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RPG Manufactured Heroes: The Sword Struck Heart Chronicles


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[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"][i]Lyfe Akanessler, youngest daughter of her father's many children lay suspended between wake and sleep. Perfumed smoke and incense whirled across her face while her aura spun slowly around her physical body. Her father, his face shrouded in shadows leaned over her, shards of silver light glistening in his hands. Her flesh felt seared to the bone as he chanted in a rhythmic roll of the tongue, pressing needles of both steel and magic into her. As the pain running down her spine and across her arms slowly died down to a nagging throb her eyes momentarily focused and she saw him smile down at her.[/i]

"Dearest Lyfe, heart of my heart. You will be the last of your kind, perhaps the greatest of them. Swear to serve me for as long as you breathe."

[i]She tried to speak, but felt herself pinned to the table she lay upon, her father's obsidian eyes boring into her mind. A terrible pain in her chest began to grow, like he had suddenly stabbed her through the heart. Unable to blink, unable to even pull together a coherent thought, she stared back, her amber eyes catching the flickering torchlight.[/i]

"Yes father. As long as I breathe."

[i]He smiled again and released her, looking away to a side table. Lyfe blinked rapidly, then relaxed herself and watched her father putting away the case of needles he'd used to score her skin with. She looked down and saw the skin of her arms, puffy and red around the spiraling interlaced lines of blue and black. Immediately her back began to itch and she resisted the urge to move, waiting until her father had left the chamber.[/i]


[i]The dull thud of hoof beats on a hard packed dirt road was the only sound besides that of a massive Shire gelding's even breathing. Clinging to his black mane with her spine hunched across his neck, Lyfe looked hardly larger than a child. The gelding ran, picking up speed as they coursed down a hill into a narrow valley and into the demense of a Lord Cynven. Checking her mount's speed as they neared the village that stood the closest to his dun and brooch Lyfe sat up a little straighter in the saddle as Ulf assumed a steady trot. Reaching behind her, she pulled her boots out of her left saddlebag and pulled them on and laced them up as Ulf slowed down to a steady walk.

Pulling her hood up across her face, she slowly gathered her thoughts and reflected on the first mission her father had given her. Find Lord Cynven, demand that he turn over the fled traitor Benwyck to her father's justice. Failing his cooperation, she had orders to both take Benwyck by force and burn Lord Cynven's brooch to the ground with him in it. For his sake, Lyfe hoped Lord Cynven would prove tractable.

Leaving Ulf tied up in front of a tavern in the village, Lyfe completed the short walk to the brooch on her own. Reaching the main gates in a very short amount of time, Lyfe strode forward boldly, the soldiers coming to attention at the sight of the family crest on her ring brooch. They parted automatically their spears, as if they'd had word of her coming, and she rode through the heavy iron gates into Lord Cynven's compound. He was waiting for her in the great hall, a glass goblet in one hand and an insolent smile on his face. Near him sat Benwyck, the man her father had deemed a traitor to their family.

Lyfe dimly recalled Benwyck as being her cousin in some way, another noble born like her, but not marked the way she was.[/i]

"Lady Lyfe Akanessler, welcome to the hospitality of my hall."

"Lord Cynven. As the voice of the Akanessler clan, I demand that you turn over Benwyck to me as prisoner that he might return to my family's lands and stand trial in my father's court for crimes against his clan and the gods of our people."

"Is that so?"

"It is."

"Brave words little girl. For a child barely into womanhood, you seem to be gifted with an inordinate amount of courage. But I doubt you have the means to take Benwyck by yourself."

"Again I ask, please turn Benwyck over to me."

"I do not think he desires to go with you, regardless of how pretty you may be under that cloak."

[i]Lyfe watched as her cousin stood, drawing his sword as he did. Lord Cynven took an insolent sip of mead and watched Lyfe's reaction. To her credit, she didn't blanch. Instead she threw her hood back and called forth power from the massive spiraling tattoos across her arms and back. Light and fire blazed up at once, suffusing her skin with a pale silver glow. She took one step forward, her cloak billowing backwards in the breeze created by the energy she was pulling together.[/i]

"This is the third and last time I'll ask. Surrender Benwyck at once, or I will call down fire and destroy your dun and end your life."[/FONT][/COLOR]
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[FONT="Book Antiqua"]He had decided to receive this gift as soon as he learned of its existence. His only desire was to be useful to his father; to do his bidding, to make him proud. With this mark, with this power, he would be able to accomplish any task his father set out for him. Matteus Akanessler would be the prized warrior of the Akanessler household. He need only endure these few moments of agony.

