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Vikne (played by yourfathersuncle)

The shaman sat still, taking in the sights and sounds from his perch atop his scaled friend. His burn was severe, though curiously a crimson line had formed upon it's edges. He knew the significance, but would remain silent on the matter. Such speech would find him dead or exiled. "Dalitso, I will keep quiet for now, though this unfortunate reaction is related to that matter I sought to speak about." Came Vikne, who lifted himself ever so slightly.

He gazed upon the queen, watching as she approached the undead lord. She said her piece and awaited his response it seemed. "Death befalls all of us, but he has been granted a second chance it appears." Vikne sat entirely up, leaning his left arm upon the dragoness' neck. As the shaman went to his thoughts, a sinister and unfamiliar thirst began to manifest itself. He became uneasy.

"Let us at least find shade if naught else, I find myself oddly oppressed by the sun. And thirsty, anyone have some water?" Moaned the shaman.

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Zamora (played by Aubrey)

Her hold on Vikne had been temporary, and only a means to put the shaman on her back. He was in and out of the massive jaws all at once. The voices of two nobodies identifies the body, as well as the potential for reward. While dragons are often seeking ways to expand their hoards, this particular critter won't be touching anything reanimated. Not for one copper or a million gold. As the current steed to Dalisto, Vikne, and Alicia, she makes sure to keep her movements slow, predictable, and jarring in the slightest. Each step is measured and even, allowing them a decent sense of balance over the slender expanse of her mercury back. "Dwarves are fool enough to bow to pyrite. You'll find no valuables in their chambers."

The appearance of a duo of Lich does nothing to calm the dragoness. Her tail lifts and drops sharply on the ground, releasing a solid thump to announce her displeasure. At that point, she decided to cease in her lingering. Her wings snap outwards, body straightens, and limbs bend. Her riders will have enough time to brace themselves, should they note that the ground was about a foot closer. There are no spikes to grab - only a smooth expanse of scales harder than diamonds. Unparalleled balance serves to keep the riders aboard as she takes off, her tongue easily tracking the settlement to the north. Thus Elvira is left alone with Lord Holt.

Just before coming upon the camp's border, Zamora sees a reasonably sized clearing and ducks down to walk, leaving only a quarter mile between where they are, and where they ought to be. The wind of her wings buffets the trees, causing a cascade of pine needles and a most particular forest breeze to alert anyone, or anything, within several hundred yards. Squirrels and other lesser prey will flee, perhaps even predators as well. In the end, she stands steady. "Mage, stay on. Woman, man - get off." There will be but a moment for them to comply, or else she'll begin to growl. Within two heartbeats, Alicia and Dalisto; whichever still lingers on her shoulders, will be grabbed roughly and shoved to the earth. When Vikne remains the sole rider upon her shoulders, Zamora shifts to a much smaller figure. Though still looking like a dragon, she has down-graded to the size of a draft horse. Her lime green eyes sweep lazily over their surroundings, easily looking around for signs.

Once she finds the way, she moves at an easy jog. Her pace is nothing like a horse's. It is not dramatic and bouncy, nor is it the thumping, ambling gait of a true western dragon, but it is smooth and like the rush of water; all thanks to her long, agile body. One way or another, she will find the place Elvira spoke of.
Gregory Holt (played by KahnMan)

Unknown Man-At-Arms
At Dalitso's words, the old man eyed him scornfully, "Forgive, m'lord. Th' dead'll be left richer at their rot then," he says with with the sting of sarcasm in his gruff voice, though bolder than that, he does not dare lest he'd provoke the Dragoness ire at his side. But he cannot deny him, he feels it too, the feeling in his gut, the waft in the air, his instincts, it tells him that the horde has yet to end, more of dead will come. But to be rallied so quickly for another march, not a proper time to mourn nor a time to loot; himself and the men couldn't help but feel displeasure at the hurry.

Among this long respite granted by the Shadowmancer, a portal of hellish red tore open in the air; setting forth bone chilling wails that gave even the veteran man goosebumps. Emerging from this unholy realm was two death knights and a lich. The men all stirred to combat. Axes and maces ripped from leather straps, shields held forth, polearms protruded towards the undead. The Dragoness seem to share the footmen's displeasure, though the whip of her tail upon the earth only serve to shock the already jumpy men.

"Damnable pile o' bones! Ye servants to th' Drow!" Exclaims a man, bearded, absent of helm, with a bloodied bandage wrapped around his forehead, menacingly swinging his mace in the air.

"Th' cat's a necromancer, methinks she pledge for th' Drow, I tell you's, skewer 'er wit' a pike!" Another yells out, a man at the far back, covered from view.

The Lich's magics seemed like telekenisis as she encased their beloved General in a shield as dark as sin. They would've charged to her rescue, were it not for the old man-at-arms. "Th' deads on our side, ya' dolts, a Valkyrn, bound to th' dark feller o'er there, Delilah's in good hands, I hope." he explains, calming his compatriats. With the absence of Delilah, these militias would turn to the guidance of this old man, since he seems to be the more wiser and experienced amongst them.

With that done, it was time to march northwards. The old man shouted a command for the surviving humans to march in dual lines, then letting Dalitso lead them to Welden'eve.

Lord Gregory Holt
It shows no appreciation it seems, even when Dalitso had prevented the men-at-arms from attacking it, still it stands there, a surviving mystery.

