The Divine Game: An odyssey of adventure! (Closed/Started)

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The Divine Game


Welcome to The Divine Game! An RP taking heavy inspiration from the works of Homer and other classical Greek myths. An RP full of sweeping battles and treacherous adventures. This is a world where the gods are very much real and they aren't shy about proving it, but be warned, getting their attention isn't all it's cracked up to be.

So without further ado...

Did that peak your interest? Excellent, then you're primed and ready for our first info dump! (May the gods have mercy on you).


Are you still with us? Then you may be wondering about these gods everyone keeps harping on about. Allow me to introduce you to our pantheon and give a little rundown of the family that make it up.

We're almost there, stay strong!

Was it good for you too? Great, cus we're not done yet!

That's it! That's all of it! Thank you so much for braving the wall of exposition and good luck with your submission/s. If you have any questions ask me or Funslinger here or by PM.

(GM Characters and Reservation spot)

Dogmatic:

Other characters:








Smack mah sheets up!

Forgive me if it seems somewhat disjointed, I didn't really get around to writing this until pretty damn late at night, I'll make corrections and changes as the rejections come.


I'm not a history buff, so if anything is particularly anachronistic or futuristic, tell me and I'll fix it.
Any edits I make in the meantime will be for historical accuracy.

Right. This sounds pretty fantastic.

It's getting pretty close to bedtime, unfortunately, but I should have a sheet up tomorrow, or by Sunday at the latest. Because there's no way I can pass up an RP in the vein of Homer's epics.

Little word to everybody, aiming to close submissions around Tuesday night and hopefully get the opening post up soon afterwards.

Well, here he is, the long-awaited Lanius, Priest of Morgal. Let me know if there's anything I need to change, and I'm sorry it took so long to get it up here!

By "soon" I meant at the last minute. >.>

Hope I'm not too late to throw my character in here.

The deadline has come and after a great deal of thought the final list has been made (Check out the character reservation slot post #2). I'd like to thank everyone for their submissions and interest. I wish we could have taken more people on but the more characters there are the harder these things can become to juggle.

To anyone who didn't get accepted this time around, there is still a chance as we may have people drop out over the course of the RP for various reasons and if it seems we have too many vacant slots I will open up submissions again for another draw.

To everyone else, I'll be making the RP skype group shortly and getting the opening post up within the hour. Anyone whose skype name I don't already have could you please PM them to me so I can add you to the group. Everyone will have some time before I putt he first post up so they have time to check in and so we have time to discuss starting positions if need be.

Thank you everyone, again.

Chapter 1: As far as the eye can see

Far away from the sight of mortals, the ageless halls of The Hallowed Court were echoing with the continuous tapping of frustrated footsteps. Valcit continue to pace around the grand table in the middle of the assembled thrones, running her fingers along its raised edges. At the moment its surface was a pure blue that bobbed and rippled with the waves, scattered across their surface were hundreds of tiny boats, their crews scurrying about the decks like ants. It had been like that for months, a time that might pass in a haze to an immortal being like Valcit but the closer they came to their destination the more impatient she became and the slower time seemed to crawl.

"Can you, please, cease that infernal fidgeting." Came the bored drone of Morgal from the southern end of the oval table.

Morgal slouched like a shadow in the looming frame of the winter throne. She was almost lost in the folds of the raven feathered cloak that flowed down to the floor, the perfectly polished scales of her midnight coloured armour sparkling like stars in the darkest sky as they reflected constant light of the court.

"How can you act so bored about everything?" Valcit grumbled, turning on Morgal and sending her crimson cape flowing around her in a graceful stream. "This will effect you as much as it does me." Morgal only offered an apathetic shrug, without another temper to combat Valcit quickly gave up on starting an argument and went back to her pacing.

"Why must they take so long about everything, is Eluvius slowing them down?"

"I doubt she cares for the company of fleshy land things." Chimed in Strios as he glided in on a light breeze through the main door. "They don't talk nearly enough about the intricacies of shrimp for her taste."

"Then is this your doing?" Valcit snapped at him, her hand absentmindedly finding its way to her sword.

"Oars and sails will only carry them so quickly." Strios held his hands up in mock surrender, his tone dripping with condescension.

"Do you need some help relaxing, love of mine?" Daephul cooed, seemingly appearing from nowhere.

"Keep your swollen tongued in your head!"

"Oh such woe! Will you never hold me again as you did before? There is a wonderful spot full of hot springs where we might while away your unwanted hours..." Daephul said softly, draping himself over his throne.

"Go back your wanton nymphs and leave those who matter to their business." Valcet practically spat at him.

The two of them went on like this while in their background Morgal shot a wearied look to Strios. "If you would be so kind?" She yawned.

"Fine, fine!" Strios grumpily grounded himself and sauntered out to the rocky outcrop that burst from the side of the throne room and out onto the mountain that served as the foundation of the court.