When the needle pierced Matteus’ skin, he could not help with shiver in surprise. He had expected the needle to burn like white hot fire. Instead, his skin felt chilled, as if the punctured area was slowly being frozen. The feeling travelled down along his arm and soon had consumed the rest of his body. Though at first the feeling was comforting it quickly became painful, and in only a matter of moments Matteus could only clench his teeth down to keep from roaring out in agony. He could not see him, but he could practically feel his father smirking at Matteus’ pain. He knew it was because his lordship doubted Matteus’ strength—he would doubt no longer, however, once the procedure was finished.

“[B]Matteus, my son.”[/B] Lord Akanessler had been chanting the entirety of time he had been placing the mark upon Matteus’ skin, so the abrupt switch to conversation caused Matteus to jolt slightly. He attempted to mask his surprise, and excitement, by responding as calmly as he could.

[B]“Yes Lord Father?”[/B] Lord Akanessler finally pulled the needled from Matteus’ skin, and placed it to the side. He touched his fingers to the tattoo and began speaking again.

[B]“You are my legacy, the greatest of my sons. If you so will it, I will bestow unto you the strength and majesty of a god. Swear your undying allegiance to me, and you shall have this power.”[/B] Matteus did not hesitate in his response.

[B]“My lordship—so long as my heart beats I shall serve you.”[/B] Lord Akanessler smiled and pressed his hand roughly against the tattoo, causing it to glow and burn intensely—but only for a moment. Lord Akanessler stood up and walked briskly from the room, allowing Matteus time to examine his new strength.


Matteus frowned darkly at the building located in front of him. That he found the aesthetics of the cathedral pleasurable was well known, but well known also was that Matteus was no man of faith. For him to attend mass this day, it was certain that some matter of importance needed attending to. Matteus breathed heavily, his breath materializing in front of him in the cold air, and took a step inside.

Though the congregation was plenty today, the sermon did not last long. As soon as the cathedral began to empty Matteus rushed over to the clergyman to grasp his attention.

[B]“Father Bernhart, a pleasure.”[/B] The priest’s eyes widened slightly at the sight of Matteus, but he quickly regained his composure and responded.

[B]“Good day son. Though we have never met, sir, I believe I know you. You are of the Akanessler house, are you not?”[/B] Matteus bowed his head in acknowledgment.

[B]“Yes father. I am Matteus Akanessler, and I was wondering if I could hold council with you.”[/B] The priest turned noticeably white at the request, and Matteus could see the veins in his neck become more pronounced, undoubtedly as a result of his body reflexively becoming tense. The father shakily motioned to a room in back, and Matteus strode towards it. Though he could he hear the priest adjusting his robe to reach for something, Matteus neither flinched nor waivered. He opened the door and stepped into a well furbished living area. He whistled and looked the room over.

[B]“Quite the interesting assortment of antiquities and furniture you have here, father.”[/B] The door slammed violently behind Bernhart, prompting Matteus to look at him. Sure enough, the priest had his dagger brandished. Matteus shook his head disappointedly at the sight.

[B]“You know, Bernhart, I would not have suspected your involvement in the underground rebellion to overthrow my lord father had you not drawn your blade against me.”[/B] The priest responded curtly, his pleasant tone having been entirely replaced with a grizzly, violent one.

[B]“Drop the farce, Akanessler dog. Had you doubted my involvement, your ‘lord’ wouldn’t have sent one of [I]you[/I].”[/B] The last word was muttered with particular contempt that Matteus could not help but laugh at.

[B]“You’re very, very right father. Now place aside your weapon so that I may bring you back to his lordship to discuss the severity of your crimes against and have your punishment decided upon.”[/B] The priest clutched his weapon tightly, and hopping to catch Matteus unaware, rushed him while screaming madly. Matteus scoffed and flicked his wrist in Bernhart’s direction. It did not dissuade Bernhart any, who attempted to brutally bring down his dagger into Matteus’ head. Unfortunately for him, his hands held no dagger. Bernhart stumbled backwards and fell to the floor in awe. His voice escaped in one mangled sentence.

