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post #11 of 47 (permalink) Old 11-30-11, 03:22 PM
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Dalar sat next to the fire and idly jabbed it with a stick. He was thinking and so it came as a surprise to him when a stone thudded into the fire and knocked a few sparks onto the back of his hand. He looked at them and wondered why it didn’t hurt. Then the pain hit. His reaction was barely noticeable, just a slight narrowing of the eyes and clenching of the jaw. He turned slightly and glanced at the direction from which the stone had come and saw another youth glaring at them. It was evidently a threat and Dalar’s eyebrows rose slightly.

Then he recognized the boy and his left hand suddenly curled around the hilt of his dagger that was out of view of the boy. The youth’s name was Amar and there was a particularly nasty rumour circulating about the lad that he had strangled a fellow aspirant in anger. However it was not the rumour that had Dalar tense, for he placed no trust in such talk, but he had always been a good judge of men and Amar more or less radiated malevolence and barely contained rage that merely needed a target for it to explode.

Dalar shook his head in disgust before turning away, a calculated move designed to cause anger for being ignored so. This was an unusually subtle movement for him but he had no wish for a fight so late at night and so had settled on a symbol of disgust rather than verbal confirmation of it. As he turned away his eyes rested on Cheng. He considered the youth critically. He was a good man but his moment of carelessness had almost cost them the meat they now sat eating. Indeed if it weren’t for Ganzorig they would have no meat that night.

A roar draw Dalar’s attention and he gripped his dagger but relaxed when he saw it was kin to the Stormseers. He was slightly smaller and his armour was less impressive but he was still a fearsome warrior. However it was the steed that carried him that drew Dalar’s attention. It was coated in white painted metal, more metal coated it than Dalar had seen in any one place in his entire life. There were 2 bars sticking out to either side with talismans clasped in place above them.

It was mounted on huge, black wheels and purred idly like a sleeping grass cat. When it moved the sound was like the roar of the thunder. Dalar smiled slightly and hoped for a day where he would be able to ride to war on such a steed…
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post #12 of 47 (permalink) Old 11-30-11, 06:05 PM
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The grass stretched on as far as the eye could see, which on Chogoris really meant something due to its natives having commonly excellent eyesight. The full moon in the sky only made the sight more amazing, the grassland lit up by the pale glow of the moon and its corona of stars, casting the entire field of view in a frame that highlighted the wind rustling through each blade. The sound was like a whistling bird that carried across the entire plains to reverbate in the ears of the warriors that camped in the steppes.

Drogo listened attentively. His years in exile had taught him much, one of the best ways to examine the environment was to stay still and listen; block out all distractions and simply hear the world around you. By doing that you could learn more about a place than by simply blundering in on horseback for scouting as many tribes tended to do. Drogo preferred to simply listen and let the world tell him what he wanted to know. And it worked. He could hear the birds chirping and could tell which kinds they were, whether they were hunting, feeding or mating. He could hear the prong-bucks grazing a good distance away from them, with good cause since the group had hunted one earlier, Ganzorig getting the kill. It would have been Drogo's but Cheng fouled the stalking when his ankle-bells gave them away.

Taking another mouthful of his grass-hare stew Drogo's attention was mainly focused on their wardens. The Stormseers. Each one was a giant of a man, Drogo was used to being the tallest man in his tribe and most of the neighbouring ones, and even he only came up to the bottom of their chests. They were covered in armour, something that most men of the steppes did without since it hindered their ability to strike fast. That was far from the truth with these titans, every move they made was as graceful as a rock lion on the hunt. But as mighty as each of these warriors were, it was the third giant that had Drogo enraptured.

This one was different to the others. Slighter yes but he bore the characteristics of a man who spent his life in the saddle. The swagger when he walked, his legs kept a bit wider apart than most, and the slight sense of unease that Drogo sensed from him that he was not riding. Though that might have been his own feelings impressed he acknowledged to himself. Drogo was a rider born and bred, he had been on horses his whole life, he had ridden his first horse alone at four winters and learned to ride properly by six winters. But even this fellow rider paled in comparison to what he rode. It was a strange iron horse that bore rubber wheels rather than legs. Drogo had heard legends of the mounts that the Great Khan's sons rode, they were thunder and lightning given mortal form. They raced across the steppes with speed that no horse could match, and their metal skin could withstand harm that would destroy even the hardiest warhorse.

