[h3 [center Early Morning]] Sera's nostrils flared as she struggled to take in enough air. The fight had only just started but she could already tell she was going to be drenched in sweat. While the swords she carried were well balanced they were also three times heavier than the ones that she had used before. Combined with the creepy grins from the dozen brutes surrounding her and she was already beginning to fear for her safety.
[b “Give her no quarter!”] A voice boomed from behind.
She only managed to take in one more deep breath before they lunged at her. A quick thrust from her right sword connected with the first attacker's sternum, while a slash from her left sword to their stomach knocked them out of the fight. A single step allowed her to dodge two attacks from either side while leaving her open to an attack from behind, but with a quick flip of the sword in her left she followed through with a stab to the belly of the attacker behind her and a quick slash to their sternum that knocked them down.
The next attack was sure to be a lethal one as the biggest among them took an overhead swing with his club aimed straight for her head. Sera was faster though as she deflected the swing with her right sword, and quickly stabbed at his sternum with her left. An attack she followed with a downward swing with all of her weight behind it to connect to his hip, an attack that drew sharp gasps from the men that were still standing.
Nine brutes remained and they were smart enough to create some distance to surround her. Sera took the opportunity to take the offensive, and lunged at one at the end of the semicircle they had managed to form. Her right sword was easily knocked away, but it allowed her to connect with a slash from her left to their sternum. Which was quickly followed by a boot to their stomach that sent them into the dirt.
Her offensive maneuver was met by a counterattack from the closest enemy. She sidestepped his lunge though and unleashed two quick slashes to the back that knocked the brute to the ground. An attack that was quickly followed up by a thrust from her right that used her long stride to pierce through another brutes defenses to their sternum. With a second step that allowed her to bring her left sword forward into their gut allowing her to drop another foe to their knees.
Her lunge left her open though and one of the remaining brutes took the opportunity to swing their club into her back. She was quick to attempt to defend herself, but the weight of her weapons took their toll as she was just a bit too slow to intercept the attack. The club connected with her side and dropped her to her hands and knees. Something that was followed up by a stomp on her back that dropped her face into the dirt.
A small groan was heard from the sideline as a lean muscled slightly older red haired woman picked up a simple staff. An act she quickly followed up by lashing out at the six remaining brutes with a terrifying speed. The woman was quick to show off her mastery of the pole arm by making use of the weapons extended reach and variety of attack options. Thanks to her speed each of the six brutes were met with a rapid two strike attack that left them all crumpled on the ground.
Once the brutes were safely out of the way a much older red haired woman appeared and used the tip of a training sword to lift Sera's head up by her chin and locked eyes with her. [b “If this were a real battlefield you would be lucky to just be dead after that,”] the woman said with a firm tone. [b “Do you understand that?”]
Sera wanted to glare at her mentor Rose, but she was distinctly aware of how right the woman was. As royalty she was more likely to be kidnapped or tortured than killed, and even against members of her mentor's former legion she was keenly aware of just how much those brutes wanted to leave their mark on her flesh. She knew because she carried a number of bruises from when they managed to beat her during their training. [b “I understand.”]
[b “Good,”] Rose said before hearing a loud whistle. [b “Looks like that's all for today, go get washed up.”]
Sera struggled to her feet and lumbered her way towards her mentor's house. She made sure to pause to give a nod of gratitude to her personal guard first though, as she knew this would be a difficult arrangement to maintain without her help. While she was not entirely sure why Alanna allowed her to engage in such dangerous behavior she had at least made sure to show that she was appreciative.
Despite the injuries she was quick to get out of her training clothes as she made it to the bath where a young woman was waiting for her. The young woman flushed at the sight of Sera's bruised body, but made sure to speak up about the damage her lady had taken. [b “Do you really have to go through so much?”]
[b “If being brutally beaten by them is what it takes to achieve my dream then it is a small price to pay,”] Sera said as she placed her hand on the woman's cheek. [b “I promise you that it is all going to be worth it.”]
After that Sera quickly went through getting cleaned up so that no one at the castle would know that she had spent so much time rolling around in the dirt. Along with getting changed from the rags that made up her training uniform into clothes more befitting a member of the royal family. While she had a woman there to prepare the bath she did not have the normal number of attendants as she had worked hard to keep her training by Rose a secret.
[h3 [center Current]] Sera strode towards the throne room with a stronger determination than expected for someone just on their way to a meeting. Despite her early morning activities she was perfectly graceful and poised with no hint or sign of having been involved in something so barbaric as sparring with a dozen brutes. She had always done her best to meet the requirements of her position albeit sometimes going a bit sideways to do so, and so she had done her best to keep those activities secret even from her family. Especially as she had taken even more onto her shoulders since her mother passed so as to be a reliable pillar for the kingdom.