[B]“howhowwhatdidyoudotomydaggeryoudemon!?”[/B] Matteus winced at the cacophony of sound and motioned to the wall behind Bernhart. Bernhart rolled his eyes up to see what Matteus was referencing, and upon sight of it, lost his breath. His dagger had been lodged firmly into the ceiling, frozen in place. Matteus smiled and leaned against the priest’s desk and raised one hand. Instantly the window in the room shattered and the papers on the disk began flittering around wildly. Despite how much he was enjoying the moment, Matteus spoke calmly to his would-be-assailant.

[B]“As stated previously, his lordship demands that you accompany me to the Akanessler dun—whether it be dead or alive. Make your decision quickly.”[/B][/FONT]
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[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"][i]Displaying just the proper amount of disdain, Lord Cynven glared at Lyfe, who was now glowing bright enough to cause the two men to turn their eyes away.

The light hum of a sword being pushed through the air took Lyfe's attention and she turned to find Benwyck swinging down on her. In a reaction so smooth it was nearly like a dance, Lyfe flung up one hand and called forth raw energy. Immediately it struck the blade and wrenched it from the traitor's hands, sending it spinning backwards to lodge into the stone wall. Benwyck staggered back, his hands stinging from the sudden force. And as he angled himself to stand by Lord Cynven, perhaps trying to draw some strength from the lord who had been foolish enough to grant him temporary asylum.

Lyfe smiled at this move, and immediately darted forward with her hands outstretched, the fingertips pulsing from opalescent white, to green, to blue and then back to silver again. Gravity temporarily releasing it's hold on Lyfe, she leapt upwards in a move so gentle it was almost as if she'd merely begun to float. Slapping her hands down in a smooth chopping motion, she touched both of their foreheads and then let her momentum carry her forward to land behind them. Touching her own forehead, she bowed her body forward slightly and hunched inward to herself, closing her eyes. [/i]

"Let the light of lights burn within thee. Let the light purge that which is unclean."

[i]At those words, her tattoos flared upwards in a brilliant surge of brightness and both men fell as if stricken with a sudden fever. Their eyes scrunched shut and they began to shiver with uncontrollable jerks and chills. Seizing up Benwyck she bound him ankle and foot, and dragged him out of the ring of the dun's earthworks. Then she returned to stand just outside of the dun, where it's lord was still lying in the thrall of her spell. She placed both hands on either side of the doors and let fire flicker from her arms to the wood of the walls. It caught quickly, as if the entire dun had been soaked in oil.

Immediately the entire brooch flared up in a sheet of flames and Lyfe hauled Benwyck behind her to where Ulf was tied up and patiently waiting. Flinging him over the side of the saddle, she tied him to the bags with a length of hemp rope, and remounted. Turning Ulf's head to the north, she urged him forward, mindful that Benwyck wouldn't survive if she pushed forward into a proper traveling speed.[/i]

"What a useless lump."

[i]Two days later she had reached her father's lands. As she crossed the border, she felt a crackling popping sensation against her skin and knew that the wards that surrounded his demense had alerted him that she was on her way home. After she handed over the traitor to some of her father's riders, she urged Ulf forward into a full gallop and maintained the speed as he crossed the archways leading to her father's own dun. Dismounting in one smooth motion, a groom quickly led away Ulf and Lyfe tossed her cloak to the hovering handmaiden at the door. Stripping out of her leathers, she quickly covered the distance from the entryway to her own room, in the west wing of the house. A suite of rooms had been dedicated to the last of her father's wives. A woman named Berwyna had given him two children, one son and one daughter. Lyfe of course was the daughter, as faithful and filial as anyone could wish for.

After her quick bath, Lyfe dressed in the pale linen gown that had been laid out for her, and kirtled it with the black, silver, and gold threaded sash that of her clan's colors. She knelt at his feet with her head bowed, the tattoos dark enough to appear through the thin material of the dress. Benwyck was in the same room, his iron chains clanking against the slate tile floors.[/i]

"I see you were successful Lyfe. Littlest of my children."

"Yes father. It was no trouble."

"He is still in thrall. Will you release him for me?"

"Yes. As you wish your Grace."