Then rides an Elven Queen towards it. A falchion in her hand, tall on her horse and ever bit as regal bearing as one could see, but it could not. Upon closer look, the undead is tall, closer to six than five. Upon its head, a halfhelm decorated with several small conical spikes encircled around it like a circlet for a helm. It's shoulder cape, once smooth silk, mayhaps even a banner of it's house upon it, now a smelly, black rag drenched in sea water. In two of its gauntlet-clad hands, a nasty warhammer, though the head seems to bear likeness closer to a halberd than an actual warhammer; still fresh with blood from the enemies it felled and caked with sand. The armor it dons is castle-forged steel, trimmed in gold. Age and neglect has dulled its colour however. But still the craftmanship shows its excellence, enough that even fools know that the kind of armor is only afforded for landed knights, nobles and monarchs. Armored head-to-toe with barely any flesh to bare, to know its undeath, is by its exposed visage. Its flesh blackened and mostly rotted away, lips had peeled back from its naked, darkened teeth. Eyes and nose, dark empty holes. Its appearace, its very presence, would unsettle anyone that lingers too long around it.

"I do not know if you can understand me," she pondered quietly "But so long as you do not bring harm to us, you are welcome to follow."

The undead is still then. Like a statue. No twitching, no shaking, nothing. It simply watches her with those hollows for eyes. Then after a while, it nods. Accepting her invitation. Without waiting for her response, it marches for the others as they were about to leave.
Dalitso (played by Serverus) Topic Starter

Several events occurred all after Delilah was secured in the demon realm; two of which Dalitso did not expect or have control of. He had defended the dead, which was something he never thought would happen and the old Man-At-Arms got sarcastic with him because of it. His men even threatened to skewer Dalitso's Valkryn companion; which all sounded like background noise, when Vikne looked into the warrior's eyes and pleaded to have that discussion. "I promise once we get to shelter I will lend you my ear, friend. Just hang on until we get there."

Then Elvira departed from her contingent, rebelliously. The elves in her circle pleaded for her to yield, but Dalitso told them to let her go or go with her, in support of the Queen's spontaneous act. The Elves stood there in the distance and would not defy their own fears. Dalitso was very tired having fought merfolk all night on sea and then coming into this historic blood bath on the shore. His limbs were sore and it was hard for him to move now. So he smiled and gave Elvira a nod, seeing that she gazed at him in consideration, before she went to encourage Lord Holt. It would feel like trust from him and approval in her heart if she had seen his smile and nod. He knew she could take care of herself.

Dalitso on the other hand would hold things together in her leave. He had to deal with Deliliah's people and his own people, so having her support on this Holt matter took pressure off his heart. And if Lord Holt could understand his message, by stating that his armor was not for sell, meant he had a place with the Demon Caravan. He was not just a stack of bones to Dalitso, but somehow Holt had life. He knew something was important about him, since the undead Jubileenian did not fall into the ground like all the others. When Elvira spoke privately to Lord Holt, Dalitso turned to the young men in the Man-At-Arms squadron.

"You men have no honour do you?" Dalitso frowned. "Lord Holt has come back and all you could think about is profiting from the dead. Well that man there isn't dead." He pointed out to Holt.

Dalitso could see their pink faces. The Afgarian was more of a man then all of them. They should have been more mature, him being half their age. Even the older one would look stilled in his proud visage, opening his ears to hear a young man's wisdom for once.

"We are doing our best to preserve your Commander, without the risk of her killing everyone. And here you threaten the one who is risking her own life to protect Delilah."

He unsheathed his sword again, while Zamora shifted ever so impatiently.

"I swear this...if any of you turn on my Valkryn, I will fence each you to the death. Understand this. Then after I defeat you, I shall tell your King about the treason done against us."

He had more to say, seeing that Holt made no move on Elvira. "Lord Holt is coming with us, so again his armor is not for reward. Gather your men, sir, if you will and meet us north in the Deep Woods." The last sentence was said to the Man-At-Arms.

Then Dalitso was aggressively lifted into the air against his will. He cursed some words...but Zamora probably did not hear them. He did not want to leave Elvira and his Gypsies down there. But of course his Dragoness violently chose to leave. He hoped that her lack of patience would not be the death of them.



Zosa rode in close to Elvira, along with her sisters, who all were gifted horses from the elven contingent. The Elves may not have had the heart to ride beside their Queen, but the Gypsies were there; with demon blades gripped in their hands, ready for a fierce mounted combat, if need be. Nahita, Pela and Sanze made a line behind the Queen and Zosa was the one who came inches beside her. "My Lord Dalitso, supports your decision to seek out Lord Holt." She bowed her head to Elvira and Gregory. "But that beast Zamora has taken him and Vikne in the air. We do not know where they have gone. Perhaps now is the time to move with haste like never before, your grace."



In the Deep Woods, it was much more intense than any forest in Obelus. It was the first forest Ecru created to help defend the Elvatians; some called it the Old Forest. Once upon it, dark fog cursed the light around everything making the sun hard to penetrate. Zamora would find it hard to see anything. She certainly would not find the camp. Only Elvira would find it as it was hidden from outsiders. The trees listened and the cursed creatures did not fear the beast in the air. There were no squirrels and owls in this forest, instead there were creatures that man and outsider have never seen before. Thus, they were allied with the one who harnessed the Shrine of Mystalion; she was their mother and they would heed her words. Dalitso was barely conscious at this point and the darkness only made him more weary. When they found themselves on the ground and Zamora told him and Alicia to get down, he was already off her scales before her words were said. Whatever strength was left, he used it to pull down Alicia and keep her safe with him.

