Captain Hailmard cried out as he spotted the man lurking in a thick patch of grass, rushing forwards to attack him as he did so. His cry would serve to alert the others who stood guard around the centre of the keep. The man turned his head and fixed his dark eyes on the captain, a snarl on his face at being discovered. His skin was dark as was his hair and he wore a baggy black cotton burnoose in a style factored by assassins out of Muyyatin. He leapt up with almost inhuman speed, as only one who had taken many endowments of metabolism could have. As the captain met the man with his sword drawn he quickly realised that he would likely be no match for this man, having only a few endowments himself – and only one of metabolism. This man moved with the speed of at least three men and even with the captain’s four endowments of brawn he was sure to lose this battle.
He swung his sword at the small man who brought up a small curved blade with such speed and finesse that he was easily able to block the strike and twisting around quickly he followed the deflection by stabbing the blade deep into Captain Hailmard’s thigh, the blade piercing all of the way through and emerging from the other side. Crying out as his sword was sent flying from his hand and pain shot through him, the captain quickly swung his left hand into the man’s collarbone. With his strength the blow hit hard and the assassin yelped in pain as the bones broke and his shoulder practically caved inwards from the force of the impact, however the man continued to stand showing that he must also have several endowments of stamina to his credit. Snarling in anger the assassin swung his free hand in his own savage punch, catching Hailmard in his chest causing several ribs to snap, obviously the little man had also been branded with several runes of brawn. Though both men were incredibly strong, endowments of brawn increased strength only to the muscles and tendons. They did not invest one’s bones with any superior hardness, so this fight was quickly degenerating into what Hailmard would call ‘a bone-bash’.
The assassin attempted to pull the small dagger free from the captain’s leg, but Hailmard grabbed at his wrists and tried to hold them in place. He knew he could not win this battle alone and hoped to keep the man here long enough so that their cries would draw the attention of other guards. He struggled to hold the assassin’s wrists and for a long moment they wrestled. Hailmard heard deep voiced shouts “That way, I think! Over there!” they came from the left, one street over from the road that the men currently fought in. He would only need to hold the assassin a few moments more – make sure the fellow didn’t stab him or escape. The southerner broke free in desperation, punched him again, high in the chest. More ribs snapped. Hailmard felt little pain. One tends to ignore such distractions when struggling to stay alive. In a sudden flash of speed the assassin ripped the knife free and Hailmard felt a tremendous rush of fear and kicked the assassin’s right ankle. He felt more than heard a leg shatter. The assassin lunged, knife flashing. Hailmard twisted away and shoved the fellow. The blade struck wide of its mark , slashed Hailmard’s ribs, a grazing blow. Now Hailmard grabbed the fellow’s elbow, had the man half-turned around. The assassin stumbled unable to support himself on his broken leg. Hailmard kicked the leg again for good measure, and pushed the fellow back.
Hailmard glanced franticvally into the shadows for sign of some cobblestone that might have come loose from its mortar, or indeed even his own sword. He needed a weapon. He pushed the assassin, thinking the smaller man would go flying. Instead the fellow spun, one hand clutching Hailmard’s surcoat. Hailmard saw the knife blade plunge. He raised an arm to block. The blade veered low and struck deep, slid up through his belly, past shattered ribs. Tremendous paid blossomed in Hailmard’s gut, shot through his shoulders and arms, a pain so wide Hailmard though the whole world would feel it with him. His vision quickly began to fade as the assassin held him closely, the smell of spices and liquor thick in his breath, he had thrust his knife arm up to the wrist into Hailmard’s chest, working the blade towards his heart with a grim smile. Taking a step back and withdrawing his hand in one swift motion the assassin watched as Hailmard took his last breath and crumpled to the ground. Captain Hailmard saw and knew no more.
Forcibles are getting rarer by the day, and we can't simply keep shipping our entire surplus of gold to the lords of Kartish, there are even rumours of their blood mines going dry- causing the prices to soar as lords attempt to purchase what they can before any major shortage.
