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Dragon Knights: The Night Wars

Darth Vectis

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The Cast


Dragon Knight Malik- Myself

Dragon Knight Bayel- K.G.

Dragon Slayer Haytham- Orcus

Battle-mage Garrick- DeLarge

Wizard Julian- Kayin Cloud



Dragon Knights: The Night Wars



The world was dark and silent, the creatures of the night had settled in for a well deserved rest as they all knew that the sun would be rising in a short time. Everything was at itâ??s darkest, no more sign of either of the two moons that orbited their world, no evidence of any of the brighter stars ever existed. Malik had risen early as he stared at the blackness all around him, no lights were on, no electricity flowed through his quarters nor any illuminating mage fire. He stood without his armor, a sense of freedom without the bonds of his dragon forged armor bearing down on his shoulders. He wore a loose tunic with plain trousers now, clothes he normally wasnâ??t able to wear even in the Battle Tower when walking around. Most claimed it was for his own safety, that he needed to protect himself at all times, that he was their only hope in winning this new war. He didnâ??t believe any of that, they boosted his importance higher than any man should be elevated, he understood he was the First Born, a title bestowed upon him from the first dragon. It was all magical to others, and fantastic war stories to tell around the hearth to troops and commoners alike, but it was just a title and he was just a man with a duty hanging around his neck.

His hands were held formally behind his back, a position he had maintained many times before in the folds of the metal of his armor. Standing on a balcony outside his quarters, feeling the air whip around him as he stood several hundred feet above the ground as he closed his eyes and let his arms hang at his sides. Letting the world fade as he tried to remember a better time, when things were less gray, when all he had to deal with was daily reports of supplies needed for the tower, care for livestock and speaking to the dragons who resided with them. He found he couldnâ??t summon the image, no memory coming to mind that was able to pull him away from the present. Another war they would say, another bloody chapter in their history, but they would never understand what this was like, never understand what it was like to fight someone you once called brother, who was your battle sister. He opened his eyes then, the sun was starting to peek over the horizon creating a red glow and pushing the darkness aside. Malik watched as the sun rose, the light cascading over the land as it brought color back to the world. The land around Dragonâ??s Rise was a plains that gave them view for miles, the deep green of the grass and golden color of the wheat shined against the rays of the sun.

â??It looks to be a beautiful day my lord.â? The soft voice had caught him by surprise, something she always did very well. People would have liked to believe he could hear her coming, have known she would show up and never be caught off guard, but he was just a man. Though he was always aware of his surroundings on the battlefield, magic and sorcery would always get the better of him if he wasnâ??t careful.

â??Yes, it would be, if not for our war.â? Malik didnâ??t look at her, he just kept his eyes on the fields before him.

â??You should really put on your armor Tourid Shegul, it is not safe for you."

â??It is not safe for any of us Cassandra, not as long as Corvin is free.â? Silence followed as they both stared out toward the sun, seeing everything coming back to life from the cold night.

â??Iâ??ve received reports in the night, one of our scouting ships returned from itâ??s patrol. They informed me of another raid by Corvinâ??s forces. The fallen knights had come across one of the villages that we have been recruiting from, Tarrick and Glaive were stationed there.â? Cassandra looked over to him, her eyes only betraying her thoughts for just a moment before she looked away again.

â??I hope they fought valiantly.â?

â??Tarrick was killed in his sleep, Glaive managed to change and bring down one of them before being killed himself. There is nothing valiant about what we do, as long as we keep this war going, more will die for nothing.â? Cassandra kept herself steeled against the sound of his voice, a mixture of anger and sorrow was caught in the undertone of his words. She turned away and walked over to where his armor stood on the stand, the imposing figure it created and the presence of awe some felt when first meeting him. She noticed then, two new weapons had been placed in the wall rack behind the armor, a war hammer with a large spike on the end of the handle and a Falchion with intricate runes etched into the blade.

â??Are these Tarrick and Glaives weapons? Iâ??m surprised you were able to get these.â? She wasnâ??t really, the rack itself was dedicated to the knights who had fallen in this war. She looked at each one carefully, she saw that the wall rack covered most of the wall and it was only a quarter of the way filled. That idea that it was that full already almost broke her heart, dozens of Knights had met their end by their brothers, and with each death, Malik collect their weapon and placed it on his wall. She couldnâ??t look at it any longer, she reached up and pulled the helmet free from the stand and walked it over to Malik. He had remained silent the whole time, not bothering to even look in the direction as he let his mind wander, only coming back to the world as he felt the cold metal touch his bare skin. Looking at the empty face from the helmet staring at him, whispering about the old wars and the lives lost in each one, of the people he knew and died. He took the piece of armor and held it in his hands, only looking at it for a few seconds before turning from the balcony and walking to the stand and started putting on the pieces of the armor.

â??I am tired of seeing my knights die Cassandra, this war needs to end it has gone on long enough.â?

â??Well if it was that easy I am sure you would have done it yourself years ago Malik. Corvin was an excellent wizard, and with whatever enhancements heâ??s given himself he has hidden himself from me and Teâ??lian. I donâ??t see what you are going to do differently to find him.â? Malik already had the put on the lower half of his armor, clapping on the breastplate and putting on his gauntlets.

â??Then let us try something different, he knows how the knights operate, he devised many of our tactics along side me, I need people he doesn't know, that he canâ??t predict like he can us.â?

â??Now who would we find for that kind of plan? All we really have here are Dragon knights and the dragons who stayed with you.â? Malik adjusted the straps and buckles on his armor, making sure everything was fitted correctly as he flexed his hands.

â??You forget about the slayers sorceress, we made them for this kind of thing. Isnâ??t there one who is related to one of our knights, Kromâ??s son isnâ??t it?â? Cassandra held out her hand and materialized a book in her palm, the size was small but with another quick swipe of her hand and the book grew. She open the cover and started sifting through the pages, coming to a stop and using a slender finger to scroll down the page before tapping a finger on a specific name.

â??You are right, but do you really want to include Krom the Unyieldingâ??s son in this? Krom was unstable before we got to him, and we gave him the means to cause immense damage I can only imagine what his son will do.â?

â??Krom has grown wiser with time, his son will be an asset to us, he has already proven himself in battle and his Slayer talents have been most effective.â? Cassandra seemed displeased with the idea, she didnâ??t trust the Slayers yet and even less with Kromâ??s son being involved, though he was one of Malikâ??s trusted advisers.

â??Thatâ??s well and all, but that still leaves you with the mindset of a dragon knight and a slayer and a sorceress who has been there since the beginning. We canâ??t find him with just that Malik.â? Malik walked across the room to a table in the middle of his quarters with papers scattered everywhere, maps of known boarders, reports of conflicts and encounters all over. He searched through the papers and after several moments of picking through the papers he found a piece of parchment scribbled on and walked it back to Cassandra. Looking over the writing, she raised a brow at him once she had finished reading the paper.


â??Is this a list of Battle-mages? How many are there left after the war?â?

â??A lot more than you would think, there are a couple on there I want you to take special interest in. Ollen is someone I know, if he hasnâ??t thrown it in for the easier life heâ??s a valuable asset. There is also a Viridisian iâ??ve heard word about, Garrick I think his name is, make sure he is assessed properly.â? Cassandra held the paper in one hand while pinching the bridge of her nose, her painted eyes closed in a mock frustration.

â??Very well, now, anyone else you want or is this disaster in waiting all you need?â? Malik took a few seconds to think, looking as if he was contemplating something.

â??Make sure that Knight Moretal is told to meet with me, she seems to have taken upon herself to be my personal guard so she will get that chance in an official manner. Now, can you recommend any sorcerers or wizards who could benefit us?â?

â??Why do you need another wizard? You have my power at your disposal, you donâ??t need anything more than me!â? Cassandra seemed offended by his words, he looked to her and tried his best to give her a reassuring smile.

â??Of course you are, but Corvin knows your ways as I do, a fresh perspective and different talents will give us the edge. Find me someone for this, and I want you to personally see to this, you are the expert on magic, you will have final say on who is capable.â? Putting her hands on her hips, crinkling the paper in her hands as she let a harsh breath escape her nose.

â??Very well then, this will take a few days at least, until the keep yourself occupied.â? Malik bowed his head to her, picking up the helmet he had set aside as he turned to walk out the large double, steel banded doors.

â??I will do my best, these ambassadors are a toss up, hopefully I wonâ??t lose it and start tossing them out the tower windows.â? Cassandra felt her heart thump for just a second, his words striking an old memory from a war long over now. She mentally shook herself as she watched the Dragon Commander leave with his cape flowing behind him, his helmet cradled in his arm as he put of his mask of cold iron even though he felt as if the winds of fate were changing for them, and for those he was going to involve in their battle.

OOC: Alright everyone, you will all be contact in someway or another by Malik, whether it is by someone sent for you or you are to personally meet with him. How that happens, whether gently or not, is up to you and who gets you I leave to your imagination. Have fun, and see you at Dragonâ??s Rise.

Edited by Darth Vectis
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The raucous noise from the Tavern could be heard across the hills and valleys, echoing through the darkness of night and shaking the ground. Orange light spilled from the small windows, large bodies casting grotesque silhouettes on the ground as they passed back and forth across the torches.


Bodies were pressed close together and the thumping on the wooden floors was deafening as the circle of men held tankards to their lips, pouring dark, bitter ale down their throats, their eyes flicking back and forth to their opponents. A scruffy, bearded man drained the last drops of foamy liquid from his tankard and slammed it on the table in front of him, moments before the tall man opposite him did the same. The crowd erupted as the bearded man threw his arms in the air, slapping him on the back and chanting his name.


The tall man narrowed his eyes, leaned over the table and grabbed the bearded man by the scruff of his neck.


"That was the last of my bronze, stranger," he growled, his voice rumbling from deep in his belly and his rage evident in his small, piggy eyes, "And no-one beats me in a drinking contest. No-one."


"Well, to be fair..." the bearded man replied, holding his hands up in the universal gesture of peace, "It seems like on this occasion, someone did!"


The tall man raised his fist, until the bearded man's hand shot out and grabbed his opponent's wrist.


"Let's not get excited, friend," he said, pushing the taller man back to his spot on the other side of the table, "How about this - I'll give you a chance to not only win back your own money, but also take all of mine?"


"How do you propose that happens, stranger?" replied the tall man, lowering his fist and settling in his place across the table from the bearded man.


"With these," the bearded man said, producing a small wooden box from the pack at his feet and placing it on the table. He slid the lid back a tiny amount, and a spindly, insect-like leg whipped out of the box, causing the collected crowd to gasp and recoil from the table.


"What in the name of the Twin Moons is that?" growled the tall man.


"That, my friend, is a Kardosian Tree Spider," replied the bearded man, "A deadly spider found only in the deepest part of the Kardosi Jungle."


"And what do you propose we do with that?"


"Correction, friend: what do we do with them?" the bearded man said, tipping the box up and revealing two large, green-and-red spiders which scuttled around the table for a moment before settling.


"I propose a game," said the bearded man, "Kardosian Tree Spiders feed on a healthy diet of living flesh, but human is their favourite. We each take a spider, place them on the backs of our hands and drink. The first person to finish their drink, tip the spider off their hand and place the tankard on top of the spider wins."


The tall man, visibly recoiling from the presence of the two spiders, swallowed nervously.


"And what are we to play for?"


"If you win, you take back every bronze shard I have taken from you tonight, as well as every other bronze shard in my possession, and you may choose one other item from my pack to take home with you."


"And if you win?"


"If I win...I take your arrows," the bearded man replied, gesturing towards the man's quiver, hanging on the back of his chair.


"Those are enchanted arrows. They're priceless," the tall man replied, angry.


"These are the terms of my wager, friend," the bearded man said with a smile as a pair of full tankards were placed in front of him, "You may accept or reject them as you so wish, but be aware that backing out will paint something of a target on your back, and the fellows in this very Tavern don't seem to take to cowardice well." He gestured around to some of the toughest, angriest-looking men in the Tavern, which seemed to strengthen the tall man's resolve somewhat.


"Very well. You have your wager," the tall man said, reaching his hand across the table. The bearded man gripped it tight and shook it, sliding one of the tankards over to the tall man. Maintaining his grip on the tall man's hand, he picked up the spiders and placed one on his own hand, and one on the tall man's. The second the spindly legs touched skin, the spiders plunged their mandibles into the flesh of the men's hands, causing the tall man to wince and the bearded man to grin and lift his own tankard to his lips.


The spiders continued to drive themselves deep into the men's hands, blood pouring out of the wounds as they drank. The bearded man kept his eyes locked on the tall man, whose own gaze was wavering, grunts of pain gurgling through mouthfuls of ale.


Moments later, the bearded man swallowed the final mouthful of ale, flipped the spider off his hand and slammed the tankard down over the spider. The Tavern exploded with noise and chaos, and the tall man threw his near-empty tankard to the ground, tearing the spider off and leaving it to scuttle over towards the box.


The bearded man scooped the spiders back into the box and slid it shut, placing it back in his pack calmly. He gestured over to the tall man, beckoning with the three remaining fingers of his right hand.


"Your arrows, if you please," he said with a grin, and the tall man reluctantly handed his quiver over. The other patrons of the Tavern cheered, and the bearded man picked up his pack.


"I believe I've had all the fun I can manage for tonight, friends," he said, and as the Tavern groaned he placed a small coin purse on the bar, "But your drinks are on me tonight!" The groans immediately turned into cheers, and the bearded man stepped out of the door into the cold night, his breath misting in the air in front of him.


"Garrick Flynt?" asked an unfamiliar voice from behind him, and the bearded man turned to face an attractive young woman following him out of the Tavern, a woman dressed in long robes covered by a hooded black cloak.


"For you, my dear, I can be anyone you want," replied Garrick, slurring his words a little.


"Impressive piece of trickery in there," she said, gesturing to the Tavern, "He didn't know you're a Virdisian, did he? Those spiders eat flesh, not tree bark."


"Half-Virdisian, if you please," he replied, lifting his hand and showing the oozing circular gash in the back of it, "All flesh here, no tree bark."


"I doubt that would matter to him," she replied, "In fact, I think he's coming to settle that particular dispute with you right now." She gestured back to the Tavern, as the tall man strode through the door towards Garrick, a long knife glinting in his hand.


"You tricked me!" the tall man yelled, thrusting his knife towards Garrick's gut. With a single movement, Garrick dodged the blow, grabbed the tall man's wrist and slammed his own knife into the tall man's throat. He gurgled, his eyes wide, for a moment, then collapsed on the ground. Garrick removed his knife, wiped it on the tall man's shirt and placed it back into the sheath on his thigh.


"Now, was there something I could help you with? It's just that there's a village full of rather comely young women just over that hill and I'd really like to make the most of my night," said Garrick with a wide, crooked grin.


"My name is Cassandra," replied the young woman, "I am a cohort of the Dragon Commander, Malik Diarmid the First Born."


"Oh, that big man with the armour and no sense of humour, sitting up in his tower trying to take control of the chaos? Am I supposed to be impressed by your connection to him?" said Garrick, his tone suddenly much colder.


"He led all of us, including you, to victory against the Daemons," snarled Cassandra, "And you should have some respect."


"He's nothing special, you realise that? Just another soldier in a long line of soldiers that goes back to the dawn of time and will continue to go until the darkness swallows us all whole. So he can turn into a dragon, he's just another weapon in a war that will never end."


"And you are a mercenary. You do not fight for honour or for the greater good. You fight only for profit," spat Cassandra.


"Don't we all? 'Honour' and 'victory' are just commodities, same as gold and gemstones. At least I'm honest about my intentions, that's more than I can say for your friend Malik," said Garrick, turning on his heel and walking away.


"Very well," sighed Cassandra, "I had hoped to instill some sense of dignity and honour in you, but it is obvious now that this is a lost cause."


"Thank you, at least you realised that eventually!"


"What I can offer you is wealth beyond your wildest dreams. Enough to keep you stocked up on ale and women of loose morals until the end of your days, if that's how you choose to spend your life," Cassandra shouted after him, and Garrick stopped in place.


"Before you go around making promises the Dragon Commander may not be able to keep," replied Garrick, turning on his heel and walking back towards Cassandra, "You should be aware that my appetites for both ale and women, border on the unquenchable. How much money are we really talking about here?"


"Enough to purchase your own island in the Shimmering Seas if you so wish. All we request is that you meet with the First Born at Dragon's Rise to discuss a mission. If you accept, your reward will be riches and freedom to do with your life exactly as you choose. If you decline, you will be compensated handsomely for your time and allowed to go your own way. What do you say?"


"Well..." said Garrick, stroking his beard with the two fingers and thumb of his right hand, "I suppose it can't hurt to talk to the old warhorse. Lead on, milady!"