Upon making it to the throne room though she slow as she spotted a guard approaching one of the meeting participants. She arrived just in time to overhear a change of plans delivered to the unique looking white haired man. [b “The King has summoned you into the council chambers.”]
Betrayed, that is the best of what had happened to him. It was perhaps the only thing that kept him going was finding the man who brought him to his knees and he would pay. Death was a game to the white haired male, and he often drank from the devil’s cup called life. The man looked out across the land. Its fertile fields gracefully flowing in the light breeze as the rays of the first sunlight shone across them. A lone male figure stood out among a crowd in the walls of Radinata, as he stood in gold armor and a bracelet band he was fidgeting with also made of gold.
[b “Commander the king has summoned you for a meeting.”] with those words the captain looked up to the guardsmen who stood in front of him. [#e18914 “Very well Rulian.”] waving his hand the male looked over the city. Its white beacon has shown brighter as the dawn’s first light brightened up the sky. The vivid red of the pipestone rooftops stood out from across the town. Down below stood the entrance and gate into the city. In the middle of the opening stood a fountain and around the fountain were shops opening. Fresh bread, meat pies, and ales even the smoke from the forge could be smelt in the air.
Anu Candle it was the name whispered across Radinata. Commander to the Southern wall Guards, one of six of them all under the king. Anu had gathered up his things before leaving his post on the wall, however as he moved to step away from the wall events unfolded in front of his eyes. A stranger had walked into the city. Deciding he would keep his eye on this new comer, his clothing was weird, but what drew his eyes was the sword strapped to his back. [#e18914 “Captain I want someone to keep an eye on that man.”] he said pointing at the male in blue and impeccable white clothing.
In response the captain nodded and the commander was off. The king knew that his commander didn’t like meetings, even if it was for details and orders about the guards that would affect the whole kingdom, but perhaps it was because it was only a title for anu, his job was far from being an ordinary City Guard, especially one for the only gate into and out of the city. Walking down the steps of the wall Anu kept one eye on where he was going as to not run into any of the other guards stationed under his command. The other part of his attention was the gathering crowd around the market. It would be hard to keep track of the male with the way things were growing.
As he finished his decent of the stairs Anu stopped by the guard’s station to inform them he would be leaving for the citadel and to keep extra guards patrolling the walls as busy time was approaching; while peaceful Radinata still had the occasional crime happen within the kingdom, and it usually happened when a crowd was around. Stepping around to have the fountain in front of him Anu spotted the curious visitor once again. Watching as events unfolded he was run into by another ark rider who seemed to be in a rush. Bright red hair, black and red clothing, it was no other then Alanna. Perhaps she had woken late, but he had places to be.
Before watching what else happened Anu took the path north towards the center of town carefully avoiding crowds and busy streets, as he was in a bit of a rush himself. Eventually he made it to the citadel gates where he had been stopped for identification. [#e18914 “I am Commander of the Southern Wall Anu Candle.”] Holding up his badge of position the male stepped up to have his face inches away from the guard in front of him. [#e18914 “The king has summoned me, and will not be pleased I am delayed by mere identification formalities.”] The guard grabbed the badge and nodded to move out of the way and allow the male to pass by.
Making his way around the inner Noble Quarters Anu made it to the castle itself and into the throne room, a few misplaced guards, however no king yet shown. That was when a guard came up and put a letter to his hand. [b “The King has summoned you into the council chambers.”]
[center [b [#000080 [font "Lucida Fax" Killian Darnus Milivoj Radius, The First of His Name]]]]
[font "Lucida Fax" The castle Radinata stood out among the kingdom’s city like a bright white beacon. The people looked to it not as a tyrannical fortress, but as a protective watchful gaze like a lioness with her cubs. The alabaster structure with clay-red roofs with stood enemy invasions for centuries, never leaving its people to suffer. The front bronze gates remained open for all its citizens with a warm welcome from the High Tower in the center of the palace. Neither a storm nor an encroaching army of thousands could destroy this monument home of seven Ark Riders and their impressive machines. At least, that is what the Radinata’s civilians have come to understand. The kingdom’s streets remained relatively peaceful with King Darnus in rule. Even with the happy chatter and the busy roaming of the people down below, inside the castle was a silent mourning for the late Queen Lunarus. Adore by all and a beloved mother of three. Her presence has been missed this past year and it appeared the castle itself wept for her as some clouds pronounced the shadows on the architecture.] [right [pic http://fotos.fotoflexer.com/f04354dde021ff3439d037e6f355a460.jpg]]
[font "Lucida Fax" The silence was broken from the castle as fighting erupted in one of the palace’s courtyards. In the center surrounded by men with swords stood a young man with hair whiter than his blanched shirt. His porcelain complexion dripped with sweat as he panted. In a fighting stance, the man’s soul-piercing blue eyes remained vigilant to the men encircling him. He wore navy colored baggy pants with a golden sash tied around his waist. A long wooden staff was held firm in black gloved hands. The men surrounding him wore similar attire but with red or blue sashes at the waists. All were brandishing steel swords or daggers defensively. There was a long pause before they all charged in at once.]