[i]Lyfe crossed the dais to where Benwyck was chained, although quite unnecessarily. His eyes were closed and his body was slick with the sharp strongly scented sweat of a man in the throes of terror. Lyfe lowered one hand from where they were tucked into her sleeves and touched the tip of her forefinger to his forehead and willed power from her tattoo into him. Instantly his head jerked up and his eyes opened and he wailed aloud. A terrible strangled choking sound filled the air, and then he raised his head to see Lord Akanessler behind Lyfe and he fell silent.[/i]

"Thank you beloved daughter. You may leave us now."

"As your Grace pleases."

[i]Her skirts flaring gently at her steps, Lyfe bowed to her father as she left the room, the guards at either sides of the entryway stiffening their stance as she crossed the threshold.

As she returned to her suite of rooms to relax and undress and get some well deserved sleep, she could hear the echoing screams of Benwyck in the back of her mind.[/i][/FONT][/COLOR]
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  • 4 weeks later...
[FONT="Book Antiqua"]Matteus stood menacingly over Father Bernhart, awaiting his answer. The ?holy man? did little but shake and repeatedly shift his eyes over to the door. Matteus sighed and took a step towards the man, who immediately sprang backwards against the wall. Matteus laughed and raised his arms up, showing the man that he did not mean to attack him just yet.

[B]?I?ll ask only one more time, Bernhart. Will you accompany me to speak with Lord Akanessler of your free will, or should I prepare to drag you the??[/B] Before he could finish his sentence the door behind him came crashing down, and three robed men with swords burst in. Matteus scoffed and shoved his hands in his pockets.

[B]?Seriously? The lack of originality here is simply astounding.?[/B] He removed his right hand from his pocket and gestured toward Bernhart, who was still cowering on the ground.

[B]?A simple minded, low-ambitioned criminal masquerading as a church leader,?[/B] he shifted his attention to Bernhart?s underlings, who still stood nervously at the door, [B]?and his useless and incompetent followers.?[/B] Matteus frowned and turned back to Bernhart.

[B]?I would have been impressed had you been under the guise of a baker, perhaps, or a blacksmith even!?[/B] Bernhart?s face contorted into a snarl at that comment, then into a snide grin. Matteus frowned deeper at the sight. He could tell that Bernhart was assessing the situation, and from the silly smile on his face, it was clear that Bernhart believed he now had the upper hand. Matteus sighed and pulled his other hand out of his pocket so he could rub it against the free one. Bernhart paid this no mind, and began speaking, his voice obviously full to the brim with conceit.

[B]?What will you do now, Akanessler freak? You are clearly outnumbered, and despite your convenient ?gift? how well do you think you?ll f??[/B] A ferocious gust of wind caught him before he could finish his sentence and launched him from where he stood, then jettisoned him into and through the un-shattered window. A loud agonized cry sprang from his lips as soon as his body had collided with the ground. The glass from the window had punctured his skin in various places, albeit lightly, and though he could not be sure at the moment, he was quite positive his right leg was broken. He growled angrily and attempted to reach for his seemingly broken leg. Before he could even muster up the strength to move, however, a large object landed squarely atop his stomach and knocked the wind out of him.

[B]?Hrff!?[/B] The collision caused both Berhart and the object, which Bernhart could clearly identify as one of his subordinates, to grunt in pain. Two thuds accompanied the grunts; Bernhart didn?t need to look to know those where his other assistants crashing down beside him. He released a defeated scoff at the situation he found himself in.

[B]?At least they didn?t land on me as well?[/B], he mused in an irritated fashion.

[B]?I agree,?[/B] responded a cheery voice from the side. Bernhart shifted his head slightly and watched as Matteus shut the door to the cathedral behind him and casually moseyed over to the criminals. Matteus looked over the mess of bodies and shook his head.

[B]?Well this won?t do. I only need you, after all.?[/B] Without care or concern, Matteus grabbed Bernhart?s arm and pried him from underneath his co-conspirator, then slammed his hands against Bernhart?s chest. Bernhart attempted to yell out, but was dismayed to find that he could neither open his mouth fast enough to scream nor produce as sound anyways. His body felt like clay beginning to dry in the sun; not entirely un-malleable, but severely rigid and difficult to adjust. Satisfied with his work, Matteus drew his hands away and walked out of Bernhart?s field of vision. He returned soon, however, his steed Raynor beside him. He looked down at Bernhart, smiling, and let go of his horse?s reins.