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Bayel sat at her desk, looking over the letters she had received from her family over the years, some from her many brothers, others from her mother or father, but all of them from the same place. Not many, if any, knew she came from the Westlands, a small village, remote and not bothered. Most people didn't even know it existed, the small gypsy village had the same reputation she her self did. No one bothered them, they were 'creepy' and strange, and left to their own devices; her entire family had the same trait as her self. Most if not all of them could hear the whispers of their ancestor's, the elder of the village was revered to be one of the strongest links to the realm of the dead. She sighed, she missed them so, the tower she lived in now was cold, and dark, and lonesome. Oh, of course they would still be there when she returned, though grey, and weathered, they would be there. Her village had the rumor of long life, she believed it was one reason she had been chosen. She jerked out of her thoughts as there was a rap on her door; she slipped the papers back into her desk, closed the drawer and stood, her heeled boots clicking on the floor. Opening the door she recognized Cassandra, her eye brow tilted slightly. She wasn't a fan of this woman, her feelings seemed to cloud her judgment most of the time, and the cold demeanor towards Bayel made the blue haired woman even less inclined to like, let alone talk to the woman. She seemed to be connected to Malik at the hip, which did not bear well with her either. Many lords of his stature get taken down by one closest to them and she was weary of the women. Cassandra looked at her as if she were going to turn into a specter and steal the souls of the inhabitants of the tower at any moment.  

"Malik wishes a council with you."

'Something has happened.'

She refocused on the woman and nodded, turning back into her modest room she grabbed her jacket, slipped it on and walked past her with a swish of her coat. Or it could have been jealousy that was shining in Cassandra's eyes, was she jealous of Bayel? She couldn't understand why, Malik rarely spoke to her unless he needed to, where as Cassandra was is ever present companion. Bayel closed her eyes, her feet taking her where she wanted to go, did other people feel the same as the lady wizard? She honestly could care less, her duty was to Malik and none other, he was their only hope to end the war, and she was going to do what ever it took to make sure he stayed alive long enough for it to happen. She kept her head down as she walked towards Malik's meeting room, if any one was in the halls as she walked through they moved away from her as she made her way to her destination, she could hear the shuffling of their feet as they got out of her way, her steps were swift til she made it to his door. Rapping on it smartly she waited til she heard him speak.


Walking in she closed the door behind her and stood waiting from him.

'Something is wrong.'

Bayle ignored the voice for once, keep her attention on Malik. 

"Moretal, did you know why I've called for you?"

"No Sir, I do not."
"You've seem to have taken it upon your self to be my personal guard."

"You follow me like a puppy."

"Sir, your the most important person to our cause Sir, if any thing were to happen to you, our ranks would be shaken and would begin to fall apart. I only try to make sure you stay safe, Sir."

"Well, you'll be getting your chance, I have something that needs to be done and you'll be coming with me."

"Yes Sir. I'll do my best."
"I'm sure you will."

She frowned, his voice was still stiff, as if he didn't quite trust her.

"Sir, might I ask something?"
He didn't answer, only turned his head slightly to look at her.

"Is there a reason, you seem to distance your self from me more then most?"

He didn't answer her, only turned back towards the window, looking out. She nodded, knowing the conversation to be over.

'He is worried.'

"Sir, your worried."

Again he said nothing, only continued to gaze out the window.

"Everything will work out in our favor Sir. By life or limb I'll make sure no harm comes to you, so that you may put an end to this war."

Inclining her head to his back she retreated and waited for the summons she knew to be coming when it was time for them to move. 

Edited by K.G
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"Look, buddy, we don't want any trouble. All we want is the copper in your pocket and we'll be on our way," a tall dark-skinned man with black hair said with a small grin. "And any other valuables you've got on you would be greatly appreciated, right?" he said and a younger man and woman chuckled alongside him. "We haven't eaten in a couple days so our moods are pretty easy to go sour, ya know?"

"Yeah, especially him," the white-haired woman said, pointing to the auburn-haired man next to him and grabbing his arm. "He's wasting away to nothing!" she laughed, stepping out of reach from the man as he swung a fist her way. "And he's especially moody," she smirked.

"P-please I don't have much of anything to give... I only have a few copper and even some rations, but nothing more," a young boy said, backed to a tree by the three thugs before him. He looked rather dirtied and beaten. The three of them hadn't been his only run in this evening from his appearance. "I've already had a run in with a few rogues along my travels and I've been lucky to get away with this little bit. Please, you three, give me a break here..." he pleaded, looking between the three. The night concealed his face beneath the hood he wore, save for a set of piercing blue eyes.


"Well, we can give you a few breaks if you like," "Auburn" said with a chuckle. "What do you say, Talon?" he asked the taller man of their party. "It's only right that we give him what he asks for."


Talon grinned. "You're right, Sothe. I'm thinking that could be arranged pretty easily," he said, looking to the woman. "We had the last two, have fun Nyna. Make sure you collect his things when yo-"


"Excuse me!" came a shout followed by the sound of something stomping along the path...something big. The four people along the path looked up to see a large wolf charging toward them with a small figure riding on its back. "Coming through, folks!"


"Who the hell...?" Nyna said, tilting her head. "Sothe, can you do something about that?" she asked, grabbing their young victim by the collar and pinning him to the tree. "I'm gonna get started on this guy before he gets any ideas."

"Sounds like a plan. That wolf could probably feed us for a while. And whoever's with it can just be another victim," he grinned, drawing a composite bow from his quiver and taking aim on the wolf.


"Is he gonna shoot at us? That's not good, he wants to hurt my puppy..." the rider said, looking up ahead of him. "That's not very nice of them... Okay, go home, boy. I'll call you back when I'm ready to play again," he said, petting the wolf's head before the wolf disappeared into nothing and the rider, a little boy, floated down to his feet. "Sorry, I didn't mean to cause so much racket. I'm just in a big hurry! Can you folks let me through, please?" he asked, approaching them. The three of the thugs looked very puzzled, as did the young man who they were mugging. "Uhm...hello?"


"Who the hell is this kid and what the hell was that thing you were riding?" Talon said, turning toward the child.


"Huh? Oh! I'm Julian, and that was Lyon. He's my buddy," Julian smiled. His smile quickly changed as he looked toward the male pinned to the tree. "H-hey! You shouldn't hurt him!" he disappeared and Nyna was standing where he stood before while Julian brushed the young man off. "Are you okay? You really shouldn't be out in the open like this, you know? It's not safe among humans," he said, smiling.


"Thank you, young man...It has been quite a journey for me," the young man said with a smile.


"Hehe, glad to help, mister. Be safe getting back to your home!"


"Don't point that at me!" came from Nyna as she punched Sothe upside the head. "What's wrong with you?!"


Sothe rubbed his head. "I-It's not my fault! The kid switched places with you some how. He must be a wizard or somethin'..."



Talon shook his head, growing irritated as the young man had disappeared and Julian stood in his place. "You know, you're going to have to pay up for getting rid of our meal ticket. And since you can cast magic, you should be able to conjure up some cash or at least some food for us. Maybe for the rest of your life you could just travel with us and keep us fed and wealthy. What do you say, kid?"
"Sorry, I can't. I really gotta go meet this dragon, so I can't stay much longer. Really sorry, mister." Julian replied, scratching the back of his head. "See ya!" Julian said as he started to take off before Talon took a hold of him with a knife to his neck. "H-hey! Let me go!"
"Children should really learn their place. Now, I'm really hungry so I'd suggest you cooperate you little brat..." Talon murmured as Sothe and Nyna surrounded Julian.
"Stop treating me like a kid...I HATE when people treat me like a kid!!" he shouted, sending Nyna and Sothe flying back off of their feet and slamming himself and Talon into a tree. Freed from Talon's grip, he composed himself before looking back at the three. He decided he had better take off before the shout spell's concussive force wore off from the thugs. After making a solid distance, Julian stopped to catch his breath. "I think I lost them now," he said, clutching his spell book to his chest. "I hope I didn't lose too much time..I'd better call Lyon back up," he said, opening his spellbook and chanting a few lines before his dire wolf seemed to materialize suddenly. "Lyon! Sorry to keep you waiting. I didn't want those bad guys to hurt you," he said, walking up and petting Lyon's muzzle receiving a face full of wolf slobber. Julian chuckled and laughed. "Come on, buddy. Let's get back to it!" he said, climbing onto Lyon's back.
Hours more of travel brought him in range of the dragon's keep: The Battle Tower. "This is it, Lyon...today I'm gonna see me a dragon..." He exhaled softly. "I'd better go it alone from here so you can rest. Besides, I don't know how they'd take to you," he said leaning down and petting Lyon's head. "I'll call you when it's safe, okay?" The wolf seemed to respond with a nod before he dissolved again. "Now, teleportation won't work, since I've never been there before...Invisibility wouldn't get me through any sort of wards they have, and if I dispel any of them, whoever set them will notice. Maaaaaaaaan!" his cheeks puffed up, frustrated as he was having a hard time thinking of an easy solution. "The only thing I can think to do is to get caught and escape but I don't know what sort of force I'd be trying to get away from," he tugged on his hair a bit, sighing. Think, Julian, think.... he closed his eyes, crossing his arms over his chest. He opened his eyes and reached into the cloak's fabric, drawing a small crystal orb out of it. He began to chant a few words, attempting to scry past the wards to no success. His eyes turned from green to blue and the crystal glowed the same blue. Have to find a weak point...whoever placed this wards.... Julian stopped his scanning and exhaled softly. "I guess it's just to hope whoever catches me takes me to the dragon," he said with a sigh. "Ah well..." Julian smiled. "I just hope I don't run into the mage who set these wards up," he shuddered. "They must be scary strong!" he said, disappearing from view as he advanced toward the tower.
As Julian reached the tower, he slipped in past the conventional barriers easily enough, avoided being detected by guards, and stayed out of sight as he tried to figure out where he'd find the dragon. He's probably at the top, sitting on his horde of gold or somethin' like that, Julian thought, smiling as he made his way up the tower. A little less than half way up the tower, a chill ran down his spine. N-not good! he thought as he started to take off before he felt something snag his collar and lift him off of his feet. Plan A was successful....but now comes the part where I hope for the best...
"Child, you had better have a good explanation for being where you don't belong. Even more so, I don't see how a boy of your age could make it so far into my wards without being detected sooner. Explain?" the woman who had picked him up and unveiled his invisibility spell was staring him in the face now.
"Well, it's cause I know magic. And I knew whoever placed the wards was really good and I'd get detected. And I tried reaaaaally hard to find a gap in the wards that I could fit through. Even if I shrunk down I couldn't get in! But anyway, I'm here to see the dragon, please, ma'am," Julian said with a big, innocent smile.
The woman sighed, pressing her palm to her face and shaking her head. "Child, what is your name?"
"I'm Julian Kiris, ma'am," he said with a smile. "Nice to meet you, Miss Sorceress lady!"
"Please don't address me as that... Gods, what am I supposed to do...?"
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Haytham enjoyed roaming the streets of Dragon's Rise during the afternoons. The people in the city were always in motion, haggling, arguing, lovingâ??they found solace from the war in their mundane everyday tidings, and Haytham could share in that when he walked among them. Unfortunately, the people in Dragon's Rise did not find his presence as endearing; whether they gazed appreciatively upon him or cowered at his fearsome appearance, he had a sobering effect on them. Their opinion bothered Haytham little, however, as he had accepted that he would always be an outcast in society. If they won the war, he would be a relic from the past; if they lost, he would be a war criminal.

â??Always lost in your thoughts, Haytham,â? a female voice chided Haytham. He tore his eyes away from a family gazing at him from the shadows and looked at the speaker, one of his entourage. Her name was Emery Folcurt, and she was one of his two squires (yes, two. Haytham was the ambitious sort). Her jade eyes watched him with amusement, which betrayed the core facet of her character; her incorrigible pride. It was her pride that had encouraged Haytham to take her on as an apprentice. Few women would stand in front of a blood-soaked Dragon Slayer and demand that he teach her the art of the sword. Fortunately for she, she proved an able student. He opened his mouth to respond to her, but another did so first.

â??Such insolence, squire! To refer to our Lord Pavel by the lord's given name is reprehensible!â? shouted the stern voice of a young woman who had previously been walking in front of Haytham. Her name was Aemelia Odinson, and she hailed from the Empire as well. During a particularly gruesome engagement between Corvin and Malik's warriors, the conflict spilled into a city on the outskirts of the Empire. Most of the villagers fled in the wake of such animosity, but Aemelia, who had long acted as the village's protector, grabbed her sword and rushed into the battlefield. The enemy scoffed at her approach, but their dismissal of Aemelia due to her age proved their undoing. It was only the rampage of a belligerent dragon that ended Aemelia's glorious display. Before the dragon could vanquish Aemelia, Haytham struck the dragon down. Aemelia felt so indebtedâ??and was lacking a home, since the villagers had abandoned her and the town had been razedâ??that she pledged himself to Haytham.

â??Such severity is unnecessary, Aemelia,â? Haytham interjected with amusement. â??I harbor no fondness for titles or statusâ??especially not between allies. Leave formality for the Battle Tower.â? Aemelia nodded dutifully.

â??Of course, my lord,â? she responded. Haytham smiled and placed his hand on her shoulder, before turning his attention back to Emery.

â??Emery is right, however. My thoughts have overwhelmed me as of late. I think often to the end of the war, and the never-ending hardships we have welcomed into our lives by becoming soldiers. We will be secretly despised in life and openly worshiped in death. Interesting, no?â? Haytham questioned, his expression unreadable.

â??What a... pleasant thought, Haytham. Yer a little young to be that... Hmm, I would say philosophical, but that sentiment is downright depressing,â? a gruff voice stated. Truthfully, everything about Leonardo Rumore was gruff: his facial hair, his grunts, his pastimes. Haytham didn't know much about Leonardo's life prior to finding the man drinking a village under a proverbial and literal table, but like Emery, Leonardo forced himself in Haytham's life. As soon as he sobered up, he began referring to himself as Haytham's â??mentorâ? and began following Haytham around to â??ensure his well-being,â? which amounts to little more than being loud, making lewd comments and drinking. What he lacked in general pleasantries and outright strength, he made up with tenfold in cunning. Haytham sometimes wondered if Leonardo hadn't planned out the entirety of his life in advance, as he's never borne witness to a situation where Leonardo didn't come out on top.

â??What you should be thinking of at yer age is drinking and women! Speaking of...â? Leonardo grabbed Haytham's head and twisted in the direction of a nearby bread shop. Inside, a beautiful white haired battle-mage was purchasing some supplies. She had an exotic air about her: everything from her strange weapon to her peculiar garb evoked curiosity. Haytham found himself lost for words.

â??Watch and learn, young master,â? Leonardo said coyly, swaggering off in the direction of the woman. Haytham, still stunned, could only watch as Leonardo draped his arm around the girl's shoulder and began making a fool of himself.

â??Worry not, fair maiden. I will pay for your meal,â? he stated with a wink. The mage scrutinized Leonardo from head to toe before responding.

â??...Thank you, sir knight,â? the woman said tentatively, her voice enticing and her accent unfamiliar. Leonardo threw the vendor some money and escorted the woman away from the store.

â??Leonardo. Sir Leonardo. And there is no need to thank me Lady...â? He paused and leaned toward his captive, waiting for her to offer her name.

â??Then I shanâ??t. Good day, sir knight,â? she said, bowing her head and peeling Leonardo's arm off. Leonardo, undeterred, continued to walk alongside the mage, with Haytham and crew following closely behind.

â??So frigid, like the snows of Mount Galacius! Does an act of kindness not gain me at least a name?â? Leonardo questioned. The mage, also undeterred, answered in kind.

â??An act of kindness would,â? she replied politely. Haytham scoffed, impressed by the mage's wit. Leonardo frowned and stroked his beard, obviously attempting to scrounge up another plan.

â??Well then... How about I earn your name, and a date tonight?â? Leonardo reasoned. The mage stopped and sighed.

â??How would you attempt to do that, sir knight?â? She responded without much enthusiasm.

â??Well, judging by your attire, you are undoubtedly a witch of some considerable talent. Mayhaps we could battle against one another? I could show you my... longevity,â? Leonardo suggested. The mage grimaced and her demeanor hardened. A small bolt of lightning crackled around each fist, startling Leonardo. Leonardo instinctively reached for his sword, and Haytham decided that this madness had ensued for far too long. He sprung in the path of Leonardo's blade and stayed his swing.

â??That is enough, Leonardo,â? Haytham commanded. â??I am terribly sorry for the conduct of my companion, m'lady. Please excuse his disgraceful behavior,â? Haytham apologized. The mage surveyed Haytham just as she had Leonardo.

â??His behavior is forgotten. As for you... Have you a name, Dragon Slayer?â? she inquired. Haytham blushed despite himself.

