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  1. #1
    Birthright Developer Raesene Andu's Avatar
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    The Crown Legacy

    Prologue

    Cathalanaigh entered the sober room that was the Tuarhieviel audience chamber. Her travel back from the human realm of Dhoesone has been too long for her taste and she was happy to finish up her duties as the Prince Fhillaerene personal informant. In that country, she had just one thing to do: inform the baroness, the Prince's half sister, of his recent wishes and will. Abrupt changes were happening in that land; the Bastion of truth, church of Haelyn, was suffering from a loss in worshippers; the Baroness was standing as a mediator between Stjordvik and the Religious Talinie, and the northern frontier has been raided by a group of unknown humanoids. The Prince asked then if his sibbling was needing help and the answer was no.
    As she bent before the Thornthrone and her lord, she noticed the floor was stained with something red and pale. Blood, she thought. The Prince did ordered someone's death before him, but who?
    "At ease, Cathalanaigh. " Fhillaerene's voice was marked by a deep, but controlled, anger. "How was your trek? Is my sister in need of assistance?"
    Cathalanaigh rose as she answered. "Her Grace said that she can well respond to her needs herself."
    The Prince sighed in relief. "Perfect. Now, My Lady, I have another quest to give you and it will be long before you return here in Tuarhieviel"
    Cathalanaigh gasped. What? I was supposed to stay here for quite some time before was given another mission in the human realm. "Sir?"
    Fhillaerene continued as if no one had said anything. "You'll go to the nation called Tuornen as a special informant for me. You will assume the identity of an ambassador for our land. I have already sent a message to their Sidhelian general, Braedonnal Tuare, telling him that I was pleased by the effort of his lord in maintaining peace with our kind and that I was assigning an ambassador to the duke Flaertes. Your job will be to inform us of all strategic, diplomatic and political decisions they make. Do not take too much risk, Cathalanaigh, we cannot afford to loose you. Do you understand?"
    He didn't wait too long for her answer. "Yes, My Lord. When am I scheduled to depart?"
    "In a cycle. Rendez-vous with Devlyn at dawn. Dismiss, Lady. " The prince waved a hand in the direction of Cathalanaigh. As she stepped outside, Cathalanaigh thought about her lover. * * * When Cathalanaigh arrived at the pre-fixed point, the sun was just coming up between the tree tops. Devlyn was waiting beside an old oak, arms laced in each other. He was tall, he had black air and an insolent look. Many Sidhelians disliked him very much but no one has gone to the point to kill him. However, he was the best ranger you can never had.
    Devlyn grinned and picked up his backpack. "You're Cath, right?"
    "Yes, and you are this insolent and benevolent little scum that I've heard of, right?" She grinned also to intimidate her companion, but with no effect. Devlyn responded with a schukkle. "Yeah... But, I'm still the best in this forest." Then he begin to walk toward south. Cathalanaigh had no choice, but to follow.

    Two hours had passed without a single word spoken by either of the two travelers, but Cathalanaigh broke this boring silence: "Tell me about the human realm of Tuornen. Are they savage and ruthless people or barbaric and little caring ones?"
    Devlyn looked relieved. He waited long for a conversation though it was about work. "You'll see, Cath, that this human nation is a part of these two kind of people. Their lord was, a human year ago, Gilgaed Flaertes, a sort of diplomatic favorising peace talks and deals beyond battle and war. Our Prince had a relative in this lord family and it was his cousin, the wife of Flaertes. But she had an accidental encounter with a patrol of goblins in the woods and she died before the eyes of Flaertes. Then, he went mad." Devlyn waited for a reaction then continued. "The Counsellors of Tuornen had now in their hands a crazy duke and only a female as heir."
    Cathalanaigh stopped him. "You say that the human woman cannot become regent?"
    Devlyn grinned. "It's more complicated then that. Women CAN become regents, but just if her father had no other son conceived in a precendent mariage...or relation. But, it's not always the case. It depends of the code of morality of each region. Then, as I said previously, the counsellors had a problem. Then they started a search for an hidden son conceived before the relation of the Prince's cousin and Flaertes. It's after two years that they found one, Ornwen Flaertes, son of a courtlady in the province of Tuor. They proceded with his coronation ceremony and he became lord of Tuornen." Out of breath, he stopped, but Cathalanaigh wanted more. "What about Gilgaed, what happened to him?"
    The Sidhelian raised an hairbrow as he was taking a deep breath. "He still lives, Cath, but he has the maturity of a 5 years-old child and he plays with mechanical toys."
    "Oh!" Cath's look seemed to shift to a kind of amusement. "What else I'm supposed to know about that country, Devlyn?"
    "The Prince has already told you about Braedonnal Tuare. But, His Majesty has omitted something of importance. This elf..." Mmm, he doesn't like him much, he'd just insulted Tuare, thought Cath. "... is very sensitive to new people in his lord's court. He will surely try to know everything about you. Then, try to look casual and don't try something that will summon his attention. And..."
    Cathalanaigh wasn't listening now. She was planning her arrival, her future deeds and what she can do to help her cause. I see now. It will be too easy to manipulate some of them. The Prince thought well. I'm the best for that...
    The two companions continued their travel one talking, the other thinking.
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  2. #2
    Birthright Developer Raesene Andu's Avatar
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    CHAPTER 1: Encounter in Haes

