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Messages - Aegus Stonecreed

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1
Dragon's Tales / Entering Rhy'din
« on: January 11, 2013, 10:43:42 AM »
// Happens Within Rhy'Din //

Entering Rhy?din

His sister, Llenarah, was still in his thoughts.  He kept her fair face in his mind?s eye when they had gone through The Ingress, that gateway that took travelers from Saribek into the wilds of Rhy?din. While his eyes were closed against the glare of what he could only call magic?s light, the Graycloak listened to it sizzle and crackle with life all around him.  At the same time, everything seemed to grow unnaturally still. Despite the sounds of The Ingress? magic, he could hear nothing else and felt the lack of the most minor of breezes. It lacked smells and muted the rest of his senses.

There was a fight to get through it as fast as possible, but he didn?t know if it was more him or the horse he sat upon. But they finally broke free of the madness. Suddenly there was wind, cold and wet about him and the screams of frightened horses and pack mules. Aegus saw Noldric, just in time for the younger man?s mount to completely unseat him; landing hard on the frozen ground.

One of the mules yanked free from Noldric?s horse and bolted.  Aegus thrust his boots back and drove his heels into its flanks to catch up with the burdened mule.  It didn?t take long and he soon hand his grip at the halter of the animal. Riding alongside of it, he rode back towards Noldric who was getting up and brushing the dirt and snow from his clothing.
?Are you injured?? Aegus? quick assessment of his page told him it was minor, if any injuries at all, but the politeness was there.

?Bruises, m?lord. Nothing more.? Noldric assured him with a wry, but slightly pained look.

The captured mule was steered towards the page and left him with the boy, then rode his horse to where Noldric?s had come to a standstill. While he waited for the mule to be retied, the warhawk looked out from the great hill they were on to find a huge, sprawling city below.  He pushed his hood back and looked to the sky. It was nearing dusk as there were only two moons.

?Only two?? Noldric grunted and remounted his horse. He seemed to have echoed his lord's thoughts.

?Seems so.? A pause on Aegus? part, then pulled his cowl back up. ?Let us see what it is like here, in what will be our home for as long as the King and High Constable deem it.? As much as he was a man of his word and honor-bound, he did not care for the stories he had read and had been told of. Perhaps they were all just stories. Perhaps he would see dragons or worse before the darkness of the night was fully upon them.

But cold and wet as he was, he wanted a warm place to lay his head and something in his belly before the midnight hour. Another nudge to his horse, they moved down the hill and towards the city of Rhy?din.

2
Dragon's Tales / The Ingress: Part 2
« on: August 16, 2012, 08:25:15 AM »
The Ingress was what those on the continent of Saribek called the gateway that lead from their world to others.  Some found it purely exciting to be able to step through the enormous, stone archway and be transported almost instantaneously elsewhere. But those who were intrigued or excited about it were rarely ones that had ever, actually made the journey. The people that had and returned from it usually mentioned the portal as if it were the worst kind of cure.  It might cure what was needed, but it wasn?t anything good.

Noldric looked as if he were going to pass out as he sat on the back of his horse. His pallor was like ash and he kept swallowing against nothing. The younger man, who was several inches shorter than Aegus but no less hearty, shifted a nervous look from The Ingress, to Aegus, then back again.  Even the horses and two pack mules tied to them could not remain standing still and acted like they would bolt at any moment.

Magic within the ancient archway of stone crackles and sizzled.  The men felt the hair on their arms rise from it. Their mounts snorted out puffs of breath and their eyes were wild with fear.  Aegus? gaze moved over the archway and engravings that no longer held meaning to any of the people on the entire world of Valkspar, except for the handful that could read the dead language of the y?muaii.

The warhawk and his page sat there too long for his liking.  If they remained too much longer, neither of them would brave the way that lead into RhyDin. He yanked his boots back and nudged his horse in the ribs with the heels and had him moving.  Reluctantly, Noldric followed behind him.  Aegus felt the hair on the back of his neck start to rise and his skin come alive with the magic on the air all around them as they started to enter the Ingress. Growling again the nausea that began to twist as his inside, he took the reins and used the ends as a quirt to send his horse to bolt forward and fully leave on realm and enter the next.

3
Dragon's Tales / The Ingress: Part 1
« on: August 14, 2012, 09:41:22 AM »
The Ingress

The High Constable had sent Aegus forward, into lands he had said were full of dark magic, people with purple eyes, dragons, and other unmentionable creatures.