"It appears we are lost, Vikne. I promise you we will get that talk. But for now we need to figure out where we are."

The trees began to shift, fiercely as if they came alive. Long roots took hold of Zimora, Vikne, Dalitso and Alicia. A deep voice was heard and large yellow eyes were opened from the darkness. Behind this guardian were a hundred more eyes similar. "Foolish children. Who permitted you to come this far into the rugged Deep? Hmm."
Elvira acknowledged that there would be no benefit to continue to exchange remarks with the dragon, so she simply allowed the remark to slide. The Elvatian, or the elves as they were so commonly truncated in these days, harbored an ancient grudge against the Dwarves that ran deep, back to the beginnings of the species' histories. If the Elves had continued their traditions as ardently as they had, it would be no surprise that the Dwarves might have done the same, guarding the Mountains of Creation from anyone--but particularly any elves, whom they despised. She had a feeling that such a journey would be only more complicated with the constraint of time.

She had met Dalitso's eyes with a muted gratefulness with his support, those violet hues weary also, and harboring a greater burden than simple exhaustion.

The revenant seemed...compliant enough, merely walking back towards the rest of the army several moments after her sentiment. The Queen of course remained somewhat uneasy as he left her standing there, as the biases of the most recent battle still stained her. However, she had always been a compassionate woman...as her mind wandered back to Dezus, some of that reminiscence became tainted with a note of bitter scorn. Too compassionate, some may have said...she couldn't deny the ache that his betrayal brought upon her. Enough had been sacrificed on her part...and everything she had given seemed to blow away like leaves in the wind. As if it meant nothing. The revelation was painful and weighed upon her heart.

She looked up, shielding her eyes a little just as Zamora took off with Dalitso, Vikne, and Alicia, sheaves of wind gusting above them all with every flap of those great wings and causing the dust to stir about them. She was about to cry out--for Ecru's sake, where were they even going? The last thing that they needed now was to be separated, they had all just found one another...but the dust prevented her from speaking, as she kept her lips pressed together so as not to inhale the grit.

It would seem that she could only hope that they would be alright.

As the dust died down in the wake of the dragon's departure, Elvira glanced behind her to acknowledge the warrior women who had been with Dalitso, and the Queen nodded at Zosa's suggestion. "Yes, let us depart with haste. The men have rounded themselves up, and my soldiers and I will ride upon the outskirts to keep our group together. The last thing we need is for people to get lost. Especially with our camp nestled in the Deepwood." With a shift of her knees, she edged her mount to canter towards the large gathering of the rest of their troops, human, elven, and others that still remained.

After issuing orders to the remaining of the elven contingent, a few of which cast her eyes away from her in guilted deference, Elvira sought to take point in the guidance of the army's direction, and in doing so she sought out the older man whom had already begun issuing orders. She wondered what guidance the man was drawing from. It was not as if any maps were given to these humans, how would they even know which direction to go? "If I may...Welden'eve is closest, yes, but on the way there, there is a camp in the ancient woods where we may rest. And so long as I lead you, no harm will come upon your men." She could not say that eldritch magics lay at work in the forest's heartbeat, as it lay as part of the elven secrets that should not be shared so freely.

Even now, the forest whispered, and none but she could hear. The Queen could feel the vast entity at the background of her consciousness stirring, as it had from the moment that the undead had risen from the bowels of the earth. And even now, she looked behind her, into the forest's silence. Listening. Feeling. As the ruler of the Elvatian, she guarded the forest and its Shrine.

She could feel eyes upon her, and so she spoke. "Let us be away, then. The sooner we are able to settle in camp, the better it will be for all of us." And with that small declaration, she set off at a hastened pace deeper into the glades, trusting that the reat of the army would follow. The elven soldiers would assure that none were left behind.

Ara'huïn, mra'n dewelden, gherûd'yukhæsv onotrof.

Ara'huin, forest mother, grant us safe passage.


The unspoken response flushed into her senses, and she became uneasy. But still she pressed on, leading. These people needed her now, and she would not fail them.
Amaranthine (played by Dndmama)

It's a beautiful day. The perfect day. The sun shines down from a cloudless sky causing the brilliant aquamarine waves of the Mer Sea to glitter and sparkle like a rolling ocean of gems. The breeze is cool yet mild, pulling a few fallen leaves along its meandering path. There's not a soul to be seen from one end of the golden beach to the other. There is only one problem. The fish aren't biting, no matter how enticing the bait she uses. There's something strange in the air. A tension that can't be attributed to the sand or the water or the weather. A feeling of magic, unholy and corrupt. Something is coming. Out of the water a hand, rotted by time and bloated by salt water sinks into the shore like a claw.

Two leather clad feet beat along the forest floor. An old short sword forged in the manner of orcs drenched in black blood and viscous ichor. Gulping breathes, hot and fast and desperate. Pale green winter leaves splashed crimson with a young girl's blood. Shrieks and moans as the dead give chase. There are too many. They are everywhere. There is no escape.

An elven horn blows, the sound silvery and strong. Arrows with green and red fletching fly, though they have little effect upon the dead. Only a sword or a hammer can stop them true, cut out their legs, smash in their gnashing teeth. Thankfully there are bright and gleaming swords forged within the heart of Haramon charging into the fray in the arrow's wake. A hand outstretched. A smile both reassuring and grim. "Come, lisse'hin e'awra. The dead shall not win this day. I am called Mish'vel. We shall deliver you to safety."




