|Star Crystal ~ A Dragon RP
|Page 147 of 148|
|Author:||Meldawen [ April 21st, 2009, 8:08 pm ]|
When hands grasped her elbows Merrin flung her head up, so that her eyes froze on Zenaida's. She did not struggle. She was nothing, beneath the weight of satin and the mask of rouge. The jewel on her forehead was the heaviest of all.
And the mere feet between her and the Shard might well have been miles.
"I died," breathed Merrin, unaware she spoke aloud. "Gods, no, please, give it to me, give it back -!"
Then she fought. She fought them for every step of the staircase, lashing out with uselessly enameled nails and tangling in the sea of crimson skirt, venting useless rage that gained her nothing, at the bottom, but fingers like iron around her bangled wrists. A bearded face was shoved close.
"Are you done?" the man asked, a useless question, because she was helpless.
"What is he going to do?" whispered Merrin in return.
The guard was tall, brown-haired, maybe a peasant like her brothers. For a moment, he was wordless, and she thought that perhaps, in the dimness of the unlit entrance hall, a grimace shadowed his face. Then he straightened. "Not worth my job to tell you."
"Wait," said Merrin. She set her teeth. "Is it - bad?"
But they were already pushing her forward, and she received no reply. The doors swung open.
"My Lord," said the man with the beard to the noble on the steps, and Je'id turned around.
Slowly, slowly, his eyes measured her, lingering too long at her bodice, and when Merrin was hot with the shame of it, he smiled. "You are very pretty, peasant girl."
"Damn you," she spat.
He held a finger to her lips. Merrin endured it, her hands immobilized behind her. "Shhh. Have you no manners? I hope you are not so rude to the High General."
Already forgetting her - and Merrin was pathetically glad that his fingers had not strayed anywhere past her lips - the Lord of Vryngard turned to clasp his hands behind him and look out over Rival Falls, stricken with the light of a bloody sunset. "He arrives within the half hour," said Je'id.
Merrin was drowning.
|Author:||Lady Dark Moon [ May 4th, 2009, 9:33 pm ]|
There was a cartload of blankets by the tent. There was a procession of bread beside it. There was one pants-wettingly terrifying dragon-man just outside the tent flap.
At least, Ironlegs hoped that such an appellation served him. He sat in the center of the Meiltha encampment, in the center of a victorious maelstrom. This was his moment. As the graybeards of the Bloodstone Court so charmingly put it, "the dragon is sharp for the hatching."
"Lord Regaelian will meet us at the gates." He tapped the spot on the map labeled "the gates," and sensed a new cartographer in order. "I, of course, will lead us."
"Yes, High General."
His finger traced the winding path through the stronghold. It was a human finger, large and red with torchlight. Its nail ended in a point that served as a parchment-cutter when his spirits were high, a face-ripper when his spirits weren't. "Next, my entourage," he said. "The warlords after, astride their dragons."
"Yes, High General."
Ironlegs could envision it now. He saw crumbling walls and crumbling towers. The streets would be cracked and flayed. His enemies would topple, topple, within the shadows of his Meiltha dragonriders. He saw the last of the Renegade soldiers with their broken swords. The last of the Renegade lords in silent subjugation. And finally, the last of the Renegade people, in perfect homage with their knees against the ground. A fine sight. He wrapped the vision around his finger. "The soldiers to succeed the warlords," he continued. "Their moment of glory."
"Yes, High General."
"And lastly..." Crimson palanquins upon the most magnificent dragons of all. Firelight setting afire the rubies, the silk, the golden scepters with their dragons' eyes and serpents' tongues. Oh, how the graybeards would relish it. "The Bloodstone Court. They would have their victory." He drew back, satisfied.
"Yes, High General."
High General Ironlegs narrowed his eyes. The man standing before him was a puff of a thing, alarmingly incongruous with this stretch of camp, a peacock among the soldiers that milled to the right and left but never near him to a three-foot radius. He was a chamberlain, a court *beep*, and as a result, the roof of his mouth was well oiled with smiles.
"Go, then," Ironlegs growled. "Run along to the Irashah Sideva. No doubt he'd delight to know."
The chamberlain waddled off.
