken to a sword-point. It had been the rocky beginning to a pretty crappy day. They'd taken advantage of him fairly easy in the groggy cloud of his "I-smoked-too-much-the-night-before-and-now-I've-just-woken-up" - ness. Sort of embarrassing...And then the fuckers had brought him down here, letting him see just enough of the soldiers prowling through the estate's open halls to know that he was screwed. They hadn't told him who they were or what they'd come from - and he supposed they didn't have to - but the sound of the estate's large windows breaking and the scream of a few maids as they were cornered echoed still in his ears.

If he didn't die, Thane and Jairus were going to kill him.

Damn...he hadn't even been down here since...he was a child, he was sure. They'd played games down here, bad guys...good guys...Solone was always the bad guy so he supposed he should have been comfortable back here...but it just... Hell, why did they even have dungeons? The Caras' didn't have a ton of enemies, and those they did have...well, a dungeon wouldn't have been much use for what remained of Caras' enemies...

A voice cut through the darkness - one that was almost familiar. Ah, now he was going crazy. He didn't know anyone - any guys anyway.

"He's not here right now..." Solone answered slowly, remaining still where he lay.


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Skaiyu
Posted: Mar 27 2012, 03:45 PM


Unregistered









Meanwhile, upstairs...

Romance had nothing to do with it!

There were eyes everywhere, it was fairly obvious she was being watched as she walked, half-guiding, half being guided by the woman at her side, weaving unerringly towards the place dubbed "safe". Even if the simple common sense of the matter hadn't done the trick, Skaiyu's paranoia was more than sufficient to tell her she was being followed. That wasn't a problem, or so she wagered; once she got back to the nursery, she could bar the door from the inside, and then there really would be some sort of sanctuary. What she hadn't counted on was the growing sound of thumping as she approached the door, and the double sentry that, she was certain, had not been there before. And if that wasn't enough, the painfully blatant once-over she was getting made it all-too-obvious that modesty, in Kelyea, did not translate to less attention. The hand that wasn't still-wrapped defensively around the knife smoothed over the sides and back of the skirts of her long dress self-consciously.

It was then that one of the less-than-shadowy shadows stepped forward, clearly reasserting the order that the women were not to be touched. It was a pity such chivalry and honor was lost on the young woman as she continued to grimace her disapproval of the entire lot of them, and while Maria, who seemed more than happy to retreat into the confines presented, Skaiyu couldn't help but snarl just a little bit more at the oppressors. It didn't help that her quick exit was barred by a demanding hand.

It is perhaps important to note that, once she had received word of the ongoing war in Aknatar, she began hissing and spitting like an angry cat, and still hadn't stopped foaming at the mouth even while many of those currently residing in the sands had moved on with their lives. These were her people, her family, even if they weren't close; she wasn't about to hand over her only means of self defense, however little it was. And there, held out in front of her was an unintended offering, and she wasn't about to pass up the opportunity. Her fingers tightened firmly around the handle, and with a vicious delight she lashed out at the limb. "Never!"
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Edmund Du Nord
Posted: Mar 28 2012, 11:34 AM


Duke of Fexlund
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 211
Member No.: 9
Joined: 20-April 11



Once upon a time, when Edmund was a young man, he had witnessed the arrival of the youngest Caras at the royal castle when it was time for Solone to train as a knight. Edmund was several years older than him, and they moved in different social circles, but Solone had been a squire for a friend of Edmund's. Needless to say the young Lord Caras hadn't been particularly helpful, or punctual, or enthusiastic. It had been to everyone's amusement that the young man had been excused from squire duty.
Edmund smiled with only a little humour at Solone's answer. He hadn't changed. And if Edmund believed the rumours, he had only gotten worse, wasting his life.
But the Duke sighed, at least the Lord Caras was alive, and still in possession of some of his senses.
"Good, you're alive."
Edmund muttered, then began to pull away the chair that blocked the door. He yanked at the broom handle, but it was stuck fast. One of his knights helped him and between the two of them the wood cracked and splintered and finally came away in pieces.
Edmund straighted his cloak, making sure his hood hid his features still, then opened the cell door. He looked down at Solone, who looked incapable of moving, but Edmund kept his hand ready on his sword.
"On your feet. You come with us."
He ordered.


