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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-19-13, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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NOTE: Alright, here's a different approach I'm going to try, this is basically a retelling of what I had done originally, I have just the beginning so far along with some other parts that should come up later. The beginning prologue is a bit old, but that's only because I can't seem to find the inspiration to write a new one, but you know how it is :D . So without further ado:




Chapter One: Shadowed Blight
Nula 12th of winter
Kazan Castle: Dayashora City, Nagasa Province of Irothis
8th Year and 51st day of incarceration

Michelle swiveled in her mahogany chair, coming face to face with her sister, Queen Selyene. “Is there any particular reason you wish this soul… released from my devout care?” Michelle’s soft lavender eyes searched her twin’s own black, soulless orbs.

“Ah Michelle, truly, it is such a delight having these conversations with you. Spending time with my only sister on a beautiful snowy day no less. I shall miss some of your arrogance when you come to my age. My ever loyal and steadfast Warden. Pray tell, shall you rise and walk with me for a midday conversation?” The Queen of Irothis inclined her head towards the open seal of a window. The cold gust rippled through the office, blowing papers off the Warden’s desk. If she cared she showed little sign. “Come; let us discuss the fate of a few of our undesirables.”

“I am a servant of your will. Your majesty.” Michelle threw her boots off the desk, and rose in her white and lavender heavy cloak, woven around her uniform like a second skin.

“None-the-less, I don’t have to like you going through my convicts to suite your own goals.” She brushed patches of snow of snow from her short and silky raven hair. “My gut tells me that I will have to let the slight go, however, since there’s very little I can do about any of this.”

The Queen shook her head gravely at her. “Ever the gloomy one. You’ve always been like this. Constantly playing the lonely dungeon keeper with your cruel antics.” Selyene’s gaze held bountiful wisdom and uncompromising nobility within itself. A trait that came with her maturity and age that slightly gnawed at her complexion. One look at her sister was eerily similar to looking into her past reflections. Her younger self, the pride and joy of the royal family. Unfortunately none of that had changed since she had taken the throne. Michelle had proven a reluctant heir because of her youth, now the time to take her place in the immediate line of succession had passed her by. “You’re sad because I take what rightly belongs to Irothis? You do realize that you cannot have everything simply by keeping it tucked away?”

“Please, I do not bat an eyelash for such rabble. Let alone care, Selyene.” Michelle couldn’t hide her abrasive snort, cheeks flushing slightly as Selyene cast her stalwart gaze over her quarters. “Time has been busy as of late. You’ll excuse this mess.”

She made her way around the desk to offer a hand for her queen, who took the gesture smiling. She rose to her feet in her black and ruby dress, looking every part of royalty as she did so with grace and practiced fluidity.

“Such work barely makes a difference in the eyes of Irothis for a royal daughter, Michelle, and is beneath you. I do not see the thrill that accompanies fighting alongside the lower class idealists. You could be doing so much more. Even joining a prestigious branch of the military would be a welcome change.” Selyene turned on her heel towards the door, Michelle’s hand in hers. She spoke in hushed tones to her bodyguards on they’re departure. “Do make sure that you keep your weapons out of sight. I would hate to disturb the diligent citizens that work and toil here.”

The two of them headed into the depths of Castle Kazan. The upper levels of the Warden’s dungeon towers were lit by clouded sun and smoldering candlelight spilled from within open offices, creating a flux of colors across the walls of unadorned shoji and fine waxed wood. A pleasant smell of incense lingered, creating a sense of calm in the traditional structure.

Michelle shrugged off her sister’s words, something she had found incredibly easy when her father could no longer say such things to her. “You’re always repeating yourself when it comes to my line of duty for Irothis. Makes me wonder what would happen if I had become the next heir.”


Never underestimate the silver tongues of royalty, Michelle remembered the words of her long deceased father. A piece of advice that would never leave her so long as Selyene remained alive and on a throne. She could always weave her words with honey. Each syllable promised someone’s temptation, another’s dream. All because there lay a glimmer of truth at the bottom of her words. Nothing was out of reach for her to grant, because she was a Queen. Through her just about anything could be made a reality.


Selyene’s next salvo proved a tip of the blade, thrust at her pride and responsibility. “It is not out of your reach, just yet. I’m sure such destinies would forever change your thoughts and cold demeanor. A nation has its ways of seeping into your heart. When the time comes, you will hear of the people’s woes and it will be your divine right and pleasure to bestow upon them measured blessings as well. You will actually care about the future that must be paved for future generations. Preserving not only your own legacy, but that of the royal family and country.”

Michelle flicked through prisoner files, pausing briefly to examine key points. “Well enough about that for now. So what about these prisoners? I’ll need names. Some proper background checks beforehand would be good. I’m sure you don’t want your average cut throat or rapist.””

Once again, Michelle felt her hand being forced by the Queen’s desires. “One of my guards will give you all that I need. Please bring them all and a few others that you feel may fit what I’m searching for.”
“I shall see to matters personally, my Queen. We will have them lined up for your inspection as soon as possible. At your behest of course.” The Warden instantly began thinking about which guards she could round up for the job. Surely it wouldn’t be difficult, but what was the fun in not giving prisoners a hard time?

The Queen pointed through an open window, out into a flat field blanketed with snow. “Bring them into the prison courtyards at nightfall; there I will proceed to inspect them personally. I hope I can count on you to bring them into line?”

A mischievous smirk played on the younger twin’s lips, mentally rubbing her hands together as she thought up a few names. “A usual procedure here, a necessary chore.”


Isolation- Castle Kazan

“Okay, who do we need to pull from isolation then?”