Aegus suspected some of it to be false and other things to be spot-on.  But the warhawk would not know until he arrived there himself.  While the other Graycloaks rushed to bind and load their gear and say their farewells, he had taken a full day.

His mother had wept and his father had not spoken for hours before he had finally, reluctantly, bid his son a successful journey.  Neither of them liked the idea of him going off-world into such dangerous lands and there was nothing Aegus could say to properly console them.

Kaes, his other brothers, and a sister made their farewells like a caravan working its way along a narrow path of a dangerous precipice - one at a time: Kaes, Paulen, Lans, Byard, and Llenarah.  In that order, handshakes and embraces took place along with words of hope and wisdom were exchanged. Aegus did not care for saying his good-byes to his mother and sister since these were the ones that softened the stone walls about his heart the most, but all the same he took extra care and time with them towards the end of such business before mounting his horse.

A long look was given to Stonecreed and those of its Stay to carve into his memory.  He did not know when he would be coming back. Then he turned with his page, Noldric, north.  It would be there that the great gateway would be and it would be their ingress into the wild lands of RhyDin.

(Cont.)

4
Dragon's Tales / Tempest of Gray: Part 4
« on: August 09, 2012, 04:44:14 PM »
Aegus shook his head and leaned forward in the same manner as his mentor.  ?I don?t understand.  Do you think this is a ruse or a distraction??

Pyke nodded a couple of times, and then continued. ?Yes, I do. There is evidence of more than one group involved.  Perhaps some of the Great Stays have coin in this, too. I know too little yet to be certain.?

?What has been found?? Aegus? scarred face hardened and his jaw tightened at the hinge. He hated the thought of anyone from the great houses being dishonorable and corrupt.

?I cannot even tell you, my old friend.? Pyke was regretful of whatever it was weighing on his mind and the need to tell no more than he had to.
?You also did not give me assignment.?

The High Constable nodded.  ?That is because you are not going where the others are traveling.  I am sending you into lands that might thing the others have gone mad.  The scholars tell me in whispers that it is a place where there are real dragons, Elves, and people with purple eyes.? When he saw Aegus? look of scolding disbelief, he sighed and carried on. ?Yes, yes. Dragons, Elves and purple eyes.?  Pyke pulled a slender book that was bound in leather and edged in catgut. ?This is from Taviaen. It has maps of places to seek out more of the information you will need.?

Aegus reached out and took the book, then started to thumb through it.

A couple of the map folded out in tri-formed sections. ?How long??

?I do not have that answer either, Aegus. What you find, I need communicated back to me. I will send my own page to travel the distance once every fortnight. Before you leave, I will give you more details on what to look for while you are there.?

The warhawk stood made his way around the table. ?Then I will go.  What is the name of the place that I go to?? The book that he had barely glanced at was tucked away into an inner pocket of his cloak.

Pyke stood and headed with Aegus towards the doors. ?RhyDin.?

5
Dragon's Tales / Tempest of Gray: Part 3
« on: August 09, 2012, 03:12:25 PM »
Two hours more were spent in delegation and assignments.  None of them cared for the assignments that took them from their beloved Valkspar, but all of them would readily fall on their sword for the king and High-Lady to see them and their citizens protected.

When all had left to see to preparations of horses, gear, and their affairs, High Constable Pyke spoke at a long time with the king before Pyke finally stood by himself at the closed doors of The Hall. He sighed and took a chair at the empty, large long table.

?You did not broach one thing, High Constable.?

Pyke turned to look about and found that Aegus was still there.  In his silence he had been missed by everyone?s preoccupation.  Pyke readjusted his position in the chair and watched the warhawk. Aegus? back was to the room and he was still facing the pennants as if they might tell him something that a roomful of his Brothers could not.  ?What was not said, Aegus??

Stonecreed turned, finally, and narrowed a thoughtful look on his mentor and Constable.  ?What is so dire that you would sent one, let alone three, garrisons off-world??

Pyke was silent, so Aegus continued while he approached the table.  

?The attempted poison of anyone in the Hall of Strife would have been terrible. Tragic.  This I concede and understand.  But no one was hurt, except for the boy that did the trying. And now that he?s dead, what is worth so much in his chambers that our lives are to be risked and some of us must leave Valkspar?? His hand rested on the chair and pulled it out, and then slowly Aegus settled to it as he adjusted weapons and cloak.

