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  #21  
Old 11-16-2010
roguethree roguethree is offline
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Wrath, Revelation, Part II

(Continued from previous page. Did you read it?)

"Evening." The mercenary had followed him.

"Go away, Shield."

"Come on. That any way to greet an old friend?"

"There's nothing friendly about you."

"WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" A blue-clad gnome darted through the Crossroads, his hands waving frantically over his head, his eyes wide in abject terror.

The paladin turned to watch the gnome go, his horrified scream gradually dimming as the gnome put more and more distance between himself and whence he came.

"Oh. Yeah. Forgot to mention that after you left, the vampires turned on everyone. It's a real bloodbath. Well played, paladin. Well played."

"Astinus!" the paladin cried, and the air around them bent and warped, giving way to a magnificent white steed. It galloped past, and the dark-armored man grabbed its bridle and swung himself into its saddle, tearing back toward the Second Wind.

"...huh," Shield mused, shrugging as he began his own casual jaunt back to the fray.
-------------------------------
The inn came in sight, and the paladin leaped from the saddle, hitting the ground and rolling to his feet at a dead run as the majestic beast faded back to its home plane. He touched a crest on his breastplate and faded into the ethereal, his rapid steps striking soundlessly against the hard earth as he closed on the vampires. Bodies strewed the ground, twisted in various agonizing poses. He paid them no heed, flying in on the vampires.

"Let's get out of here with our new servant before the Judicator comes back and does something stupid," the masked vampire's voice echoed from within his face covering. On cue, the paladin materialized before them, driving his sword through the red-haired vampire. Her unholy scream rent the air as the sword burst through her back, its tip resting inches from the masked creature's breast. The Judicator withdrew his sword and grabbed the vampiress' shoulder, channeling a holy brilliance into her arm that reduced the limb to nothingness. She sunk to her knees and listed helplessly to the side, barely clinging to her physical form.

The paladin turned for the masked vampire...and stopped. His wards faded, and he couldn't move, his strength utterly leaving him. The world seemed to slow; voices sounded muted and distant. The vampire clutched an amulet, and an eerie green glow spewed between the cracks of his gloved fingers. He felt it, then: pain. A massive axe slammed into his side. His armor held, but he had no breath, and he fell to his knees, his sword falling from his hand. The vampiress was on her feet, rage twisting her dangerous smile into a crazed grimace, and she and a rather large, rather uninterested-looking man beat him to the earth. His sense left him as axe handle after boot after axe handle pummeled him into unconsciousness, and he lay motionless at the feet of the captive woman, blood trickling out from beneath his hood.

"Enough!" the masked vampire demanded as the sun began to crest the horizon. Its earliest rays kissed their cloaks, and thin plumes of smoke rose from the illumination. "Let's begone."
----------------------------------
He awoke, bouncing from side to side, the ground a curious six feet below him. He wasn't dead, surprisingly, and he wriggled, losing his perch and falling limply to the ground in a dull, dust-raising thud.

"Oh, you're not dead," Shield quipped. "Pity."

"...aye, alive, so leave off your thought of stripping me of me armor."

"Stripping you of your...? Dear friend, I was only taking you to a no-questions-asked temple to rejoin body with soul. I feared the worst!"

"Right." The paladin rolled over on to his stomach and pushed himself to his feet, turning back toward the Second Wind.

"Hey, you owe me!" the mercenary called.

The paladin dismissed him with a gesture over his shoulder.
----------------------------------
It hurt to walk. It hurt to breathe. He had no healing energies left in him; he'd poured them all into the vampiress. He staggered lamely into the commons, holding his side in a feeble attempt to still the pain in his doubtless broken ribs. She was there, sitting numbly on a bench, and without thinking, without knowing, he made his way, falling to his knees before her. He buried his face into her shoulder, and she reached up into the shadowed depths of his hood, tenderly caressing his face with her gentle touch.

He exhaled, pushing out his thoughts of duty, his yearning to punish the wicked as the morning sun found its height, and he breathed her in. Her sweet scent extinguished the burning at his core.

At least for that morning.

Last edited by roguethree; 01-04-2012 at 01:10 AM.
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  #22  
Old 11-22-2010
roguethree roguethree is offline
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I'm unpleasant.