â??I am Haytham Pavel, son of Krom the Unyielding and Basira the Tempest,â? Haytham declared with a bow. The mage smiled and curtseyed in turn.

â??A pleasure, Sir Knight Pavel. I am Iulia, a Battle-Mage from Sablerot. How is it that a man of such character keeps company with a ruffian like him?â? She motioned toward Leonardo, who had wandered off and turned his attentions to Aemelia and Emery. Haytham groaned.

â??I oft ask myself the same thing,â? he joked, illiciting laughter from Iulia and himself.

â??Truthfully,â? he continued, â??he is a loyal friend and a goodhearted man. He is rarely so rude or forward... I have seen him try many tactics to secure a date, but combat is a new one. He will be reprimanded for his disrespectful display.â? Iulia placed her hands on her hips and shrugged.

â??No need to punish him... If it weren't for his behavior, we would not have had the pleasure of meeting one another,â? she said smiling. Haytham blushed again, before a thought struck him. He looked over at Leonardo, who winked at him prior to leading Aemelia and Emery down another street. Crafty troublemaker... Haytham thought disapprovingly. Even if Leonardo had... good intentions, Haytham did not approve of trickery, and would play no part in it.

â??It would seem that was the intention of my companion all along,â? Haytham admitted. Iulia thought this over for a moment, and then shrugged once more.

â??He has done no harm. There is no reason we should not reap the benefits of his deception. How about we reap those benefits over a meal? Although now might not be an opportune moment,â? Iulia stated as her gaze fluttered over to a nearby alley. A voice from said alley interjected.

â??Quite an astute observation, Lady Iulia,â? a grinning man complimented as he stepped between the pair. From up and down the street men and women shrieked and fled into their homes at the sight of him. Even Iulia lowered her head with a mixture of respect and fear. Even though Krom, like his son Haytham, walked the streets of Dragon's Rise frequently, his presence always created quite the stir.

â??Lord father,â? Haytham said, clasping his father's arm in an embrace.

â??The Dragon Commander requires your presence. I have been sent to collect you,â? Krom explained, shocking Haytham. What need did the Dragon Commander have of he? Despite his concern, he maintained his composure when he addressed Iulia.

â??I suppose we will have to postpone that conversation--â?

â??Date,â? Iulia corrected. Krom chuckled in the background.

â??Date,â? Haytham repeated, â??at another hour. How will I find you?â? Haytham had hardly finished his sentence when Iulia handed him a black scroll of paper.

â??Enchanted,â? she explained, noticing his confused expression. â??Any message you write on this parchment will reach me. It was a pleasure, Sir Haytham.â?

â??The pleasure was mine, Lady Iulia,â? Haytham countered. Iulia flashed him a smile before paying her respects to Krom and departing. Haytham watched, enamored, as she disappeared into the crowd.

â??Very lovely,â? Krom announced, breaking Haytham's concentration. â??Your mother will be excited when I tell her--â?

â??You said the Dragon Commander called for me?â? Haytham interposed, although he still had quite the sheepish expression on his face. Krom burst into laughter and wrapped his arm around his son.

â??Still a boy in many ways, ey? I'm glad to see the war has not robbed you completely of your youth. But you are right; other matters need attending. Let us make haste to the Battle Tower.â? Edited by Orcus
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â??I do appreciate you seeing me today my Lord, we at the Quillion Academy would like to offer our most humble of gratitude for this audience you have granted me.â? Malik sat quietly in his high backed chair, his face a cold mask of indifference with his hands settled on the arms of the chair. Looking at one of the more exotic races that have ever set foot in Dragonâ??s Rise and even more interesting that he was in the tower now.

â??Yes, I understand you are quite thrilled but you are the last emissary I am to see today and I would rather skip the pleasantries if you donâ??t mind, Ambassador Arn Siq.â? Arn, the Quillion, blinked itâ??s reptilian eyes and the lipless face showed a toothy smile.

â??Yes, yes, you are right, forgive me. Let me get right to the point of this meeting, we at the Academy wish to ask you for the assistance of the Dragon knights. We have unrest amongst our people, and that disturbs the Headmaster, yes he wants this situation settled.â?
Malik could feel something wrong with Arn, something about him was unsettling him as he stared kept his composure as he shifted in his chair. His golden eyes flashing for just a split second as he pulled back the veil in his own mind and focusing his attention on the mind of Arn Siq and seeped into the thoughts of the other.

â??If we acquire these knights, we can be rid of those tribes and have a foothold in Goranza. We missed our opportunity with Corvin and his ilk, but these knights will give us what we need.â?? Malikâ??s expression didnâ??t change as he pulled his mind back and leaned on to one hand to cradle his chin as if he was thinking about something, considering his options on this.

â??That is a very, interesting request ambassador. I will need some time to consider this, I will give you my answer by tomorrow. Now, if you would excuse me, I have a very important war meeting to attend. My guards shall escort you back to your quarters.â? Malik rose from his chair as Arn mimicked the action and bowed his head to the Dragon commander before walking to the double doors and a pair of guards walking by his sides. Malik waited for a few moments before walking out the same door, his face grimmer than it had been moments ago as Agatha took her place next to him.

â??Arn Siq is trying to use our people for political gain and I would prefer we decline his offer.â? Agatha held her hands behind her back as she looked only a little less cold than Malik, her head turned ever so much to look at him.


â??But, I read his mind and he made mention of coming into contact with Corvin and others like him.â? Agatha let out a snort at his words.

â??That could hardly be true, Corvin wouldnâ??t have allowed himself to be seen by the Quillion and allowed him to live. Corvin has been elusive so far, I doubt he would make this mistake.â? Malik nodded his head curtly.

â??Yes, I agree. But, this is the only lead we have had recently and I will not miss this chance. I will be sending a contingent of Knights to
investigate and find any evidence that supports this clue. You will accompany them to make sure the task is done right and thoroughly, I do not want to hear from you unless you find something or it is an emergency.�

â??Yes sir, this will likely be a wild goose chase, but iâ??ll get this done so you will get that six-legged Krelton bug out of your ass.â? She saluted him briefly before vanishing off to the side, leaving him alone as he strolled through the soaring hallways with his eyes wandering before falling upon one of the dragons that resided within the tower these days. He stopped then, seeing as the great beast looked down upon him and Malik stared back before giving a deep bow to the creature.

â??Greetings Zualix, it has been sometime you have walked amongst us.â? The dragon was standing on all fours before it decided to settle and
then finally lay down as it used its front appendages to gesture as it spoke to him through his mind.

â??It has been indeed, solitude is a mistress that is always welcoming. I needed to see the sun once more this season before the need to hibernate takes over. Your world has had a strange effect on us, I hope the others will rest as easily as I.â?? Malik marveled at the beast in his own way, looking over the dull scales and the way it moved itâ??s front claws like hands. Small things like this brought to him how these powerful creatures changed the outcome of a bloody war.

â??What do you think of Corvinâ??s descension? How does this bold for the rest of our kind if one of our best fell so far?â? Zualix stroked his chin scales as if deep in thought.

â??His breaking from the Knights was disappointing, but truly he was always wild in my eyes. Your people will always be the same, your ambition creates these moments in your history. All that matters, is how you will handle it.â?? Malik bowed again to Zualix.

â??I value the honesty, I have things I must attend to, enjoy your rest ancient one.â? Malik continued his journey, his mind coming back to the task at hand as he reached another set of double doors, and pushed them open with ease before him as he came into a small room that had a vaulted ceiling and was furnished with a single ornate table lined with several chairs. A glass pitcher sat on the middle of the table with several cups sitting around the base of it. Malik stood at the end of the table facing the door and looked to one of the guards stationed at the door.

â??Send for the new arrivals, tell Knight Bayel and Slayer Haytham where the meeting shall be held. The others may need an escort, accommodate them and allow some freedom but do not delay.â? The guard saluted and vanished through the double doors, leaving Malik alone once more as he waited patiently for everyone to arrive. His own mind wandering once more as he found himself standing before a window, looking out to the open sky and the fields once more and felt a restlessness strike him as it had before. An unknown and, unexpected side effect of taking on the power that they all did, the dragon within rumbled and itched to be free and to spread itâ??s wings and soar through the air. His thoughts were shaken free as he heard the doors open, his head turning to look at the new arrivals, each shuffling as their eyes wandered around the room before finding their seats. Malik assessed them all as he watched how they walked, how they moved, how they took in their surroundings. He had to be sure of these people, he had heard good things, at least that they had good skills and the not two he could put full trust into was Knight Moretal and the Dragon Slayer Haytham.

The other two, they have been referenced by others and the rumors were all he had left, fighting ability wasn't a concern as almost all were veterans of the Daemon wars. But their spirit and allegiance was always in question with Corvin running loose in the shaky world they all lived in. His eyes drifted over the Battle-Mage Garrick Flynt, taking in his human appearance and the uninterested look in his eyes. He had to resist the urge to pull the veil back and reach into Garrick's thoughts to see what he was dealing with, but he had to respect boundaries of others and with his talents in magic he could possibly deflect the search to elsewhere. He would have to hope he would be reliable enough for this journey. Maliks eyes drifted to Haythem and Moretal, one he knew well enough with her interesting ability and all. He had to keep her at arms length though, he understood spirits were need inclined to keep secrets and he couldn't truly afford spirits of old relating information that he didn't dare reveal himself. The slayer was another interesting young man, born during the war like most but not seeing the fighting that Malik and his father Krom had been through. He had a talent for war, the fight roared through his veins like the dragon blood in his father. His mother was a woman few would trifle with, and the fact they raised this boy to become a man and a Slayer was rather fitting. Finally, his eyes settled on Cassandra and a brow rose as a young boy stared at Malik with fascination burning in his eyes. Fidgeting in his seat, most children stared in awe or fear of the Dragon Commander, but this child was bubbling with an odd joy and giddiness. Malik's eyes swiftly moved to Cassandra then as she saw the look and approached him, pulling in close so he could speak to her quietly.

"What is that boy doing here?" Cassandra seemed at a loss of words for a moment before finally speaking.

"He is the wizard you have been looking for, I told you I would find you one." Malik's expression hardened further in contained anger.

"He is just a child! He can't be any older than 8 years old! How can one of the most powerful and well connected sorceresses not find me a wizard of a proper age!" Malik's tone had gone from a whisper to almost room level, Cassandra was ready to face down his rebuke when a small, but spirited voice spoke up.

"I am actually ten, and I am so excited to be here and I have so many questions for you. I'm Julian, I'm actually a very good wizard. A lot of my teachers couldn't keep up with me and they just didn't want to learn anything new! It was really boring, but now I'm here with the Dragon Commander and I have so many questions." Cassandra turned toward Julian, signaling for him to sit quietly for now. Something that seemed rather rehearsed display as the boy did his best to sit still, Cassandra turned back to Malik than.

"I was going to find you a wizard, someone at least intelligent enough to help you. But, this boy broke through the lower level wards without so much as a peep and got past dozens of guards on his own abilities. Truthfully, I caught him because he tried to access the stronger wards and wasn't skilled enough. This boy, as you call him, can become a very powerful wizard in his time.â? Malik looked to the boy once more, julian was swinging his feet back and forth as he seemed to hold back every inch of his excitedness in that small gesture. He looked back to Cassandra with a look she hadnâ??t seen in years.

â??If this boy should fall while we are hunting for Corvin, I will hold you personally responsible for it. do I make myself clear Cassandra.â? She held herself up high, her hands folded across her chest in a show of defiance.

â??Crystal, Dragon Commander.â? Malik moved away from her then, taking his place at the table with the rest of them as Cassandra stood beside his chair, with Bayel sitting in the chair to his immediate right and Haytham sitting in the chair to his left.

â??Welcome, for the two of you who have journeyed far to get here, I appreciate your will to hear my proposal.â?

â??I was more interested in what itâ??ll pay out really, your pretty assistant there made it seem very tantalizing. I hope you can deliver on your promises, sir.â? Malik could see that some of the rumors held true about the Virdisian.

â??Do not fret, the Dragon Knights always follow through on our promises. Now all of you know of Corvin, I trust.â?

â??The Dragon knight who broke away and is doing bad things and trying to hurt people?â? Julian chimed in, sitting a high as he could to be part of the conversation.

â??Yes, we have been fighting with him close to ten years now, and though you may hear that the Knights are looking for Corvin and are on the brink of finding him and bringing him to justice. However, this information couldnâ??t be farther from the truth.â?

â??Sir, I thought we truly were on the verge of capturing him. My father said that we were pushing everyday.â? Haytham spoke up then, leaning forward in his chair to speak directly to Malik, he turned to look at the slayer.

â??All of my advisers were told to keep our endeavours secret. Krom didnâ??t lie, we have been pushing in every way that we can. But truthfully, Corvin knows our tactics well and has managed to avoid us at every turn, we have only met his lieutenants and only in guerilla tactics.â? Malik turned back to the rest of the table, the burden of revealing the truth settled on his shoulders heavily.

â??We are at a disadvantage, we may have more resources at our disposal and our allies grow daily but as long as he can keep tearing apart the Knights with fewer casualties on his side. I cannot afford to see more good soldiers die and see no results, so I brought you all here today to give you my proposal.â? Leaning forward now and setting his elbows on the table, his gauntlet hands laced together.

â??I propose that all of you, with your individual strengths and prowess, come together to help me with this one duty. I will only ask you of this single task, nothing further will be required of you and any of you can walk away now.â?

â??And what would this one â??dutyâ?? be oh great Dragon Lord?â?

â??To hunt down and kill Corvin and his lieutenants.â? The silence was deafening in the room as Malik awaited to hear was was to come next. He could see Knight Bayel sitting tall, she was silent to the end and he could only imagine what the spirits said to her. She was going to go with him no matter what he said or did, she was going to follow Malik, and he might as well have a capable Knight. Haytham was slightly stunned by the last sentence uttered from Maliks mouth, a warrior to the end who was more than happy to strike at the heart of his enemy, he would find his voice soon enough. Julian was unsure of what was going on really, he was still star struck by the First Born and seemed to only get enough information to start to understand that their mission was a dangerous one. Garrick let out a curt laugh, breaking the silence finally as he rocked in his chair from the brief insanity that gripped him.

â??This is a joke right? You expect a group of five people, none of us who know one another besides that you have called us here to hunt down and kill rouge Dragon knights? You have an entire army at your disposal, and you canâ??t find your wayward kin?â? Malik rose from his chair, his eyes focused on the Virdisian for just a moment before looking to Cassandra.

â??Call them.â? With a quick motion of her hands, the doors opened and in walked a score of soldiers with weapons in their hands. Each weapon something different, a sword with a unique twist, an axe that looked barbaric, war hammers, whips with blades attached at the end, and dozens of others were brought in and then set on the table one by one. Each guard who set a weapon down stepped back and stood by the door, lining up into three rows. The weapons couldnâ??t fit on the table in a single layer, others were piled on the other.

â??Every weapon you see here, each a tool of destruction or protection, a difference between life and death. Each of these weapons, belonged to one of my knights. Each one, is a fallen comrade in this pointless war. These are all soldiers that I failed, who will not be coming home to their loved ones. Husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters, none of them will see these brave souls ever again.â? Malikâ??s hands balled into fists, the metal scraping lightly.

â??I am tired of sitting in this tower playing Commander, listening to ambassadors day in and day out while they die for me, for our cause. I am putting myself on the front lines, I will not watch another brother, another sister fall to Corvin while I sit idly by. You may think this is just my way of alleviating guilt, and you may be right, but whatever the reason maybe, Corvin must be brought to justice.â? Malik let his rising emotion settle, Cassandra held concern in her eyes but her composure remained. Haytham and Bayel knew the stakes, but they had never truly seen the count of fallen knights before. Even Julian an Garrick were at full attention now as they heard the importance and relevance of these weapons.

â??I do not ask you to take on this quest lightly, if you wish to leave then you have my blessing and whatever Cassandra has promised you. I do ask that you all understand that this is not just for me, not just for Dragonâ??s Rise, this is for the ones who perished in this conflict. I ask you to fight for them and see this through to the end. I will leave you all to your thoughts, if you wish to continue then meet me in the airship hanger, our journey starts today.â?

â??Where will we be going Commander?â? Haytham responded quickly, pulling his eyes away from the littered table and showing a passion burning in his eyes.

â??To Babel, the empire's Capital. There have many reports of strange occurrences and claims of sighting a red and gold dragon nearby. That is Corvins dragon form, and if he has been spotted in there before, then someone must have an idea of where he is.â? Malik walked away from the table, the guards parting to clear a path for him as Cassandra remained behind, leaving Malik to walk on his own.

OOC: Alright everyone, this is where you get to make the choice of going or not. Once you decided to go to the hanger, climb aboard the airship and we will be off to the empire for our first task. Also, DeLarge, let me know if anything is wrong with the way I portrayed Garrick, he helped move the story along.