    Ornwen Flaertes was the kind of man to take slowly any steps in political matters and it was much true in this case. The Elf raiding is western realm, the Goblins, the north, and the Alamie mustering armies in Sorentier were all kind of affair he was supposed to take decisive actions, but he was always waiting for something else. Today, that thing came.
    As the Commander of the Ducal Forces, the sidhelian Braedonal Tuare entered the Audience chamber without the mere permission from the guards and bowed before Flaertes. This elf was wearing a plate mail armor and a long silver blade in her scabbard on his right-side making him looking as if Tuornen was in war... That wasn't the case...for now...
    Ornwen scratched his short pointed beard before he sat in his throne. The commander got up. "Your Grace, can I speak to you privately?" The Duke waved a hand in sign of dismissal to the guards. They stepped out. "Now, you can speak, Commander."
    Braedonnal Tuare reached in his pocket and picked up a rolled parchment in his hand. He gave it to the lord of Tuornen. The last read it carefully one then a second time. Flaertes looked at his lieutenant trying to read his mind. "You'll say that it came here in the morning."
    "Yes, Your Grace.
    "In fact, it is the young daughter of a peasant near Haes that gave that letter to the guards."
    "And, she is...?"
    "Aniane Kolier, Your Grace."
    The duke scratched once more his beard. The Commander wasn't bored by this habit, the Duke does always that when he's thinking. "Well, Commander. Do what you have to do. I want to see her tomorrow at noon. Dismiss." * * * Ansen turned to face is commanding officer as he entered the barracks that Haes authorities had loan him. His commander was tall, had black hair and was always wearing a thick black plate armor. "Your troops are ready, sir!"
    "Good... Well... Had you had the rendez-vous with His Grace?"
    "Yes, sir! As you demanded, sir!"
    The commander seemed bothered by the formality and tapped Ansen's back. "Please, my friend, call me Ragnar when we are alone."
    "Yes, s... Ragnar..." he said with regret. "You know, I'm new in this sort of relationship in a military unit. That's not easy."
    "Yes, I understand, my friend. Just keep in mind that you are my best officer and I will always count on you when I'll be gone."
    "Thanks."
    Ragnar Tallen picked up the roster book and opened it on the last entries. Then, he started to write something on the delicate paper. Ansen sat on the corner of his commander's desk. "Do you know if the duke knew about our last contract in Elvesnemiere. I remember that the sheriff didn't tell anyone about us."
    "If he knew it's a good point for us, but if it's the contrary..." Ragnar sighed.
    "Oh.
    "Then, you'll have to convince him of our reliability."
    Ragnar shrugged and let his hand write tomorrow's roster. * * * The Arch prelate of the Western Imperial Temple of Haelyn left the castle chapel letting Gaelin think about his holy words. One minute ago, he asked his cleric to be the one who will check the Temple interests at the new duke's court. One minute ago, Gaelin's fate has been changed to fulfill a great honor.
    The Great Justice will be served today. Lofton would burn and Carilon Alam will soon be at the point of his sword. He'll be sure that his family understand his long ago flight from Alamie. He'll make them pay for what they've done! * * * Cathlanaigh entered Tuare's office showing a beautiful smile and an official and certain look. The commander of Tuornen's armies fixed her as she sat and gave him a scroll with Fhilareane's mark on it. He opened it and read it carefully without pause and, then, returned it to her. "I'm aware that you are part of a new relation stratageme from the Prince to consolidate what's remaining of the ashes that has becomed your lord's madness."
    Cath stopped smiling. "My Lord is anxious to establish contact with this human realm because he wants to develop good relations for future needs. My Prince just wants to be sure that the humans don't treat him as a threat, but as a potential ally."
    "Then, Sidranal Cathlanaigh, we are happy to welcome you in the city of Haes as an ambassador for your land of Tuarhieviel." The commander demonstrated a severe look. "For the moment. The Duke will see you tonight after diner. Don't be late. Dismiss."
    Cath was shocked by this greeting and 'dismissal' of his. As she left, she heard Tuare calling her softly in sidhelian: liar. * * * Ornwen Flaertes sat on his throne just before the main door of the audience chamber opened to let pass the first guest of the night court. She was a pretty and tall lady of young age wearing a long and curly bluish-green robe. Her dark brown hair was long and her eyes, small and black. Her appearance suggested a serious and neutral characterized woman, but her gentle smile made the duke change his opinion. She bowed before him with etiquette and certainty. "I am Aniane Kolier, daughter of Aewyn and Freila, humble servants of Your Grace."
    "I welcome you at my castle, Milady." Ornwen said hastily.
    "I have demanded to see you because the stars has told me to do so." she continued. "I am a wizard, Your Grace. And I am here to offer my services as court mage, if you request as so."
    The duke scratched his beard. Damn, I must lose this habit, he thought. "Well, Milady, I cannot refuse a so nice offer. I will think about it, but be sure that I surely will accept."
    "Thank you, Your Grace." The young lady turned and stood before the door, waiting to hear the decision of the duke after the hearing session.

