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Author Topic: Valtegaard (EternityWaits & j3ll0m0nk3y)  (Read 218 times)

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Offline j3ll0m0nk3yTopic starter

Valtegaard (EternityWaits & j3ll0m0nk3y)
« on: August 20, 2017, 11:31:57 PM »
By all accounts the city of Valtegaard was the most strategically valuable stronghold in the South.  Technically it wasn’t even a stronghold – it did not need to be, surrounded as it was on three sides by jagged cliffs and on the fourth side by deceptively shallow waters.  To the untrained eye it appeared little more than a seaside town populated by fishers and artisans but for the past century it had been the vexation of the entire Corseilan military.  For one, this town of glorified paddlers and basketweavers had manage to sustain themselves for millennia with no apparent agriculture or trade.  For another, despite its small size it boasted a highly organized and well-armed militia that had fended off every direct attack in living memory.  Third, it had never been successfully besieged.  No matter how well-stocked the invading army the end was always the same – the smart captains returned home with just enough supplies to make the trip and the foolish ones ran out of rations, ultimately drying up and leaving their anchored ghost ships as a testament to their failure.

As he surveyed the carnage unfolding around him Endymion thanked the gods for those foolish captains.  Most of their ships had sunk, but enough remained afloat for him to quietly lead a small unit of officers ashore by rowboat using them as cover from the watchful eyes of guards stationed in each of the five stone towers encircling the city.  From there they split up, each to a different watchtower to neutralize the guards before they could sound for the militia.  This done he lit the signal for his army to begin rappelling down the cliffs.  They were vulnerable to projectile attack at this point but by the time the militia was finally roused they were halfway down the cliffside.  Many of them would make it aground to help in the conquest of the city proper, but their primary objective was to draw the attention of the militia away from the rest of his navy as it picked its way through the wreckage to the shore.  It had been a massive undertaking and casualties had been high, but in the end he came out victorious.

He paced confidently in front of a crowd of townspeople, saying nothing.  Give the people something to respond to and someone will inevitably respond in a way to make things difficult.  Silence, however, when combined with the right expression can cause even the bravest to rethink their course of action.  In the background his officers were wrapping up the last of the skirmishes and directing traffic until everyone with injuries serious enough to warrant immediate treatment were gathered in a hastily constructed medical tent and any citizen of Valtegaard capable of standing on their own was herded into the town square.  It was not until this was done and the last of his officers fell in line behind him that he spoke.

“Which one of you was up until tonight in charge of this city?"
« Last Edit: August 21, 2017, 05:09:45 AM by j3ll0m0nk3y »

Offline EternityWaits

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Re: Valtegaard (EternityWaits & j3ll0m0nk3y)
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2017, 12:36:47 AM »

Valtegaard had always been the jewel of the southlands. Hidden between mountain peaks and the ocean. A secret that none could seem unravel - until tonight. The invaders had used the wreckage as a shield, had managed to sneak in and incapacitate the tower guard before the main militia could be called upon. The long history of Valtegaard being impenetrable against all invading forces was now over. Many of the city guard and militia were severely wounded or dead. It had been a clever thing to do - strategically sound, really, to use the wreckage of past invasions to mask their approach. She didn't have to like it, but she could still respect their strategy. They had planned to break down and salvage a lot of the closer wrecks during the fall and winter, when it would be too cold for most to even dream of coming close to Valtegaard and its surrounding mountains.


Now gathered in the center of what was left of the town, Lyra watched the man pace before the weeping wives, the frightened children. The man paced without a word, just watching the crowd and waiting for them all to be gathered here in the square or shuffled off to medical tents. She had been in the battle proper, but once the main forces of the city had fallen, they had all been overwhelmed and gathered up like cattle to the slaughter. Her amber-gold gaze followed the man's movements as he eyed over the crowd that surrounded her. Lyra had been one of the guard who was still capable of standing on her own and not in need of immediate medical attention. She had a split lip, and several small gashes from combat, but she had taken down several of this man's men before they'd managed to surround her and force her to yield. She stood with a smattering of her fellow guard, their armor not showing any sort of ranking system.


