[i [b "Now then, which story would you like me to recite to you tonight, my child? Auredura? My, that is a long story indeed-are you sure you wouldn't want a lighter bedtime story? No? Very well, I suppose it will take a few nights to go through it all. Tuck in and I will tell you all about my most famous adventure, and my most dearest friends. Let me see, hm, where should I begin..."]]
[i "I suppose I should start by saying we were all slight acquaintances way back then, there were five of us, including myself-a band of fearless dragon slayers who relied on each other to take down these fierce-some beasts that blacked out the sun with the spread of their wings, and burned through ramparts with blazing fire. They destroyed cities and crumbled castles under their weight, tore down walls like brittle reeds along the mountainsides. Auredura was a name we did not know at first, for that foe slept under rock and stone, buried beneath the treasure it coveted for millennia. Each dragon we slew demanded our respect and our understanding for the carnage they could deal; we were introduced to each other by an oddly coincidental mutual ally by the name of Ulthred."]
[i "Once we slew our first dragon the people really started to notice us, our reputations were distinguished by our weapons of choice. They gave us these silly, little monikers as we saved their lives, paid us with whatever small belongings that could be scrounged up in the wreckage, called us heroes! Yet nothing we had ever faced could prepare us for the power of Auredura, the ancient scourge of the land that destroyed our kingdom long ago from one coast to the other for five continuous centuries. The great horned dragon was taller than any civilization, its shadow cast consumed multiple cities beneath its wingspan, and its breath could char the steel of a knight's armor like it was made of tree bark."]
[i "It was Ulthred who told us about the Tale of Auredura, a fiendish creature who killed without conscience and kept our country bound in terror of his thunderous approach along the skies. The King of the time could not defeat the dragon, so they laid a trap in the mountains, it took years to carve out the underside of the mountain range, stemming from an abandoned keep nestled deep in the crook of the terrain. A giant cave took a few hundred years to complete, big enough to house the largest dragon the world had ever seen; once it was done, the new King, the great-grandson of the first, ordered it to be filled with large quantities of treasure."]
[i "A massive hoard of gold, silver, gems and jewels were poured in by the cart-full, piling as tall as a grown man filled the cavern. Among such riches the royal placed five powerful artifacts, amulets that emanated pure arcane energy-these would be the trigger for their trap. Dragons could never resist a treasure trove, desiring the glittering gold and shiny baubles with a strong determination to claim it as their own. Yet Auredura was far more intelligent than any mountain drake, what it desired most was [b magic], the gold was a nice enticer for any dragon, and it did not take long before the monstrous beast came crashing through the foundation of the ghostly keep to claim its prize."]
[i "The monarch threw everything they had at Auredura, and the dragon fought back so strongly the king even lost his own life, in a last ditch effort the magi sealed away the entrance to the keep and cave, locking the beast beneath the mountains for several hundred years. Until the world forgot the dragon who slept under the mountains, yet the greed of Man came to haunt us-thieves and robbers swarmed to find the hidden treasure, unknowing to the danger they were unleashing..."]
[i [b The Shield:]] I was given the moniker 'The Shield' due to my large tower shield I used with my heavy mace; a Paladin I used to be in my youth, sworn to serve the Aegis God, Pelandrin. A watchful guide to travelers and protector of the weak, my shield blocked dragon fire in defense of my comrades. Among the wreckage and burning beams I stood, covered in ash and soot my shield at the ready, I held the line with bravery and commitment. As stalwart as ever I never bothered with fear in the face of death, as the trust I placed in my friends pulled us through every fight. [b [+red TAKEN]]
[i [b The Sword:]] The Sword was a monster with any blade, deflecting falling debris and slashing against talon and fang until they were able to plunge their hungering sword deep into dragon hide until it punctured bone. They were strong, both concerning their will and their melee prowess; if there was ever an ideal dragon slayer, it was them. When dragons roared, they roared back with singing sword and thunder, cleaving through our enemies like a scythe through grain. They fought in front, slashing the exposed flesh as the others held the dragon's attention. A true companion the likes of which I have rarely seen in another of such ferocity and valor. [b [+red TAKEN]]
[i [b The Bow:]] The Bow was an extraordinary marksman, with a flurry of notched arrows they would rain down volleys and snipe dragons out of the sky with their aim; their arrows flying true against the opposition, arrowheads slicing through scales and pinning painful pressure points. Lithe and swift, their balance never wavered as they dodged blasts of fire, pelting the hard dragon hide with deep biting arrows. Every battlefield held no boundary they could not reach, no wall could stop their arrows from finding its mark. A true companion the likes of which I have rarely seen in another of such precision and skill. [b [+red TAKEN]]
[i [b The Staff:]] The Staff was a master of the arcane arts, wielding both the powers of destruction and restoration like two halves of the same whole. Perfectly balanced they stood in the wake of burning cities, gazed upon the great reptiles who dove at them and they held their ground unflinching. Their knowledge of lore and alchemy saved our lives on many occasions, even when our defenses failed and we were on the brink of death, impaled on dragon's claws, their magic brought us back. A true companion the likes of which I have rarely seen in another of such intelligence and power. [b [+red TAKEN]]
[i [b The Dagger:]] The Dagger was a mastermind of subterfuge and misdirection, as an agile and acrobatic fighter, their daggers would find the soft points on dragons without remorse. They were leaping upon the backs of dragons throwing caution to the wind-stabbing their blades into the eyes and ears of our foes, sliding and ripping down the membrane of their wings-shredding them to tatters. They jumped and flung themselves like a ribbon dancing through the breeze, fluidly dodging the larger opponents, who were slowed down by their size unable to defend against the onslaught of poisoned daggers. A true companion the likes of which I have rarely seen in another of such cunning and agility. [b [+red TAKEN]]
All ES rules and regulations apply.