Edited by Darth Vectis
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Julian quickly jumped out of his seat as Malik started to leave. "W-wait up! I wanted to ask you some things!" he shouted, taking off after him, tome in tow behind him before he was halted by Cassandra. "Awwww.... No fair...I didn't even get to see him change into a dragon..." he sighed with frustration, hanging his head. Cassandra knelt to his level before he looked up. "So have things really been this bad for so long, Miss Mage Lady Cassandra?" Julian asked, immediately sitting cross-legged and levitating so he was still at standing height.


"Please don't call me that, Julian..." Cassandra said with a sigh.


"Mage Lady Cassandra?"




"Miss Mage Lady?"




"Miss Cassie?"


"...No. You'll address me as Lady Cassandra, Julian."


Julian pouted some. "Aww....'Kay, Mi- Er..." he quickly caught himself, sighing, "Lady Cassandra." He looked to see she was a little less irritated now. "So when do I get to see the Firstborn turn into a draagon?" he said, smiling.


"Likely not until our first real battle. It's not some sort of parlor trick, Julian. It is a serious matter whenever he has to change himself," she said, standing. "I expect you to show the utmost respect for the Dragon Commander whenever you speak with him, is that understood?"


"I understand... I also understand that I'll have to stick around if I want to see a dragon in action!" Julian grinned as he stood on the floor once again.


"Look, here, boy. You're asking to go to war and you haven't even hit puberty yet? Something wrong with you upstairs?" Garrick asked him, shaking his head. "Kid like you probably has no abilities on the front line anyway, likely just to get caught like you got caught by our lovely lady here," he added, glancing to Cassandra with a smirk.


Cassandra started to respond when Julian chimed in with a grin. "Nah, I got caught on purpose!" he said proudly, causing everyone to look at him, puzzled. "See, I examined every ward that was placed before I even tried to break in. When I realized there were some past my capabilities, I knew it had to be setup by someone super strong! So, just like I'd hoped, I got caught by the powerful sorceress before you," he said, motioning to Cassandra. "Then I told her I wanted to meet Malik, and here I am!"


Garrick facepalmed as Bayel and Haytham stared in confusion and disbelief. "You have gotta be kidding me..." Garrick said, shaking his head.


"Not even slightly, Mr. Virdisian! I almost couldn't see it because I never met one in person..." Julian said squinting. "But I remember seeing your relatives in my study books and I almost missed it since you're only a half-Virdisian. Of course I've never gotten to meet a half Virdisian either...I wonder if Lyon has..." he pondered a bit, crossing his arms over his chest and tilting his head. Garrick opened his mouth about half of a word before Julian snapped out of his thoughts. "Anyway! I gotta go catch up with Mister Dragon...er...Lord Malik!" he shouted with a smile and darted out the door, heading for the hangar at full speed.

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Haytham stared blankly at the doors as they closed behind Julian for a moment before turning to the remaining party in the room. No one could think of anything adequate to say in the wake of the Dragon Commander's request and Julian's childish display. The situation seemed almost too surreal for words.

â??It seems that I've changed my opinion of the old warhorse, milady,â? Garrick decided, finding his voice before the others. Cassandra's face soured slightly.

â??Or really, Virdisian? Do tell,â? she entreated, her voice lined with venom. Garrick seemed to care little, though, and responded candidly.

â??He is not simply another soldier in the never-ending cycle of war. He's also a complete and utter lunatic,â? he said with a slight laugh. Cassandra's eyes flashed with rage, but before she could rebuke Garrick, Haytham spoke up.

â??The Dragon Commander is taking quite the chance,â? Haytham reasoned, as there was certainly some truth in the Virdisian's words. Any man would see this journey as folly. If Malik was any less of a leader or a capable soldier, Haytham would doubt him himself. Or rather, he would doubt him more.

â??The First Born does what he believes is best,â? Cassandra replied, her wording betraying her personal doubt. Haytham looked over at Knight Moretal hoping to gauge her reaction as well, but she was silent still, lost in her own world. Haytham wondered if she had any concerns of her own-- he had only heard tales of the knight, and even then only accusations that she was some form of necromancer and harbored a deep passion for Malik. Haytham put no stock in rumors, though, and was eager to learn more about her during their travels.

Huh, he thought in response to his last thought. He was already referring to the suggested adventure as â??their travels.â? Naturally, he knew he would be joining Malik on this questâ??Malik was his brother in arms, after all. But it felt strange to embark upon something he did not completely understand the motive behind. Strange, and exhilarating. Apparently, despite his best efforts, he had developed his mother's love of adventure and the unknown.

â??Then I will certainly go to his aid,â? Haytham announced, breaking away from his own torrent of thoughts. Cassandra nodded appreciatively at his decision. Suddenly eager to make preparations, Haytham stood up, bowed to the two who had yet to make their decision, and exited the meeting chamber.


Be safe and keep in touch, a message scribbled itself onto Haytham's enchanted parchment. Haytham knew better than to reveal the details of his journey to Iulia, but he felt compelled to let her know that he would be gone for an extended period of time. Additionally, it seemed prudent to have a quick means by which to contact Dragon's Rise if need be--at least, that's what he told Krom when he caught sight of Haytham writing to Iulia. He smiled and tucked the parchment into his pocket, before pushing open another large set of double doors--some carpenter must have amassed quite the treasure trove for building all of these doors, Haytham thought--leading into the hangar. Although Haytham had been raised around airships, he could not help but marvel at the sight before him.

Hundreds of airships lined the interior of the hangar, each wholly unique in design and function save for one unifying item. Protruding in some direct for the center of airship was a massive floating crystal. The crystals varied in colour and aura, which reflected the capabilities of the ship. Lightly coloured ships excelled at combat and speed, darkly coloured ones at defensive maneuvering and powerful artillery. The particular ship that had been selected for Malik and his party was Malik's personal ship, the Vorzik, and it possessed a specialized hybrid crystal, created by the Dragon Rise's other most capable wizard aside from Cassandra, Morgan Leffae. The technology was extremely temperamental however, so Morgan was joining their merry band as well, partially to maintain control of the ship and partially to advise the commander. But he wasn't the only higher-up joining their crew.

"Look sharp, Slayer!" Shouted the commanding female voice of a ferocious looking woman standing aboard the Vorzik. Haytham immediately snapped to attention and saluted the woman-- Amirah the Divine, the very first Dragon Slayer. Haytham knew nothing but respect and admiration for the woman, and shared a connection with her even deeper than his connection to the Dragon Commander. Although Malik was his leader, Amirah was the one who had spent the most time training and strengthening Haytham. She had seen his potential, not for being the son of Krom or Basira, but for being the capable and eager warrior that he was.

"Relax Haytham," Amirah joked with a great laugh, before clasping his arm and pulling him into an embrace. "I am glad that Malik chose you out of all my slayers. You are certainly the most dangerous and the most capable. But from what I hear, all the travelers on this journey are of the skilled and trouble-making variety," she said, turning to face the ship. On board, Julian was scurrying around behind Malik, asking a serious of questions and making the crew members extremely uncomfortable.

"Despite his age, he does seem to be quite the competent sorcerer," Haytham admitted. "He sneaked into the battle tower and then allowed himself to be captured so that he might meet the First Born." Amirah laughed with a mixture of incredulity and awe.

"Some might call that the foolish vigour of youth... They would be right, but with proper training that boy could be a courageous soldier," Amirah stated. Haytham smiled and nodded in agreement. Amirah grabbed Haytham's shoulder and shoved him towards the airship.

"Get aboard, Slayer Haytham. We had better wait for your other potential teammates to come around on board. I can give you a tour while we wait," Amirah said jovially. Haytham grinned and saluted Amirah again.

"Aye, aye, Dame Amirah."

Edited by Orcus
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Bayel shook her head slightly, with a small smile creasing her lips at the left corner, the boy had talent and who were they to say he could not for his home? She blinked as she noticed Cassandra staring at her.

"Your coming along...aren't you?"
Bayel stood and felt her back pop and stretch, but gave no indication, she strolled forward, stopping infront of Cassandra and meeting her eyes.

"Think what you will of me Lady Wizard, I would give my life before letting harm set upon him, without any personal feeling getting in the way. He is the key to winning this war, and stopping the cruelty and destruction. I can hear the voices of the dead, and I've heard tales of Corvin's malice. It's enough to set my convictions without hearing Malik's speech."
She didn't wait for any response, she simply walked to her room, grabbed a small pack full of her things, a sleeping bag if needed, her brush, her soap and a few other things she would need. Slinging it over her shoulder she strolled from her room and stopped outside of the door. Looking back, her eyes softened, how long had she lived here? How long had she been a part of this..would she be coming back? Closing the door slowly she made her way towards the hanger, as she got close she noticed the young boy huffing out side the hanger.

"What's wrong young one?"
He looked up at her with a frown.

"They won't let me in yet."
He crossed his arms and legs, floating in front of her. 

"Young one, they have to finish preparations."
Julian nodded and dropped to the floor as the door opened, he rushed in looking this way and that, his eyes alight.

"What are you looking for young one?"
"I thought he'd be here."

"Malik? I'm sure he will show on his own time. He's been that way since the day he found me."

She looked down at him, he was staring at her with a smile on his face.

"Are you a dragon too?!"

She felt a smile try to spread across her face, but kept it hidden.

"That I am young one. I was chosen years ago, and ever since this war has broken out I swore to keep an eye on him and keep  him safe from harm."

Julian hopped up and down slightly.

"Can you change into a dragon? Can you can you can you?"
"I can, when the time calls for it."

"Like now?! I wanna see a dragon really bad!"

She shook her head slightly and smiled a little.

"When the time calls for it young one, you will see my self and the good Lord Malik change."
Julian huffed, and Bayel shook her head.

"Until that time comes why not join me in finding a spot of the air ship."

She covered her mouth as he seemed to remember about the ship, and took off running for it, shaking her head, she followed him at her own pace. 

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"Well," said Garrick with a sigh, hefting his pack back on, "As much fun as this little jaunt into the big city has been, I should take my leave. I am beginning to feel the telltale itch in the back of my head that suggests someone, somewhere is attempting to read my thoughts, and I remain uncomfortable with that notion." He swung his bow and his brand new quiver of enchanted arrows onto his back along with his other belongings, and nodded curtly to Cassandra.


"Milady," he said with a crooked grin, "I do hope our paths cross again in the future. Although, considering your involvement with Malik's suicide mission, I'd say the likelihood of such a reunion is rather slim. So may I simply say that it has been a pleasure!"


He spun on his heel to leave when Cassandra cut him short.


"We all have doubts about this quest, Virdisian. Corvin is a dangerous foe, it is true, but he is still, to all intents and purposes, a man. A man with weaknesses like any other: the First Born sees that, and I believe he will triumph in this quest. I am only sorry that you have lost faith in any cause but your own, but I do understand your hesitance."


"I've seen men like Malik before," said Garrick, turning back to face Cassandra, "He is a man obsessed."


"Corvin has slaughtered too many innocent people. It is not such a terrible thing to be obsessed with stopping him before he can kill any more."


"But his obsession isn't with Corvin," replied Garrick, moving close to Cassandra, his voice lowered, "It won't stop if and when he finds him and kills him. Malik is obsessed with fighting, because honestly when all is said and done, the war is won and the fighting stops, where is he going to go? What place does a man like that have in a world free of violence?"


"The Dragon Commander...will be as great a leader during peacetime as he has been in war," replied Cassandra, although her hesitance did not go unnoticed by Garrick, who let out the tiniest of chuckles.


"So your faith in him isn't so absolute after all," he said, turning and striding towards the doors of the chamber, "Be careful, Lady Cassandra. Doubt can be a dangerous thing."


She shouted something after him, but he was too far away to comprehend precisely what her final words of persuasion were. He strolled across the sunny courtyard, whistling softly to himself, before losing himself in a labyrinth of thatched cottages and buildings in an attempt to find an inn where he could spend the last few scraps of bronze he had about his person.


"Garrick?!" screeched a high-pitched voice from behind him as he walked, "Garrick Flynt?"


"Oh dear..." he muttered softly to himself before turning around to face the angry young red-headed woman who was calling his name, "Martha, my dear, how are you?" She stared him in the face for a moment, her nostrils flaring, then raised her hand and struck him across the cheek.


"You left me in the middle of nowhere, Garrick," she snarled with the venom of a woman scorned, "It took me three days to get back here!"


"Now, I can explain that..." Garrick began, before getting cut off by his name being howled from the opposite direction.


"Is that really Garrick Flynt?" growled an equally-furious young blonde woman, "The man who asked me to marry him and then fled the country for eighteen months?"


"That was an unfortunate misunderstanding..." Garrick stammered, "I was called away to a war in a foreign country! How could I decline the opportunity to fight for my people?"


"Who's she, Garrick?" asked the blonde girl, jabbing her finger at Martha.


"Never mind who I am, who are you?" snarled Martha, staring daggers at the young blonde woman.


"Ladies, as much as I would love to stay here and discuss the ins and outs of our respective relationships, I have a very important appointment at the hangar. It's an extremely important, and highly confidential mission handed to me specially by the Dragon Commander himself. So...if you'll excuse me...?" With that final sentence, he turned and ran as fast as his legs would carry him back to the hangar, dodging streams of curses and expletives hurled at him by the two young women he had left behind.


Moments later, he burst into the vast, cavernous hangar and looked frantically around at the airships being maintained by their crews. Spotting Cassandra making her way up the gangplank of a ship emblazoned with the name Vorzik and strolled over, attempting to maintain his composure.


"The great hero returns, I see," said Cassandra, her words positively dripping with sarcasm as she spotted him.


"The truth is, I took a stroll around the city and realised the importance of the task ahead of us," he replied, leaping onto the gangplank, "We're fighting for these people, they deserve to have the best of the best on their side."


"I see," Cassandra replied with a smirk, "And it wouldn't be anything to do with them?" She gestured over to the hangar doors, where the two woman Garrick thought he had escaped once again where struggling to get past the guards, their vitriol all but drowned out by the roar of the airship engines.


"Never seen them before in my life," Garrick said with a nervous grin, "Now, please can we board? I'm...itching to get this adventure started!"

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â??Huh, now what would you make that boss?â? Kezic said as he looked out over the hanger, seeing the two female figures trying their best to push through the guards as they screamed in the direction of the Vorzik. Placing his forearms on the railing of an exterior balcony on the aft end of the airship, leaning forward and standing in a relaxed position. Malik walked forward to stand by his side to look out at the scene that Kezic was seeing, squinting his eyes even though his eyes could clearly see who they were.

â??Are you speaking of the two rather surely and upset women over there? That is rather unusual, I wonder why they are here.â?

â??Now what are the odds that two jilted lovers would be in the same town at the same time as our newest battle-mage, almost as if someone had planned it out.â? Kezic looked to Malik for just a moment, a smirk plastered on his face as he let out a small chuckle before turning back to the struggling guards.

â??Odd isnâ??t it, seems the fates have greater plans for Garrick Flynt.â? Malik signaled for the guards to take the women away, thinking the display had gone on long enough. Turning his body to a crystal that sat on top of a metal dish, perfectly clear in color and smooth on all its edges. Malik touched the crystal and it began to resonate, glowing a blue color before it started to vibrate for a moment before settling once more.

â??Orders sir?â? The crystal vibrated with each word, sending the waves out to create the voice for him to hear.

â??Take us out captain, tell Morgan I will check on him shortly.â?

â??Aye sir.â? The crystal  stopped vibrating and the color faded as a pressure build up around everyone for a moment right before the ship lifted off the ground slowly and began to slowly drift out of the hanger bay. Malik looked back at the other ships in their armada, something he hoped would never be used for war time like he had heard from some of his advisers.

â??Still, could have picked someone more reliable boss. What about Ollen? He was a damn fine soldier, did his job well enough and infrequently enough to be an asset to you.â? Malikâ??s attitude soured then, Kezic taking notice of the change when he the silence started to creep into awkward and he was forced to look at the commander.

â??Ollen is dead, burned to death in his home. Fortunately his family was spared, seems Corvin paid him a personal visit.â? Kezic could only shake his head before speaking.

â??Damn shame, he was a good man.â? Kezic stood up straight and placed a hand on Maliks armored shoulder.

â??Donâ??t worry bossman, he will answer for all of his crimes when the time comes.â? Malik simply nodded as the battle-mage turned and walked back into the ship. Malik continued to stand on the balcony even as they started to pull away from the Battle tower, leaving itâ??s confines for the first time in many years on the rather swift energy sails of Vorzik. He stayed on the balcony until the sun finally touched his face and he felt the warmth kiss his skin. Closing his eyes for just a moment as he only slightly lifted his arms with his palms facing out to feel itâ??s embrace and let a small smile break his face. Letting his worries go for just a second, but the moment faded and everything came back as he opened his eyes and let his lips fall back into itâ??s normal serious tone. He turned to the ship and walked through his quarters, taking no time to admire any of the craftsmanship put into the wooden desk in the room or the plush nature of the red velvet arm chair that sat before the desk for guests to sit in.