When he spoke up, asking who was in charge of the city until his take-over, she felt herself frown. Valtegaard had no real leader, per se. They all looked after each other, looked for guidance from the elders of the town. But, as the captain of the town's guard, she supposed it fell to her to step forward. She was the closest thing to a leader they had, aside from the elders - there was no way she was going to let any of them step forward to face this demon. Indeed, several of the townsfolk looked to her at the man's query. Looks of hope, of sorrow and loss evident in their eyes. Her tongue darted out over the split in her lip as she looked over the crowd. She waited just the length of a heartbeat before she took one step forward away from the crowd, her gaze focusing on the man who had invaded her home and destroyed their lives in a matter of hours.

Offline j3ll0m0nk3yTopic starter

Re: Valtegaard (EternityWaits & j3ll0m0nk3y)
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2017, 02:46:23 AM »
If Endymion were one to get ahead of himself he would have spent the ensuing silence contemplating the myriad benefits the acquisition of Valtegaard presented to the nation of Corseil. In addition to the notoriety gained from being the first army in history to overtake the famed invulnerable city his army had just made a valuable military acquisition.  Valtegaard was situated near the end of Berryl's Pointe, a peninsula that jutted into several trade routes.  A naval base in the area that would soon be cleared of wrecked ships would put him at a perfect position to cut off supplies from enemy cities and the far-reaching gaze of the watchtowers would allow him to keep an eye on neighboring kingdoms over land and sea alike.  He had instructed his soldiers to do as little damage to the infrastructure of the city as possible, and as he inspected the architecture he did not regret it.  With the right people the Corseilans could even use Valtegaard as a trading hub or a base colony from which to execute Queen’s admittedly early-stage plans of southward expansion.

But, Endymion reminded himself, he was not one to get ahead of himself.  Before Valtegaard could be turned into a naval base or a trading hub or a colony it first had to be cleaned up, its people dealt with.  After Corseil’s brutal ascension to power the elven nation had gained a reputation as one of hard and unforgiving warriors but since the last of the snow elf clans bent the knee and the North was conquered they no longer had a reason to quash their conquests’ spirits.  Endymion had found it easier to harvest each new territory’s secrets through a careful combination of intimidation and concession.  Tend to their wounded, but keep armed guards stationed every three feet around the medical tent.  Keep their buildings intact but direct their gazes to the armada that could obliterate them in an instant.  Demand to speak to their leader while reminding them that he was their leader now.

Silence followed his inquiry, an uncomfortable silence full of rustling clothes and furtive sniffling and mothers trying and failing to hush their crying children.  No one spoke up to answer him but one did stand apart from the others.  She was a member of the guard but apart from her armor there did not appear to be anything exceptional about her.  In fact he was almost disappointed – here he thought he had finally conquered the greatest fortress in the world only to find it led by an undecorated footsoldier with a bloody lip and populated by frightened children.  He’d conquered mortal territories that put up more fight at this stage in the game.  Behind him he could hear one of his officers stifle a derisive snort.  Normally he condemned any behavior other than stony silence from his officers but he had to concede this time.  He stared gloatingly into the anonymous guard’s honey-tinted eyes and raised a hand to motion her forward.

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Re: Valtegaard (EternityWaits & j3ll0m0nk3y)
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2017, 10:50:59 AM »
She had been, of course, stripped of her sword. That did not mean she did not have a weapon. She was a weapon. When the man summoned her forward, she looked back to the crowd of people. She nodded her head, and made a small movement with her hands that told them everything would be fine. This seemed to ease tensions in the crowd, and several crying women and children stifled their tears. Then, Lyra focused her attention once more on the gloating gaze of the man who had called her. She wanted nothing more than to punch that smirk from his face. But it was the snort from a soldier standing behind him that caused that amber gaze to snap on the soldier. Those gaze stayed focused on the soldier, boring into him. She walked forward, slowly, her gaze not on the man in charge but on that singular soldier. She already knew what she was going to do, even if it killed her.


