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 Champion of Darcoleayn - Spirit of Fire (Version 1) [Non-Gaming]

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Karinia
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PostSubject: Champion of Darcoleayn - Spirit of Fire (Version 1) [Non-Gaming]   Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:01 pm

OK, I know this isn't the right forum, but comparing a non-warcraft story, it seems best in this forum gathering dust. If it's desperately required I make a game to satisfy forum criteria then I'll make one of those table-top games...anyway, I digress.

Over the last year or so in my spare time, or time not spent in WoW I've been writing a novel with the intention to publish after thousands of edits. Having completed my first edit I've decided to go over it again to get some opinions and feedback on it.

Like I said, it's not Warcraft or even Blizzard, it's a whole new world. It'll also be pretty long, last count was 170,000 words. Since I've only done the first 10 chapters and Prologue I'll just stick that up for now. Like I said, if you manage to brave it, any feedback will be welcome, even if it's killing me in TB because you hated it...

Oh, and like most fantasy novels, I decided to draw a map.




Prologue

The twin moons Dias and Prias flowed over the bottom half of the sun. The bright sky dimmed and hid the white peak of Mt. Wyzear. The various summits around the largest mount disappeared into the blackness of the partial eclipse. The peak was littered with various caves, where once they held eggs of the the great dragons, now they held only memories. Once the seat of power for the dragons, now the mountain was almost completely alone and silence. Only one dragon lay upon it's slopes.

An image then, of our plight. He was the one who defined us. Now, as his territory lay in ruins, and his people beginning to fade into history. It was the end. It was a beginning. Sometimes it is strange how these things turn out.

I hovered behind the clouds, close enough that I could see him lying gracefully. Even from here, I could feel the uncommon chill that the moons caused. It was a shame then, that he could have to spend his last moments bathed in chill and darkness.

He deserved this time alone, his mate long since killed. He needed to reflect. He needed the time consul with himself. What he had witnessed, no father ever should have.

The great dragon Aei laid down in the twilight that would no cover the land for a few hours. His great wings folded over his back and he rested his weakened head on the nearest rock. The whiskers that grew from from the end of his jaw lay softly on the rocks. His eyes closed as he tried to drift into sleep. His last sleep. Blood flowed rapidly from his ribs. Claw marks covered nearly every part of his body. A massive wound down his neck, made by the jaw of another dragon, looked to be the fatal blow. Yet while his body and wings bore the scars of war, his head was still as glorious as it always was. The last Dragonlord.

I had ended it. Ended the Dragonlords, ended the Dragon. The choice between dying out, or saving our legacy. At the time it seemed clear. Even to me it seems clear, everything is clear to me. No blindness will ever approach me. That is my curse. My legacy. To bear my internal scars, the scars of ending my race so our children may survive.

One of his red eyes opened and slowly he leaned his head. He knew I was here and I was disturbing him. He shook his long blood red hair around to warn me off, but I decided to stay. I knew he would eventually want to speak with me before the end. He tried to stand up and spread his mighty wings, yet he found himself unable to. In stead he looked up, displaying his mighty horns that spouted from just above his ears.

“Iolastri...is that you?” he spoke slowly and wearily. Just loud enough for me. As death reached over him, he asked for his mate.

I flew down through the cloud and made myself obvious to him. He backed down. I landed beside him and lay one of my wings over him and breathed slightly onto his face. It was nothing magical, just relaxing. Something to calm him down, something to soothe his passing.

He began stroking my own whiskers, growing from my ears. It was something he would never have done to anyone but his mate, and something I wished he would never do. But his end was coming. In pain or comfort, it was my choice, I could be his mate or his sister. Everything always seemed to be my choice.

“It's...you.”

While he was larger than me, he still recognised me as the greatest of his kin, despite the fact I am a female dragon. As a female I had two whiskers flowing from behind my ears instead of my jaw. I stroked my head over his and let these flow over his ears. I did so with the love of a sister, not a mate. I knew I was not his sister, but right now, he needed one. I held up one of my claws and saw they were still covered with blood, yet they would not be the blood that he wanted. His son had done this to him, his former son. But what was worse...he had betrayed their kind.

He whispered something. He wanted me to stay. I said nothing, just continued to rub against him. I felt the warm blood from his neck soak my neck. I could see his death. I could see it coming soon.

“Krain...” he asked, his voice flooded with concern for his youngest son. His true heir.

“Vryagasa is caring for him. He is safe, his brother will not find him. I will make sure of it.”

“Zephear my dear,” he asked again in his deep voice, not wanting to question my actions, “do you feel the winds of change? You always do.” He closed his eyes again as he waited the answer he already knew.

“My Lord I do, our time has come to it's end.” I replied in a soft and calming voice.

I had not always been able to make mild predictions of what was to come, but it is a curse I had to pick up to save our ancestors. It was a skill I used in battle for dominance, and a nightmare that made me unable to sleep. I stroked my jaw against his head and continued, “The time has come for us to pass away, not even memory can save us. Not even legends must talk of what has happened here. I must end all mutterings of him.”

“Champion, our sons and daughters must know of what happened here. This is our ancestors, they deserve to know.”

“We cannot risk it Dragonlord, what about her? Know this, I will do what I can when the war reignites, but you must trust me on this. I will save what I can, and destroy what I must.”

Aei pulled his front left claw across his neck, covering the wound he had recently sustained. I looked down upon it with sadness. For all my magic, I was powerless to stop it. I pulled his red hair, stained from his own blood and lay it back over his head. A small comfort.

“We are already weakening Zephear. Our bodies cannot sustain ourselves. I will not ask you what you have seen, but I will ask you this. Will you help the future you have seen? Will you make what is needed? My future sons and daughters will need your guidance. They will need you as I needed you” he asked her, his voice weakening as blood seeped through his claw, down his arm and onto the mountain he lay upon.

“Myself and your son will complete everything you began Dragonlord. Not long after you I too will follow you into the darkness. But before I do everything shall be set in place for our descendants.” I replied, covering my Dragonlord's bloodied claw with my own.

The Lord of Dragons looked up at the Sun. “The Life Giving One wills me to die this day, under the darkness of the Black and Noble ones.” he said to her.

“The three are immortal, and so I will preserve their memory. Illuminus, Dias, Prias, will always watch over this land. There are other memories I will try to preserve, but some I cannot. In order to remove all mutterings of his name, from his language and our new one, I will have to leave holes. Holes to save the words of our past. His name could destroy our ancestors. It has to be my first priority.”

“And if his name reappears?”

“My brood will be ready, they will always be ready.”

“Memories. Future. You see it all.”

“As for us,” I continued, avoiding his reply, “you and I are mortal and so to preserve us I will have to do something different. You leave me with a task I do not know if I can complete, but I will do what I can. Memories are strong and dangerous and most importantly they are knowledge. I will do all I can, but knowledge is a power I cannot control completely.”

“I trust...your judgement. Always.” he said finally. I smiled at his trust, even though I knew these were his last words.

“Then I will believe in your trust, and shape the future as I am able.”

I looked over to my Dragonlord who made no reply. His eyes were closed still, but his paw was no longer warm. The heat had been defeated by the cold. I took my claw off his and let a tear fall from my eye onto his face. The last Dragonlord, finally beaten by death, his body to eternally grace the peaks here.

“May Onicula, Mistress of the Underworld, guide your journey, and may Iolastri embrace you when you arrive.”

This was my last act of sentiment. Now I had other matters to take care of in his memory, and tears would not solve them.

I roared as loud as I could manage. It was a roar that would be heard by all, Aei's sons, his people, his ancestors and eventually his descendants. But it was a roar meant for just one of Aei's two sons. And wherever he was in this land, he would hear it. He would fear it.

I spread my wings out fully as the light began to return to the sky. The heat returned to my body, reinvigorating it. A quick gust of wind blew past me and blasted Dragonlord Aei's blood from my body, returning my scales to their normal jade colour. All of my claws spread, my head raised to the sky. Everyone would hear. This is who I am. Zephear, Champion of Dragons. I roared once more.

“We have fought for our future. We will have to fight for it in the future. Now however the calm has arrived. All praise the final Dragonlord, Master Aei the Truthbearer, for now he lays in the new land of Darcoleayn, Resting Place of Dragons. We shall protect this land, die for this land and all who live upon it.

“This is his wish. He will not be forgotten, he will forever guard this land, just as we guard it now. Just as our descendants will guard it for all eternity.”

I changed my tone sharply to a tone of violence, malice and hatred. I lifted up into the air and yelled to the wind.

“Treleus, I come for you! Champion Zephear comes for you! You want my attention, you want your brother's life? Come and take it. Your father may sleep with the Mistress of the Underworld, but you shall join him!”

I rose my wings to the sky and flew from the mountain, leaving the returning light of Illuminus to grace the fallen Lord of Dragons. Treleus' time was coming to an end. The dragons time was coming to an end. Change was coming. And as the celestial objects slowly moved across the sky, they watched the world beneath them change.
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PostSubject: Re: Champion of Darcoleayn - Spirit of Fire (Version 1) [Non-Gaming]   Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:04 pm

Chapter 1 - Draconian

Dias and Prias moved across the night sky slowly, unable to give any light to the city beneath. Clouds, unseen in the darkness, covered the night sky and drowned the land in fierce rain. It battered against the road and the houses. It was the sort of rain which rolled over the thousand of roofs, desperately seeking some way to drip into the rooms below. In one such house someone was still awake and waiting for the storm.

The wind battered against the walls of the house. The sound of wood creaking over entire house was only covered by the noise of the rain. The rain pounded away, seeking out the one hole it needed. Like most buildings in the city, the roofs were made of grass gathered from the land around the outskirts of the city walls. While they are successful at keeping in the heat from the summer months for the cold winter that always followed. It was not however suited for dealing with rain, very little were. The cold water slipped across the final layer of thatch and dripped down into the room below.

Rain was not common in Darcoleayn, even during the winter months. For most times of year, only high temperature would exist. The days separated only by occasional mist, that could blanket a field or a large city like where the rain was now.

The rain at this time was in the capital of Darcoleayn, the city named Darcosynn, meaning Birth of Dragons in an ancient tongue. The capital was home to the race of the Draconians, those descended from ancient dragons. It was here in the capital where the royal family resided, in the palace of Darco Vas. The palace overlooked and protected the entire city and the surrounding walls. Under it's watchful eyes, the rain poured down. As the rain tried to demolished the houses below, it could barely tear a pebble from the palace.

This house however, wasn't large, did not even have multiple floors. Just six small rooms. The rain dripped into one of these rooms, where he waited for the storm.

Kai opened his eyes as a drip of water fell upon his head. He hadn't been sleeping well over the last few months, and tonight was no different, nightmares keeping him awake.. He wiped his hand sharply across his face, shaking the water off. He got out of the bed and looked around. His room was typical of the entire house, stone walls and the thatched roof. It wasn't the largest room in the house, that was the entrance, kitchen, living area and workshop combined in one. All three of the bedrooms were not big, though compared to how small they could be, they were large enough. There was amble room to spread out his belongings.

Kai pushed into the left side of his bed, moving it closer to the right wall. Every time it rained the water would come through a different section. The bed had to be moved every time it rained, luckily it was not often. Considering however rain always seemed to come at night it always meant a disrupted nights sleep. No matter how rare it actually was. Something about the rain always seemed to find his room and find where he had placed his bed.

Normally he did not mind. Kai enjoyed moving around, it would give him something to do. It distracted him from spending time in his own head, not that it stopped him thinking about anything and everything.

He sighed in the darkness. Now he was up, he wouldn't be able to get back to sleep. He went to the door and pulled his coat off of it's resting place. He tightened the belts on each arm, his experience of being outside in winter was it could easily capture the heat from your body, and Draconians very much enjoyed the heat. He tightened to the belts on his boots and instinctively seized the most ornamental belt he owned. He placed it and it's held object round his waist, and slowly left the room. Making not a sound he passed through the main room and left the house, walking into the rain.

As soon as he was hit by the shower, he felt the temperature drop, and his hair flatten over his face. He brushed it behind his ear and horn and started walking down the soaked cobbled road.

Kai was not a typical Draconian by any means, yet in many ways he was. They were humanoid-reptilia, descended from great beasts of fire, dragons that once ruled the land. Their descendants were much smaller now, between five and six feet for an adult. As usual there were always exceptions, Kai had met someone of over six feet before. He hadn't enjoyed looking up, at his height he normally didn't have to. More so he didn't like someone looking down on him, it made him feel a weaker.

Draconians were covered in similar dark green scales that covered their forefathers, though now much smaller, each about half an inch in length. The shade of green would vary depending on where the draconian's ancestors came from. Kai himself had dark green scales, from those around southern and eastern Darcoleayn The scales went over most of the body, but on the scalp hidden by hair and in certain other areas, where not covered by hair. Hair for Draconians only grew on their top of their head, just enough to cover the base of their short horns. They had no eye brows, only hardened scales that would make it seem they were scowling or glaring angrily. However since everyone in the city was Draconian, it made no difference to anyone. For male draconian's like Kai, two whiskers grew from beneath their chin, while females would have them grow from behind their short pointed ears. Kai's tentacles were short in comparison to everyone else’s, though thankfully not enough that he would be mistaken for a female.

All draconian's had two short horns, another link of to their dragon ancestors. The horns were no where near as long now and had no elegant curves Most would have it covered by longer hair like Kai, just the tips of whiteness revealed. Tonight though, the rain streamed down his hair and kept it down, revealing the full length of the horns.

As he walked through the street, Kai's tailed flowed on the ground. Most tails of Draconians would not reach the ground, hovering only just off the earth. Tails varied in thickness, though the average was about half the width of their thighs. It wasn't an uncommon sight to see long tails, and it held no extra respect or prejudice, at least not to anyone Kai knew, it was just one of those things that changed between everyone.

Unlike their ancestors, Draconians walked on two feet, using what would have been their front legs now as hands, and hands they used for many things. At the end of each hand were four fingers and a thumb, each crowned with a short but often sharp claws. All but a few Draconians loved to use their hands, Kai was no different. For Draconians were masters of weapons.

It wasn't just a love for using a tool, weapons held great honour amongst the Draconians. They were not just tools, they were a required piece of the clothing. Nearly every Draconian had a type of weapon they were most happy with. It was a family trait. A weapon that felt right in the hand. Some people would take after their mothers, some after their fathers and some would take after neither and begin some new. Swords, axes and bows of all sizes were carried at all times. Daggers too were a popular choice, especially it seemed for female draconians.

Kai had no idea where he got his preference, a long silver katana sheathed behind his waist on his belt. He had never seen anyone with a weapon like it, though luckily the local blacksmith had had, and Kai always remembered the look on his face when someone felt happy to hold it. Now years later his own katana was the most prized possession of his.

Kai walked through the streets of the Central District. Darcosynn was made up of three districts, though they weren't even. On the west side of the River Wez was the Slums. Officially known as the Western District it was called the Slums by everyone. The houses were derelict and the streets a prime place for murder and crime. The poor had no where else to live, and thievery was the best way of staying alive. Luckily Kai lived in the Central district, which sat on the west of the river. It was the main place for business and housing for those that actually made legitimate money.

In the night sky, with the limited light, he could just make out the tops of the houses. The outlines looked erratic, each one built with little regard for the others around them. Some would be stone and tall, others wood and small. No order at all, everyone left to their own lot of land to do whatever they wanted with it. Like a child building a city with a mess of second-hand building blocks.

Eventually Kai reached the centre of the city, a wide open space of grass. As he opened the closed gates, small winged kryptors flew off the metal and landed some place else. To the east was the Praetorian District, where the Lords and Ladies, those descended from the last Dragonlord, Aei, lived. Lighting the entire district was the massive palace. Bathed in flames around every balcony, it stood dominantly over the entire city, more than ten times the height of any other building. The lights on it showed the three main spires clearly, two smaller with the widest and tallest in the centre. Even through the rain, surviving it's pounding, it was a testament to the sheer power that the monarchy held.

The spire where the ruler of Darcoleayn resided. Where she commanded everything beneath her. Where the money and hard work of the people below went to pay for the finest food and clothes. Where soldiers could get whatever they wanted by beating up the nearest draconian. Violence and murder was all but legal.

It made Kai sick, to have someone he never met, never respected tell him what and what he couldn't do.

He looked down and saw two small gatehouses leading to the Praetorian District. Each had a light coming out, each would have held a guard who would rather stay inside out of the rain than do his job. This was why Kai liked the downpour. No one else did. No one else would see him.

