AOC Amalrics Retinue
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|This article is Fan Fiction|
The contents herein are entirely player made and in no way represent official Birthright lore or history.
The characters and events listed are of an independent nature and are applied for roleplaying purposes only.
Eldric and I ride on the crest of the Tide of War. An arduous journey brings us to Soeberth where our Sovereign's Palace Guard is slaughtered in a surprise attack by one - to our knowledge sole - mysterious stranger. His Lordship deems it a message. I deem it an opportunity.
My own Brother, Commander Vincent and his Hands survived. Save for William who was grievously wounded - It's a pity that we will not be able to find in time what his waking words will be - if he ever wakes indeed.
My own work, as his Lordship's amanuensis (and historian in the stead of Eldergraile) was to start with the tasks long due; clad the young Archduke, protect his back from his enemies in body and force, by setting the eager Church to assist the administration.
Most of all; Let the People know Haelyn protects Him. Let the Church be reassured of His Piety. Let His enemies beware of his Banner, North and South.
And may we make it out of this alive.
Today we ride. We ride to War, to Glory or Ruin.
Her name is Dylana. She prays to Haelyn with every morn and she wears His Holy symbol under her banner.
Unbeknownst to me she made herself known to His Lordship along with a small entourage announcing that she leads a Taeghas host. Their exact dealings remain unknown to me, though (knowning her now) there would have been threats from her part, I would expect. As our latter intelligence would have it, empty ones. Our scouts quickly uncovered their location, and reassured us that we outnumbered them three to one on a clear field.
Be it for fear of tricks and out of disbelief that they could be such honorable fools, or perhaps something else entirely, Amalric decided upon the route of diplomats.
My father once told me: not all Good men are fair to the eye, and Evil will go very far to look pleasing. My Sovereign does not seem to share that belief. Though usually openly weary of the Clergy, He looks kindly upon the pious Dylana -surrounded with her clerics- who is truly as fair as any summer day.
With a long-term plan in mind or not, He has brought us all into a new Gambit: He surrendered to His (to all appearances inferior) enemy, in order to have a clear shot at direct diplomacy.
Or so I hope. (Though, isn't there some undeniable poetry indeed in the hypothesis that amidst the blades of War my Lord makes folly for Love? Nay. Amalric knows better than to be a poet.)
The Palace Guard (my Brother and Commander Vincent included), are all very displeased to leave their swords rusting in their scabbards, doubly so when the aforementioned swords along with their scabbards are left many a league behind us with the Archduke's numerous army. For their frustration, and for my own misguided choice of words, I suffered some further indignities in their hands. My Brother shares a lot of Blood with Taeghas after all.
As we travel to Stormpoint we get to talk. It's a pleasant change of pace, and a luxury that you cannot find when traveling with a host. I have been spending time with the two young Leaders; Amalric Boeruine is to me two things. One is, the young-man Amalric, and the other, His Lordship Boeruine that Haelyn bids me to love, serve and protect. It was Amalric-the-Lord was who I chose to see all this time, though getting to know young-man-Amalric, I have found that he is a precious interlocutor and more than pleasant company. On the other hand, Lady Dylana is odd, aloof, and yet her people love her. Letting slip the opportunity to know her would be foolish.
The Thread unravels inexorably, and the War that never Was still looms over us, unclear whether history will want to remember it as a disgrace or an ingenious strategem.
from Fotis Kakogiannhs
This will probably not end up on paper exactly as I intended, or it may not end up on paper at all.
As I run, I'm surrounded by darkness and I find myself wishing I was at war back in the plain fields instead.
Yesterday we arrived before the Grand palace of Stormpoint - a massive structure of unparalleled craftsmanship, crawling with wealthy Clergy and Courtiers - even the soldiers were dressed in luxury. At the entrance a King requests his entourage; he is allowed to take one man only. He chooses Vincent...
...When we all later met back at the Jailhouse, the King was grim and thoughtful. We were nervous and irritated as often hopeless men are, and we bickered with each other for a while. That was the best part of that evening. Novice Eldergraile - a guest of the Church for many a-days now - came and went. Silence settled heavy as dust.
The door opened and the guards (along with Dylana herself), led us to the dining hall (or rather, room) where we broke our fast, at lunchtime. Amalric and Vincent both adressed Dylana, spoke out their contempt for her promises. I waited. I asked for her in private. We were all gonna die, anyway. I then asked for an audition with Khorien. Weren't we?