In a far corner of the camp set up by the elven army within the over arching and protective branches of the Deep Woods, a young pale skinned elven girl sits upon a fallen log. She is dressed in dusty, sandy, muddy, blood spattered leathers, torn and worn out in several places, and her pale strawberry blond hair is pulled up in a tight ponytail atop her head. In human years she would look no older than fourteen or fifteen. Or rather she would look it could you see her face. Her age is more implied by her gangling limbs and the simultaneously disdainful and uncertain look in her large grey eyes since the bottom half of her face is completely covered by a thin dark green veil. The scrap of cloth, tied on with a strip of leather, reaches from ear to ear, arches over the bridge of her nose and falls well past where the girl's chin must be. As she sits she fiddles with this facial covering, eyes darting furtively around at the elven soldiers as they go about the business of preparing for the return of their queen.

Beside her on the log sits a young elf in light leather armor with the symbol of the Crown of Laurels embossed upon the shoulder. He is speaking to her in a soft, low, kind voice as he binds several gashes on the upper part of her left arm. She says nothing to him in return, however. Should an answer be required he will have to interpret a simple nod or perhaps a shake of her head as best he can.
Alicia (played by ShayN-03)

Many events had occurred since they've set foot on land. Ever since leaving the North, her life has been chaotic. She's experienced none of the order nor oppression she had to endure before. And she loved it, though, the price at this point was probably what little was left of her sanity.

The threat of the undead, an orc attack, and the North was still present. It would forever haunt the young Gladiatrix's mind but thankfully they had powerful allies on their side. Though, some of them were questionable really. One of them being Zamora, who had a nasty temper, one that worried Alicia greatly. She had people she deemed worthy of protecting, she wouldn't allow the dragon to be the reason why she'll lose what she's gained.

Pushing aside her thoughts, she gazed at her surroundings. Underneath the canopy, barely any light shone. Alicia tensed, they had just gotten out of a gruesome battle. She didn't know if they'd be able to defend themselves from an enemy effectively given their state. Alicia was especially concerned for the shaman and Dalitso.

Grasping the handle of her scimitar for comfort once more, she mentally prepared herself for anything.

....Y'know how Alicia prepared herself to deal with any situation thrown at her? Yeah, unfortunately, this wasn't one of them. Attempting to pull out her scimitar, she soon realized the roots held a firm grip on her. This gave her... a bit of anxiety really. She gritted her teeth and shot back, "And who are you to be here?" She silently worked on trying to wiggle an arm free from the restraints if she could.
Dalitso (played by Serverus) Topic Starter

The Protectors of the Forest, surrounded them by the hundreds. Glades of life watched over them with harsh eyes. Vines subdued flesh like tendrils tightened into rooted hands. Dalitso remained calm as the roots gripped around his fine muscles, tearing into his lion cloak. He would not struggle as he knew the more he did, the tighter the roots became. He and Alicia would have their scimitars taken from them. Albeit it was Alicia who voiced her question to them and the wise one simply looked down on her, adoring her with his large yellow hues.

"Ah, girl, but I am a tree. You are asking this like a fish who fled the sea. You certainly smell like the ocean. Is this where you have come from?" He snickered.

Its vines were gentle with Alicia as he ran his hands through her hair fatherly. Whilst there was a resistance that threatened the Deep Woods and all who guarded her. They were in the mallow swamps so even the predatory critters feared the beast that brought them here. Zamora roared wildly, cutting and slicing roots with her claws. She was possessed with anger having been subdued against her will. She was a free Dragon who had never been subjugated before. Unfortunately she was exhausted from flying them here and not all powerful. She was a Mercury and Copper mutt that could only use one of her powers each day. She had chosen this Dragon form that made her flesh easily obtainable no matter the size. The Forest Guardian lifted her upward away from her companions who sought peace. There she was handled by more vines.

"Calm yourself Dragon...or I will be forced to end you." The Guardian said.

Zamora's eyes widened in horror. She feared death. But she would not go out alone. She roared her incinerating light breath that wailed on Vikne, who was the nearest to her, melting the very skin from his bones.

"Murderer!" Dalitso yelled in rage; tears bellowed from his eyes.

His cry could be heard from the long distance. The incinerating light was a strong force that could be seen from miles away. Elvira would know they were in the swamps and she could feel Vikne's death. Everyone who rode with her could see Zamora's light that came down on the Mad Shaman. The Tree Guardian increased the pressure on Zamora's throat, closing the breath from her lungs. Her eyes were the first to go, as blood shot through them and her neck was snapped off. Eventually the trees induced enough pressure to rip her entirely apart; piece by piece.

Dalitso watched all of this in dismay. He and Alicia were carefully released.

Dalitso took Alicia in his arms to hold her tight in a hug. He did not even pull for his weapon. He would not let them harm Alicia, she was all he had now. He had lost so much and his heart was in turmoil.

"Brave warriors. Be not afraid. I know what brought you here and you are safe now." The Tree Guardian promised.


Meanwhile, back on the outskirts: Zosa would ride close to Elvira; helping her gather everyone and make haste into the Deep Woods.

"Gods, what was that, Elvira? It sounded like a Dragon. What else is in that forest that we should expect?" Zosa asked.