The rider had ridden it here, the saddle was clearly visible and Drogo could see how one would sit to ride this iron horse. But how to actually ride it? He could see no way to get it to move, kicking its sides would likely only hurt and the rider had seemed to push something on it to silence its ferocious rumbling. Drogo was tempted to approach and examine it but he dared not, such a thing would be a grievous breach of trust between he and his hosts. There would be time for that later. Returning his attentions to his stew Drogo stared at the grasslands and swore an oath to himself.

He would ride one of those iron horses one day. - The Kabal of Shattered Souls Project Log - Check out Talk Wargaming for reviews by Lord of the Night.

Last edited by Lord of the Night; 12-02-11 at 12:58 PM.
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post #13 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-01-11, 03:35 AM
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Movement out of the corner of his eye caught Ganzorig’s attention, and though he was eager to see what the others about the fire would say to his own words, he was also curious as to what had just happened. A slight distance away one of the other fires flared up ever so slightly and a number of those gathered around it were staring at something. Or rather, they were staring at someone; following the direction of the stares Ganzorig found their target and he could not help his own eyes from turning into a glare.

If Subutai had the look of a killer in his eyes, Amar wore it like a cloak to hide from the heat at the height of the day. While some stared at him, he cast sheer malevolence back upon them; his stare marking Cheng out above all others even in the bare light of the moon high above. Pressing his hand down onto the ground, Ganzorig balled it into a fist, dragging up grass and dirt to spill between his fingers. He had picked up a stone with the dirt as well, and without really thinking about it Ganzorig stood up and hurled the stone at Amar.

He lost the bit in the darkness, but if luck was still on his side the stone would connect with some part of Amar. They had all heard the rumours, that Amar had killed another in a fit of anger; and for all any of them knew that could have been nothing but a lie. Ganzorig hoped it was true, and he hoped that he hit Amar, that’s why he did not take to his place on the ground for a few moments, wanting Amar to see that he of all had the courage to act against him. “Let him come, one less killer to worry about.” He growled to no one in particular before finally sitting back down.

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post #14 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-03-11, 06:32 AM
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"A score left in the great ride," Ganzorig said, breaking the silence, the twig he had tossed in the fire popping and snapping as it took flame. "Who will be taken next? Which one won't see the next falling of the moon?"

Yesugei tought about the man's querry and wondered the same thing. Each day had seen another aspirant fall to the challenges of the trials and inevitably more would fall before they reached the end of this road. "It could be any one of us Ganzorig. One never knows what the next day holds," lowering his voice so that only those around their fire could hear him, "though if I had to choose one, I would wish Amar gone." They had all heard the rumors about the youth, and Yesugei felt his fists clench in seething anger at the thought of the boys rumored acts. There was no place for that kind of treachery, he would not tolerate it.

Yesugei watched as Ganzorig reacted to something that he had missed, but he followe the other boy's gaze and saw that the other cook fire appeared to have been disturbed by something. Ganzorig's gaze hardened into a glare as he stared off into the night and squinting to see past their own fire, Yesugei's expression soon matched the younger man's. Ganzorig's gaze was locked on Amar, his fists clenching in the dirt below him. Suddenly Ganzorig stood and hurled something in Amar's direction, remaining standing so that he could clearly be seen, as if challenging the other youth. As Yesugei had assumed Amar remained in his seat... he was a coward and a traitor. Hiding in shadows.

"Let him come, no less killer to worry about," Ganzorig growled as he flopped back down next to the fire.

Taking a large bit of his stew, Yesugei nodded his head in agreement. "Aye, let him try something and yours will not be the only blade he will need to worry about," Yesugei said.

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post #15 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-04-11, 02:13 AM Thread Starter
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All- The grass-hare in the stew was surprisingly filling, though the heavy spices that the Stormseers have been putting in the once daily meals leave a strangely metallic taste on the back of your tongues. The wind brings the pungent scent of where the meat of the prong-bucks taken by the group is drying into jerked strips over a low, smoky fire- the Stormseer Ris'hi having taken them from you upon arrival back at camp. Though you all come from lives where hard work was the law of the land, the past moon turning has seen your lean bodies become even harder in tone and strength though lately you can feel a new ache permeating deep into your bones.