[font "Lucida Fax" The morning sun glinted off the blades that lunged and slashed and jabbed. All attempts cut and sliced the air and nothing else. The white-haired man pivoted in his stance, dodging each strike with ease. His body was becoming a blade of grass in wind as his torso bent and lurched with impossible speed. The staff was lifted behind his head and horizontally blocked a blow from the back. A smirk grew on his face as he turned his head slightly to speak. [#000080 [b “That was cheap.”]] A modulated voice quipped. At blinding speed, the staff lifted again shoving the blade up and whirled around several times. The blunt end of the wood jabbed square in the center of the other man’s chest and sent him flying into the straw dummies meant for sword practice.]
[font "Lucida Fax" All the men stopped in place and stared after their fellow comrade with slacked jaws. A groaning and a grunt erupted from the destroyed piles of straw as the fallen man sat up with a gruff voice that said. “Well done your highness.” In that instance, everyone erupted into laughter as some men patted that white-haired prince on the back as two others went to go help their friend up.]
[font "Lucida Fax" Prince Killian chuckled as he went over to the fallen man to see if he was alright. [b [#000080 “Sorry to hit you so hard Brom.”]] The prince extended a hand out to the guardsman.]
[font "Lucida Fax" The man simply cracked his back and shook the hand before him. “Not a problem, sire. I shouldn’t have let my guard down.” He grinned as he rubbed his back painfully.]
[font "Lucida Fax" The prince nodded with a smile. [b [#000080 “Well see to yourself to the infirmary. I can’t have one of my best guards down on the job, eh?”]] He said cheerfully as he patted the man on the shoulder. [b [#000080 “I think practice is over for the day, lads. Everyone, go rest up.”]] He declared as he graciously gave his staff to a servant that was in charge with clean up. He grabbed a towel that was neatly placed on a half wall for him to wipe his face and neck. They had all been practicing for about an hour now. He didn’t want to wear the men down too much else they’ll be too tired for tomorrow morning’s session. Glancing up at the courtyard’s clock, Killian estimated that he had enough time to freshen up before the meeting located in the throne room. A small feeling in his stomach left him with a foreboding sensation.]
[font "Lucida Fax" After cleaning up, Killian dressed in his stately attire with the kingdom’s color of blue material, white accents and a black overcoat. It was supposed to be the latest in the kingdoms' fashion. A ceremonial sword strapped to his hip as per custom, however, his main weapon of choice as metallic staff. This was all for show. It was the work uniform of a prince that was requested to make an appearance at a meeting in the throne room. No matter how much he disliked wearing flamboyant garments, he had to look the part. The women of the castle don’t seem to mind though. He was aware of the whispers about his appearance behind his back, the great Prince Killian with his handsome features and suave presence swooned many beautiful girls his way in the past. Since his mother’s death, the late Queen Lunarus, Killian’s childish and seductive behaviors were put behind him as he matured for his father. His kingdom needed him now, and he rose to the occasion as a strong and compassionate Prince.]
[font "Lucida Fax" A loud knock on the large doors made the Prince turn his head to the doorway to his bed chamber. The steel hue in his eyes shimmered with curiosity as he nonchalantly approached the doors. Upon opening them, Killian was shocked to see a familiar, and still a bit smug, face. [b [#000080 “Guy Gai’kala, you clever bastard, what took you so long?”]] The Prince greeted the brunet male with a grin and open arms. The man before him was almost the same height as Killian but much bulkier in body frame. [b [#000080 “Good to see that the Vanguard has treated you well, old friend.”]] Killian smacked the armored man on the shoulders. Guy Gai’kala was the prince’s newest appointed bodyguard. The latest one, Hutch Dodson retired at the age of fifty-seven. Killian personally picked his childhood friend Guy to replace him since the young man had completed his elite military training in the Vanguard. It was perfect for the young royal. He joked that no one else would put up with him as much as his best friend. [b [#000080 “You’re just in time, I’m about to attend a meeting.”]] He said while ushering his friend to follow him. [b [#000080 “Maybe with you by my side, the meetings won’t be so dull. Father was supposed to walk with me, but I guess you will do.”]] The pearly haired man chuckled.]