Not unlike thieves, we met by night. My company watched me leave, thinking me a traitor...
This morning I woke up believing I had saved the life of a meek King, believing that the only serious threat was that Khorien would deem me a potential traitor.
Upon our waking we were taken to the Temple upon Amalric's request. Dylana lead the way, cold and forbidding. Her Lord had nearly rejected her, and her 'diplomatic prisoners' were none helpful. I began to feel for her. I daydreamed a different present, where my Father was Commander in these lands, where I got to pray with her in that very Temple. The Temple. It was in no case more impressive than the Seasedge Cathedral, but as we entered, knelt and prayed behind the Sovereign, we could see no fewer offerings or less care.
God does nothing to stop the Game of Thrones. Behind us a woman entered -spectacular, noble in bearing and willing to pray(?) with Lord Amalric. Meanwhile as we broke off our prayers we paired: the Woman and the King, Dylana and Vincent, my brother and his comrade, novice Eldergraile and I. He asked me of the book. I replied that I'd worked on it some, during the march. He was not impressed. He asked if I'd spoken to the King any about the virtues of Theocracy. I tried to explain that the Archduke has been less than carefree or willing to speak of philosophy and Law. I excused myself as I approached Dylana. We spoke, she regarded me with the iron glare reserved for traitors, and that was the last we spoke.
We returned, we ate, we rested, and soon enough we felt like caged animals again. So much for diplomacy. Amalric left the room briefly. When he returned he spoke to us, to us all. He said how sorry he was for having to conceal that much from us, how this all was driving to an End. The warriors prepared. Night started falling.
Amalric focused his gaze upon his hand, reaching out for nothing as a dull blade materialized out of thin air. He gazed upon it absently, just as I was fervently staring, and the moment next he let it dissipate into nothingness again.
The world is wrong. Vincent looked at him, unsurprised, and they started talking about things implausible and in all ways unbelievable.
You have to understand, I though I was in danger for having Lord Khorien thinking I was a potential traitor. What I didn't know is that young King Amalric who had reason to believe the same, was a Mage-King. And of course, Khorien too is a Mage, as it turns out. An enemy Amalric wished to face in single combat. An enemy he wanted me to lure out to him. This is when I choose my side, he said.
I slid off my seat and reached for Amalric's arm.
"You're a Mage?"
He gave me a silent stare."You're going to kill Khorien?"
I remember that he answered. A chill went through me as he towered over me, Amalric-King, and in his eyes mirrored my tragically small stature and my crushing insignificance. I remember that he answered, and that I wasn't going to tell him otherwise. And that's all I remember.
We rush outside as the door opens for us and a woman with a crescent shape on her face is waiting among dead bodies. The Warriors arm themselves, and Amalric raises his arm in tandem with a terrifying gust as torches flicker and we're enveloped in darkness. I can hear the whistle of an arrow as I run for the palace.
For all intents and purposes I thought I'd already chosen a side. Now Amalric was asking me to do so again.
There are knives in the dark and I'm sprinting down the palace grounds like a madman, far away from the clutter of fighting. Nobody stops me, nobody halts save for a middle-aged man. I kneel and present myself as Amalric's messenger.
"So instead of sending warriors, Boeruine sends us sycophants?"
Honor, nobility and etiquette? It's lost on the Dogs that play the Game of Thrones. They're not leaders, they care none about their people, they're petty thugs with too large an advantage, caught in personal blood-feuds.
And I was taking a large gamble on behalf of Amalric, being here. He could be the same.
Khorien appears sure and arrogant as ever. I do not dare to afford a stall - I deliver my message without further ado; His Lordship Amalric Boeruine wants to meet you in single combat. Khorien smiles a wicked smile and I can see him retreat into his mind in company of malicious thoughts.
I am dragged outside by the hair, for a hundred yards' time.
In the courtyard there are soldiers spreading and reforming around Amalric, and though no clear hostility is to be seen, there's tension and blood and piss and the smell of death. From close to the ground I can see a man fall off his horse. We arrive, Lord Khorien talks to a figure in the dark and the figure talks back. Seemingly, if Khorien doesn't kill Amalric, the dark figure has to.
"For an impregnable Castle, you sure have lax visitor policies..." I mutter.
The old man let's me fall on the floor with an exclamation of pain (I later realize, the exclamation was mine). Khorien walks through the soldiers and they form a circle around him and Amalric. They speak their words, the inconsequential prelude to a dance of death, and I walk away.