Sooner or later, his fate was going to finally catch up to him. It had been an arduous journey, coming all the way here where the sunlight was pale and constantly strangled by rolling clouds. Controlling his breathing somewhat helped Jasairis’ aching pains. He glanced up with heavy eyes at that gaping hole in the cell where he counted every burst of light signaling another dawn. Each tally added up in his mind was another day he could no longer count on. Down in Isolation, that was really what any one soul could hope to do without rousing suspicion.

“Just the one, Commander. You may have some trouble trying to get him out of his cell, the Overseer says he’s injured.”

His head rolled back down to stare at the floor of his cell, wounded body still slumped against the wall where the Wardens had left him two nights prior. The blood on his back had grown sticky and uncomfortable, the bandages around his torso definitely needed a change. Too sapped of energy for an attempt to climb into his bed, the patched knife wounds in his back and ribcage had begun the slow process of healing none-the-less. At least he was still breathing, whatever good that would do him. The Wardens would come calling tomorrow and see his long awaited execution through. Such was the fate of those bearing bronze seals of Wolf heads on their hands, with a pair of crossed blades underneath. The crest of the royal family, to bear it without their blood was to be in unwelcome company.

Jasairis couldn’t shake the feeling of vertigo nor the misplaced sense of serenity his body felt at being so high above the earth. Isolation was built upon every level that made Kazan’s dungeons. Being locked away in the highest point of the prison left him feeling like he had been left on a mountainside and just out of reach of the peak. In these walls, silence had proved a far more faithful companion than the shadows and strife of the executioner’s row. If only he had been more vigilant, he wouldn’t have taken a stolen knife to his torso and would’ve looked a deal less pathetic than he did now.

“Commander.”

The thunderous echo of gunfire was distant, probably the executions of the less than reputable inmates out in the yards. A pale light rained down from the ceiling and onto the facility, washing the prison in a sterile glow that gave light to Isolation. A body cloaked in midnight robes and bronze scaled armor blocked off his line of sight to his fellows across the hall. He had an assault
rifle slung over his shoulder and his gaze on the code locked doors confining him here.

“Open the door. I have business with one of your captives.” A hiss of vented pressure and moving mechanisms echoed across the cluster small cluster of cells. What had been a moment of reflection just became something tense and uneasy.

The shadows of an unfamiliar figures suddenly eclipsed his light, falling over him like an ominous cloud. “Ah, and here he is, just waiting to tempt fate like all of the others, or is that part of your life repented for, heathen?” Her voice was smooth and harsh, rolling off her tongue with the same cruel judgment that radiated from her soft, lavender eyes. She observed him for his reaction, resorting to falling on a knee for eye contact when she realized he wouldn’t rise to the occasion. “Aren’t you going to talk to me? That’s right; let me see your face… the Overseer was right, you’re a mess right now. You’ve been in here for three nights now, you should be well enough to walk.

Ise. Does he look anything suitable?”

There was another Officer by Michelle’s side, though she appeared somewhat lacking in physical constitution compared to most other guards. Judging by the stack of files carried in a leather bag slung over her shoulder, Jasairis assumed she was an attendant of some sort. She kept glaring at him with her blank expression, sparing an occasional glance back to her papers in hand again and again. She occasionally nodded with her words as she relayed them back to her superior.

“Middling body, quite trimmed, somewhat sloe-eyed and they’re a little far-set. Nose is very blade-like and his features are very sharp, most certainly some Irothan blood in his veins, but his skin is a very pallid shade of mahogany… probably half Irothan and Rynithian or perhaps Eosan? Take at glance at his hair for example...” The attendant risked a couple of steps closer to the cell bars. “His shock of hair could be from either side, it’s very ropy actually. I can’t really place any degree of importance on him at face value, we will have to wait and see what the royal heir says.”

“Thank you, Ise, it is as I thought: there is nothing special about this one. Take him out!” Michelle barked at a trio of Wardens dressed in attire similar to hers. They quickly mobilized into action, approaching the cell with an air of caution mixed with timely practice.

Michelle stood by apathetically, gently prodding Jasairis with a few verbal jabs, no doubt testing invisible limitations that was holding him together, making him tick. “A shame, I find the grey jumpsuit so fitting on you. Truth be told, you will hold interest for only a while. Then we’ll begin the process of breaking you down just a little further, just enough for us to make some use of you.”

The gate of the cell flew open and immediately, two pairs of strong arms wrapped around his own lean ones and hurled him onto the edge of his toes as they dragged him before the Commander Warden.

“Knock him out.”

Before Jasairis could even open his mouth to protest, the edge of a steel baton cracked over his left temple and suddenly the world turned blurry. All he could hear were the Wardens talking amongst themselves and Michelle’s soft, haunting laughter as he felt himself being dragged from across the floor. They had traversed flights of stairs and entire floors were left behind as they began a long descent into the castle dungeon. By the time he had figured that out, everything shortly went black.
-------------


“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879

Last edited by Myen'Tal; 11-01-13 at 06:36 AM.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-26-13, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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The cool winter gust slapped him like a rush of ice water and had finally succeeded in awakening him. A few seconds for gathering his thoughts and piecing together his blurred vision, clarity once again returned. The destination that the Wardens had been dragging him towards suddenly became reality. A labyrinth of Pagoda like structures that made up Castle Kazan rose out of the snow storm. The ancient fortress looked nothing short of a long lost mythical kingdom. He had seen the Castle from the outside once, built upon multiple layers that resembled terraces. Each of them held a swathe of buildings and their own open spaces, making it feel much less condensed and open. The entire structure was built on top of its own high wall foundation and stood as a defiant feat of Irothis’ architecture and engineering.