[h3 In a far off land...]
...known as the wastelands, in the depths of the Earth, a brown haired man stands upon a stone altar. The altar resides in a large room that can hardly be seen due to the endless darkness that fills the room. However, even the darkness, strange symbols can be seen written on the walls. The man stands there beaten and battered, his clothes in tatters and are beginning to be stained by his own blood. Drops of blood run down his face like crimson tears as the coldness of the room brushes against his skin. His sky blue eyes look down upon a sword that impales the surface of the altar he stands on. The azure blade glistens and glows, piercing the darkness with its radiant form.
The man pants weakly as the room suddenly trembles violently. The sounds of explosions can be heard off in the far off distance. Bits of earth and rock fall from the ceiling as the vibrations of the room travel throughout the man’s body. The man looks up in front of him to see that the wall behind the sword is actually a large stone obelisk. The obelisk is in the shape of the top half of armor and the eyes of the armors helm pier down at the sword. The man could faintly see two large stone hands hovering by the sides of the altar.
"That little rat is just on the other side of these doors! Bust it down so we can finish off the trash, and claim the Emperor's treasure!" A man shouts from the other side of the stone doors.
The man places his right hand over the crest on his left shoulder plate. The crest is stained in blood, but yet its azure color remains true. He clenches the shoulder plate tighter and grits his teeth. [b "We are to close to die here. We were only one step away from achieving everything we worked for,"] The man says as his vision becomes a bit blurry and he reaches his right hand out toward the hilt of the sword before him. [b "I won't let it end here. I won't let them simply be erased,"] He says in a determined tone as he grips the hilt with his right hand. [b "I will get out of here, and I will finish what we started!"]
The man grips the hilt of the sword with both of his hands, and squeezes the hilt tightly within his grasp. [b "I will carry them the rest of the way by bearing 'their' name!"] The man shouts out as the sword begins to glow. He grits his teeth in pain as blue pathways of energy travel up along his skin. The pain he feels surges throughout his body as his eyes glow blue. The sword glows brighter and brighter as the man shouts in agonizing pain.
A glowing light consumes the entirety of the room and at the core of this glowing light is a voice that says one simple statement.
[i Host Acknowledged.]
[h3 One Year later...]
... an elderly fifty five year old man walks along a brick path. His white mane flows with the gentle breeze that brushes by. Surrounding him is a sea of flowers as he limps along with a cane in his right hand. His right leg has three metal rings wrapped around it as he almost drags his leg along with each step. The man stands tall and holds a strong stance despite his weak frail looking form. The man finds a stone bench and sits on the seat as he looks out at the flowers before him. He strokes his beard with his left hand as he goes deep into thought.
[b "It's another peaceful day Lunarus,"] The man says in a content tone as he rests both of his hands on the top of his wooden cane.
"Your majesty, King Darnus!" A man calls out.
Darnus looks into the direction of the young man and strokes his beard with his left hand. He quirks a brow as his deep sea blue eyes fall upon the man.
"The Young Master and Mistresses are wondering where you went," The man says as he pants.
Darnus sighs and replies, [b "Well keep it a secret from them my young lad. My children can be worrywarts simply because I am old."]
"But sir," The man is interrupted as King Darnus pats his head.
[b "Off you go young man. I would like to have a little more time with my wife,"] King Darnus says with a gentle, but sad smile.
The man simply nods as he seems to show a bit of sadness as well. The man runs off as he leaves the King in the Royal Garden.
King Darnus chuckles as he watches the man run off. He looks up at the sky and says, [b "Our children have become quite nosy. Ever since you passed a year ago, they have been treating me like a fragile old man."] Darnus smiles and closes his eyes, [b "The castle has become to quiet without you here, my dear Queen Lunarus."]
... a young man that goes by the name of Azure has just entered the lively Kingdom of Radinata. The young man wears a blue trench coat and a white overcoat with matching pants and undershirt. On his left shoulder he dawns a prominent winged crest. On his back is mounted a sword shaped object that is wrapped entirely in bandages except for its hilt.
Azure quirks a brow as he stares at the scenery before him. He is at a plaza known as the Bazaar, where most of the public traffic of Radinata travels through for most of the day. The plaza is encircled by impressive stone structures and at the center of the plaza is a large beautiful decorated fountain. A lot of people walk around the bazaar, visiting the stalls and walking into the shops that encompass the lively place.
[i 'This place sure is peaceful,'] Azure thinks to himself as he looks around. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out two golden Gil coins. [b "Time to find a place to get a drink,"] Azure says to himself as he walks off to find a tavern or somewhere that had alcohol.
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