Ironlegs pushed himself up from his bench, stretched his wings, and heard his back straighten with an impressive crack. He hefted his helm from the table. It was a work of art, trimmed with gold along its flared tips and slitted eyes. It resembled nothing short of a dragon's head, and had been tailored to match his silver breastplate and adamantine axe. Vaunting it, he looked more dragon than man. Another fine sight.
"Contact our harlot," he commanded the man at his left. "Inform her that the Chosen is to be waiting at the donjon doors. Inform her also that I want both the traitor and the healer, to be made examples of."
"Right away, sir."
He next turned to the man at his right. "Commander Chaldan."
"You are to oversee the wagons. Make certain that their contents are fairly dispensed."
"Yessir." Commander Chaldan moved, then hesitated. He stood halfway between the blankets and the bread. The carts wound their serpentine tails between the tents. At least a dozen of each, perhaps even two dozen. The blankets were neatly folded, the bread neatly wrapped by hands far gentler than Chaldan would ever know. For some reason that he would never fathom, he glanced at the stars, spangled dreamlike across the void above, before snapping his attention back to his general. Ironlegs was already walking in the opposite direction, tail sweeping the air, his long, steady lope bearing him gracefully through the ordered chaos. "Sir?"
"Are you sure, sir? About... this...?"
Ironlegs lifted his all too human eyebrows.
"Sir..." Chaldan coughed. "Why now show them mercy? When we can easily crush them as we did Vryngard?"
The inquiry gave Ironlegs pause, and pause Ironlegs did, as though he were honestly contemplating an answer. At length he cocked his chin. "How many lives have been lost in this war, Commander?"
Chaldan shrugged. "The abyss if I know. Too many to count."
"And what will we find inside that stronghold? More death? More lost lives?"
"Taking lives has never given you compunction, sir."
"Answer the question, Commander."
Soldiers marched around them. Dragons wheeled above them. And through it all, the towers of Rival Falls cast their shadows. They were the void beyond the stars. They were the cracked stakes upon the ground, waiting to be smashed. "We will find victory," Chaldan said at last. "We will find an end to this war, an end to all wars. They will lay down their swords at our feet, and then..."
"Yes, Commander. The end." Ironlegs's voice was calm and sure as the thunder behind distant mountains. "We have fought enough, we have died enough, and now we have come to end it. When we enter those gates, Commander, we will find a desperate people - a people starving for food and warmth and hope. We will give them all that they hunger for. Blankets and bread! Imagine, Commander! This time we come not as their conquerors, but as their saviors. They will welcome us, or they will die. A dozen Renegade cities have already fallen. This one shall be no different. Do you understand?"
Chaldan was silent, heavy.
Once more Ironlegs began to leave.
Once more Ironlegs turned.
Chaldan shook his head. "Sir, we destroyed them. We slew their countrymen and tore down their precious Vryngard. These people do not easily forget. Do you truly think they would welcome us?"
High General Ironlegs chuckled. It was not a reaction that Chaldan had prepared for, and he jumped at the sound. Chaldan stared, but Ironlegs said no more.
Still chuckling, the High General strode out of sight.
Kendath was flat on his back, wondering how in the world he could have a hangover when he hadn't drunk anything remotely alcoholic in gods knew how many woeful days, when what appeared to be a small army arrived outside his cell.
"You. Meiltha. Look over here."
"I'm going to open the door of this pigsty. You're going to crawl out. Hands in plain view. Got it? No magic tricks."
There was a grate as the key scraped the lock. A clunk as the mechanism turned. A screech as the door swung open. Each noise sent shivers of pain tearing through the bone between his ears. One thought - the first in an hour or day or something like that - floated across his head: It'd take a magic trick to get him off the floor.
Kendath closed his eyes. His brains rattled.
"I said move!"
Kendath moved. As he climbed to his feet, he felt the gazes of the other inmates burning a vacant hole in his back. Their gazes followed him all the way to the door. The torch was bright, and in its heedless light he saw that it wasn't an army after all. Only a squad or so. Perhaps not even that. Four soldiers and a priest. A priest? Gods, what did they think he'd do - shoot lightning out of his eyes? He glanced at them as he passed. "What have you done with Merrin?"
The guard responded with a shove between the shoulder blades.