I smile less, my brow is firmly set...I can't remember the last time I looked someone in the eye when I wasn't searching for a tainted heart. When I took these vows, I promised myself they wouldn't change me, that I'd ever be the man I'd been, that I wouldn't be as the other grim-faced paladins that had seen too much to yet bear the countenance of hope.

They bow their heads in reverence, in appreciation of deeds, of battles fought and won, fought and lost. There was a time when I'd have blushed at the notion, would have lifted their chins for them that they might look me in the eye. Now, I nod even as I look past them.

I look past them, torch-lit, stone corridors falling away to crypts and fields full of evil and blackness. Even as I move among my brothers and sisters in faith, I see tomorrow's next struggle, forget yesterday's victory. Melchior seeks me often, to discuss this path. He would guide me as the Broken shepherds the Maimed. I've seldom the time.

I am to choose, the Harbinger has decided. My successor, who will sacrifice as I did, picked by my hand, and so the guilt is entirely mine. Strange that a decision I made for myself so easily comes so slowly when I choose for another. Part of me thinks it strange that I should dread this task; is it not the mark of truest character for one to give so nobly of oneself? I should rejoice at the opportunity to find one of such value, and yet I fear for them...as much as a man impervious to fear can, anyway.

Most of those in this Order were trained for their tasks from their childhoods; they never knew the temptations, the fear that tormented my youth. I'm not so sure that I miss those impulses, but...there's a certain temperance to be had in all of it, and I think we come to lack it. It's easy to forget that not all are capable of walking the path I walk. Ours is a narrow road - narrower yet for the duty I hold - a narrow road that could never hope to hold us all.

I come to the door that will usher me out to the city, and from there, the countryside, where I will yet hunt again. I pause and tug my gauntlets free from my belt. Black and gold, as the rest of this armor. It's suffocating; I feel as though I escape when the wind kisses my bare skin, my truer essence allowed to bare itself.

My truer essence? I wonder which is. I did not come to this by accident; I chose duty for myself, and I've given myself over to it, as I must. It has cost dearly. It has severed friendships, other things more dear. I am reminded each day that not all can walk this path...and it's just as well.

I am not here to make paladins of men.

I am here to make a world that does not need paladins.
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  #23  
Old 11-23-2010
roguethree roguethree is offline
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"Do you have friends, Shepard?"

The two men stood at the meager camp at the Crossroads, their gazes trained to the southwest as the night quietly wore on. A gentle breeze rustled the tall grasses, and distantly, the farmer's wheat field swayed and bent with the subtle gusts. Selune shown full and brilliant, casting her somber light over the humble farmstead and glinting off the black and gold, ornamental mail of the paladin and the well-used red and silver plate of the Legionnaire.

"Hm?

"Friends, Shepard."

The Legionnaire stayed silent a moment, his chin lifting as his brow flattened, and he took a long draw from his cigarette. His lips smacked just audibly as he retracted the burning weed, and he inhaled shallowly afterward, his throat catching as he retained the caustic vapor.

"Yeah," he exhaled, the smoke spilling forth from his lungs and through his mouth, quickly dissipating into the calm breeze. He held the cigarette down at his side, a thin wisp of smoke snaking a narrow line into the air between them before being caught by the winds. "A few."

"I'd wondered. You spend a lot of nights in my company at this spot. I thought you'd take your leave with them."

Shepard shrugged impassively, again bringing the cigarette to his lips...or he would have, but he noted with small annoyance that it had burned beyond use. He pitched the nub into the nearby campfire and deftly undid the clasp of a pouch at his side. From within it, he produced a small package stuffed with the things. He slid one from the others and fitted it between his lips, then extended the bundle toward the paladin, one eyebrow raised in skeptical appraisal.

The paladin pressed his lips into a thin line, glancing aside at the Legionnaire. "Seriously?"

The Legionnaire shrugged again, as was his way, and slid the package back into the pouch, sealing it as deftly as he'd first opened it. He found a tinder twig tucked behind his ear and struck it off a line of flint cleverly worked into his sword belt, and he brought the burning wood to the cigarette that suspended from his mouth, shielding the flame from the wind with a cupped hand. He puffed at the burning tobacco a few times, then extinguished the twig with a careless shake before casting it into the fire.

"You just..."

The Legionnaire waved off the paladin's logic and pulled the cigarette from its perch, then inhaling deeply of the crisp, Sundarian evening. "You do this every night, Sir Tornbrook?"