[B]?Ready for a journey, most despicable coward??[/B] Matteus held out his hands and flicked his wrists upward, causing a gust, similar to the one that had ejected Bernhart from the cathedral earlier, to shoot the priest into the air and atop Raynor. Raynor simply snorted in acknowledgment. Matteus chuckled and hopped atop Raynor as well, and began back to report to his Lord Father.

The voyage took him two days to make, and was made the more unpleasant by the constant pleas for mercy for Bernhart. When finally Matteus was able to stand before his father and be rid of the despicable man, he was immensely relieved.

[B]?You have certainly outdone yourself, my most adored son. To have collected such ?valuable refuse? like this quivering weakling before me, and to have done it so expediently, no less, is quite the feat??[/B] Lord Akanessler hesitated slightly and then resumed his sentence, the beginnings of a smirk creeping along the ends of his mouth.

[B]?But this is to be expected of one with Akanessler blood.?[/B] Matteus bowed lowly, and attempted to control his delight as he responded to the lord.

?[B]I claim no glory for myself, Lord Father; all I have done, and all that I do, I do in the name of honoring you, your Grace.[/B]? Lord Akanessler nodded at the statement, then turned his attention to Bernhart, though he still addressed his son.

[B]?Leave me, Matteus. You have had a long and arduous journey. Rest. You and your sister will have much work forthcoming.?[/B] Matteus bowed obediently at these words and quickly exited from the room. He did not bother attempting to listen to what Bernhart would reveal to his father after being tortured; to be truthful Matteus had no stomach for hearing the man?s pathetic pleas any longer, nor did he wish to fall out of favor with his Lord Father by eavesdropping. No, Matteus would do as his father ordered and accept his well deserved sleep. He quickly arrived at his room, stripped off his armor and clothing, and succumbed to sleep.[/FONT]
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  • 2 weeks later...
[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"][i]The youngest daughter of Akanessler quietly walked through the carved stone walls that had encompassed her life up to this point. She'd been raised in her father's dun, trained there, and now, leaving to work for him and further the glory of her clan. Lyfe didn't mind much, the life of the Lord's daughter had been all she knew.

Her mother was standing at the window, the servant placing a tray of lunch for the two of them down at the carved wooden table that had been placed to one side of the room that marked the middle point between mother and daughter's chambers. They tended to use it for their meals and receiving guests. Berwyna smiled graciously at her daughter, who was at the moment untying the intricate knot in her kirtle.[/i]

"How was your first mission?"

"It went as well as I thought it would. I wish the condemned would just accept their fates instead of making me burn down entire buildings though."

"Well not everyone is as wise as our Lord. Otherwise they wouldn't be criminals in the first place."

"Yes mother."

[i]Lyfe sat opposite her mother and immediately ripped into the crusty loaf that had been set out for her and slathered on the honey butter. She took a slice of cheese from the platter on the table and a cluster of grapes and dug in without much ceremony. Berwyna watched her daughter eat as quickly as decorum would allow. She poured her another glass of wine and watched as she consumed the strips of beef that had been laid out for her pleasure. Red meat eaten very close to raw was a necessary component to supplementing the energy she expended by using her tattoo's energy to subvert someone's psyche. The natural fire was replaced by food, but to lay into someone's mind with the white light caused her a great deal of strain.[/i]

"Does the meat satisfy you daughter?"

"It's not the way I would always have it, but the magnetism exuded by the blood is necessary for me."

"I remember your father explaining that to me while I took notes for him once. It was all very interesting."

"And your son, my brother is now his scribe as well."

"I am quite pleased with both of my children's progress. You appear to have your father's favor these days."

"I do try my best to please him."

"As do we all."

[i]Berwyna finished her meal almost at the same time as Lyfe did, then retired to her chambers to do some reading. Lyfe on the other hand summoned a page to clean up the remains of their meal and left for her own chamber to set out some of her clothes. Another linen dress, this one with a little more embroidery, her kirtle, which was still relatively clean, and a soft cotton underdress. Dinner would be held in the main hall tonight, and her father had requested her permission several days in advance. The full moon always warranted a special dinner. This one would have her father's bard in attendance, as well as several of their lesser noble lords and visiting guests

Downstairs in the basement, an underground spring had been partially revealed and diverted to form a subterranean bathhouse. Fancy stonework and wrought iron decorations spiraled across the walls of the hall. The vanity of the Akanessler family meant that her bare feet encountered neither stone nor sand as she made her way to the small curve in the wall where she left her dress for another servant to pick up. Footsteps behind Lyfe made her turn slowly, her thick brown hair unbound and falling around her shoulders now. Her brother, Matteus was standing behind her, with just a hip wrap, giving her an impartial, almost distant stare. Lyfe inclined her head slightly to her elder brother.[/i]

"Matteus, greetings. I hope you are well."