He quickly drew his weapon in his right hand and stood in starting position. He had planned to spend near half of his wages upon perfecting it in every way. The blade was made by the highest quality metal from around the country. The hilt was carved around as a body of an embossed diamond dragon, the dragon's claws lying perfectly with Kai's own claws. The head of the dragon lay over his forefinger while the dragon's wings raced up the first part of the blade and made the opposite part of the hand-guard. A thin line of high quality of silver raced across the flats of the blade, just different enough to distinguish it from the main metal.

Though having no wish to stand with other men and women in the army of Darcoleayn due to his feelings about the monarchy, he enjoyed the time he had train his swordsmanship. While his brother was trained by his father in the art of using his weapon, Kai could find no one to train him. Other swords masters could not understand his personal style so to quench his own thirst for experience he had taken to leaving at nights to practice in the darkness. He was exactly what he wanted, unique. There was only one person he needed to teach him. Himself. His fighting style was his own, no one else’s.

Kai's style was more graceful than strength. He preferred to let his own movements be the key, than forcing his way through his opponent. He held the sword incorrectly he had been told, with his thumb at the end of the handle rather at the hilt, having his body move first and his weapon followed, opposed to everyone else he knew. A reverse grip he had never used in battle, except against the wind.

As he stroked one of his claws against the blade, he heard it, like he always did. As he swung slashes, parries and evasive dodges at the emptiness of the field the rain continued to fall. He lost his soul to the blade and moved as it wished.
Zephkar
Those he never knew stood behind him, guiding his blows to the wind.
Zephkar
They spoke in his ears.
Zephkar
He went on in the darkness for hours, the storm clouds thundering.
Zephkar
Their hands held his own.
Zephkar
The rain showered down upon his body, but he never felt the cold. His mind focused on only one thing.
Zephkar
The only other moving thing around were the small flying kryptors.
Zephkar
Their light webbed wings fluttered in the darkness.
Zephkar
Soon even they had left.

He fell to his knees. As he touched the ground, the rain soothed down. The voices fell silent. The clouds broke apart and the walls of Darcosynn appeared behind the mist. Then the sun appeared. Time was catching up again. The sound of some draconians moving around fell upon Kai's ears. He sheathed his blade and walked back towards his house.

As he neared the house, he ducked down suddenly. An arrow shot through the air in front of him, though he couldn't see where it landed. In the morning mist he realised the arrow was still about half a mile from him, all anyone would have seen was the arrowhead glinting in the first appearance of Illuminus. He hadn't ducked because of glittering. He had seen the arrow coming, like the day sees the darkness coming.

A few steps forward, he spotted the silhouette of a draconian leaning down. Kai moved up to the nearest house and lay against the wall. Even if this draconian had attacked him, he knew he could take him. He was tired though, four flat hours training, he hardly fancied a few minutes more. He was too late to stop anything. He had already seen it.

The draconian was gone a minute later. Kai continued his walk home. His foot stepped into a puddle. He hadn't stepped in any before now. He looked down A corpse lay flayed over the ground, recently killed. An arrow through his heart, blood trickling out into the nearest puddle. The tattered remains of a coin purse still attached to his belt, no coin remained within though. A typical killing, one that seemed to be becoming far more common. He couldn't stop it, and stopping theft was not his concern.

The monarchy just let this happen. He didn't expect them to even care. He would just be lost among the waves of people that just didn't care about him.

Kai walked past it to his home, and as he entered through the door, the city came to life.
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PostSubject: Re: Champion of Darcoleayn - Spirit of Fire (Version 1) [Non-Gaming]   Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:07 pm

Chapter 2 - Darcosynn

When Kai entered, no one else was up. After spending around an hour in his room drying off, he found someone had made breakfast in the main room.

Kai sat down at the table and dug into his breakfast. Across the table his brother stared at him. Jay was shorter than Kai and not as muscular. Whereas Kai had blue eyes, Jay's were more brown. Whereas Kai had pitch black hair that flowed down to his shoulders, Jay's was brown, and much shorter and thinner. His chin whiskers were around average length, two inches. He wasn't Kai's true brother.

He wore a long sleeved brown top with a very similar coloured jacket over it. Down the sleeves were a number of small pockets. On his back, Kai could see he had already got his quiver out, the feathered tips of some arrows poking out from behind his shoulder.

“You were out last night” Jay said in his usual calm tone, “You make more noise than a kaersh standing on spikes. Woke me right up when you got in, that is a good two hours of sleep you owe me. You might also consider cleaning your footprints.”

Kai leaned over the table and looked at the bloody footprints over the floor, he had forgot to clean his boots before he got in. Hanging his head and sighing, he left his spoon on the table and headed over to get something to clean with. In the background Jay was laughing. Kai too could not help a chuckle before cleaning the floor.

“Blood?”

“Someone was shot outside, not long ago. A young-ish draco,” Kai replied. A draco was a male draconian.

“Wait! Shot...as in...arrow? One of our arrows?!” Jay exclaimed, panic in his voice.

“Calm down, had no feathers in it, it'll be one from the slums.”

“Calm? Another murder...this time outside our house? How can you be so cool about that?”

“Because,” Kai responded without changing his tone. “Firstly, there is a big sign outside our house that says Jovian's Fletching, complete with examples clearly showing feathered arrows. And secondly, it was the house next door. And thirdly, murder seems to happen all the time, military don't care.”

“Well,” Jay responded sombrely, “I guess that's true.”

The two didn't say anything for a while. Kai returned to the table and resumed eating the sliced meat in front of them. They hadn't had many sales recently so the meat wasn't that high a quality, not that they could ever afford what they had in the palace. At least they could help out one of their father's drinking buddies by buying his uizir lesser-quality stock.

“Father does not mind you know Kai” Jay said when he'd finished eating, “He knows we are different, he knows he can not teach you to use that sword of yours like he can with my bow.”

“I don't want to worry him” Kai said as he sat back after finishing his meal, “he's done so much for me since he took me in, he worries about me more than his arrows.” At the remark the two laughed at the private joke.

“Speaking of arrows, we are off to the wood today. You went to bed early yesterday, Father needs some more materials for his big order he has coming up. Julian isn't able to get the wood he needs so he's willing to hire us.”

“Willing but forced.”

“Something like that, if you insist. Not going to pass on some money though?”

Jovian, Jay's father was a fletcher, a man who fixed the feathers on arrows. Hunting was popular in Darcoleayn and the army itself had multiple units of archers. While they may all use different types of bows in different ways, arrows were pretty uniform in some respect. You either used webbing from flying lizards like kryptors or you used feathers. While harder to make and obtain, Jovian specialised in making feathered arrows for those that could afford them. It was a good living to be made when the orders came in.

“The palace still wants to go ahead with it then?” Kai asked as he dropped his spoon into the empty bowl. Of course they would be the only ones who could afford it.

“Father made arrows for Commander Nova's father when he was young, now the Commander has asked for a fresh supply, six thousand strong I believe” Jay replied picking up both bowls and dropping them in the water bowl.

“Surely they don't use that many up at the palace?” Kai remarked, leaning back on his chair, watching Jay begin to wash the bowls.

“If I know Nova, which I do a bit, I know he is a draco who takes his duty seriously, he has come back recently from somewhere I heard, hunting in the north I reckon, one of those many skirmishes. I think he had come back with General Virian.”

Kai remembered the ceremony they returning members of the army had had yesterday. A far off town call Sea Vas had attacked a local garrison and the cities ruling Lord. The General of the army, Virian, had quelled the rebellion. The people still did not know what had caused it. Jay had only joked it meant more business.

“When are we leaving?” Kai asked, changing the subject.

“Whenever, the kaersh carriage will be going every half hour. Father is going to be late up, too much drinking maybe” replied Jay with a smile, finishing off the washing up and started to walk back to his room.

Kai got up and walked over to one of the cabinets, Jay already knew exactly what was inside. He picked up the pace but as Kai called his name, he turned round. It was a mistake, it gave Kai the change to throw him a bag containing a tent and rations. Kai marched to the door. He was not one for sitting around and they would be staying over at their destination for a night. Jay raced to get his bow before Kai had got to far ahead.

“You know, we could go later!” he called out. Kai ignored him.

Jay had grown up with Kai always on the move, and still hadn't gotten used to it. While they were the best of friends and like brothers, Kai had been adopted by his father at the age of five. Jay was eight at the time and still remembered it. At the time he didn't think he would be chasing after him every day. Things were quiet when Kai first arrived. He was reclusive and Jay worked hard to get to know him. The more he got to know Kai, the more energetic Kai became and the more he would do things seemingly at random.

Jay closed the door tightly and raced down the street towards Kai who was turning off right. When he got there he found Kai had waited for him. Right would have been the route out of the city but it seemed Kai wanted to go into one of the main shopping streets.

The street ahead was completely packed, even this early. The shops started here. While Jovian sold fletched arrows, he didn't do it from a store, he would get Jay and Kai to deliver them. It saved on paying rent and gave a more personal approach. Jay preferred it that way to, he would often end up meeting hunters he could ask for tips. His father was a good teacher, but nothing beat help from a professional. While he could hit a target, it really only worked if the target wasn't moving.

“It's quieter at night,” Kai said, bringing Jay back to the situation. Kai winked at his brother before heading into the crowd. Jay followed Kai into the depths of sea of people. People haggled with each other all over the place and everyone had one eye open for thieves. Carts and animals would come down without much warning, their sound deafened by the volume of conversation or yelling from shopkeepers, and force everyone to get out of their way.

Kai always liked this street because it had Tarec the blacksmith. Jay and his family had always used bows so never had many dealings with blacksmiths, but Kai was not part of the family by blood and so had not been keen on a bow.

While many weapons were past down from parent to child upon a certain age like Jovian had done to his son, Kai's parents did not appear to exist. When Jay had received his bow from his father, upgrading the one he had owned before, one of his own creation, Kai had insisted on getting his own weapon.

Weapons were more than that, the spirits of your past ancestors resided in them, giving you strength. At least, that was what was taught. This was why handing down was so popular. Blacksmiths were never out of work though, some people would need extra copies of weapons, repairs or for those without parents, like Kai. Kai spent a lot, if not all of his wages onto his weapon. He had gotten to get to know Tarec quite well. The draconian was the son of a draconian who had once been the blacksmith to the royal family. From such a high quality background, his prices were high. None of that mattered to Kai. Tarec hadn't wanted to set up shop in the Praetorian District so had set up stall here.

Jay passed by a draca selling pies before coming into the clearing of Tarec's shop. His shop extended further out that the ones either side and also had a second story. Every day, without fail Kai used Tarec's supplies to clean his katana. Tarec was always happy for the business and got on well with Kai, though Jay always suspected that Kai's interested ended at business. A personal rivalry between families meant Jay would only give a nod in greeting towards the large man. His reply would often be a hearty chuckle. It was quite scary to see a man who would look dangerous laugh, but Jay just ignored it.

“Can ya believe it dracos?” Tarec said in his booming voice, cleaning a knife in his hands. “Ya remember that cute little draca I told ya about tother day Kai? Daughter of te armour-smith down the road. She was quite te looker.”

“So you said,” Kai replied without much interested. It didn't seem to stop Tarec.

“Only go round for our first date n what do I find-”

“Her breast feeding her young dracs?” Kai interrupted.

“Exactly. Turns out she'd already had a wee lil' drac with someone else. I wouldn't ave minded if he were still an egg but three months old, not fer me.”

Kai' responded with his goodbyes and pushed his way through the street. Jay followed him, though unlike Kai decided to take it slowly. Winter had just set in and the shops were changing what was outside or in their clearings. Like all Draconians, Jay felt the cold and had long decided he would have another layer before doing any more work this winter.

Unfortunately, the jackets were too pricey at the moment. Jay sighed to himself. He wouldn't be getting paid until this order had been done. He would have to cut down on the drinking as well. A moment of warmth was not much compared to three months of it he said to himself. Maybe he should have cut down on his riding lessons as well.

He had been spending his wages on learning to ride kaersh, raptor-like creatures that varied between normal mounts, carriage pullers and war-mounts. He'd been keeping it a secret from Kai, something to surprise him...when he actually had the money to buy a kaersh let alone ride one. He looked over at Kai and smiled secretly.

“You didn't come here to speak to Tarec about his issues with finding a virgin draca.” Jay stated when he caught back up with Kai, who was looking at one of the shops. A range of different newspapers hung in the window, Kai browsing over each one individually.

“I thought perhaps murder would have made the news, what with the last three being done by the same person. But rumours about Sea Vas seemed to be more important than someone's life.” Kai replied as he started walked away towards the river that separated the Slums from the Central District, easing his way through the crowds.

After getting separated once again in the crowds, eventually Jay caught up with Kai, who was standing against the wall looking across the bridge that led to the Slums. He could hear yelling from someone. Jay ran to reach him to see what he was looking at but stopped at the crowd that was forming. He couldn't see over the big cloaked draconian in front of him. As he got close, he managed to see round the draconian's arm and saw a small draconian running across the bridge. He turned round and Jay saw him fire an arrow at his pursuers efficiently as he ran the other way. Jay wished he could do that. As he continued running Kai stepped out from the crowd into his way. The draconian crashed into him.

Having been stopped, he tried to push Kai out of the way. He made no attempt to resist but didn't move much and the fleeing draconian just moved round him. As he ran further forward the cloaked figure in front of stepped out and slammed his forearm into the thug's back. The figure then grabbed the winded draconian and brought him over his arm and slammed him onto the ground.

The figure removed his hood and looked at the guards that had been chasing the draconian, who was now flayed out on the ground. The big draconian picked up the unconscious thug and crushed his bow under his heavy boot. Even from behind Jay could recognise him, short brown hair with a small ponytail about an inch long, along with the huge body. It was no other than General Virian himself.

“Good work Captain,” he said before turning to the crowd. “Take care on your way people,” he continued firmly before walking over to his dracos and began speaking in a hushed tone that Jay could just hear, “This is definitely the murderer. Let's get him out of here.”

Virian and his fellow soldiers walked away as everyone else seemed to ignore them but Kai and himself. Kai was doing his usual look, looking out of the corners of his eyes with his head tilted. Jay called it 'the Kai look' and it usually meant either Kai was angry, thinking or both.

Within moments the southern gates were back to normal. Jay walked over to Kai who responded near instantly, “there you go, I told you there was no chance of you being implicated.” This was thankful news to Jay. While he socialised more than Kai, he didn't go out that much any more so this was an uncommon thing for him, as opposed to the rest of the city.

“And you said that the army wouldn't do anything about it. Care to admit you were wrong?” Jay asked, laughing at the end.

“No.” Kai replied, “though I wouldn't have said no if I actually got some thanks for once.”

“Nothing's boring with you is it?” Jay asked rhetorically. Kai just gave a silent laugh.

He looked out the gates to see if he could see the woods through the normal winter mist. To his surprise he could, just over the horizon. The closest woods to Darcosynn were the Woods of Air, so named for how they swung on the ocean's breeze. While the city itself wasn't next to the sea, the woods were. It would be almost a whole day's worth of travel to get out there, hence the tents.

The two went through the enormous gate together and joined up with the kaersh tamers outside. Kaersh were two legged reptiles thought to descend from dragons as did draconians. They were larger and stronger, but lacked the intelligence needed to build a civilisation. Instead the two races had a mutual bond. kaersh were cared for by draconians and if unable to hunt, fed by them. In return they would be mounts for rich draconians, cavalry units of the army or would just pull carriages of passengers along roads. There were a number of farmers that bred them for food, but being so desirable as mount they were quite expensive for food.

They stood taller than most draconian's and had two small claws coming from their chest. Their tails made up half their body and were held out horizontally to balance out the head. This made them able to maintain their balance perfectly even at high speeds. Their heads were far closer to their dragon ancestors than the draconians, with their jaw still keeping the same shape and their horns still visible and their ears longer. Like draconian's they shared the same green scale colour, varied by where they were raised. All of the kaersh in Darcosynn were local so had the same dark green shade as Kai.

The kaersh today wouldn't be as fast as the ones Jay wanted to learn to ride. These were bred for pulling heavy loads, like the various public carriages that went around the entire country. Stood on the sides of the carriages were guards for the travel company, the monarchy didn't provide their own. Roads could be dangerous, more dangerous than the Slums, so people had to be prepared to protect themselves. Thankfully the Woods of Air were safe, at least from bandits.

The carriage was busy today. Jay climbed up onto the carriage after Kai. He looked at his brother and sighed. No seats left, they would have to just sit over edge. This was why he didn't like leaving early, always too busy. The carriage wasn't exactly the most comfortable place to sit, it only had two comfortable seats that he never got to sit in, sixteen others. As he sat down it began to start moving to the south-east.