An amused half-smile crept into the paladin's features, and he turned his gaze back to the southwest. "Not every. Enough to make sure that they know I know. What's your excuse? Aren't you stationed at Schild?"

"No. No deployment right now, held off for something of a promotion, maybe."

"Something of a promotion."

"Yeah."

The paladin's hand fell to the sword resting at his left hip, his thumb capping where the sword's pommel ought to have been, but wasn't. "That sounds secretive."

"Yeah."

"Fair enough." The paladin again glanced aside at the Legionnaire, his own azure gaze well shadowed deeply within the folds of his hood. He noted the talley marks crudely scrawled into the man's pauldrons, and he stayed silent a few moments longer, considering them. He turned back to his vigil, and then the east, where the sun was just beginning to spill over the horizon. "Dawn's soon."

"Yeah." The Legionnaire sucked at the tobacco again, blowing out a thin stream of smoke that disappeared several inches from his mouth.

"Some of the Ilmatari have mentioned that they think those things are harmful. Truth to that?"

"Probably. Want one?"

"Not at all."

"Didn't think so."

The sun climbed a bit higher, casting long shadows that stretched and threatened to consume the land, shadows that eventually gave way to light and luminance. The paladin's eyes didn't mind the intrusion, his eyes set within the darkened confines of his cowl. The Legionnaire chanced one glance to the east, to the sun, and one more to the southwest. He flicked his cigarette into the dying embers with a careless ease and turned from the camp.

"Good morning, Sir Tornbrook."

"Good morning, Shepard."
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  #24  
Old 11-29-2010
roguethree roguethree is offline
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This armor is black and gold...their colors.

It is exquisitely crafted, powerfully enchanted. Aye, it's the finest case I've ever seen, let alone worn. It withstands blows other suits have broken beneath. With a thought it transcends to the ethereal, where my enemies try to hide when faced with justice.

But it's black and gold.

My old armor rests upon a stand, its blue and gold somewhat dulled with use. It is still whole, still...inspiring. It feels almost like a relic, now, a reminder of days not-so-far-gone when I judged less than guided. I see more battle now than I ever have, yet my sword does not dull with the use. It is ever perfect, unmarred and ready, as my new armor is.

I notice the poetry. As that worn armor encased a more proud example of paladinhood, so do these new, gleaming arms encase a worn man that had shined more brilliantly, not so long ago.

This armor is black and gold...his colors. Much finer, aye, and with the crest of Wrath and no baleful gauntlet, but I'd be arrogant to pretend I don't remember. His shined brightly through lack of true use, but it still shined, as mine does. I wonder if his weighed against his soul as mine does mine. These artifacts - this sword, this armor - daily ask me to embrace the more wrathful parts of my vows, to forsake compassion and to punish the wicked with prejudice. The Even-Hand sees no greater good than the destruction of evil; I please him even as I am displeased with myself.

My old armor rests silently on its stand, vigilant as a restless sentinel, my old sword belted around it. It's there, worn...and waiting.
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  #25  
Old 11-30-2010
roguethree roguethree is offline
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A slight, salty breeze swept through the high climes of the lighthouse as the sun cast the burnt reds and oranges of dusk through the sky. The paladin in black and gold mail looked down upon the quieting village, his eyes flitting from distant window to distant window as candles lit their depths. Far below, the cries of merchants closing their shops echoed and died within the twisting allies of the port city. From the center of the town, a number of sturdy men and women in the gleaming red and silver of the legion dispersed in small, orderly columns, filtering through the streets like water through cracks in stone.

His hood was pulled back, his shaven, blemishless visage bared for none to see. His eyes were icy-blue, at that moment, the sunburst around his pupils more resembling the thin halo around a warmthless winter sun. He was thinking, judging himself, and he wasn't liking his verdicts.

Shuffling steps and ragged breathing broke his reverie, and he turned to her, his...standing, bent at her waist and struggling to find wind. Her dark, lustrous gaze found his, and her mouth twisted into an agonized grimace. She looked dismayed, her eyes creasing with an unspoken despair. She stood upright and hesitated, turned on a heel and managed a few steps back down the path, away from the lighthouse, from him. She almost left.

She stepped to the cliff's edge instead and sunk to the earth, her hands moving to conceal her gaze from the sun that slowly eased beneath the horizon, its light disappearing into the sea. Behind her, the paladin turned, uncertainty written across his features, and before he could form thought, his feet were bending blades of grass beneath their tentative steps. Hands' breadths behind her, he sunk to his knees and sat on his heels, his eyes turning a deeper blue that must have been the color of the waters that quenched the fire at his core as he looked upon the Sunite, his...