Rumours already speak of armies gathering on the boarders near Mystarria and Fleeds, war is brewing in the land. People are talking about the Wolf Lord Raj Karton, who has apparently taken so many endowments of glamour and voice that he shines like the sun and has conquered all of the nations of Indhopal, drawing the combined wealth and force of the most wealthy of the southern lords under his banner. They have all either submitted or fallen to his unstoppable forces. They say that Raj Karton has forced so many to give him attributes that he is close to becoming the legendary sum of all men – someone who has become so powerful that he simply cannot be killed. Legend and Lore speaks of another who was said to have accomplished the task, a man who was so powerful that even when his dedicates passed away he retained their skills, becoming an immortal warrior of deadly proportions – however such things are considered to be little more than children’s tales, whilst the threat of Raj Karton grows more and more real each day.
People are scared, they look to their lords to protect them and their families in the dark times to come. There are potential dedicates lining up at the castles throughout Rofehaven, the only problem is the shortage of blood metal which is used to create the forcibles to take endowments, and so only the best of dedicates are being accepted, their attributes being given to the most valued men and women who serve their lords who each seek to protect their own lands. Assassins from the many kingdoms have been sent in an attempt to weaken him by striking out at his dedicates, however so far none have returned, and so have been assumed unsuccessful.
Unknown to most, there is something else, something much worse to fear than the coming war. The earth is in pain and the balance of the powers grows dangerously precarious, a threat that seeks to wipe out humanity itself is looming in the shadows. There are indeed dark times to come – and mankind may not survive.
The Wizardess Averon
Unknown (Appears to be around 25)
Averon on first glance appears to be little more than a woman who is at the prime of her life, her face full of life, intelligence and beauty. She looks to be no older than her mid-twenties, despite the fact that she has lived far longer than this. Her hair is a deep auburn colour and seems to shimmer a deep chestnut red in full light, when combined with her clear tanned skin which seems to have a slight green tint to it at times – you can see the earth powers at work deep within her. Her body is slim and athletic, made so by the constant travel and training that she enjoys frequently. She wears simple travellers clothing, covered by a large green robe which is actually covered in tiny shoots and leaves, the very fabric itself becoming heavily interwoven with green plant life. Her eyes are a piercing green which seem to be a more vibrant shade than even the most lush grasslands, and they seem to bore into the very souls of those she gazes at.
Averan is kind and has a respect for all life, showing compassion to those who she can, though it is rumoured that she often cares more for the plants and trees of the forest than she does for her fellow man – whilst in truth she just finds the goings on of animals and plants to be much more simple and fulfilling than trying to dabble in the affairs of men. She often has a gleam in her eye which would indicate she knows much more than she lets on, and she seems to be full of mystery and intrigue. She is very slow to anger, though when she is repeatedly aggravated or someone shows a blatant disrespect and cruelty to a living creature then her patience runs thin and she will deal out punishment as she sees fit.
Averan lives in service to the earth, and this shows heavily in the way she lives and breathes.
Endowments (if any):
Powers (if any):
Earth Wizard – she serves the powers of the earth, and they in return serve her.
Earth sight, Averan has the power of earth sight. The ability to gaze at something and see it through the earth’s eyes. The earth knows what is wholesome and what is rotten, and as such she can see into the true nature of man and beast alike. She can also use this ability on structures both natural and man-made to learn of their strong and weak points.
Rune-lore, Averan has long studied the many runes of the world and has attempted to learn and master as many as possible. She is very adapt with runes of healing and protection, as well as strengthening. She also has studied the runes of the forcibles in her youth, and as such also understands and can practise the art of a facilitator and take endowments from one and gift them to another – not that she has used this talent in many many years.
Herbology – Averan is familiar with the many hundreds of different types of plants and herbs that have both beneficial and damaging properties, and the methods to best harvest and store such plants. In the hands of an experienced earth warden such as Averan the effects are magnified up to tenfold – which can be quite useful in many cases.
Averan has served the earth as long as she can remember, and has lived for many many years, the earth providing for her an extremely long life. She has travelled far and wide, learning and healing wherever she has gone, though she has also witnessed much evil. Little is known about the specifics of her past to any who lives, and she shares little information even with those who she would consider friend.