“You had to take the one an hour earlier, I was hoping to sleep some more before we left” he muttered under his breath.
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PostSubject: Re: Champion of Darcoleayn - Spirit of Fire (Version 1) [Non-Gaming]   Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:11 pm

Chapter 3 - Royalty

Kimera always liked mornings. Everyone was wide awake and the morning light of Illuminus shone into the royal hall. Lords, Ladies, soldiers, servants and merchants would walk the halls of Darco Vas, Heart of Dragons, though most people simply called it the Palace. Kimera always got a smile from everyone as he walked along the corridors making his way to the morning meal.

The bright light shone in through the wide window that looked over the city below. It was designed to get the most from the morning, even if he didn't live in the same tower as his mother and father. Like most draconians he loved the warmth, not just on his scales but on his spirit as well. To wake up bathed in sunshine meant it would be a good day. He stretched his arms, got himself out of his four-poster bed then walked over to his one of his tables at his bedside. He flicked a match then used it to light a small torch with purple-tinged wood.

His door opened and two draconians came in. The draco bowed to him and smiled at him, while the draca behind him, carrying some towels and clothing, curtseyed and smiled. Both male and female draconians had short fangs that became quite visible when they smiled.

The first smile always came from Ciros, his personal bodyguard. It may not be the greatest smile of the morning, but it was a lovely way to start the day. Everytime he smiled his fangs would look a little frightening. The second came from one of the maids of the Palace, Cara, who came with a more gentle look.

Kimera was the younger son of Darcoleayn, son of Lady Kaeona of Dragons and her husband Kaus. This meant he was Lord Kimera to everyone, being a descendant of the last Dragonlord, Aei. His mother, the Lady of Dragons was the ruling monarch. At twelve years old, Kimera was twelve years younger than his elder brother, Yezu. Like their mother, both brothers had dark red hair, both long enough for it to reach their shoulders. Their eyes shared the same red colour. As a child, Kimera's whiskers that came from his chin were short and hardly visible and his fangs didn't grow over his lower lip. His tail though was already almost touching the ground. This he was quite proud of.

Both Kimera and his brother were followed mercilessly by their bodyguards, except for when they needed a break. Ciros would never take one though without being told, he was just like that. Breakfast was always a break for him though, the room was guarded by his mother's personal guards, not that he would lose any sort of attention. From the moment Kimera woke up, he would enter.

Ciros was a muscular draconian, with a fierce look on his face. His black hair was about the same length as Kimera's. He wore similar armour to most of the army, but he didn't wear the armoured gloves, on the other hand he had a piece of scaled-hide about the size of a hand hanging from his left right shoulder bearing Kimera's mark. He was completely devoted to Kimera, and the young Lord knew it.

“Good morning you two.” Kimera said to them as they got further in, yawning at the end again. Cara gave another smile then lay down the clothes on the end of the bed. Ciros took a seat in the corner of the room, near the window.

“I must be going again Master Kimera,” Cara said, taking another curtsey, “The food is being moved up to the Royal Hall as we speak.” She left the room and closed the door silently.

“Weather looks like it might rain today my Lord, I think we'll be staying inside today.” Ciros said, distracting him. It always seemed that they were indoors nowadays, whether it was cold or the summer.

“It isn't raining at the moment, surely we can go outside after breakfast, into one of the parks? There is a gazebo out there we can sit in, even if it does get cold. I haven't been outside for over a week,” Kimera emphasised.

“I'll speak to your mother. But first...” Ciros replied, not finishing his sentence. Instead he just looked at the door.

Breakfast must be soon Kimera thought. Excited, he jumped onto his bed and began to get dressed. As he picked up the clothes, Ciros left the room, no doubt just waiting outside. When he'd finished, dressed in soft red jacket with a dragon made of scales over it's shoulder, he went to find Ciros. Indeed, when Kimera exited, he was there waiting for him.

The two of them walked along the long corridors and stairs until they reached the centre of the palace. From here they went up the long spiral staircase to the Royal Hall. There were no windows, only doors. As much light as the vast number of torches gave, it was nothing compared to Illuminus. About half way out he heard some draconians talking loudly, their tones containing a hint of unfriendliness. Ciros held out his arm and stopped Kimera walking any further. He stepped back slightly.

“You can't be serious, you know he won't be able to handle this!” the male said angrily. Kimera recognised it as his father, Kaus.

“Like I have a choice! Besides, I think this best,” came the sound of his mother who’s voice lacked the concern it had when she spoke to him.

“Best? How long have you known th- What is it Nova!” his father replied. There was silence for a moment and then footsteps going up the stairs. Kimera didn't like the sound of his parent's arguing, it was something that made him frightened and worried. Made him feel small and irrelevant. It was something he wished no child should have to hear.

“You feeling alright my Lord? You seem a little shaken?” came a reassuring voice behind him, breaking him out of his worry. He and Ciros turned round at the same time to see Vira standing there.

Vira was General Virian's daughter and as such she had the same brown hair and red eyes, albeit longer brown hair. Today it was loose as were her two whiskers behind her ears. Females naturally had longer whiskers and as well as her hair, they flowed down her purple sleeveless jacket reaching her chest. While not a muscular person, she was as tall as her father. She wore a short skirt that grew longer as it moved from right to left, eventually touching her knee, it was a theme of skirt she always seemed to wear. Underneath, she wore black trousers, with her mother's knife strapped to her left shin.

“I'm fine,” Kimera replied, smiling. Vira smiled in reply and it made him forget about his parent's argument. She pushed a lock of her hair behind her horns and knelt down to him. She pushed up his chin with her claw and smiled again. She let go and held onto his hand. Ciros moved behind the two of them.

They walked up a few more steps but his parents had gone. Together they walked into the banquet hall and received nods and smiles from the all the other draconians in the room. Over the last year, they had been joined by members of the army, General Virian and Commander Nova and an increasing number of Lords and Ladies, other descendants of Dragonlord Aei. General Virian and Commander Nova had been absent for a while, the only other Commander was Commander Tael. Later in the day his parents and the leaders of the army would be discussing recent events. While they were doing that Kimera was sure he would be in his room sketching, he seemed unlikely to be able to go outside. He had taken a liking to it after listening to a song about creativity and had been hooked since.

The song had been sung by a maid of the Palace named Maia. Although Kimera thought she looked lovely, he knew that someone else thought she was the most beautiful thing on the planet. There was a look in his eyes that showed how he thought about her, how special she was to him. That was Commander Tael, though at this time of day he would remove his title and instead pick up his musical instrument. Together they were quite the musical act, and Kimera looked forward to their song.

As the other maids brought out the food from the far table, wearing their identical black dresses with red rimmed white aprons, he looked around the tables. He couldn't see Commander Tael nor General Virian. There were two spaces beside Commander Nova though so he assumed they would be coming later. Nova himself wore a hood that covered his hair and covered part of his face in shadow. He was taller than all the other military sat on the table and had a white ponytail lying across the side his neck, while a quiver and bow stuck out from behind his opposite shoulder. There were a few other members of the army, though all were unarmed. Everyone who entered the royal hall had to be unarmed, except those of his mother's person guards, or other bodyguards, such as Ciros.

The royal hall had six large tables in it overall, five arranged in the shape of half a square. The sixth was at the back of the room beside the door that led further up the spire. On this table all the food was laid out. There were many chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, each lit with hundreds of candles and large windows with various dragons carved into the clear glass.

The three tables that covered the middle of the room in a line sat the Lords and Ladies from the Praetorian District. Each day they would arrive early and try and sit as close to the central table as possible.

That was where his parents sat. His father was still quite muscular, one of his arms tattooed with his wife's name. A former military commander, he insisted on wearing chain mail often, today was no exception. Short hair and bare skin was a sign of strength for draconians as they did not like the cold. Exposed skin meant that the chill didn't stop them. Because of this, Kaus had his blonde hair cut short. His long whiskers only added to his hard visage. His skin was not as dark green as those that were born around Darcosynn, instead hailing from the west. He had an empty space to the other side of him. Occasionally his table would have other Lords and Ladies sat on it, vying for a conversation, but he always ignored them.

His mother on the other hand was not as fearsome, nor was she as muscular. Unlike Kaus, she did not wear armour, instead she wore a lovely red dress that matched her dark red hair that reached down to her waist. Her two whiskers didn't reach as low, stopping at the same length as Vira's. Her skin, like that of Kimera and his brother was dark green.

His mother, the Lady Kaeona of Dragons, or simply Lady of Dragons, was different from other draconians. Since they could remember, the race of Draconians had been ruled by a single line of monarchs. The monarchs were the only members of the race to still retain the wings which had graced their ancestors, the great dragons. Only one of her offspring would be blessed with them, that would be granted to his brother. Although his back itself was starting to itch and scar, his mother had guaranteed him that it was natural for any offspring of the monarch, it would disappear when his brother came to the throne.

Although the seats of the room were elegant and comfortable beyond belief, her throne that she sat upon was something else. It wasn't that much taller than the other chairs, but the variety of jewels and gold that lined all of it's carvings made it an awe-inspiring sight. It featured four dragons, two at the top with fire and earth, two further down on the sides holding water and air.

Sat on her other side was her handmaiden, Dea. Kimera knew Dea and his mother had been best friends as they grew up. While she was a handmaiden, she was also now Kaeona's bodyguard. She wore a similar outfit to the maids yet had a crimson metal chest piece as well as bands around her arms and wrists. She had a four short curved blade strapped to her back, in a cross, only their hilts visible, the rest hidden from view. She had blonde hair tied into a short ponytail, except for a few strands that ran alongside her whiskers.

Beside Dea was the spiritual leader of the Draconians, Oracle Istra. Her daughter, Oracle Astra was a friend of his brother, both of them training to fulfil the roles that they would take in the future.

Finally looking round onto his own table he saw the two of them. Both of them had their hair tied back and wore their serious faces. Kimera assumed they must be having another lesson today, they seemed to have one everyday. He couldn't remember the last time the two of them had played like they used to. The last face on his table was Yezu's guardian, Taeus.

He returned to looking at Vira. Her smile was one of the warmest of the court and Kimera always enjoyed her company. She was his favourite model for sketching, and also one of his best friends, despite the fact she was older than his brother.

Kimera tucked into the meal, a succulent mix of milk, oats and sweetened emberthistle, a herb that grew at the base of the nearby mountains, popular in drinks. It was as tasty as it always was. Chatting flowed into the room as the various tables began to talk to each other. Following the lead of the room, the younger Lord leaned towards Vira and waited for her to finish her spoonful. She wasn't looking hungry.

“You are pleased that your father is back Vira?” he asked. She turned to him and laid down her spoon. It was hardly used.

“He isn't back yet, he went out this morning, something about duty,” she replied with a touch of jealousy.

“His last absence has not done much to help you I take it?”

“It did nothing but confirm his belief. What happened in Sea Vas,” she said before trailing off and stopping for a few seconds. “I think I will have to rethink what I am going to do?”

Kimera knew that Vira wanted to be accepted into the Darcoleayn army, however her father would not allow it, especially since her mother had been killed, murdered by assassins when Kimera was too young to remember. He quickly tried to think of some way to cheer her up. She still hadn't eaten any more.

“I like having you around Vira. Since Yezu started his training, he's had no time for me. You are the only person I like apart from the serv-, no I did not mean that, oh-”

“I understand my Lord. We are one and the same, a lower priority. I am not disputing how things are done. I do however know that even if they are your servants they are indeed your friends too. I too will always be your friend, and here to help you do whatever you will do. Then again, if you do want a bit more company, order Ciros to actually talk to you about something other than defending you.”

“I do not think he would like it. He doesn't even want me to go outside today.”

“It's not that I don't want you outside my Lord,” Ciros added in his most caring tone, “but that your mother is just concerned for your safety.”

“Well, if safety is a concern then I may have an idea my Lord. This morning I'll be spending some time with my father out in the gardens, he wants to take me climbing up some trees. I'm the Lady of Dragons would let you out if you were close to the Champion of Darcoleayn. And it is not like Ciros is going to be there.”

“You think he'll be happy if I ordered him to speak?” Kimera replied, looking at Ciros who let out a little grin when he heard what he had said.

“He won't, but since when did anyone have the choice of what they wanted to do.” she replied, a touch of concern in her voice. She winked at him weakly, he mood having returned back to what it had been as she returned to her breakfast. She seemed to be a bit happier, if just a little. Kimera himself too returned to his food, the hope of going out into Illuminus' light now in his mind.

Ten or fifteen minutes Commander Teal walked into the centre and laid down his chair. He walked out of the room and returned moments later with his instrument. It was a Kaeranda, part of the ribs of a kaersh with four strings tied to either end.. His two small axes were still at his belt, like most of the people in the hall he never took them off. Even Queen Kaeona wore an intricately runed sword at her belt, though Kimera had never seen her use it.

Once Teal had sat down and prepared his instrument, Maia walked in, having changed at sometime when Kimera was enjoying his breakfast. Her dress had changed from the traditional black, white and red to an expensive red and yellow gown. Kimera remembered when she had worn the dress. He had wondered at the time how she could afford it, very few draconians were skilled at crafting beautiful fabric, most stuck to metalwork. He was pretty confident now that someone had bought it for her, and he was pretty certain who it was.

Maia was exceedingly beautiful. Her whiskers barely reached her shoulders and her tail was one of the shortest he had ever seen, yet her elegant pitch black hair went down to her waist. She had the same darkness in her eyes, yet her face gave off a radiance of compassion. She had such a glorious singing voice, yet she insisted on working as a maid. Kimera didn't understand it.

Teal began plucking at the strings, the hall conversation fell silent. Only the sound of the Kaeranda filled the room, the tune already beginning to lift members of the hall's spirit. Then Maia's voice filled the void, like the first morning kryptor singing for it's mate;

It was there when it began
It was there when life arose
it was there when light was born
Illu-min-us' flows


The melody washed elegantly against the room, the subtle but strong notes of Tael's kaeranda complimenting Maia's angelic voice perfectly;

The light of hope, the Spirit of Fire
The warming love that we all desire
We worship you o' masterful lord
Eternal Spirit of the Fire

You grant us war-mth
Y our presence makes us strong
Ba-thed in your light
We can do no wrong-ong

The light of hope, the Spirit of Fire
The warming love that we all desire
We worship you o' masterful lord
Eternal Spirit of the Fire

Lighting the hearth
A single flame
We worship you
We praise your name


She stopped singing for a moment, letting Tael's music fill the silence. Eventually, Tael's tempo began to pick up, a sense of climax and power in his tune, and Maia returned to the song;

The light of hope, the Spirit of Fire
The warming love that we all desire
We worship you o' masterful lord
Eternal Spirit of the Fire

From the tiny spark
To the dragon's mark
Without your wondrous might
No life or light
Spirit of Fire

The light of hope, the Spirit of Fire
We give love to thee, oh Spirit of Fire
Grant us your blessing
Your warmth is caressing
The warming love that we all desire
Eternal Spirit of Fire


The two took a bow as applause replaced the music of the hall. They took another bow directed at Kimera's mother before Maia left the room. Tael meanwhile returned to the table where the army officials were. Just as he was about to sit down the doors opened.

General Virian entered and walked directly to the table where the Lady of Dragons sat, giving Vira a brief nod on the way. When he reached her, the two talked in whispers, with both Dea and Kimera's father leaning in to listen. Kaus said something but Kimera couldn't hear it from where he was and Virian left the table, heading to his Commanders. Kimera went to say something to Vira, but she was busy looking at him as he turned away from her of them.

Suddenly, Queen Kaeona rose from her seat, her wings flying out from behind her back. She walked over to Kimera, the other Lords and Ladies hurried onto their feet and began to follow her cautiously. She ignored them and whatever questions they asked and instead leaned into Kimera and kissed his forehead.

“I will see you later my dearest. I wish it were not so, but I have to solve this problem that has arose.”

She had walked off before Kimera could reply, following closely behind was his father. He nodded at Yezu then at Kimera before they left the hall. Kimera had been focused so much on them he had not noticed that General Virian was now sat beside Commander Tael, the rest of their table already leaving.

Yezu tapped him on the shoulder before he too left, giving him the same stern smile he always gave. His guard Taeus and his friend Astra followed him out the door in a hurry. He imagined they were going to be busy today with their studies.

“Excuse me a moment my Lord,” Vira said, as she rushed over to her father's table. Kimera looked down at her bowl, still half full. She really did need cheering up. He got to his feet and walked over to the opposite table, Ciros followed closely behind him.

“How's it going my Lord?” Tael said cheerily as Kimera reached the table, before digging into his food.

“Very well thank you Tael, and yourself?”

“Mild...got work to do later, sigh...no offence General...” he replied, grinning at Virian beside him.