He wound his way to the very edge of the sheer drop, half the mortal world stretched out below him. The fleet they were all gawking at was thousands of leagues away but what was that to him? Strios arched back his head and puffed out his chest like some great bird and puckered his lips. He exhaled a long, luxurious, breath so gently that he might have been blowing out a candle. The winds danced and reeled to their master's desire as they flew off on their given task. Once he deemed he'd done enough Strios set off at a trot back to the bickering gods.

"Tis, fucking, done!" He announced to the room, taking a theatrical bow. "Don't say I never did anything for you sweet sister."

This seemed to pick Valcit's spirits up as she turned with renewed excitement to the table, gripping its edges tightly. The colourful collection of sails were picking up and billowing with new life as the ships cut through the waves.
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"A fine wind this morning, your grace!" The helmsman called out over the sound of lapping waves and busy deckhands. "If it keeps up... I'd like to say we'll reach shore by evening."

"Not good enough." Iokanan grabbed his passing quartermaster by the shoulder. "Tell the drummer to double his pace, and every man on the oars that he'll earn his freedom if we reach land before sundown."

"Yes, your grace!" Barked the old sea dog, before rushing to go below decks.

"Ready your blades and guard yourselves for the task ahead!" The red king roared to his warriors. "Today we make history. Today we show all the world that the men of Fendarin are men forged of iron!"

That got a cheer from the commoners that heard it and they set about their given tasks, some piping up a song as they heaved the ropes in rhythm. Iokanan was left to stand alone at the front of the ship to watch as the towers of Dorium slowly came into sight in the distance.

'Be calm my bastard of a heart and my Valcit see justice delivered swiftly this day.'

But the gods had never made anything so easy before and Iokanan doubted they would do so now. In truth their journey was just beginning and countless men would not live to see the next dawn. 'All for the crimes of one.' Iokanan's hand had found its way to his sword hilt and his thumb was scratching away at the wooden pommel at a pace, deepening the groove he'd started working into it since the beginning of this voyage. A cold wind was blowing fiercely at their backs and still he found the heat and the sweat on his brow unbearable.
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Cadric was at a loss.

For weeks he'd run to and from every source of experience and power in the city, pestering them for all he was worth as he set about confirming the defenses and making sure all the masonry was up to standard. Cadric was under no illusion that if it weren't for his royal position they would have thrown him out on his ear and thrashed him in the street by now. But in the name of military duty Cadric was willing to exploit his birthright and get in the bad graces of as many people as need be.

The current downside of this approach, however, was there was only so much Cadric was physically capable of. He had no knowledge of architecture and his own administrate capabilities were laughable. Even he had to admit that Darion was right when he told Cadric there was only so many times he could tour the garrison and spar with the troops before it became sad, though Darion had put it much more colourfully.

The morning sun hung proudly in the sky and Cadric was left with nothing planned other than to enjoy the view alone with his own thoughts. Maybe it wasn't too early to start on the wine. To the its credit, the apartments Cadric had secured for his retinue had secured them a beautiful view of the ocean and coastal approach to Dorium. That they were attached to the main council building was even better for his purposes.

Hard as it was Cadric forced himself to take a breath and drink in the view before him. This was what he was working to defend after all, it was only right he appreciate it while he could. On closer inspection, Dorium and the surrounding countryside was full of rich details that Cadric had let pass him by... including a growing line of dots on the horizon.

'Don't panic... don't call for the horns... last thing you need now is a false alarm.' People were calling for his neck as it was. Still Cadric found himself slowly backing away from the balcony, as if the view might bite him if he moved too suddenly. Why was his mouth so dry, where was the wine? A bead of sweat sent an annoying itch down Cadric's neck and he burst into action, dashing for his armour and throwing on the leather under layer haphazardly, totally ignoring the timid protests of the slaves he had to hand.

"Darion!" Cadric called as he burst into the hallway. "Daaaariooon, we're going to the walls. NOW!" He slammed his fist repeatedly on the door to the old solider's rooms before rushing on his way. 'Where the hell is he?'

Darion was sprawled naked on his bed, the blankets cast off to let the sun warm him through the balcony door. He was deep asleep, dreaming. In his dream, he sat on a well stuffed cushion with a finely made tea set in front of him. Taking a sip from the steaming mug, he sighed contentedly. Perfect...

Leaning forward, he placed his stone and flipped black stones into white in three directions. The rather lovely young woman across from him chewed her lip in deep concentration. Stroking his beard thoughtfully as he watched her, Darion glanced at the stream running by them, catching his reflection in the water. No grey in that beard, nor his hair, and his face was far less lined. He smiled to himself and reached for his cup again.

"Darion?" asked the woman, smiling.

"Yes? What is it, dear?"

"Darion."

"Yes?"

The voice deepened and turned into a muffled yell. "Daaaariooon, we're going to the walls. NOW!"