Recently in the rustling of leaves and the stirring of the ground Averan has heard the earth whispering to her, whispering that dark times for mankind are coming and will be at hand sooner than they should be. The earth whispered to her about the other powers, especially air and fire, which seek only to destroy and consume. Some great evil is at work and manipulating and warping these powers to work against mankind, causing the earth to be in pain. The exact cause of this is unknown, even to her – but she knows that she must now begin her work to help protect and save the seeds of humanity, however she can.
Name: Oliver Jacoby
Appearance : Oliver was quite plain before acquiring Coralline’s (see Bio) grace but now, her beauty courses through him. He has porcelain white skin. His eyes were blue before, but now one has become green, after Coralline. Her Runes are branded on his right forearm and her father’s on his left; he wanted to remember them always. He has long black hair, which he usually hides under his hood. Oliver is 1.85m tall and has a lithe agile frame. He has a slim face and though he has perfect eyesight, he chooses to wear his father’s circular golden rimmed glass frame that were left to him. Other than this he is most commonly seen in the black stealth suits of Toom’s assassins built to be light, flexible and concealing. He however has been know to change his attired frequently, and is comfortable working in mostly anything to get the job done.
Personality: Oliver is generally quite silent and reserved; it takes him awhile to warm up to people, wanting to test the water first. He generally tires to see the good in people, even in seemingly corrupt men and many accuse him of “viewing the world with rose tinted glasses”. He loves learning and knowledge, but sometimes hides behind it, afraid to create any real lasting bonds. The world he comes from is one of little compassion. He holds the little compassion he has experienced though close to his heart.
Endowments (if any): Voice, Grace, Stamina
Biography: Oliver had always been a quick study. Hailing from a small village in Toom, his journey on the path of the assassin had been a most unconventional one. His village of origin, Quay had always been one of the poorest in Toom, and Lord Hailfax had always thought it more trouble than it was worth keeping it in operation, there hardly was ever surplus grain and Quay’s inhabitants were of little use in terms of runes, or so it seemed, so Halifax, five years ago tasked his hand, Sir Victus Seranus to solve the “Quay problem” by eradicating the village and resettling its inhabitants. Sir Victus, for all his strength and military prowess, was an arrogant man, and Oliver used this to his advantage. He made a wager with Sir Victus, if he could beat him in the Toomish game of Tiles, a game of deception and tactics, he would give his word to leave Quay alone, he should fail, he offered his departed father’s forcibles... all three of them. Sir Victus was shocked by this, where on earth had a peasant’s father found three forcibles? Oliver did not answer him, but simply repeated his wager. Absurd that a sixteen year old peasant might beat the Lord’s hand at a game of tactics... that’s just what Oliver did though. Arrogance aside... Victus was a man of his word, he returned to Lord Halifax having failed. It was within the next week an even larger force came to Quay, this time headed by Halifax.
“Are you the boy that beat my hand? The one with the three forcibles?”
“Yes my lord,”
“You have made a mock of my authority have you not?”
“It was not my intention my lord,”
“What was your intention then?”
“I needed to protect my family,”
“Yes Lord, my father died in Toom’s war against Alnick, all the villagers took me in and looked after me,”
Halifax was intrigued; he got of his high horse.
“Where did you find the forcibles?”
“My father’s comrade gave them to me in a box when he returned; he said my father had left them to me before he died,”
A wicked grin stretched on Halifax’s face, it was worth the long trip to Quay. He presented Oliver with an ultimatum,
“You wish to protect your family am I correct?”
“Yes my lord,”
“ You see I’m not as proud as my hand here, I’m willing to get my hands dirty, I can easily wipe out your family, but perhaps we could work something out, I am a man of my word, I reflect this attribute of Victus, so I’m going to put forward a deal, are you listening?”
“The Coalition against Raj Karton is calling for assassins, and honestly, I’d rather not send my best on missions doomed to failure, I do not trust coalition command, however, by treaty, in accordance to Toom’s population, I must at least send one with endowments. I could level your village but I will not, provided you use the forcible your father’s given on yourself, take whatever endowments you want from your village, they will give them to you or they will perish at my hand,”
He said the last bit louder so as to ensure his subjects had heard.