Sir Hann waited impatiently for the blonde to hand her weapon over. This place was making him nervous, he expected at any moment Pellean and his men to come and wipe them out - it had been strange that the General had so swiftly bowed to his Duke's command, and with so little persuasion. Something didn't seem right, and Sir Hann would not be surprised if they were currently plotting against them. Although what that rabble of an army could gain from slaughtering the Caras family, he did not know.
But back to his current concern, he just wanted the girl to give up her knife so he could shut them all in the nursery and wait for their duke to join them.
It wasn't completely surprising that the girl snapped and lashed out - after all, she had so foolishly (or was it bravely?) stepped between Maria Caras and many armed and dangerous men.
Sir Hann snatched his hand back, the blade of her knife grating against his metal gauntlet. In a flurry of movement, the other two knights stepped in, one catching her arms from behind and pinning them to her side, the other drawing his sword against any escape she might make.
Sir Hann grimaced.
"Enough. Can't you see we're trying to protect you?!"
He hissed. The last thing he needed was for the other men to come interfere.
Sir Hann reached out again, and if she remained passive, attempted to take the knife from her.


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Solone caras
Posted: Mar 28 2012, 12:42 PM


Landless Lord
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Group: Low Noble
Posts: 337
Member No.: 18
Joined: 27-April 11



The men who had come for him, he imagined the plural as it certainly did not sound like just one or even three men, were very quiet. Their armor made noises as they moved at the halls echoed the sounds of their boots – ah, how unaccustomed these halls were to boots! – but other than that, they were a lot of mutes. He wondered what this meant. Those who had come for him earlier – who had brought him down here – and been the looting, marauding sort; yelling and taunting and carrying on in what may have appeared as drunkenness but was in all likely just an adrenaline high. They had called him a hundred things he couldn’t remember and made a thousand jokes and hadn’t been able to keep their jeering laughter to themselves as he had been pulled on unsteady feet from his bed and half-marched, half-dragged down to these dungeons.

But these men, whoever these men who stood outside his door and in however vast a number, were so quiet and collected, that Solone determined that they could not possibly be of the same stock. Someone knew had shown up – either someone of a higher order who had remained far away from him during his arrest…or a new addition altogether. Had someone come to pick over the scraps of the estate? Isaiah and his brood, probably. He bet that was who was behind this. That bastard was always ogling the duke’s position here. Solone had seen it. He’d heard it.

There was a sigh, something that did not exactly make Solone want to jump to his feet in his own self-defence (as though he could move that fast or fluidly), and then the exclamation that ”Good,” he was alive. Lying there still on the floor, Solone gave a small frown and a grimace. Good? The enemy thought it was good that he was alive? Well…that was terrible.

So they wanted him for something…probably information. And how would they get that out of a dead man? Oh, but even worse, how would they get that out of a living man! Rough play in the bedroom was a note entirely different from torture at the hands of these grim reapers.

Solone slowly opened his eyes as there came the sounds of shuffling and the chair as it was scraped across the floor. There he saw two men – out of what? Ten? Were there an entire ten men standing there just outside of his cell? Come to cart him off? – pulling on the stick which had barred him in. One was one of the soldiers in their various and obvious military affects, another in a hooded cloak…undoubtedly the man who had addressed him. They were opening the door.

Any fool could see that that would have been no way of escape for Solone, particularly unarmed and especially in his state.

Devoid of an immediate course, Solone decided to just keep lying there and see what became of it.

A loud crack, almost like that of bone, coursed the echoing halls as the two men stumbled back slightly, the broken parts to the “stick” in their hands…and then, those having been carelessly thrust away, the door was opened.

