Elzin Turik

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Elzin Turik

Post by Graymalkin on Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:25 pm

Flashes of lights blanketed the night sky over the last stronghold of the North Star rebels. The outsider looking in would think it was a time of celebrating with elaborate magicks forming fireworks of oranges and yellows. The airships over head however were not part of a celebration. These flagships bore the scarlet flag of the Hasaid Empire and where there are Greyscales, the elite vanguard of Hasaid, no force was safe. The ships were fashioned with roaring, black dragon heads at their front, and swooping black wings across the sides. It was as if demons had descended the pitch black bowels of hell to lay siege to the castle. Each dropped death in the form of red orbs imbued with powerful fire magick. Every orb hit like a hammer scattering bodies and debris in its wake. Siege weapons descended onto the battlefield as smaller ships broke out of formation landing on the outskirts of the castle. As the last of the rebels retreated into the castle walls, storms of black armored knights charged from the smaller ships towards the walls. Behind them, the fury of the siege weapons and enemy casters let loose their initial onslaught and like the hope of victory for the rebels that night, the outer walls of their stronghold came crashing down.

Elzin rushed down the winding corridors. Each step towards the library was like an increasingly difficult obstacle course. The bombs from outside shook the strongholds very foundation and soldiers moved in what seemed like organized panic. He crashed into a brick wall of a knight, bouncing off like rubber into a shifting turn. He could hear the man cry out to him as he rushed on without a word. Regardless of the stone crumbling around him and the needs of of those on the front lines, he had to preserve what mattered most. Adrenaline was the only thing that kept him going. Elzin wasn't a runner by any means, as a good book was his preferred form of stimulation. Skin of snow reflected a life preferred in the solace of study compared to the rigors of a life toughened and fortified by the rigors of the great outside. He wasn't going to let the fire in his lungs stop him or the pins and pains that gripped his muscles slow him. He would save what was most precious to him.

"The battle's the other way." A voice echoed from the y-shaped crossing. He knew it was Harnica Jadic, his long time protector and ally. His one true friend. He rounded the corner as she came into view; effortlessly catching up to his flank as she danced past his chestnut cloak. Her stride was unencumbered as lean, firm muscles carried her white armor like feathers and set her cherry gown adrift. "You're gonna miss all the action going for your precious books."

He shook his head in a flurry of hazel strings that blocked his view. "True, we need the books. But that's not all that I'm after."

Harnica couldn't help but flash her pearly grin; a brilliance that shined against her sun kissed skin and raven locks. A grin as wondrous as a masquerade mask, beguiling a truth within its depths. A secret longing for one that forever eluded her reach. "She's a lucky girl, Elzin." She cleared her throat, hoping to choke it all down amidst her brash exterior. "I better come with before you do something stupid again."

Elzin smiled to her. A smile of a brother who loved his sister dearest as if she was his own flesh and blood. "Thank you, Harnica. I fear without you I would truly be lost."

Her forced smile grew larger. "Don't you forget it. Now come on, Lucia awaits."

The two dodged falling bits of ceiling as they finally approached the library. A female scream echoed from within and the two immediately recognized it as Lucia's. Harnica, ever without reason before action, crashed into the large wooden doors. A rain of splinters blanketed their path as they entered the vast library. Harnica readied her blade; emeralds ablaze with the fixation on her Hasaid targets. Three deathknights had entered the stronghold amidst the chaos. One held Lucia at bay; ruby strands flushed about like dancing flames as she kicked and squirmed. Her fair skin a snow flake against a night sky of armor. The other two with ebony blades at the ready.

"Lucia!" Elzin cried coming to a halt.

"Help me, Elzin. They're after the Arcana Sol Grimoire."

Harnica drew her blade but Elzin was fast upon her with a steady hand. "Be easy my friend. We cannot risk Lucia's life."

The deathknights chuckled knowing they had the advantage. Their leader, the one holding Lucia, sneered like a petulant child. "That's a good boy." He yanked Lucia's hair, forcing her in place. One eye close, the other a pool of blue begging for aid. "Now give us the Grimoire and we'll let her go."

Harnica etched forward. Reason would forgive her later but now was a time for action. Elzin would be too slow to stop her but quick enough to back her up. She knew from years spent in playful youth that he was full of surprises. Elzin knew what would come next though he wished otherwise. Harnica shot forward like a bullet and in a flash of white and crimson she felled the first knight. Light and shadow combined in an exchange of blow between the second and her. Before their leader could move Elzin finished the spell; traces of magic flowed from his fingers in a fine azure. Phantom hands gripped their leader in place. Ever so slowly they crept up his neck and snapped bone and sinew like a twig. In the horror of it, Harnica took advantage of the opening and sliced clean across flesh and armor. She smirked moving towards the embraced couple.