Darion sat bolt upright. Sighing, he smacked his lips, still almost tasting the tea he'd dreamed of. Getting up, he padded across the cool marble floor, to the door of his rooms. Clothes could wait until he had found out what the young Prince wanted. Something about walls?

He opened the door. "Yes, Prince Cadric? What's got you chasing your own tail like that?"

===============================================================

For the past few hours, Anthousa and her battle sisters had been sat on the deck of the trader's vessel enjoying the sun. Even after the three day voyage, the crew still gawped while they worked. For the most part, the Aela ignored it. Anthousa was watching the walls of the city loom closer and closer as the ship came close enough to drop anchor.

The Aela had, over some time, acquired a number of ships, as well as the small skin boats they built. But for a task such as this, Anthousa had needed only a handful of traveling companions. Gathering the crew for a ship would have been wasted effort. And their weather watchers decreed a long trip in skin boats to be presently too risky. So they had taken passage on one of the passing trader vessels that frequently stopped at the island.

The captain of the ship approached her anxiously. Caution oozed from every step. "We're here, ah... Queen Antousa.

"Anthousa," she corrected with an amused smile. "And yes, I can see that, Captain Doman. The walls and dock give it away, you see." She got to her feet and Doman peered up at her. The stockily built sea captain only came up to her chin. Reaching into the pocket of her leggings, she produced a small cloth bag and set it in Doman's hand. "The second half of the agreed upon sum," she said. "Thank you for your services, Captain."

"My pleasure, Your Grace," he replied awkwardly. Turning on his heel, he snarled at a passing crewman, seeming to become a different man. "Get the bloody gangplank out! Our passengers are disembarking."

Anthousa retrieved her spear from where it was propped and waited as the rickety stretch of wood was pushed out onto the dock. It was time for her search to begin.

~ Lanius ~

Lanius hadn't been in the city of Dorium long. In fact, he had only arrived there a week or so ago, heading straight to the local Temple of Morgal to seek shelter after his long travels and to drop off the single new acolyte he had managed to recruit for his Goddess that seemed sincere. Whatever his feelings or desires, he knew that some needed to go to the Goddess in their own time, and before then learn more about her glory. The temple, with her priests and priestesses, was the perfect place for that.

However, after his first week of rest and relaxation before going back into his travels, the temple had been contacted by representatives of the Army of Astrium, for a Priest of Morgal.

Lanius was aware of the war going on between both Astrium and Fendarin, if only vaguely. In truth, he felt that the reasons behind the conflict, and who the sides were, didn't matter. The fact remained that people would die and enter Morgal's blessed kingdom, and funeral rites would need to be performed. Not only that, but he was almost certain they were gathering a member of each God's Temple, so the soldiers would have a chance to pray to their respective God beforehand.

Theological safeguards, Lanius usually called them, with a soft chuckle.

And, of course, he volunteered. After all, he was there, and wasn't a part of the temple so he had no responsibilities there to shirk.

So it was that he strode into the main fortress, hands clasped with his long fingers interlaced as a sign of quiet piety. When he reached one of the soldiers standing guard, he smiled softly and bowed once.

"I am Lanius, a Priest of Morgal. I was sent here to receive prayers on behalf of my Goddess, as well as to give funeral rites, should the worst come to pass. Is there someone I need to speak to regarding that?" he asked politely.

While he spoke, he never stopped smiling, and though the gesture was meant to be gentle, reassuring, it managed to be anything but as pointed teeth flashed between his thin lips.

Despite the light that filtered in through the windows, the cold stone bit into Jaris's knees as he knelt down to pray. The knight (and prince) bowed his head and started to speak. "Therion, King of the gods. I ask for no large favors, only that me and my men may survive the coming battle and live to see your sun again."

No sooner as the words had left his mouth, the doors of the barracks swung open, sending the cool breeze from outside playing across his back. Jaris rose and turned to the door, where a solider, clad in his armour, stood panting.

"What is it Brygus?" Jaris asked, recognizing the man as one of the lochagos under his command.

"It's Iokanan's fleet sir, it is visible now on the horizon."

Jaris nodded, then said to him, "If you have seen it no doubt many others will too soon enough." He paused for a moment before continuing, "How soon will the fleet arrive?"

"I could not say, though with the wind on their side they could be here by nightfall."

'Or sooner.' Jaris thought briefly, before he drove the notion from his mind and strode over to Brygus.

"Rally the men then, the city will need us soon enough." He said, clasping the man on the shoulder.

The soldier nodded then quickly exited the barracks, leaving Jaris alone. With a sigh, he ran a hair through his short cut hair, then walked to the opposite end of the room, where neatly laid out on his bed lay his armour. After making sure the bronze was as polished as it was this morning, Jaris began putting on his armour. A few minutes later he emerged from the barracks with his shield on his back, his sword at his side and his bronze helm tucked in the nook of his arm. With one final tug to make sure his breastplate is securely fastened he took off through the streets of Dorium towards the city walls where his men would be stationed.

