Silver Leaf Chronicles: War Beckons
The City of Egralia
The City of Egralia, referred to the Merchants Paradise, This city holds one of the biggest ports on Eleorna. Its streets bustles with the sound and sights of a its many different citizens. If they cared to look up at the walls however, they would notice the increasing numbers of guards stationed. And they would notice the mercenaries and hirelings at every corner. They would see that foreign vessels are docked in the part of port used exclusively by warships. Mandi Har pirates, Black Blood* Crossbones, Legato mercenary vessels all shared the waters. If they were able to percieve just how heir city had changed from a merchant port to fortress, they would certaintly act differently.
Eleorna, this jewel of a continent is the home for many wealthy and powerful city states. But the jewel is slowly cracking into pieces as Agren, the mighty nation of the southern Eleorna has begun a offensive towards its neighbors. Engli, Aurona, Vestilia have all fallen under the onslaught, their merchant kings and queens forced into the grip of the High Countess of Egralia*; Lady Mezellin*. The ambitious and young Countess have only barely grazed the throne, and yet she is currently leading a army several thousands men and women. Her knights now set their sight on a walled in city, one that is far better prepared then they could ever guess.
Agren Warcamp, within the borders of the now subdued Aurona city state.
“Why is that Egralia have never been taken again Uncle..” The Countess, her hair draped over her shoulders and the red sammet dress she is currently wearin. The woman, no more 24 years old had an air about her that would ensnare any man and woman. People followed her blindly it seemed. Everyone but her Uncle. The grizzled vet stared straight at her and his one good eye had nasty habit of never blink, so it was red as blood. As he began to speak, she listened intently. Her Uncle was fountain of martial wisdom.
“Egralia is surrounded by massive walls, and half of the city is situated on a small penisuela my Countess. Its commerce is second only to us and the Empire. As such there is no shortage of knights errands and other soldiers of fortune to defend them. They even contract corsairs and knon pirates to defend thei harbors.
“Are you telling me, Their entire army can be bought?” She raised a eyebrow as she asked this. The idea of buying themselves a vctory from within their own walls was most amusing.
“Not so, most have settled in a agreement with them, to point were they call it their home. Take the silver leaves for example. They would throw themselves at us in droves to stop us. And knowing the Silver Leaves, the losses we would take would be gruesome.” His voice betrayed a ounce of admiiration as he spoke of the mercenaries. The countess immedietly changed from listening idly to narrowing her eyes.
“...Wasn't uncle a silver leaf at one point.” Her voice was that low, dangerous tone she had whever she spoke about things that displeased her. He had seen people being forcefully drafted into the frontlines when she got into this mood.
“Aye.. And I can guarantee you, that if we were to attack carelessly, we would only see defeat.” His voice grew darker, gaining an edge to it that was far more commanding then before. His niece was forced to admit defeat. She could not handle her Uncle going into full lecture mode.
“So then we wait. There are still the matters of rebellions to handle in our newest provinces... But we need Egralias port in the future.” Her voice shifted back to that of idle boredom. Her uncle sighed, she still had ways to go.
Outside Egralia City, The Silver Leafs Bastion.
The main Head quarters for the silver leaves was a real fortress. There founder had been a noble who served Egralias old merchant king as a knight at one point. Wwhile they had started as small elite force fo knights who rode with those who could offer them gold, they never fought directly against Egralia. As mercenaries, their reputation was what to be expected.. Soldiers of fortune have never been ones to receive praise other then hen they were on the winning side of a conflict. And even then, their efforts were only for money. But the silver leaves, their reputation in Egralia was different. Here they were part of the standing army in times of crisis, and they held respect. And they were far more then just a group of greedy soldiers used to pad out a army of peasants. No these were all elites. You didn't join unless they found you worthy, and each one who got acceptedhad the talent to become something great. Generals, tacticians and royal councelors all rose to their position by being tested in conflict. Around the castle a lake and a thick and deep forest offers both fish and wild game for the hunters and the fishermen.