“Father, we are going out to the garden's this morning?” Vira asked, her tone changing slightly from the innocent one she spoke to Kimera with.

“Indeed, though not in the afternoon.” Virian replied, his voice as rough as it always was.

“Lord Kimera also wishes to come out this morning. If I told the Lady of Dragons you would be outside too, would you be happy to help me watch over him?” Ciros asked, stepping forward.

“I'm sure that can be arranged.”

Vira bid her father goodbye and walked towards the door. Kimera chased after her and snapped her out of her thoughts.

“Vira?” Kimera asked, “would you mind coming to my chambers with me this afternoon then, when everyone has their meeting? I want to try and make you feel better, and say thank you for getting me out of here, at least for a few hours”. Vira smiled in reply and took Kimera's hand as they left the royal hall, followed closely by Ciros.
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PostSubject: Re: Champion of Darcoleayn - Spirit of Fire (Version 1) [Non-Gaming]   Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:14 pm

Chapter 4 - General

Tael was quite pleased with how that went. When he had first entered into the army after being years of being an entertainer he was met with a looks of disgust from fellow servicemen. The idea that a noble profession had it's priority shared with that of something most people had never got to look at had made Tael unpopular with a lot of people, especially Kaus, who at that stage was still in the army, albeit a retired General.

It had taken a lot of dedication though and Tael had finally got the respect he deserved. Although he was never really stationed far from Darcosynn, his manoeuvres at the quarry of Mea Vas had saved a large number of men and women, including the General himself. Nowadays Tael worked around the palace, the city of Darcosynn and the mining town Mea Vas. Every time he went out to the mining town he would treat the garrison there to some music. He found it brought about respect as well as giving much needed relaxation.

General Virian had taken on a lot of work recently. In fact he had only gotten back from the north and he had gone out in the morning to apprehend a known troublemaker, Krall. Now he was going to be giving his report about what had happened at Sea Vas. Tael wasn't sure exactly what had happened, but from all the grim faces, it wasn't good.

“Ah, to be young.” Virian reminisced out loud, as Ciros closed the door to the royal hall.

“Speak for yourself, some of us still have a bit of youth left in us,” Tael remarked before returning to his food.

“I meant naive. So blissfully unaware of the world out there. Sometimes I think you don't quite understand what you've gotten yourself into when you accepted that promotion.”

“Really though...Darcosynn?”

“There are hundreds like Krall, and killing, kidnapping or even harming Lord Yezu or Lord Kimera would make them exactly what they want to be, powerful.”

“Sure, you know how to kill a conversation, is that your military training or your outlook on life?” Tael quipped.

When they were almost finish, a few dracas poked their head round the door, asking if they were finished. When the Lady of Dragons and her guests had finished eating, the first round of staff would get what had been left over. Virian called at that they didn't they need to wait for them and the other tables began to fill up, except for the royal table, still wait two guards overlooking it.

He spotted Maia and Cara entering half a second later, but they were deep in conversation. Cara looked round Maia and waved with her right hand, her other holding on Maia's.

“Do you mind if we sit here Commander?” another draca giggled as she took a seat next to Tael anyway. She turned to her companion and started whispering.

Typical draca, he knew very well his dashing looks combined with his musical talent made him a magnet for dracas.

“Not being distracted by dracas?” General Virian asked, leaning back on his char. Tael took his eyes off Maia and looked innocently at Virian.

“Me? Never. Why would you even think that?”

“I remember when I was your age, all those dracas. And among them I found Evara...” he replied before trailing off. Tael knew exactly why. Evara had been his wife until she had been assassinated. It was only a few days after Virian had been promoted to General so rumours had gone around that the two events were linked. That must have been about eight years ago, he knew Vira was just becoming adult-age. Tael didn't know the whole story, nor did he ever push the subject.

“I'd hate to grow old...no offence...again,” Tael said, trying to return to the subject before.

He tried to imagine Virian twenty years younger. Now he was one of the biggest draconians around, around a similar build to Kaus. He had short brown hair and blood red eyes, to anyone who didn't know him he would seem quite dangerous. Luckily Tael knew how compassionate he could be. His whiskers grew rather long, about twice the length of his own. He wore plate armour covering most of his body, each a hexagonal plate, with the muzzle of a dragon carved on one shoulder piece and the tail on the other. Like the General, Tael had his own piece of customised armour but he wasn't wearing it now, instead preferring to go for something a little more casual for performing.

Virian's weapon of choice was the most famous weapon in Darcoleayn. The grand axe Sarfax, the Fang of Shattering. It's silver covering reflecting the light all around, and small pieces of rock floated occasionally round the edge. It was the weapon the Champion of Darcoleayn, so named when he was chosen for the position. The huge weapon made Tael's small axes look like kryptor to a kaersh. One was over ten times the size of the other.

“I'm sorry I missed your song, what was it today?” Virian said, breaking the silence that was forming.

“Only Eternal Spirit of Fire, you've heard it before so it doesn't really matter.” he replied, taking a bite of his food.

“Well I'll still apologise.”

“This is just a ploy to get me to apologise for the old comment?”

“And for the 'got work to do later, sigh' from before.”

“Fine, I'm sorry.”

“You will be. Now, we've got a meeting with the Lady of Dragons this afternoon, so get the rest of that food down your neck and make sure you're looking appropriate.”

<><><><><>

“So what exactly is this meeting about? Something happen in the north? Something at Sea Vas isn't really much to go on,” Tael asked as the two of them walked up the long staircase in the military spire. The walls were dark and dreary with only the occasional lit torch for any light. There were no windows anywhere in the spire, even in the rooms that surrounded the central staircase.

He was wearing his Commander's armour now. Very similar to the normal hexagonal based armour of normal soldiers, though his had small spiked wings decorating his shoulder pads and gloves. He'd also decided it might be worth a bit of effort clean down his claws and horns and comb his smooth black hair.

“The rebellion in Sea Vas wasn't at all what it seemed. Rebellion, it wasn't, it was a precise military attack,” Virian replied, betraying no emotion with a seriousness completely lacking from this morning.

“Do we know know who was behind it? The same as the assassinations?”

“One and the same,” he replied as they reached the top of the staircase, “The Sect of Ascension.”

The Sect of Ascension.

When Tael had joined the army eight years ago he had never heard of them. One year ago he had not heard about them. They were not all that unknown to the royal family though. He knew over the few years though they had been striking out against Lords and Ladies living away from the capital. Now almost every single descendant of Dragonlord Aei lived in Darcosynn, safe from their hit and run tactics.

Virian had just become General and then his wife had been assassinated. A few months ago Tael had learnt that Virian had managed to kill one of the assassins but a second got away, though the exact details were a mystery to everyone except Virian.

The attack had been seen as the re-emergence of this Sect of Ascension. Steady attacks had gone on since then but none of them particularly threatening. Then three years ago the attacks on Lords and Ladies started. Eventually only one Lord was left defiant outside of Darcosynn.

Lord Malik and his family, who governed the second largest city in Darcoleayn.

A month ago, when news had reached the palace that they had been sighted around Sea Vas, the General and Commander Nova had shot off within less than an hour complete with a number of units of soldiers. Tael had been kept in the dark about most of it, content to command the defences of Darcosynn. He had felt it best to leave the more experienced leaders to it, he would be told about it when the time came.

Virian said no more after that or gave any indication he wanted to say more. His pace quickened and as it did his tail wiped from side to side frantically. It soon got to the stage where Tael almost had to run to keep up. Virian only stopped when he reached the top of the staircase and found the solid metal door without any ornaments at all.

“We've been waiting for you,” Kaus said he opened the door slowly, the metallic frame only allowing it to be opened so far. They both walked in through the narrow gap. Virian didn't acknowledge Kaus as he walked in, Tael just copied him. There were no chairs, just light from the single fire in the centre, large enough to have at least ten draconians stand around it. He browsed at the people in the room. The most dominant was the Lady of Dragons, her wings showing now much more than when she was sat in the hall, the light from the fire seemingly having the sole purpose of making her physique and clothing seem even more dominating than it already was.

Beside her was her husband. He had been General Kaus before Virian, but had since retired, though he still would get involved in the military, his longsword never too far from hand, round his waist but easy to miss under his long coat. Tael had never served under him and did not know much of his past, though he had heard rumours about his brutality and mercilessness. Perhaps the truth was common among high ranking officers, but Tael was new to this. In fact this was his first real official meeting as a Commander, a rank he had received a month before Virian had left for Sea Vas.

On the other side of Lady Kaeona of Dragons was Dea. She was in charge of the management of the palace and the Lady of Dragon's protection. She wore a similar dress to the maids, yet hers was vertically cut below the waist to allow her the full movement of her legs. Tael wasn't the first to mistake her for just a house keeper. He had seen her train with Kaus, and neither pulled any punches.

The last person was Commander Nova. He was smaller than the two other men, about the same size as Tael. He wore no metal armour, preferring leather to cover every part of his body, even most of his face. Only a white ponytail remained uncovered by his brown hood. His brown leather seemed to meld into the room. Nova never seemed to be concentrating on anything, instead he would look around, always listening. Tael assumed this was part of being the best tracker of the army. Not just the best tracker but the best shot as well. The draco never missed.

“I left Commander Larner in charge of the new garrison. I doubt they would be stupid enough to try and fight back after their total destruction of their defenders” the General announced in a tough voice, his eyes fixed on Lady Kaeona.

“Are you moving Commander Takara?” the Lady of Dragons said in yet another serious voice. Commander Takara was the fourth Commander. “Do you want to wait for her or is she staying in the west?”

“She is staying in the west.” Virian replied, adding no more.

“Why? Why would they attack a simple town? There were no Lords or Ladies there and Darz should know that,” replied Kaus, another rough voice spoken with no emotion. The three voices seemed to make Tael feel out of place, it felt to him like this was a conversation between the three of them, everyone else was just listening.

“The Sect of the Ascension claim ownership of the throne of Darcoleayn” the Lady of Dragons said glancing at Tael quickly as if to explain to him quickly, “their sole purpose is driven by this desire, true or not.

“Their basis behind is based on the sons of Dragonlord Aei. One of his sons, Treleus, betrayed his father and murdered him. They believe it was then that his heirs that should rule this land. Their leader is, or was at least, a draconian named Lord Darz. He has been killing Lord and Ladies, trying to push himself to the next in line of the throne, as it were.

“Yet as Kaus says, this is different. There is a reason behind this. Why occupy Lord Malik's home town? Did he put up more of a fight than the other Lords?”

“Lady of Dragons. Lord Malik, he didn't make it.” Virian said, holding his head down, sorrow touching his voice.

“Serves him right. He had the same chance to move here as all the others, he was foolish to think his army could save-” Kaus retorted before being interrupted.

“Enough Kaus. Lord Malik had his reasons for not wanting to come to Darcosynn. Even so, he was still my friend, no matter what happened when we grew up.” Kaeona said, her voice angry yet distraught.

“He didn't agree with you how to run-”

“I know. I don't want to talk about it. General, what about his family?”

“I'm sorry Lady Kaeona. We found his wife hanging from the gateway. His son, we found his body consumed by flames.”

“Lord Malray, only the same age as Yezu. He didn't deserve this, none of them did.” she continued before ripping the sadness from her voice leaving only anger, “I want them to pay for this, I want them dead. They killed my oldest friend, even older than Dea, I won't let it go without payback. We shall have a day of mourning, everyone, for Lord Malik then we shall find Lord and his Sect and make them suffer.”

“As you wish my Lady.” Kaus replied not hiding his disagreement.

“But for holding onto the city for a however long, this is new. Have you or Commander Nova worked this out yet, General Virian?”

His gaze still fixed upon the Lady of Dragons, the General replied, slightly taken back by the remark, “It is a wealthy town, no denying that. To remain hidden for so long, they needed money. Could this be it?”

“If the purpose was to gather wealth, why slaughter the existing garrison and occupy instead of flee?” she replied unconvinced.

“To distract us from the real reason?” the General replied unsure, “I admit I do not understand the reason, Commander Nova, any thoughts?”

Commander Nova just stood there and shook his head at his General. He never made a sound, never said a word. Tael knew that to hear Nova say something should be treated as a rare event.

“Let me put this to you General. The Sect who have remained undetected in our land decide to not just attack, but take over a town they know they can't hold, evn if they do get their final Lord assassination before Darcosynn. They could raid money or supplies from any farmland or small village, instead they chose the town of Sea Vas. I admit it is a rich town, but it is well guarded to.

The only reason I can see to continue to stay is to continue to search for something. How long was it occupied?”

“Just under a fortnight your Ladyship”

“Enough time to raid the town for whatever this item may have been. I will assume records were destroyed” the Lady of Dragons said as she looked to the General, who nodded in reply.

A thought rushed into Tael's head. Unsure if he should say anything, he waited till silence filled the room before stepping forward slightly.

“If I may, you said before that you destroyed all the town's defenders. If we have not seen this Sect in a few years, how can we be sure of numbers. I agree that the use of town's defenders that would have been killed anyway would hide the real purpose, but that could be but a small fraction of the true numbers of the Sect. I recall the General here telling me before that he suspect Darz of trying to increase his numbers, especially before and after,” Tael said before halting for a moment, “Evara's death. Also, a fortnight is long enough to have turned every house inside out, it's just the amount of time until the General could get there. A city that size...maybe three days considering they had the numbers to destroy Lord Malik's forces.”

“I agree with the young Commander” Kaeona replied. “When the task had to be extended, a backup plan was made to cover the tracks. Whoever leads this Sect now clearly has little regard for the lives of his fellow draconians if he would leave them to be killed. This does not sound like the work of Lord Darz. Brutal he may be, but he values the lives of his- well dracos at least. For all we know, and is likely true, the defenders left in Sea Vas weren't the Sect's core.”

The room fell silent, as the conversation seemed to end abruptly. It was Kaus who filled the void, “The Sect will be gone by now. What will you do General?”

“He will reinforce Darcosynn. I want the guards at the gate doubled, I want a Captain or Commander on every gate at all times. And I want you to stay in the palace at all times General. My children need as much protection as possible, they shan’t be leaving here again while the Sect is a problem, Commander Nova can lead the efforts to find them.”

“As you wish Lady of Dragons.”

“To ask again General, what will you do?” Kaus asked again, this time far more demanding.

“Firstly,” Virian replied, matching Kaus' irritated tone, “I will send a messenger to Commander Larner and see if he can find any information. Tomorrow I will go through any records we have here and redouble the efforts to get Nova a lead on finding the Sect.”

“And this evening General?”

“I will spend time with my daughter. I may be a General but I still am a father.

“Commander Nova too is due some time off as it were, no doubt he wishes to go hunting for something he can actually eat We have been travelling and fighting for half a month now.” We shall both be here so Darcosynn will be safe. The Sect won't move right away.”

Commander Nova gave a slight hint of a smile before returning his gaze to the Lady of Dragons.

“You both have deserved your time off, but you will be attending the mourning of Lord Malik. We shall all do what research we can. At least we now have the evidence that the Sect still remains a threat and an ideas of their numbers, even if it cost us Lord Malik. They are hiding. Once we have a clearer understanding of the events at Sea Vas, I trust Commander Nova will be able to track them. I will also speak with Oracle Astra on these matters, we shall see if her expertise will help us in any way.” Kaeona replied.

“Is that all Lady Kaeona of Dragons?” Virian asked.

“I'm afraid not General. I must speak with you in private. Kaus, Nova and Tael, please leave us.”

“That is it?!” Kaus said in frustration.

“Kaus, that is it. Please leave us.”

He went to storm out of the room, kicking the door open with his boot. It didn't open much so he kicked again and marched out. Nova followed shortly after.

“Do you wish me to leave as well mistress?” Dea asked.

“You may stay. Goodbye Tael.”

Realising he was loitering, Tael raced out the door and shut it behind him.
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PostSubject: Re: Champion of Darcoleayn - Spirit of Fire (Version 1) [Non-Gaming]   Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:15 pm

Chapter 5 - Ascension

The fist came into Maleus' stomach hard and fast. It was times like these that he wished he wore heavy armour but getting stuck into fights was not his idea of fun. Someone else pushed their fist up, smashing into his spine and pain shot up it as he gritted his teeth. Even after a few hours, it still hurt. But the pain was worth it.

“You have ruined everything boy!” the scream came from his father, the one beating him. “I had a strategy, one you have destroyed! Pain is all you are good for whelp!” There was no denying the anger in his voice, no denying the utter hatred he felt for Maleus now.

Maleus struggled to open his eyes. He looked into the eyes of his father and watched at he returned the glare. It seemed like forever. He tried to struggle against the grip of the brute behind but to no avail. His father slammed his fist into Maleus chin. Any semblance of smile he had left him as blood filled up in his mouth and he began to drink it.