    The doors opened once more to let pass three other persons. One was an elf, the ambassador that Tuare has received himself before diner, the second a priest from the Western Temple and the last, a mercenary in search of an employer.
    "Your Grace." they said in unisson.
    "I am Cathlanaigh Des Verones, liaison officer of Prince Fhilareane of Tuarhieviel" the elf said. "I am here to present you greetings from my lord and to be an ambassador in your land for my realm."
    "My name is Gaelin, Your Grace." Gaelin said. "The Arch prelate has sent you a message concerning my new assignment in your court.."
    "I received it." Ornwen answered.
    "...errr...I'm Commander Ragnar Tallen of The Prince's Dragoons, here to offer my services as a mercenary unit."
    The duke saluted them. "Greetings. Welcome!
    "Braedonnal Tuare has told me that you are a member of a noble house in your land, Lady Sidranal Cathlanaigh."
    "Yes."
    "And you, commander Tallen, you are the one who has won the battle of Feiring."
    "...errr...Yes, sir." Tallen responded nervously.
    "It seems that, after all, the beginning of my reign would be good." Ornwen relaxed, smiling blatantly.
    "If you don't mind, Your Grace, can I speak to you frankly?" asked Tallen.
    "Well, yes."
    "I'm not a hero nor a champion but a simple and normal mercenary captain doing his job. I don't want my men to be gratified generously for their actions. These men are the bests, and I don't want them to neglect their talents with luxuries. Therefore, I want to negociate our contract as any other merc unit."
    "As you wish, but there will have no negociation." the duke responded softly. "You'll be posted here in Haes and commander Tuare will be your leader for the remaining time of your contract. You, however, will be responsible for all the actions of your men in all situations, evry minutes, hours or days. Is that clear?"
    Tallen nodded.
    "Well, one other matter closed." Ornwen looked at the elf. "I accept you as an ambassador from Tuarhieviel. Your office will be in my castle. If you need something, just ask. It'll be done. It's that correct?"
    Cath surprised to accepted such as easily answered: "...Yes..."
    "And, at last, Father. Can I speak to you privately?"
    "Yes, Your Grace."
    As the duke and Gaelin left the audience chamber, Tallen snorted at Cath and Aniane, then left also but by the main doors. Cath looked at Aniane. "What's his problem?" The wizard shrugged. * * * Gaelin and Ornwen sat each in heavily cushioned chairs in the meeting room near the audience chamber. The fireplace lit the room with an oranged dimmed ligh and a painting of the duke's predecessor was hanging above it. "This is where I am much calmer in these days. My mother told me when I was eighteen that darkness kill anxiety and nervousness and calm the torn spirit. She's right, don't you think, Father?"
    Gaelin looked at him and nodded.
    "Oh well, my mother was a perfect young lady. Kind, just and gentle. I see why my father loved her." Ornwen sighed. "But she's dead now, as my father is dead in a way."
    Hearing this, Gaelin remembered the old days in Lofton. His brother, Doesene. The one who help him learn the art of combat and saved his life when he tumbled accidentally in the Tuor River. His father, an humble administrator in the ducal palace and his mother, dead drowned because she was too drunk to see where she was going. And finally, his protector and guardian angel, the hierarch of Lofton. He had helped him flee the tyranny of the Alams and saved his life from prosecution.
    "Father?" Ornwen made Gaelin return to reality.
    "Oh...Please, forgive me. You said?"
    "I'm boring you with my family matters."
    "No, no. Continue."
    "Never mind." Ornwen dismissed this conversation and stared a new one. "As you see, I need someone to watch my back and I was wondering if Haelyn could made you capable of such thing as detecting lies or intentions of my guests."
    "Yes. Haelyn can do it for you. Is there somone that I need to check?" asked Gaelin.
    "I want you to 'check' the ambassador and the other lady. If you please?"
    "Yes, Your Grace, it'll be done tomorrow morning."
    "Good" Ornwen grinned and fixed the fire.
    Gaelin stood up and left, to prepare for hte next day job.
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  3. #3
    Moo! Are you happy now? Arjan's Avatar
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    bump for ian
    Te audire non possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure.

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