The light of the new day crawled through the small basement window, slicing through the cool air before kissing the Tranquil Sister on the cheek.

Opening her eyes slowly, their blue depths glistening as the light hit them, she shifted her gaze to the old man. Lail had not known his name, his wife had died years prior, no children or other living relatives. He had been alone for a long time, and if not for the intervention of a helpful neighbour, he would have also died alone.

In truth, Lail prefered the quieter vigils over the more mournful ones. This was one of the quietest, there was no need to quicken the process, and only a small amount of pain remedy was required. No severe illness or injury.

Only time taking its toll.

As the last trickle of life faded from the old man, Lail bowed her head slightly, gently turning over the hand she had held for the last several hours, she traced a circle on the old man's palm, before placing a small coin in the center. Delicately closing the man's hand around the coin, she lowered her head, brushing her lips gently across his fingers.

"Embrace Her, find your Gods, be at peace." She muttered the words as sincerely now as she had since the beginning. Rising from the chair, she crossed the old man's hands across his chest, tucking her hands in her sleeves before offering a small bow. "Your donation is very much appreciated." As was the case with most lonely souls, they had no kin to inherit their belongings, as such it is often at the request of the individual that a Tranquil Sister accepts their monetary wealth. Personal gain is, of course, strictly forbidden, but such offerings can be donated or used in the name of the order. Placing the modest sized bag of coin in her satchel bag, Lail bowed once again before leaving the small abode.

Closing the door gently behind her, Lail placed her palm firmly on the cracking wood. Muttering a few words under her breath, she removed her palm, leaving behind her mark. Glowing a gentle crimson, the mark would notify all that a Sister had been there, and that only those who would take the body were permitted to enter. Doing so otherwise was considered an act against Morgal.

Lifting her hood over her head, Lail tucked her hands into her sleeves as she ascended the small set of steps that exited out onto the street. First she would replenish her herbal supplies in the market district with the coin she had recieved, of which Dorium had a number of stalls she had in mind. The rest would be donated to a local Temple of Morgal.

Zoe was sprawled across her bed. Hers much like the other priestess's was a rather small room, though she spent most of her time away from it either attending to duty or finding entertainment-Zoe's being much more innocent than whatever her older sibling was doing on a ship ahead. Zoe had spent her days on the ship seeking interesting conversation, and while many enjoyed conversing with a pretty priestess, the whole priestess thing got in the way since they clearly wanted something more. Still, Zoe certainly had a temper on her and was very good at knocking back unwanted attention, at least when they weren't being aggressive. Luckily they weren't, though how much of that was out of respect to her sister she did or didn't know. Besides, after the battle any who desired Zoe would simply find the older siste-

'Ahh no stop it shut up! Bad thoughts!'

And with that she roused up from her slumber. Lifting her hood so she could see, Zoe then proceeded to stretch out her arms and legs before falling back onto the bed. All of the other priestesses on the ship snarled her for using a spare robe for her own personal comfort. But it was just so comfy!

Unfortunately, a knock at the door interrupted her napping. Sighing as she got up and opened the door, the much older priestess scoffed at her sleeves going way past her hands. "Really child?" She said with a posed look.

"Its comfy." Zoe smiled back, disarming the woman's snarl.

Ignoring her, the other priestess asked, "Shouldn't you be attending your duties?"

In a much more professional, yet still relaxed and soft sounding tone, Zoe answered, "I was part of a four hour long prayer last night. I haven't eaten a full meal since then and I've only had, lets say five or six hours to slumber. So I think I'm allowed to have a midday nap. But!" She then exclaimed with a grin, hopping in place, "I'm awake now, so I might as well have that meal I denied myself for the Divine Naien, much gratitude for the wakeup call." She slowly began to close the door as she spoke, peeking her head around with a cheeky smile. She then proceeded to ignore her fellow priestess's knocking on the door as she changed into her proper fitting robe. Finally she opened the door and gave her yet another smile before heading off to find some breakfast.

The sea had been far more volatile that day. With heavy rain pelting their faces and waves crashing up and over the deck, it was as if they were fighting nature herself. Or, perhaps, a God. The drums of war drowned out the rain and the waves; the death of their enemy, their inevitable triumph was all that occupied their minds. Their senses were laser focused on their goal. Fear of death had been forgotten.

Thassa was there, among the other soldiers, still under the guise of a man. Together, with them, she bore her oar deep into the sea, fighting against the storm like rest of her comrades. They would make it to shore. They would sack this village.

Tonight.

Damn the storm. Damn the sea. Damn the gods.

When a soldier of Ascadia sets his mind to something, there isn't a thing in this world or the next that will impede his ambition. Or in this case, "her" ambition.