The half crescent moon waned in the cloud light and the skies were visibly dark. It seemed as quiet as one would expect on a pleasant night with only the whispers of the wind and falling snow to keep to you company. The moon seemed far closer than it would naturally appear from the Earth itself and Jasairis wondered how far they were above ground.


The way his limbs ached told him they had been dragging him for a long time and groaned a mild curse at the aching in his temple. He felt torn between being relieved that he had not been thrown into another cell or being brought before waiting riflemen and what they were actually going to do to him whenever they arrived at their desired location.


“Ow, shit! Where are we?” He croaked finally, looking around the open courtyard that was now filled with fresh snow.

One of the guards carrying him spat, automatically reaching for his baton rather urgently. “Hold on, I’ll hit him over the head again.”

“Uh, uh, uh!” The same guard looked back over his shoulder to see Michelle wagging her finger. “We’re almost there; he doesn’t need to be unconscious when Selyene arrives!”


“Of course, Warden Michelle.” The guard sounded somewhat chastised and let the thought perish, still dragging Jasairis one handed across the snow. For a moment the convict was convinced the son of a bitch would eventually drop him onto the concrete that surely laid beneath.


“It always amazes me that we have our recreation areas for convicts so far up in the castle. Oh well, at least they know there is no way to escape this high up in the air.” Michelle was blabbering to herself, and then decided to address their new found inmate. “Ah, you know Jasairis, I am glad you’re awake. So now I can be honest with you. I’ve seen your record and you’re not half as bad as I made you out to be. You must understand- most of those criminals in those cells with you are some of the worst. I gladly have them herded out each day to face the consequences of the actions that had led them astray and ultimately, into my cells. I admit, simply being in with that lesser rabble, I had initially overlooked you, guilt by association or so they say.


But tonight, your luck finally changes.” Michelle began to set a pace for a large structure they were beginning to near, passing Jasairis and her lackeys carrying him. “Take him in with the others, then,” She knelt down, brushing back some of the inmate’s hair to examine his temple. “Jasairis, she will be waiting for you. But you will not see her as you are now; you need a little sprucing up.”


The third Warden that had been trailing them the entire time with a rifle in hand moved out in front of them to open the doors leading inside. She pressed a series of digits on a keypad and a wave of light swept over her face, confirming her identity in the system. The doors slid open like they were actually light of weight, beyond them an abyssal black that made Jasairis want to stop in his tracks.


A blood curdling scream came through the darkness and a man, dressed in a familiar grey jumpsuit leapt out from the sudden opening. Angry shouts and whizzing bullets traced his tracks, none able to deter his abrupt escape. His sudden appearance took the woman warden completely off guard, the freed prisoner immediately pounced on her when he saw his escape route suddenly cut off.


A rattle of automatic fire rang out in the haunting silence and three bloody holes suddenly appeared in the man’s head, arm, and the side of his ribcage. He toppled without another sound. Two guards immediately rushed out of the building to secure the prisoner, but stopped short when they came across his still form with the Warden lying underneath. She kicked the dead inmate off of him and a Warden helped her to her feet.


“Damn all of these imbeciles, take the cuffs off these scum for one second…” Michelle uttered darkly, no sympathy or remorse in her tone. “Can’t even get a haircut and shower?”


“Haircut and shower?” Jasairis reiterated her words, confusion setting in his tone.


“You are not like the rest are you, Sil? Don’t worry, soon you will find others like you.” The Commander Warden smiled and gestured for him to walk inside. “I think he can stand on his own now, boys, just follow him closely.”


“Yes, ma’am.” The pair of guards slowly lowered Jasairis onto his feet, the numbing feeling of snow on his bare skin sent needles prickling through his feet. He had to ignore the sting of his wounds and swallow his ill sense of reluctance when one of his captors nudged him onward. Feeling the blood rush through his limbs, Jasairis strode through the unwelcoming doors of the large, temple like structure.


Very dim lights painted a bleak, ominous interior. The little Jasairis could discern from them was that it was a maze of paths to maneuver through. This was not a place that was visited regularly by normal people, that much was certain. He could tell by the dank, concrete walls and hard tile floors that it was meant for someone who was use to a more Spartan existence.

One of the guards corrected his sudden movement with a tap of his baton, pointing him down the straightest path. “This way. Go.”


There was a strange buzzing noise that could be heard over the extremely loud air conditioning and also the sound of rushing water. The closer he approached one of the doors; he could hear quiet murmurings behind them. The guards that walked with him appeared to be listening as well, but unfazed, only when they finally approached a door with no sound emitting from it did they tell him to stop and guide him in.

“Take a seat.”


The soldier waiting in the room was a massive six and a half foot wall of muscle and was leaning against the wall when they had barged in. His camouflage combat suit was a very dark tint, made up of the most obscured colors that barely made the pattern visible. An ammunition belt was strapped over his fatigues, but he didn’t seem to be wearing any bullet resistant armor – not that he needed any. The unnamed soldier held something strange and metal in his hands and the closer Jasairis inspected it, he could see it was a pair of clippers.

The barber immediately gestured for him to sit in the sturdy black chair bolted down in the middle of the room. Jasairis did so without having to be told again, awkwardly taking the seat for himself and taking in the rest of the room at a glance. It was surprisingly sterile and clean, yet somehow dirty looking to him, he wondered if he had been the first to come here or if anyone else would come after him.