He winced as she sniffled, and her hand drew across her eyes. A droplet escaped vigilance and eased down her cheek, drawing a darkened line down her flawless features. It disappeared beneath her jawline, and so he grabbed the hem of his cloak, reaching forward to present it to the woman. The paladin's cloak in hand, she dabbed at her reddened eyes, murmuring a watery thanks.

He tugged at his gauntlets for some time, painstakingly freeing his hands. The clanking of the metal was lost to the breeze as the armor struck the ground. He laid his naked hands upon her shoulders, and his right snaked around to caress her throat. His left weaved into her curls, and he would have taken her closer, but beneath him, the crest of his armor teased the lower reaches of his vision. His gaze fell to it. His armor. Again.

"I...I don't like myself, Priya."

Hours passed, and neither could tell how much was said. As the murky blackness gave way to the fiery hues of the morning sun, they rose, and he clung to her fingertips. His eyes poured into hers, trying to find answers to questions only he could resolve.

"Goodnight, Priya," he must have whispered, for his lips moved, and she replied.

"Goodnight, Dain." The silks of her gown rustled softly as she turned, a few steps taken toward the Port and its gate before she turned, her eyes lingering over the paladin as he yet looked after her. Her eyes shone with something. Hope? Regret? He couldn't tell, and then she was gone, her soft footfalls carrying her swiftly from the refuge.

As she faded from view, he turned his attentions to the mounting sun, across the waters to the distant landmass that marked Sestra.

Smoke.

(To be continued...)
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  #26  
Old 12-02-2010
roguethree roguethree is offline
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He rode hard along the road to Sestra, he and his horse a black-and-white blur, kicking up clouds of dust that lingered and drifted lazily before finally dispersing into the breeze. His cloak billowed behind him as he stood up in his saddle, turning his shoulders down to better pierce the breeze that tried to buffet him from his perch.

The village soon came into view, its immediate sky choked with black smog and the orange glow of burning buildings. He dismounted as he approached the gates and sent the horse away. He strode through the portal, the iron of his sword hissing as he brought it forth from its sheath. Just within, a Corps guardsman sat slumped against the walls, his eyes wide and lifeless. Blood covered his hands that clutched at a sword buried deep within his chest, his lips just parted and stained red. The paladin moved on toward the village proper, his hood now concealing his features as the flames that engulfed some of the battlements cast eerie lights over his dark armor. A woman in mail of the Red Blades was in the road ahead, an arrow buried into her neck.

She choked, spitting up crimson fluid as she struggled to breathe. Her left hand held the shaft of the arrow where it entered her neck; her right was dug into the earth, her wrist bent and taut as she tried to overcome her dread.

The paladin knelt before her. His azure gaze found hers, and as she froze in his attention, he pulled her hand away from the wound. With a calm that stood arrogantly against the chaos engulfing the village, he tore the arrow free of her flesh and placed his other hand there. A soft, yellow luminescence flowed into the Blade's flesh, and she sucked in a gasp, her right hand loosing the earth as she sat upright, her arms snaking around the man's neck as she supported herself, her chest heaving with every deep breath that now came easily.

He made to stand, and as he began to drift away, her shoulders listed toward him until her clasped hands finally broke. She fell back on her elbows, her eyes fixed on the black cloak that wafted behind her dark-mailed savior.

There were no further sounds of battle. Able-bodied men and women rushed around the village, carrying bandages, pails of water, other men and women. Near the docks, a gathering of Corpsmen and adventurers watched the last of Luskan's black sails disappear on the watery horizon. The paladin looked down at his naked blade pensively, sparing a few moments' thought before sliding it back into its home at his left hip. Despite the crackling flames, despite the anxious shouts for healers and water, despite the anguished cries of the wounded, the town felt silent.

Already, the fires were falling to embers, the casualties were being counted, and healers enough were in place to tend them all. He turned back for the gate. As he neared it, the familiar Red Blade spied him and ran to pace alongside him. She leaned ahead of him, trying to peer into the depths of his cowl. The paladin turned his head to regard the woman, the sunburst in his irises shining with purpose from within the shadowed depths of his hood. As she caught his gaze, her pursuit faltered, and her feet rooted to the earth.