He briefly looked to the wall of messenger scrolls, none of them giving off the distinctive glow of an unread message written on the pages. A weapons rack was hook to the wall closest to the single door in and out of the room, save for the balcony, with the rack giving him a light variety of weapons. A single edged longsword with a saw edge on the blunt side sat on top, the next was a double-edged war axe meant to be wielded with two hands. After that was a polearm with a rather large bladed end that was split in the middle with a large shield hanging on the side of the rack that had an edge of spikes of dragons teeth and dragon skin stretch over a piece of bone. Malik walked out the door through a small hallway that lead to a few other quarters before he ascended a single flight of stairs and found himself on the deck of the ship. While it was shaped like an ocean bounded vessel, it was not as deep but was wider and had a two protruding observation decks on either side. The sails on the ship were not necessary for propulsion as the crystal provided energy for thrust, but they captured sunlight to supply power to more mundane systems while the crystal focused on movement and weapons. The sails were also designed to catch any radiant energy given off from the experimental hybrid that Morgan seemed fit to test on Malikâ??s ship. Malik looked up at the sails, seeing the blue sky as well, their altitude wasnâ??t near high enough for the sails to retract and the dome to seal the deck. He moved quickly and walked through a few bulkheads and down another set of stairs before reaching a large metal vault door. Reaching up he spun the wheel on the door and the locks disengaged and the door swung open slowly under itâ??s massive weight. Looking at the depth of the door it appeared to be about four feet deep and six feet high, making it one of the strongest and most weighty door in the entire ship. With the path clear, he walked forward to another room with a catwalk that encircled a glowing object and a figure going back and forth from looking at his machines and dials to staring down at the massive crystal hovering in place.

â??Morgan, I am pleased to see that you havenâ??t blown my ship out of the sky yet which is promising.â? Morgan turned, a contraption on his head that seemed to move on itâ??s own accord as separate magnified lenses moved up and down to changed the magnification, a great big smile of enthusiasm and glee showing clearly on his young face.

â??Yes, yes I am very excited to see what she can do. We should push her to maximum speed and get to Babel as quickly as possible, maybe fire the guns off at the same time. I doubt sheâ??ll implode from the strain.â? Malik placed his face in his palm for a moment as he let out a small groan.

â??I told you before we left Morgan, this is not an experiment trip, this is a mission for saving our world. We are not going to risk our lives for your special brand of curiosity, understand?â? Morgan flopped down on the ground in a heap, his legs crossed and his face in moppy frown as the magnification lenses seem to react to his feigned sadness.

â??Oh alright Malik, I guess it can wait for the return trip home to try it out.â?

â??Good, now how is it faring so far?â? Morgan sparked right back up, leaping to his feet as his face glowed with excitement.

â??Yes it is indeed, the output for both the engines is only at 40 percent and we are moving at the normal speed of other airships who are at ¾ energy use. Without testing the weapons though, it is still hard to judge but powering them up only taxes .15 percent of the crystal which is phenomenal for our current artillery ships standards.â? Malik nodded as he was slightly unsure of the significance of all the numbers but was sure they were a positive outlook and would be installed in future ships.

â??That is excellent news, I have to see the captain now to get a feel for our time for this journey. Carry on, and by the Nine do not activate those weapons without my consent.â?

â??Yes, yes I will make sure we donâ??t lose power and crash into millions of pieces.â? Malik shook his head before turning away and walking out the room, leaving the door open before trekking to the bridge and having a short conversation with the captain. once his questions were answer, he instructed the captain to bring increase the speed and keep in communication with Morgan for readouts on the crystal, also instructing the captain to close the dome and climb in altitude. As the started to ascend Malik turned on the crystal intercom system and spoke to all aboard the ship.

â??We are currently climbing to twenty-thousand feet, it should be rather painless and we should be arriving in Babel in four hours. For the time being get comfortable and donâ??t-â? The entire ship shook as it tossed the occupants to one side, the sound of crashing and tearing of metal echoed in the ship before Malik rose to his feet looking out the glass window as he saw a shape fly past. His entire presence shifted as he went back to the intercom system.

â??Bayel, meet me on the deck now. All crew arm yourselves and prepare for battle.â? Malik turned to the captain then.

â??How high up are we right now?â? The captain scrambled to the altimeter, holding onto the panel as the ship was struck again, a roar following the hit this time.

â??We are only at nine thousand feet sir, we stopped climbing when we took the first hit.â?

â??Can I activate the weapons now?â? A new voice could be heard, identified as Morgan quickly enough.

â??Tell him to prepare to power them up, only on my order.â? Malik had just managed to exit the doorway when he found Julian standing in his path.

â??Malik, whatâ??s going on? Are we going to see dragons? Can I help you at all?â? Cassandra appeared quickly enough to stand near the boy.

â??Both of you cover our backs, we donâ??t know anything yet be prepared for anything.â? Malik was about to keep walking when he poked his head back into the bridge.

â??Retract the dome in thirty seconds, I am going flying.â? He pushed his way past Cassandra and made it only thirty feet from the bridge before a sword swung in his face. Malik dodging the weapon before reaching out and grabbing his arm, twisting quickly until it snapped and the figure screamed. Pulling back his other hand to deliver a blow to his assailants head only to be interrupted as a ray of fire shot at the assassin and incinerated his chest and made him go limp. Malik looked up to Cassandra first, but quickly saw the boy had his hands forward and the flame extinguishing in his palms. Malik released the arm and nodded to the boy before picking up the single edge scimitar the man had carried and charged forward. They were accosted three more times by eight more soldiers, Malik striking down two and Cassandra turning another into nothing but dust. They made it to the deck and the dome was retracted and the wind ripped over the deck in swirling gusts. The sound of the wind drowned out anything else but the sounds of battle were growing closer and louder, moving to the side that was hit first and saw the gaping hole and flashes of fire and could barely make out the sounds of metal clashing. A speck in the air could be seen far off to the side, and Malik knew what it was instantly. The speck was joined by another and they were coming towards his ship, but Malik wasnâ??t going to allow them to come closer. He fought through the wind back to Julian and Cassandra with Bayel arriving just in time.

â??There are more troops on board, Cassandra I need you to find Kezic and bring him back here to defend the deck. Julian, you will hold the entrance ways until they get back, no one you donâ??t know doesnâ??t get on this deck, understand?â? Malik yelled over the roaring wind, seeing the nodding heads from them all he turned back to Bayel.

â??Ready to jump?â? Bayel smiled and nodded as she moved with Malik who looked toward the specks who had grown in size, the massive wings were easy to see now as the sound of a draconic roar whipped past them. Looking to Bayel one more time and seeing her unshaken confidence as she nodded her readiness. With the final check he sprinted to the edge, Bayel hot on his heels as they both leaped off the edge of the ship and dropped through the air, the sudden smell of spice surrounded both of them as they blurred and shifted mid air. Black and red wings spreading out to catch the air and the massive body scarred from past battles and metal plates replacing damaged parts. A roar broke from his throat as he flew through the air with Beyel at his side, racing through the skies to spill the blood of old brothers.

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"Blasted dragons," muttered Garrick as he stumbled through the corridors of the ship, the whole world seemingly shaking and rocking back and forth with each impact on the side of the ship, "I'm already regretting coming on board..."


He drew one of his swords as a hooded figure emerged from one of the other cabins, a wickedly curved, blood-drenched scimitar in his gloved hand. Garrick's blade hummed with power as he spun it in his hand, and it sung as he swung it through the air, clashing against his opponent's sword with a burst of white-hot sparks.


"Battle-mage..." hissed the hooded figure, a set of sharp teeth visible in the light of the sparks as they dribbled from the clashing metal.


"Hooded man..." hissed Garrick, mocking his assailant before planting a solid kick in the hooded figure's sternum, knocking him backwards. Garrick whipped his blade around and swung the tip of the blade across the figure's neck: a hot jet of blood spurted from his throat, and he collapsed in a ragged heap as he bled out. A second and third attacker saw Garrick as the hooded man's body slumped, and began advancing down the corridor towards him.


Garrick drew his second blade and readied his stance, when a jet of fire blasted the two men off their feet as it rolled down the corridor. As the flames cleared, Garrick saw Julian standing in the doorway at the opposite end of the corridor, his hands outstretched.


"Mr Virdisian! Are you ok?" shouted the kid excitably.


"Smart kid," Garrick murmured under his breath, rushing down the corridor and pushing past the boy, ruffling his hair as he went.


Moments later, he emerged onto the deck and saw chaos erupting in the sky. Dragons circled and swooped past the ship, fire spurting from their mouths as they chased each other; men boarded the ship and clashed with the soldiers already on board, and the Dragon Commander had abandoned his crew to fight the enemy dragons.


Garrick saw Cassandra in the middle of the deck, fire lashing from her hand in the shape of a long whip. Enemies turned to ash at its touch and a ring of scorch-marks surrounded her on the floor. Garrick saw a fury and a level of concentration he would never have expected to see on Cassandra's face, and he leapt across the deck to assist her. He swung his blades across an enemy soldier's chest, causing gouts of blood to pour from the X-shaped wound, and Cassandra's magic turned him to dust before he could gurgle out his death rattle.


"It looked like you could use a hand," said Garrick with a smirk, covering Cassandra's back as she turned to take on more assailants.


"I could say the same about you," she replied as her flame-whip lashed out and struck a hooded figure attacking Garrick from the side.


"Well-played, milady," he said with a grin, running across the deck and planting his foot in the centre of an enemy's chest, sending the man flying over the side of the deck with a scream. However, he was knocked off his feet as a huge, grey-green dragon swooped past the ship.


"Blasted dragons," Garrick repeated, scrambling to his feet and pulling his bow off his back. He reached into his brand new quiver of arrows, picked one out and nocked it. He drew the string back and took aim at the vague shape of an ice-blue dragon in the distance.


"Let's see what these arrows can do," he muttered, exhaling and letting the arrow fly. As it whistled through the air, he reached out with his will and changed the form of the arrow.


With a single thought, the arrow extended outwards, becoming longer and thicker until it was roughly the size of the airship's smallest mast, still travelling at the same speed the smaller arrow had been. The enormous arrow pierced through the blue dragon's wing-joint, almost cleaving the entire appendage off in a spurt of dark-blue blood. The dragon recoiled with a deafening screech, and the black and red creature Garrick recognised as Malik's dragon-form tore the blue dragon's throat out; Garrick watched as the dead dragon fell from the skies, and grinned.


"A bet well won," he murmured, grabbing a second arrow from the quiver and nocking it, pulling the string back and aiming at a small group of enemy soldiers cleaving their way through dozens of crew members on one of the observation decks. He fired the arrow, and with a tiny injection of will, it caught fire, setting the enemy soldiers ablaze as it struck them.


He barely had time to grin as his enchanted arrows served him before the entire ship rocked as the grey-green dragon he had seen earlier ploughed into the side of the vehicle. He was thrown from his feet across the deck, his head slamming into the railings on the opposite side.


His vision blurred instantly, and he looked up to see the scaly visage of the grey-green dragon looming over the deck as the creature grabbed on to the side of the airship.


"In the name of the Mother Tree..." he muttered in awe as the creature opened its mouth, a ball of fire visibly swelling in the back of its throat.

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As the dragon's mouth opened and the fire began to loose from its jaws, it was immediately trapped in its mouth and forced back into its body. Its insides ruptured from the force of the flames as it began to fall backward from the ship before its not so graceful plummet. Julian smiled brightly. "It's really easy to make a fireball blast when you already have an existing ball of fire," he said proudly, waving to the Half-Virdisian. His eyes returned to the deck as he felt two of his detection wards alert him. "Uh-oh, hope it's not more badguys..." as soon as the words escaped him, four of the assailants who entered the area were making a move toward him.


"The child is a wizard, but he's still a child. Kill him swiftly!" one of them shouted as the other three readied their swords.


Julian smirked. "Sweet, you guys made it easy for me!" he raised a finger and a spark of electricity came to his fingertip before a cone of white magic shot forth from his other hand. The assailants stopped in their tracks, defending themselves with their swords then stared blankly. "Just had to make sure-" he said as a bolt of lightning jumped through each of their weapons and frying his opponents in one go, "-that they weren't enchanted or something." He sighed as his wards went off again. "These guys don't give...up..." he stared blankly as a massive, muscular figure stood before him, kicking the corpses out of his way.


"Outta the way, runt. I ain't got time for your little magic tricks," the hulking figure spoke as it marched toward him. "Your little spellbook ain't got nothin to affect me," he said with a grin, patting his chest as a set of runic marks glowed on him.


Julian smiled a bit. "Yeah, you're probably right, but I have quite a few tricks up my sleeves," he said, before chanting a few words and his spell book glowed a deep red before his body did the same briefly. "I bet I can beat you head on anyway. You're not so tough looking," Julian chuckled, seeing the large man's face redden with irritation.


"You little piece'a'sh-!" he started to shout as he threw a punch at Julian before it was halted with little effort by the child's open palm. "Goddamned wizardry!" he yelled before Julian grabbed his fists with both hands, tossing him clear into a few of Garrick's attackers, sending him and his targets off of the airship.


Julian scratched the back of his head. "Erm... Maybe I gave myself too big of a boost... Oops." He shrugged, turning away from the scene outside and heading back to his station. "Oh well. As long as I don't let Lord Malik down. But at least I've gotten to see my first real dragons today!" he smiled, bouncing with excitement. His excitement ended as his wards alerted him again, but it didn't matter since he could see the lot of them breach the deck. "Well, I don't know any of these guys...but that's a lot of bad guys..." he stepped back slowly but he found himself surrounded by them. "N-Not good..."


Without another word, the attackers readied their weapons, charging the boy before he levitated from the floor above their reach and he could see several of them reaching for the controls. "...You leave me no choice...I'm sorry..." Julian's eyes turned a pale blue, almost white as he began to chant in a strange language. "Let the cold from the realm of the spirits breathe upon the land of the living to know the warmth these souls once knew in life..." As the chant ended, the bodies of the attackers began to slow as they were all feeling the cold overtake them until they were eventually frozen solid. His eyes became a bright blue as his fist closed and he landed just in front of the controls. As he opened his hand, a brief hurricane ripped forth, breaking the frozen bodies into debris and sending them out into the open air as nothing but dust. Julian held his spell book to his chest with both hands, fighting back tears. "I hate that spell... Why did I have to learn necromancy in school? ...Why did I resort to that one?" he sobbed before shaking his head. "I got scared...I can't let that happen again... That or figure out a better way." He regained his composure as well as he could, wiping his eyes. He readied himself for anything else this army would throw his way, shifting his train of thought in order to keep focus on his fight.

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Bayel's shrieking roar resounding through the air after Malik's, her lithe, snow white body coiling through the clouds as she followed Malik, til she was side swiped but a massive figure; baring her teeth she twisted around, her thin form making it easy as she latched onto the dragon holding her. Her sharp little teeth sinking into the snout and gouging deeply. The dragon let out a roar and released her quickly, her feathered wings furled out and pushed wind into them, her body twisting quickly and moving out of the dragon's range. Twisting her body she looked back at the dragon following her, filling her lungs she let out a growl and a hiss as she felt the fire building. She opened her mouth and let it spew, the neon blue fire streaking across the sky, slamming into the larger dragon. 

'The boy...the boy called the dead.'

She felt her body seize suddenly at the thought before she shrieked, the larger dragon slamming into her again, it's head and back spikes smoking as it snapped at her.

"You wench!"

She bared her teeth as the growling voice echoed through the dragon's throat.

"I'll kill you for that."

She twisted her body as it's massive jaws snapped forward, missing, her thin, lithe form giving her leeway to dodge, even at close proximity. She snaked her body around and sank her teeth into the dragon's tender underbelly causing it to release her, whipping her tail around she hit the beast across the face. It's massive head snapped to the side, it plummeted towards the ground; looking up at the air ship she pushed her self towards it, her thin head reaching in slightly, her jaws wrapping around a soldier and pulling him out, letting go she let him plummet and followed him til she reached Malik's level, her tail snapping forward and wrapping around the neck of the dragon she had been fighting before, pulling her self close she snapped her jaws in his face and pulled him with her away from Malik; she let out a shrieking roar as it's claws dug into her shoulder, blood pouring from the wound as she twisted her body around his, making it harder for him to maneuver. They fell at least twenty feet below the others, into their own air space. Releasing him she twisted her body around, her neon blue fire spouting forth and slamming into his chest, she watched as he shook it off and inhaled deeply, preparing his own fire, she readied her self, her good eye making sure to look around, keeping tabs on Malik as well as the air ship. 