Sanse being the youngest of the Gypsies and having the purest heart, only a few years older than Alicia offered to give Lord Holt a ride.

"Come dead one, get on. You can not walk where we go." Sanse said sweetly.
Even before Zamora's roar had echoed through the forest did Elvira look up as the felt the heart of the forest stir. As Urdu's Keeper she was more finely attuned to the powers of and within it and even if she could not see them in her mind's eye, she could feel the roiling hostility that burned, and her soul, rather than ears, heard the cry of agony as the dragon's light ripped through the Deep Wood.

"The forest is a haven of allies, and makes a terrible enemy if provoked," Elvira replied in haste as her violet eyes focused on the greenery. "As Queen, this is my kingdom. And I must protect it." She turned with a flourish to address her remaining guard as well as the warrior women. "Three, with me. We will return soon. The rest, head into the Heart of the Deep. We will return to you shortly before you make it back to the camps."

Trusting that those would would join her would work out the matter amongst themselves and follow shortly, Elvira hustled her mount into a full gallop deeper amongst the trees, bending down to decrease resistance. Oh Dragon, I pray it is not too late... She knew the ferocity of which the forest gave life to, and the determination to protect one's own. Few dared to wander the Deepwood without her and her people, as the ancient souls and magics lingered there.

After several minutes, she could see the stirring of the forest soldiers as she neared the approximation of the place where she had seen that great light, and she could see the bulk of the tree soldiers from behind.

"Astald souls en' i' taure tumba, stand ndu ar' lanta n'alaquel! i' Ohtar ar' ho Mellonea ripa yassen amin!"
Gregory Holt (played by KahnMan)

Gregory Holt
The undead is a subject of stares now. How can it not? Not too long before, it was a terrible rotting monster, waving its warhammer at them, now it is amongst them? Doubtless, some would even think to question Dalitso and Elvira for bringing this damnable sack of bones to march, even defending it, than smite it on the sands.

Many keep their distance, and it doesn't seem to mind. It stares blankly beyond, and halted not even when the Dragoness have apperently meet its demise far within. Only when Sanse rode up to it, offered a mount, did it stop.

It speaks nothing, not suprising thus far. Its rotted, black-fleshed visage facing towards Sanse, somewhat emulating looking. It 'stares' at the young gypsy in silence, in a motionless pause, an uncanny presence that strikes great unease. Right after, it turns forward, continuing the march on foot.
Unknown Man-At-Arms
The old man had counted the men. Eight out of thirteen. He recognize instantly who weren't within the ranks; Samwell, Gared Seven-Fingers, Sargent James, Arnold and Calrin the blacksmith's boy. If ill fate befell Delilah, Sargent James was the commanding rank over the band. Unfortunately, the sargent's head was caved in by the undead tagalong's nasty warhammer during the dreadful bout, conferring the natural leadership to the old man.

The human soldiers had no horses. Thus, they were marching at a far slower pace than the elves and the gypsies on their mounts. At the very least, the wood elves deign to gait their steeds to the pacing of the human's fatigued trudge.

At times like these, they would sing to lighten the dire, a ballad of the brave and angry Bruce Legends, or a hearty folk song of Orm the Strongbear and maybe even a ribald song or two of this and that maiden fair. But this is not any kind of time, for not only do they know that the dead approaches, but also because they are within the Deep Woods. The Deep Woods has sired many a dark and grim tales, from stories of living forests that could crush anything within the tangle of its roots, savage tribes, to dragons living at the hills, thus, everyone, even the old man, is silent.

When all seems silent, save for the mutters of the riders, the steps of horses and men and the forests ambience, a roar, terrible and powerful that echos throughout the glades seemingly shook the earth with it, broke the peace. The old man discern the roar, it was continuous, and fearful, like an animal cornered. Instantaneously, he knew it was their Dragoness.

"Halt!" exclaims the old man, arms at the ready, followed briefly by the other eight.

Searing light followed then, radiating miles from the distance. Crying of a man, audible as well. The old man stands there, dumbfounded and clueless on whats their course of action. Elvira spoke some words, he didn't pay attention to, then rode off with three.

"Gods, even th' winged beast, terrible and monstrous is nay a match to th' forests. Cursed, I say, cursed is this forests. And th' dead'll be there, doubt naught" say a man-at-arms, somewhat relaxing a bit after the beastial bellows were no more.
One of the remaining eight had been a young, brown-haired Northman, a hulking, towering brute with a giant, two-headed axe slung over his back to match. His chainmail, clothing and the cloak that was draped over his back wore the signs of their prolonged skirmishes and battles in the area. Hardly a man past his mid-twenties, he did not look the part of an inexperienced youngster to the unknowing eye of a non-compatriot. It was something about his stature and piercing gaze that had come with his rather one-sided upbringing and early life that did not allow for the others to treat him as less than a seasoned veteran.
Some said the barbarians of the North were born with their first weapon in hand and even though it was a ridiculous statement in itself, it only made sense if one ever met a true sea-wolf. Their natural hardiness stemming from the harsh, unforgiving environment they had adapted to combined with a lifetime of fighting and war steeled the men into fearsome individual warriors who nobody here in the south dared to face on their own. Yet these men had become more than just a curse as of lately. Now that the North had stabilized, it was not uncommon for the men to be hired instead. Despite their rudimentary tactics and volatile nature, they always seemed to produce results no matter the odds. It was as if they grew according to their adversary and a companion of those men worked better than any well-oiled machine.