[b [+blue Please send me a [i sample post of your writing] through PMs, with the TITLE being what role you'd like.]]
Literacy required: [Proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization], minimum of three paragraphs please. Give us something to work with.
Swearing, Violence, and Romance are allowed.
Text-talk, Cybering, and GMing are not allowed.
Make it creative, make it fun.
The Dagger: [http://rp.eliteskills.com/u.php?u=80562 Canadonewithursh-t]
Juliet would duck her head down, reacting to both her excitable outburst and the others reactions both dull and equally vigorous. In doing so she would notice Taliya plucking another fruit off her platter and give a gauche smile, glad she got extra if only for the peckish small one beside her.
[#4655dd "What few stories there are... Wouldn't it be somethin' to just, I dunno, be a part of one of those legends? Six heroes, the lot'a us."]
[b Magic,] Elven or otherwise, before this venture was nothing but the works of colorful stories, or salesman trying to profit off the sick or unlucky. And even though Juliet wanted to believe of the more whimsy filled side of the world magicians did not just wander in and fix everything. Nothing could have prepared the simple girl for some of the first few tricks Taliya had preformed around her. Real, true Magic still dizzied Juliet to think too deeply upon, it was not divine -- and though she would never admit such blasphemy -- It was maybe even just as powerful. [i Or maybe it was Taliya.] While traveling between their previous job Juliet had asked a handful of questions which weren't anything special, some silly in fact.
[i How long did it take ya to do your first spell?]
[i Could ya turn folks into toads with your magics?]
[i ...And ya promise ya aren't gonna turn any'a us into toads in our sleep right?]
She meant no harm, but could see how these questions, which surely had been asked by any townie or other drifter that might have her ear and a inkling of curiosity for a moment, couldbe rather tiring. Especially with how occasionally crude Juliet could not help but come off. And yet Juliet [i had] to know, and it surely didn't help that poor Taliya looked naught but a child, killing a majority of intimidating factors. Juliet could just keep rattling on about things that were exciting to her about the adventure and their travels thus far, things she wanted to do, recipes shared with her from locals, or any of the terribly simple questions she may have loaded up the night prior to meeting back up.
Her gaze passed to Loreena, who's antics would never fail to amuse her. Every jest, Juliet would hold her tongue as to not bellow at her audacity and wit. [#4655dd "Gold's all good an' well, but what about the stuff ya just cannot buy?"] Gold and silver could buy all the meals she could eat, all the room she could afford, but she had a home to go back to; and there Juliet could grow or hunt any other need. Sure she would want gold, to travel, do and see more. For Juliet there would always be a gluttony, a something more out there, but she did have to wonder if it would at all be the same without this little team, which held the fool she now addressed. [#4655dd "Not that it ain't needed of course."]
Where magic eluded her, [b Might] was Juliet's way and right to live by. Her fighting style still had some raw edge to it, brawny talent and a brolic form molded in labor that she would simply throw at a problem. Whether it were an abhorrent monster stalking children in the night, or some creep sinisterly gawking at the party, Juliet could not help but move before her companions. She was no shield, not like the shining templar that was Destrian. Where Destrian's shield surely would never crack, she knew her skin could easily in the wrong situation but she would damn herself long before harm came to those trusting her to be strong.
Juliet would nod to the infallible paladin across the table. She would wave a hand, trying to ward off his worries. [#4655dd "It's not as though I'm gonna go attempting to just up and nab the legendary beast by it's throat."] She would retort playfully. [#4655dd "It's way too big, so I'll be keepin' that in my daydreams."] She would pop another morsel from the platter into her mouth and keep her head down. [#4655dd "Forgettin' that nonsense now, I sure am glad to have ya watching our back, good Paladin!"]
As the ever charming Ulthred announced his plans, Juliet would raise her tankard in good spirits. [#4655dd "I'll drink to that!"]
Destrian drank and listened to everyone's input, noting Ulthred's enthusiasm getting more and more potent as each of them agreed to his task; the man was practically drooling over the prospects of what laid inside the ruins of Kelonis. The paladin's blue eyes looked between each companion when they spoke, hiding his emotions through a calming gaze he had perfected as a man of the cloth. Even as the tavern filled with more patrons the longer they stayed within it was clear they were all in favor of hunting for some famed dragon.
The man gave a slight smirk to the jester's jab, a curling of the side of his lips as she picked up on a new nickname for the paladin. She was masked and garbed in bright colors that highly contrasted the normal drab of the common folk who wandered the streets. However colorful her clothes were the mask that hid her face was surprisingly plain, white and blank of decorating carvings as if to denote that the person wearing it could be anyone waiting to stick their blade between one's ribs. Though his smile was short-lived as Loreena sat directly upon the table, cross-legged right as food and drinks were served.