“Fifty! Can you count to that you wretched lizard! Let me help!” his father yelled again. The brute, no doubt Jix, holding Maleus slammed his hand down onto the nearest rock. Maleus' father took one finger and snapped it back. Maleus couldn't help but as the bone broke. He didn't want to submit to his father but his bones were telling him otherwise.

“One!” Another one snapped, “Two! Apologise now whelp! Three!”

Unable to handle any more, Maleus burst out an apology. His father's brute behind let go and Maleus fell to his knees. His father struck one last time, thrusting his spiked into Maleus' mouth. Without thinking, Maleus bit down and one of his fangs found his father's scales. Having pulled his fist out and felt Maleus' bite, he proceeded to kick Maleus a final time. Maleus held his hand between his legs and fell forwards.

“ I'm done” he spoke to his thug nearby, who returned to the side of his master. Maleus debated about getting up but decided it was best to stay there. Instead he looked up at the towering figure of his father, giving the subservient look that his father wanted from him.

Like all members of the Sect of Ascension, Darz, Maleus' father, wore a complex system of runes over his face, written in his own blood. The ruler of the Sect had a blade that was specially designed to cut the scales and release the blood, that would make these horrifying markings. The dagger was enchanted so after a few days the blood burnt onto the scales.

Darz had ruled the Sect for thirty years, moulding it from a scattered remnant from when he took over when his father had died into the true army it was now. Maleus remembered his grandfather, and Darz was the spitting image, though not as tall but he still had muscles everywhere and his left eye held shut by some form of disease, it matter not to Maleus. The blood on Darz's face had been drawn to copy the claw-like marks on his left eye onto his right eye, a vain attempt to hide some of the deformity. Dried blood with marks where his father had picked at it covered the eyelid. The rest of the blood looked like runes of fire or claws of a dragon.

His chest and legs were covered by spiked plate armour, more covering his wrists and the back of his hand, all of it blood red. He had two should pads looking like fangs that each had a spiked strap coming down to his belt. Round his waist was his sword, for most men it would require two hands including Maleus, but Darz held it steady in one whenever it was drawn, the only other weapon the dagger of the Sect. Normally the sword would be past down to Maleus, but his father had all but disown him. Darz's arms were mostly uncovered save for two metal bands around his forearm. He also wore another metal band around his forehead just below his short red hair and his horns.

Darz whispered to one Jix, the thug who had held him while his father beat him. He was one of two lieutenants to the draco, and Darz' most loyal follower. Jix would rather die than fail his master. This loyalty rewarded him by allowing him access to most of Darz's personal dracas and assisting him in torturing Maleus.

To Darz' other side was Lyu, one of his personal dracas. She was around the same age as Maleus yet had quickly shot up the ranks by catering to Darz's every whim and need. She kissed his bitten fist then preceded to lick it clean.

“I will say this whelp, I am mildly impressed by your audacity, there may be a hint of courage and fight in you after all. But you obey me like everyone else. I trusted you to kill Malik and his family, not to get fifty of my Sect killed by Virian. I have spent too long, far too long, reforming this Sect, bringing in some of the world's most efficient killers to have that thrown away by your lust to prove yourself. You are lucky I have banned killing other members, as much as I wish I hadn't at this time.”

Darz shrugged off Lyu and walked over the last draconian in the cave section. He grabbed the draco's neck and stared into his eyes.

“You're lucky you weren't anywhere near Sea Vas. Now, look after him, if he dies I will hold you responsible.”

The trio left the cave, leaving Maleus alone with the last draconian. He offered the beat draconian a hand up which Maleus took instantly. Struggling over to the nearest rock, Maleus sat down in a way comfortable to him, letting his long tail lie to his side, and looked over at the one who had helped him up. His brother, Karos, looked down at him.

Karos was his only real friend, and the only person he truly trusted. Despite being in the Sect of the Ascension, he was alone without Karos. Karos shared his mother, a product of Darz's lust for a strong son, but unlike himself did not have a father who beat him. He was still a brother though, and he was glad his brother had not been hurt, his own plan for taking all the blame worked perfectly, or as perfect as it could have.

Karos opened his mouth to say something, spitting some blood out first, but Maleus quickly put his own hand over it. Darz's footsteps hadn't left the passageway yet. A few moments later a single set of footsteps left. When he and Karos hadn't said anything for a minute, the other two set of footsteps left.

Though his father hated him, Maleus was still heir of the Sect of Ascension and by default the ruling of Darcoleayn. He knew that countless thousands of years ago his ancestor had tried to take the ruling of dragons from his father Aei. Although Treleus had killed Aei eventually, he was still not able to ascend to be Lord of Dragons, unable to kill his sibling. It was the duty of his descendants to take what was his. Much to the annoyance of Kaeona and her ilk, Darz and Maleus were technically still Lords, both descended from Dragonlord Aei. The irony was delicious.

And like all leaders before him, Maleus had his own plan, and it differed from his fathers. His father was content to scurry around inside the dull caverns, that had been his home since he was born. He may have killed off every Lord and Lady that was foolish enough stay outside Kaeona's protection, but now he was stuck.

He did have a certain respect for his father. His mother had told him how Darz had only the scattering of the Sect when he took control, only Jix as another leader to assist him. He had begun finding disillusioned bandits and those who's lives had been destroyed by Kaeona's disregard. Then he started looking for the greatest killers, finding Maleus' mother and his now third-in-command Marr. When news reached him that the Champion of Darcoleayn was becoming General, he made his move, and since then he had been working his way up the lines of ascension.

But it was not a way to achieve victory, hiding. Maleus himself had seized the initiative. He had taken some dracos and dracas and attacked the town of Sea Vas to the east, under guise of killing the final Lord Malik. It had not been his intention to occupy it for a few days and warrant the arrival of Kaeona's army, but it was needed. It was only by his quick thinking that he had thrown off the thought of any immediate reprimands made against their hiding place by planting the lie. It was worth a few dead draconians and beatings to get what he needed.

Darz didn't see it that way. Darz may have been far stronger than his son, yet he cared for the lives of his dracos, even if he didn't like to admit. Darz had banned all forms of blood combat, controversial but it kept the Sect's numbers high. Only normal combat would be allowed, and even then Darz never got involved. He couldn't afford to lose, or worse, be killed. Taking the life of another draconian would result in your death, unless you ascended to the Lord of the Sect. This is why Maleus counted himself lucky, lucky he had grabbed what gold he could from Sea Vas and use it stay his father's anger.

Darz's plan was to kill off every Lord and Lady, then kill Kaeona, leaving himself as the only heir. But he didn't have the power to go against Darcosynn, so now it would up to Maleus to do it for him.

“Someday we should rip out his heart,” Karos said with disdain as he felt around Maleus' jaw. He pushed it up sharply and Maleus yelled in pain.

“Argh...thank you brother...got some cloth?”

Karos took off his arm-guard and ripped a piece of his clothing and used it to mop up the blood from Maleus' mouth.

“At least...” Maleus said, spitting out some blood, “he didn't find it. At least the plan work...to a degree.”

“This had better have been worth it, you know how much restrain it took for me not crush Darz's skull?” Karos replied, grinning. It was no idle boast. Karos was larger than Darz and still unbeaten in combat. In fact Darz was the only person he hadn't fought.

Karos pulled the item from his belt and placed it on his brother's legs. This is what the beatings were for. Even though Darz knew Karos and Maleus were close, Maleus had ensured it that Karos was left out of the attack. In a few seconds before his father had turned to beat him upon his return to the caverns, he had slipped the item to his brother. Nothing would arouse suspicion. Now Karos had returned it.

“This is was you want? You sure it's worth it?” his brother said, tearing off some of his clothes and wrapping it tightly around Maleus' broken fingers.

“Have you looked at the title?”

Karos looked down. The moment his eyes hit the book he was speechless. Maleus laughed, before choking on the blood in his mouth and spitting it out.

He stroked his other hand across the book. White leather bindings covered it's pages. Written in gold on the front were four words.

A grin appeared over Maleus' blooded face.

“Is it really...hers? Aei's champion?”

“The cipher of the great dragon. The key to her secrets. That bitch of a draca won't keep those words to herself any longer. With this,” he grinned to Karos, “We shall rule the Sect, and Darcoleayn to follow.” He looked down at the title of the book just to check one last time.

Zephear's Cipher. Cipherian Zephear.

<><><><><>

“Get me Tanis,” Darz called out. Asara ran away as fast as possible, Lyu staring at her as she disappeared round the corner.

“We're leaving soon then?” Jix asked, smiling as Asara's slim tail wiggled round the corner.

“Soon, I at least want to get an inventory check done first, will give me a chance to search Maleus' and Karos' rooms.” Darz replied

“He's up to something,” Jix replied. Darz turned to him and eyed him up. Jix's build and armour was quite similar to him, as were their personalities. He only had one shoulder pad though, but kept a number of small swords down the strap. His hair was as short as Darz's, though blonde and his eyes decorated with similar but small runes that Darz's. Both had blood red eyes and long whiskers, though one of Jix's had been cut short in his fight with Karos a year ago.

“Of course he is, I would expect nothing less from my son.” Darz remarked, looking away from his friend.

“Why would he leave behind his brother? We all know Karos is our strongest fighter-” added Lyu. As she said that Jix grabbed her hair and threw her onto her back then kicked his heavy boot into her ribs. She apologised to Jix and climbed back onto her feet.

As she got back up, Darz's eyes fell onto his breasts, so exquisite. Her entire body was a joy to look at, especially emphasised by her tight black-scaled clothing. Short pants, long boots and gloves, a bare midriff and shoulders and three long ponytails to stroke, accompanied by long whiskers. She was his second favourite draca and she knew it. She saw him looking at her and moved in closer to her as if to kiss him, but he shoved her away. He didn't have time for this now.

“That was my thoughts as well Lyu. He wanted something from there, but as to what, I don't know. For all I know, whatever it is may help me, so I will leave them to their schemes for now. I have more important matters to attend to.”

“Lord Darz!” came Tanis' voice as he ran up to the trio, followed by Asara. She looked worn out already.

“Tanis, I want an inventory done, and make sure everyone is aware we'll be leaving within the next day. Make sure you find Maleus and Karos too and search their rooms, I don't trust them. Asara, go find Marr now, I'll meet him in the water room soon, I have someone to see first.” Darz ordered.

“We're going to go see her then?” Jix asked with a hint of lust in his voice.

“Indeed. I'm done sitting on the sidelines. She is going to open up and I know exactly how I'm going to make her.”
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PostSubject: Re: Champion of Darcoleayn - Spirit of Fire (Version 1) [Non-Gaming]   Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:18 pm

Chapter 6 - Her

Marissa laid her head against the cold rock behind her. She was bored. Life was boring. She yearned for some more excitement, something to wet her appetite for life. For the past months there had been no sign of anything from Darz' plans then all of a sudden he had gotten Marissa to look into something. Marissa was his favourite researcher, and his favourite for other things too. Sure, Lyu was always with him but that didn't mean she was his favourite. Marissa knew she was special, knew why Darz specifically wanted her.

She opened her eyes to the sound of footsteps somewhere nearby. As she opened them she felt the dried blood creak over her eyelids. The feel of dried blood on her face always annoyed her, it seemed pointless, especially over the eyelids, but so did everything else. The blood markings on her face mirrored her thoughts about them, little effort having been put into them though never-the-less she used it as a chance to express herself, smooth lines washing over runes over her cheeks and eye-lids. She decided to close her eyes and try to get some more sleep before Darz would burst in on private section of the cave system they now inhabited.

The cave system was a little too perfect for her taste, as if someone else had already made it years before the Sect used it as their current base. With a single accessible route in and out of it, it was easy to defend but large enough underground for a small town. Darz had brought in hundreds of tons of wood to keep the fires burning and light flowing.

But the most puzzling bit was the presence of a well, while natural in appearance it had to have been crafted otherwise it wouldn't have existed. Even Darz's normally curious son didn't seem to care, and as soon as Darz presented her with parchment he couldn't read then she had forgotten about it too.

She hardly had closed her eyes when he appeared in her 'room'. She turned her head slightly and opened an eye. He looked liked he always did, a man with an obsession with blood, right down to his blood red eye and hair. Even his horns had markings of blood painted on. As usual he had two Jix and Lyu with him. Darz would incomplete without people on either side.

“Resting my dear?” he asked in a voice that tried to sound kind, but with his deep normal voice just sounded strange. She chose not to reply and closed the eye.

He walked up closer to her and slapped her round the face. The metal ripped at her scales, tearing one off one of the many half-inch scales that covered draconian's faces. The pain rang from her cheek into her eyes and she opened them suddenly. In a flash she twisted into a sitting position facing Darz, a clearly fake smile on her face. She titled her head slightly and gave a questioning look.

“I am wanting an update my dear. I hear you have been lazing around here while I try and deal with my son's mess.” His voice had changed into it's normal harsh tone. Marissa wondered how far she could push him. He would try and kill her, she had long been waiting to go to the Underworld herself. Darz would only be releasing her then. Every meeting seem to end with her beaten or bled, but Darz hadn't quite lost his temper enough to kill her yet.

“Come back tomorrow, I'm tired.”

He grabbed her suddenly and spun her over. He pressed down onto the cloak slung over her back, feeling for her hidden scabbard.. Finding it, he pulled it up slightly while pushing down onto her spine with his other claws.

“You will obey bitch or Jix breaks this into a hundred pieces and feeds them to you!” he yelled before pushing her back so she was facing up again. She smiled back at him.

He took a step back, nodded at Jix. Darz began to finger the hilt of his sword, but instead pulled out the Sect's ceremonial dagger from his waist and dug it into her arm. She couldn't help scream and Jix spun her over, ripping her cloak and scabbard from her. Lyu burst out into laughter.

“Jix, get down to the forge and break up that sword.” Darz said without looking at him, his eye still staring at Marissa. As soon as Jix reached the exit, Marissa screamed out for him to stop.

Darz looked over her and gave a nod to Jix who threw the scabbard back. Lyu grunted his disapproval but the other three ignored her.

“So, what is it you want to know?” she asked. The reply came as another slap, not backhanded this time though so the wound was minor. She immediately moved her other hand back over the wound Darz's dagger had inflicted upon her arm.

“I have spent a lot of time fulfilling your whims Marissa, because I know you are the only draconian I have for this task. I asked you once, I shall ask you once more before Jix takes back and breaks your precious sword. When and where.”

A few weeks after they moved into the cave system, Darz had found something he wanted Marissa to look at. He had been searching for a rear entrance and came across an exit that led further into the mountains. It didn't lead anywhere important, but to an old camp. They didn't know who it belonged to or even how old it was, but Darz was drawn to this mysterious parchment. Marissa had found it strange, that in the whole of Darcoleayn, something this valuable had to be found in the north west, just where they were.

Darz had not seemed to care, he thought it was valuable and more importantly, a weapon. Marissa was the only one who could confirm this, Darz was unable to read any of what was on the parchment, despite feeling a sort of familiarity between the blood runes and the writing on it. He could barely make it out to be writing. Even his son, Maleus, who prided himself on seeking knowledge was unable to read all of it.

Marissa could. Out of all of the Sect, only she could read everything written on the parchment, including everything which didn't look like writing to anyone else. Darz had tried to get her to explain it, but she couldn't so requested she be left in peace with it.

Surprisingly, she had been. Then, she had been showered with gifts, though she knew they were just the spoils of thievery. What it was interested her more. She had once cared a lot about this type of thing, it was nice to be reminded of it, a respite from the uselessness of life. Nice to enjoy it again. It only wetted her appetite. It was merely a copy of something bigger, but with what was on it, Darz could have his weapon. A weapon that would appear soon. Darz wanted to be ready for it, he could not afford any of Kaeona's ilk to get a hold on it. It was his chance.

Because she could read it, Darz had chosen her to work out what the writing actually meant. It talked of movements of Dias and Prias, flows of water and other cryptic clues. And to finish it off a poem that she saw as the most important part.

“Well Lord Darz, it is a rather fascinating piece...”

Darz walked closer to her and thrust his face into hers. He looked at her with a look of love. Just as she thought he was going to kiss her he slammed his forehead into her face, his face back to it's cruel visage.

“I don't care you pitiful draca, I want to know when and where.”

“Well, the moons passed over each other last night so,” she stated confidently, “Two weeks and Umrvas Gigaros will be yours to command.”

“I'm not interested in this language any more, if you talk to me about it, you translate it.”

Let the world know he is come,
Come to purge it of all the scum,
It is to his will, we must serve,
For our past, he will preserve.