It was inside the walls of this mighty Fortress that the Silver Leaves latest batch of talent found themselves. Some here fresher to the guld then others. Some had lived long lives off conflict before reaching the guild. All of them are exeptional within their fields of expertise. One of these people is Iano. The tindra as currentlt on the court yard, sparring with his long time friend and mentor. And no matter how he tried, the old man was swatting away his attacks like it was child play.Becouse no matter how good Iano had become with the saber, this was the man who taught him combat in the first place. Every time he would sweep low, using all his speed and agility, the man would waste no movement or time and step back . Everything aimed over the waist was parried by the mans Long sword. And the old man was noticeably stronger strenght wise aswell.
“Your form is sloppy! You attack using only your arms, a saber needs full pivotal movement.” The old man moved suddendly, deflectin Ianos saber with ease and countering by thrusting his longsword straight for Ianos head. Iano, in a mere split second, fell back ward, twisting onto all four. His saber switched with the wooden practice cleaver as he recklesly swung upwards. The blade fell short of its target however,but it forced the old man having to forcefully throw himself backwards.
“Heh... You stick to that saber becouse you have an attachment to its graceful nature. But you are so much more natural using that orch cleaver.” Eigar shifted his feet and it became very clear to Iano that this battle was soon to be settled. He grinned, holding the cleaver close to his chest he dived and ducked under the old vets swings, rolling up behind him and swung. Only for the mans wooden sword to hit him in the solaplexus. There was a moment of stunend silent before Iano fell to the ground. Eingar only sighed. He had thrusted
“Dont swing so wide. Even f your opponent has their back to you, they may have a trick in store. And dont fall for feints like that, I knew you were aiming to duck under it.”
“I know your “Red Love” will make you far better then this instinctively. But you could easily die before you get the chance to slip into that. Now up to your feet, I am hungry.” It was as if he had not just beaten down his pupil. The mans actions eemed almost aloof.
Inside the mind of the defeated Tindra corsair things looked different. Carefree in general, he still hated loosing to the old man. Getting up to his feet and feeling his bruised stumach, Iano had to wince. The old man never held back, that blow was a killing blow. His mind was lifted at the promise of food however and he soon dragged himself off to eat aswell.
Act 1: Morning Routines
Welcome to the fray everyone! The Silver Leaves Bastion is quite large, and surrounded by a small village meant to house the families and servants of silver leafs. Those who do not own land within the walls are most likely housed within the barracks or in the keep itself. The town is bustling with life, and albeit far smaller then the capital, its worth exploring. Feel free to start any where within the village or the Bastion. Its approximately 7 in the morning, the sun is shining. Its typical early spring for a temperate area.
Locations : (Add your own if need be)
*See OOC for Countess details
Enter MurrPau, Stage Left.
“Get out of here and run, run straight to that giant bloody castle where people mill outside all day long. Ya can't miss it girl its a focal point of the town, oh and take this. It mightn't get ya passed the guards, no that's up to you girl but get it to one of them there higher ups and you'll see what doors this old man can open. They'll take care of you there, honest...oh and Lady, thanks for giving this old man a good memory. You've grown so pretty.” The old man's withered, wrinkled hand fell from the woman's cheek who lay knelt beside the tiny, inoffensive body of an old human. Time had not been kind to him and yet he was smiling as his eyes rolled into his skull and fell shut for a final time. People around them stopped for a moment but hurriedly kept moving upon seeing the wet eyes of the heterochromia iridium daemon spawn child crouched over an old man with blood on her hands and jacket and a large wound in the man's side.
Children cried and women hid their little ones faces in their skirts as the woman rose from the corpses side and turned towards the town folk. Her voice was delicate and sweet in the quiet of the early day and she whispered, “I was never here.”
Had he played her? She had the piece of paper open in her hand, torn and nicked, crumbled and wrinkled and in the centre it only bore a single name. One that was written in a cursive script all pretty and central as if it were some big deal. Insane, he was definitely insane, he was old and doddery, how the hell is this going to get me in there?
Two days had passed since she had held her dying friend in the alley of a town not too far away, now she was standing in the shadows across the street from what was certainly an impressive castle in her opinion. It was guarded as if it were the very door the underverse, she even got to watch one of the recruits leaving, certainly not a woman that Murr intended to get involved with. She seemed more likely to use her for a tooth pick than to help her get inside and speak to someone higher up. She didn't have the bearings of a warrior, her coat was bloody and dust covered, her shoes were worn, in comparison to those guards and the mammoth she was nothing but a street rat.