Solone closed his eyes once more as the hooded figure barely stepped in the door and, hand upon hilt, gave an order…a…command…a…strong suggestion?

The Lord just lie there, unmoving - well, except to stretch his other leg out slowly. “Are you, crazy?” the Caras drawled slowly. “Did you see what they are doing upstairs?” loosely, he shook his head. “I don’t think so. At least down 'ere I know what the fuck is going on. Nothing.


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Skaiyu
Posted: Mar 28 2012, 01:19 PM


Unregistered









They were all the same. Men bearing good will and offering protection did not come bearing arms, and even if they did, they certainly weren't in positions to civilly dole out orders to generals. It was hard to be grateful for the change in demeanor between the original wave, and the smaller addendum that followed when it seemed the former was still running rampant in the halls.

Skaiyu cursed the invention of metal armor, cursed the weather that permitted it, and cursed the good sense that brought the two together in her current situation. Naturally she didn't have the luck to find a chink or seam, nor the dexterity nor forethought to attempt the same consciously. Her next thought was to see just how much "oomph" she could muster with her air magic, and as she was apprehended, she could feel the rage that would bolster her meager talent into something useful building up in her lungs. Words from her first day on the premises leaked back into her memory, however, of limited powers of protection, and she fought back the instinct and urge to throw the man in front of her against the far wall.

All the same, her knuckles grew white around the grip. She didn't have control over her arms - there was no way she was going to be able to overpower the man that now held her - but she still refused to relinquish her only weapon. Protection? They were trying to protect them? The governess spat at the words, and at the man who spoke them, and as Sir Hann approached to retrieve the weapon, she retaliated with kicks, aimed for shins, groins, insteps... anything she could reach with either of her feet, in spite of the metal bruising her feet through the thin slippers she was wearing, telling herself sooner or later, she had to find something that wasn't protected by metal!

The children that hadn't been crying before had begun by now, and those who were already weepy struck up a right wail. A few shouted angrily, interspersed insults (from the older children and women) and commands to "release our Skaiyu!" All of which, naturally, only encouraged the young woman to struggle more, renewing her determination to hit something sensitive and now working to get her elbows involved in on the action.
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Edmund Du Nord
Posted: Apr 2 2012, 03:50 PM


Duke of Fexlund
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 211
Member No.: 9
Joined: 20-April 11



Edmund personally wanted nothing from this man. There was no information or temptation to bring torture into the equation. The only ones the Duke wanted to hurt, to kill, were the brutes that had overrun this haven. But he could not. He had not the strength of arms or reputation to overturn orders from the Black Widow, all he could do was temper the damage.
Edmund stood silently as he waited for Solone to do as instructed. But of course, nothing ever happened easily. Ugh, was this why his mother revelled in being an amoral bitch, you cut through the crap of individual choice and twisted their arm to obey you. It was almost tempting. Edmund's hand drifted to rest naturally on his sword as he looked down at the Lord who still insisted on laying flat out on the floor. He frowned, wondering whether Solone had been drugged to keep him quiet... or was this his usual state? It seemed quite improper to ask, so he bit his tongue on the point.
"The damage is unfortunate, but necessary."
Edmund said coldly. As much as he cursed his devil of a mother with every name under the sun, he had to admit that - after he got past the pure disgust - he was slightly (only very slightly) impressed. Everyone had been so worried about protecting her and defending her against her own forces on the roads; no one could have dreamt that the evil bitch would have done something so diabolical as to launch an outright attack on one of the four main families of Tetel'ac.
Edmund frowned at the young Lord's refusal. Fine, the hard way. He nodded to his men and stood aside.
"Aid Lord Caras to his feet, and escort him upstairs."
At his word, several of the nights squeezed through the door into the small cell, to pull at the dead weights of Solone's arms, to gracelessly lift him if he was not going to do it under his own steam.
Edmund sighed, the sooner he got Solone into the nursey with the rest of his family the better. He'd rather just have one room to watch.
Once they had their captive, they made their way back upstairs. Edmund and his knights came across teams of six men every now and then, that looked him over once, then moved aside. Obviously Pellean was setting up watches, and had warned his men that a member of the Black Court was in the castle. Edmund didn't know whether that pleased him or made him even more unsettled.