The two Wardens that had escorted him in suddenly began to file out of the room, closing the door behind them. The soldier began with finding a cape from one of his boxes in the corner of the room and wrapped it around Jasairis’ neck. Next he took a look at the convict’s hair and even Jasairis could feel him snarl and grunt with disapproval. He grabbed the right size of guard, a comb, and a towel, but proceeded to utter something that Jasairis inwardly cringed at.


“Inmates should only have one cut.”


And so Jasairis suddenly found himself in that room for the next fifteen minutes, feeling every ounce of skill the Barber had being poured into his work of art. Entire clumps of his hair fell from his head, following by combing, and then a repeat until most of it was lying in his lap or on the floor. He actually felt little when the Barber showed him the end result through a mirror that had been mounted onto one of the walls.


Jasairis stared back at himself with curious eyes and somewhat smirked when he realized the unnamed soldier had given him a very low buzz cut similar to his own. The violet of his eyes seemed somewhat determined and still partially fearful, but soon he realized that they were the centerpiece of his face now that the hair wasn’t hiding his sight anymore. His milk chocolate skin spoke of a deep Rynithian descent, but the color was so pale -like it was mixed with a brilliant white- that his origins appeared clearly steeped in an Irothan bloodline as well.

“I swore to you that I’d never be ashamed, Sarahni.” He uttered with a degree more resolve, even in the face of erratic changes in the winds of fate.


“Make her proud, son.” The Barber slapped him on the shoulder as the doors once again opened and two familiar faces again appeared to guide him out.


“Done? Let’s go.”

Another step into the ghastly halls of this place made him tense, a plague of nerves on his spine. The Wardens this time guided him even further down the path, this time coming closer and closer toward the sound of running water he had heard earlier. This time they were traversing through the narrow corridors as if it were a maze, one that they knew the inner workings of. He was still amazed how there seemed to be people present in this building, yet they had not come across a single soul.
Jasairis’ previous thoughts were interrupted when his escorts told him to take a sudden left into an old designed shower room. It was surprisingly empty and barren of anything save for towels and a few rows of lockers. Yet the tile was wet and slippery to the touch, telling him that others had indeed been in here.

“Here.” One of Michelle’s lackeys kicked open a locker, revealing a fresh combat suit lying inside complemented with a suit of armor. “Put that on when you’re done.”

“And I’m supposed to know how to put that on by myself, do I?” Jasairis responded skeptically, looking a bit apprehensive.

“What? You want me to show you?” The same guard spat mockingly and the other one broke out in a fit of laughter. “Put the “fatigues” on, not the armor, got it?”

“Yeah I guess I’ll figure that out myself, easy enough anyway.” Jasairis sneered in his whisper like voice and waved them out.

They happily obliged, walking away to no doubt take up guard just outside the door.

Jasairis took off his clothes and took a random shower head, turning it on and allowing the barely warm water to wash the muck and dirt off of his skin. He ran a hand through his barely existent hair on his head and let out a relieved sigh. He couldn’t help but think of what was happening just half an hour beforehand, watching all those people go to their deaths. It was sickening to him, to be honest.

There was a loud squeak, followed by a sudden burst of falling water beside him and he turned to see someone stepping into the adjacent shower. Both of their heads were visible and the two of them exchanged curious glances for a moment, eyeing each other cautiously.

“Everyone’s getting the same cuts today, huh? Barber’s special I guess. Glad I’m not one of you guys!” The man was somewhat built, way more than Jasairis and he spoke in a voice that belied his appearance. His bright red eyes glanced in his direction as he spared himself a small laugh. He was of a descent that had obviously originated nowhere around Irothis, he could tell that by his chestnut colored skin. His hair was a reddish hue of brown and came down to around his eyes and Jasairis wondered where he hailed from.

Jasairis opted to play his game for a while, it would have been awkward otherwise. “Yeah, it was definitely needed. Soldiers definitely seem different than the Wardens or the guards, those bastards keep cracking down no matter what.”

“I don’t really come from where you do then, my friend, must’ve come up from the Executioner’s row.”

“Guess everyone hears about that place at some point in their lives here, huh?” Jasairis attempted to shake the memories, but they kept plaguing him. He was never really one for prayer, but he found himself silently thanking Ni’halia that he had been finally brought out of there. He didn’t know whether that was premature or not, he didn’t even know if they were going to throw him back in.

“So what are you in for? The name’s Anathis by the way, Anathis Anlith.”

“Jasairis Sil and I’m in for something foolish that I did a long time ago.”

“Aren’t we all?” Anathis grinned widely. “I’m guessing you’re here for the conscription then?”

“Conscription?” Jasairis huffed in disbelief, allowing himself a somber laugh at Anathis’ words. “What is this you speak of? I remember something similar happening when I was a child, my mother actually was a volunteer. They say they happen once in a generation, but it must’ve been at least twenty three years ago.”

“Well, why do you think they want you to put that uniform on?”

“I thought it was so I could look well for my coffin and burial, maybe masked how they shot me to the public.”

“You’re a grim thinker, Sil. I guess you’ll need that. We’ll find out soon, right?”

Jasairis switched the shower head off and peered at Anathis, then shrugged before walking out with a towel wrapped around his waist. He opened up the locker the Warden had kicked in earlier, and took out the combat suit. It was a very dark tint of camouflage that he had seen the barber where and began putting on everything required to wear it before putting it on. Anathis quickly showed him some pointers on how to make it look proper and the two of them emerged from that dirty room new men.
The pair of Wardens that had been showing Jasairis around turned from the other group of prison guards that were likewise looking after Anathis to examine them as they both emerged from the showers. All of them grunted in approval and began to take up the task of shepherding the convict and acquaintance toward another destination. They came close to the entrance that they had originally came through, but were instead thrown into another poorly lit space before having the door shut on them again.