That's it! A small smile worked it's way across her frosty hued lips and she glanced either way down the alley before slipping off her coat and carefully balling it up so the contents of the pockets wouldn't spill and give her away. Folding the buttons in and removing her hair ties she placed her bundle down and messed up her hair to further extenuate her look of helpless and vulnerable. Satisfied she lifted the bundle which now resembled a lumpy and old pillow and she slipped out onto the streets, dancing between people on the balls of her feet until she found someone who would fit her needs.
From an observer's point of view the large man in a black smith's apron had grabbed a homeless girl by the arm and hit her hard, sending her to the floor not ten feet form the gates of the Mercenary guild. Even when questioned he would know no more than the sudden urge to do violence upon the girl and he'd never quite be able to explain his actions that day. Murr had selected him though, for his large size and powerful muscles and the glint in grey eyes that meant he was no stranger to violence. She'd hurried along and as she passed him she'd whispered unto his ears, “Hit me.” Her order was quiet in the muddle of the towns people and lost to all ears save those she had designed them for. They had ricocheted in his meaty head bypassing all the usual thought process that went between thinking and doing until he'd reached out and grabbed her.
She sat clutching her face, her little bundle having skittered across the floor a few feet and catching the attention of the guards whose cavalier gaze hadn't spent much time on the plight of the girl. Now they did, they followed the bundle to the girl who sat with wet eyes, black eye closed and soon to sport a lovely bruise where a deep red hand mark burned into her otherwise pale skin. She shifted awkwardly with a demure innocence when she caught the guards gaze. Attempting, it would seem, to hide more of herself than that thin sash of cloth otherwise allowed, it however had the reverse effect and accentuated her hips and legs as she sat there in the dirt.
For a long moment no one moved until finally one of the guards left his post and rushed over to the sniggering jests of those left behind. New blood, even she could tell he was 'green' the way his eyes still held an innocence about them. He'd never killed, or he was still relatively new to it, he had no idea about trickery or deception and had to struggle to remember all the rules and etiquette. Evident when he stammered clumsily over words, clearing his throat and trying to drop his tone to that of a much more commanding person but breaking once again when Murr moved 'just so'. She almost felt bad for the man, boy, child, whatever, he was likely a virgin still, he seemed so nervous around her and even as he offered aid he didn't seem to know where to put his hands. Taking advantage of him would be unfair, far too easy.
“I'm hurt and I need help.” She purred, offering him her hands, “You have to get me inside so someone can see to my injury.” The boy nodded enthusiastically the weird, feather detailing on the top of his helmet dancing in the sudden rush. He scooped her up form the ground easily, her arms wrapping lightly about his neck as he carried her towards the gate, “Oh, my, my bundle, good sir please.” He paused and bent allowing her to scoop up her items and draw them into her chest. The guards gave their friend a rather curious look as he approached with the street rat in his arms and a determined look on his face.
“She's injured and needs somewhere to rest, we should get a healer to look at her too.”
“She was punched, it's nothing serious, just put her down and send her on her way.”
“That's not something I can do, out of my way.”
“Hey Baldur, are you alright? This isn't like you.”
“Helping a woman in trouble isn't like me? Poppycock.” To which his friends had no comeback, he was the chivalrous sort but a street rat? Sure she had a certain allure to her body but who knew how many other men had been there and what she'd picked up from the streets. Finally laughing it off one called to Baldur's back, “Just leave enough for us hey!?” A chorus of laughter erupting from those left on sentry duty.
“Well...that was easy.” A glance behind her allowed her to see that not one had followed or kept an eye upon Baldur and his package, which meant the rest was likely to be relatively easy. Once Baldur rounded a corner towards what might have been the barracks she whispered once again into his ear, “Now...put me down, I'm okay, the doctor is seeing me and he's going to send me out when he's done.” Like a slave he did as he told, settling her carefully on her feet and turning without so much as another glance at her, heading back the way they had come. Hiding her amusement she clicked her jaw, bringing a hand to it and opening her other eye to test the pain, it was a minimal annoyance, Marakesha hit harder than that.