Sir Hann was worried about the girl in front of him. Either she was a senseless blonde, daring to run out in front of so many soldiers, and then persist with defending herself against those that would help her; or there was something she knew that he didn't. Oh, Sir Hann had seen bravery in women before, but it tended to be from peasants and common folk, that would stand before raiders and armed warriors to defend their livelihood and what they held dear. But rarely had he seen it when on duty around noble houses, they just didn't have the same strength of unity.
His frown deepened as the girl seemed to almost shimmer with energy... but no, that could not be right, it was likely just a mix of fatigue and adrenaline making him see things.
But he definately saw her twist in his comrade's arms and lash out with her legs. He muffled a curse as she bashed her delicate feet against the metal casing of his legs. And he turned in time to defend something softer. Damn this girl, would she have to have every limb pinned to settle her?!
He muttered to himself, his head pounding at the long journey, now compounded by the high-pitched cries of little brats. He nodded to the door.
"Get that." He ordered the third man, who kept his sword still trained on Skaiyu, but moved round to close the door and lock it against those inside, who's cries were dulled, but not entirely deadened by the thick wood.
"Let her go." Sir Hann instructed. His friends exchanged a look, but complied, letting the blonde loose.
The three knights moved between Skaiyu and her only access point to the nursery.
"If you insist, go save yourself, you selfish woman. Go, you're free. Go try your luck against five hundred of General Pellean's men, and see if all of them will abide by our Lord's command."
Sir Hann tried to reason with her again.
"Or hand over your knife and join the other women and children, knowing that we are here to protect you."


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Solone caras
Posted: Apr 11 2012, 05:33 PM


Landless Lord
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Group: Low Noble
Posts: 337
Member No.: 18
Joined: 27-April 11



As it turned out, this crew was not going to let him lie about either. Up then down then up again, these soldiers couldn't make up their bloody minds where they wanted him t be. His bedroom hadn't been good enough, obviously, and so even Solone had finally settled in the dungeon - and now look! - they were going to drag him back upstairs.

Solone's eyes flashed open as the guards came in and took an aggressive hold of his arm on either side of his elbow. Was that it then? they were going to haul him to his feet? And what then, carry him up the stairs? It crossed Solone's mind to play dead and let them endure the entire brunt of his limp weight, but the Caras pride light like a spark in him and he knew that he could not take such treatment.

"'ey, 'ey! 'ey!! I got it!" he protested as he drew up his legs beneath him and pushed himself to height, standing taller now than all of the men around him. He frowned, looking over his shoulder for the hooded man as they held still to his arms. It was hard t get a look at the fellow as he kept walking behind, but Solone tugged his arms at his captors in a half-hearted, yet aggressive way, hoping they'd let him walk untethered. After all, he would be good and he was really in no condition to be making any escapes anyway.

They marched down the halls and between attempts to catch the hooded man's face and get a better glimpse at the soldiers on patrol in his house...well, between those he looked around the house itself. The servants were more than scarce. Where soldiers didn't walk there was simply nothing. Whether that was because they had been killed or quarantined Solone wasn't sure...but he was almost certain that they hadn't escaped. Oh no. If these men were anything worth their salt they wouldn't have let anyone leave the grounds...

In their wake the halls were filled with the expensive, shattered glass from the indefensible, tall windows. Almost every other one (and sometimes more than that) had been knocked out and the floor was a mess of prickly shards. Solone in his bare feet, slowed and struggled to cross the stones, cursing intermittently as his feet were occasionally cut. Thankfully, the wounds were mostly superficial.