[+red "I was unaware that Ulthred recruited from the local asylum... for surely your lack of manners stems from someone mentally unwell."] Destrian's ire was not only directed towards Loreena as he had plenty of words to give to his allies. They barely held together the first dragon they all fought together, had they fought with more practice and discipline he would certainly be sporting less burns, the charred soot still coated parts of his shield even.
Juliet spoke up next, quite exuberantly she popped up in her chair the eagerness only dimmed slightly the more she spoke. Her accent was laden from the terrain of her youth, speaking of fields sewn in rings or rows, of harvests abundant in gold and green. She was a decent fighter, if Destrian must give credit, as they fought their first dragon it was difficult to hold arms with someone he had not trained with before. Many times blows would go off-skew and glance off scales as the two front-fighters tried desperately to keep their footing fighting the massive beasts.
[+red "Do not hope so quickly for battle, eager heroes find early graves..."] Destrian muttered to himself after Juliet spoke, he did not have a problem with Juliet per-say but his cloistered mindset made him judge most harshly any slip or mistake, and during their fight there were many mistakes. From the fair lands of Elven blood came two others, Taliya and Olithir; Taliya was blessed with magic Destrian would never understand-she was born with it. A paladin's magic was given or taken away by divinity, the ability to mend minor wounds and smite favored foes with the powers of the heavens came with some heavy guidelines to follow.
Taliya had no restrictions, no restraints to her magic and thus was something to be wary of greatly, Destrian did not know what transpired between drunken patrons and Taliya but she wielded her magic too freely for his liking. Her healing arts were seen as blessings by many but to a holy warrior like Destrian they were to be monitored with great caution-magic of such abundance oft led to corruption. Destrian drank in silence once more, listening to rest of them give their opinions and join in their two-cents about why such a task would be great for them to take-it spoke volumes to their characters-why they chose to fight beasts far larger than them.
That left Olithir, an archer the paladin did not speak much with, the elven man distantly kept to his own counsel; even he sat with disregard for manners, making the paladin's gaze sour as the ranger's boots rested mere inches from plates of food. The man shot a response to Loreena, before he turned his attention to Destrian, he even asked his opinion on the matter; the paladin for the most part had taken each response in stride as Ulthred nodded eagerly to more people jumping on the wagon to hunt for this fabled mountain of gold. The paladin felt the others' eyes on him as if expecting him to refuse, with the dragon out at Hamir it was demanding his aid to those dying to dragon fire yet this Auredura...
If truly a dragon was locked and sealed beneath an entire mountain range it would be of no threat, his oath of protection held no rights to force him to hunt and kill this beast like it did in Hamir. Ulthred watched Destrian with bated breath, as if the entire operation was hinged on his word-they wouldn't last long if there was not someone holding the dragon's attention-they'd be picked off. Destrian set down his drink, placing a gauntlet-covered hand to his chin as he thought about it carefully. If he was not there to protect them then his 'allies' would surely fail and die, would that mean he was to be bound to making sure they stayed safe? Is this what his God was asking of him?
The paladin's oath was the binding contract to their powers, both of holy retribution and aiding those in need; if a paladin refused to uphold his vow they became oath-breakers, disowned from the church and cast out by the very God they swore to serve. If he refused to help them take down Auredura, would Pelandrin disown him for not protecting those in need? Ulthred and the others seemed content to drink and eat while Destrian fought with his inner turmoil, he did not want to fight dragons-it was not what he left the temple to do... Yet was this Pelandrin's will?
[+red "I suppose if you all are heading there anyways you would need a shield to stand behind in case the dragon decided to eat you..."] Ulthred took that as a yes, guffawing as he excitedly clapped his hands and rubbed them together.
[b "That's what I like to hear! We'll get you all set up with a couple rooms an' head out to Hamir tomorrow, we'll show those overgrown, fire-breathing iguanas a thing or two!"] Ulthred did not join any of the fights, he always managed to find some sort of excuse to keep himself far from the battle and away from anything flammable. Destrian supposed it was better to have Ulthred act as their informant and he did seem to have a way with local folk when procuring items and services for their adventures. Destrian couldn't really imagine Ulthred with a weapon unless it was wielding a coin-purse, and unless Ulthred was going to bribe the dragons to death he was better off leaving the fighting to the five of them...
Olithir could still remember the power rush through his veins for the first time, the way the arrows were lit with an electrifying blue flame. It was his. The bow of legends belonged to him. It was said that the bow was a gift from the Sun and the Moon, that it was made from the finest wood and strongest metals, that only a select few were worthy to tap into its magic… Who knew that a lowly hunter boy would be among those few…
He grew up in the woods guarding the Elven Kingdom. His whole family, his friends and neighbours were Huntsman. They lived in-between the tall trees, hunted the creatures that survived with them and traded essentials with travelers. They mostly kept to themselves, occasionally wandering into the kingdom. It wasn't that they were not welcomed, it was simply that they preferred the ways of old. However, despite being free of modern day society, Olithir always felt… Trapped. He longed for adventure outside of the forest. He wanted to scale great mountains, explore caverns and swim into the deep unknown. It was because of this sense of adventure, that he often found himself in trouble, whether it was wandering too far from the clan or stealing little trinkets from the elders just to feel that rush of adrenaline. As he grew older, he became more daring and soon he ventured away from his tribe, starstruck by the tales about the bow of legends.