"Yes. I believe I am."

[i]He nodded slowly and Lyfe gave him a hesitant smile. Then she turned and stepped down to the walkway that led into the bath, which in some places was over six feet deep. The water, which was almost perfectly clear was also very warm, so warm that steam was rising from the surface. Lyfe immediately ducked her head under and pushed forward to move towards the center of the bath. A feeling of bliss slowly overtaking her senses, Lyfe leaned back and floated, her hair fanning out underneath her.[/i] [/FONT][/COLOR]
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[size=2][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]After his son had exited the chamber, the patriarch focused his dispassionate gaze on the now-former clergyman, still engaged in half-breathed timid groveling. He stood a moment, watching.

[b]�It amazes me,�[/b] he said at length, [b]�that a . . . a man such yourself would risk concerning himself with such a dangerous game as rebellion.�[/b] He sneered at the thought. [b] �According to my son, you have made yourself quite comfortable as a priest. I can only assume you joined those against me for the same reason you joined the Order: to further your own gain. Am I far off?�[/b] he added.

The priest muttered some incoherent frightened syllables and made a sluggish effort to strain against his bonds: a few knotted cords of twine. Matteus�s paralysis had made chains needless.

Tyr Akanessler sighed. [b]�I am certain that you are terrified because it is well known that no one who comes into my dungeons comes back out, but let me assure you that it is not always because they are dead.�[/b]

The priest�s eyes flicked to him in sudden horror.

[b]�I will not ask you to tell me anything,�[/b] Tyr continued calmly,[b] �for you will reveal anything I wish to know in time, and you will beg for the opportunity to do more. Believe you me,�[/b] he said, leaning forward and dropping his voice to a murmur, [b]�you will not know death for an age to come.�[/b]

On his forehead, a single sigil blazed to life, and he began whispering into the priest�s ear. The man�s breath choked in his throat, and blood began to ooze from the corners of his eyes and ears.[/font][/size]

[center][size=2][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]- - - - - - - - -[/font][/size][/center]
[size=2][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Tyr left the man gibbering insanely to himself and exited the dungeons, passing on the way the young lord Benwyck who had by now completely destroyed his voice. A half-thralled servant was tending a fire pit behind the suspended man, and an iron rod lay with one end in the midst of the blaze, the other slanting up to contact the man�s genitals. Simple, but fitting.

And Benwyck was still screaming, even without his voice.

Another servant, also bearing the semi-vacant stare and glowing, mid-forehead tic of the half-thralled, offered the patriarch a robe, and Tyr accepted, allowing the man to drape it loosely over his shoulders. All of his dungeon servants were half-thralled. It was necessary, Tyr had decided some time ago, so that they could not empathize with the people they were required to tend, while still retaining enough of their will to tend them.

He met his advisor�also one of his sons�at the entrance to the dungeons, the man falling into step beside him as he headed back towards the main chambers.

[b]�We must prepare for your feast soon, Father,�[/b] the man offered respectfully.

[b]�Yes, in time. But first we must make plans for a journey.�[/b]

[b]�Another conquest, Father?�[/b]

Tyr nodded. [b] �A nearby lord was harboring a fugitive from me, and my daughter was forced to burn his estate to the ground. If his people are left leaderless, it will not be long before roving brigands begin to prey upon them.�

�And do you plan on going yourself?�

�Of course.�

�Shall I prepare the usual escort, then?�

�Yes. Wait,�[/b] Tyr amended quickly. [b] �two changes. Have Matteus and Lyfe accompany me. Jagan will remain here.�[/b]

His advisor glanced at him. [b] �Are you certain, Father? They have never accompanied you before. And Jagan will be displeased.�[/b]

[b]�Jagan will subjugate his pleasure for mine,�[/b] said the patriarch firmly, [b]�and he shall govern the dun in my absence. I would hope that would be enough to satisfy him.�[/b]

The advisor bowed his obedience. Tyr continued to his room, listening to and amending plans for the feast,[/font][/size] Edited by Allamorph
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  • 1 month later...
[FONT="Book Antiqua"][B]?Matteus, greetings. I hope you are well.?[/B]

[B]?Yes, I believe I am.?[/B] Matteus watched as Lyfe ducked away and emerged herself into the bath. He smiled slightly and scratched his head. Out of the vast wealth of children his lord father possessed, Lyfe was the closest to Matteus, which revealed quite a bit of their family dynamic. Lyfe was only Matteus? half sister, and he held her in higher regard than most of his siblings, even his full ones.

