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invictusa View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Path of the Arrow, Tip of the Spear
    Posted: 31 Dec 2011 at 03:25

Neither the intermittent booming of distant thunder nor the torrential downpour could mask the groaning death-rattles of the slain nor wash away the stench of their emptied bowels.  Nevertheless, Invictusa had to maintain composure and fight the urge to gag as he stood at the forefront of his father's elite fighting force.   Shaking his head, he corrected himself once again, it was his battalion now, along with the rest of the estate.  It had been one month since Sigurd's assassins had taken his father from him.  One month since the beginning of this campaign for the freedom and sovereignty of Fremorn.  His father was never one to bend a knee, and his allegiance with the Undying Flame had cost him his life.  As his father's son, Invictusa had seen and heard to much to be capable of succumbing to the propaganda of the council.  He had seen cities, nay; entire empires fall razed to the ground and all for a lack of taxes.  If thirty days could end an empire that was loyal, what could the council do to one that openly defied them?   The answer was sprawled in disarray and piled in mounds before him.

  Invictusa's piercing gaze swept the battlefield lit by the waning moonlight and bedazzling flashes of lightning silhouetting Verity City.  He could hardly suppress a grin at the satisfaction   of seeing so many of the puppet king's vassals piled upon each other in their last attempt at escape.  Invictusa could only wish that Sigurd's brother Grendam The Whelp was among the dead.  
 

   On the opposite side of the carnage was the other army.  Finally from it's midst a rider advanced and Invictusa urged his steed forward in reply.  As he rode to meet the lone rider, pride swelled as his masterful eyes failed to pick out an elven casualty amongst the dead.  Likewise as he neared the other half of the battlefield the Orc losses appeared to be minimal as well.  Invictusa dismounted in unison with the Orc and stood expectantly.  


  Invictusa decided to let the lack of a salute go unpunished as he commended the battle, "Our ambush has been executed masterfully.  This night shall live upon the stars as the Undying Flame will continue to burn Sigurd's eyes."  


  The orc he spoke to was Cthulhua.  Not particularly remarkable in any outward appearance, but the refined intellect capable of deriving such a plan as the eve's ambush was notable for an elven tactician, let alone a minor orcish tribal lord.


  Cthulhua's eyes, like polished onyx pierced through the darkness to meet Invictusa's steady gaze as he replied with no more than "For the Undying Flame."


  With that, the orc turned on his heel and walked upon the skulls of the fallen Hastelbury soldiers as if they were stones in a stream.  Mounting his warhorse in unison with Invictusa, Cthulhua untied a sack from his pommel and flung it through the air to Invictusa.  After catching the sack, he was too late to demand an explanation as Cthulhua had already made his way out of earshot.  Turning his stallion toward his own army, Invictusa untied the sack and gasped in astonishment at it's contents.  Cthulhua had found the commander Invictusa had been seeking in the midst of battle.  The evidence of that was irritating, and he tossed the Golden Heron insignia to the mud without a further thought.  The astonishing thing was to whom the heron had belonged.  He held the horror stricken face to the moonlight, and with no more confirmation needed, his warhorse closed the distance and reached the commander in what seemed like an instant.  Invictusa ordered the army back to the capital.  He would follow shortly, for his pressing business with Verity City could wait no longer.

  The indomitable speed brought forth from the ancient bloodlines of the elven horse could hardly meet the haste required to inform Verity City of the identity of Invictusa's cargo.  In what seemed like ages, but was in fact no more than minutes, Invictusa found himself , with disembodied head in hand, climbing the citadel steps to the high seat of the Undying Flame itself.  The great hall doors were opened as he approached and to the center of the hall with the head held high he made his way as he bellowed.

"Harken my friends and masters to the winds of change upon us.  A mighty victory I hold before you.  Behold an enemy to freedom.  Behold the head of a man that would enslave you and yours.  Grendam's First Commander, Grendam's first born son and only heir,  7th in line to the Centrum throne behind Sigurd's bastard spawnlings, behold Radagast."