“Born of fire, wrapped in flames entire,
Born of earth, hungering for rebirth,
Our frail flesh will submit,
To his power we commit.
” she sung out.

“A pathetic description of a weapon, but a weapon never-the-less I suppose. Now, the bit you were most fascinated with.”

“But I can't...I can't get a proper translation for it.”

Darz grabbed her neck and threw her across the room, landing next to Lyu. She rolled out of the way as Lyu tried to stamp on her as she were some vermin.

“Just tell me what this Umrvas Whatever is? What does it translate to? I don't care about your theories or being proper, give me what you have!” Darz yelled in her face. While Marissa had told him it was a weapon to command, she herself was still unsure of the details and Darz didn't seem happy with what she had just said. She had not wanted to disappoint Darz, especially if she valued her head. Despite not caring too much about her life, there was something she still wanted to do.

“I have told you before my Lord” she said in a sarcastic tone “I do not want to disappoint. Two weeks, north west of Sea Vas, under the shadow of the mountains, next to the mouth of the river Mus.”

His face had gone red after the mention of the town, surpassing the dark green of his scales. It obviously still infuriated him to hear about the fiasco.

Marissa quickly added to it, still lying on the ground “We can cut across the river Flux and follow the path through the mountains if we go now. We shall no got anywhere near the town I promise you.”

His face returned to it's normal stern look. “We go now then, two hours. Jix, go find Marr and tell him we're leaving, change of plan. Lyu, go and tell Tanis.”

“But Lord Darz-” Lyu began to protest, looking down at Marissa with utter jealousy.

“But nothing you little draca. Nothing here concerns you, get going!” Darz replied as he marched to Lyu and grab hold of her neck with one of his hands. He looked like he could choke her with just one. She closed her eyes and nodded solemnly. Darz let go and she leaned in to kiss him. Like with Marissa, he replied by slamming his forehead into hers. “Get out!”

Lyu recovered then stamped on Marissa' ribs as she left along with Jix. Marissa herself pulled her feet up again moved over to her rock. She laid back down, eyes closed, rubbing her arm's wound vigorously.

“What are you doing my Dear?” he asked her.

“You said two hours, I thought I would spend them thinking...thinking and sleeping”

The sound of metal rang as he drew his sword from it's scabbard and swung it vertically at Marissa. She rolled off the rock to avoid it and straighten up. The sword had broken the stone. It seemed relaxation was off.

“You had better find a map bitch. I am expecting you to guide the way. As you said earlier, you don't want to disappoint me. You have tested my limits and now I tire of your games. I have spend long, too long satisfying your needs. It stops now, you deliver or I will leave you out for every draco of the Sect to do with as they wish.”

“What more do you want?”

“Translate this sentence to me now. I respected your wishes not to tell me, but now you have told me where and when. I demand you tell me what.”

Marissa sighed and looked at the parchment lying on the floor, it had fallen off when the blade shattered the top layer of stone. Darz had been lucky not to hit it.

Har va taros har tera, har laros, Umrvas Gigaros zep jaros.

He looked at her expectantly.

“The sign of the birth of earth, the creation of fire, the Blood of Gigaros will come.”

“Blood of...what?” he asked, his face showing a kind of bemusement she had never seen from him before. It was a face that made him completely unaware of what had happened.

“Gigaros...well, I wasn't completely sure but I think...it means...well...I don't know at all really, trust me.”

“Blood of...bah, be ready in two hours Marissa.” he said irritated, ignoring her last bit and storming out of the room. Marissa breathed a sigh of relief.

<><><><><>

“Did he really expect Tanis to find anything? He must think we're stupid.” Karos remarked as he looked round the corner. Maleus looked round as well beneath Karos but found no one outside of her room.

“I think it was a half-arsed attempt to work out what I did in Sea Vas. He clearly thinks we're up to something. Keep an eye out.” he replied, pointing back down the cavern they had been in.

Maleus and Karos entered her cavern silently and looked around. It seemed empty, nothing at all, not even any clothes. While Karos waited at the entrance, Maleus went in further. This was where Marissa did her research on the parchment. The parchment that Maleus was unable to translate.

He found it laying on the layer of rock at the far end, next to some blood stains. He thought for a moment why she would leave it alone, but his curiosity overcame his fears and he picked it up. As he began to pull out the book from his belt, someone moved behind him. He heard Karos draw his axe.

“Can I help you dracos?” came Marissa familiar voice. It was mostly emotionless, yet with a hint of evil. While to Darz and Jix she was only a pretty face, Maleus knew different.

She was a little shorter than Karos, about the same height as Maleus. She had perfect white hair that flowed infront of her ears and covered most of her horns. Her hair stopped at her breasts, contrasting the black kimono she always wore. Unlike many of the Sect, she chose to cover up her arms, though one of the sleeves to her kimono seem to have been torn.

“Dracos? I think you forget who you're addressing Marissa,” Maleus responded, swallowing the blood still in his mouth. Marissa narrowed her gaze.

“Fine...Lord Maleus, better?”

It was. Maleus didn't want to be called a draco by anyone beneath, especially by someone who wasn't much older than him.

“My father wants you to get ready, One hour. Get going.”

“I know. I am just packing up.”

“Leave the parchment, I will take that to my father. Just get going.”

She curtseyed and eyed him up. For moment they stared at each other, wondering what the other would do. Would she tell his father he had the parchment or would she realise what he was thinking. She had an uncanny ability to get involved in everything and her presence worried him even more than his father. There was something about her.

She waited for Karos to move from the entrance and left and Maleus breathed a sigh of relief. Her black kimono swaying as she walked, attracting his eyes, her tail thin tail hanging out from underneath the cloak she wore. She never really wore amour, always black cloth with various white dragons across them, matching her thick hair that reached down her back.

When she had gone, Maleus pulled out the cipher and began looking over the parchment. Slowly, the words became visible and he completely forgot the pain he had endured. Everything was worth it.

By the time Marr arrived to tell the two of them everyone was leaving, he was satisfied.
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PostSubject: Re: Champion of Darcoleayn - Spirit of Fire (Version 1) [Non-Gaming]   Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:20 pm

Chapter 7 - Magic

“Wonderful work the two of you. A perfect creation of communal fire. Just be careful not to touch the oil, it's still poisonous,” commented Istra, looking over the work the two of them had created, three piles of logs bathed in a purple tinge of colour, “This is just like the fires we have set up around the walls. As soon as soon one is lit, all others in the same 'community' will be lit. Now have a short rest and we'll move onto the next lesson.”

Astra sat down exhausted. Her mother was really pushing them hard today, one lesson after another with out much more than half an hour of rest. She looked to her side and saw Lord Yezu tired too. She was glad it was not just her. His ability to keep casting magic far surpassed her own.

He returned with his normal stern look hidden under the dark red hair of his, before brushing it behind his ears. The combination of his exercised body and the red eyes of the royal family made him look even scarier but he could look extremely gentle too when he wanted to. He moved over to sit next to her and placed his hand on her leg. She smiled and tried to distract herself by stroking her claws through her thick wavy hair and with the other hand fiddling with her symbols that hung from her belt.

“Tiring today, but worth it” he said, rolling up his sleeves. Like in most training sessions, he wore relatively simple clothes with a hint of class. Today was no different, a mix of regal red and gold. When he was tiring he would always roll up his sleeves and reveal his muscles. From looking at him, you wouldn't have thought he had biceps like those.

“I never denied it was, it is a duty I must fulfil as the Oracle of Darcoleayn, as you must perform as the ruler of Darcoleayn.” she replied, looking down as his hand moved around her leg, rubbing it. She brought up her tail and laid it over the other leg. Like other dracas, her tail was thinner than their male counterparts. And like Lord Yezu, her's did not normally reach the ground.

“I've always enjoyed these lessons, regardless of how hard they are. I get to do them with you,” he said compassionately. She could only smile back.

Today's lesson was on magic, as most were now the two of them were almost done with their studies. The magic of the elements, Fire, Water, Earth and Air. All draconians held within them the ability to manipulate an element, magic, and as a race the vast majority could control the element of fire. It was this Spirit of Fire which was worshipped so much across the land. The Spirit of Fire was embodied in Illuminus, the warmth of their homes and the light to see the way, without it Draconian society would be nothing. The Spirit of Fire kept them all from entering the Underworld, the realm of Onicula. Nothing was more important than worshipping it.

As a future oracle, it was Astra's duty to defend the element of fire, and be the voice of the Spirit of Fire. She would also be one of the few people able to use magic. While everyone had the potential to use the magic of the elements, only a few were ever taught.

A few times there had been a third person with them, the son of a Lord was with them for a month, but he had not been able to handle it. Commander Tael had also been with them, having only just finished the training that had been required for his role. As well as the wealthy, high ranking members of the army were taught to harness their powers, mostly in an offensive way. Commander Tael had been taught to enhance his weapon's with magic, and summon forth fire as an offensive ball or a shield against other magic users. He had stayed for the start of their lessons but had picked it up so quickly he didn't need to stay any longer.

Now it was just the two of them. She and Yezu had a lot more to do than just a few pieces. Her mother, the current oracle, could do amazing things with magic and used to help the draconians of Darcoleayn worship to the best of their abilities. Lady Kaeona of Dragons was also a skill spellcaster, which was why Yezu was also learning. Even the ruler of Darcoleayn served the Spirit of Fire.

While the Spirit of Fire was the most dominant element in Darcoleayn, the world itself was made up up of all four, Fire, Water, Earth and Air .Rivers flowed across the land, mountains rose up from the earth and wind flowed across the sky. Draconians and all living thing were made from a combination of all elements, even if most could use the magic of fire.

Astra knew only two people who were not users of fire. General Varian and his daughter Vira were both aligned with Earth. Astra's mother had taught them that only ten percent of draconians would be aligned with Earth. Draconians of Earth would often have a far higher endurance to pain whereas the magic of Fire itself was strong than that of Earth. Although this was only a general rule it served to show the differences the elements made.

But it was fire to which the the draconians were most grateful for. It kept them warm, gave them light, allowed their crops to grow and make their food safe to eat. Draconians society was based upon it so much that they could barely cope without fire, especially in the winter. Astra knew she had a big destiny to live up to. Her mother had been oracle now for forty years and was approaching draconian old age, soon Astra would take over and she had stepped up the pace of lessons. Lord Yezu had just been caught up in it.

There was a knock at the door. Taeus turned round and opened it gradually and began to speaking with someone outside. He had sat there so quietly, she forgot he had always been there. When he was with Lord Yezu he always seemed invisible, save for the moments he had to make himself known. A few moments later he opened the door fully and Dea walked in.

“My apologises for the intrusion Oracle, but Mistress Kaeona has asked to speak with you later, just before the banquet, about the matter we spoke about a fortnight ago. You will have to cut short your lesson for Lord Yezu and Oracle Astra.”

Astra's mother nodded and Dea swiftly left. Istra turned back to face them.

“Come on, back on you feet you children, we'll have to delay our lesson on bindings. For now I just want you to experiment with your magic.”

In reply, she stood up, the Lord Yezu's hand slipping off her leg. He got up as well and stepped further away from her side. He turned to face her and drew up his left hand. In his right he drew out his silver long sword from the scabbard on his waist. He scratched his claw down it's sharp edge and a line of fire appeared on it. Slowly the fires reached across the flat edge.

He stroked his hand across the blade and held the burning flames in his hand. Astra stared into the far, curious as to what he was about to do, she always loved it when he used his sword as a focus. He placed the flame on the floor in front of him. His eyes closed over his dark red pupils and he muttered something she could not hear. Although words were not necessary for magic, many found them useful for focusing the mind.

The flames spread in a circle around him, then shot up to form a barrier raised up to the roof. She still could not take her eyes off it. She titled her head to try and catch a view of the Lord's expression but everything was clouded by fire.

Suddenly a hole appeared in the flames, she could see the Lord on one knee, gasping for air. He was trapped in his cage of fire, the flames burning all the air inside. Taeus climbed to his feet and ran over but saw he powerless to help. He tried to call down the flames with the limited magic he had picked up from their lessons but to no avail, it was clear he wasn't strong enough. She glanced quickly over to her mother still sat down comfortably, who looked at her expectantly. Raising up her own hands she tried to call the fire over to her. Her knees started to shake as she struggled to control the element someone else had summoned. Still her mother looked at her expectantly, not lifting a claw to help.

Astra stepped closer to the barrier of fire. The distance was making it hard to draw the fire to her. She pulled up the sleeves of her white robe and touched her hand against the fire. Closing her eyes to concentrate slowly the fire began to fade away from the circle around Yezu. Extinguishing the heat was not as easy as it seemed, creating fire was a lot easier than taking it away, but she had done it.

He was now breathing heavily, and looked up at Astra who now held a small flame in her hand. He stood up slowly, this time his eyes kept on the fire, curious as to what she would do. She cupped it in her other hand and squashed it down onto her palm. It had a warm sensation, something she did not feel much of during the cold winter months. She pressed the warm hand over the Lord's heart and looked into his eyes. He smiled back. She felt his heart beat against her hand, warming from the fire she had brought onto her palm.

“Excellent” came the withered voice from the corner, “I admire you ideas my Lord. Remember however, that fire is the element of destruction, it burns, it consumes and it devours. Always be aware of it's side effects.”

Yezu shot a glare at Astra's mother, his red eyes staring into hers. “And what sort of a teacher are you? One who would risk your Lord being killed?”

“Calm down, you were perfectly safe Yezu”, the Lord's face grew angrier as his name was said. Even Astra, his best friend, would rarely leave out his title. “Or do you underestimate my ability to control magic? I think you also put down Astra here, she was perfectly able to help you out of your own spell. I have said, I admire you ideas my Lord, to control that much fire not that far into your studies of conjuring.”

Yezu turned his head away from the Oracle. He began to summon more fire in his palm. Astra noticed his anger had died down slightly, she often got worried whenever he entered into his rage. Her mother had closed her eyes again and laid her head against the wall. Astra had long since learnt closed eyes did not mean her mother would stop paying attention.

She turned back to face one of the mirrors around the room, and began to copy the Lord in summoning fire into her hand. She rolled back down her sleeves and picked up one of the silver symbols hanging from her belt, a flame. She rubbed it between her scaly yet soft hands. As soon as she felt she was ready, she let it drop down again and immediately clenched her hand. When she opened it there was a spark of fire resting on her palm Summoning fire from no where was among the hardest thing to to learn and she knew to be Oracle, she would have to be able to do it at a whim, this is why she trained for it.

She thought about what she could do. Yezu was always full of ideas, mostly based around fire's destructive power. She admired him in terms of his imagination. She decided to try and turn the fire into a bird, at least for a while. She had seen her mother do it once and each day she was eager to try it. The elegance of the Spirit of Fire fascinated her.

Time after time, she failed. She glanced over at to Lord Yezu. He was just throwing fireballs out of the windows, the fire disappearing in air. She was sure he had not calmed down quite yet. He held grudges quite a bit, even though she knew he would not mean any harm from it.

She walked over to him and put an arm round him. He ignored it for a while but eventually turned to her. “I didn't mean to insult you,” he apologised before turning back to throwing fireballs out the window. Astra watched them fly out in various directions then fade away.

One of them flew upwards towards where Prias sat in the sky, Dias not far behind. There were around four hundred different alignments of the moons and Illuminus, each repeating in a cycle making a year. In the winter like now, both moons would be visible together, crossing over Illuminus at some point in the day partially. At the heart of winter, two weeks ago, they would block out Illuminus completely, hiding the Spirit of Fire from them.

The thought that the days would begin to move into summer was warm to her. She smiled to herself, then also began to toss fireballs out the window, trying to hit Lord Yezu's. He laughed as soon as he figured out what she was doing and tried to dodge hers.
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PostSubject: Re: Champion of Darcoleayn - Spirit of Fire (Version 1) [Non-Gaming]   Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:22 pm

Chapter 8 - Brothers

An hour later the sunshine from the window began to fade, and the light from the fires around the room began to dominate. Not long after he had noticed, Yezu began to put back on his jacket and pulled out his regal necklace above the crimson silk design. His lesson was finished and much like Astra and her mother wore their belt with a symbol of fire and a moon, so did he as a necklace. He would only keep it hidden during their lessons. In regard to the worship of the Spirit of Fire, Astra was his superior.

He took a seat and glanced over at Istra. She still wore the calm look he had before. He was beginning to get annoyed at her. Time after time she had put him down, when he knew he worked as hard as he could. While he liked Astra, he knew he was better then her at this, Istra was showing favouritism towards her daughter. He would have to do something to catch up.