Matteus removed his towel and hung it up, then offhandedly treaded towards the bath. He stepped in and shuddered slightly; the warmth was a double edged blade for someone like him. Though his body naturally relaxed in the water, his spirit felt uneasy. It was quite amusing to think that he felt out of his element simply because the water was warm, given that his elements were wind and water. He dismissed the feeling quickly by focusing on the crystalline clearness of the water?s surface and by addressing his sister.

[B]?You must be quite excited to be home, Lyfe. I imagine your journey was fraught with danger.?[/B] Lyfe, now floating atop the bath in a restful, yet somewhat aloof state, answered her brother casually.

[B]?Dangerous, no. To tell truth the journey was quite? exhausting. I am indeed glad to have finished and returned home.?[/B] Having finished her sentence, Lyfe stroked the water slowly with her right hand and was silent. Quite to Matteus? surprise, she then began smiling, seemingly for no reason. Matteus was one of the few of Lord Akanessler?s children that were ever graced with Lyfe?s smile, and he often thought that she would prove more agreeable if she would consider showing it more often. Even so, it never failed to catch him unaware. Lyfe titled her head towards him, still smiling, and addressed him.

[B]?I trust you have visited with your mother. The knowledge of your accomplishments must have put her in high spirits.?[/B] Matteus smiled at Lyfe?s words and nodded.

[B]?She was most content, but more so I believe by my presence than by my merit. I would imagine your mother shared that sentiment??[/B] Lyfe?s smile widened as her chest raised and her shoulders shrugged in silent laughter.

[B]?Yes, I believe so. She did not state it, but her eyes betrayed her simultaneous worry and relief.?[/B] Matteus scoffed lightly and relaxed against the wall of the bath. He closed both of his eyes and inhaled deeply, suddenly feeling very tired. As he released his breath he opened one eye to look at Lyfe and then smiled coyly.

[B]?Perhaps she refrained from expressing her concern because she was rendered speechless by your ravenous feeding frenzy. I pity her for having to bear witness to such a display.?[/B] Lyfe scoffed and rolled her eyes with amused exasperation. Matteus responded with the same action, and then the two fell silent, neither one feeling the urge to speak any longer. Lyfe reverted back into the serene nonchalance she exhibited pre conversation, and began absentmindedly stroking the water once more. Matteus continued to rest against the walls of the bath, eyes closed tightly. Apparently he had underestimated how weary his journey had left him, and the rest he?d taken earlier was not sufficient enough to restore him to full faculties. He resolved to doze for a couple of minutes, as he knew his father would send someone along to alert him when it was time to prepare for the feast.

It seemed that no sooner had he closed his eyes he was forced once more to open them. The scurry of feet and somewhat distance voice signaled that he would have to wait until later in the evening to resume his slumber. Before the figure had even arrived to the bath-side, Matteus and Lyfe had emerged and robed themselves. The messenger, a female perhaps only a year or two older then Lyfe, approached them, and bowed lowly. Matteus grinned broadly when her face became visible once more; he recognized her as his youngest full sister, Mia Akanessler. She smiled back at him heartily and relayed her message

[B]?Lord Matteus and Lady Lyfe, I bring word from our father, Lord Akanessler. His lordship requests your presence within the main hall promptly, as the feast is almost prepared and the guest shall be arriving presently. He also requests that you both begin making preparations to escort his grace on a venture away from the dun.?[/B] Matteus and Lyfe looked to each other for a moment, then Matteus directed his gaze back to Mia and smiled.

[B]?Of course. Thank you Mia.?[/B] Mia bowed her head in response and the three began making their way from the bathhouse. Matteus smiled at his sister and placed his hand on her shoulder to gain her attention.

[B]?It is relieving to see you in such good health, Mia.?[/B] Mia smiled thankfully at her brother.