Ganzorig, as you cast the small stone in the direction of the other fire you are rewarded by a hiss of pain as the glowering youth seated to the right of Amar flinches then starts to clamor to his feet with a snarl on his face. He is halted by Amar's heavy hand on his shoulder, forcing him back to the ground as the vicious warrior rises slowly. His darkly threatening eyes scan over you and the others in your loose group around the two fire-circles.

All, The tension in the air becomes sharp and thick like the press of a storm about to break; all noise from the two fire-circles at Amar's back ceasing as the young warriors in his hunt-group cast knowingly veiled glances between one another, hands straying ever so slightly nearer to the hip-sheaths of blades. After a leaden pause that seems to draw out far longer than it truly does, Amar's lips draw back into a leering grin of superiority as he hacks a wad of spittle into the trampled grass that separate the two groups. 'Was that meant for me, cur?' A heartbeat later the youths at his fire-circles burst out into cruel ranks of laughter.

Amar's voice is a low, drawn-out growl, 'What did I tell you, brothers... he couldn't hit the ground at his feet with his own piss if it wasn't for the fact he has to squat to make water! Mere luck that the prong-buck shied into his arrow!' The scarred warrior's words are undercut with the nodding of heads and catcalls of agreement to which Amar licks his bared teeth and gestures towards your fire-circles with a haughty bravado, 'A sorry bunch of whores and curs aren't they? The mark of a slave, a mare-rider, and one even sings like a woman! Such a pretty voice...'

The group's laughter and taunting take on a decidedly lurid tone with Amar's last words but the young warrior waves them into silence again as his eyes single out Dulai, narrowing ever so slightly like a predator that has found decidedly choice prey, 'Tell us, Mare-rider, did your sister help you tame such a fearsome beast? Perhaps I will let Raj'nish mount her so when you ride home in failure your clan will at least have some proper steeds for real warriors in the future.' With a dark grin Amar turns and swaggers off in the general direction to where Dulai's mare Kelun is staked out, though the direction of the latrine pit is also not far off his path as well truth be told.

(Well now, that was a fair bit more biting than a tossed stone wasn't it? The young warriors in Amar's hunt-group are all still chuckling as they cast glances your way, a few cracking their knuckles and licking their lips suggestively. With Amar included, their hunt-groups' numbers are equal to your own- and there is no question that Amar is the unrivaled leader of the other hunt-group. Are you going to shrug off his words or prove them otherwise?

Reminder- physical interaction with npc's needs to be ok'ed beforehand.

For those who were watching the Stormseers by their camp, you saw Ris'hi turn his head towards where you sit right before Amar stands to begin his taunting. He rises to his feet, but then pauses and cocks his head at something you cannot make out that is said by the new Rider who comes over to stand beside him and watch the events unfolding in the camp.)
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post #16 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-04-11, 03:14 PM
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Chang-Jian watches the exchange between Ganzorig and Amar with one eye still closed. Chang-Jian's hand was on the hilt at his belt, wondering who will try to end Amar's life first. Amar could never be trusted with so much power as we were all trying for.

If there is a god, Amar will be dead before the end of these trials. Immediately after thinking this Chang-jian remembered that the gods normally require mortals to do their work, so Chang-Jian amended his thought. If there is a god, Amar will be dead before the end of these trial, but not by my hand.

As soon as he finished this thought Amar taunted Dulai as well. What had Dulai ever done to Amar? Why did Amar choose Dulai? Chang-Jian decided if a fight broke out he'd stand with Dulai. There's nothing wrong with killing during battle.

Chang-Jian turns to Dulai and says, "Are you going to attack him? If you are then I'll fight with you. But fefore you decide, remember that in a fight you're going to get injured. In my clan we have rules of life, First Rule: never risk what you can't afford to lose."

Right after saying this Chang-Jian realized that a part of him wished the entire group around his campfire would attack Amar and his group now, instead of people attacking on their own. After all, First Rule of Life: Strength in unity.

We do not fear the flame,though it burns us,
We do not fear the fire, though it consumes us,
And we do not fear it's light,
Though it reveals the darkness of our souls,
For therein lies our power
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post #17 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-05-11, 08:37 PM
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As he began to sit Ganzorig was rewarded with a yelp of pain and Amar starting to rise from his fire. Or rather he had hoped it was Amar, but the pale light finally revealed otherwise as Amar stopped the warrior next to him from leaving the fire. Cursing under his breath, Ganzorig realized that the darkness and his haste had played against him and he had missed Amar, though he had still come close for it. All noise vanished from the air, the mounting tensions between the warriors around Ganzorig and those amassed around Amar readying to snap.