Istra looked back at him with her arrogance. She was getting old, wrinkles appearing on her scales. Besides that, she looked just like her daughter, light green eyes and dark green skin. Both wore the same white robe and both had their long blonde hair lay against their back and a small ponytail tied from behind their horns. There was something about Astra that made her seem that little bit more beautiful though.

Thoughts revolved in his head. Regardless of his opinion on training, he could not ask his own mother for help in learning, especially now she still in a state of mourning for Lord Malik. He changed his glance to Astra who was now putting back on her outer-robe and picking up her books. She brushed down her more elegant robe and checked the silver flame and celestial emblems were properly positioned from her belt.

He waited until Astra left the room and was out of sight of Istra's prying eyes and then departed the room after her. As he left Istra behind, Taeus ran out after him. Taeus was always behind him, his uncommon choice of weapon, his family's pole-arm, ready to be drawn at any time.

As Yezu marched after Astra, Taeus kept up with him, as silently ever. Yezu liked Taeus, when he was young he would enjoy talking to him like he was an older brother and Taeus was fun to play with, now he was older and both had matured he felt glad to have someone loyal to him by his side. Taeus was about ten years his elder and even though there were guards he would prefer more than Taeus, he was reassured to have him nearby most of the time.

Astra had stopped ahead of him and turned round, most likely from hearing his footsteps. As he approached she curtseyed to him. He smiled at her and cracked his knuckles. Respect was of paramount importance to Yezu, if he was to become a great Lord of Dragons, he would need people to respect him now.

“Astra, I am looking for Kyr's Fire. Small yellow cover,” he continued as he motioned with his hands the size, “you know the book I mean?” he asked her, slowly moving his hand up and down his leg when he was finished.

Kyr's Fire was a book of magic that Istra had used to teach the two of them when they were years younger. It was certainly a helpful book, one which he had used as reference for a number of his spells. It was more an introduction to magic but touched on a few other subjects without going into extensive language. He had personally moved it from it's home in the extensive library of Darco Vas and relocated to his own chambers. He liked to read it before lessons, just to get him into the mood, he preferred to learn by his own skill than by what some old draca had to say. A couple of days ago he had found it gone but had thought nothing of it. Now he had decided he needed.

“I thought you kept it in your own chambers my Lord?” Astra replied in her normal soothing voice, “It is missing?”

“My Lord, if I may interrupt,” added Taeus, he head bowed towards Yezu, “Lord Kimera asked if he might borrow it a couple of days ago. I knew you were at lessons non-stop so I didn't think you would have time for it. I saw no harm in it, I apologise.”

Yezu lowered his eyebrows towards his guard. Although he was not happy about it, he knew that Taeus would not say no to Kimera's request, though it would have been nice if he had told him. Perhaps he had thought he no longer needed it. He looked a little longer at Taeus and found a warmth in his facial expression. He didn't think he needed any longer. Perhaps it was time for his brother to have it.

“I will see you at dinner then Astra, have a good evening until then,” Yezu said, smiling in her direction. Astra was a great friend to him and he greatly enjoyed her company, especially during mealtimes when they did not have the watchful eyes of teachers on them. His mother seemed to enjoy Yezu spending time with the future Oracle, he had guessed long ago that his mother only kept women in the palace he thought would be suitable for a future wife of the Lord of Dragons, such as Astra or the General's daughter Vira. He didn't find Vira completely viable, not because she was around ten years his senior but because she had a bit of a rebellious streak. Perhaps Virian and his mother didn't see it, but he did.

As Astra walked away, she passed a maid coming the other way. As soon as the maid saw Yezu she curtseyed and hurried past him.

Some of the servants were quite good looking but had no where near the social standing they would need to be his future wife. They were simply paid to do a job, and in return they got to live in the magnificent palace.. He had never understood why Kimera would talk to them, as far as he was concerned they were paid to clean, cook and serve, not to waste time talking. His brother was not the only one who did not understand a servants duty. As much as he liked Tael's singing, he thought he spent too much time stopping Maia from doing her job. It was an efficient use of times or resources and he didn't see why the Lord of Dragons should have to cater to anyone other than his own family. When he became Lord of Dragons that would be something he would change.

Astra took another bow towards him at the far end of the spiral staircase and then carried on her way. Yezu browsed over her body one last time before marching off from the Oracle's Spire, where they had their lessons, heading to his brother's chambers, in the main section of the palace.

<><><><><>

Kimera put down his paintbrush on the short wooden table beside him and looked up at his painting. From behind the canvas he could see Vira's look of curiosity, it made him wonder whether she would like it, more than once she tried to see it. With her father busy and her not really having any other people to associate with, he felt she would still enjoy being his model. His only worry was that she seemed to like everything he did, it only served to make him worry whether she truly liked it, or whether she would just say it because he was a Lord. He wished she would honest with him.

“Do you like it Ciros?” he asked, turning his head round to face the figure of his bodyguard. He added he wanted something that could be improved before Ciros had a chance to just say how nice it was.

“I am not sure General Virian would approve my Lord, but I think it is good from what you have done, you underestimate how good you are,” replied the bodyguard. Kimera kept his eyes on Ciros, narrowing his gaze, wanting more. “If you do want some constructive feedback them my Lord, I suggest you rethink the sword. Elegant swords may look good but I feel Vira would enjoy one more realistic, if you insist on not giving her an axe. I would suggest you base one on the coat of arms on the wall to your left.”

“You weren't meant to tell her that,” Kimera playfully scolded Ciros. “I'm sorry Vira, I just can't draw axes it seems.” Vira waved her hand as if she didn't mind and Kimera turned to his left, eyeing up the coat of arms on the wall.

It was the shield covered with the wings of a dragon, Vira had told him it was the Lord of Dragons Aei, the one Kimera was a descendant of. Behind it were two crossed short swords, the blades made of silver and the hilt looking like a dragon with open wings. They looked much like his father's swords, as opposed to his mother's which had red markings all over. He thought for a moment about taking the design of the sword's blade and combining it with the hilt design that Vira had on her knife.

He turned back round to see Vira had moved from her seat behind the canvas and was looking over his shoulder at the unfinished painting. He suddenly felt quite embarrassed and frantically tried to cover it up. As Vira peered over his shoulder and he raised up this arms to try and hide it.

“If you're not careful my Lord, you'll end up with this afternoons worth of paint on your shirt.” Vira said, having stopped trying to look at the painting.

He stepped away, even though his shirt was old and already covered in some paint. The thought of ruining his picture by smudging it didn't appeal to him. Instead, reasoning that Vira had already seen enough of the painting, he looked at her face, trying to see if she gave any hint of her thoughts.

Before she could say anything, a knock came from the door. While he and Vira had turned to look at it, half expecting someone to break it down, Ciros strode over to the door, his great sword hung on it's scabbard over his back looking more predominant than it had a few seconds earlier. He opened the door and stepped back as Yezu strode in, followed by his own bodyguard.

Kimera noticed the two bodyguards exchange a smile before looking back to see what his brother wanted.

Kyr's Fire is my book brother,” he said in a voice that Kimera thought sounded more like his fathers than his brothers, “May I have it?” Yezu gaze a glare over Vira as if to tell her to get out. Kimera did not really want to be alone with his brother, but others were not going to say no to Yezu. When he was growing up Yezu had been fun to play with, but over time he had grown more and more serious and seemed to have left Kimera behind., especially having entered his adulthood. It was hard to believe that Kimera was half his brother's age now, quite an age gap.

Vira left, flicking her hand up in a wave before she disappeared. As the Ciros closed the door on his way out, Yezu walked over to where the canvas was and rolled his eyes.

“You are a Lord brother, do not waste your time on such hobbies, they are the jobs of professionals. And as for your choice of pictures...Vira will not become a member of the army as long as her father is in charge, she is too rebellious and lacks any kind killer instinct any soldiers need. You are giving false hope. She is better off going into sports or something, not fighting.”

Kyr's Fire,” Kimera said, wanting to change the subject.

“I do not know who told you about it, but you have as much business learning magic as you do making a mess of yourself with a paintbrush,” his brother said. Kimera looked over his top and realised how untidy he looked. If anyone else had entered like his mother or father there would have been more problems. “When you are my age and mature enough, maybe then you can have it. Until then, please leave it with me”

“You will not tell mother?”

“About what, the book, or this? No, I will not tell her about the book. As for this, Mother had to give it up when she became the Lady of Dragons, even if you will not become Lord of Dragons, I will still need you to represent me. I am only trying to help you. Appearances matter, untidiness invokes weakness.”

Kimera hung his head and walked over to his bedside table and picked up the book. Vira had told him about it a few days ago when he had told her he wanted to learn about magic. She had used it to learn some basic before Yezu had removed it from the library when he had first started learning.

Yezu had followed him over and held out his hand expectantly. Kimera passed it over, making sure not to get any of his top that was covered by paint onto his brother's training jacket.

Yezu put the book into a pocket within his jacket and turned to leave. As he started towards the door, someone knocked on the other side. Before Kimera could reply, his brother had already stated 'enter' as an order.

It opened slowly and Kimera recognised the maid that entered as Maia, her long hair quite recognisable. He looked up at her face, a line of black hair flowing over her left eye. She had already curtseyed before the Lords and kept her head down looking at Yezu's feet rather than look up at him. Kimera was not sure how his brother normally treated the maids, but Kimera himself liked to look at their faces, they were always so friendly compared to some people in the palace.

“Dinner will be ready in twenty minutes my Lords” she spoke in a soft voice, before backing out of the door. Ciros entered in as she left and walked over to Kimera.

“You should get out of that top brother, otherwise mother will know how you have been spending your time. It may have been alright when you were playing with her years ago but things have changed. She has more important things to deal with and you need to start growing up. Your robe is on the table to the right.” he spoke in a reassuring voice. After confronting his brother, it was helpful to have his guard back beside him. As he went over the table, he could hear his brother walking towards the door.

As he took off the paint-covered top, he could feel the cold chill of winter on his chest. He quickly put on his under-shirt and glanced back over to the door, Yezu still was still looking at him. Before he could say anything Yezu stormed out.

Kimera waited for Vira to come back in, but only Ciros did.

<><><><><>

“If you're not going to the banquet, my Lord, would you like me to get someone to get you a meal for the evening?” Taeus asked.

Yezu didn't reply. Ever since he had gotten Kyr's Fire back from his brother, he had just sat on his balcony overlooking the plains beneath his southern window. He flipped the book over in his hands constantly.

He scratched the spine with a single claw and called over the flame from the nearest brazier.

“Yes I would Taeus. Go wait outside for one of the servants to walk past and get them to cook some kryptor wings for me,” he said in a monotone, tossing the flame up and catching it again.

As soon Taeus had left, Yezu roared out into the night. He hurled the book as far as he could into the darkness and as it almost disappeared from sight he threw the fireball at it.

The flames slammed into the book, incinerating it within a second.
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PostSubject: Re: Champion of Darcoleayn - Spirit of Fire (Version 1) [Non-Gaming]   Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:23 pm

Chapter 9 - Fletching

Kai sliced his katana down the line of the wood, whittling it down to thin strips for use in arrows. Although he used his katana each night as practice, building up his strength for the time he would need it, this was something he more comfortable with. He was cutting the the arrow shafts that Jay's father, sitting beside him, was using to create arrows. Although his father had tried to get him to use a knife, and Kai was happy doing this earlier, but nowadays he always used his long blade.

When he first got his katana he vowed to himself to use it for everything, after all, it was the closest connection to his family he had, even if the physical blade had been forged by Tarec. At first Kai had found it difficult, yet he was stubborn and determined. He had spent months learning how to hold his katana further up the blade rather than the safety of the hilt. A short length of the blade remained above his hand, leaning on his arm, the length of the knife he had previously used. Under his hand the remaining blade and the hilt stuck out, the weight and length were the main problems. He had had the blacksmith lighten his blade, he had spent nights dreaming up a solution.

He had stuck to it and eventually his father was happy with the solution. That was a few years ago now, and with time he had improved his technique and now could create the shafts much faster than his brother. All Jay could do now was joke it was a very inefficient way of whittling.

His father efficiently added the feathers to the ends of the arrow shafts. He wasn't as fast as he used to be, there was a time when he would struggle to keep his father supplied, but Jovian was getting old now and slowing down. He was about to the old age of draconians, around seventy. Between the ages of twenty and seventy draconians were classed as adults and often had as much energy and stamina as each other. Looking at someone who was sixty was no different from someone who was twenty. When draconians started to reach Jovian they would begin to drop off and within a few short years lose most of their youthfulness.

But with Jovian, Kai doubted he would let anyone else add the feathers to the arrow shafts, at least not until he couldn't hold anything anymore. After-all, it was 'Jovian's Fletchings and Arrows', not quite Jay's. The last time Jay tried attaching the feathers he had failed horribly. Although Kai knew he had been practising since, he would have to do something special to beat his father. It was time like these Kai was content with his life, he had no desire to take over the business and if cutting wood was what he needed to do, he would do it.

As Kai slowed down his pace, he turned to look at his father. He was concentrating on the tying the feathers to the shaft, eyeing over each one to check if it would fly through the air as it should. He was the perfect craftsman, dedicated to the point of not going to sleep if there was unfinished work. He took great care in this Kai knew.

But his scales were beginning to show their age, and grey streaks were starting to appear in his hair. He was built almost identically to Jay, though his hair was lighter and balding. Draconians shared so many characteristics with their family that it was often easy at a glance to see if people were related, and with little differences in age it wasn't easy to tell apart sons and fathers if they were both adults. A similarity of weapons was the other way one could tell, and neither of these had helped Kai find any of his family.

Kai was left by the northern gate when he was assumed to be three, he didn't know for sure. He could not remember anything before then. Jay's father had told him that his wife had found him when she was heading out on a holiday with her sister. She had delayed it by a week and instead cared for him along with Jovian. She never came back from that holiday, murdered on the way along with her sister. Jovian had gained a son but lost a wife. It was a trade that still hurt Jovian to this day, not that it every broke his cheery demeanour.

Jay was a few years older than Kai at least, though it didn't always show. Kai was given his birthday the same as Jay, now he was grown up he realised how much easier it made things for Jovian. Kai loved Jovian like a father, even if he truly wasn't, but unlike Jay he got no satisfaction from being a fletcher. He didn't feel like it was unworthy of him, just that he knew he didn't enjoy it as the two of them did. He felt like there was something out there calling to him, the world was waiting for him to explore it. His parents were waiting out there to be found.

Jovian's aged face turned to Kai and smiled. His rugged brown hair fell over his ears and his concerned eyes looked into Kai's. His hands continued to work, the result of many years training Kai knew.

“So Kai, have you given any thought about getting another job?” he asked. He smiled at Kai and checked the arrow he was working on, not waiting for a reply.

“Is it that obvious?”

“Since I adopted you, I knew you wouldn't want to follow in my footsteps. Don't think I wasn't aware of what I was getting into with you. Sons and daughters traditionally continue to do what their parents do, just like the passing of weapons. None of that matters to you, you want something else. I realised years ago that you need to have your independence. I don't want us to have another argument about that again.”

Kai sheathed his katana in it's saya on the rear of his belt and stood up. He was further ahead than his father anyway and he didn't feel like continuing to speak sat down. He walked over to the window and looked outside. He caught the glimpse of Jay speaking to someone outside. Jay wanted some time off he'd said and gone out. That was about two hours ago, now Kai had a thought of where he would be. He didn't like not knowing and not much got past him. Jay wasn't the best at whittling, even if he did have a knife to use but that wasn't the reason.

Ignoring his brother's exchange outside, Jay took out two cups and began to fill them. Not turning to Jovian, Kai finally replied “I am sorry about that.”

Five years ago when Jovian had come back from the far west gathering feathers, he had injured his arm during the hunt. For him it was a wakeup call, he decided he was too old to continue being as energetic as he was and decided to pass on the family recurved bow to Jay. The bow itself had been used by generations of them, each one strengthening the bow. It had lasted near two hundred years by this method and Jay was overjoyed to have it. Although he wasn't a bow-maker he did have some experience of it and what would be asked of the limbs.

Kai at the time didn't voice any objection to it, but secretly he had gone out to try and find a weapon for himself. He went multiple times to visit local blacksmiths, though each weapon he tried he couldn't work with.

Eventually he asked Jovian to help him find one but his father had refused. He said Kai could get a weapon when he was the same age as Jay, a couple of years older. Kai hadn't wanted to wait that long.

That night was one of the worst storms of winter, rain came down and the river Wezian had burst it's banks, flooding the western part of the city. As he lay awake the sound of the storm keeping him up he decided that his father was stopping him intentionally. He wondered why his father had the right to decide matters that didn't concern him. He wondered what right his father had had to decide his future for him.

