Author Topic: War comes to Rathgar...  (Read 1278 times)


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War comes to Rathgar...
« on: April 24, 2014, 02:47:04 PM »
Steam curled from his mouth and circled in the air before his face like tendrils, searching blindly in the cold mountain air.  His breathing was laboured and his thick cloak clung to his damp, sweating shoulders as he moved relentlessly up the icy slope towards the peaks of the Al Najaf mountains.  All was silence except for the occasional slipping of the snow and the cracking of ice as the sun focused its golden brilliance through the gaps in the pine trees lining his route.

Belemont moved with a sullen purpose, he was meeting with the leaders of Tor Arithgar, the site had been chosen by Clan Skies and was a place sacred to them, a clearing in the mountainous heights and in its centre a collection of ancient stones, creaking with the weight of millennia and marked with the passage of time and the ancient hands that brought them there.  Arranged in a circle but at its centre a single stone, withered and worn but with the faintest of markings depicting a glorious sun with the face of a bear.  Belemont shivered at the memory of the place, it echoed power and was one of the few places where he felt truly insignificant, almost mortal.

Distracted by his own thoughts he was startled suddenly, a roar ahead, monstrous and terrible and filled with fear, pain and above all else rage.  It screamed across the mountains and echoed from the peaks creating a cacophony of terror that shook him to his core and created images of a thousand terrors chasing him down.

He paused, raised the spear which he had used as a staff on the long trail up the slope and now held it as the weapon it was crafted to be.  His movement was fluid and graceful, darting into the trees and moving swiftly but silently to the source of the roar, willing to risk the foreboding pull in his stomach for a glimpse of whatever monstrosities were to be visited upon him.  He slipped between the trees, ever advancing but always cautious, moving ahead with grim apprehension while his hands gripped tightly to the wooden shaft of Luin Letchar, the spear of the sun.

Something touched him suddenly, a pressure on the left shoulder, fleeting but enough to see him roll to the floor and come to his feet facing in the direction it had come from with weapon ready.  Lady Skies stood before him, the tip of a notched silver arrow reflecting the sun and a finger held silently to her lips.  His heart pounded but he hid is relief and fear and nodded his head, he understood the gesture and together they moved silently onwards towards the wail of the beasts.

The trees thinned and a clearing stood in front of them, but the ancient stones, usually serene in their silence, marked the battleground in which a Great Bear stood alone, facing down a pack of jackals, which snarled and growled in a semi-circle around the great beast.  Blood trailed down the face of the stones and joined at their base with the crimson pools gathering around the bodies of several Jackals.  At the same time it spilled from wounds all around the body of the bear as it stood majestically in front of its attackers, roaring it’s challenge and appearing to mock them in the same moment.  Its wounds were many and it stood little chance of surviving against so many enemies, yet still its courage shone and its strength would test these scavengers to the last, it would not make an easy meal for them.

Belemont turned to lady Skies, to her left Lord Stoneman had appeared and was staring in fixation at the spectacle in front of him, eyes wide and knuckles pressed white against the shaft of his own bow.  A tear fell from the eyes of lady Skies, but she blinked them away as she raised her bow, drawing back it’s string and releasing her arrow with a twang so loud it brought the heads of all of the creatures turning to face it.  The arrow thudded into the nearest Jackal killing it instantly, then another flew from the bow of Lord Stoneman, Belemont advanced with his spear and in moments the pack had fled, leaving behind several of its brothers as they ran and howled into the darkness of the forest.

They turned to the stones together, each one in fear and awe of the monstrous creature that was awaiting them, wounded and in pain, but the bear was gone.  No trace of its passing or the blood it had shed remained and they all stood silent.

The bodies of the Jackals were burned on a small pyre and the leaders of Tor Arithgar had worked in continued quite, contemplating what they had witnessed and the mystery of the Great Bear.  The wind had gathered and rocked the heavy, snow laden pines in a slow waltz that brought its white burdens to the ground. As it fell the snow also danced, its descent delayed in swirling arches, like small children, revelling around the bodies of their parents at a summer feast.  The fire crackled as the 3 sat looking into the flames, each one lost in their own thoughts, contemplating the days’ events and weighing the significance of their encounter. 

Lord Stonedman broke the silence.  “The Gods have granted us a vision, a message sent from them to the leaders of Tor Arithgar, a message and a duty to fulfil.”  Belemont shivered despite the warmth of the flames as the weight of those words settled around his shoulders.  Lord Stonedman continued, “The Sacred Bear, the Great Bear of Rathgar, wounded and torn apart by those that would feed from its glory and strength, creatures too weak to challenge it alone, gather together and steal its power, growing in numbers at the demise of our Great Spirit.  It is a sign.”

The wind blew a cold chill through the mountains, howling as it sped along its secret path and carrying the words across the dark plains spread out below them.  The lands of Rathgar, the sacred lands of its people and the homeland of the ancient spirit of the Great Bear received those words and in response lit beacons across its vast plains as if to give thanks to the gifts Lord Stonedmans breath had bestowed upon them.