He faced many challenges, trials and beasts. He hadn't been sure that the bow was even real, he had just been following the stories he was told as a child. But, he wasn't doing this for the weapon, but simply for the thrill. The bow and arrow was a mere bonus… But, what the stories didn't tell him was that to prevent evil from taking the bow, it was declared forbidden for anyone to take it, whether they worthy or not, and it was guarded in the temple of the Sun and the Moon. Somehow, he managed to surpass security and enter the hall in which it was kept.
It was simply magnificent. Strong, dark wood was decorated with silver metal and opal stones. The quiver and arrows were of a similar design. The paintings of its previous owners were hung upon the stone walls, lords and ladies, royalty… It seemed that he was the first of his kind. He had stared at the weapon in awe for a moment or two, he could feel it's power radiating from it… It was calling for him… He reached out and as soon as his fingertips brushed against horns blared out and he was surrounded by the monks and nuns of the temple. They had tried to take him away, but the bows magic allowed it to follow its owner. Despite having the bow, Olithir had committed a crime and so he was banished from all the Elven lands, if he were to set foot in their territory he would be taken as a prisoner.
He had asked the temple to send a letter to his family to tell them to meet him at the border of the forest. They complied and a day later and was escorted to the border. He explained to them what had happened and he tried to convince them to travel the lands with him, find a new home. But, they refused. They told him that it was too risky, that it would put them in danger to leave the clan and move to uncharted, non-elven territory. That day, his heart turned cold and he promised to not grow attached to anyone… If his own people, his family could turn their backs on him then anyone could.
The following years, he never truly settled in one place. He took on jobs for people who paid good coins, the task ranging from relieving messages, parcels, to retrieving rare ingredients found in dangerous environments to slaying beasts. He often slept in an inn or he would take a room as payment for a task, sometimes he'd drink at a tavern and let a woman take him to their home, but in the morning he would always leave before they awoke.
But, it was on one of these tasks did he meet Ulthrid. The old man asked to accompany him on a journey, he stated that he needed protection from potential bandits. Olithir thought this as an easy job and accepted… What Ulthrid hadn't informed him of was that they were walking through dragon territory until they were attacked by one of the fire breathing beasts. The man found it rather amusing, laughing as soon as Olithir slayed one dragon another came along. Fortunately, the dragons were small, and they both made it out. Once they were safe, he demanded an explanation and he was told that word of Olithirs skills had reached Ulthrids ears. He had wanted to see if the Elf could face a monster such as a dragon and become a part of a group that would target the beasts that terrorised humanity.
He had immediately declined the offer until he was told of the money involved. It piqued his interest and now, he was sat in a tavern with his fellow fighters. He was leaned back into his chair with his feet on the table, his bow right beside him and a tankard of ale hand. So far, he had kept to himself and his drink as the others spoke.
He saw Loreena roll her eyes and scoff.
"Who cares about being a hero and having them sing their praises to us? All I care about is their money. Also, there's no point in thinking negatively about how dangerous this beast is. Either, we can die rich or die trying." She had stated in response to Juliet and Taliya. It was now his turn to scoff.
"Money isn't everything, human. You should enjoy a little celebration. Plus, not all of us have such short lifespans." He replied, referencing that Elves had much longer lifespans. He too looked rather young, yet was over 100 years old. "But, I'm not sure what we should do… What do you say Destrian? You've been rather quiet." His brown eyes shifted from the circus clown to the Paladin.
[font "Times New Roman" Taliya was an odd one for the group. Though she looked like the youngest - almost adolescently child like - in her facial features, she was probably one of the oldest ones of the group. Only her knowledge, her figure, and the fact that she was Elven was proof of that. Ulthred had found her in a traveler's town performing magic for coins when she ran out of money for supplies. He had thought her a child based on her looks as most do. But she had proven otherwise when a human male tried to grab her backside saying such a young thing should be protected.
Taliya had swung out her staff out of nowhere and all but used the man to sweep the street. With that, Ulthred had offered to buy her dinner if she would listen to his proposition. It wasn't unusual to hear of Elves traveling from their homes in the mountains and forests, but it was rare to see one as young as she was traveling on her own. She was older than many many humans, but still considered a young woman by Elven statures.
She had been behind Ulthred and the others on their way to meet up with Destrian when someone outside had asked to speak with her. She was used to people asking about her form, her magic, her people. So long as they were respectful or at least kind. This time was not one of those times. Another human male making crude remarks of how he can protect her and how she looked beautiful for such a young thing. Sometimes Taliya thought of using Glamours to hide her features, but that was a was a waste of her abilities. They thought her soft and weak, unlike the other women of their group who looked strong and dangerous.