His escort of honor spoke not at all as they marched him out. On the way, the guards halted at yet another cell.
|Author:||pirateoftherings [ May 5th, 2009, 4:29 pm ]|
After it had become clear that Merrin was not returning any time soon, Adeila had tried to focus on getting some much-needed rest. Sleep still mostly eluded her, but she had eventually managed to at least somewhat still her mind. She was not certain how much she actually slept, nor how long she had been sitting there when the sound of footsteps drew her attention, but she felt at least marginally better for her efforts.
One of the guards addressed her. She opened her eyes and saw that they had Kendath with them. Stiffly - she must have been sitting there for some time, then - she rose to her feet. "Can I help you?"
|Author:||Lady Dark Moon [ May 7th, 2009, 11:02 pm ]|
The door opened with a screech that jittered Kendath's nerves. The lead guard marched in. "You're wanted," Sir Sunshine said. "Come with us."
Kendath met Adeila's gaze. Misery loves company.
|Author:||Meldawen [ May 9th, 2009, 3:02 pm ]|
They left her to stand alone now, before the doors of the keep, behind a Je'id lost within his own suppressed explosion of ambition. Where could she run? Into the streets, where too soon the bloated Meiltha forces would choke out resistance? Bracelets clinked. Something silent caught in Merrin's throat and threatened to break out either as a laugh or a sob. There would be no running. Not dressed like this.
Overhead, the lithe form of a dragon, decked in golden tassels and a fiery breastplate, soared for the space of a few wingbeats and dove.
Merrin opened her sweaty hands and stared at them, willing the sun to grace her fingertips. Another bubble of hysteria burst, silent. Did Ironlegs think he found the Chosen of the Gods? How disappointed he would be with only a costumed peasant girl.
"What are you waiting for? They won't save you."
Je'id was watching her. Merrin let her hands dissolve from their plea to the empty sky. "You know nothing," she said. Dead words.
"The gods are old, Merrin, old and impotent. They can't save you. They can't change your fate."
"Then no one can."
He laughed. "I make my own fate. I wait for no one." And he was gone, leaping the steps, drawing a guard with him to disappear into the streets.
When a fanfare sounded at the gates, Merrin shivered, and ripped the bracelets from her arms. They rolled and clattered on stone, winking reflected red and orange, and perhaps the men to either side of her exchanged a glance; but nothing more.
She wrapped her hands into fists, set her teeth, and waited.
|Author:||Lady Dark Moon [ May 17th, 2009, 8:03 pm ]|
"A feast. Is he mad?"
"Not mad. Mean."
"Mad and mean, then."
"Gods, am I tired."
"Move it, Meiltha."
Kendath found that his brains didn't rattle as much if he kept his head low, his stare fixed on the dirt heralding his boots. The corridor ahead was green with mold. Torchlight skittered up and down the iron cells. He didn't know which gleamed more brightly - the fire, or the eyes of the prisoners, drifting in and out of shadow behind the bars. Too bright, those eyes. Too big.
Sir Sunshine sighed. "I want an ale. And a woman. Does Tottie still keep at the Mighty Minotaur, you reckon?"
"Stay, gents." It was the priest. What a painful voice. Like a cow choking on cud. Kendath's head throbbed twice in complaint. "You know full well that our lord has imposed double shifts tonight. He expects trouble."
"Trouble, gents, on the double!" Sir Sunshine laughed. His dutiful comrades laughed with him. Their thunder echoed up and down the moldy passage, cracking dust and sending rats back into their putrid holes. Suddenly they stopped laughing, and only echoes remained. Anxious. Uneasy. Hahaheeheehohoharharhar... Kendath's head would burst open.
They reached the stairs, a crack that toiled up and up and was swallowed by darkness. The soldiers began climbing. Their boots dragged, scuffing up dust, reluctant. They were frightened, Kendath realized - something his curdled wits managed to perceive. Then again, fear had a smell to it. A reek, fear had, reminiscent of stale sweat and old ale -
A rusty iron gate swung open at the top of the stairs. The sunset beyond was blinding. The fortress loomed, and the armor of the soldiers gleamed afire in the twilight. Kendath was shoved out into the bailey and assaulted by the trumpets and the shouting and the red, red sky above the fortress where the banners - the banners -
There was the Sunburst. There was the Flame and Thorn.
They flew side-by-side, the Flame and Thorn united with the red, red sunset.
This was fear.