Yet this man was different. He did not have the air of an unforgiving killer despite his build and scars. Even with all the grime and blood on his attire, his entire body spoke of his relaxed manner at the moment. That was not to say that he was pleased with the current situation. No, far from it but he had learned early to suck it up and bear with such things. So far every annoyance that had occurred over the day had just piled on the next without being able to rest.

The small group of stragglers they had located and wiped out had hardly been enough to justify their loss of sleep in the process. The long marches through winding forest paths, the poisoning of his superior, the undead hordes... he had become a part of this punitive force to make enough money to continue his travels and despite having already earned what he needed, had decided to stay for a little while longer. It had been his commander's influence that had kept him here. Delilah was a woman he had grown to respect over these last few weeks. A strong, fierce compatriot that he could not help but admire a little. Around her, everything had seemed so easy. All she had done had been in the same, rough justice that he had been accustomed to. She... had just been different than the weaklings around her.

Yet now she laid amongst them. Poisoned and weak herself. He did not know the details but judging from the reactions around her, things were looking grim. The old veteran in the group had taken over command but he did not care in the slightest. She was gone. Every order was met by an automated response, the babbling of the man duly ignored but his mind was wandering. If she fell, he would continue his journey but where would he go?
All that was for certain was that his equipment needed mending. His body and clothing needed a scrub. The perimeter possibly needed to be guarded. Camp had to be set up. He needed a warm meal. Then, and only then would he look into the matter of his commander. By then the healers might know enough for him to go by.
If she was lucky, they would be able to save her, if not, he would prepare to mourn in the matter of her loss.

After all, the gods were not benevolent of warriors falling outside of battle, no matter the circumstances.
Alicia (played by ShayN-03)

The Gladiatrix could speak, she understood Zamora’s temper was nasty as the fire she breathed, be she didn’t expect the dragon to take Vikne down with her. She allowed Dalitso to embrace her, knowing the Caravan leader needed comfort and a reminder she remained.

Anger filled her being at their misfortune, but with her fatigue, her rage dimmed. She didn’t need to have her fury cloud her judgment. She stuck close to Dalitso now more than ever, trying to gain any comfort from his presence alone. A little anxiety blossomed whenever the father-figure wasn’t in her sights.

“It’s not your fault,” she murmured.

As much as she wanted to comfort Dalitso and grieve over their losses, they had yet another job to do. Alicia pulled away from Dalitso, patting his back. 

She glared at the Tree Guardian, “There was no need to tie us up.” Anything reminding her of chains frightened her. She understood the reason behind it but remembered Zamora’s fear and anger in the situation. Regardless, she childishly felt the need to blame another as though it would soothe her own guilt.
Amaranthine (played by Dndmama)

Back at the camp the elven soldier has finished binding the undead inflicted wound upon the silent and masked girl's arm. He is a kind young man with two younger sisters one of which is about this girl's age and that causes his heart to go out to her. After nearly ten minutes of cleaning and wrapping her arm, all the while speaking in a gentle and calming voice he has actually managed to coax a word or two from her. They are little better than a negative here or an affirmative there, but it is progress at least.

Or it was until the horrifying and bewildering sound of a maddened dragon decimated the air around them. All activity stops, the cleaning of armor, the sharpening of weapons, the stirring of stew pots. Every soldier and the girl's eyes turn up towards the sky. The shriek of rage is strangled into silence. In the absence of Zamora's death cry, no one speaks. A few of the younger and less experienced soldiers find themselves shaking but they receive no censure from the veterans around them. Who could speak ill of someone who quakes at a dragon's death cry? If anything it is a sign of wisdom.
Dalitso (played by Serverus) Topic Starter

Sanze took a risk trusting Holt. The eldest gypsy, Zosa rode back for her younger sister, with a look of terror in her eyes. Unable to speak, Zosa held her breath as Gregory went on to hike amongst the Jubilee soldiers. She exhaled and cursed words in the Aceban snake tongue, before scolding her in common.

“Foolish girl. You wish to end up like Lozita, is that it?”

“I do not wish or dream for anything, sister. I am old enough now not to believe in wishes and wives tales. And I do not fear death anymore. It is all around us now.” Sanze points to the sky. “Look, even our great Dalitso can not escape it.”

Zosa could say nothing more for retort. It was true that Sanze was maturing before her eyes. She and Alicia would both be young women once they survived this journey. And that was a scary thought to her. “Perhaps. Come young lioness. The Queen is moving.”

“You catch up to the Queen. I am staying back to keep an eye on Gregory and his people. I’ll scout for them and won’t get too far behind. Go. Do not worry, Zosa.” She places her forehead on her sisters then rears her steed to ride off.

Zosa had a blank stare, but accepted it with little choice. She rode off to find her other sisters who rode guard near Elvira. Sanze turned back to see the white soldiers. Gregory naturally fell in with them. The old man leading them was incompetent and confused, but there was a stronger man amongst them who did not look at all like the others. His Nordic features were only seen in Zephian history books. She smiled at him shyly then turned her head to lead on and trudge slowly through the edge of the forest; like a Shepardess leading lost sheep.

Meanwhile, back at the Deepwood entry, Elvira called to the tree guardians in Tel’Quessur, explaining who these trespasser were. Dalitso’s comfort came from the fact that Alicia was still strong—like a true serpent of Aceba, her blood had to be cold so she could survive this cold life.