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The enemy dragon reared its head back, wild flames leaping from between its teeth. Bayel's dragon form tensed as she prepared for the oncoming strike. Just as her foe spread its maw to unleash a ferocious blast, a white beam of light shot down from above and pierced it through the snout. The dragon roared in agony and violently shook its head, causing the fireball to rocket off into the sky. Bayel's head whipped toward the ship, and a smiling Haytham disengaged his light bow and waved.


â??Garrick is not the only one with arrows!â? he called down jovially. Bayel snorted, hopefully in approval and flew off to finish her opponent. Haytham turned back to the deck and surveyed the battlefield. Julianâ??little sorcerous monster that he wasâ??was shaming a group of knights, while Garrick and Cassandra were human-cyclone-ing their way across the ship. They were certainly keeping the enemy at bay, but something seemed amiss...


â??Haytham, do you hear that?â? Amirah hollered at him from across the ship prior to spearing an enemy savagely through the heart. Haytham instinctively began to search around the air adjacent to the Vorzik, but there was no need. An explosion below him launched him clear off of the deck and over the side of the Vorzik. He dropped like a stone, his body still reeling from the explosion. In a moment of desperation he summoned a light ring, formed a spear, and extended it as far as his magical ability allowed. The spear cut through the wind and shrapnel and caught something hard. His right arm whiplashed from the abrupt stop, and his shoulder popped with a sickening squelch. A mighty roar tore from his lips.


Not my proudest moment... But at least I live yet, he thought through the pain. He opened his eyes to catch his bearings and grimaced at the sightâ??he had managed to dig into the very bottom of the Vorzik. A second later and he would have surely fallen into the second sight gracing his eyes: a bevvy of enemy ships was rising up from above, using the Vorzik's inability to climb higher to ambush her. Haytham growled angrily.

â??This is... unexpected...â? he mumbled. The ships were climbing rapidly and were practically upon them. Need to be quick about this. Haytham directed his will toward the deck, and his mind instantly linked with Amirah's.


Enemy ships below. Fire the weapons once level. Meet me down there. Without wasting another moment, he formed a solid light ring in his left hand and drove it into his shoulder. As the shoulder reconnected, his hand reflexively released the spear. This time, however, he was prepared. He was suspended in free fall for only a moment before his feet crashed into the closest enemy ship. An enemy knight stepped toward Haytham, but he collapsed as Haytham's blades ripped through his kneecaps. His howl of pain alerted the other soldiers to Haytham's presence, and they flooded onto the deck like ants. Just as they surrounded Haytham, two flashes of light washed over the deck and a noise like a thousand horns bellowing at once filled his ear drums. And as is always true, after the thunder, came the lightning.


A stream of golden energy spheres erupted from both sides of the Vorzik and completely annihilated the two adjacent enemy ships. Fire, wood and bodies rained down from above and, amidst this destruction, plummeted a sole figure. Before the enemy crew could react, Amirah crashed into them, spear first. She pulled her spear from two bodies she had landed upon and swung it in a wide arc; the blunt shaft connected with a soldier's ribcage and knocked him off of his feet. His broken body collided with a couple of battle-mages in front of Haytham, clearing a path for him. Haytham plunged his blades into the hearts of the downed soldiers and then dove into the frenzy alongside Amirah.

Edited by Orcus
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With wings beating hard, pushing Maliks massive form through the air with speed and power while weaving in the air with his head swiveling to see in all directions. The sounds of the weapons being fired from the Vorzik boomed through the air as the sound of explosions followed and the shrapnel flying through the air at high velocity. Malik was able to turn his head far enough to see the carnage as the ships fell from the sky in extravagant colors, engulfed in flames as smaller explosions were going off within the vessels. The feeling of satisfaction was short lived as his draconic eyes caught the sight of a large transport ship, with a handful of smaller vessels surrounding it that carried more soldiers. A growl rumbled from his throat as he turned his body upward, flapping his wings harder as he tucked his arms and legs in closer to his body, flying higher and higher above the battle before turning in the air and went into a nose dive. Pulling the wings back and straightening himself out as much as possible, picking up speed as anyone looking from the airship saw a black and red blur flew past. The feeling of heat and fire building inside of him, glowing brighter as his mouth open with flames licking his teeth and a ball launched free, flying with the combined speed to smash into one of the smaller ships.

The ship struck by the blast staggered and came to a stop as a high pitch whine came from the ship moments before it exploded in a mass of fire and shrapnel, the shockwave rocked the other ships long enough for Malik to reach them. His front talons extended out as he roared, catching one ship with his claws, tearing the engines to shreds as he collided with another smashing through it like tissue paper. Coming up sharply he crashed into another shipâ??s port side, ripping one of the engines off completely and side of the airship causing it to lean and fall through the air as it spun to itâ??s death. Malik climbed higher into the sky and hovered over the transport ship, soldiers were gathered on the deck and being killed by Amirah and Haytham with ferocious strength and precision strikes. The dragon quickly accelerated upwards once more, only going a few hundred feet higher before turning back and falling into a nose dive. The transport ship was prepared this time, even with the Dragon Slayers assaulting their troops they had enough to man the cannons and aim them upward. Explosions going off in the sky all around Malik as he twisted and turned and dodge the best he could, seeing that the closer he came the more concentrated the fire became.

â??Clear the deck!â?? The words in Malikâ??s mind roaring out to the Slayers below him, not concerned with controlling the level of the voice as the fire glowed in his gaping maw once more but fired quickly as it was a much smaller blast. The ball of flame smashed into the deck and created a great hole, the Slayers had done their best to get out of the way. Once he saw the blast leave him, the smell of spice came back and Malik blurred as he had drawn closer to the ship and fell into the hole that he had just created and vanished from Amirah and Haytham's sight. It was silent for just a second before the whole ship rumbled and everyone caught the scent of spice, the slayers ducked for cover as the deck exploded out and Malikâ??s dragon form rose from below. Roaring he began slashing with his talons, his wings spreading out to tear into the ship, as his claws descended into the supports. The troops trying to fight off the dragons assault but found only death and skin tougher than any weapons they carried at the time. As Malik swung his powerful hands, the supports creaking and the wood and metal groaning and splitting before the front half of the ship started to lean forward while the back half remained in place. With a loud snap, the ship finally split apart and the front half hinged  forward before ripping off completely and plummeting down tothe earth. The rest of the ship rocked back and  couldnâ??t maintainaltitude as it turned and smoked as it started to fall. Amirah and Haytham, without a hesitation from them, leaped off the derelict vessel and fell through the air, arms and legs spread eagle to slow their descent. Spotting their shapes Malik turned to them, seeing they had a distance ahead of him, seeing them looking and moving through the air trying to find something to launch Haytham's spear into. Malik caught up quick enough to Amirah, snatching her with a taloned hand, but Haytham was further ahead, Malik trying to catch up.

â??Shoot it at Malik Slayer!â? Amirah screamed through the connection, commanding him over anything else. Turning around, he launched the spear of light towards Malik, the hand went out for the grab and missed. The spear returning to Haytham once more, and another attempt was made, this time it was closer but still a failed attempt. Malik could see the colors of the ground now, his wings flapping harder to try and catch him. With his dragon arm extended, Haytham took another shot and hit his target, right through Malikâ??s forearm and locking in place. The dragon roared and stopped dropping slow enough to pull Haytham up as the flew back to the Vorzik, seeing smoke rising from the ship along with torn out chunks. Malik was more impressed it was still hovering and maintaining itâ??s altitude, flying higher than the deck he could see the scorched bodies and the others on the deck waiting for their return. Malik set down Haytham first, and then Amirah before hovering above them and tearing out the spear in his arm with a loud roar and then descending down to the deck, spice filling the air and Malik blurring as he stood before them again. Bayel moving to his side as she assessed the damage on his arm, the blood dripping off his armor and onto the deck.

â??You are hurt sir, you need medical attention.â? Malik pulled his arm away, angry at the destruction of the vessel, and feeling his blood boil more as he saw crewmen dead with weapon in their hands.

â??Iâ??m fine, tend to the crew and get me the captain.â? Garrick spoke up then, a tone of scorn in his words.

â??Heâ??s dead, Dragon Commander. No thanks to you.â? Malik whirled around, looking the Virdisian in the eyes.

â??Where does he lay Battle-Mage?â?Garrick pointed, unflinching under Malikâ??s gaze, turning away from him quickly to the dead form rendered open, his entrails spilled all over the deck with his dead eyes staring up to the sky. Malik clenched his fists, his muscles in his wounded arm cause pain to flare through his body. But it was a pain he could manage, a pain he could deal with and overcome quickly.

â??How many crew are left Cassandra?â? She stepped forward.

â??Roughly half sir, his first mate made it through the battle, he can fly the ship.â? Malik nodded slowly.

â??Very well then, inform him we will continue to Babel then. Find Morgan, make sure we are still operational.â?

â??This is insane! You are really going to keep pushing this suicidal quest?â? Garrick roared, standing quickly from where he had been resting.


"Don't you talk to the first born like that! He's really trying and he went and fought the mean dragons!" Julian shouted as he balled his small hands into fists, Malik gestured for Julian to calm down. Garrick looking only briefly at the boy before going off once more.


â??Youâ??ve lost half the crew, this ship is barely holding together and we are hardly an hour out from the tower. We should go back and you should continue on this journey on your own.â?

â??If you wish to leave Mr. Flynt then go right ahead, I will warn you though, it is a ways down.â? Cassandra leaned in closer to him now, speaking in a hushed tone.

â??Malik, we are in poor condition and we need to rethink this plan. We were attacked by a large force, much larger than a patrol to be out roaming around here.â?

â??Exactly, the entire ordeal is too convenient. This wasnâ??t an accident, and if they went to this extent to destroy us this early in our trip, we are ruffling someones scales.â? Malik turned to the others as Cassandra walked away.

â??This is a tough fight, I know that, but if all of you rather give up now than you can depart in Babel. I need no cowards aboard the Vorzik or in my company, but remember that now someone knows you are all invovled, and your safety isnâ??t guaranteed if you leave us.â?

â??Lord Malik, what of the dead?â? Haytham said with his eyes wandering over the corpses.

â??We do what he have to Slayer, good soldiers died today and we give them proper respects.â? Amirah stepped in as she shoved his shoulder with a bright smile on her face, Malik nodding to her when their eyes met.

â??Well said, letâ??s get to work soldiers and get these crewmen ready for when we get into Babel.â?



OOC: Alright everyone, your next posts will start out in the city of Babel, and each of you will receive info that will go into your next post.

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"Is this really the best use of our time in the Capital, Battle-Mage?" asked Bayel with a sneer, taking in her surroundings with a hefty dose of scorn, "A tavern?"


They had not long since docked in Babel, but Garrick had felt the urge to get as far away from the Dragon Commander as possible for a while. He had been partnered with the other Dragon Knight in their entourage in an attempt to find out more information about the supposed resurrection of Chu'val, and his first stop was a small but crowded tavern named 'The Hero Tavern', where he was currently attempting to order a drink.


"We are here to ascertain the whereabouts of the reborn Hero of Chu'val, are we not?" he replied, never turning to face Bayel as he spoke, "Taverns are where people come to socialise, to relax and unwind. Their secrets are more liberally spilled here than anywhere else in the city, therefore this seems like a good place to start, does it not?"


"We would be better served finding Chu'val's disciples," replied Bayel, "I doubt they would be found in this...den of filth." She returned the angry looks of the tavern's patrons with an icy-cold stare that scared even the toughest-looking men off.


"You don't much care for me, do you Dragon Knight?" asked Garrick, picking up his long-awaited drink and turning to face Bayel.


"You are a drunken scoundrel and a sell-sword, and you have no loyalty to the First Born. So no, I don't much care for you, Battle-Mage," Bayel spat in response.


"And you have such unwavering loyalty to him," said Garrick, taking a step towards her, "I wonder why you appear so enthralled by the man."


"What are you insinuating?"


"You can't be blind to everything that's happened, surely? Barely an hour into our noble quest and we lose half the crew of our airship to an ambush: that should not have happened. In a defensive battle such as the one we just found ourselves in, a Commander's first and foremost duty is to protect the men and women who fight for him. And yet Malik charged headlong into an offensive position, taking you with him and leaving his ship, and his men, outnumbered and outgunned. For the love of the Mother Tree, he left Julian, a ten-year-old boy, to defend the deck alone!"


"The attack was a surprise, he had to react however he could in order to take control of the situation. What is your point, Virdisian?"


"My point is...that can't have been the first, or the most devastating ambush he's ever led you and his men into, can it? His obsession with battle has widowed a lot of wives and orphaned a great many children over the years, perhaps more even than the actions of Corvin..."


He was cut off as he spoke the final syllable of their enemy's name as Bayel grabbed his collar and slammed him against one of the wooden support beams holding up the roof of the tavern. A flash of light emanated from his back as his enchanted armour absorbed the blow, and his tankard tumbled to the floor, spilling warm ale across the wooden planks.


"How dare you compare the First Born to that traitor!" she snarled, "Corvin kills indiscriminately, he murders men and women and children in their beds and Malik has prevented him from doing even worse things. Malik fights to protect his people, and Corvin fights with no nobility or honour. So don't you dare compare the two of them ever again, Battle-Mage, or it will be the last thing you do on this earth."


"Corvin's methods are far more brutal than Malik's, that much is true," replied Garrick softly, prising her fingers off his tunic and pushing her backwards, "But to some, to many in fact, Malik is no more noble or honourable than Corvin. Malik collects the weaponry of those Knights who have died for him; what makes you think Corvin isn't doing the same?" Bayel stared into Garrick's eyes, her breathing heavy, before a look of realisation crossed her face.


"You would fight for Corvin just the same if he offered payment?" she asked, the disgust evident in her voice.


"War is war," replied Garrick coldly, "All I'm saying is that it is not such a bad thing to look at both sides of a conflict. You may find things are not as black and white as they first appear. Now come on, the barmaid told me that Chu'val's disciples gather at the Central Fountain every day at around this time to await his return: if we wish to find out more, we should go there now."


He picked up his pack and swung it onto his back, before walking past the still horrified-looking Dragon Knight on his way out of the Tavern.


"One more thing...Malik can read people's minds, can he not? You would do well to remember that it is only the smallest of steps between reading a man's thoughts," he said quietly to her as he walked past,  "And pushing some of his own in there."


He shoved his way out of the Tavern and began walking towards the City Centre, caring very little as to whether or not Bayel was following him.

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Bayel felt a hissing growl quietly escape her as she felt her hand twitch, she didn't always use it, but the little magic she did have was not one she liked to use and losing her temper with the Battle Mage, and harming him would no doubt be something Malik would be cross about. Taking a deep breath she reluctantly followed. She lost her focus slightly as the constant voice whispered in her ear, the same voice that followed her everywhere.

'The Mage has a logical point'

She almost replied angrily but bit down on her tongue to keep quiet as she followed, her eyes focusing; and as she looked around she noticed that others were beginning to walk in the general direction Garrick and her were moving. Excited whispering floating around them, it was a silent buzz that she couldn't make out but she knew something was up. Moving closer to Garrick she tried to keep as much distance from the man as she could to speak to him quietly.

"Something is happening."

"I noticed. What do you think it is?"
She felt her hand twitch again, just his tone rubbed her the wrong way.

"I think we should find out."

The followed the crowd along the streets til they reached the courtyard where Chu'val's disciples were rumored to be, and there in the middle, they were. People crowded around them, excited, craning their necks to try to get a glimpse of Chu'val, were he to appear. 

"Something does not settle well with me about the Battle Mage. Something feels wrong."

Garrick nodded as he too began to sense the unrest around them.

She could hear people whispering around her.

"He's amazing, a true hero. I only wish he came around more. I've been sending prayers to him every night."
"Lord Chu'val please show us your greatness this night."

Bayel felt her stomach drop more and more as she heard this whispers.


He turned to her wide eyed, she had used his name.

"-They are revering him as a God is seems, or something akin to it. Listen with your own ears."

Seconds passed before Garrick frowned and nodded slowly. The listened for another moment, before everyone began to quiet down as one of the disciples stood in front of the crowd.

"My fellow followers, you have heard the rumors with your own ears, as have I. The Knights are moving towards us! A convoy of them has been found on their way to Babel! They were attacked, attacked for the fact that they are coming to take your freedoms away! The Dragon Commander would have you believe that he is the nobleman among these war mongers, but in fact he is not better! We must look to Lord Chu'val for protection, we must offer our prayers to Lord Chu'val for his mercy and grace! In the end he will be our savior and save us from the vile Dragon Knights and their blood thirsty leader! Soon we will-"

Bayel had stopped listening, her temper rose with each word spoken, and Garrick next words broke her.