“ After this, you will come with me, and train under Lord Assassin Salvus, when the coalition calls for you, you will serve them, in return I will spare your village, hell, I might even provide them with surplus grain, if you agree to my terms,”
He turned to the congregation of villages who had by now formed up around him in the square, he beckoned to them.
“I will agree to his terms, but only if you agree to bless me with your endowments, I will not take them from you,”
A girl his age stepped forward, it was Coralline Mason and her father Erick, He had practically fathered the boy since his father perished and his mother decayed with grief, Oliver Shook his head, no, he could not, not from them...
Coralline spoke, “I offer my grace and voice”, and her father added, “I will give him my stamina,”
Halifax smiled “It is settled then, you will be my assassin I contribute to the coalition,”
“No lord, I cannot, not from them...”
“You dare to waste my time boy? Do you think this is a joke? I can show you just how serious I am,”
And with a snap of his fingers he flexed his muscles, his army had begun its rampage, dismembering the market and setting homes on fire, they were heading towards the village folk.
“Stop! I will go my lord, I will go...”
Oliver Jacoby has spent five years with Lord Salvus learning the art of assassination, never setting eyes on Quay, Erick or Coralline since his departure, he still has nightmares of Halifax drawing their endowments out of them, the change in their bodies was instant, Coralline the village beauty and songbird was now a shriveled mute, and her father’s vitality evaporated like water exposed to the desert sun. However because of him Quay and its villagers live, and if he succeeds and pleases Halifax, they might even hope to live well.
Name: Angela Wraithnight
Appearance (picture or text, no anime though): Angela has dark brown hair and hazel eyes. Her cheeks are slightly sunken giving her face a certain skull like quality. She always does her hair up in a bun, held in place by pins fashioned from bone. Her upper body is thin and streamline, but her lower half is built, she has powerful legs from all the hunting and foraging. She is about 1.7m tall. She dresses in animal hide, fashioned with minimal metal studs and buckles. Where possible, he Grandmother has used animal bone in fashioning them. She had reluctantly traded in town for the other materials she needed to assemble Angela’s dress like thread and fabric.
Personality: Angela is a girl in conflict; she loved her family very much and tried to take the best from both her parents and grandmother’s world. She was never truly able to leave the capital behind or assimilate herself into the woods respectively, she will always be a child of two worlds. She seems serene on the surface, people who have brief encounters with her might even say pleasant, but underneath those clear brown eyes, there is a torrent of emotion. The woods shelter her whenever dark thoughts come into her mind... but she has never forgotten that it was the woods that killed her parents.
Endowments (if any): none
Powers (if any): An affinity to the earth, but nothing solid yet. She is a skilled archer though.
Biography: Angela hails from Alnick, a land of thick woods. She however hails from Alnick’s capital Smarkmorgan. Her mother and father were both ministers in Lady Enfantine’s court, but they however were outspoken and often presenting issues the Lady did not like to hear. Alnick has a tradition of democracy, the lord or Lady in charge along with cabinet ministers are elected every five years. While it is true that most candidates come from the noble households, self made men and women do come into ministerial ranks every so often, this was the case with Angela’s parents. To solve Alnicks economic issues, Lady Enfantine put forward a bill, to saw down Alnick’s forest for lumber. It was the Wraithnights that brought up the opposition to this.
“ We must not in our quest for progress, forget the past, by going ahead with this bill, you will be throwing away the tradition and oaths we have with the Earth sages and our forest, the forest is alive, we have no more right to use it than it to use us,” her father presented to the assembly
Enfantine would have none of this though, in the dead of night both Wraithnights were slain by poisoned dart in their sleep. The poison was that of an Alnick tree frog. Their ten year old daughter was sent to live with her next of kin, her mother’s mother. Grandma Aloise lived in the outskirts of Smarkmorgen, as close as you could get to the dark forest, she was a simple woman and imposed her ways on the young girl who had grown so use to the ways of the capital.
“ I do not go to the market, I do not trade with those swine, I only trade with the earth. I grow all my own vegetables and fruit and what meat I get, I only get if the forest provides it to me,” Aloise lectured Angela while stringing a trap, “You too shall learn, the forest cannot hurt you the way those people can, your mother was a fool to go to the city, a fool I say, but your goanna do better,” she said hugging her granddaughter tight.