The Elder guardian looked at Alicia when she rebuked him for tying them up. “I had to make sure you were not a threat to us. Many come to the ancient forest to hunt the trees and the Elvatians that live within it. But now the Lady of Laurels has spoken and you are both free to pass.”

The trees all listened. They removed the thick branches that blocked the road, allowing Elvira to pass, along with her loyal contingent. All who took the road would see Dalitso and Alicia alone. Vikne was gone and blood and bones were sprayed and scattered over the forest—remains of the late dragoness.

Dalitso was silent for a moment. Only when Elvira got close did he speak. His voice was weak due to lack of water and no sleep. They had been fighting all night and there was exhaustion in everyone’s eyes.

“Elvira. Zamora...she lost control...forgive me for bringing more tragedy to your Kingdom. Is there a place where we can bath and rest? I think we all need it. It has been a hard day for all of us.”
Elvira's heart was pierced with sorrow as she laid eyes upon the mere remains of the dragon, as well as processed Dalitso's words. Death--that has all this war has been. Everywhere she turned these days, more and more were dying in this war. And now, even having others near was dangerous for any of them. However, these were such desperate times, and any assistance that she could reach in these harsh time of war, she would seek. The Queen watched the fatigue of the Aceban warriors with a note of softness and concern in her violet hues, even as she too was exhausted. She had traveled with her minimal guard here immediately after the tides had turned in their favor in the troll skirmish a bit further north, secure in the knowledge that General Hiram'nyar could operate just fine without her, only to again fight without rest.

Hiram. Just thinking about her brother, in light of the curse that Dezus had laid upon this land, made her stomach churn. As much as the idea sickened her, she could only hope that he was still alright. That his own prowess would be enough for him to prevail. Similar trains of thought could be easily deciphered for the rest of her siblings...

The Queen brought herself back to the present and addressed the guardians of the Deepwood once more. "Amin diola lle, astald hosse. Eller naa n'at ya waana imya i' taure tumba. Amin edain naa yassen sen, ar' n'uma crona anta tul a a' sen. Saesa, uma sina e' amin essa."

After offering them a gentle smile of goodwill, she released a small breath as she glanced back at Dalitso and Alicia. "We were to head back to one of my contingent's camps not far from here, when the dragon Zamora took off with you. We will meet everyone else there. My men will guide Commander Delilah's to the camp." The lithe elf shifted forward in her saddle to make room upon her mount. "Come ride with us. We will all have our chance to rest soon."
The strangely coloured woman's brief smile of acknowledgement was returned with a short nod by the northern giant. Sadly this interaction had managed to pull him out of his somewhat absentminded state of mind and back into reality. Gone were his dreams and future plans in favour of the all-encompassing stench of rot and decay that surrounded the company. Ironically enough, it was not the fault of the walking undead that had joined their ranks at some point but rather the bits and pieces of the undead swarm, sticking to their boots, mantles and weapons alike, proving surprisingly resilient to any effort of removing it while serving as a grim reminder of the battle they just had fought.

He had endured the rambling of the old man for some time before breaking. Initially, Hjaernan had decided to let him be, no matter what, rather changing the order slightly to make it sensible rather than ignoring it outright. It was a matter of respect towards his commander to adhere by the hierarchy she had set or not bothered to touch but it had quickly become impossible for him to just not do anything. Thankfully it did not matter what he said as the old man quickly began to follow the foreign woman who in turn, followed the treck of the queen to her camp. He was good at following orders but quite overburdened when faced with giving them which had been fine when he had been the third in command but now it turned out to be a somewhat ill-fated decision.
Hjaernan did not like following the woman. She had not proven herself in his eyes and was more of a nuisance than anything but anything was better than the lightly senile man he had tried his best not to usurp up to now. Plus, leading himself was not something he was interested in. That kind of burden weighed on one's freedom and only slowed one down. He was by no means interested in caring for the men around him. Not out of a lack of compassion but knowing fully well that they would only hinder his own effectiveness in battle. The northern fighting styles were not made with comrades in mind. Everyone he grew up with had been a lone wolf in battle. Fearsome but also prone to getting his allies caught in a flurry of attacks. No matter how hard he had tried, the commander had been the only one that had been able to use him properly, which had been one of the reasons he had followed her.

If only he had been successful at convincing her to return to the North before all this had happened...She had simply laughed at his proposition and moved on. Sometimes he really wondered what had tied her to this place...
Alicia (played by ShayN-03)

Without hesitation, the Gladiatrix took a seat behind Elvira on the saddle. To say the battle exhausted everyone would be the understatement of the century. She almost wanted to fall asleep but her fear of an enemy in their midst would keep her awake for a short while. Before they continued on, she made one last glance at the remains of Zamora and Vikne. 

Alicia made sure she looked long and hard, searing the image into her mind so she may learn from Zamora’s mistake. She let out the breath she had been holding as she gazed at the fallen. She kept quiet throughout the journey back to camp.
Tempest (played anonymously)

There had since then been a shift in the winds. Blood. Fear. Unrest. It was far off, and even as it was not an immediate concern, the gust became somewhat uneasy. That was all that he was in this moment. A gust, a breeze; only those who knew how to look for him would ever find the spectral presence keeping watch at the perimeter of the elven camp in the heart of Urdu’s Deepwood. Few did—he only allowed those select few.