The High Constable looked tired and leaned forward to put his arms against the edge of the table. ?Because word of what we are doing will be out and I would rather all of Valkspar think we are hunting out traitors and murderers at every turn of the wind, beneath every rock. ?

?Instead of --?? Aegus gave him a narrowed look.

?Instead of where I believe the core of this is.?

?And what is ?this?, High Constable??

?Just a leaf on the wind.?

(Cont.)

6
Dragon's Tales / Tempest of Gray: Part 2
« on: August 09, 2012, 11:50:40 AM »
Aegus of Stonecreed watched them all for over an hour as talks continued to heated levels throughout the ranks of the Graycloaks.  They were not usually emotional men, but ire was stirred that the assassin could have meant his poison for any of them, another revered scribe, any of the lords, or even the king.  He heard a gloved fist hit the table again and Aegus turned to look at the pennants hung at one side of the enormous fireplace.

?But you heard Gamen of Meir! They searched the scribe?s quarters and found maps, more of the darts, and enough poison for him to kill everyone in this room!? The Graycloak was Tien and he been among his Brother in service of the king for over a decade. He shoved his seat back and got up to walk the hall, brooding.

The faces of the others in the room were no so dissimilar.

?Tien of Vista,? The aged leader, the High Constable Pyke of Iriad, of the Grays did not speak loud but it quieted everyone there.  His was a thin man and was old enough that all of his hair had gone complete white.

Long faced and weather worn, he turned to look at the King to see if it was overstepping, then continued when it was apparent he wasn?t. ?We must keep our eyes unveiled and our swords sheathed.?  It was a Graycloak?s way of saying things must be though through clearly and a great length.  

Tien frowned and relented but took a seat a table away.  His face broiled and he was trying hard to cool his blood.

?There were other things found,? The High Constable continued. ?Several items found in the scribe?s chamber are from places beyond our borders.  Any of our borders.? Again the entire Hall was quiet and attention was on Pyke.  ?Three Garrisons will be leaving us to track down where the items came from while the others will disperse her and to the continents to root out anyone that knows the symbols found on the dagger, maps, strong box and other he had in his possession.?

Talk of leaving Valkspar entirely set everyone?s teeth on edge and talk rose immediately after.  The High Constable motioned for them to quiet again. When they had, he continued by repeating. ?Only three, I said. The rest of you are needed here.?  

(Cont.)

7
Dragon's Tales / Tempest of Gray: Part 1
« on: August 09, 2012, 11:18:50 AM »
Tempest of Gray

The great hall of King?s Stay was barred from the inside and two sentries stood to either side of the stout, ten-foot-tall doors.  The two men were a fearsome sight, just in guarding the doors, with their full regalia:  armor, boots, bracers, the long, heavy leather gray cloaks that were highly detailed with patterns that held meaning of war and strife, gauntleted gloves, and more weapons than were readily apparent even after a long look at them.  The cowls of the cloaks were lowered but leather masks cut v-shaped covered just below their eyes to the neck.   It was a sign to anyone within the entire world of Valkspar that serious matters were afoot; worn when a Graycloak was about to make war on an enemy.

There was enough clamor in the great hall to be heard through the thick, barricaded doors.  Occasionally, one of those that were guarding outside turned to look at the doors and fingers rewrapped about the grip of his sword. But there was no call to worry too much for all that were in the great hall were Graycloaks and the King, himself.  Not even the lekri * were allowed to bring food, drink, or anything else into the grand meeting place.

The Hall, as it was referred to in the simplest of terms, was large enough to have hundreds of people in it.  A large, long table and several other smaller long tables were sometimes without an empty place to sit when there were gatherings.  On other occasions, it when only a handful gathered, it felt more like a huge, cavernous tomb.

Tapestries hung from the walls, as well as weapons of all sorts.  Pennants from numerous lands were on the two walls that flanked the great hearth that stood presently dormant in the heat of the year.  Torches were bracketed to walls and metal chandeliers with their huge, tallow candles were all ablaze to bring light into the room that only had the way into it and no windows to speak of.

The largest of the long tables was full.   It seated fifty and more than that were the numbers of Graycloaks there that day, called to council by the King.  Ones that had arrived later than the others stood, wandered the hall while they listened, or sat to the benches and chairs throughout the room.

*lekri: lekra (single), lekri (plural) ? slave/personal attendant (handmaiden, chambermaid)


(Cont.)