For the next eight years, Angela lived off the land, her Grandmother had taught her to fashion bows and arrows from wood and animal bone, and while she, with her age was confine to laying traps, Angela was instructed in the ways of the archer by Aloise.
Angela however could never fully give up the capital, she against her grandmother’s will often goes into the market to sell meat to vendors. However this is only to afford her the money to get scrolls and books, she affords herself one every three months, and hides them in hollow trees in the woods where Grandmother will not notice. She reads in between hunts and gathering missions.
Aloise has recently passed away, much to her granddaughters grief and dismay, she was all she had left. All Aloise has left her is a letter and a simple brass ring with a green crystal. The letter, ends with the instruction “Find Averon,”
The earth has been kind to her, Angela finds her sustenance with ease and to say she has a green thumb would be a major understatement. She sometimes sees the “Auras” of plants and animals, and never goes against the gut feelings she gets upon seeing them. However Angela never has forgotten that her parents died in their effort to defend it, she is constantly reminded of it as she sees more and more trees felled in Lady Enfantine’s quest to make Alnick an economic superpower. She is lost, perhaps this Averon will have the answers she is looking for.
Fairskar may only be 19, however with his endowments of metabolism he appears much closer to 30. His shaggy dark hair is now spattered with flecks of grey and white, a sign that age is beginning to catch up with him. His face is rough and unshaven, showing many of the same grey colours as his hair giving him the appearance of a grizzled veteran despite his actual youth. Over his tunic he wears a tight leather chest piece which shows several marks of battle, a slash here or there which would have narrowly missed penetrating the lithe assassin. His body is very slim and athletic, favouring speed and stealth over brute strength - he has trained restlessly which has served to remove any excess of fat from his frame. His face though rugged is quite handsome, having a strong jaw and piercing blue eyes which have drawn the eye of more than of few ladies, no doubt as a result of his endowments of grace. All in all Fairskar looks somewhat like a common foot soldier or mercenary – lacking any heavy armour which would make him stand out as a force soldier of any kind. A single blade rests at his side, a thin long sword which is designed to pierce heavy armour at its weak points, whilst remaining strong enough to deflect the majority of blows directed towards the assassin. It may appear to be his only weapon, however Fairskar has many small blades and poisoned needles hidden about his person, ready to be withdrawn at a moment’s notice should the need arise.
Fairskair is what some refer to as a natural born killer. The ease that this man feels ending the lives of others boarders on the psychopathic – he can kill without batting an eyelid at the thought, whilst he remains polite and friendly to those around him, shrouding himself in deceit and treachery as he does so. Truth be told there is not a single thing about the man that would be considered normal or decent, however he long ago learnt that others place their trust and friendship in those that value these traits, and so he set about learning how to always appear to be the friendliest face or the most polite gentleman in any gathering. He is sadistic and cruel under his mask of glamour, though is not devoid of any emotions. He regularly considers morality and fairness, and on occasion will display a kind act or something selfless, however his own motives are always the driving factor in such occasions rather than any desire to actually do good.
Endowments (if any):
1 of Brawn, 1 of Stamina, 3 of Grace, 4 of Metabolism
2 of Sight, 5 of Scent, 1 of Touch & 2 of Hearing.
Powers (if any):
None – though Fairskar has a natural affiliation with the power of Wind, though despite this he has taken no action to embrace the power or serve it in anyway, and would reject any such bonding should the power seek him out. As such he remains without a major connection to any of the powers – and powerless in the eyes of any wizard.