This day was unlike that night. No, clearly the gods favored them on this day. Or, rather, their war in any case. The sun was high in the sky and the winds blew in their favor. The city was in sight now. Thassa wouldn't know this, however, as she could see little more than the sweat-stained backs of the slaves in front of her.

Garbed in an under-armor tunic, Thassa sat among the slaves, working with them to keep their ship at the front of the fleet. Her comrades were on the deck, licking their chops, waiting for the inevitable feast of blood. Thassa never was one to wait around. If there was work to be done, she'd be doing it.

The morning sun beat down on her bronze skin, caking her entire garment in sweat as her muscular shoulders, back and arms stretched and contracted tirelessly with every paddle. She ignored the pain and wariness, however, focusing instead on the booming war drums that echoed across the fleet. Completely in the zone, Thassa almost didn't hear her friend calling to her, "Thassa! THASSA!"

Continuing to work the oar, keeping her eyes head, she answered, "Whatever could you want Archimedes?"

Stepping down below deck, he stood by Thassa and admired her form, "Come, drink with us! The battle is almost upon us! Stop tiring yourself out with these slaves!"

Thassa scoffed, "Lazy swine, all of you!"

"Bah," He shook his head. "Live a little, Thassa! We could die this evening! Do you really want to spend your remaining time on this earth sweating with a bunch of low-lifes?"

"It's better than sweating with you, that's for sure!" She chuckled, not allowing their conversation to break her concentration.

"Is that so? Need I remind you who was on their back last night,'sweating' with me?" He taunted.

Thassa laughed, "Do you kiss your wife with that mouth? Besides, I wasn't on my back last night."

Archimedes nodded and shrugged, "T'is true, I imagine it'd be quite the honor to feast on the true bounty."

"Bring me a ring and we'll talk," They shared a laugh before Thassa dropped the oar and got to her feet. "We're almost there, aren't we?" Her comrade nodded, solemnly. "I'll meet you above deck. I need to get ready."

***********************************************************************************************************************************************************

Caius had spent the majority of his morning snooping around the market, gathering discounted fruits and vegetables. Having limited funds was always tricky and this city was home to a rather stingy crowd. The city was bustling. He wasn't quite sure why, but he could feel it. A darkness on the horizon.

In order to banish his unease, he figured he'd get drunk. After stealing some wine, he found his way back to the hovel he and his illustrious thief-of-a-friend, Ligeia had been staying in. She was still asleep.

The lazy tramp.

Dropping his ill-gotten gains on the small table nearby, he hefted a rotten apple and hurled it at her unconscious form, "Wake up, harlot! Leaving the old man to do all of the leg work! Disgraceful!"

A soft tapping on his shoulder raised Fei from a deep and enjoyable reverie. He opened his eyes groggily, straightening up in his seat. The shaft of a monstrous bronze-tipped bolt greeted him, thankfully facing the other direction.

Ah, yes. Mercenary duty. Fei sleepily thought to himself. They should try putting pillows on these ballistae sometime.

Rolling his neck, Fei sighed with satisfaction as his joints popped into place. They abruptly shifted back out of place as Fei suddenly found himself wincing on the floor, looking up at his chair, now enjoying its place over the shoulder of a tall and intimidating man.

"Wakey wakey, princess." The captain bared his teeth down at him in a wide smile.

Fei grinned back up. "So, our shift's over, eh?"

The pirates-cum-mercenaries had great fun sleeping through their shifts, and only during their shifts. Mercenaries, Fei thought, had it good, especially in the calm before the storm. Or after it, or between storms, for that matter. After all, the kingdom of Astrium held no direct authority over hired blades; they were bound only by the terms of their contract.

The captain chuckled, a deep, gravelly sound. "One would wish, but that be not the order of today. Gaze at yonder horizon, Fei. Strios and Eluvius has brung to us the dogs that have barked and bitten once too many times at our noble benefactors."

Several dark splotches hovered on the line where sky met sea. As Fei watched, more and more appeared, trailing behind and beside the first. It was impossible to truly confirm the nature of these ships at this distance, but it was beyond obvious to everyone who saw that the great armies of Fendarin and her allies had arrived at last.

"How long d'you reckon, cap'n?"

The captain sucked on his finger thoughtfully for a moment, before holding it up to the nonexistent breeze. "We've still a day or two t' wait. The sea's calmer than the blood 'n a dead man."

Just as the captain finished his estimation, a sudden wind swept over the walls of Dorium, carrying with it the fresh scent of the sea, as well as an undetectable taint of godly magic and a hint of the dank sweat of oarsmen. Fei laughed aloud.

"Looks to me like Strios's heard your request. Does our brilliant cap'n wanna try re-examinin' his numbers?"

The captain tossed his cargo over the ramparts as he held his finger up again. Fei's spirits fell with his beloved chair, watching as it was splintered by the jagged rocks and the crushing waves. The captain grinned mockingly at his expression.