"I told you there were others who felt this way."

She shoved through the crowd, pushing women and men out of her way, being sure to avoid any children as she stalked through the crowd, Garrick trying to follow her as best as he could but she was determined and was ready to bash in this disciple's face in, and do worse to Garrick if he try to stop her. Reaching the front of the crowd she stalked forward, her small frame shaking slightly.

"A new comer? Have you come to give your prayers to Lord Chu'val and become a devote follower? Have you come to-"

Her left foot swung around, catching the man in the face and sending him a foot away from her, holding his bruised cheek and wiping the blood from his lip.

"Heathen! Only a Dragon Knight has this kind of strength! I warned you! It is as I said, they have come to-"

She grabbed his collar and hauled him to his feet holding him off the ground, her voice grinding out dangerously.

"If you value your life, you will keep that black hole in your face shut! The nonsense it spews sickens me! How dare you speak against my Commander!"

She felt a hand on her shoulder, trying to pull her back, throwing it off she continued to shake the man harshly, growling at him.

"You are a worthless man, I should end you here and now. I have heard more then enough slander against the First Born and I will not stand for it any longer!"
She threw him back into the crowd of disciples, her icy blue eye daring them to get up and come at her, and so they did. The fight was nothing more then a street fight, blows exchanged, black eyes given, bruises traded; but when it was all said and done, the disciples were worse for wear on stamina then Bayel and she stood across from them, covered in dirt, her lip oozing blood from a lucky blow the crowd gathered around them, forming a human wall around 'their people'. Bayel growled low in her throat at them before she turned on her heel and walked away towards Garrick, who, had managed to stay out of the fight somehow.

"Your all fools!"

Grabbing her jacket that she had discarded during the fight she grabbed Garrick's collar and yanked him with her, telling him they were leaving.

"I'm going back to Malik, go to the tavern, get drunk, I don't care. I'm sick of this place and it's people already!"

She stalked through the town back towards the docked airship, she sat at the loading dock til she saw Malik approach her.

"Knight Bayel, what-"
"If you pair me with him, with that annoying infuriating man at all, ever again, I will render the skin and flesh from his bones and leave him for dead!"

She didn't wait for an answer from him, simply stalked away towards the shabby Inn across the street, paid for a room and went up to. After taking a bath she sank onto the bed still damp and exhausted. She sighed wishing she had spent the past few hours with the boy rather then Garrick. 

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As Haytham and Julian roamed the main roads of Babel, Julian wandering off of the road frequently to take in the sights he hadn't seen before. He would stop at shops and stare at the wares of the merchants, often trying to touch them before being shooed away by the shopkeeps. He always sulked back to Haytham's side with a huff. It suddenly dawned on him: Haytham was the first Slayer he'd ever met and he'd never seen anyone manipulate light like he did. "So, Mr. Haytham, sir, do you know any other special spells like you used earlier? That was really awesome!" he asked with a bright smile, having completely forgotten about the shops around them now.


Haytham raised an eyebrow. "The Light Constructs?" he asked as the two of them found themselves away from the crowds as they were primarily going against the flow of traffic.


"Yeah, those! Can you show me how you did it?"


"But, Julian, you're a wizard. Haven't you learned how to properly manipulate light magic?"


"Well, yeah, but I wanna know how you do it..." Julian smiled, rocking on his heels for a moment. Before Haytham could respond, he heard a voice behind him shouting something. "Huh? What's going on over there?" he asked, watching a crowd forming around a small crate. He quickly ran over to investigate before he could be stopped.


"Julian, would you wait?" came from Haytham as he approached behind the child to see the crowd was gathering around what looked like a gambling setup. Haytham let out a sigh as he saw a man shuffling three wooden cups on a table. "Come along, Julian. We don't have time to sit and wa-" he looked down to see Julian was sitting at the crate with the man running the operation in front of him.


"Can I play mister? What do you have to do to win?" Julian asked with a curious look.


"You're a little young to be gambling, don't you think, kid? Besides, what sort of coin could you possibly have?" the man said with a laugh, much of the crowd joining in before Julian set a small sack of gold coins on the crate. They came to a brief pause, staring at him. "What, did you steal this or something?"


Julian blinked. "No, sir. I did a lot of chores for my neighbors and I haven't spent much of it on anything," his head tilted. "Do kids from this city steal a lot or something?"


"No, it's not that. It's just-"


"C'mon mister, lemme play once!" Julian pleaded with a smile.


"Alright, alright. You have the coin so why not... Basically," he lifted the cups up, showing a small stone on the table, "you just have to guess which cup has the stone under it and if you guess right, you win however much you bet. If you guess wrong, I take the coin you've bet and add it to my own savings," he said with a smirk and gesturing to his large sack of gold coins.


"Wow...do a lot of people suck at this game or something?"


"Nah, just a run of bad luck sometimes, ya know?" the man laughed, setting the cups down and scratching his beard a bit. "So how much you wanna bet, kiddo?"


Julian picked up the cup he had seen the stone under and took the stone in his free hand. "What kind of rock is this anyway?" he asked, studying it before the man plucked it from his fingers and put it back on the table. Julian blinked a few times before looking up to see the bearded man's irritation. "Er...sorry I should have asked if I could see it first..."


"It's not important what kind of rock it is, kid, just place your damned bet if you're gonna play. That or get out of the way and let someone else have a turn," the man snapped.


"Hm...Let's see..." Julian started counting the coin in his bag, finding 30 pieces roughly. "I'll start with five I guess," he said, picking the coins out and setting them on the crate.


"Alright, kid, try and keep up," he said and before Julian could blink, the cups were in a blur of motion. As the cups came to a stop, the man looked up with a smirk. "Where's the stone, boy?"


Julian, without hesitation, pointed to the far left cup with a big smile on his face. "I think it's that one!"


"Well, look at that, we've got ourselves a winner, folks!" the man said, lifting the cup to reveal the stone. "Winner of five gold pieces!"


"You going soft cause it's a kid, Leon? Or are you just giving money away now?" one of the women in the crowd asked with a bit of laughter from the onlookers.


"Shut yer trap, woman. He made a good guess," Leon spat with a vein starting to pulse at his bald head's temple. He looked back to Julian. "Well, you seem lucky, why not wager your whole purse, lad? Could win some big coin, ya know? Double up on what you've got?"


Julian thought for a moment. "Throw in the stone and I'll give it a try," he said, smiling confidently. Haytham shook his head, rubbing the bridge of his nose. He was expecting this to end badly for his comrade.


Leon shook his head. "Goofy kid...Alright, how much ya got now?"


"Thirty five coin, sir."


"Okay then! Best of luck..." Leon replied before his look became very serious. He shuffled the cups around over and over again and Julian's eyes didn't seem to move from where they'd started. After what seemed like minutes of cycling positions, the cups came to a stand still. "Alright, little man. Time to see what kind of luck you've g-"


"None of them." Julian said simply.


Leon paused, staring. "No, boy, it's in one of the cups, now pi-"


"You're lying. It's under your palm. I saw it slip out from under the cup and into your hand. You don't play fair mister...You can keep your coin and your rock," Julian said, starting to get up before the man stood up, shoving Julian onto his back with an open palm to his chest. "H-Hey! What was that for?"


"What was it for? You're ruining my income, lad. What makes you think you can call me out on the carpet like that? What proof have you?!" Julian pointed the rock on top of the cup that Leon let go of in his moment of rage. "Well, aren't you a smart little fucker? Well, since you've exposed my little trick, maybe I can take the gold out of yer scrawny hide, eh?" he said, reaching to grab Julian by the collar before Haytham stood between them. "Outta my way if you know what's good for ya. I gotta teach this street rat a lesson in stealin'."


"But I didn't steal my money like you di-"


"Enough, Julian. Let's go," Haytham interrupted, staring back at him.


Julian went quiet before his eyes darted to Leon and went wide. "H-Haytham!" he shouted as Leon thrust a dagger toward him. It found contact with Haytham...except it didn't pierce his skin. In fact it wasn't even a dagger anymore. All he had managed to do was poke the Slayer with a feather.


"Wh-what kind of sorcery is this?" Leon stammered before he looked up to Haytham and stepped back slowly, realizing he'd made quite the error. "S-sorry. I uh...I lost my temper. That's all, really. H-here, kid. You can have the shiny rock and we can call it square right?" he offered, sounding nervous and looking nervous with the smile he was trying to wear.


"Okay!" Julian said, swiping the stone and his coins, stowing them away. "Come on, Mr. Haytham. We should probably get going. Bye-bye, Scam Artist!" he called back as he headed back in the direction they were originally travelling. Haytham shot Leon a glare before following his young companion. After they made a bit of distance, Haytham could see Julian was studying the stone in his hand now. "This is really special. With this I can probably pull off some spells a little more effectively!"


"Why, Julian? What is it exactly?"


"It's called a focusing stone. It makes the concentrating part of spellcasting less stressful just by holding or wearing it. Or in my case," Julian produced his spellbook, embedding it in one of five circular slots that seemed to enclose on the stone as soon as Julian released it, "by carrying it all of the time."


"Hm, I suppose that little bit of gambling paid off, even if you didn't play very much," Haytham said with a nod. "But you know we should really try learning more about the Chu'v- Julian, be quiet," he stopped himself, tugging Julian into a small alleyway after stepping into it himself. Julian soon realized why he was pulled into hiding as the two spotted three similarly dressed hooded figures walking past them.


"Soon Chu'val will bring justice upon Malik and his people. It will merely be a matter of time now," one of the hooded figures spoke. It sounded like a woman's voice. "Once the gathering is complete, things will be set into motion."


"And there will be nothing they can do with Mailk away from his home. And I hear their transportation has been badly damaged now. They must be incredibly vulnerable! Oh, if only our Lord would will it so, we could have our victory before they have the chance to regroup..." another spoke, also sounding like a woman's voice.


"Be patient, dears. All will come in due time. It is all in His plans. He will bestow upon us the necessary power when the time is right," a male voice came from the third figure as he rested a hand on his companions. "Now, we ought to go find the others and meet with them before the time is too late." The women nodded in agreement and they disappeared from Haytham and Julian's sight.


"That's not good...Those people want bad stuff to happen to Mr. Lord Malik... We should go stop them before it's too late!" Julian said, sounding a bit frantic.


"No, Julian. We know not their numbers. It would be best to come up with a bit of planning first, and possibly regroup with the others if need be," Haytham replied calmly.


"I...guess so...sorry," Julian sighed, looking down. I just hope we don't end up being too late...

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â??That was quite the display back there, Julian. You're a prodigy if I've ever seen one,â? Haytham stated with a grin, trying to distract Julian's somewhat frantic spirits. He shared Julian's concerns, but at the moment it was best for the two of them to keep their wits about them.

â??Thanks, Mister Haytham! I wasn't all that great. That guy was just a cheater, and cheaters never win,â? Julian started rambling excitedly, apparently having forgotten his previous discontent. Haytham couldn't help but chuckle at the boy. Had he been that excitable at Julian's age? For some reason, Julian's display caused Haytham to recall his father's last words  to him prior to joining Malik's adventureâ??something about maintaining his youth despite the war. As Haytham looked at Julian, he felt himself sharing his father's sentiment; he did not want the war to rob the boy of his youth.
â??...So when are you going to show me your Light Constructs?â? Julian's voice seeped into Haytham's ears. Haytham faltered for a second and accidentally tripped over his own feet. Despite all of his agility, he couldn't stop himself from stumbling into a nearby fruit stand. The commotion caught the attention of some nearby guards, who turned around to inspect the scene. However, they were met with nothing but a confused crowd and a street filled with fruit. Haytham, pressed against the frame of  a nearby doorway, held Julian close as he waited for the knights to lose interest in the spectacle. Before he could check on the soldiers, though, his ears perked at a peculiar sound. He spun Julian around and placed a finger over his own lips, instructing Julian to remain quiet. Julian nodded.
Haytham and the boy crept down a dimly lit hallway, following a pair of faint voices Haytham could just barely hear thanks to his enhanced senses. Several passageways lined the hallway, but he was certain that the voices were coming from the door at the end. He approached the door and tested the handle cautiouslyâ??it didn't budge. Undeterred, he placed his left ear against the keyhole to hear better. Julian quickly did the same, smashing the back of his head against Haytham's.
â??...It's gotta be done, boyo. Chu'val is our true leader. He has arisen, and so the usurper must be removed,â? a gruff male voice declared. An awkward silence followed, and when finally the other person spoke, they did so in a hushed and nervous voice.
â??But... But we can not just... You know what she did to get where she is now? How... how...â? a meek voice questioned feebly.
â??Such cowardice!â? Gruff Voice roared, slamming his fist against a table so hard that even Haytham and Julian flinched.â??We must do whatever Chu'val asks! He, only he, can save us from the treat that looms over usâ??the Dragon Knights! They claimed to defeat the demons, but they simply took the demons' place! I wouldn't be surprised if some of them were demons,â? Gruff stated confidently. His comment caused Meek Voice to release an audible gasp. 
Haytham rolled his eyes. This noise again? 
â??What a bunch of jerks,â? Julian mumbled under his breath. Haytham grinned and nudged the boy approvingly. Meek Voice was convinced, however.
â??You...you are right! And she wants to make a truce with them! We have to take care of her!â? Meek Voice asserted, although Haytham could sense that Meek was wary about the implications of whatever he had just agreed to.
â??That's right, me boy! We have got to find her and take care of her as ye said, so that Chu'val can sit upon the throne one more!â?
Haytham felt the blood drain from his face and a cold chill grip his body. These two... These two were talking about...
â??Are these bad men going to hurt--?â? Haytham clamped his hand over Julian's mouth, but it was too late. The sound of chairs scraping against the ground filtered through the keyhole, and quick steps followed. As the door handle began to jiggle, Haytham shot Julian a look, which he comprehended right away. When the door burst open, Gruff Voice and Meek Voice were blinded by a bright light, and then were left alone. Halway across the city, outside of an inn, Haytham and Julian reappeared. Julian took a look at his new focusing stone and whistled.
â??Wow, this thing is powerful!â? he exclaimed excitedly. Haytham ruffled the kid's hair appreciatively, but his heart was heavy. Apparently the followers of Chu'val were a far greater threat than he had imagined.
â??We've got to get going, Julian,â? Haytham said, a determined look in his eyes. â??Malik isn't the only person in danger.â? Julian's gaze met Haytham's, and he knew that the boy understood. 
The followers of Chu'val intended to take the Empress's life...
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"Another," said Garrick, gesturing his tankard at the barmaid, who returned his blunt command with an oft-practiced smile and a wink which suggested sexual attraction but was, in reality, quite the opposite. Garrick rolled his tongue around his mouth and screwed his eyes up, trying to conceal the fact that he had drunk more than he probably should have done. The barmaid slammed a foaming tankard down in front of him, and he took a deep breath before grabbing the handle.


His descent into a drunken stupor was rudely interrupted by a hand slapping down onto his shoulder from behind. He turned his head gradually, knowing that whoever the hand belonged to, it wouldn't be good news.


He was right.


Even in his half-intoxicated state, he recognised the owner of the hand as one of Chu'val's disciples from the crowd, a large, thick-set man with a heavily-scarred face. Two more men flanked him, these ones smaller but equally scarred, one of them sporting a ragged eyepatch and the other a deep scar across the bridge of his nose. Garrick swallowed his nerves about the situation and stared the central man down, slowly getting to his feet.


"Gentlemen," he said, his words slurring a little, "I presume, as disciples of Chu'val...that you have some issue with my associating with Dragon Knights. Would I be correct in this presumption?"


Thick-Set grunted, folding his thick, muscular arms.


"I'll take that as a yes," said Garrick, "And I don't suppose it would lessen the inevitable brutal physical beating if I told you that I hold no loyalty to the Dragon Knights' cause...they were simply the highest bidder for my services."


"No," replied Eyepatch, "I don't suppose it would."


"Very well," said Garrick, grabbing his tankard from the bar and draining it, "But would you mind terribly if we stepped outside? I'm afraid I've caused Glenda here far too much trouble already today..." He gestured to the barmaid, who gave a nod of confirmation when Thick-Set looked over to her.


Without a word of response, Thick-Set grabbed Garrick by the collar and dragged him through the small door of the Hero Tavern, the conflict of his size and the size of the doorway eliciting the tiniest of chuckles from Garrick as he did so.


The moment they were outside, Thick-Set threw Garrick to the floor and cracked his substantial knuckles.


"Get 'im," growled Nose-Scar, "Kill the heathen! String 'is body up at the city gates! Send a message to the First Born the only way 'e'll understand!" Thick-Set nodded and advanced on Garrick, who writhed on the ground a little, winded by Thick-Set's shove.