It's a pleasant alternative to running, and despite the knot in my stomach and the hurt of my scalp, I've caught my breath, and I have the clarity of mind to pick up a torch before wandering out into the darkness. The night's murk was illuminated by the Duel of Mages, light, flames and things I preferred to leave behind as I looked for... something. Anything. A horse, preferably. And thank the Gods, horses I did find.
I ride and stand tall and away from the crowd. I can see Amalric, and his hands are aflame (and egads, that he's a mage I still cannot believe), his brow is furrowed and his expression dire as a column of fire is darted towards Khorien; Khorien who is engulfed in inferno, and Khorien who stands unscathed once the flames are perished. I lean forward on my mount, guiding it with the knees. From where I stand I can see the road of my escape in a straight, uninterrupted line. Back inside the circle, Amalric kneels into a sheet of ice, worn out and breathing heavily as Khorien slowly moves towards him.
I spur the horse decisively and heave my weight forward, as it moved - uneventfully - not in a gallop, but an unperturbed canter. I use all the distance, all the momentum I can muster. Khorien is closer still, almost right next to Amalric. Vincent's hand twitches over his blade. I am almost there. Khorien's figure now looms over Amalric. My horse drives through the startled crowd that parts for the mount's mass to pass. Amalric's hands aflame he grabs Khorien's shoulders. And the flame vanishes. And my Sovereign collapses wearily before Khorien. I reach the circle, and breathe in steadily, guide the now barely trotting horse decisively onto Khorien. He turns. He looks. Everybody looks. He raises an eyebrow in disbelief.
"What is the meaning of this?"
I look him in the eye, for just a second. I reach back with my torch-bearing hand and set the horse's tail on fire.
Falling - truly falling; mid-air, and supported by nothing at all - is a peculiar feeling. For one, it seems to take forever. An eternity suspended, gazing at the stars.
With a searing pain on my shoulder and back I crawl to my knees, and before the stunned crowd, I can see the path cleared by the galloping horse, Khorien bloody and disoriented a few meters away from Amalric. The fighting begins, Vincent charges the Mage, Eldric and I rise swords in hand to protect the Sovereign. I can see the other member palace guard lying in the pool of his own blood a few meters further. Khorien casts in utter concentration and Vincent fails his charge as the sword slips from his fingers, and just then, behind us, Amalric strides with flaming hands towards Khorien. We stand and look befuddled. Amalric closes in, Khorien stands waiting for the spell. Then the flames are gone and a dagger shines in Amalric's hand before he digs deep into the flesh of Khorien's shoulder. That's when the soldiers flood in. Even through the fighting and the commotion of steel meeting steel, I can see Khorien mad and weary casting his magic. From the ground I pick a blade. A steel longsword still clean from blood. With the steel lowered I pushed my way through the crowd. No one pays any mind to a boy dressed in silks. A man screams at my left. I'm there, and I raise the sword just as Khorien raises his hand pointlessly, to protect himself. I don't swing, as much as forcefully lower my arm, breathing heavily, missing him for an inch. I can't help but think; "He's still just a man". I can hear the sharp song of steel just above my head. "Yes, but this man is Khorien." I plunge the blade into his bowels, and keep scrambling forward as he crawls back, soiling his silks in red. Through the corner of my eye I can see Vincent elbowing his way through the soldier's ramble. I have never been happier to see Vincent. He lunges forward with a spear and pierces Khorien's side, who parts his lips in a soundless cry. It is done.
In tandem, as if to give the sound that Khorien's lips lacked, we hear a maddened cry from behind. I turn, covered in sweat and blood, and a knight on a black horse towers over me. I desperately want to turn and run, but I make a step forward. The knight swings, and the knight misses. I plunge my sword into the neck of his horse.
Where is the King?
Vincent stands next to me, lips parted, breathing rhythmically in discipline. I grab his arm and I scream. "There are horses down this way."
But where is the King?
Vincent shoves me back and strides above the fallen horse. With his spear he thrusts into the fallen knight. I look behind me. I can see nothing through the battle. I run at Vincent's side and thrust at the fallen knight. A soldier rams my side. I fall over a corpse.
Darkness engulfs me.
And I keep falling, for a while still at least, underneath the stars.
by Fotis Kakogiannhs
, 08-21-2012 at 10:01 PM|
Last edited by , 08-22-2012 at 11:36 AM
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