"You ain't goin' t' be usin' that chair anyway. I'd be guessin' that the 'darian swine'll be 'ere just afore nightfall." He patted Fei's shoulder as he left to wake up the next pirate sleeping on the job. "Enjoy yerself 'til then, and try not t' fall asleep!"

Fei took another long glance at the dots on the horizon, before stretching out once more and setting off at an easy pace, heading into the city. After all, there wouldn't be anyplace to buy drinks once the fighting broke out.

"Yes, Prince Cadric? What's got you chasing your own tail like that?"

"There you are- Oh! By the gods man!" Cadric quickly turned his head away, pinching at the bridge of his nose in frustration as he tried to scorch the image of Darion's genitals wafting in the morning breeze from his mind. As if the day couldn't get any worse.

"Put some clothes on, there's ships approaching, Io and his horde have arrived as promised."

'Maybe...'

"We need to get a look at their numbers and ready the garrison."

'Probably... please don't let me go down as the prince who cried fleet.'

Cadric waited impatiently as Darion st about getting himself dressed, the prince scuffed away at the floors from tapping away with his sandaled feet in agitation. At least it gave Cadric more time to sort out the rest of his own armour properly.

"You know, most nobles don't have to give their staff a wake up call in the morning." Cadric grumbled once Darion was ready and the two of them were on their way through the town and heading towards the nearest lookout point.

Alim smiled to himself as the commoners roared and carried on with the rowing as he retreated into his cabin. A good morning, a good omen, and possibly the battle would have a good omen. Either way, the scribe hoped that they would rest their legs on dry land soon. Too many times his work had been interrupted by a sudden jolt, causing jagged black lines at the end, or even beginnings, of letters. Either way, today the fruit would ripen. Hours of meetings, inventory-checking, soldier-inspecting, and strategy-making would come to fruition in the form of war. The actual fighting was the soldiers' - and of course the Red King's - concern. Though, the scribe still had his part in the war. Not all fighting was done with swords and shouting, after all; something he had to constantly remind dear Iokanan about. Living up to his surname, Alim had checked and double-checked the war's justness - not to mention the countless meetings between the big-wigs of the other islands. Dear Naien, the meetings!

Alim could've sworn that Karvus had branched out into diplomacy.

Regardless, even with the Strios-blessed wind, it would be a while until they would reach and then strike Dorium. And so, Alim fidgeted with an abacus for a while before getting down to the accounts. Again. Such was to be expected when managing an assembled army of different city-states and nations, though the latest bit of correspondence from Zamar. The request was a bit... daunting to say the least. However, he could forgive his homeland for remaining neutral - even in favourable conditions - in the war. Naturally, the so-called 'nation of bookworms' were more suited to defence, rather than offence. His hands advanced towards the abacus once more, sending the beads crashing into another in one satisfying *clink*. The man chuckled to himself, he needed to play some mancala games. But who would want to play in such a tense atmosphere? Perhaps Alim could force some poor slave to, if all of them weren't tickling Eluvius's back right now.

On with the paperwork!

***

"My dear girl, play some more. Mmmmm.... Wait. No, no, no, no... NO! Not like that. Fetch my stick!"

Old, crotchety, and apparently the authority on music, Akakios Vergilius Archelaus Kokinos had much in common with Caius. The old soldier tired of the world, war, his family and had shut himself out, only required slaves to fulfil his every need. The rest of the Kokinos family were content to leave him be in his little villa, better the slaves be the target of his wrath than his kin, right?

Regardless, a young slave boy immediately ran into the room with the gnarled piece of wood. It was only a matter of time before...

*THUMP*

"Wake up, harlot! Leaving the old man to do all of the leg work! Disgraceful!"

"OW!" Ligeia yelped as she woke. Wiping the remains of the not-so-fresh apple from her face, she slowly stood and faced the man and narrowed her eyes, "Dirty old man."

With a stretch and pout, she went on a short tirade while yawning at the same time. That somewhat lessened the overall effect the ex-slave was going for, unfortunately. Still what was one to do with Caius and his ever so sweet habit of waking her up in the morning?

"You've been spending all of ya coin on the pornai, haven't ya? This fruit's as rotten as your heart, you know that? Can't even steal food right... Dirty old man."

It was safe to say that Ligeia wasn't a morning person.

~ Lanius ~

The soldier he had approached looked at him in confusion and bewilderment for a moment before clearing his throat to respond.

"Ah, I'm sorry to say that Prince Cadric and Captain Uriah have already left, and in a hurry. Also, the Priests and Priestesses are supposed to be at the battlements, where they're more like to be needed." the man said with a note of apology in his tone.

Lanius stared at him dully for a few seconds before an expression of mild shock played over his face while he spoke, saying, "Ah. I see."

With another short bow, he turned and broke into a run, devoid of any of his usual grace. He should have known that he had gone to the wrong place! Why would the soldiers he needed to attend to be at the main keep instead of the battlements? He kicked himself mentally for that as he tore through the streets, managing to weave between the crowds with minimal shoving. Those he did shove aside, he called back quick apologies for.