“Wait here.” One of the guard’s had spoken before shutting the way behind them.

“So this is where everyone is?” Anathis breathed as he looked over the four dozen strangers all sitting down on a couple of benches that occupied the room. They were all dressed similar to Jasairis and himself and looked at them with blank faces. There were both men and women, and all of them seemed beat up in a way, Jasairis was certain that there were plenty of backgrounds to be shared by them.

“I hope to the Goddess that our luck changes soon.” Jasairis whispered to himself and moved to take a seat amongst the others.

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Jasairis hadn’t ever really been too shocked by the things he had seen in prison, in there, people were simply trying to survive and make a living. Getting himself thrown into death row had been a huge mistake simply because he did not calculate the consequences his actions would bring when he had done them. He was not a thief, not a rapist, though he was a murderer in the most technical sense and though it took some time for her to realize that, eventually Michelle did in some miraculous revelation.

He knew that Wardens were always distrustful of those who lived above law or merely thought that they did, but he had never seen the extent of such issues that could be perceived as trivial by a few could ultimately spiral out of control. Really, the problem was stemming from all sorts of issues: living in constant fear of being fatally mauled by some repressed individual they knew little about, the lives lost attempting to bring order and their twisted sense of justice to those individuals, and the hatred that stemmed from both of those examples.

It wasn’t easy being surrounded by those you know loathes you, either, especially when they travel in large packs to keep yourself secure and in order. It’s even more difficult when they know that you and everyone else chained up with you despises them with a similar hatred. The Wardens didn’t seem to relax even after they barged back into the room in numbers. They kept their guns held tightly across their chests or leveled at suspicious looking individuals and he wondered if they were ever going to lower them at some point. Of course, he wasn’t going to be the one telling to them back off unless he wanted to take a steel baton to the knee or worse.

Anathis whispered from his spot beside him, looking as curious as ever. “You know you never told me what you’re in for? Must be something big if you’ve been thrown into the executioner’s waiting cells.”

Jasairis replied reluctantly, keeping a wary eye out for any sign that could give away the Wardens’ intentions of keeping them locked in here. “You never told why you’re exactly here yourself, besides conscription.”

“Oh did I not now?” His strange friend winked with a wide grin. “Well I suppose it doesn’t hurt anyone, I’m an ex-soldier actually, from the land of Eos. Heard of it by any chance?”

“Most children learn it on maps now of days. Of course I’ve heard of it. You’re a long way from home my friend.”

“I first came to Irothis around half a decade ago, thought I’d tour the sights and such, find some exotic women. You know how things are.” Anathis shrugged off the awkward tension besetting everyone crammed into that small room with a hearty laugh, which drew the attention of a few other inmates. “I’ve been living here ever since, enduring the harsh winter climate and I eventually seek to go Valicia one day if only just to lay eyes on the forgotten kingdom. If my blood doesn’t freeze over by then, at least. Like I said, I’m not necessarily a prisoner, but I’ve been called in to sign up. I doubt a lot of these people are.”

One of the inmates finally spoke up. “Well, I think I’d be foolish to ask, but I’ll go ahead and ask anyway. You willingly came to a land ruled over by an egotistical highborn society in a time of impending war just for some sight-seeing and fast women? No wonder you’re in here with the rest of us, just waiting to die at someone’s behest like sheltered animals no one wants to keep anymore. ” She was a striking woman with oceanic eyes and vibrant white skin suddenly questioned with a dangerous darkness deep within her gaze. Her face was tattooed in several places, a unique face in an ocean of un-significant people. Her skin seemed unusually rich and immediately, Jasairis could guess that she had some generous amount of Valician blood in her body. She glared at Jasairis with an unsettling smile and gestured in Anathis’ direction. “What brings you two into Kalin’nos? You don’t appear to be looking to strike fortune with some of the marked ladies in here.”

“I was under the impression that I didn’t know shit like everyone else here.” Jasairis grumbled in slight irritation, regarding her with an eye of caution. “The hell does “marked” even mean?”

“Easy half-blood,” The Valician swept some of her incredibly long and flowing hair off her chest to emphasize her tattoos. “You know, “marked”, I am not speaking among kin?”

An awkward silence passed between the three while Jasairis and Anathis exchanged confused glances. Anathis answered her with a careless shrug and simply shook his head gravely. Jasairis however, leaned in closer to her to inspect her strange tattoos and she allowed him to pull back her silky light ochre hair to reveal the symbol imprinted onto the back of her hand.

“I think you misunderstand, I’m not related to your people.” He held up his own hand to show her an identical image of a pair of crossed blades held under a howling wolf’s head: The Crest of Household Nagasa.

The Valician girl smiled genuinely as if she was embracing one of her own long lost relatives, gripping Jasairis in a bear hug that he found incredibly awkward as the Guards beheld them with uncompassionate gazes. “It’s called a Vi, half-blood, or a spiritual bond as you would call. One does not have to be anointed by blood to carry the mark, but you must have known someone who was. That must be it. Visions kept rushing through my mind about why you would bear the mark of treason. After all, few carry it on them lightly; she must’ve been quite the firecracker to land you in here willingly.”

“You don’t know me.”

Jasairis felt her words wash over him coldly, dousing his memories with a kindling resurgence. “It’s only a royal crest, got it when I landed in prison. No one’s marked me, so I don’t think I’m a part of your kin. I’m only familiar with an acquaintance, long gone from this world. I am Irothan first and yes, I have some Rynithian descent, but do me a favor and stop calling me half-blood, would you?”