He offered her the smallest of smiles, his lips barely turning upward, and he returned his attention to the road before him. As he passed through the gate, the air at his right wavered and bent, soon giving way to a flawless white steed. He took the horse's bridle in hand, but he did not mount. He walked alongside the dutiful warhorse, their journey silent save for the regular, slow cadence of boots and hooves making their way along the earth.
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  #27  
Old 01-05-2011
roguethree roguethree is offline
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Wrath, Reviled

"How could you?!"
---------------------------
"You can relinquish the artifact and warn them off their cause, or I can strip the flesh from their bones, twisting and pulverizing their souls into a plague that will ravage this valley you so desperately want to protect for a century. I'm losing patience, paladin."

The masked vampire, Sebastian, leaned easily against the bar, the Aquorian tavern nearly empty, save for the terrified barkeep and a few patrons who hid in corners and beneath tables. His robes and armored glowed green, taking on the luminescence of the nearly complete artifact that hung from his neck.

He sensed the man's hesitation, and the vampires lips curled into a fiendish smile behind the mask. "With this, I can keep the sun from rising. Do you really doubt me?"

The Judicator was without his armor, a rare day he had taken for himself. His swords still hung from his hips, but there were five of them. At best, he could remove one before the others overcame him, ruined him, and then ruined everyone outside...and then the townsfolk, and then...

"The woman goes free," he barely spoke, the desperation of the situation catching his breath in his throat.

The vampire behind him, Grann, chuckled as he released the woman. She howled and wailed as she sped for the door, nearly tripping on her dress as she hastily fled from the place with all abandon.

"I can miss a meal to see this."

"Yes, my love," the red-haired vampiress purred. She was dressed in a revealing red gown, cut to reveal pale, appealing flesh that did not age, that was cold to the touch. "Your blood for hers, as we agreed." She sauntered up to him, her hips swaying as though she might entice him. Red lips parted, she ran her tongue along her teeth, taking care to trace the two fangs that jutted lower than the rest. When she neared, she took his hand and pulled him close, wrapping an arm around his waist and pressing him to her.

"Such warmth," she cooed, a dark chuckle escaping her, "I miss it, sometimes."

He growled, a low, guttural challenge that threatened vengeance he knew he could not take, not now. He turned his head aside, exposing his bare neck.

"Come on, then."

She brushed her lips along his neck and bent up to his ear. "I've waited so long for this...I wonder if you'll taste as sweetly as she did."

He felt the sharp pain of the white fangs sinking into his flesh. At first, he tensed, his every impulse screaming for retribution, to summon his divine energy to put a hole in her face. The notion gave way, and soon he was lightheaded, dizzy, as she drained his lifeblood.

Only moments passed before she was finished. The paladin leaned against her, sapped of his strength. She kissed the wound she'd left, again lifting her mouth to his ear where she nipped at his earlobe, whispering, "Sweeter." She dropped him. Without her support, he fell to his knees, his head awash.

To his right, a large pool of blood took shape and animated. Sounds were muffled, echoing, his vision a narrow tunnel of light in a corridor of darkness. As he fought to regain his senses, the blood flew at him and streamed into the wound Ruby had left, the liquid vanishing as it splashed against his neck. He suddenly had his senses back, and it hurt.

His veins bulged and pulsed, every muscle in his body straining against the intrusion. His sight faded to whiteness, washed out against this burning, this agony that was as though his blood were on fire. He passed minutes like this, writhing on the floor, while the vampires looked on, amused.

The masked vampire pushed himself off the bar, laughing a dark chortle that echoed within the face covering. He casually stepped over the would-be hero who still fought to gain his feet, his skin laced with sweat as the pain subsided.

"We're going to leave now. Go out and tell your friends to stay away, or I'll destroy their souls."
-------------------------------------
"Because I'm a paladin. I'm sworn to protect people, not thrones."

Last edited by roguethree; 01-04-2012 at 01:13 AM.
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  #28  
Old 08-16-2011
roguethree roguethree is offline
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Written days after the placement of High Adjudicator Dain Tornbrook:

Better men than I have failed.

I wrote those words not so long ago. As I lamented the loss of Sundren's past paragons - men I was told I should aspire to be like, men with the strength and conviction I should envy - I strove to do better, to be better.

Better than what?