Unfortunately, there was one person he couldn't avoid entirely: A robed woman who stepped into the street just in front of him. His sandals skidded on the streets, but he only just managed to prevent either of them from falling in a heap by grabbing a hold of the woman's shoulders and taking a few steps back.

"Excuse me, madam, I am so... Hold on." he said, pausing in mid-apology to look her over.

The robes were extremely familiar, and it took him a moment to realize what they belonged to.

"Well, fancy meeting a Tranquil Sister here! May Morgal rain blessings upon you and grant you an easy entrance into Her Kingdom." he said cheerfully, stepping back and holding out a hand before introducing himself.

"I am Lanius Inedia, a fellow devotee of our Goddess, Morgal. I'm sorry about bumping into you." he apologized with a small smile.

Lail froze on the spot as something caught in the corner of her eye, but far too late to do anything about it. As the man almost careened into her. Her hands still tucked in her sleeves, she turned to face the man, a peculiar looking fellow.

As the man addressed Lail, her expression remained neutral, her eyes following the tattoos on his face, and the strange shape of his teeth.

"I am Lanius Inedia, a fellow devotee of our Goddess, Morgal. I'm sorry about bumping into you."

Lail's eyes shifted down to the priest's outstretched hand. "No harm done." Lail nodded her head gently, a polite smile curling her lips. "I am the Tranquil Sister known as Lail." She disliked the need for ceremony, but it was expected of her for every first meeting. "I hope the day sees you well, now if you would excuse me." She said softly, tilting her head slightly. "There are a number of ingredients I am in short supply of, I would see to it that I am among the first to market." Brushing past the man, she continued to her destination.

The Nirnroot would sell quickly, as its potency was directly linked to how fresh the herb was. Purchasing an ample supply and preserving it was of utmost importance.

With the hasty slaps of leather on stone following him downhill, Jaris made his way though the city as fast as he could without breaking into a run. As he hurried along, the colossal barrier of the wall that separated the bay and the city proper grew infront of him as he approached. By the time he reached the gates that allowed passage through the wall, the structure towered above him, almost the heights of some of temples in the city.

Jaris waved a greeting to the guards lounging at the base of the watch tower and proceeded inside, his footfalls echoing off the walls around him as he climbed the tower. Despite the ascent, by the time Jaris reached the top landing he had barely broken a sweat. As he stepped out onto the battlements, the harbor of Dorium unfolded out before him.

The bay itself cut inwards from the rest of the coast like some mythical sea-monster had taken a bite out of the island (indeed, many said that's actually what happened), though with the marble walls surrounding 2 sides of the bay and the similarly coloured cliffs on the other made it look more like the maw that (supposedly) made it. Jaris peered over the wall and looked below to see the docks bristled with activity. Normally it would be full of merchants offloading their wares or fishermen returning with their morning catch, but today there was a more somber mood as the same merchants, the few people left on the docks, cast off and fled before the oncoming army trapped them in the city.

"Like rats from a sinking ship." A voice said beside him.

Jaris turned his head to see an solider who's face he did not recognize, though who's armour marked him as one of the many under his command.

"Indeed." He replied as he turned his attention back to the docks, then to the staggered line on the horizon and added, "Where are the rest of our men?"

"Those not already by the gate should arrive within the hour."

"Tell them to hurry up then, we will need every sword and every spear when the Red King arrives."

As the solider left Jaris's thoughts went to the battle ahead. The gate he and his me were stationed at was the biggest of the ones along the wall and no doubt would be the main point of the coming fleet's attack. Fortunately it also offered commanding views of both sides of the wall, something that he was eternally grateful for.

"You know, most nobles don't have to give their staff a wake up call in the morning."

"Yes," replied Darion, smiling as they walked. "But as the Prince of a nation, it is very important for you to assume roles of responsibility in preparation. I like to keep you on your toes."

Approaching the lookout post at the wall, Darion scaled the ladder with the nimbleness of a younger man and looked out to sea at the encroaching line of ships, which loomed somewhat larger and closer than when Cadric had seen them. There was no doubt. He whistled appreciatively.

"They must be working their crew into the ground to move so quickly," he said. "There is no doubt. Battle will close on us soon, my Prince."

"You've been spending all of ya coin on the pornai, haven't ya? This fruit's as rotten as your heart, you know that? Can't even steal food right... Dirty old man."

Caius ignored her as he uncorked the wine and took a sip of its contents, "Watch that mouth, you little gutter-snipe!" Passing the bottle over to her, his expression hardened. "Drink up, girl. Liquid resolve will do you good. I have a very bad feeling about today. There is something in the wind. I can... smell it."