She offered the man a smile and stepped up to him, coyly placing a hand center of his chest, as if leaning into his strength. Then her emerald eyes would glow bright green and her voice would echo as she spoke her Latin words and magic imbued from her. [#2E8B57 [b [i "Qui cautas sciente facinus. Nam uno plenae lunae, et hoc est victima..." ]]]
Sparks came from her hand, and the man began to notice he was in trouble. The power enveloped him in a green glow before he was blasted through the door of the tavern and plowed into the back wall, while Taliya remained as she stood. The glow faded and she smiled sweetly like a child as she found her way over to the table with the rest of the group as Destrian was sitting back down after stabbing a man's hand. Ulthred claiming he would be lame for awhile with such a hand. Taliya shrugged softly. [#2E8B57 [b "I could heal that easily, but if he is disrespectful, then he doesn't deserve it..."]] Her voice had a lilt to it that no human would be able to mimic as it came from living a life speaking Elvish.
She swiped some fruits from Juliet's tray, avoiding eating meat when she could. She leapt up to "sit" on her staff that now stood straight up from the floor. When it came to acrobatics, Loreena had been teaching Taliya here and there, sometimes without her realizing it, but otherwise, most of her balancing acts were magic. She was always chastised from her Elders about abusing the magic, but she was the only one of her kind to master the magic before she had reached an adult age. She knew the consequences of magic, and didn't take it lightly, but she also didn't fear the magic. It was her friend in a way.
Ulthred brought up that he had heard of another mission for them and she smiled eagerly. Sometimes she dove into danger without thinking, but being an Elf she wasn't too afraid of dying. They talked awhile, and soon they had began drinking - which had been hard for Taliya as she had to have someone vouch for her - even being an ELF - that she was old enough. She even threatened to drink the bartender under the table, though an Elf's taste buds were very picky. More of the older aged and finer drinks she could handle. But something newer and more bitter she'd have issues drinking. After a couple drinks those just tasted like piss water. Ulthred began to hiccup as he spoke and Destrian told him to knock it off, making Taliya giggle around a grape.
The figurine had been beautiful and Taliya had been wondering if it was an Elvish peace in its ornately designed carvings when Ulthred mentioned a name and she froze to look up, all her cheer and happiness gone. She'd heard the rumors and stories on her travels, people barely survived coming from that keep. Ulthred was strumming it out like just another treasure hunt, and the others were agreeing here and there in eased agreement. Taliya frowned when Juliet spoke up of wanting their praises sung like the old heroes before them. Loreena was boasting their skills like this was another bounty run. She thought a moment to speak up.
[#2E8B57 [b "Ulthred is right, would be our biggest payday ever, and possibly even have us remembered for many, many generations to come..... but.... this isn't any other dragon hoarding gold in a mountain.... the rumors of this thing claim his wingspan could block the sun and spread a whole city into night at noon... His reign on his hoard still holds because no one can get close enough to truly battle him, dead or chased off in their failures if only to spread his story more."]] she murmured from where she sat on her staff.
[b [i Once upon a time, Dragons of Every Color you could imagine lived.]]
[b [i They flew, high and mighty above all.]]
[b [i Peace was ours and theirs to share]]
[b [i as life itself was one of their great treasures to preserve.]]
[i Colorful, winged figures danced across well aged pages, interwoven with the words being read aloud. The book spread open, only a few pages in, was thick with the promise of many stories to tell. Little Juliet wanted to hear *this* one again, just as she did every time without fail. Her older brother would only oblige some of the time if and when he agreed to read to her; However their mother, when she was home would pull both children close and immediately start just where Juliet desperately needed.]
[b [i A true dragon was a majesty to behold,]]
[b [i regal and true.]]
In truth, Juliet never learned much about her mother personally, she knew select facts that did not in any way paint a concise picture: Her name was Willow, she kept a blade frequently at her hip - one of the very same now accompanied Juliet, and would rarely come home until she just didn't ever again. Anytime Juliet saw her she smelled of something like strong perfume and blueberries, she also smiled unfalteringly. Looking back, Juliet could only assume she was an adventurer like how she was now. It was fine though, her brother Lucien was old enough to care for her when it mattered. Her childhood was happy, if not quiet.
[i Her Mother would turn the page and with an intensity continue to read as she always had.]
[b [i Three madnesses over took them:]]
[b [i Hunger, Greed, and Wrath.]]
[b [i No longer were they noble creatures,]]
[b [i but beasts hoarding and taking all they pleased.]]
[b [i They took gold, and secrets, and worst of all;]]
[b [i lives.]]
[i Twin beasts of gold tangled around one another, ripping into the throat of the other - soaking the page surrounding them with a bright crimson which never ceased to make Juliet's eye widen in fear and awe every read along.]
She could remember bits and pieces of the stories she was read as a kid, but for some reason that one stuck with her. She couldn't tell it to someone word for word straight from memory, but the pictures she could at least try to describe - though she might not be able to properly convey it - every detail of the vibrant illustrations stayed with her.
Juliet had a large tray of food in front of her, mostly meat with some fruit and cheese on the side that she ate at as she listened. Her mug of ale half emptied. Since she was small she had grown considerably, now a woman of impressive physical stature and above average frame, an intimidating build brought about from laborious upbringing in the countryside along with a well kept diet. She shook her muddy-blonde hair from her starry eyes as excitement blossomed within her, finally erupting vocally.