There were a couple tables or pedestals flipped over, spewed where they had been thrown or kicked across the halls. Some doors were wide open, exposing rooms that had been flipped inside-out by soldiers looking for anything of value. Bodies, too, were to be found. One here, one there, mostly soldiers who had been caught up in the brief defense put up by the house's remaining guards...but mostly it was the bodies of those guards themselves which littered the hall.

Solone's attempt at cavalier abandon dried up as the weight of responsibility fell upon his shoulders. Like a cloak it fell over him, a somber sense of duty and melancholy overcoming him as he looked at what had become of the Caras house in a few days of his handling it.

Who could have guessed that this might have happened?

Who could have thought that this... Solone shook his head a little. It wasn't really his fault. Even sober they would have lost this fight. But...if he had been sober...if he had at least...helped somehow...

A'er...


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Skaiyu
Posted: Apr 15 2012, 04:47 PM


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Sometimes it was hard to remember she was so different when things had been going so smoothly. Really, it should have been no surprise that the knight was confused, and a little unsure as to how to handle her. She certainly didn't look like the burning blood of the Aknatari ran through her veins, so what passion was left to be derived would have logically been her familial standing. Even that seemed out of place; she wasn't dressed particularly notably, wearing a simple but well-made summer dress, but it was enough to identify her as not being entirely of the peasant caste. Never mind to tell her that though; as far as she was concerned, Skaiyu was bred of the wild Aknatari sands, and she was now fighting to defend her family!

When the door closed to her wards, however, something dark settled over her. It was almost as if she had been separated from her children, and with baby Christopher inside? It may as well have been her own brood locked behind that door. She stilled as she was released, felt the very current of air around her slow and halt as if no breaths were to be seen for meters around. "I want you to move."

The air that had been so calm only seconds before now rushed outwards from her body in one forceful blast, her self restrain loosened as mama bear's fury was unleashed. She held the knife up stubbornly, pointing it at the face of the man who stood between her and the door. Like a tide or a current, the air pulled itself slowly back to her as she prepared for another blast. Witchery be damned, she'd deal with the consequences later. "Let me through," she repeated, lowly, firmly, almost like a mother warning off a child. The look in her eye threatened more than a spanking, however.
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Edmund Du Nord
Posted: Apr 18 2012, 03:47 PM


Duke of Fexlund
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Group: High Noble
Posts: 211
Member No.: 9
Joined: 20-April 11



Edmund tried not to look at the damage, the shattered windows and splintered wood. He tried not to look at the bodies of men in Keylean livery, that died failing to defend this house. He didn't want to see it and he did not wish to think about it right now. Edmund knew that the minute his nerve began to waver, his delicate position of power would crash, and he, his men, and the rest of the Caras family would be forfeit.
Edmund glanced over his shoulder, worried by the silence. But Solone was not injured or incapacitated by drugs, only made solemn by the scene. Edmund sighed, even if he wanted to say something to the young lord, nothing would help appease this nightmare. So he remained silent also, and the party made their way up the staircase to the first floor.
They moved around the last corner towards the nursery, and Edmund halted at the sight that was in front of him. Fifteen metres from his position his three knights stood between the nursery and the blonde girl that had got in his way earlier, and still holding that blasted knife. By the gods, how difficult was it for three grown men to put a small girl in a room?! Edmund stepped towards his men, confused and disappointed, but halted again, as the girl's blonde hair whipped about her face as though in a gale and he saw his knights stagger back, but regain their footing.
Edmund's confusion deepened, but he was here on Black Court work and his mind quickly caught up.
"Witch."
He spat, his expression of disgust hidden by the shadow of his hood. A witch, in the house of Caras? Edmund treated all of those who studied magic with distrust, though he would always claim to be open-minded on the matter. He knew that there were mages and witches working for the King, but it always seemed to him a questionable alliance - witches cheated the laws that bound every other man. And now he was faced with one in the Caras household. He turned to look at Solone, frankly disgusted in him and his noble family that they could harbour such a person.
Sighing, Edmund drew his sword and led his nine knights (and one captive) towards the harmless-looking girl. His mind whirring on what measures he should take. Surely his mother had not bargained on their being a magic-user involved. Should he remove the complication now, before she had chance to bewitch and cause trouble?