It wasn't often that the old man got so serious, but if there was anything Ligeia had learned during her time with him it was that he had keen instincts. When he sensed trouble, chances are it wasn't far off, "One Prince murders another, or so it is said. No doubt the father lusts for revenge. A familiar tale. We should have left this damned-able city a fortnight ago! I----" I stopped mid-sentence and widened his eyes. Holding his hand to his ear, it looked as if he was trying to listen for something.

A shiver ran up his spine as his weathered ears picked up on the familiar rhythm, "Do you hear that, Ligeia?" He wasn't sure if he was actually hearing anything, or if an old memory was bubbling to the surface of his mind. In either case, he was terrified. "That is the song of dead men."

**********************************************************************************************************************************************************

Though it wouldn't have bothered her in the slightest to dress in front of her comrades, Thassa was grateful that their quarters were vacant when she arrived. After donning her bronze breastplate, greaves and bracers, she took her helmet in her hands and laid it down before her father's sword on the floor. Kneeling before the makeshift shrine, she bowed her head and held her arms at her sides, pressing her fists against the wooden planks of the deck. The war drums slowly began to fade as she focused her mind on her prayer. It was only she, the shrine and her words now.

"Hear me, father," She whispered. "Grant me your blessing so that I may cut down all that stand against me. Guide my blade, your blade, so that I strike true and so that my blade knows judgement. So that your sword may not taste the blood of the faithful. Only the unworthy. As your daughter; I ask of you to protect my chastity. To protect my body. In return, I will honor your name and bare the fruit of life."

She grit her teeth, "As your son; I ask of you to protect my honor. To protect my mind. In return, I will honor your name and I will make one of my own." She picked his sword up off the ground and held it before her. "In the name of Valcit, 'The Just Sword', your patron. Your god. I ask to take your sword into battle, so that it may once again feel the blood of a Curio coursing around its hilt. To honor yourself, and, your god." She rested her forehead against the flat of the blade. "I pray this be a glorious battle."

It wasn't until she was done that she addressed the shadow looming over her shoulder, "Can I help you, Archimedes?"

"No," He chuckled; his arms crossed as he leaned against the door frame. "I was just appreciating the poetry."

Thassa grunted in amusement before collecting her gear and approaching him, "I didn't realize you were a man of poetry."

"Poetry written in blood, maybe."

"Oh, well," She grinned. "There will be plenty of that this day." She looked out the door, over his shoulder. "Come, we have a war to win."

"But as the Prince of a nation, it is very important for you to assume roles of responsibility in preparation. I like to keep you on your toes."

"By staying on your back, how very practical of you."

Cadric flustered away as the two of them set about through the town at a brisk face, not quite running but too fast to be called walking. It also turned out to be the perfect speed to gain the ire of every slow moving merchant and doddering old man they got stuck behind. Luckily Cadric had bickering to keep his mind occupied as he shouldered past an unfortunate slave and the heavy load they'd been saddled with.

But reach the battlements they did, by now the two were familiar faces to the guards that were stationed there and didn't even have to bother making a 'Do have any idea who I am?' speech. What was waiting for them confirmed all of Cadric's worst fears. The ships were closer now, the blurred sight of their sails becoming clearer as approached.

"There is no doubt. Battle will close on us soon, my Prince."

Cadric nodded his head, the floor suddenly seemed like the most fascinating thing in the world right now, if only it could have swallowed him up but he forced himself to raise his eyes and square his shoulders. He was the son of Caradoc, the Prince of Astrium. His family had stood strong through blood and fire for generations and Cadric would not shame his ancestors now.

"Sound the horns!" He called to the nearest guards. "Raise the chains, nothing enters the harbor!"

Soldiers barked out their confirmations and ran along their stations passing the messages on. Soon enough the city was bursting with the sound of war horns sounding the advance of the coming fleet and all over the streets people lifted their heads and quickly set about hurrying through the streets looking for somewhere safe while the garrison scrambled about readying themselves. Above it all the battlements actually seemed quite calm.

"So here we are." Cadric croaked. "Today's the day..."
================================================================================================
"I trust everything of yours is in order, Master Scribe?" Iokanan strode into the cabin Alim used for his work. He was in no mood to try his hand at pronouncing the man's name today.

"Things are going to start getting very... aggressive later. If you need any assistance for that time we can always requisition a few crewman for you."

The normal sounds of the city were swallowed up by the bellowing of the war horns and below Jaris saw the steady trickle of people coming though the gates rapidly turn into a raging torrent as they fled the docks. Before soon the docks were empty and the great wooden gates swung shut with a deep, resonating thud.

"All your men are here sir." A voice reported in Jaris's ear, and the knight turned to see the stretch of wall before him occupied by a sea of bronze and leather.

Jaris nodded, then turned and entered the gate tower only emerging back into the sunlight a few moments later at the top landing a few meters above the wall. From here he had a slightly better view of the bay, and hopefully the added elevation would allow his voice reach a majority of his troops.

'If those accursed horns die down.'

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