[#4655dd "Yes!"] Her voice squeaked a bit as her eyes darted between her current roster of companions. [#4655dd "I'm kinda' hopin' for a bit of a fight?"] Juliet had a bit of a drawl when she spoke, and was horribly aware of how improper she probably sounded against the contrast of Destrian, and the resident charmer that was Ulthred. She readjusted in her seat so she was better facing everyone and tried not to seem too anxious or self-aware about speaking up as she had. [#4655dd "Bein' the people's heroes an' all..."] A smile was directed over in Loreena's direction, as she subconsciously slouched in her seat trying not to talk down on her. [#4655dd "Of 'course we're gonna' come out on top but I want it to be something that'll be sang about I guess?"]
Her best attempts at being friendly had all come across a little nervous or awkward, but she was trying her best to warm up to the faces of those she would be continuing to go into battle alongside in hopes they would extend the same olive branch. [i She didn't even want to remember how her first conversation with Ulthred went, or how she didn't realize he was trying to enlist her until after she had left - only to run back with an out-of-breath apology and acceptance.]
That night was supposed to be one of wonders, of joy, laughter, magic and more. It was supposed to have magnificent performances that would leave the audience on the edges of their seats and holding their breaths. But instead, it was one of fire, destruction and chaos. In just one night, Loreena lost it all…
She was born to a young couple who worked in a travelling circus. Her father looked after the animals of the circus and her mother was a fortune teller, at least that's what she told the public. It was quite a well known and successful Circus, never staying in one place for too long. Roaming across the lands, entertaining the people with their acts. Despite having both of her parents, the rest of the circus was her family too. She learned everything from them, to read, write, speak different languages and when she was finally old enough she learned to be an acrobat. She had always marvelled the dancers and it was a dream come true to be taught their ways and to be like them.
By the time she was fifteen, she was the lead acrobatic dancer. She was flexible and light on her feet, ensuring that she was good at what she did. But, she also loved it. How the air blew through her brown locks as she soared. That rush of adrenaline when her partner's would catch her from falling and how she would amaze the audience with the ways she could bend and stretch her body.
However, that all changed in one night.
The Grandmaster decided to settle on a spot near the mountains. It was right in the middle of three villages, granting easy access and meaning that more money could be made. However, he did not listen to the advice of his employees and insisted that the show would go on… Loreena's act was just about to be called when the ground shook. At first, they thought it had been an earthquake but then they heard a mighty roar and roof of the large, tall tent was set ablaze. The people began to scream as a pair of yellow, menacing and hungry eyes stared down at them. The dragon snarled it's teeth before beginning to rip apart the tent to gain better access to its prey.
The people rushed to escape, but the dragon would only block them with a wall of fire. They were trapped as the fire spread, it's biting touch destroying everything and everyone. Loreena had been frantically looking for her parents when the dragon's tail came spinning round and sent her towards a fallen post, knocking her unconscious.
She awoke to her shoulders being shook and a muffled voice. She groaned and placed a hand to her head, a dull ache pounding at her skull. She slowly squinted her eyes open and found herself surrounded by ash and bodies. She pushed the man away, stumbled to her feet and clumsily searched for her parents. She shouted their names as tears streamed down her blackened cheeks. The only thing that she could find was her mother's necklace. She dropped to her knees to pick it up, shaky hands clasping around the golden chain as she accepted what had happened.
After the incident, the villagers offered to take her in. But, she refused. Nobody could replace her family and she did not want to stay so close to the scene of their deaths. Over the next few years, she continued to travel and perform, but she lived and worked on the streets. Sleeping in whatever shelter she could find and whenever she didn't have enough money, she would steal it from the public or food from market stalls. That was actually how she had had the pleasure of meeting Ulthred.
She had been performing a show when he walked by, a large, leather pouch clanking with the sound of coins as he did so. She quickly wrapped the show up and began to follow him. She blended in well with the crowd and it seemed to her that he had no clue of what she was doing. So, she quickly walked past him, bumping into his shoulder and grabbing the porch as she passed. However, it turned out that she had underestimated her target as he grabbed her wrist and she, somehow, ended up on the floor with the man proudly grinning down at her.
"Not so clever are you now, eh?!" He laughed in her face before helping her up. "Let me buy you a drink, lass. You look like you need it." He commented and without waiting for an answer he walked to the nearest tavern. At the sound of a free drink, she willingly followed after him. As they drank and ate, Ulthred explained his plans of bringing together a group, or gang as he put it, of skilled fighters to brave against the feared dragons. He told her that she would receive great rewards for completing tasks, but she was sold the moment he told of the beasts they would slay. She despised the monsters and wished that the creatures would be wiped from existence.
A few months later and she was now within this group, clean and polished. Gone was the woman with dirty skin and matted hair. Ulthred had re-trained her, trying all sorts of weapons and in the end she had taken a liking to daggers. They were small, agile, light but very deadly… Rather like her. Her new attire was a tribute to her past. The top half of her face was hidden behind a white mask with red detailing around the eye holes. She wore feathers in her brown, plaited hair and her two piece clothing consisted of plum purple, gold and sea green for colours. The material barely weighed a thing and she wore no armour. This was discouraged by Ulthred, but the heavy metal weighed her down and she was confident in her ability to avoid the dragon's attacks whether it be it's jaws, claws or fiery breath.