Fairskar was born in Mystarria, his mother being a dedicate who had given her sight into the kings services after her husband had given his own metabolism. He was born in the Blue Tower – a few miles east of the Courts of Tide in the Caroll Sea. It was a staggeringly mighty and old building which had served to house the dedicates of Mystarria over the ages, protected by a small fleet of warships should anyone be fool enough to attack, being inaccessible via any land route. He grew up there, helping to care for his father and the other dedicates with his mother, learning all about the effects of giving an attribute to another and becoming weak yourself. He was not happy to simply serve others, even at a young age and rejected the idea of ever becoming a dedicate himself as he saw the pain and suffering of his mother and the others in the keep. At 14 he was obsessed with leaving the tower, and almost as if the opportunity were sent to him by some divine being, one night he was wandering the walls of the tower when he stumbled upon wet footprints leading into the interior. All too aware of the constant threat of assassins he quickly followed the footsteps inside a found a man quietly making his way into the keep, a curved dagger clutched in his hand as he moved through the slumbering dedicates. Doing the only thing he could think of young Fairskar clutched the only weapon he had tightly in his own hand, a small serrated knife used to slice meat from bones, he stumbled forwards as if he were just awakening from a slumber in a nearby cot, forcing his face into a dull drooling stare as if he were a fool who had given Wit. The assassin instantly noticed him and turning to face the boy the man smiled grimly seeing that he was only a fool and would not understand that he was here to kill the dedicates that slumbered around. Fairskair forced a smile as if he were pleased to see that he was not the only one awake, and began to shuffle towards the assassin still drooling slightly as he did so making a slight warbling noise as if to ask if it was time for food.
“Shhh…” the assassin said softly smiling at the young boy, his only concern was that he would make a noise and awaken someone who could raise the alarm. He moved over to the boy and began to guide him quickly back to the empty cot “It is time to sleep still…” he cooed at the boy hoping that he would clamber back into the cot so he could slit his throat before leaving him hidden under the covers.
Fairskar grinned dumbly still and moved as if he were about to clamber back into the cot, when suddenly and without any warning he glanced behind the assassin and dropped his smile. Taking the bait the assassin whirled around expecting that the fool had seen someone or something, and at that moment Fairskar jammed the knife with all of his strength down into the man’s neck twice in rapid succession. The gaping wound that opened in the man’s neck gushed blood as the assassin attempted to twist around even as he began to die, his endowments of stamina not being able to help with such a fatal wound. His eyes met with Fairskar’s and the boy grinned as the assassin had, dropping his guise of the fool and letting the man know that in his last moments he was bested by just a boy pretending to be a fool. The assassin grasped at his tunic as he collapsed and Fairskar responded by pushing the man away and backwards with his foot, causing the man to sprawl onto the floor as the light from his eyes faded. He would always remember the first moment he killed a man and proved his worth – from that point onwards Fairskar associated the rush of killing a man with great success.
The guards in the tower were astonished to learn that he had killed this assassin, especially after a quick examination of his corpse showed that he had over thirty separate endowments and likely would have killed any man in the tower with relative ease. Despite his mother’s wishes Fairskar expressed a desire to leave the tower and to travel to the Courts of Tides, and with such a success at his back none of the guards dared deny the boy such a boon.
When he arrived, the son of two dedicates to the kingdom who had single headedly killed a dangerous assassin and possibly saved the lives of hundreds through his actions, the king was quite taken with him. The king had offered to reward him with the sum of five forcibles for his act – a very generous reward even for the wealthiest nation in Rofehaven and had offered the boy to join his service in whatever role he would desire. King Orden was surprised to learn that the boy openly requested to become an assassin himself, and went as far as to ask for more endowments when his training was completed.
Several years later at the age of 18 he was one of the most skilled assassins Mystarria had in their employ, he had excelled within his training and had studied in his spare time at the House of Understanding in the room of faces. He had taken his first five endowments within nights of being granted them, and had chosen one of each brawn, stamina, grace, metabolism and sight. Now at the completion of his training his master had recommended that he received more endowments as he would serve the country well indeed with them. He was granted an additional ten endowments, and took these at the recommendation of his master evening out his lesser senses so he could easily track and spot a man over great distances. With fifteen endowments to his credit Fairskar become quite powerful and could easily be counted amongst the most dangerous men around (The Kings knights and honour guards aside), though at this stage he still only had one endowment of metabolism and two of grace. After his first few successful missions he wanted more, and so agreed to take more endowments of metabolism – despite the fact that with each endowment he took his life would be cut dramatically. He received his other three endowments of metabolism from just one man – an old knight who had found to be cheating the kingdom out of wealth and prestige through his unlawful dealings with bandits and brigands – Sir Horth, who himself had two endowments of metabolism to his credit. The curious thing about this was that one of Sir Horth’s endowments was given by Fairskar’s father, meaning that he was now in receipt of his own father’s metabolism, vectored through Sir Horth as punishment for the Knights misgivings.