“Was that meant for me cur?” Amar said, and Ganzorig could all but feel the mocking hidden within the tone. A moment after, the others gathered about Amar laughed, though it did not look as though the one he had hit had joined in. ”What did I tell you, brothers... he couldn't hit the ground at his feet with his own piss if it wasn't for the fact he has to squat to make water! Mere luck that the prong-buck shied into his arrow!” Amar growled on, his eyes casting about all of the warriors at Ganzorig’s fire before he continued further. “A sorry bunch of whores and curs aren't they? The mark of a slave, a mare-rider, and one even sings like a woman! Such a pretty voice...”

That was enough for Ganzorig, many of those words were not just meant for him but damn them if he didn’t defy this whore-son first! “Aye the stone was meant for you, its just to bad you were busy cowering behind someone else. Still hitting the man in front is closer than a fire away to the side.” Ganzorig hissed through clenched teeth, rising to his feet but only watching Amar move. His back was arched slightly and his arms loose at his sides, though the hands were clenched into fists.

“You speak so much of women Amar, but I have heard it said your clan can’t tell them apart from the men. No wonder you think the voice of anyone here is the same as a woman, probably blind enough to think half of us are women as well.” He said with a sneer, but then noticed the direction Amar was traveling to and his one hand unclenched so it could grab hold of the handle of the blade at his side. Others whispered of Amar being many things, but no true rider went after the mount of another while its rider still lived. But again, Amar was many things and if Dulai did not act, Ganzorig definitely would; you don’t threaten, or even joke about threatening, the mount of another without the desire to see blood spilled then and there.

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post #18 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-06-11, 05:30 AM
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Cheng was hardly the most enlightened of individuals and would never boast of being the strongest, but he`d be damned if he was going to ignore this new threat. Ganzorig had not succeeded in hitting Amar with his stone`s throw, and the other boy had reacted typically of his pig headed kind. But that was not what had caught Cheng`s attention. No, he had followed the stomseer`s gaze as they had begun to take notice of the groups, and observed the readiness in the other groups` stances and eyes. They were ready for a fight.

Cheng breathed deep, ignoring the chill bite on the air as he started to take notice. The rival group were all well built and well suited to combat as one would expect.

'Was that meant for me, Cur?' Amar shouted back at Ganzorig before adding a plain insult to the boy`s aim. He then continued to insult another of the group, Dulai, because he rode a mare rather than a stallion. Ganzorig`s retort was lost on Amar as he set off cockily towards where the latrine was located.

But also the steeds... Would he really go that far? Ganzorig seemed to think so, and though Chang-Jian was giving council to Dulai, the boy himself had yet to move.

Cheng made his decision right there. The reaction of the stormseers seemed to him to be one of interest. So if Amar and his group really were looking to somehow prove their superiority, it seemed fitting that they be beaten at their own game. It seemed wasteful, but at the same time it almost demanded to be done.

Cheng stood, following Ganzorig`s lead. He sorely wished he had a real sword as he placed his hand on the meager blade sheathed at his waist. Nonetheless his skills were nothing to be ashamed of.

'It wouldn`t do to have such a disgraceful individual as him among us.' Cheng said plainly. 'I for one wouldn`t be sad to see him gone.' He took a step forward, ready and willing to back his own group up as needed.

Nonsense is our Salvation

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post #19 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-07-11, 08:01 AM
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"In my clan we have rules of life, First Rule: never risk what you can't afford to lose."

Said the boy named chang-Jian.

Bidziil had just finished putting the last gulp of soup into his mouth directly from his bowl when he heard this. He made loud noises with his lips still sealed, like a child eagerly raising their hand with something to say but not wanting to speak out of turn. Though, Bidziil didnt say anything only because he needed to make sure he swallowed the last bit of his meal rather than accidentally spew it on the fire in front of him. He agreed full heartedly with this statement and wanted nothing more than for his agreement to be known. It lit up his world to know another here had been raised on tactics rather than brute strength.