Currently, she was sat upon the table, preferring the height it gave her compared to the low chairs. She had a large tankard of ale for her first drink and she downed it all in one go, gulping the liquid. She finished it and lifted the cup for it to be filled again whilst Ulthred excitedly talked of slaying another dragon. She had been ready the moment they had slayed their first one, but she couldn't be bothered to listen to the details of the new one. So, she looked to Destrian and grinned a little.
"Church boy, huh? I like it." She commented, her growing. "From now on, I am going to call you Church boy. It suits you." Her tone was teasing and her eyes glinted under the candle light from behind her mask. The rest of the team had not seen her without it yet, and they would not until they could find a private room. She did not want her face to be known to the public and so was hidden. The barkeep placed a full tankard back into her hand and this time, she nursed the drink. It was then that her eyes looked to Destrian's large shield and she was just beginning to think of all the fun possibilities she could do with it when Ulthred caught her attention again.
He talked of masses of treasure being guarded by a great dragon. Ambition began to bubble inside of her and, rather eagerly, she said. "I think we should do it! We are skilled enough to take on any dragon or at least I am... I mean, how hard could it really be? If these riches exist and the dragon that guards it does tll, then that means that the dragon has probably been in there for a while. It must have grown old by now and had very little to eat over the years." She was overly confident with this statement and even scoffed. "It will be too easy for people like us."
[Right [pic https://i.imgur.com/ozOkxjC.jpg]]
[center [b 'Sleep with the fallen, into darkness of the Age;
Under mountains bound by magic, trapped in its earthen cage.
With captured gold and silver lining the cave;
The monstrous beast will waken from its grave.
Auredura! Curses the land in its forgotten keep;
An age of greed to wake him from his centuries-sleep.
Red scales and horned crown burns with rage untamed;
To break free, it will return to the world unchained.
He who causes the fear of men to swell;
Has come back to slay all with fires of hell!']
-Galveth 8:12, Age of Inferno.]
Destrian was quietly sitting in the tavern, awaiting the arrival of Ulthred and the rest of his... 'allies'. The fair-haired paladin was resting his tower shield against the wood-splintered table, the heavy mace dangled from his waist, hung by a hooked leather strap at the pommel. He would have always been first to arrive, paladins of his order always rose before the dawn praising the sun, the glowing shield held by the arm of Pelandrin the Aegis God, as he marched dutifully around the world for eternity, protecting it from the desecration of the other Gods and Goddesses who would seek to end their world. Destrian was no longer a brother of the temple, yet he had received blessings to go about the land freely and lend a shield to any who would need it.
That was how he met Ulthred. He said he was looking for some strong individuals to help him out with a rampant dragon that needed to be dealt with. Destrian wasn't typically looking to be a dragon-slayer, but he was bound by oath to help any who asked for it, otherwise a decent sized drake could kill countless civilians. Ulthred had a strange knack for persuasion for he not only recruited a paladin but he managed to pull four others to his cause, each of equal talents. Destrian worked well enough with them, though he had very little knowledge of them on an individual level-they helped take down a dragon so it was enough for him.
[i "Heh, hey... Lookit here."] There was an unknown voice from his side, a kind that held a drunken drawl and he knew what was coming though he tried ignoring them-it sometimes worked. [i "It'sch on'a those church boys, th' ones who constantly ask ye on th' road for donations."] Destrian closed his eyes and listened to the heavy boots stagger forward to his table, it was true many of his temple brethren lived off the donations of others, as they took vows of complete devotion to true poverty. Yet people often forgotten the Aegis Brotherhood were warriors above all else, the paladin kept silent until he could no longer ignore the drunkards that wanted to bother him for fun.
"Well, go on, giff the poor bast'rd a coin." Goading from an equally drunk friend, the first drunk came and leaned on Destrian's table, digging loudly through a coin pouch he pulled out a grimy coin and set it on the table.
[i "Go on, beggar. Beg for it."] They wore dirty smiles, covered with dirt from their menial labors, grit lined yellowed teeth and their eyes had sunken in from lack of nutrition. The man had rested his dirt-stained hand flat against the table, holding the coin beneath his palm waiting for Destrian to ask for it, nay, beg for it. The paladin set down his tankard calmly, even put a light smile on his face as he leaned slightly to the side, unhooking his mace from his belt. Without saying a word Destrian thudded his mace-head first-on the man's hand, and watched as the weight of his weapon did all the talking he needed it to.
Immediately the drunk's smile faded into a huffing stutter as the large weight of the heavy mace crushed the bones in the man's hands, pressing heavier the longer it stayed there. Destrian could see the discoloration consume a lot of the hand as large bruises blemished with broken bones, the man's disbelief as the pain traveled up his arm erupted into a scream. The vagrant's friend said something about guards, and pulled his friend back to safety, Destrian kept a silent tongue, returning his weapon to his waist and his mind on his tankard, letting the drunks stumble out of the tavern. He never did see any guards...