With four endowments of metabolism to his credit Fairskar become a deadly warrior indeed, what he lacked in brawn or stamina he made up for with his speed and grace (having also taken another endowment of grace, bringing his total number of endowments to nineteen).
Over the next year he completed many missions flawlessly, however he aged at such a rapid pace that he already seemed to be reaching the age of 30, and is aware that in less than five years he will appear closer to 50, and in ten years will likely be dead.
He was called into the kings chambers one evening, an was assigned to oversee a Coalition of assassins against Raj Karton – a daring and last push to attempt to stop the Wolf Lord from invading Rofehaven. With dozens of other assassins being sent from each of the kingdoms it would be his responsibility to see to it that as many as possible of Raj Karton’s dedicates are slain by directing them at several key locations where they may be held, and leading the assassins himself.
Our tale begins...
- - - Updated - - -
The Wizardess Averon
Averan looked about from her position stood atop a mighty oak tree in the forest, its gnarled limbs seeming to form a perfect perch for her almost as if the tree knew she would choose to climb it. As she gazed to the north she could see at the very edge of her vision the very outskirts of Smarkmorgan, the capital of Alnick, and thick smoke rising from several points around the perimeter of the city. She frowned at the sight, even from here she could sense the distant flames which consumed all they touched, small and controlled as they may be they were still being fed endlessly by the people of Smarkmorgan at the thought made her shiver slightly as she knew they would be felling countless trees a day to maintain such fires.
From up here she could see the tops of thousands of trees, a dense forest surrounding her like and almost endless sea of green filling her with peace and tranquillity. Only the rising pillars of thick smoke tarnished the otherwise serine tranquillity of the moment. The forest here was old and strong, its trees almost as old and wise as the trees in the Dunwood at the heart of Heredon, which were often considered the oldest in the known world. Averan licked her dry lips softly and tasted the air as she did so, the sweet scent of the many pines that surrounded the old oak was refreshing and she almost wished she could stop and spend a while just frolicking through the woods with the animals, but alas she could not. The earth had come to her in a dream several nights ago, a most vivid and strange dream in which stones, leaves and dust formed together to take the form of an old woman, an old women whom Averon had recognised after a few moments as a fellow earth Wizard, a woman named Aloise whom she had often visited in years gone by. Then the earth spoke, the creature of dust did not move its mouth, instead the words seemed to come from all around. Its voice was the sound of wind sighing through a meadow or hissing through lonely peaks. The groan of rocks moving through a stream, or tumbling downhill.
It was a sound that only she as an earth warden could understand, and as the earth spoke to her she understood that it was in pain, and it was asking for her help as one of its chosen. It spoke of a vast darkness unlike any before that approached, a darkness that threatened to snuff the light of mankind out in only a brief moment. She could not understand what threat this would be, but she knew if the earth came to her in a dream such as this than it must be grave indeed. The earth then spoke of the woman Aloise, telling Averan that she had passed from this world leaving behind one of great potential power that was key to resisting the coming darkness. Without the guidance of Aloise or Averan this one would not survive to the dark times, and humanity would be lost. With a deep rumble the configuration of the earth’s face changed, first to that of Averan herself before quickly turning into that of another. A young girl’s face now gazed at her own, a face that Averan did not recognise, but instantly knew that this was the one the earth spoke of. The earth continued to speak of this girl, telling Averan that she needed to seek her out and take her under her charge, that this would be the first and most important of the tasks that she would have to complete. The earth’s face then continued to shift and changed as her dream went on, and the earth spoke of a great many more things to her, but when Averan awoke she found that she could only recall the face of this girl, and little else from the dream other than a deep sense of foreboding at what she had learned.
She had left moments after awaking, sensing the urgency that hung about in the air. She had travelled to the last place she had known that Aloise would have been, her home in Alnick. She just hoped that she would not be too late to find this chosen girl.
Bringing her mind back to the present Averan moved down the tree with startling speed and grace, pausing only for a moment as she reached the gnarled roots to take a deep breath before she pushed ahead towards the looming pillars of dark smoke, a sense of foreboding still looming over her.