When she was signaled to halt her progress, she looked back to the obvious one in charge. She studied his face for a few moments before her gaze drifted back toward the soldier. She took a breath as if she were about to speak - but instead of words, she shifted on her feet. With a blinding flash of speed, Lyra ambled and side stepped just enough that she was close enough - just close enough that the heel of her boot met with the offending soldier's throat. She struggled only a small amount as the soldiers around her grappled and forced her onto her knees and pinned her arms behind her back. She spat onto the pavement in the direction of the man she'd attacked, and then smiled up at their leader. A wicked sort of grin with a small laugh. She hadn't moved to attack him. It was obvious that she understood that no amount of fighting would win her city back at this point - that didn't mean she had to take any sort of disrespect from this man's underlings.


Despite her appearance, she had shown that she was lightning quick and a fairly well trained fighter. She had even displaced a few soldiers before they'd gotten her onto her knees, so she was strong enough despite her slim frame. She knew when the war was over, but she was a proud creature and it was obvious now that any slight against her she took... very personally. Again, she licked her split lip before turning her head enough to wipe her chin against her shoulder. After that she kept her chin high - if she was to die here, she would not do it as some whimpering fool begging for their lives. She wouldn't threaten this man, or tell him about how the south would rise up against him and smash him against the stones like the ocean waves. She didn't need to. He would find out in his own time. Pity, though, that she wouldn't be around to see it.

Offline j3ll0m0nk3yTopic starter

Re: Valtegaard (EternityWaits & j3ll0m0nk3y)
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2017, 02:44:03 AM »
When Endymion had been a young cadet still rising through the ranks the Corseilan navy had been little more than an ill-mannered band of brigands and boors.  The behavior displayed by his officer had once been commonplace, as had the rampant destruction of property following each victory.  In his youth Endymion had even participated in such pointless destruction.  But over the decades he had seen how poisonous the resentment of subjugated people could be to the ruling class.  As he began to advance in his military career he rooted such behavior out – first in his crew, then his fleet, then eventually the whole navy.  What had followed was an unprecedented decrease in civil unrest including but not limited to assassination attempts, uprisings, and the impressively foolish stunt pulled by the apparent leader of Valtegaard.  As it turned out he hadn't needed to reprimand his officer, not that he had planned to.  Experience, after all, was the greatest teacher of all, and she had reprimanded him right in the windpipe.

Unexpected though the guards actions had been Endymion remained stock still, making no move to either help his officer or retaliate against the woman.  His officers had the fiery upstart detained and the officer gasping on the ground did not deserve to have the lesson he was learning cheapened by the addition of aid.  Instead he locked eyes with the injured officer and pointed to the medical tent.  Then he turned his attention to the guard on her knees before him.  Simple though her regalia was, it was clear by the way she had been able to calm the crowd that the people respected her.  He was tempted to smile at her mad little outburst; she really was committed to playing the hero.  But with the whole town waiting to see how their new leader handled dissent e opted to keep his face cold and stony.  He approached her until the toes of his boots were nearly touching her knees.  She was small despite her apparent abilities, the top of her silver-capped head barely reaching his hips.  Still she stared up at him defiantly.  He sighed inwardly – this would take some work.

He looked down his nose at her, one hand on the pommel of his sword.  His officers tightened their grip on their prisoner as he locked eyes with her.  Finally he spoke, a demand more than a question and spoken with the flat intonation of a simple statement.

“Who are you.”

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Re: Valtegaard (EternityWaits & j3ll0m0nk3y)
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2017, 03:33:31 AM »
Lyra's gaze flicked to the struggling guard as he was led off to the medical tent. Serves him right. Her attention shifted back as the stony-faced man began stepping toward her, and she hissed as his soldiers tightened their grip on her. She did not fight to get away from them, however. She knew there was no getting out of this. Instead she looked up, her amber-gaze focusing on the man now standing in front of her.