Musings behind her she slipped as far back into the shadow's as she was able, allowing herself a moment to gather her bearings and make a mental map of the area before her. Her 'gift' had a different duration for each species, humans were always difficult though as they could range from the mentally inept to the mentally fortified. When Baldur's mind stabilised he'd remember her and what happened and realise it was not of his own mind that he'd done what he had. She was now playing a game of chess to which she had to find the King before the Pawn's found her and their were only a limited number of moves left. Taking a deep breath she took one more look around before ascertaining it was as quiet as it was going to get. Unfolding her coat she slipped it on and buttoned only at the mid of the item, slipping down the length of the shadows the building they'd cornered provided.
She stopped upon seeing the mammoth again and backed up against the wall, crouching low as the beast passed her and slipped in through a door. That was likely the entrance and as such she had no intention of using it, to her that doorway symbolised death, it may as well have been painted in blood and skulls for all the danger it stood for. The entrance was certainly out but she could see no servant's entrance, which on the whole was annoying, if people were going to have such a large and expansive place surely they could afford a servants entrance! Agitation would get her no where though and so she darted from shadow to shadow, only briefly exposed to the sun before she disappeared once again. Pausing only briefly when she heard a shout a small frown crossing her features, Quicker than I'd hoped, I better speed this up.
Glancing about she was able to see a window open upon the second floor, it was going to be difficult to access but not impossible and other than the door of absolute death seemed the only viable action. Baldur and his fellow guards would be rounding the corner soon so she had to move. Slipping her hands into her pockets she withdrew the gauntlets, each gleaming claw only briefly shining in the sun before it was masked with the same aura she had been hidden by. Not spending time to secure them she grabbed hold of the wooden beam that ran along side the stone wall and dug those claws within, using it to ascend the beam as quickly as she was able.
The difficulty came when it was time to switch from wood to stone, she had to cross a gap about the size of her own body to reach the window ledge and pull herself in before the boot falls of the annoyed soldiers came around the corner. Spending not a moment to decide upon her next course of action she bought her feet against the wall and propelled herself towards the ledge, very nearly missing and striking one elbow quite hard. For a moment she scrabbled for grip before finally being able to shimmy herself inside the ledge and into what appeared to be a corridor. Damn it all, not my day.
Corridors were only slightly less death than an entrance, they were usually barren of places to hide, no shadows and often used by people and guards to get from place to place. What was worse was she was clearly near some stairs which were doom of a whole new kind. Still she didn't have much time to muse over her bad luck as she heard footsteps crossing the hall and had to quickly slip from the window ledge and down the corridor until she could see the shadow of the person coming. She'd judged the direction wrong! With an effort she used the narrow space at the top of the stair case to her advantage and watched the people move beneath her unsuspectingly. Thank the spirits for beams.
Slipping from her place perched in the supporting beams of the house she descended the stairs and rounded a corner. If she were an important person she wouldn't deal with stairs unless she had to and she'd spend all day sitting in the biggest room of the place so she could feel how powerful and wealthy she was by the amount of empty space around her. Grabbing the handle of a door she assumed was to some main hall or another she gave a tug and as it creaked open she was ready to march up to the Lord of this manor and demand some kind of...sanctuary? She wasn't sure, the word would come when she faced him or her.
Slipping through the partially opened door she straightened her back and rose her chin, hands dipping into pockets to release the gauntlets and grab the strip of paper she'd been given by the dying man. If this was a practical joke she was about to find out. “I've come to see the Lor--” Mismatched eyes widened a moment as her eyes befell the scene before her, a bunch of people -not one lordly character and a few guards-, including the mammoth, some small squirrel type thing, a guinea pig of a man and... “-d.” Her eyes settled on the Mandi-Har male, on the plus side, it was a male but it was still a Mandi-Har. “Well...clearly I have the wrong place so...” Glancing at the food she couldn't help but sidle up to a table and grab a chicken leg and a few links of sausage. When was the last time she'd seen such good food? Taking a bite of the meat she began backing up like a wild dog with it's ill-gotten prize. “I'll just be leaving now...no need to get up, I'll see myself out.”