"No!" Kendath cried, lunging forward. He stumbled two steps before hands seized him from behind, dragged him back. He fought, then. He fought under the trumpets and the shouting and the banners in the sky. A punch here, a kick there, as more soldiers surged forward and servants skittered out of the way. The blows landed on his face, his arms, his stomach. The last slam on the stomach drove him back against the wall. His head spun and his guts heaved and suddenly... the red...
He flailed. He heard distant laughter, and he flailed some more. "Where is she?" he choked. "What have you done with her?" A scream: "Merrin!"
Red, red, red, red.
The street stank. Literally. Mentally. A psychological dung heap.
Zenaida the harlot drew a silk kerchief over her nose and decided to walk faster.
The main thoroughfare of Rival Falls was hardly that. A spoor would have better described it, or perhaps a botheration of a foray for the needlessly adventurous. The eaves hung over the street, dangerously low, poised to skin the scalp of any miscreant who dared to be a hair over six feet. The cobblestones were a study in peril, cracked and tilted and just waiting for the woeful miscreant, still rubbing his scalp, to drop his foot into the wrong pothole. And the shadows - well, the shadows. Any citizen of Rival Falls would denounce the fact that the sun had never once shone since Je'id Regaelian had plopped himself onto the Council seat. Never once.
Zenaida realized that she'd been wrong. The street smelled not of a dung heap, but of a pigsty. It smelled of urine and feces and whatever glop qualified as food these days. And - lo! - behold the pigs, huddled under the eaves, their big noses wrinkled, their bodies aquiver with fright. Every law-abiding citizen of Rival Falls was crowded along the street, as decreed by Lord Je'id Regaelian, to greet their Meiltha friends. Sallow faces peered out from the gutters, and bloodshot eyes followed the regal sweep of her gown.
Zenaida inhaled through her kerchief and kept walking.
She had proceeded ahead of Je'id's procession, she knew.
Without his permission, she also knew.
His usefulness was over, and that she knew with certainty.
Time for business.
|Author:||Meldawen [ May 17th, 2009, 9:09 pm ]|
Je'id stopped before the gates, escort shuddering to a halt behind him. He thrust back his cape so that the emblazoned sun upon his tabard glittered as one with his belt of silver links, and he rested an arbiter's fist on the pommel of his sword.
He heard it. The men behind him heard it.
The low rumble of a host, to rival the roar of the Seiren. The sound of vastness. The difference between him and the men was that Je'id reveled. He would as soon have seen the towers crumble and hide the drawn faces and clammy hands of the routed Renegades; and he glanced once at the flags flying together, and not again. He listened until the walltop sentry bobbed a stiff nod, and then he gave the signal.
With creaks like stiff muscles long disused, the gates revealed a vertical crack of sunset. Je'id breathed deeply. It widened to reveal the host, and in the foreground the procession, and at the head of the procession, the silhouette against the sunset.
He waited until the gates were spread wide and the sunset found the armor of his escort, and then he stepped from the shadow of the ramparts. The men's whispers rustled.
"High General Ironlegs," he said, and with a flourish bowed. A sweep of the hand indicated the warlord and his entourage in one magnanimous gesture. "Be welcome, my lord, in Rival Falls."
|Author:||Lady Dark Moon [ May 17th, 2009, 11:21 pm ]|
Ironlegs had envisioned this moment. Contrary to popular belief, the High General had an imagination and used it. Not often, perhaps, but enough. Enough.
Be welcome, my lord, in Rival Falls.
The power of his legions throbbed behind him. They were magnificent in the dusk, an ocean of steel, their banners fluttering crimson with the sun. If he but closed his eyes, he would hear the race of their blood, a rush of rage to the head and guts and arms. Boom. Boom. A collective heartbeat there upon the plain. Boom. Boom. So struck the war machine.
A hundred swords screech from their scabbards. A thousand arrows crackle through the skies. The air is black with blood. Somewhere a woman screams, a child pules. The ground is thick with thorns. A gallows rears its head to the clouds. But you are untouched, you are untouched. Flame and Thorn. At last.
The drums trembled with a single crescendo as he moved. Muscles contracting, extending. That lope of liquid silver. Armor afire against the sunset. Axe warm against his back. He moved alone, a solitary monolith, to show that he was conqueror, that he was not afraid.
The gods curse you from the skies.
But when he cast his gaze to the walls, he saw no arrows. When he looked upon Je'id Regaelian, he saw no blades. None that mattered.