Truth has a way of revealing itself. Men of virtue I was supposed to emulate made sport of their vows, not just tolerating the presence of a renegade, murderous elf, but quietly accepting his wickedness because it was something that had to be done that they couldn't do. He was a valuable advisor to them, he said, going into shadows with cloak and dagger to commit the sins they wouldn't.

They sinned through him, I say. What ideals are we fighting for if we're not upholding them when we lift our swords? What makes us better than what we're striving against when we willingly turn blind eyes toward murderers on the off chance that their hateful impulses kill the right one? Ours is not a fight against evil; it is a fight for righteousness, and we must be righteous or else lose our place. If we should win through tyranny and fear, what victory?

I set my sword against evil, and never alongside it. There is no place among the righteous for the dishonorable, no matter the strategic advantage lost. So long as I am High Adjudicator of this temple, there will never be another Balthazar, there will be no murderous elves whispering in the ears of my paladins; there will be no tolerance of wickedness.

Better men than I have failed. A refrain to drive the righteous.
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Old 08-17-2011
roguethree roguethree is offline
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Wrath, Deception, Part I

"I needed you . . . and you came."
-----------------------------
The paladin sat, armor and all, in the temple's mess hall. Several torches and fonts of light kept the room always well-lit, chasing shadows into nooks and corners beneath furniture and behind tapestries. The mess saw use at all hours of the day, and right now, newcomer Trevor Lecarde was its master, cooking furiously to feed fifty men on an almost daily basis.

The man was rough of speech, like so many of the peasants that had visited his parents' land in Cormyr, asking for work or shelter. He blinked away the thought; the food was actually good, subtly seasoned. The knights and priests wouldn't be sure what to make of it.

"Y' know, ne'er seein' you smile, 'er, 'igh Adjudicator. Kids loo' up at ya. Ya ough' a take time t' live."

Dain was silent for a few moments, digesting the man's speech as he slowly chewed a morsel of chicken.

"I doubt I have many years left, and they'll be spent in duty."

"Duty," the makeshift chef replied, "ain' all marchin' an' killin'. Ya got a duty wit' all those folk 'at admire ya.' Ya gotta show 'em 'ow t' live. 'Ow ol' are ya?"

"I'm twenty-six."

"Twenty-six," the man echoed, "I coul' tell by the look in yer eye ya' seen things men ain' shoul' be seein'. 'Sa hard lo'." The man took a few moments of quiet to tend one of his many pans of simmering food; the smell of actual spice slipped through the cracks under doors and in stone and breezed through the temple; knights were breaking off prayer and trickling into the mess hall. "If ya' 'ad one month, jus' one month, what'd ya do wit' it?"

The paladin pushed his plate away and rose from his chair. "Your advice is noted. Gratitude for the meal."

He left the table, the mess hall, passing a dozen or so meal-bound knights in the Triad's usually sparse corridors. They looked excited, eager, and their boots lent a feeling of activity to solemn chambers. He passed them all, his right hand clenched over his heart; they hastily saluted in return, hardly slowing on the pressing errand of the stomach.

He found his way outside. Moments after he inhaled the unseasoned air, the bland texture of the city's breath offending a tongue that still thought of food, someone's voice found his mind.

"Dain . . . Emiliana. Ruby's outside my room. Please come if you can."

Emiliana's room was literally a stone's throw away. He didn't run to the Sundren Comfort; he walked, purposefully, with the same eagerness that had driven his knights toward dinner, with the same expectation of fulfillment that well-cared for food offered a grieving stomach. He stepped easily into the inn, offering the attending clerk a quiet smile as he turned for the steps upstairs. He mounted them without haste.

He arrived upstairs, his armored boots sending hollow echoes through the empty hallway that bore the entrances into the private lives of notable Sundarians. He stepped onto fine carpet, its soft texture muffling his footsteps as the steely hiss of a sword leaving its scabbard slithered into the air and faded. She was there, speaking something toward Emiliana's doorjamb.

"Evening," the paladin's smoldering tone greeted.

The crimson-haired vampiress, in full armor and wicked in her decadent smile, turned to face the paladin. She gently stroked the surface of Emiliana's door with gloved fingertips. "We'll talk later; it looks like I need to leave."

She clutched the holy symbol - the homage to the Blood God - that hung over her breast, and red light glowed between the cracks in her fingers. She smiled playfully at the paladin, one brow twitching in a sensual taunt as the magic in her amulet took shape to spirit her away.