From then on he decided that he hated his father for trying to control him. The following day he had had an argument with his father. Not just an argument, he became violent towards him. He declared that he had no right to enforce upon him what he wanted. He was his own draco, not to be controlled by someone posing as his father, not by anyone. It was a philosophy he kept to this day. Everyone deserves to make their own choices, everyone had the right to their own future.

After the argument, they didn't speak for days. Kai was on the verge of leaving behind this home but Jovian, he suspected due to Jay's intervention, apologised to him. Eventually he took Kai to the another blacksmith, Tarec, who specialised in more rare weapons and eventually he had found the weapon for him, at great cost to Jovian who it was only years later had Kai realised how much Jovian had actually paid for the weeks of searching and crafting.

Although eventually they fixed up the argument, Kai never wanted to be told what to do again. The memory had stayed with him, no matter how disappointed he was how he had acted. He didn't know he could become so angry and yet, the thought always stayed with him.

“I really am” he continued, “Here, let me finish up my half.” He returned to the table and left Jovian's drink in front of him. Jovian leaned back on his chair and put up his feet on the third chair and began gulping down the water.

“No, don't worry about it,” he replied, wiping clean his lips, “You go out and keep your brother from wasting all his money. If he wants to get paid, he can do his half tomorrow.”

Kai ignored him and sat back down and flicked out his katana, drew it up into his fingers and continued on the arrow shafts.

“You've changed since that storm two weeks back. This better not be anything to do with that murder? I told you they caught him.”

“It's nothing to do with that, it was Jay who busy having a heart attack. I have a feeling he won't be happy about another early morning, let him have a bit of time off.”

“That may be true, but I know very well you don't want to be an arrow maker. You're getting to the age now and I want to help you on your way. You want to go into the army? With a nephew in the army I'm sure we could get you fast tracked. I'm sure Commander N-”

Interrupting Jovian, Kai said “No, I don't think the army would suit me, it would just be another cage. At least with you I get to go out to Zea Vas and the Woods of Air. Sure, I'd get to travel, then stay in one spot for a month, sounds thrilling. If you want to know what I intend to do, I will tell you. I want to go out and find who I am. Maybe my real father or mother can help me. I don't need a lot of money to travel the world.”

“You really are serious then? Jay was kidding, I understand. I've seen you grow up a lot Kai and one thing I've always admired you for was your dedication to a single goal, you choose something and you stick with it, regardless. I'll tell you what.”

Kai raised an eyebrow. Even before Jovian continued he already knew what he was going to say. It happened a lot with him and normally he'd interrupt but this time he'd let him have his moment.

“You and Jay can go to the castle and deliver the arrows next week in my stead. You might find someone or something there to help you, there are some friendly people up there, and if you're delivering arrows won't be hard to sneak a look into their armoury. Besides, I have been meaning to visit Julian before he goes on his holiday.”

For the rest of the day, Kai was silent, his father chose not to say anything more and Jay didn't come in. Kai spent his time whittling thinking on his father's words. The thought of going to the palace appealed to him, in terms of finding any knowledge that would help him. A necessary evil perhaps to ask for help from the royal family, but technically the armoury belonged to everyone. What was better though was knowing Jovian finally admitting he knew Kai wasn't going to become a fletcher and instead he would be behind him in helping him. It was a thought that made him glad that of all the families to find him, it was this one.

As he finished up the last arrow shaft, he let his hand fall on his katana's hilt and looked at Jovian, lost in concentration on Commander Nova's order. Kai stood up and pushed in his chair and caressed his weapon, letting it whisper to him.

Zephkar.
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PostSubject: Re: Champion of Darcoleayn - Spirit of Fire (Version 1) [Non-Gaming]   Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:25 pm

Chapter 10 - Birth

Jay turned round to see Kai coming up the path behind him. He thought about some witty pun to say about him coming out a bit early. The city was beginning to fall silent as workers returned to their houses or the pubs, despite the fact there was still a bit of light in the air. Jay liked his sleep unlike his brother, so he debated about going in or talking with Kai.

Kai arrived far to quickly for him, and he gave up going in. Kai had come out to talk to him, this much he knew. As much as he preferred other people to start talking, once he began it wasn't easy to shut him up.

“Let me guess, I have work to do?” Jay called out, laying back down onto the thick grassy mound that overlooked the back of their house. During their childhood they loved to make sledges and slide down into the back of the house. Overtime more and more houses had been built and now the hill was little more than a mound. Kai didn't respond until he was sat down beside his brother.

“You're lucky, I did your lot for you. Besides, what were you doing that was so important?” Kai replied, typically replying to a question with another question. He scanned over Jay's face and he knew he was trying to gauge his reaction. Jay had known him for too long.

“It was a draca-”

“You're lying. It was a draco and one older than you.”

“Like I said, a draca and her father didn't want-”

“You're lying. What were you paying for?” Kai retorted stubbornly. There wasn't really much point continuing.

“Secret. Happy now? You don't have to know everything.” Jay finished, changing tact. Miraculously, Kai decided not to continue pushing. As Jay breathed a sigh of relief, Kai changed the subject.

“We're going to the palace to deliver the arrows instead of father” his brother said to him, a slight sense of excitement in his voice, one Jay hadn't heard for a long time. He was pleased to hear his brother so happy. Kai was normally so reclusive.

“Next week?” he replied.

Kai nodded his head and drew out his katana. Jay took a step back to see what he would do. It had been a long time since he had stayed out at nights, tonight he was curious as to how well Kai's skills had come along. He knew Kai went out every night to practice, as much as he might try and hide it, Jay knew, unlike Kai knew about his riding lessons. Despite this, he had never actually stayed awake that long to see, nor did he think Kai would appreciate the company. Add to this all the storms and Jay had decided sleep and indoors was better.

He waited but his brother did nothing, almost like a hunter waiting for his target to make the first move. He just stood on the mound, his gaze looking over the city, picking out every single detail. His eyes darted around and Jay leaned up to get a view on what he seemed to be focused on, something in the distance.

“Something out there?” Jay decided to ask, the eerie silence annoying him.

“The world I guess. By the way, you're not normally out this late?”

“You're not normally out this early.” he gave his brother in quick reply.

He stood there looking at his brother waiting for some reply. Normally he was always so eager to get the last word. Ever since a couple of weeks ago he had shut Jay out more so than usual. Kai seemed to b about as understandable as a riddle written back-to-front, and upside down, and in a different language. Perhaps he should take it up as a professional career, upstanding orphans. When it became obvious Kai had no intention of adding anything else to that short conversation Jay himself decided to break the silence.

“I wanted to see how you've improved, maybe have a little contest”

Kai's eyebrow raised at the sound of a contest and motioned for his brother to continue. If there was one thing that could be guaranteed to perk his brother's interest, a contest with wit or his sword would. Kai never seemed to get tired of beating Jay in competitions. He debated for a moment about trying something out that he could win.

“Let's see it then.” Kai said out of no where. It was typical of him to say exactly what he was thinking. Typical and annoying most of the time.

“Let's see if you are as good with that sword of yours as I am with my bow.” Jay said getting to his feet quickly and stretching in the thin light, ready for action. “The crack nearest the chimney hole. See how close you can get it.”

Jay pulled his bow from his back. He stroked his fingers down the recurved front part, over the wood he had added himself to give it extra strength, or so thought. In the end he liked the slight rag-tag look he had given to it, even if his father said it was strong and accurate enough as it was. With his left hand he felt behind him for the familiar feel of feathers and flicked the first arrow round against the string.

He pulled it back and took aim, closing his left eye. As he let the bowstring go, Kai nudged his arm and the arrow shot wide. The arrow glided through the air and dug into the roof well below it's mark. Jay heard the slight sound of Kai laughing. As he turned round to confront him, he pushed Kai hard but his brother didn't falter from his stance.

“Oh come on, that's hardly fair.” Jay complained.

“Fair doesn't work when you're fighting. Feel free to do whatever you want to distract me, it's not my fault you can't focus on what's ahead. Now, what do you want me to do?”

“You throw your sword up there, see if you match me.” He was quite confident that his brother wasn't adept at throwing his sword. His brother kept one eye on him, likely expecting him to try and interfere, not that Jay had any intention of. He didn't need to cheat to win, even if his brother didn't mind.

Kai twisted to his right, staring at Jay as he did. Jay took a step forward as if to leap at him but it didn't get reaction he was expecting, or hoping, from Kai. Kai twisted once again and as he returned to standing up straight threw his katana through the air, it spinning round like a disk.

It stuck in the roof a few inches above his own arrow. Jay let his jaw drop momentarily before seeing Kai was looking at him instead his impressive throw. He shut his mouth and looked back at Kai's katana embedded into the roof above his arrow. Turns out he was quite capable.

“Well” he said to his brother, who was now looking quite smug, “because you didn't actually get it in the hole itself, you're the one who is going to have to go up there and get it. The advantages for having more than one arrow.”

Kai glared at him. Jay had beaten him and he knew. He decided to return it with a half-hearted chuckle. A proud moment for Jay, finally outwitting his brother.

Kai ran down the edge of the mount and jumped up at the wall of the house. Jay was quite surprised to see him actually reach the edge of the roof and pull himself up, tearing away at the thatching, thankfully leaving it mostly intact if a little scruffy.

“By fire, how did you manage to throw it so easily?”

“A simply case of lightening I guess. Though by the cost you wouldn't think it was simple.” Kai called back down.

“I'm still not convinced. Anyway, reckon you could get my arrow while you're up there?” he called to his brother, but no reply came.

Kai was standing there looking at something over the Darcosynn walls. He decided to try and have a look too. Running he got a hand on the edge of the roof, before Kai knelt down helped him up, though his brother constantly kept his eyes on the north.

Jay looked to the south, expecting to still see Illuminus up but it had disappeared beyond the horizon. Only up here did he really notice out light it still was, and the sun had disappear maybe as long as an hour ago. He looked to where Kai was observing.

A red pillar was in the far distance, reaching from the ground to the sky, far to the north west. It was like nothing he had ever seen. He focused his gaze on it more. It looked like fire. A tornado of fire ripping up the earth beneath it. The main funnel seemed to stretch for a mile, with the flames reaching out further beyond that. It's base was hidden by the horizon and yet it stood out sharply against the evening sky, creating the light in Illuminus' absence.

“A volcano?” he asked.

“No, it's too perfect,” Kai responded dryly.

He heard something on the air. It sounded like someone whispering, someone whispering not words but noises. The winter chill began to fade and it began to feel like a summer evening.

“What do you think it is? It looks like-”

“Fire,” Kai said, finishing Jay's sentence, “it's too perfect for any normal fire.”

“Magic?”

“Likely.”

“Amazing. Doubt anyone else here is seeing this. What do you reckon caused it??” he asked his brother. He turned to see his brother not looking up at the weird thing in the distance but at the palace.

“We're not the only ones,” he said coldly.

<><><><><>

It was an amazing sight for Yezu. A mixture of the magic of fire and the magic of earth. He wondered to himself what was causing it. Whatever it was, it was incredibly powerful. Perhaps the most powerful magic ever seen in the world, hearkening back to the ages of dragons. He wanted to see it for himself. He wanted to touch it himself. He wanted to feel it for himself.

“Fetch Astra, Taeus” he said to his guard, standing behind him. He picked up the last of his kryptor wings and let his fangs dig into it.

“She will still be eating my Lord, would you still like me to get her?”

“Yes, go. She will want to see this.”

“I will leave a guard at your door my Lord.”

He assumed Taeus took a bow before opening the door of the balcony and departing. Alone in the night. He wanted to be there. Wanted to know what it was like. Wanted to touch it.

A voice floated across the evening breeze.

Magic indeed.

<><><><><>

Out of her open eye, Marissa saw the torrent of magic, rising from beneath the earth to above the sky. The heat of it was intense, it made her glad she wore so little compared to her brothers and sisters in the Sect, even if she didn't feel the cold as much as them. She was the only one who was overly impressed, or at least didn't show it. All the others, and Darz had over years gathered hundreds of followers, looked up in astonishment. While the Sect knew all about magic, not even their strongest magi, herself, could ever compete with this.

The sound of flames and magic echoed over the ridge, Marissa had led them as fast as she could, but they were still a few miles away. That is where they would have to stay until it died down. The wall of flames that blocked the main cyclone was not far ahead and would burn them alive if they tried to break through. The tornado had begun to grow and from their camp they had seen it tear away at the earth, incinerating everything. They abandoned their camp and storms of fire had swallowed it whole.

She hoped for her own safety the flames would calm down before Darz grew impatient. He had already been waiting months for this moment. Even if she didn't mind him killing him, ever since Sea Vas he had stepped his cruelty, and as usual it was Maleus and his dracas that bore the brunt. Even though she knew how callous he could be, she still would lose herself to his loving embrace and make the hurt that followed sting that much more.

She could only hope this could sate his anger.

The Blood of Gigaros was being born.

She didn't hear the footsteps that kicked her in the stomach, too engrossed in the flames. She rolled up and faced her attacker, the grim face of Darz looked down at her body, his rugged face smiling and his eye squinting against it's scar.

“We're going my dear” he said in his rough voice. It was a voice that instantly told her that he didn't want to see spectacles anymore. He wanted results.

Rubbing her stomach, she replied that the fires would kill anyone trying to pass.

“And you are going to halt them. You are in this Sect for one reason Marissa. Your magic. Now, open a door or die trying.””

“Give it a few more moments my Lord. The fires are just that, fire, fire of immense power. You won't get through until the magic of it's birth has died down. Not even the magic of all of us will break through that, let alone mine, I swear.”

“What is it that is being born my dear?” he asked, his eyes moving off her body and into her eyes.

A look of confusion crossed her face.

Umrvas Gigaros” she replied, “The Blood of Gigaros.”

This seemed too much for Darz and his face contorted with rage.“Blood of what you stupid little draca?!” he stated in bloodthirsty voice. His hand moved from his waist to her throat. Cold fingers now grasped he neck.

“I- My Lord, I told you before, back at the caverns.”

“Filthy liar, I would have remembered!” he yelled at her, throwing her by her throat to the ground. Other members of the Sect were starting to gather around her, looking at her laid out on the ground. Lyu began to laugh. As she did Darz spun round and punched her round the face, causing her to stumble to the ground.

“I swear, my Lord, I told you before, The sign of the birth of earth, the creation of fire, the Blood of Gigaros will come. I do not know why you forgot but-”

His foot came down on her stomach cutting her short, making it obvious that wasn't the answer. His sharp foot claws having drawn blood this time round and tearing her prized kimono. She decided to try a different tactic.

“Maybe my Lord, I cannot translate it to you. I will say to you it is the Blood. Some magic is preventing me from fully translating it for you. Not knowing a word will not diminish any of it's power.”

“This sounds like a lie to save your own scales, what proof do you have?”

“The Blood my Lord! It is the Blood, the Blood of something from the ages of dragons. The power is in the being, not the words! I do not claim to understand any of the magic from those ages past. This is some word magic I cannot compete with.” she pleaded.

“I don't accept your theory my dear, but for now, I will take it was true. We are going, get up and lead us down to what has been born. If the wall of flames have not diminished in five minutes then you will test for us how hot it really is. Now get up, the both of you!”

Jix was helping Lyu up, stroking her hair as he did it. He seemed to looking for company tonight.

No one dared help Marissa, so on her own she struggled to her feet and slowly walked towards the dying pillar of fire and rock. It didn't concern her that much, she was confident in her own magic, she felt the heat diminish. Even if it hadn't complete dissipated in five minutes, she should be able to break it. What worried her more was as the pain in her stomach.

The pain she had for overlooking magic even she didn't completely understand. Magic that may yet cause more pain than a kick in the stomach.

As she got to her feet she heard something on the wind. The words flowed effortlessly into her mind, like a story she was told as a child.

Har va taros har tera, har laros, Umrvas Gigaros zep jaros.
Hy ja lik Gigaros. Hy ja lik Yer.
Tera zep jaros. Tera zep jaros.
Gigarosnian jo Hunt.


“That sound...what is it?” asked Darz to anyone that would listen. She didn't feel the need to translate, the words were too loose and whispered anyway,

“I don't know my Lord, but...I feel an urge to...hunt,” replied Jix.

“As do I, Darz,” stated Marr, his head turned.

“The wind itself wants us to find our goal. Hunt!” shouted Darz in encouragement. As if by design, the tornado splintered into the wind, showing the cremated remains of their camp. Marissa ran up to beside Darz before she was dragged at the army of the Sect moved ever closer towards their goal.
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PostSubject: Re: Champion of Darcoleayn - Spirit of Fire (Version 1) [Non-Gaming]   

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Champion of Darcoleayn - Spirit of Fire (Version 1) [Non-Gaming]
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