The drums shook the earth.
High General Ironlegs bowed low to the Lord of Rival Falls. "It is with honor that we meet, and with reverence that I pay you homage, Lord Regaelian."
|Author:||pirateoftherings [ May 18th, 2009, 1:03 pm ]|
Adeila made yet another futile attempt at loosening the soldier's grip on her arm. "Honestly, dear, I'm a forty-seven-year-old woman, not a hardened warrior," she whispered as they waited. "If I were able to do any harm, I would have by now." The young soldier only tightened his grasp.
What frustrated Adeila the most was that she was not lying. She could do nothing. She had seen the futility of Kendath's physical resistance, and even that was beyond her means. She was not prone to despair, but she could not help but feel utterly powerless as she was forced to watch the Renegades open their arms to the very force that sought to destroy them.
The gates creaked open, and Je'id called out a name in greeting. Ironlegs. She had heard that name both in stories and from Merrin and Kendath. Ironlegs had been the one pursuing them. Ironlegs had murdered half the village and forced the other half into exile. And the Renegades were welcoming him into their last remaining stronghold.
Ironlegs bowed, and another attempt at struggling resulted in nearly losing circulation in her arm.
She could do nothing.
|Author:||Meldawen [ May 18th, 2009, 2:20 pm ]|
In another time, another place, the shifting of boots behind him would have set Je'id's teeth on edge. He might have demanded to know if these soldiers wanted to scurry home to their mothers or begin acting like men. Even still, he had to smother a curl of his lip at the murmurs from the poor vestiges of humanity lining the streets through which the High General was about to proceed. In another time, another place, he would have felt faint ties of loyalty.
Loyalty. It made him smile. I make my own fate.
"I regret we cannot extend the hospitality due to Your Grace." And there he was apologizing for these damn Renegades again. Je'id inclined his head before the head of the Meiltha hordes. "Nonetheless, the banquet hall awaits only your presence." He pretended the sallow faces skulking in the shadows of their lintels did not exist, and gestured for the High General to proceed ahead.
When he fell into step himself, he didn't even listen to the faltering footsteps of his escort as they followed.
|Author:||Curunìr [ May 20th, 2009, 5:01 pm ]|
(I`m on a 5 day break, so I`ll post something lol...)
The vastness of the legions, the suffocating athmosphere that they had brought to Rival Falls and a certain sense of closure, they were all there as Garthag silently glanced beyond the walls of the city.
Once, this had been his intention, his dream, his highest desire.
To have the world at his feet, the renegades under his heel and even the meiltha bowing before him.
One chance, cast away on a whim. Easily, so easily.
For the sake of what? This? Witnessing the world fall at Ironlegs feet? To see the chosen broken and humiliated?
Never, curtain had not fallen and one would be a fool to think that it had.
The darkness would not fall, not yet, not if he had a part to play. The hasty escape he had made from the renegades had not brought him much hope, only when he had tracked them back to Rival Falls and found out the chosens whereabouts had he began to plan on acting.
Yet alas his timing could not have been worse and he found himself stuck, incapable of acting, with his every shred of sense telling him to halt and wait.
And, for now, all he could do was watch the play unfold before his very eyes. Akin to the spread of the flames that consumed his village, all he could do was watch as the play went on, hoping for a chance to act, most likely in vain.
|Author:||Aerandir [ February 28th, 2011, 3:17 am ]|
I miss this RPG. >_<
|Author:||Culúrien [ March 1st, 2011, 3:07 am ]|
.. >: me too.
|Author:||Lady Dark Moon [ March 3rd, 2011, 7:12 pm ]|
Aww wow, I'm flattered. Melda and I are actually revising Crystal THE NOVEL, and we'll be finished by year's end. Thanks for hanging with us so long, though, Culurien. I had no idea you were still around.
Lol hi Reindeer
|Author:||Culúrien [ March 4th, 2011, 1:35 am ]|
Omg! Omg! A novel? Weeeeeeeeeee! Can't wait. *hops around manically*
I'm not active much on A-U, but I still check back because I love this rpg. <: weeeeeee!
|Author:||Aerandir [ July 31st, 2016, 11:43 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Star Crystal ~ A Dragon RP|
This was a very high-intensity cliff-hanger which you all left us with. o_o
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