In front of the nursery, Sir Hann's eyes widened as the energy about the girl shimmered, contracted, and then released. He was buffeted backwards, and he heard the clank of metal armour as his comrades were equally unbalanced. But they stood firm again. Like his lord, Sir Hann's mind was working swiftly this day and by the time he stood straight again he had worked out who stood before him. He grimaced and gritted his teeth. He had not been expecting a magic user here, but it was not the first time he had faced one. But that time had been different, a violent and deluded man, not an innocent looking girl.
"We are following orders miss, no one is allowed to enter the nursery armed. We will not be swayed."
He replied in a tone to equal hers.
Sir Hann's eyes snapped up at the approach of others, and he briefly bowed his head, but did not relax his stance.
"My lord."
He greeted, feeling a wave of embarrassment that he and his two knights had not accomplished the initially simple task they had been assigned.

Edmund looked coldly in the direction of the girl.
"I suggest you desist in your rebellion..."
His tone was like ice and his voice trailed off, he had no need to comment on what punishment may come from failing to do as she was requested.


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Solone caras
Posted: Apr 19 2012, 04:52 PM


Landless Lord
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Group: Low Noble
Posts: 337
Member No.: 18
Joined: 27-April 11



The hooded man left Solone to his silent absorption and in hindsight Solone would not know whether he despised him for it or was grateful for it. The bodies on the ground, for the record, were not only Kelyean. The general had come with several hundred men but the Kelyean defense had put up a hearty rally for their home. Sure, the intruders had conquered and now held Villa Cari with a still-strong number, but their bodies were still here and there in places. Admittedly, most of them had probably already been dragged off by their peers so not to let their glassy stares fill these halls. But still, there were some for Solone to see.

The weight of his servants' pointless deaths dragged on him as they made up the stairs in the north wing to the nursery, where Solone was quickly brought to the assumption that they had indeed taken some hostages - in particular the blonde whom Solone had spoken to on occasion.

She was penned in by three burly guards, and then suddenly there was something like a contained windstorm and the three stumbled back...and The hooded figure spat - in Solone's house! - and called her a witch. When he cast his eyes upon Solone there was only there a look of utter surprise. It was genuine bafflement, really. Who would have guessed that she was a Mage! Solone certainly never had. Not that he would have known what to look for had he in fact suspected her one. This was his first time seeing one instead of just listening to everyone else just go on about how destructive, evil and dangerous they were.

Solone had been in training in the years after the inquisition when people's fears of magic had been heightened and renewed and the mages had gone into strict hiding. Stories grew wild and long about what mages could do and while Solone had always listened to them with them with a little bemusement, he'd always thought of them more like dragons or unicorns - a fantasimal story handed down or kept alive by superstition.

And here he'd been living in the same house as one.

But there was no time for awe, was there? The hooded man had drawn a sword and was now making his demands clear. She would cease and desist or she would most surely die. These men, with an apparent distaste for the magic they could never understand were unlikely to take the risk of treading carefully.

Solone could not have another of those he was responsible for die. The least he could do was take care of - oh shit! Iphegenia! Where was she!? Solone hoped upon hope that his niece, whom he loved dearly despite hardly being allowed to know her, was alive and well.

"Sandre! Solone spoke in a voice ghat he rarely got to use around here, interjecting into the impending mess before anything brash could be done. He was still separated by 9 guards, but his voice was clear and his tone abrupt. Please. he was not begging. The word was not a suggestion or a plea. It was distinctly a command, and despite everything that had gone on, Solone found that he wholeheartedly expected obedience. This was no time for games.


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