Every city, town, and hamlet from the furriers at the edge of the northern wastes to the border settlements that hold the western realms at bay held a feastday celebration as riders were sent at the swiftest speed across Fremorn heralding the news of yet another royal skull bleaching in the sun as it sits perched upon the jagged battlements of Verity City.  Invictusa waits to this day for the chance to ride with the rest of the free peoples of Fremorn against Centrum itself, to claim Sigurd's head as a prize and dispel the council's grasp of power upon the gullible citizens of Illyriam.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Added May 26th 2012

No more than two moon cycles had passed since the Minstrels had sung ballads of winter's departure in gleeful tunes of merriment.  The songs of spring warmed the very spirit of the people of Elgea and joyfully brought them once again back to productive and fulfilling lives which they had nearly forgotten.  The farmer planted his crop with thoughts on his work or perhaps his wife with child, the tavern wench tended to the thirsts of he and many more than would be decent for a lady.  The soldier gleefully discarded his winter gear and stood proud to serve.  Safe harbor from the season's wrath would prove to be short lived as the ode of a looming harsh summer mournfully sang down upon Elgea in waves of increasingly unforgiving heat.  One of hottest climes was the jungle.  As the saying went "you bake in the desert but you boil in the jungle."  

...

A lone bird of prey hung suspended in flight, high above the Azura jungle canopy as she surveyed her hunting ground below.  There were far too few targets as of late.  She would usually enjoy an assortment of game to choose from depending upon her mood.  A legless lizard as long as a man basking in the sun atop the canopy would prove to be easy prey for when her prioritized interest was a meal.  A golden monkey on the other hand would more often than not pull her into an exhilarating dive at the challenge of seizing that fruit crunching skull that would scream one last time before meeting her talons.  She caught a gust of wind and let it carry her on toward the western shore.

...

A sense of foreboding had captivated the entirety of the jungle.  It was not uncommon for packs of predators to dispel the peace of this area and set its denizens on edge.  This was no pack of lions or leopards however.  A predator of the Nature god would not behead a man and set it on a stake in the middle of a village, spear tip protruding from the top of his skull.  Corwin shook the image from his mind and focused once again on the task at hand.  He ignored the insects drinking the sweat rolling down his face and soaking his thin shirt as those sensations mingled with the feeling of the wind caressing his feathered face as he closed his eyes and entered into the mana bond with his osprey.  Taken as a hatchling, Sheera had been bonded to him at a very early age and was more like a sister than a pet.  Through her eyes, Corwin searched for signs of the newcomers to this jungle as she hunted.


He wasn't sure what to do when the intruders were found.  Opening his eyes and releasing the bond, he turned to observe the gathering of men that were nervously eying the dark expanse of the jungle pressing in upon this little clearing.  No more than a hundred strong, this was no army, but it was the best the Cloister of Azura could procure.  Most of the citizens of the Cloister were religiously forbidden from taking up a weapon, let alone harming a living thing.  Those in Corwin's group were mostly farmers and most carried pitchforks or scythes.  Those that had conventional weaponry handled them clumsily and with inexperience. Corwin had doubts that they were sharp enough to be of much use in battle.  They were most likely no more than mantle decor.


Corwin overheard a hushed discussion behind him regarding those which they sought.

"I hope it isn't goblins.  The very thought of goblins brings a bracing fear to me" said a young voice.

A slightly deeper one replied "Aye.  A goblin would take your boy parts and put em on a necklace, forsooth." 

Corwin glanced toward them and decided from the obvious resemblance that they were brothers.  Corwin had been teased by his older brother worse than that when they were younger.  Despite the bickering however, he had always admired him and eventually followed in his brothers footsteps to become a scout of the King's watch.  Corwin frowned as he saw again the expression on his brother's face as it stared at him impaled on a spear.  Noticing the stern look the boys were receiving, they immediately ended their discussion and returned to eyeing the dense jungle again.

Sheera surveyed the western shore and picked out a collection of washed up debris miles to the north.  A rat was sitting atop the flotsam and jetsam staring out toward the sea.  She despised the taste of rats but hunger overcame her taste and she made her way northward.  She felt approval through her bond with Corwin as she soared closer to the debris.  