[B]?You are too kind, Matteus, worrying for my health whilst it is you and Lyfe whose wellbeing should be considered. It?s amazing that you manage to find the time to worry, what with your constant run-ins with brigands and ne?er-do-wells!?[/B]

[B]?Ne?er-do-wells aside, the safety and security of my family are always of the utmost importance. There is no instance too grave or too tumultuous that my thoughts should not be on my kin.?[/B] Mia giggled lightly and bowed her head again.

[B]?As I have already stated my dear brother, you are too kind. But now I must take my leave of you and Lyfe. We will have to resume catching up another time. Goodbye Matteus, goodbye Lyfe.?[/B] With that, Mia parted ways with Matteus and Lyfe, and the remaining siblings trekked towards their respective rooms to prepare for both the upcoming dinner and the intriguing adventure they would soon be embarking on.[/FONT]
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[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"][i]Lyfe sat at her table and observed her reflection passively as the elaborate ring brooch was set into the plaid around her waist. Her overdress reached the tips of her toes, which for the occasion had been painted with a sort of pearly opalescence that was also present on her fingernails. Her hair was at the moment being arranged in a series of very severe braids, that tamed the usual mane of her hair into a much more elegant and refined coiffure. The servant who had been designated to serve Berwynna and Lyfe was busy finishing off the last of the braids and tying them off with silver ribbons. Around her throat went a simple silver torc worked over with spirals and interlace and the insignia of the clan.

Folding her kerchief into her kirtle and tucking her steel table dagger in as well, Lyfe stood, somewhat stiffly and bowed very slowly to her mother. Berwynna smiled and inwardly gloated at the beauty of her daughter. The other women who served Lord Akanessler were not unattractive, but the fact remained that Lyfe was still the youngest and probably always would be. The serving woman also smiled and adjusted the hem of her plaid briefly before stepping back.[/i]

"Lovely little Lyfe. You'll turn heads so fast the-"

"Oh stop that. Everyone knows my father won't betroth me until my elder sisters are all married."

[i]Lyfe wrinkled her nose while her mother chuckled and shook her head resignedly.[/i]

"Who knows."

"Who indeed. Everyone knows that Milord won't do anything to jeopardize his relationships with the local lords, but what if some young exotic nobleman comes tonight?"

"And I never see my little Lyfe again? Tyr would do no such thing to us!"

[i]Berwynna didn't look completely convinced as she said this, but Lyfe shrugged it off and walked towards the hall. One of her many brother's greyhounds joined her, so tall he nearly came up to her waist and she laughed and rubbed his behind his ears while he whined and nuzzled her. At that she was joined by his owner, one of her oldest brothers and already a married man, Jervus. His wife currently home and pregnant in their own dun on their own territories, Jervus only visited for occasions like this, and to torment his younger sisters just a little.[/i]

"Lyfe, looking cute and five years old as usual."

[i]Instead of rising to the bait verbally, Lyfe just smiled to herself and placed her left hand on his arm, willing just a few pinpricks of firey light into his arm. He yelped and jerked back, rubbing his elbow where she'd touched a couple nerves and laughed at himself.[/i]

"Oh you, I see father filled you with any number of useful gifts."

"And I'll use any one of them on you if you insist on treating me like a baby this time."

"Really? You'd do that to your own brother?"

"Of course. You'll have a male heir soon, the kingdom won't miss you."

[i]Lyfe punched his arm in a comradish way and laughed aloud, the greyhound snuffling at her hand while he did it, intent on the scent of the blood still under her pained fingernails. He laughed and made her a courtly bow, offering her his arm. She smile and took it, letting him walk her down the heavy stone steps to the great hall, where the sounds of many voices were rising up to greet them.

Smells of woodsmoke, cooking meat, and ale filled the air, and Lyfe felt her stomach growling, despite the large meal she'd eaten earlier. The sight of raw meat by the fire, waiting to be consumed was almost like a compulsion. All at once she saw the dark eyes of her father flash in her direction and he looked away from the young lord he had been speaking with. Lyfe felt her body being turned slightly by Jervus's arm and both of them bowed in tandem to him. The servant by the door perked up immediately and shouted.[/i]

"The Lord Jervus Akanessler of Brin Cyrdd. Lady Lyfe Akanessler, daughter of the Blood."

[i]Some men in the crowd sighed with longing, some women bit their lips in jealousy, and Tyr walked forward to greet his children, his smile leonine and almost kind.[/i] [/FONT][/COLOR]
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