Two steps and he was upon her, his sword arcing in with wrath and purpose. For her part, she looked surprised, betrayed, and as the searing of righteous divinity marred her flesh and made her cry out, she ran. She brushed past the paladin that wouldn't allow peaceful escape; she sprinted for the stairs, for the door, for the moon out over city streets.

Her cloak billowed out behind her, and he caught it in hand. He planted his feet and threw his hips back, jerking the vampiress off her feet. Two more steps again had him upon her, and stood on her throat when he drove his blade through her breast. Her unholy flesh gave way to mist, and she glided out of the inn, into Sundren's darkness, bound for home.

He sheathed his sword and found Emiliana's door, striking the wood three times with a single knuckle in the same cadence he always used for this particular portal. She eased open the wooden barrier and looked upon him, her features comely and soft in the evening's torchlight.
-----------------------------
"I needed you . . . and you came."

She stepped out into the hallway and set her hand upon her door.

"I did." His gold-flecked eyes fell upon her hand, and a tempest swelled in his breast. Her eyes were upon him, he knew, and he closed his own, rolling them aside so that they'd miss her when he opened them again.

"Goodnight, Emiliana." Long strides bore him with desperate haste from the inn, out into the Sundarian night. He breathed its bitter air deeply, using its blandness to subdue the storm driving against his breast. He looked up behind him, to the high windows that overlooked the street. Demure luminance in her chamber cast her silhouette over the drawn curtains, and he clutched at the neck of his armor, as if breath might come more steadily if only he had a bit more room.

He tore himself from the inn, from the city, to the long road toward Aquor, and further north.

Last edited by roguethree; 01-04-2012 at 01:16 AM.
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Old 08-23-2011
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Wrath, Deception, Part II

"I wish to meet you to discuss Ruby Heartstone's health. Jimmy's, nothing funny, just talk."
Jace Blackwell

Dain crumpled the note and pitched it into the hearth of his quarters in the same span of time it took him to cross the threshold of the well-accommodating room to pick up the note that had been slid under his door. The Tyrant's assassin, inept as he'd been, was back, and playing games. Dain remembered well the stuttering man with the impressive mustache and matted red hair. He was faithful to the Tyrant, not one of the power-drunk sycophants that usually populated that cult. He was dangerous and zealous . . . and he wanted to talk.

"Will you go?" she asked, the liquid gold of her eyes catching and scattering firelight with a sweet, soft innocence. How someone of two hundred years who'd seen as much betrayal as she had could still view the world with such wonderment dumbfounded him, but that ever-present curiosity and the fondness that so often flowed from those eyes . . . they enchanted him.

"No. He knows I wouldn't abandon the law to talk to some agent of the Black Hand when I could put him in irons; it's a ruse."

"What will you do?"

"Talk with you, until we're finished," he returned, the gravity of the letter lifting as he again found her eyes, a hint of a smile curving his lips.

They talked, and she left - invisibly, a compromise so she could depart without escort. She left, and he buckled on his sword belts and threw his cloak about his shoulders. The black folds of sturdy, enchanted cloth draped armor recently darkened, armor that now more prominently emphasized his allegiance to Wrath, though the right arm and breast plate still boldly presented the Tyrran faith, his true heart. He left his room minutes after the elf, to tend to the night and take the road from whatever ought not be on it. He locked his door behind him and hazarded a glance at the door across the hall, as he always did - that symbolic door, that gateway to so much confusion, to so many questions, to passion and apprehension and misgivings and hope and regret. His gold-flecked eyes alighted on that door, and he froze in his steps.

You will regret being with him, the wood read, the message crudely etched into its surface with what must have been a large knife, perhaps a dagger. Wood shavings still curled up at the base of the closed portal, undisturbed by anyone's passing. He took a step toward the words, but his armored boot struck something, something that skidded into view as it mingled with the shredded oak.

A symbol of the Tyrant.

His heart seized in his chest, his breath stuck in his lungs, as he thought back to times not so far gone. He wasn't afraid; he couldn't have been if he'd wanted to, but he knew angst, he knew foreboding, and the heavy weight of pride and promise was as a stone in his breast, sinking hopes into his gut where acids licked at them, threatened to dissolve them.

The paladin curled his left hand around the handle of the sword that had no pommel, and he left.


Awarding in game exp for ongoing, long and well made roleplay posts. -Not Kasso

Last edited by roguethree; 01-04-2012 at 01:16 AM.
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