Corwin suspected it was wreckage from a frigate of the fishing guild.  There were rumors of King Sigurd nationalizing the guild and absorbing its assets.  Plans of passing those assets on to his feudal lords had already been set in motion, and many of the more ambitious of the lords had lately been scrambling for claim upon coastal areas.  Luckily even the lowliest of the gentry recognized the hallowed ground and sanctified lands of the Cloister and its holy monastery of the Nature god.  The religious community enjoyed a secluded living.  The big talk of the day would be the progress of the crops, or the batch of Grandmother Amgy's beloved banana pies served at the tavern the night before.  The town would rejoice in honoring the children voluntarily donating their souls to be taken by the priests to serve in harmonious prayer for the rest of their lives.  Those seeking adventure beyond the sheltered alcove of the Cloister would be mournfully missed.  Rumors of skirmishes far out upon the waters for none to see was like a dream spun tale.  News of warring factions were more like a silly children's tale whispered in the night in hushed hushed tones like that of the Audrey plant.  


Whether the wreckage was a fishing vessel destroyed by the king, or some foreign carnage flung across the lands by the left tentacle of the Audrey monster, Corwin knew something was amiss as Sheera began her rapid descent toward her prey.  After so long why would a rat be ogling the distant ocean like a boy dreaming of the Centrum capital.  It hadn't moved a muscle, it hadn't given a sigh to the life of a royal rat, let alone taken a noticeable breath.  Too late Corwin felt the trap before seeing any sign of it.  In an explosion of sand, a dark form flew out from the ground and an instant later, Corwin was blinded as a lightning bolt of pain shot through his body as Sheera's leg snapped in protest of being seized so violently.  Startling his companions, Corwin screamed in anguish, then again out of fear for Sheera.   Closing his eyes again, he felt Sheera's frantically flapping wings beating upon the sack she had been placed inside, tasted the metallic sign of blood and a burly arm corded with muscle exiting the sack with Sheera's red leather tassel marking her as a scout's.  Catching one last glimpse of the sky as the sack opening was drawn closed, Sheera screeched and Corwin could not determine who's emotions belonged to whom as waves of rage mixed with fear washed over him with the sky calling for her to return.   A sky blocked out by the countenance of a devious grin paired with hungry eyes that burned into his mind.  Corwin did not want to leave Sheera alone, with that crushing fear but after forcing himself to open his eyes, he realized the fear was his.  This was pure terror, and rightly so.  Orcs had come to the sacred land of the Cloister.



Edited by invictusa - 27 May 2012 at 01:30
...and miles to go before I sleep.
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invictusa View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Dec 2011 at 03:45
I plan on building on the meat of the story.  Also plan on writing an alternate version for Cthulhua.

Comments, feedback, and criticism are all welcome (EDIT: ...and encouraged.)


Edited by invictusa - 31 Dec 2011 at 07:43
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Rill View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jan 2012 at 05:05
Well done invictusa.  About time we had some balance, all the tales supporting the feeble pretender Sigurd make me wretch.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jan 2012 at 06:12
Thanks rill!  Depending on the support I receive here on the forum for both my side and cthulhua's side (as yet to be written) I plan to add on to this story to form what I hope will eventually become an epic tale.  If you enjoy the story and would like a cameo appearance and perhaps even a substantial part in it's storyline please message me ingame.  I do not want to be inaccurate in any detail so please let me know of any errors. 

(Edited out the drunken mushiness from new years eve.)


Edited by invictusa - 01 Jan 2012 at 19:30
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Marquesta View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jan 2012 at 09:05
Nicely done Invictusa! Good start! Let me know when the novela comes out! Love this kind of work Smile
~~Marquesta
Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them...
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Gimli Son of Groin View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jan 2012 at 17:21
Well, one thing I can say is well done. Another thing I can say is that was amazing. And a last thing I can say is that that is disgustingly good. But I won't say those things. What I will say is that you have the skill to become an author.

Edited by Gimli Son of Groin - 05 Jan 2012 at 17:21
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2012 at 01:31
Began a side chapter.  In first post.  Scroll to red upload date for new content.  More to come soon.  Enjoy!  And as always comments and or criticisms are welcomed and encouraged.
...and miles to go before I sleep.
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