His flight through the glades was slowed by the breaths of others close by, and upon seeing Elvira’s party approaching the camp with haste, he tore back towards his master, such party hearing only a small rustle in the trees. As the spirit sought No’ä, the colonel would feel the familiar breeze collecting as Tempest careened towards him. The Raiü coalesced from the ether; soul, energy and magic forming into a translucent blue equine, faintly glowing. Faint traces of white lightning crackled within his form.

The ether had materialized into a gentle trot before slowing as he approached the elf, nickering in familiar greeting and flicking his ears, the predetermined signal that there were others coming. Tempest tossed his head as if to beckon him towards the contact point.
Noah Ryan (played by Syaoran555)

Colonel No'ä Aëlena was standing inside his command tent, poring over a map and its corresponding documents. They detailed the positioning of troops around Urdu, both within and at the kingdom's borders. His gaze lingered at the space just south of Haramon, a space where Prince Hiram'nyar Teliek'vhran was stationed. Hiram was like a brother to him, and the Colonel and the Prince had been close for centuries. Everything else on the map seemed to be in order.

No'ä was tall, about 6'3", with black hair with gold bangs that was tied back into a semi-loose bun at the back of his head. His eyes were the same soft yet vivid shade of bright gold as his bangs. He was relatively young for one so high a rank, only 950 years of age. He had a pair of scars on his face: one was a medium-sized scar going diagonally across the bridge of his nose, starting just above his left eyebrow and ending just below the inner corner of his right eye; the second, a vertical scar that bisected his left eye. The man had almost countless other scars littering his torso underneath his uniform.

If those scars could talk, they would have been able to wax for weeks on end. No'ä was a veteran of many battles and other things of that nature. His acts of valor had earned him a reputation as somewhat of a hero amongst the citizens of the Kingdom. He was largely admired and universally respected by those who served with him and under him.

He was also the most senior officer at the camp, and had been the one to ask Tempest to patrol the edge of the camp. The Raiü was his familiar, and had been so for around two centuries. No'ä had a fondness for the storm spirit, and he believed the feeling to be mutual. He felt Tempest's presence as the latter entered his tent. He looked up and smiled at the spirit's greeting. His expression became more serious, however, when he recognized the signal that there were others coming and that he was being beckoned to the contact point. Judging by the storm spirit's attitude, they were allies, not enemies. The Colonel nodded at the Raiü. "Very well, then," he said, his voice soft, but loudly enough for the Familiar to hear him. No'ä removed the weights from the corners of the map and rolled it up before walking out from behind the table and leaving his tent.

As he approached the entrance to the encampment, he was able to start to sense those approaching. The Colonel was able to sense the auras of others, and this ability had been honed to near-perfection over many centuries of practice. He sensed Queen Elvira, immediately recognizing her aura from the amount of time he had spent in its presence. However, there were five others who were with her whose auras he did not recognize. They clearly weren't hostiles, but he was still somewhat guarded.

Before too long, the horse carrying Elvira and Alicia came into view. He stood there waiting for them at a respectable attention. He inclined his head in a slight bow at Elvira. "Good evening, Your Majesty. Welcome to the camp," he said to the Queen as soon as she was close enough to hear him. His expression darkened as he saw how weary she and her traveling companions were before it returned to normal. No'ä looked around at the others before looking back at Elvira. "Might I ask as to the identity of your companions, Milady?"
Dalitso (played by Serverus) Topic Starter

Nearly, an hour had passed since the Tree Guardians had allowed Elvira a clear passage through the Deep Wood Forest. Alicia chose to ride with the Queen and Dalitso was offered the reigns of Zosa’s gifted horse. The group then mounted and took off together. It was difficult for Zosa to control the horse at first, them being less intelligent than the desert tengu she had raised in Afgaria. Thus where Zosa struggled, Dalitso advanced, calming the creature with a tender stroke on its nervous face. After riding to nearly evening, the two had bonded well. Zosa was asleep on the saddle behind him, with her hands wrapped around Dalitso’s proud muscles—while the Acebean rode beside the Elvatian Queen. He noticed something about her now that was not noticed before—Elvira looked disheartened.

When she looked at him, he would not look away from her. Like a beast, he watched her. He studied her like a gentle lion, wondering what could have possibly broken her. Albeit no words were said between them, this was something that he might have only seen. But time was never on their side. As soon as Dalitso found the opportunity to speak, he had heard another voice welcome her. Perhaps this was the Commander of the Contingent camp that she spoke of. It was clearly guarded and for the first time since leaving the dunes, Dalitso felt safe. He looked at Alicia and smiled—his caring eyes concerned for her as well. He would look after both of them. But first he hoped to speak with the Queen; for what he had seen in her eyes made him truly careful.



“Look at her. She knows her way home. And here I thought horses were dumb.” The young woman said to whoever was near enough to listen. Sanze relaxed now letting the elven trained steed lead the fighters along, listening to their many whispers. The old man found it hard to contain his boys, but the tall one who had Norse features seemed to keep a level head. She smiled at him again, not afraid if he judged her with his disrespectful eyes. He would see the blade on her side and it had killed many beast and men before him. “How come you are not simpleminded like the others? You are not from Jubilee?” Her brow rose. Thus she spoke to only one person. And he would know who he was whom she spoke to. “You look like a hero, like your Commander. Delilah was a warrior surrounded by idiots. Although, Lord Gregory, he looks like he was a dangerous man in life. Perhaps he will get another chance.” Sanze grinned in her all honesty.

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