"Who do you think I am?" She said rather flippantly, her lips pulling into another smirk. Lyra never claimed to be friendly, but the town's folk trusted her and counted on her when it mattered most. And she had failed them. She had failed to protect them from this and now this place was nothing more than some military conquest instead of the haven she had escaped to. She hadn't been born in Valtegaard, but had bought passage here when she was quite young - a mere child in elven terms. She had seen many of the humans here grow from children into fine adults. But she was still the person she had been when she arrived, there was no changing where you were brought up, or how. There was a flicker of sadness in her eyes then, despite the smile on her face. Sadness for the loss of something she loved so dearly. Shame for being unable to protect it.


"May the Haven of Hope rest in peace this night, for Hope had been slain. May she rest her head in the heavens and her feet in the sea and remember Valtegaard always in her dreams." She closed her eyes as a small symbol glowed on her forehead with a brilliant blue light and then faded. Several of the townsfolk echoed her speech, and just as with Lyra the mark glowed on them and then faded. When she opened her eyes, looking back up to Endymion, she again ran her tongue over her split lip before she sighed dramatically. "If you're going to kill me I wish that you'd just get it over with already. I've got a busy day ahead of me, and I'd rather not spend it running errands to tell the truth. Old Miss Hawthorne's got me saddled up to haul a year's worth of pickles to her cellar. You ever lift a barrel of pickles, Mister? They're pretty heavy, even for me, and I'm damn strong." Again, there was that smile, but she blew a bit of her platinum hair away from her face as she looked up to him again. She smelled like floral soap and oiled leather - the latter probably because of her armor. If she found him intimidating, or if she had any fear at all of her present situation, she did not show it. Instead she seemed to revel in what little torment she could cause. In her mind, Lyra thought that he did not truly care who she was to this town or the people in it. He simply wanted someone to make an example of. She could do that, she could be that person for these people. The people who had taken her in when she had nowhere else to go.


She leaned forward, straining somewhat against those who held her, her voice dipping into a bit of a whisper. "I hope you like pickles, we eat a lot of them." And again she offered a light laughed, leaning back once more so that there was less strain on her arms. She had no intention of fighting them, but she knew that her attack on the soldier would keep her bound indefinitely now. She had done what she could in the end. It wasn't enough, and it would never be enough. Never.

Offline j3ll0m0nk3yTopic starter

Re: Valtegaard (EternityWaits & j3ll0m0nk3y)
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2017, 11:37:17 PM »
Endymion hadn't expected the woman to give a straightforward answer, not after a stunt like the one she had pulled with the guard.  Still, he found her tone irritating though he did not let it show in his face.  Wounded pride had caused many a captain of the guard to revert to childish taunts and petty attempts at verbal antagonizing. The strange cultish chant and the glowing symbols on both her head and the heads of a number of townsfolk, on the other hand, were significantly more unexpected.  He added that question to the rapidly growing list in the back of his mind.  Once the initial aftermath of the invasion settled down he would have his people obtain answers, but for the moment he brushed it aside.  He was about to order her to stand when she spoke again, a babbling stream of nonsense that hardly merited response which was a good thing as he had no response to her strange words.

Rather than speak he motioned for his officers to raise the woman to her feet.  Even still he found himself looking quite a ways down on her.  How someone of her diminutive size managed to become leader of the city he could not say, but he suspected it also had to do with how she had managed to survive when so many of her fellow guards had fallen.  Now that she was standing the light from the nearby torches illuminated her face and he was able to get a good look at her.  She had clearly taken her share of hits in the battle as evidenced by the split on her full lower lip.  Her eyes were equally large, a pair of honeyed globes reflecting the torch fires behind him.  She grinned madly up at him but something in the set of her delicate chin told him that this was methodical, and that she would need more incentive if he was ever going to get her to talk.