8
Dragon's Tales / The Graycloak: Part 3
« on: August 05, 2012, 11:25:50 AM »
Bails audibly gasped and put that earlier, animated hand of his to his neck.  His eyes widened and tones sounded strangled.  "What are you going to do about it?"

Aegus looked back at the dead, young scribe as attendants were starting to cover him with a long, black cloth pulled from one of the many displayed in the hall of mourning. "What would you have me do, Magistrate? You have the ear of the king himself, and the prelate."

The Magistrate seemed beside himself with frustration, fear, and anger. "But you are a Graycloak! Is he not?"  Imploring at the other lords and such, then glared at Aegus. "You must do something!"

Aegus stepped over the small stream of drying blood.  His long, gray and very heavy cloak fell just short of the floor and did not drag through it.  He stopped before Bails and looked to the others, then down at the fat, gaudily dressed man.

 "I am not in your service, Magistrate." Intentionally, he left off the man's name, as he pointedly reminded Bails. "I am in the service of the king and the High Lady.  You will do good to remember that.  As for what I, or any other Graycloak will do, will be up to His Majesty when all presently known facts are brought to him." Aegus smiled, but it was tight and dark. "Do not forget to pass that message to your friend, the Prelate Sars. I would not wish him to be left uninformed." He said, without saying specifically, that it was known Bails ran to Sar with everything like a child tattling on a playmate.

Then Aegus looked downwards, quiet a long moment so that Bails would be compelled to do that same, at the bloody ceremonial dagger. "And I will personally apologize to the king and high-lady for using this to stave an attack on anyone."  It troubled Aegus that he had used the sacred blade at all for such a purpose, more than the blood and entrails that had been spilled from it.  It was something heavily steeped in tradition for longer than he could remembered. The man had meant to kill and he had to move quickly.  Already holding the knife during the ceremony, he had simply made use of it.

Bails cringed and backed off from the horrendous looking blade, cowering off to the side as if he was afraid Aegus might use it on him, or worse get his robes dirty.  

The girls in their black silkpanels were looked at.  Tears were just starting to dry on the face of one of them and the other's head was so lowly bent that he could not see her face, but he could tell by the bowing of her slender shoulders that she was just as upset as the girl beside her.  The two would have been in a corner if it had been allowed. Aegus looked away from them and ultimately ignored the Magistrate and looked to Kaes.  "We should go.  There are matters to meet on with our Brothers." Brothers was said with a meaning of the Graycloaks.

Kaes nodded and stepped over the blood and passed Bails without a look at him and his attendants, to follow his brother.  Behind them, other Graycloaks and those of the Great Stay of Stonecreed followed as one, large group.

9
Dragon's Tales / The Graycloak: Part 2
« on: August 05, 2012, 10:36:27 AM »
"Poison? Did I hear it? I did!"

Aegus inwardly cringed but neither his form nor expression reflected it.  He glanced at Kaes an weighed a heavier look on the man squawking out the words of shock:  Magistrate Bails. The short, fat, and bald headed man looked like he belonged to a seedy thieves' den.  The clothing and jewelry he wore was overly done and didn't suit the man, as if he were wearing things that belonged to someone else.

Magistrate Bails wheezed as he hurried over.  He looked like he might wrench his neck to turn and make sure his two slaves where following.  

Aegus briefly noticed the two young women, slaves that in Valkspar are called muraənii (moor'-rahnee) in panels of black silk that did not cover them at all down their sides.  He was reminded of one long ago, but he did not dwell too long on the memory. These two were beautiful, as they should be, but the sobering black seemed out of place and knew it had been the Magistrate parading his grief for the ceremony of the Hall of Strife that day.  As he was one accustomed to noticing the details, he saw that they were allowed long strap sandals and around their necks were high throated, jeweled collars; meant for show on that dark day of remembrance and to show the Magistrate's stout wealth. All of it was gleaned in a moment, then he looked back to Bails.

Bails pulled up short when he realized that the ends of his expensive robes might get blood on them.  He nervously looked at the dead man and shot an accusing look at the warhawk.  "Speak up, Aegus of Stonecreed. Give us reason not to have you pyked before the King's Stay as an example not to kill a scribe... and not to kill one in the sacred Hall of Strife!"

He heard Kaes growl. The sound was low and short lived but Aegus already knew where his brother stood on politics, but especially on the vile man that was waving his hands about before them and speaking as if the king himself had been killed in the hall of honors.