“Well that is where one usually receives marks of treason and I did not mean anything by it “Jasairis”.” Kizzie snarled at the name as if it were simply an alias rather than his real name. “A good omen you do not maintain ties with this enigmatic lady acquaintance of yours, rumors say these Wardens want us to hunt conspirators against the state. Who better suited to that task than conspirators themselves? My real name is Asuve, but people here know me as Kizzie. While we’re on the topic of why we’re in here, I used to be a mole planted in the Irothan Government.”

“Oh that must’ve been living it up a little, huh?” Anathis nodded his approval, obviously impressed. “We use to take out all sorts of characters back home, it wouldn’t be too much to begin doing that again.”

“Yes, a wealthy life-style of the finest sort,” Asuve chuckled softly to herself, “But I was too young and reckless to realize that I could have simply cut my ties and keep it all for myself. At least for a little while until I could manage my disappearance. You know, smoke and mirrors.

I eventually got turned in after delivering intelligence on a few specific Irothan counter spies. But only after I had them marked for death and their end was swift and brutal. Somehow the Assassination Squads managed to trace their tragic ends back to yours truly.”

“I don’t need to explain myself to anyone.” Jasairis grumbled, but Asuve noted his wayward smile as he did so.

“Good. I have a feeling our years of pent up anxiety and woes shall be unleashed on the world in the coming days. In a polite and respectable way of course.” Asuve grinned with self-satisfaction in at least getting a smile from him. “I hope you fellas don’t mind if I tag along with your sort? You seem strong and at least we have something in common, Jasairis. Whatever it is we’re about to go through, we should stick together.”

“The pleasure is ours.” Anathis reached over and formerly exchanged handshakes with her, much to her pleasure.

“Oh? Here comes the royal crown now!” The heavy exaggeration of excitement in Asuve’s fawning abolished some of Jasairis’ doubts despite being simply that, an exaggeration. But the lack of fear wasn’t completely lost on him.

The heavy doors keeping them locked in this room gently parted before the Queen and her entourage. The Wardens turned on their heels and bowed in her direction and the prisoners knew a moment of judgment was upon them.

The Queen looked upon them with a frown. “Why are they all sitting? I do not wish to stoop down to inspect anyone of them.”
She glided through her mass of subjects to come to a halt behind the Warden Michelle. Their matching poise and posture struck Jasairis immediately, even their looks possessed an unmistakable resemblance. The daughters of Tagainus and royal heirs to royal House Nagasa, in which the blood of Ni’halia’s mortal son, Queliphii, runs deep.

The current ruler of Irothis and all of her holdings, Lady Selyene Kiri Nagasa, silently studied her surroundings with an elegant poise befitting an angel rather than a Queen. Her eyes were a deep dark that he found himself seeping into, neither revolted nor disturbed by the unnatural appearance he beheld.

“Get up, all of you!” Michelle suddenly barked at them, waving forward a number of black masked guards, intent on walking through the small throngs of people and forcefully lifting them onto their feet. People slowly began to stand, the uncertain looks on their faces told Jasairis that many of them were still scared and he couldn’t blame a single soul. He didn’t like his fate being intertwined with any of them, even though the vast majority were probably far more similar than he’d care to realize.

“Honor the Goddess, for you are alive. It is a far better fate than you deserve!” The Queen of Irothis spoke over the commands of Michelle’s aides as they went to work. “Some of you have been rotting in these cells for too long, allowing time to simply pass while you pay your penance. Who among you ask for forgiveness of your transgressions against the state? I cannot yet tell, but you have already given your lives for Irothis behind the iron bars of the cell, proudly sacrificed your own freedom at your own volition with the innumerable crimes you have committed against both kin and country. I thank you for the debt you’ve paid thus far.

Whoever among you may be worthy should be met with reward and luxury in equal measure! I wonder if there are any of you strong enough to claim honor for yourselves. Through your death? Or… perhaps a new life is in order? One that will be taught through discipline and tempered with the balance of inner strength?”

Selyene’s gaze shifted onto those who were literally quaking at the thought of conscription and shook her head disapprovingly. She continued inspecting one enlisted soldier after another, signaling Michelle’s Warden’s to pick out the few that she didn’t like whenever something did not meet her standard. They were going to be returned to their cells.

The Queen pointed to a very lanky woman who had been shivering in the supposedly freezing ventilation. “No, this one will not be strong enough; perhaps we could use her as an aid instead. I need those who also look every part of the soldier; I will accept nothing less in my conscriptions.”

“Blast the Gods, Sister, they’re only convicts, they do not need speeches! So spare them for real men and women!” Michelle grunted and a few of her officers agreed with timely nods.

Lady Nagasa confidently approached another woman who was struggling to see from the considerable gashes just above her eyes. She placed an elegant hand on her forehead, showing her some degree of favor over some of the others. “No, such disunity among men are merely disillusions, aren’t they? For who is realer, the one who goes to war? Or the one who stays to protect those that they love? Are not the two completely important and intertwined?”

“Yes, your highness.” The female convict gave a deep bow, much to Michelle’s displeasure and earned a brief smirk from the eldest of the twins.

“This one shall be one of my new soldiers! I wish to see many of you go with her and protect our lands while my military goes off to war! The highborn of Irothis grow restless and our borders are under threat! The horrors of open war shall soon be unleashed and I, your Queen, possess the power to determine when and where.