"Look at him, crawling around on the floor like the worm he is," snarled Eyepatch, "I'd have thought the First Born would pick his soldiers more carefully than this."


Thick-Set loomed over Garrick, lifting his enormous foot up and letting it hover above the Virdisian's head for a moment, grinning maliciously with far less than a full set of teeth. Garrick returned the gaze, and for the briefest of seconds a grin flashed across his face, causing Thick-Set's brow to furrow in anger, and his foot come hurtling towards his prone adversary.


Then Garrick caught his foot.


Lightning-quick, Garrick pushed Thick-Set's foot back, sending him stumbling backwards into his two companions, both of whom were knocked to the floor as Thick-Set attempted to regain his balance. Garrick, in turn, leapt to his feet and rested his hand on the hilt of one of his swords.


"Please tell me you didn't think I was drunk," said Garrick, his words now perfectly clear, "The watered-down Chu'valian piss they serve in this city couldn't intoxicate a child. Now, you had some kind of quarrel with me and my people?"


Thick-Set responded in the only way he knew how: he swung one of his meaty fists at Garrick with all the strength he could muster, which was admittedly considerable.


Garrick neatly sidestepped the blow and watched as Thick-Set stumbled past him, dragged forward by the momentum of his punch.


"Try that again and I'll take your fucking hand," said Garrick, pointing at Thick-Set like a disappointed schoolteacher. He almost didn't notice Eyepatch and Nose-Scar scrambling to their feet and drawing their weapons.




They charged at him together, short knives glinting in the early-evening sun, but the Virdisian was too quick for them: he dodged under Eyepatch's clumsy swipe, slamming a fist into the side of his knee until he heard a sickening pop, then drew his own knife and drew it across Nose-Scar's belly, cutting a deep wound which immediately began weeping blood.


Both men went down, and Garrick turned just in time to see Thick-Set charge at him again. With a single fluid movement that wouldn't have been possible if he weren't a Battle-Mage, Garrick drew one of his blades and with a flash of steel and a trail of icy-blue light carving through the air, the Virdisian kept his promise.


Thick-Set crumpled to the floor, grabbing at the stump which used to be his right hand, feverishly attempting to stem the gout of blood that spurted from his wrist as he stared in disbelief at the wound which had just been inflicted upon him.


Garrick walked over to the three incapacitated men, grabbing Eyepatch's collar and lifting the man to face him as he whimpered over his broken knee-joint.


"Now, if you wish to escape a fate similar to your two friends here, I suggest you tell me what your leader, the preacher we witnessed over at the Central Fountain, has planned for us," said Garrick calmly.


"You're dead if you tell this heathen anything," rasped Nose-Scar through the pain of his stomach-wound. Garrick rolled his eyes, flicked the knife in his hand around and slammed the blade into Nose-Scar's throat, holding it there as he gurgled and rasped his way to death.


"You may be dead if you tell me anything," said Garrick, removing his blade and wiping it on Nose-Scar's shirt, "But you'll be dead sooner if you don't."


"H-he intends to k-kill...the..." whimpered Eyepatch, spluttering like a guilty child, "T-to kill the...." Garrick sighed and pressed down on Eyepatch's knee, eliciting a howl of agony from the man.


"The Empress! He intends to...to assassinate the Empress..." stammered Eyepatch. Then, much to Garrick's disdain, he fainted from the combination of pain and severe emotional stress.


"Waste of effort," muttered Garrick, letting Eyepatch's prone form slump to the ground. A few feet away, Thick-Set was nursing the stump of his hand, his skin pallid and sweaty as he whimpered softly. Garrick rolled his eyes and turned to walk away, when his eyes met those of a horrified-looking Cassandra.


"Chu'val's disciples intend to assassinate the Empress," he said, ignoring the clear disgust on her face.


"I know," she replied after a moment, her mouth dry and her face pale, "Haytham and Julian reported back. Somehow they managed to discover this without the need for this much bloodshed."


Garrick looked from Cassandra to the slumped forms of the men he had just defeated, then back to Cassandra.


"Well...at least we know what they're up to now!"

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Malik moved about the Vorzik, the sound of hammers pounding and the roar of fire being blasted at the metal platings. Malik having to shield his sensitive eyes from the burning light from the skilled mage hands wielding the fires. Looking over other areas as foreman would run around trying to find Malik and showing him blueprints and asking him for his approval on other areas being worked on. Only a few places were off limits to the constructions crew, one of them vehemently protected by Morgan himself with curses and the occasional strike of flashy magic. Malik had just advised everyone to steer clear of that and a few other places for their safety and for confidentiality purposes and his requests were met and work continued on as the Dragon Commander made his way to his chambers. Getting into the room, he closed the door and sat down in one of the armchairs and let out a groan as he rubbed his eyes with one hand, trying to drown out the noise of the on going construction. He briefly heard the noise get louder, his eyes looking up to see Cassandra closing the door behind her and waving her hand, a silence engulfing the room instantly and Malik felt his body relax just a little bit.


â??Thank the Nine, that was starting to get on my last nerve.â?


â??Yes, I could see that, hence the silence shield.â? Cassandra stood with her arms folded and her face showing little of her inner thoughts. Malik leaned back in the chair, gripping the arms tighter than he had anticipated and pain shot up his arm, the injury he acquired in the rescue of Haytham still bothered him though it had been tended to and healed to the mages best ability. Gripping his arm and massaging the place the best he could through the interlinking armor plates, Cassandra had moved to his side and looked down at him shaking her head slightly.

â??You know, it would be easier if you took off the armor.â? Malik didnâ??t look at her as he touched a few places on the plates and clicked them out of place, pulling one gauntlet off and then the other before setting them on his lap and rubbing at the still tender scar in an agitated way.

â??Seems like more is bothering you then just the noise and the wound Malik.â? He flicked his eye to her this time, taking in her piercing gaze and the knowing look she seemed to hold when it came to him.

â??Itâ??s been three days Cassandra. We collected multiple sources of information, and attempt on the Empresses life has been uncovered and yet nothing is amiss. I can stand for long, drawn out battles and even plots on leaders lives that sometimes happened and other times never even got close. But this, this feels all wrong, different and wrong.â?

â??You forget about the threat on your own life as well Commander.â? Malik waved off her comment.

â??That is hardly important.â? Cassandra let out an annoyed breath as she reached down and gripped his face in her hand and twisted him towards her glare.

â??You diminish your worth to readily, like when you threw yourself into battle against that other knights rather than stay on board with your crew. You forget your value to this cause sometimes and it drives me insane. Chuâ??val, himself, would beat some sense into you if he could.â?

â??Glad he I never met him then, though you never did either Lady Cassandra.â? She rolled her eyes at him before releasing his face, a small smile on her face.

â??All the same Malik, you need to worry about your own life. We canâ??t lose you too.â? Malik could see the concern in her eyes, his shoulders slumped a little then as he felt the pressure push on him a little bit more.

â??I will worry about my own life when Corvin is dead Cassandra, no sooner, no later. Once this war is over, we can try to settle the dust and bring peace again. Maybe iâ??ll retire, disappear into the woods in that little house i've told you about.â?

â??You would leave all this? Go hide in some forgotten place while we maintain the order you helped create.â? Cassandra had turned away, looking out the large windows to the city and the people who were going about their day. Picking up his gauntlets, he rose from his seat and walked to stand beside her, sharing the view.

â??After Corvin dies, I have no idea what I will do. Will this world be able to deal with an old fossil like me? Will the knights be effective and manageable in my hands, or will I make another mistake and create a schism again within our ranks? Only time will tell, I just ask you stay by my side until it unfolds.â? Her hand reached out for just a second, grazing his fingers with her before reaching up and smacking him upside his head.

â??Of course I am, you really think I would abandon you through everything weâ??ve done?â? Malik gave a small chuckle though a smile never touched his lips.

â??Good, I will need you more now with all of this madness. Send a message to the Empress, I am going for a visit in the next few hours.â? He turned and walked to the door, opening it and breaking the silence spell as the noise flooded back into the room. He groaned as he put his gauntlets back on, his face hardening to the world as Cassandra spoke over the noise.

â??Where do you think you are going until then?â? Looking over his shoulder as he finished locking the gauntlets back into place.

â??To see the people, and to see the Disciples of Chuâ??val as well. Hopefully Iâ??ll find this â??Chuâ??val Rebornâ?? fellow and can bring and end to this madness. Donâ??t wait up.â? He walked out the door, hearing her trying to object to his choice but her voice being drowned out by all the construction work. Malik could feel the anticipation of walking through the city for the first time, he was unsure how this would go, and how his meeting with the Empress would go. He lost interest in the whole thing as he left the Vorzik and entered the city, walking the streets now for the first time in three days and hearing the information from the others. He had sent messages to the Empress with the pertinent information, making sure she remained safe, even though they were having their difference with her trying to pull the Knight back into the empire fold. He wouldn't allow it, even with this commonality they had now, Malik didn't trust the empire anymore than they trusted the Knights to remain neutral in political matters. Malik had walked deeper into the city without noticing much, forgetting where he was for a few moments before coming back and seeing the people walking around in the bizarre, the voices filling the streets, the yelling of peddlers trying to sell their wears. But the most prominent feature of this place was the eyes of all the people, and all of them were focused toward him, he could feel their stares trying to burn through his armor right into his soul. He didn't feel threatened by them, he could kill them all really, but he knew he would fall to their fists before really hurting any of them. Moving through the crowds, he started to notice a few people following him, cloaked figures slowly grew in numbers the further he walked. Malik began to walk quicker, catching a glimpse of Garrick, an ally for the time being even if the two didn't see eye to eye at all he made his way to Garrick quickly and pulled him away from his browsing.


"Oh, the Dragon commander has finally decided to come out of his hole. I am so pleased to be graced with your presence." Malik ignored the comment as they kept walking.


"Pleased to see you as well Battle-Mage, right now I am being followed and we need to loose them. I'm sure they were following you as well, and if that is true, then the others are in the same situation." Garrick shrugged his shoulders at Malik.


"I know, I saw them before. I'm sure the others could take care of themselves, or is the First born scared?"


"Just listen to me for one second, we will find the others together. There will be no splitting up this time, we will stand as one and no killing these followers as they may just be innocents involved. I heard about your last encounter, we will avoid killing more." The Virdisian just shrugged again.


"Easy enough, keep up if you can."


"Don't worry about me, just watch out for the others."



OOC: Go about business as usual, we will all meet up and once we all have those posts in, the fan will be hit by the proverbial fecal matter.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bayel for once dressed casually, a light blue button down shirt, the sleeves billowed out past her hands, and a pair of black slacks. She pulled her eye patch over the scarred eye and buckled her boots. Opening the door she made her way out onto the streets, her hair blew across her face making her frown. 

"It's so quiet here..."

'There is death on the wind.'

She nodded slightly and began to walk, her heeled boots clicking on the concrete under her, but her keen ears picked up the sound of other feet, quietly, but not enough; she was being followed. Frowning more she could only think it was due to her encounter with the followers earlier that night. She scoffed, they were starting to get on her nerves about as much as Garrick; picking up her pace she could hear them follow and grit her teeth. Malik would be cross with her for getting into it with these people twice in a single night. She suddenly slipped down an alley and lept up onto the roof of a building watching as indeed a few of the men robed in white sprinted down the alley after her. She frowned and listened closely.

"Find her, we're supposed to kill them remember?"

She felt a growl bubble from her throat but stopped as the thought registered. 


She stood and sprinted across the roofs, leaping from one to the next with little to no effort, her breathing remained even as she pumped her legs as fast as she could.

'He's with the mage.'

This fueled her even more as the conversation her and Garrick had flowed back through her mind, her need to find Malik reaching a new height as it reached near panic. She stopped on a roof top and looked around, her hair whipping this way and that as her eye scanned the area as best she could.

"Malik...where are you...?"

She sprinted across a few more rooftops til she skidded to a halt, looked over the edge she could see him, pulling Garrick with him, their speech to low for her to hear. Catching the little breath she had lost she pushed off the side and landed in front of them.

"Lord Malik. We're being-"

"I am well aware Knight Bayel. We're to find the others. But stay together."
She nodded, straitening her shirt she fell in step behind Malik, putting her self between the first born and the perusing threat. 



I know it's short, but I'm hoping to jump start this. >.>;

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Even after reporting back the information, Julian stuck along Haytham's side. He was still a little uneasy about learning of the assassination plot, but he was too concerned on Haytham showing him the light constructs still. "So, Haytham are you gonna show me yet? Or do I have to wait til the time's right like with the dragon lady? She wouldn't show me until we got into that fight and I didn't really get to see it cause of the bad-guys that were attacking us....So she still needs to show me...and so does Mister Lord Dragon Commander..." he huffed, frustrated. He felt a hand reach down and rough up his hair, distracting him from his small rant. "Well, it's true..."


"Well, to be fair, Julian, you probably haven't shown us all of your powerful spells. Don't you think that it's only fair that we learn from each other over time?" Haytham offered something of a smile to the young man and he chuckled since he was able to tell Julian didn't care for his logic. "Something wrong with that?"


"Yeah! It's not like you guys asked or anything so...so no, it's not fair at all! I asked all three of you and you won't show me! If you would have asked, I would have been glad to show you...unless it was necromancy...I hate using necromancy..." Julian shuddered a bit, clutching his tome a bit tighter. "I ended up using necromancy in our last fight..." he said with a lowered gaze. "I hope I never have to again..."


"While I understand that necromancy probably seems dark or unnatural, isn't it still a part of magic, Julian?" Haytham asked, eyebrow raised as the two kept their course.


"Yeah...that's the only reason I even bothered learning any..." Julian replied with a sigh, looking up to Haytham. "That and I have a real goal other than what I've seemed to show... I wanna learn enough magic to fill my spellbook twice over," he said with a smile.


"Well, it's good to have goals, Julian. How is your progress thus far?" Haytham replied, looking at the rather sizeable tome.


"Well..." Julian paused, thinking about all of the spells he had learned so far. "I think I have nine hundred and forty pages filled so far. "I think I have nine hundred and forty pages filled so far. So..." Haytham stared at the child with a raised brow as the boy looked up in thought. "So I guess I have a thousand and sixty more pages to fill!"

"Julian...that's...wait but your spell book can't be more than a thous- Wait...magic...of course," Haytham quickly realized it once the disbelief wore off. "That's fairly impressive Julian."


"Yeah, well, it's not like it's nine hundred and forty spells. Some spells just take a lot of pages, ya know!" Julian beamed. His distraction suddenly stopped as he glanced over his shoulder, pulling his cloak around him. "Mister Haytham...?"


"Yeah, I've noticed too, Julian... Let's just try and avoid them for now," Haytham replied in a hushed tone as they looked forward, away from the hooded figures that had been following the two for a while.


"Should I jus-" Julian started before Haytham shook his head. "Okay...But...what do we do?" Julian answered his own question, holding onto Haytham's hand and closing his eyes tight as he muttered a few words as they approached a narrow alley. The two watched as the hooded figures followed Haytham and Julian forward as they continued their walk, looking this way and that as they walked. As the figures passed, Julian chuckled. "They didn't even noticed I used two spells? They must not be mages then," he said with a big grin.


"Teleportation and a doppelganger spell? Pretty crafty, Julian. Now, come on, we'd better meet up with the others. Think you can teleport us to them or close to them?" Haytham asked. "The less we move around the roads, the better."


"I can get us there thanks to the prize I won today," Julian smiled, still holding onto Haytham. With a bit of concentration, he pictured Malik in his armor, focusing solely on him. His eyes opened and the two were gone from their position, appearing in another alleyway. "We're here, Mister Haytham," Julian said in a hushed tone. Haytham, confused, looked out of the alley and saw Garrick, Bayel, and Malik walking close and then looked to Julian with an approving nod. "They're being followed, too...Maybe...." he glanced down the alley. "Wait right here, Mister Haytham..." he said and then was gone from view. If I can dispel our previous copies, I can at least give us a chance to regroup... he thought, creeping up behind the three and focusing on their images. He tapped Malik's armor. I know you can hear my thoughts, Lord Dragon Commander. Please take hold of the others. I can buy us a little time, okay? He could see Malik heard him, resting a hand on the shoulders of the other two, leaving him able to exercise his last pair of spells with another pair on the end. The five of them stood able to see each other easily, but as the men walked past them, following the copies, they took no note of the group. "We should have some privacy now!" Julian said aloud with a big grin on his face. Haytham stuck his head out to see if any of them heard him and raised an eyebrow as they gave no reaction. "I made our own little bubble. They can't see or hear us in here while we figure out what the game plan is...So...uhm... what is the game plan?" Julian asked with a smile, still proud of his work.

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