"Magistrate Bails." Knowing that it would irritate him even more, Aegus acted as if there was not a dead man's pooling blood within inches of his own boots.  Kaes handed the dart and metal tube back to Aegus and it was accepted without a look his brother's way.  After he greeted the greasy politician, he continued and slightly showed the crude blow dart and the piece of metal that was intended to use to launch it.  "The boy," The would-be assassin was not honored with the title of Scribe. "meant to kill one of us."

Bails reached out to grab at the dart in its little pipe, but his reach was too short and he gave a wary look at the stream of blood that cut him off from the men of Stonecreed who stood on the other side of it nearest the alters and ceremonial podium. Frustrated, the Magistrate huffed and jabbed the air with poke of his ringed forefinger and right after than waved dramatically at the lords, ladies, politicians, and their attendants.  "Who? Who was his intended victim?"

"Victim?  I have no idea, Magistrate Bails.  But he has more than this on him.  Several more of these as a garrote. The garrote is foolish.  He would never have made it beyond shooting one of these." Aegus shook his head and it was obvious as his gaze moved over the faces of those he had known for years that he was trying to figure who the target of the assassin was. "Perhaps it was meant for Kaes or Lord Faerhurt. Perhaps even you." It was not the right time to smile. Maybe another time.

(Cont.)

10
Dragon's Tales / The Graycloak
« on: August 03, 2012, 12:23:17 PM »
//Happens in Porshen, a city on the desert continent of Saribek on the world of Valkspar. //


The ceremonial dagger dripped with blood.

The Sl?kaprii (sull?kapree) could be described as a weapon wrought by Dark Gods to be wielded by their godlings and flesh-born children. It was over seven inches long and the weight of it was solid.  Along the top if it, where a ground edge was not meant to be, jutted out metallic thorns along its spine. These barbs were meant to do more damage when the attacker pulled out the weapon from its victim.  The blade of the dagger itself was mottled a grayish blue, named after Valkspar?s smallest of its three moons:  the Isforaə (Isz?fore-ah).

This one had black and brown leather firmly braided at the grip and the symbol of the three moons at the pummel.  It did not lie on the table in the Hall of Strife where wars were remembered through artifacts and tomes collected, but in the fist of Aegus Stonecreed.

Aegus of Stonecreed was a name spoken in the Hall of Strife, and had been since he was old enough to saddle a horse.  He was a hardened man to look on with scars on his face, a nose that had been broken decades earlier, and a manner about him the disallowed anyone to get close unless it was something he allowed.  His dark hair was starting to mix with white and lines at the corners of his eyes had deepened in the last few years.  He was a hard man that had seen plenty of hardships.
Those of Stonecreed were an honorable but hard line of men and Aegus was no different in keeping The Rift Oaths.  But in the Hall of Strife, where blades were laid to rest, except for on the days of tradition and ceremony to remember those who had died, one had been picked up and put to certain and deadly purpose.

Lord of Stonecreed heard the clamor of voices at his sides and behind him.  There were arguments breaking out between the Great Stays* of Porshen, belonging to the desert continent of Saribek. He could hear a couple of his younger brothers fiercely defending the act that had left one of the scribes dead.  Aegus stared at the man that lay dead on the heavy black stones.  The youth was half Aegus? age, at best, with his head shaved cleaned like the rest of scribes.  Tattoos were pattered on the boy?s face to mark him in his place among the scribes. The dead, young man had only been a scribe for a few years, by the scarcity of those marks.

Aegus reached over to the robe the boy wore and turned over the large, inverted leather pendant to see what name was there:  Moen Ril. Blood from the knife?s wound crept slowly from the body to eventually start pooling around the base of a stone and tiled stanchion. The warhawk?s eyes followed it away from the horrific hole he had left in the man?s belly.  Then he stood straight again and stepped over the path of blood to reach down to pick up a small object.

?What is it you?ve found, Aegus??

His back was turned to the one asking, but he knew it was his brother, Kaes. Kaes was shorter than Aegus, but only by about an inch.  His build was brawny and where Aegus was leaner. And his hair was red by the starkest of contrast.  To look upon them, it was not obvious that they were brothers at all.

Aegus? hand was still in its thick glove when he handed the thin tube of metal out to Kaes. The item was in-ornate, approximately six inches, and had a large splinter of wood in it that was ended with a tuft of something to keep it in flight long enough to make its mark. Kaes frowned and narrowed a blue eye at it, then at his brother. ?Poison?? They both had the sense about them to know it to be the case without the communication, but one voiced it and the other nodded.

*Stays: Houses

(Cont.)

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