If I were not benevolent in my wisdom, Gods sue me; I would pass you onto the altar of law and persecution and leave you to your fate.” The Queen’s face resembled carved stone, hard and unyielding, but allowing herself just one faint smirk. “Yet I am blessed with far greater intellect than my father’s fathers, and those who come long before. Yes, I have seen a greater purpose for you, so look upon your Queen and master with pride and serve me well. For with great promises such as you come great beginnings, followed by even greater rewards.

So I shall make an exception for the best of you who choose to come forward and serve as my right hand. I present each of you with a choice in this matter, forgive the trivial grievances that have befallen you in these past few hours and weigh the decision with that of your mind and not your heart. What I offer is new beginnings and freedom without the leash that binds you and me. See that to take up arms in my name is not another sentence, because the glory I offer is for that of true soldiers no matter the background, race, or birthright of your lineage.”

“Uh,” Selyene spared a glance over her shoulder in the same moment Asuve interrupted her, who looked somewhat dumbfounded, but pressed on through the barrage of stares looking to dethrone her all of a sudden. “What is it that you’re exactly expecting of us? I mean, we can all kill, you could have chosen some random fodder for that purpose. And yet there are only a select few of us here. For example, I heard you were going to task us with hunting down conspirators or enemies of the state.”

“No. All I need are volunteers who are willing to give all for Irothis. That alone should be enough purpose. If that does not appeal to you, then I pray that death comes swiftly for you in the dungeons.”

“I see.”

“So who among you rabble are actually interested, so we’re not out here in the cold all night!” Michelle folded her arms, impatience written clearly on her features as she turned her gaze back and forth amongst the crowd of inmates.
Anathis took up a hand from both Jasairis and Asuve into his own, reassuring them. “Well, best time to get off death row, friend, sign us up!” He raised them up as a few of the more desperate or insanely brave began to answer the call.

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879

Last edited by Dave T Hobbit; 10-17-13 at 03:26 PM.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-29-13, 03:08 AM Thread Starter
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“Here you go. I doubt you own anything of value outside of that jumpsuit, so take these provisions. It’ll keep you tied over until your first pay.” One of the prison guards hefted a black duffle bag over a stainless steel counter, nudging the bag into Jasairis’ arms before waving him along.

“Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.” The inmate stepped out of the line of his fellows, slinging the bag over his shoulder and treading out through the glassine push doors of the waiting room into a large lobby.

Anathis was talking with their most recent acquaintance, Asuve, who was responding with some her derisive sniveling. The two of them were at the very rear of two dozen other conscripts, each of them hefting around similar black bags, eagerly awaiting whatever was to come in front of the massive sealed entrance barricaded by a line of heavily armored personnel. “So, getting paid to do this work, eh? Wonder how good it is.”

Jasairis’ expression soured as he regarded a line of Wardens marching past armed with deadly assault rifles. The captives they were herding this time were those who were to be guided back down into the depths of the dungeons. All of them had been found lacking in some way or simply lacked the courage to take up Lady Nagasa’s offer.

Whispers among the guards was that they would be encouraged to take other jobs within the actual prison grounds, of course, nothing as esteemed as becoming a Warden or anything of that nature. But whatever kindness was spared to the repentant was better than most fates many could ever speak of in Kazan. Or Kalin’nos, as Asuve had mentioned, he had never heard the term himself.

Asuve approached him to stand by his side in between him and Anathis, the reassurance in her tone contrasting sharply with her wicked smile. “Don’t worry about them. Keep close to me and they will pay you no heed. I’ve been in the better cells that the Wardens oversee for far longer than you’ve probably ever been here. They’ve grown to respect my good behavior or so they would have me believe, either way, just stay close. I’ll keep you safe. Just pray they don’t decide to take us back to their cells and, you know, have their way with us.”

Uncertain as to what exactly she meant by her tone and words, Jasairis wasn’t certain, so he settled with a slightly disapproving stare to change the conversation. Asuve did not seem upset at the gesture, that evil intent in the glint of her eye that she was attempting hard to suppress fading a bit. She probably had an intelligent guess that it would make him more comfortable. “I’ll be leaving to join some of our newfound comrades, don’t go forgetting my name all at once.”

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I trust her, Anathis.” Jasairis spoke in a soft tone as she stepped out of earshot, watching her as she went to chat with a few other women joining the conscription.

“No surprise there. I mean, can you really after just meeting her?” Anathis surprisingly agreed, though not in the way that Jasairis was expecting. “I mean, you and I, we’re a little different I suppose. We met in a goddamn shower room after all. Point is, we shouldn’t be too hasty in deciding whose worthy of comradeship and whose not. We don’t know any of these people and a lot of them seem to be like you to a large degree. It’s going to have to be more than just the three of us if we’re going to make it out in the world, know what I mean?”

“Sure, but don’t go around just accepting whoever may come along.” Jasairis had to admit to himself, he wasn’t exactly used to chastising conflicting viewpoints. Not through words and friendly advice, at least, things were far better when he answered with his fists against rival inmates who sought to conspire against him. He much preferred the “live and let live” approach to life, but he’d be foolish to apply that to all aspects of advice. “I know you’re not accustomed to the prison cells, but just remember, all of these people are still inmates. Just saying.”

“I suppose we’re both right in a way, Sil,” The Eosan put the argument to rest with his undivided attention elsewhere. “Don’t look now, the soldiers are lifting their barricade.”

Jasairis stood a head or two over most of the convicts locked up in this building and could cast his gaze over all of them without much effort. The black masked guards were indeed peeling away from the main entrance, forming two lines to funnel their new conscripts into the waiting hands of the light winter. A heavily armored Irothian male with his helm cradled in his arms and a shotgun leaning on his right shoulder suddenly came between them and a new life. He hefted his shotgun in the air and fired it once, the bellowing roar causing all of the former prisoners to flinch backwards and fall into a uniform silence all at once.