“Fire…” whispered Belemont, “…fires all across the plains, war has come to our lands and they bleed beneath the will of Clan D’Serrai”.

Lady Skies took up the thread of conversation and addressed her peers, “Northspear, controls twice the land we do, their lands stretch as far as they eye can see and further still. They can field huge armies clad in leather and steel. Their power, it seems to be almost insurmountable…almost. House D’Serrai has already invaded our lands, taken territory which was rightfully ours for their own to give to their vassals. What is to stop them doing it again?”

Belemonts response came quickly, “You are right, it is Clan D’Serrai not North Spear that is the enemy of Rathgar, the other clans simply follow Lord Tan, he is enigmatic and competent and has holds their respect, but they do not share his vision, they merely follow his guidance for the sake of their own people.  Clan D’Serrai push to have laws, based upon their own custom, enforced upon our clans, Northspear has the power in the council to bring whatever laws they want into effect despite the objections of Tor Agrithar. unchecked they will be able to impose their will on the rest of Rathgar as they see fit…they dilute our traditions and destroy our ways.  They must be stopped.”

The silence returned, all three Lords staring out to the plains as the echoes of men and beasts, screaming in pain, slid faintly against their cold ears, whispering promises of death and destruction and the end of all things.

“What of the future?  Asked Lord Stonedman, “do we let them continue to reign unchecked?  Amassing new lands in the south and growing their forces, their Empire? Do we let them grow in power to the point where no-one in these lands will be able to oppose them, where they will be able to push their will upon all of Rathgar…indeed the world as we know it? Do we sit by watching and waiting, hoping that they will not turn their eye to our own lands once they are finished with the south?  They will come, to put right the slights they feel they have suffered from the Alumaani. They will come…”  He kicked a stone across the ledge and they listened as it fell, lost in the darkness, without knowing it’s final destination it fell to its destiny on the rocks below…

“No, we must take action.”  Belemont moved from the ledge and walked into the centre of the ancient stones, he placed his hand upon the centre stones and as the sun brought with it the dawn, he invited his allies to join him.  “We must re-balance the power within Rathgar, no one group of clans can be allowed to dominate all others, that is not our way. But in doing so we must stick to the principals that make us Rathgar. We must respect the Heartlands, and we must not push them to the brink of destruction. We must respect the Gothi but we must act.  We will march against clan D’Serrai and cut the heart from the beast Lord Tan has created.”

As Lord Stonedman stepped into the circle the light of the sun cast a red hue to the sky and the scene seemed once more to be bathed in blood.  He placed his hand to the strangely warm stone, “We do not seek to conquer or dominate. We simply look to rebalance the power in the North before we are washed away by the flood that is Northspear, before the Jackals become too great in number and kill the Sacred Bear.”

The last to join them, Lady Skies stepped into the sacred stones and placed her own hand onto the centre stone, her fingers brushing the face of the Great Bear like a gentle caress, filled with affection though her face displayed great sadness.  “All three clans are in agreement then” she intoned, “we must march our clans to war, so that we can cut out the poison that is growing within Rathgar, but we are still Rathgari, the Gothi will always be the figurehead of our lands, they will always be able to summon us to the Thing. We shall spill the blood of our houses to curtail the power of Clan D’Serrai and while we still have a chance to stop his power from becoming infinite.  Our blood will wash away the sins of North Spear and cleanse the ancient spirits, our battles will be sacrifices to our gods and our lives will be given freely to save our people and traditions.  We will invite the other clans to join with us, the Valinor, the Moorkhani and Northmanni and the others, all are welcome.”

As her words finished, the sun broke away from the horizon like a tethered beast pulling free from its chains.  Its light came crashing into the circle and the heat from the heart-stone intensified, all 3 leaders released their hands quickly, stepping back from its heat and they stared in awe as the face of the bear blazed like the sun and cast it’s light upon all three as it roared silently into the sky.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2014, 02:56:21 PM by Alumaani »

Tan dSerrai

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Re: War comes to Rathgar...
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2014, 03:07:11 PM »
The Little Monks Battle:

The din was incredible. Couldn't that lout stop banging on his helm for gods sake? What was the point? He couldn't see anything anyway, too much sweat in his eyes.

A few hours earlier, Harrak d'Serrai had ruefully watched as his retainer strapped on his lords armour. He had not worn it in years.

Dust, raw gasps for air. More banging, this time on his shield. He still had his shield? Why would he still have his shield? All he wanted was to have his book back.

With the armor being fitted piece by well as was possible considering that the little monk had gained weight during the past months. Finally free of his family, finally free to read, finally free to write. He even had his own small estate Safagen, tucked away in the woods in a spot that was of no interest to anyone. Harrak liked that just fine. Enough distance to his father...still not enough distance to his brother, Tan d'Serrai. He shuddered, remembering the cold stare as Harrak had announced that he would join the Order. That cold, silent stare was worse than their fathers hot rage. Harrak knew that Tan would never forget. Being a head taller than his brother even allowed Tan to look down on Harrak while scowling.