"Knew you had my back, El. We make a great te..." Elzin cut her short; in her face with dagger eyes piecing her fortitude.

"Were you even thinking of Lucia, Harnica? She could have been killed." He starred into eyes he had always seen and looked back upon him with similar resolve.

An explosion from the outside broke their silence and grounded them back to the matter at hand. Elzin returned his gaze to his beloved as Harnica sheathed her blade. "Are you alright, Lucia?" His voice its caring norm compared to the ferocity of before. Her smile warmed his heart and all the troubles of the world melted away once again. No one heard the click of the crossbow from behind them as the entirely of the second wave of bombs struck the courtyard.

"I'm fine my love." Her voice a melody of the angels. Soft and pure as winter snow. "I'm just glad that they didn't find..." She pushed him aside as the bolt pierced her breast. Elzin's cry was inaudible as he rushed to her side. Darkness set in despite the light of the torches on the walls. The cold of the cobblestone assaulted her legs and the warmth of Elzin's familiar touch. She lay in his arms as that warmth spread to her eyes and water hazed her double vision. The taste of copper filled her mouth as she spoke. "Elzin? Elzin, are you there?"

He squeezed her tighter as tears streamed down his cheeks. Harnica screamed as she brought her blade down the middle of the deathknight's face but Elzin only heard her voice. "I'm here, Lucia. Don't...don't worry. I'm right here."

Lucia forced a smile with all her might. "Good. You cannot...let...Hasaid get the Grimoire."

"I won't. Try not to speak." Harnica dropped next to them. Her firm grip rested on his shoulder. He knew she wanted to move. That it was too late for Lucia. Logic was his guide in most cases but he didn't want to concede to it this time. He couldn't give up yet. "We can get a medic. Just hold on." His pleas like a child begging at its mother.

"Silly boy. We both know..." She stopped looking to Harnica. "It's in under the main table." Harnica nodded and rushed off. It was time and Lucia knew it. She couldn't even avert her gaze. Her blues dulled a grey. "I love you..."

"Lucia?" He moved her gently. "Lucia?" He looked towards the fallen knight who stole his star from him. This was how Harnica felt. Primal yet focused. Raw and unburdened. He lowered her softly then burst up to match the flames in his hands now. "You stole her from me!" He cried unleashing his rage. The knight's corpse a smoldering pile within minutes. The smell was sweet to him in that moment. Cinder, ash, and burning flesh. A sweet revenge.

Harnica staggered towards him with a brown sack in hand. She starred at the burning remains and didn't have the words despite seeing countless loss. It was different when it was her friend. Someone she grew up with. Someone that always grounded her when she was lost and gave her advice when a sage was dearly needed. Someone, the only one, that she ever loved. Elzin lost himself in what he had done. Lost himself when he looked to Lucia's lifeless form. Lost when he starred blankly at her now.

"Let's go, Harnica. There's nothing left here for us."
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Tempest Adego Artreri

Post by Graymalkin on Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:28 pm

The castle upon the Airit of Firmtree had stood for countless centuries. The walls had been solid foundations that had withstood the tests of time and war, existing long before the floating island had been given it's name--before The Crackening. It was one of the scarce vestiges of the past to survive the ravaged land and take to the skies to form a new existence. The families that held her were strong and proud, and had made living, in the early days After, prosperous by carving the great trees upon the airit and fashioning them with subtle magicks into some of the best airships available. It was a slow process to be sure, as no one could simply hack down a Firmtree with ease, let alone alone shape the steel like wood into something malleable, but it was done, and the airships were highly sought by all the kingdoms of the Seperate Airit States. Now it would all come to an end.