As the one who took down the buck, Ganzorig, stood to confront Amar and then Amar's response, Bidziil successfully swallowed, wiped his mouth on his bare arm, slapped off some dirt from his shirt, and finally turned to have a better look at the situation. After turning he saw the silhouette of the stormseer still mounted on his curious steed, which now was completely silent rather than the starkly contrasting opposite it had been moments ago with its godly grumble.

His attentions became utterly sidetracked for a moment, noticing the faint dance of firelight shuddering over the stormseer's stone-white armor. Insults were being thrown in both directions now, how exciting. But still he couldnt break his gaze form the stormseer, well, untill people started moving.

Bidziil quickly looked back over the escalated situation. Amar was heading toward Dubai's horse. Everyone knew that horse because of its obvious difference from the others. Bidziil did not know its name, but he knew it was the mare and who it belonged to. Ganzorig and Cheng held their blades now.

Bidziil let his young voice ring out, "Wait" he called, quickly grabbing hold of his bow and, here was an act he had down countless times, took a risk and strung it in a hurry. His hand reached behind him bringing about one of his six iron tipped arrows resting in his quiver. He pulled the string back to the natural anchor point alongside his right cheeck. He followed the arrow's length with his eyes to the pointed tip that was still reflecting the light from the fires, despite still being a bit dirty after he had wiped the soil off.

"[I]Don't be fools, friends. Ranged attacks, always first. Go hand to hand if that doesnt work for some reason. One arrow through the jealous one's head; done. No harm to anyone else is even possible. Its like you said Chang-Jian, why risk anything if it can be avoided? Also, groups are good,"I] he spoke now to all at his fire and Ganzorig's, though changing audience in his voice, his aiming eyes never left their mark and his hands moved only to follow Amar's head, "More arrows pointing at him will only further secure our position, but even more so, a few aimed at his own friends before they aim at us." his voice took an almost complete turn around in tone going from unconcerned, normal-everyday speaking to complete seriousness, "Please, now, before they aim at us."

You can never be prepared for the unexpected

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post #20 of 47 (permalink) Old 12-08-11, 06:37 PM
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Pale eyes stared at Amar, fingers flexing with murderous need. The youth stood there, grinning, the scar upon his face gleaming a dark, malevolent red in the firelight. His eyes locked with Subutai’s for an instance, a pair of killers staring one another down; one brutish and dimwitted, the other fast and sly.

‘The mark of a slave,’ Subutai whispered, hatred dripping from every vowel. His left hand fingered his shoulder, where his scar was, almost dismissively. The right twisted upon the leather-bound hilt of his blade, twirling it dexterously. ‘I..’

The chains tightened, clattering musically. The Khan thrashed violently, boiling, misted water spilling over the iron-skinned washing vessel. Subutai smiled heartlessly, watching fingers claw frantically at thick, looping fetters.

‘Subutai,’ The old man rasped, a pained, strangled gurgle. ‘You do-’

The youth twisted. There was an ominous crunched, as the trachea caved in. Lips began to darken in asphyxiation, muscles tearing in tremendous effort to keep the Khan shackled.

With a vehement chuckle, Subutai uncoiled the chains; watching as the Khan slipped beneath the shimmering surface, eyes staring upwards in a raw mixture of shock and hate.

‘..Am a slave no longer,’ Subutai snarled, lurching to his feet, leathery lips peeled back over pearlescent teeth. ‘Nor, do you, Amar, have a right to declare otherwise.’

‘You are nothing more than a vile bully,’ The boy said, jabbing an angry finger between the two. ‘Without your little gathering of half-women, you would be nothing. Nothing.’

‘If you are but an inkling of the man you claim, face me, here,’ He looked back at the others. ‘War is never fair, remember that. Feather him if he attempts anything.’

Nyctophobia- Fear of the Dark Angel.

"No one ever spoke about of those two absent brothers. Their separate tragedies had seemed like aberrations. Had they, in fact, been warnings that no one had heeded?"

'Killing a man is like fucking, boy, only instead of giving life you take it. You experience the ecstasy of penetration as your warhead enters the enemy's belly and the shaft follows. You see the whites of his eyes roll inside the sockets of his helmet. You feel his knees give way beneath him and the weight of his faltering flesh draw down the point of your spear. Are you picturing this?'
'Yes, lord.'
'Is your dick hard yet?'
'No, lord.'
''What? You've got your spear in a man's guts and your dog isn't stiff? What are you, a woman?'
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