Just as he was attempting to devise a way to “incentivize” his captive an agonized scream erupted from the medical tent.  It didn’t sound like one of his soldiers which meant it was a perfect chance to remind the woman before him just how high her stakes were.  He narrowed his eyes and leaned in close.

“It seems to me your people have suffered enough this night,” he whispered, his mouth just inches from her ear.  “It would be a shame if my poor overtasked soldiers were too busy gathering intelligence to properly treat your wounded.  Now I ask you again and I encourage you to answer wisely:  who are you?”

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Re: Valtegaard (EternityWaits & j3ll0m0nk3y)
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2017, 12:35:59 AM »

This man was a giant - no wonder he commanded such a legion. Once on her feet she shook her head in an attempt to remove errant platinum locks from in her eyes. She blew some of it away, but her attention snapped to the scream coming from the medical tent. When she felt his breath against her ear and neck she stiffened. He was threatening her, that much was obvious. She turned her head slowly, looking over his features carefully. He was handsome in a brutish sort of way, she supposed. No doubt he had dozens of women throwing themselves at his feet to be stepped on like garbage.


"I'm sorry..." She said after a few moments, taking another breath. "I don't believe I was clear before. There is no soul among us who is not willing to die for this city and what it represents. Something you can not possibly fathom, being that you must either have everything given to you, or you take it by force like bullies in the garden of a nanny who turns her eye away because you're... of rank and proper breeding." She  took another breath, her tongue darting over the split in her lip briefly. "We may die, but we will take the secrets of Valtegaard with us. No doubt that's why you've chosen this place for your latest conquest. A vantage point for invading the south. A direct port on trading routes, right? A perfectly defensible position. Glorious victory!" She offered him a smile. The smile of a viper. "Did it not occur to you that we were always ready for this? That there are those among us who have lived other lives outside the protection these walls provide? No, I suppose not..." Her chin tilted up somewhat before she moved.


It was quick - too fast for a normal fighter, let alone some simple villiage guard. This woman was trained, and not by fishmongers or basket weavers. Her pale hair flashed in the light as she dropped to the ground, she let out a hiss of pain as her arms were tugged on roughly. Her foot swept out the feet of one of her guards, and then the next. Each of them then received a blow to the face with her elbow. She immediately had a sword in hand, and was on her feet. But she did not go after Endymion, no. Nor did she kill the guard who had held her. Instead, she knocked the hilt of her sword into the gut of another officer and used his hunched position to vault herself up atop the thatched roof of a nearby building. She sat there at the edge of the roof before she threw the sword down into the cobble, where it lodged itself into the stones causing no harm except to perhaps the blade. This woman was no simple captain or border guard. She moved like an assassin. A professionally trained one.


"But, that doesn't mean I'll just sit back and let them die." She called down with a laugh, brushing her hair away from her face as she stood. She was pushing her luck, but he didn't seem like the sort of man who would torture or kill innocents. She could be wrong, it's not like she hadn't been wrong before... "My name is Lyra. I was once called the Pale Blade." She said, hoisting herself to her feet and taking a quick and short bow, never taking her eyes off of him. "I was playing nice, you know. I didn't kill any of your men, I didn't even try to break your nose! I will go with you freely and answer what questions I can, but only if you tend the wounded - all of the wounded - and leave these people to their live their lives in peace. I'm not asking you to leave, I know that won't happen. But these are good, honest people who do not deserve to become some... slave to a warmonger. I, on the other hand, am not a good person. As you might have already guessed. What I can tell you is that if your friends there shoot me down you will get none of the answers that you seek, and you and your men will most likely die here with the rest of these fine people here. So, I'm sure that you are not a betting man but a strategist. I do my own fair share of planning, but I also follow another set of rules. Now do we have an accord or shall I break my vow of not killing anyone? It has been a very long while, but I'm sure that it can't be too hard to get back into the saddle, right?"