In a stroke of luck the man even left behind the coin, to which Destrian would put forth to pay for his drinks. How generous a donation, he will pray for good health to the donor, and a fast recovery. Ulthred had caught the end of the scene, with the others, the paladin was unaware of the background during his 'conversation' with the peasants. Ulthred was [i laughing], or at least trying to hide his loud guffaw at the scene-he even started clapping, which brought Destrian's attention to them.
[b "Poor sod's going to be lame for a while with a hand like that, huh, gang?"] Ulthred asked to the others, motioning for everyone to join Destrian for some drinks, even though the paladin did not offer a seat nor tankard. [b "And here I thought you was about saving people, not maiming them."]
[+red "Read a book, Ulthred. We are warriors, soldiers who have killed far more men than you could ever imagine. Protection of one person usually warrants the death of another."] Destrian's voice was smooth and polished, cultured and educated by years of inscribing and reciting the holy texts of all the Gods during his stay at the temple. The other four the paladin had fought with to take down Ulthred's dragon pest took their own desired places around the table and the holy warrior nodded to each of them quickly. It was all the acknowledgement he would give.
[b "Right, so how're you all feelin' since you took care of Farewyn's problem? Are you ready for another, because I got a lead..."] Ulthred rambled on but Destrian quietly tuned him out, focusing on nothing but his drink, Ulthred one could say was their informant, a man of little talent except the gift of gab he ended up getting the five of them together in the first place. Destrian could handle another dragon if he wanted to, he supposed, he just preferred not to if at all possible. [b "It's been huntin' people at night out in Hamir, it's gotten so bad they've even issued a city-wide curfew to limit the deaths, but that would leave the city defenseless without guards or garrison..."]
People were dying, Destrian closed his blue eyes in contemplation, his oath of protection would demand he'd rally to the defense of Hamir's villagers yet it was moments like these where he wished it wouldn't. He was worn out and tired, nursing several burns that managed to find him from their first dragon kill. He couldn't trust the people he fought with, they were too erratic, too irrational-they seemed to have no desire for discipline or a plan of action. He couldn't work with them, Ulthred obviously didn't understand, there was no way he could keep these reckless ruffians alive. Ulthred sat looking at the contents of his drink for a short while, something else was on his mind, Destrian didn't know it but tonight was going to change his life forever as Ulthred would utter the name... Auredura. For now Ulthred said nothing, letting the party get a few drinks in them before approaching the subject, yet Destrian was a quiet observer, something was not right with their mutual ally.
They had been drinking for a couple hours now, the drinks sufficiently loosened up the six of them; there had been jokes and laughter, mock dancing and horrible off-key singing. Obviously the drinks did wonders to break down some of the invisible walls the party held with each other, Destrian was finally relaxed-albeit he was still in his darkened steel armor, accentuated by the red cape and red shield insignia in the center of the breastplate. Ulthred had rose from the table, burped once and tapped a finger on the surface of the wood, his words were skewed and ended in a southern accent revealing a history one had hardly told.
[b "Listen, listeeen, gang. I... [i *hic*] -heard talk of great t-treasure in these... [i *hic*] -lands. G-guarded by the [i *hic*] biggest dragon you'd ever laid eyes on."] He stumbled over himself searching his person for something to show them, after finding it he laid the token on the table and pointed at it. It was a solid gold figurine, shaped and molded in a figure knelt in prayer, intricately carved and heavy to the touch. [b "T-That... came from [i *hic*] -on'a my lads, said he snuck it from an [i *hic*] old keep, t-tossed away in the rubble. Glinted off the torchlight, 'e said, dimmed under d-dust. This is no ordinary [i *hic*] dragon, I did s-some diggin' int' the library about the [i *hic*] keep..."]
[+red "-Take a drink, Ulthred, your hiccups are driving me crazy."] Destrian intervened to which Ulthred obliged, more than eager to down another pint and wave for another. It was a momentary reprieve and Ulthred began speaking again, his eyes fixated on the figurine.
[b "The keep my lad took this from has a nasty history, legions of soldiers died there, thousands starved to death with no chance of aid as they were..."] He trailed off and grabbed the token to put it away safely, [b "It was written that an ancient king filled a mountain with treasure, created his own mountain of gold in the belly of the earth, high as a man I read. We know what other creature likes gold, yes? This dragon was like nothin' anyone had ever seen before, the king of the dragons it was called, and it was named Auredura..."]
[b "Now, people's heard 'bout the trove by now, looters will never keep their gobs shut, I have a few people scoutin' the place-but you guys! You could kill that dragon and any others that g-get in our way! We need you..."] A stranger would think the liquor made Ulthred mad, his eyes glazed but burned with an intensity of excitement. [b "Think of all the glory you could obtain, the riches, the renown-you'd be makin' off like royalty with your fair shares o' the loot. I say we butcher the dragon in Hamir fast, cutting through the forests of Surdon would be a g-good idea. The keep was once known as Kelonis, surrounded by mountains with only one path in or out, bolstered by the city now known as Kenton. O' course, ol' Ulthred'll keep his nose to the ground and listen for any more dragons that need'a killing."]
[b "So, what do you think, gang?"] [right [pic http://imgur.com/lgB9AQd.jpg]]
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