A swing, a parry. Clash of blade on blade...then another lull as both fighters seperated, gasping for air, too tired to lift their blades. Then, one would charge....again.

Oh how he loved these cool woods of Safagen. Not one visitor in months. He could sit in his cabin, leafing through his beloved books by the light of fine candles. No need to get up before sunrise, no more endless swordtraining, no more riding lessons. What bliss! Instruct a few woodmen in holding a spear every now and then, see to it that wood was cut and sent to Kaupang...that was all that was expected from him. He left the villagers alone, they him. Noone to impress. Ah, the freedom!

By now Harrak felt as if he was floating...he simply watched his body react, let his knees steer his warhorse. He calmly thought that any conscious effort of his would only make matters worse. Not that they were good, currently. No, admittedly not.

And then the offer of Eculbas as an estate. Apparently he had not refused forcefully enough. Not a hamlet in the woods, a village in grasslands. Quite prosperous actually. He'd had to instruct humans to build, to train, had to listen to their woes...oh, how he missed the silence of his woodmen. He'd escape back to Safagen each possibility he got. Still, even though Eculbas had nothing like a library, there were a lot more books. Once the humans understood, they cheerfully offered books instead of tithings. Harrak was aware of the fact that one book would not equal two sets of scalemail....still, he preferred the book. And the humans quite eagerly agreed.

And then, one fine morning found Harrak sitting comfortably in the early sun, reading a particular interesting account of Hayyad the Seafarer - until interrupted by his majordomo. There was an attack on Eculbas, apparently. Gaping, Harrak found himself in command of near 70 human warriors...and in the process of being strapped into armor. He could not work out how to tell them that he was rubbish at fighting, though he tried to think of a way all the time it took them to strap him in and lead him to his horse. The horse was fatter as well. Too little training apparently. He still ad no idea why an Alumaani would attack Eculbas, an estate of the Order. He was aware that the Alumaani had declared war against clan d'Serrai...he had felt a pang at those news, admittedly. Still, they were a good way distant - and he had severed his ties with them. So Eculbas flew the banner of the order, his men wore the signet of the Order - why in the gods name did that lout attack? A shrug from his oldest retainer was as good an answer as any other. Could it be that the Alumaani mistook him as owing allegiance to clan d'Serrai? But then he would have to be not bright enough to recognize the Orders banners. Hard to believe, so it had to be something else.

Harrak remembered little what followed. Lots of screaming, dust, banging on shields, groans. His men held up well, though after each clash there were less. Which was not good as the other First One loomed ever nearer, trying to engage Harrak in single combat. Which Harrak duely sought to avoid. Still, in the end, with most humans having fled, a good, lean warhorse will overtake a fat, middleaged warhorse. And that was that.

Centuries of forging armors....and noone had ever thought of a way to get rid of sweat in your eyes while in a full visor helm? Harrak would remedy that. Once that lout would stop hitting his helm every chance he got, that is. He had an awful headache by now.

Again a charge. That lout looked magnificent against the setting sun, Harrak had to admit that. A warrior born. But his armor had quite a few dents by now. Not that Harrak remembered how he had managed them. He guessed the other must have been pretty tired by now as well. Good thing that his retainer had bound Harrak to the saddle, otherwise he would have fallen off by now. Quite voluntary as well.

Clash, parry, thrust. Pant, gasp. Silence. Thrust. Gasp.

When had the battle started? Somewhere around noon. And now the sun was setting. There was something very wrong here, of that Harrak was convinced. He could not quite put his finger on why he even avoided the other ones sword thrusts. Maybe at being indignant at being so uselessly interrupted at reading. Uncultured, that.

Another clash. Arms too tired to lift properly. Harrak wants his book back. How would the author tell of the last voyage of Hayyad? That was the part he always liked best...

Swing, parry. More dust. Panting.


Harrak found himself lying on the ground. Splendid, finally he was rid of that pesky horse. Some face above him, yelling. Not that he could understand.

Much yelling and gesturing later, after the removal of his helm, lying flat on the ground, staring up at the stars Harrak started to understand two things. He had lost after being wounded. Well, if an awful headache counts as wound that is. And that the lout had left, taking his pesky warriors with him. The villagers where cheering him and what they called 'The Endless Battle'. Apparently only one on their side had died in the fight. So near no grief and a good story to tell on long winter evenings. And they were cheering him for saving their village.

The little monk was quite convinced that the world and all in it were mad, quite mad.

ooc: forgot that noone but Tom can access the battlereport: around 70 humans and one First One on each side. After round 7 the last humans had fled. Brenden Alumaani and Harrak d'Serrai did proceed to pound away at each other for another 33 full armor. Poor sods   :)  Then Harrak keeled over, leaving Brenden the victor.

« Last Edit: April 25, 2014, 06:38:19 PM by Tan dSerrai »


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Re: War comes to Rathgar...
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2014, 05:14:27 PM »
Great RP :)