“Soldiers of Irothis! Or should I say fellow inmates? Please follow my instructions to the letter, for in doing so, everyone will find a much more pleasant time than if they had decided to not hear my words at all! All recruits, inmate or not, there is a letter for each and every one of our volunteers. You should have received them on the way to receive your supplies that will last you till until you enter basic training. As you leave Kazan, you may wish to read them and you should, considering that the Queen herself has written them personally.”

“Hmm… was wondering what these were for.” Jasairis immediately dipped his hand into an neat slit in the bag, feeling something crinkle at his touch. He pulled it free and examined the stained parchment in his hands and slowly began to unravel it.

Dear Jasairis Sil:

If you are choosing to read this letter, be well aware that it has been of your own volition to come this far into this realm of uncertainties. Allow me to congratulate you on your sense of bravery and wisdom in not only thinking this entire matter through, but seeing the compromise that I’ve strived to bring to those who I may feel have been judged somewhat harshly. Do not fret about the fates of others you may have known that were present in this event today. They will have other options given to them, more paths to take to avoid the executioner’s hand.

Jasairis, if you have listened to anything I’ve said regarding your conscription, then you should know well enough by now that the country of Irothis is preparing for open war. Soon I shall have over ten thousand troops amassing in the Nagasa Province alone and before your training is over, we hope to have that number escalate into twenty thousand men and women pulled from all the provinces of Irothis to serve under my command.
Allow me to congratulate you once more, I am excited to inform you that I’ve personally selected you among a few others for a special project that I’ve been working on with erstwhile allies. Please note that many of the people with you in that room today when I spoke will probably go with you, but the army that I’m preparing will be formed from among experts and the merely talented alike.

I do hope you enjoy your first moments of freedom in Nagasa Province. I would like you to know that I’ve been preparing something special for those who would serve under my command. You should be filled in with more details concerning other trivial, spiritual, and natural issues concerning the Irothian army on your journey.
One last thing for you, Jasairis, I hope you can find solace in your past and reconnect with your loved ones and friends again. Do not forget them, because one day, the war shall become a distant lesson in history and you will need to begin rebuilding your legacy somewhere. Simply keep these things in mind as you advance through your own great trial.

Best of fortune, Ni’halia favor our fervor!

Your Benevolent Empress, Selyene Kiri Nagasa



A glaring light fell over the newly conscripted inmates, so striking that all of them were raising a wall of hands to their faces as they emerged into the prison courtyards. Massive floodlight fixtures from the high stone towers overlooked the white fields, fixed directly upon them as they were funneled back towards the abyssal places of the palace’s labyrinthine dungeons.

Anathis wrapped his up and stuffed it into his pocket. “Pre-made letters! Who’d have thought we could have missed out on this?”

“I feel like I’m standing on a precipice.” He muttered with no small amount of surprise. His feelings were a fluctuating mess at the moment, what kind of man wouldn’t at nearly receiving his entire life again on a sparkling silver platter? Some lingering memories, once his only link to the outside world had suddenly became woefully irrelevant. In the same moments, others became precious questions that required answering. “I’m trying to remember my home deep in the Uridene. I need to get back there, figure some things out for myself.”

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879

Last edited by Dave T Hobbit; 10-17-13 at 03:29 PM.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-10-13, 04:02 AM Thread Starter
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As you can see, I've finally thought of a new title for the story, lol. I've been wanting to get away from the previous title for a while now, since it kept reminding me of the awfulness that is twilight :D .

So any issues or concerns this far in? I'm just wondering because I'm not entirely sure that I've pulled off the whole thing about Jasairis being hand picked by Selyene or the reason as to why he's particularly important. In fact, I'm still trying to hammer out how I can realistically portray him as someone that is worthy of being chosen. I understand that it's still just conscription, but maybe I can build on this into something satisfying. I'm not trying to show him as a hero, but another pair of eyes in a world where the balance of civilization is decaying.

I've been really contemplating whether Jasairis and the conscripts should be stationed in Irothis or Rynithia. I'm not too concerned by whether the story arc should be progressing in one place or the other, since I'll have other characters to progress the story through, but maybe the conscripts could help the story develop further in Irothis.

Just looking for some opinions on what I've got so far .

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-10-13, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firemahlazer View Post
I've finally thought of a new title for the story.
It is a punchy title.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-10-13, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
It is a punchy title.
Good or bad definition of that word ? No harm done if you meant the latter.

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879

Last edited by Myen'Tal; 05-11-13 at 06:40 AM.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-11-13, 05:04 PM
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I meant catchy.

Not sure if I have ever used punchy as a negative.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-11-13, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Ah, okay, I'm not familiar with the word, but I saw two different definitions for it so I wasn't sure. The title might be a little too dramatic through, either way, I guess I'll stick to it for now. Thanks!

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-07-13, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Hmm... I think the second chapter might be going nowhere, may have to retract what I posted up so far and try again. It may have been too soon to take the spotlight off Jasairis and the external conflict as a whole(and I think the story may work out best if he and prison comrades stay in Irothis).

So I guess I will begin the editing process and see what I come up with.

Also, haven't forgotten about The New Word, but I have to focus on one thing at a time .

“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
-Glen Cook, The Black Company


Tales of Heroism and Bravery, in the 41st Millennium and the Old World. Perhaps some Realm Gate Wars in the future .

Gods' Hall (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=161618

The New Word (Completed)
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=121879

Last edited by Myen'Tal; 08-07-13 at 11:17 AM.
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