The walls of the castle shook and cracked beneath the onslaught from the Hasaid Empire and their Greyscales of death. Tempest Adego Artreri was forced to stop his flight and lean his hand against the smooth, marbled stone as a deafening boom shook the castle around him and threatened to tear his footing from beneath him.
"Tempest!," the worried call of a soldier from a level below drafted up the steps to meet him, "The gates have fallen!"
"Pull everyone from the ramparts!" He called back. They're nothing but fodder up their anyway. "Have the men defend the corridors." They could bottleneck the flood of the Empire for a time, but all it would do would slow them. Hasaid had the numbers, and they had come in full force. "We must protect the King!" He through open the heavy doors to the kings chamber and found the old man standing and facing him with a small parcel in one hand and his family's sword sheathed in the other. A weary smile smoothed some wrinkles as his eyes, still sharp and unclouded by the age that was evident on the rest of his body, took in the Tempest, the commander of Firmtree's small militia. "Ah, Adego," he addressed his young commander fondly."
Adego stopped his charge in the room and gave a quick, succinct nod of his head and brushed the strand of black hair that had fallen from the band that kept it from his pale blue eyes . "Your Majesty, the walls have fallen-"
"Yes, yes," the king waved his hand dismissively as he swung the parcel onto the Tempest's shoulder and pressed his sword into his hands.
Frowning Adrego stared at the sword and tried to press on. "We must get you to safety."
"Nonsense." The king said so calmly, one would think the castle was not falling apart around them. He turned from him and moved to a shelf along the wall of the parlour. He tinkered with something and Adrego could barely hide his shock as a portion of the wall fell away to reveal a hidden passage. He had thought he knew this castle inside and out, he briefly wondered what other secrets the king might have. Secrets, he would never get the chance to learn. The king looked him over and sighed. "I have a small ship hidden on the bottom of our airit, faster than anything else we've ever made. It'll get you to safety, but I have on last command for you, my loyal Tempest. You must get the Grimoire from the library, it cannot be allowed to fall into the Empire's hands. Take it to Draaven Insir on the Airit of Moss, he'll know what to do."
For a moment Arteri could do nothing but blink and stare blankly. A Grimiore? He hadn't even known they possessed one. Such a secret was a grand thing indeed. They held the magicks that kept these very continents afloat in the sky and safe from the burning hell that lies below. Protecting such a thing took the sting from fleeing his position and duty, but even so, he stood by the gaping blackness of the passage struggling inwardly with his orders. "You aren't coming?" his voice sounded weak and thin in his own ears.
The king laughed and patted him fondly on the back. "I'm an old man, and lived my entire life in these walls. I will be here to see them fall as well." He gave the younger man a surprisingly firm shove through the threshold of the hidden passage. "Go left, three doors, then left for the library. The airship is all the way down. Save who you can." Before Adego could reply the door swung shut, sealing him alone in the blackness of the corridor.
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Harnica Jade

Post by Graymalkin on Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:33 pm

She starred at those phantom eyes, dozens of thoughts stormed her mind trying to come up with anything to say to her friend. In their normal hue, his eyes had a shimmer of life as bright as steel. Now they were like a blade untreated. His body stood firm but its spirit was gone. Harnica only saw a husk where her former friend stood.

"Elzin...I..." She paused hearing the footsteps from down the hall. Her blade moved as an extension of her arm as she whipped about at the ready. He needed her to console him but she needed to be strong for the both of them. With her free hand she thrust the bag towards Elzin. "Safeguard the grimoire. I'll deal with the enemy."

He seemed to be just going with the motions but took the bag nonetheless. Harnica could focus now. Armor clanging sounded the same as it moved so distinguishing between friend or foe initially would be tough for the average person. Harnica had known conflict since Elzin and her were kids on the streets so her adrenaline worked in her favor. Most would hear pots and pans but she could make out accents. Deathknights from Hasaid had a thicker inflection upon the common tongue which stood out against their own. She counted four among them. Most likely another small raiding party or part of the knights they had just slain. Sure enough, four entered, but only three were armored. The fourth, their leader, was in the traditional midnight robes of a "Shade Dancer" - assassin mages of Hasaid special forces.

"Bullocks!" She said spitting on the ground. "Couldn't make it easy could ya?"

The shade dancer motioned forward and his knights sprung into action. Harnica, despite her gruff exterior at times, moved like a ballerina. Each step of graceful balance, each dodge a marvel of beauty. Her swords danced like water and struck like lightning. One knight down and the second a mortal wound to his side. The third was upon her as their blades entwined the eternal dance. He led, she followed, and when she saw it, she seized the waltz and struck him down. Heavy breaths fell upon her readied stance as the Shade Dancer began to fade into his shadow. She braced for impact and it came in stride. Ebony flashed against steel but she could not see the attacks that struck her arm and leg; only the swift dash back into the shadows as he moved to strike again.

"El, I could use a hand here buddy. Magick's not my strong point." She called back, the joking tone masking the fear swelling within.
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Tempest Adego Artreri

Post by Graymalkin on Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:33 pm

Thanks to the dim glow of the sorcery lamps lighting the way, Adego made quick time following the King's directions. There was a lever in a recess on the wall that he pulled, and bookcase suddenly pushed open somewhere in the back of the library. Light flooded his eyes and the sounds of sword play assaulted his ears. He could hear a woman speaking. "El, I could use a hand here buddy." He knew that voice. "Magick's not my strong point." It belonged to Harnica Jade, one of his soldiers. She was brash and impetuous at the best of times, but her swordplay was very good. A few months back he had begun to introduce her to the basic fundamentals of The Zephyr Path, as was taught to him by the former Tempest Swordmaster, and he had been surprised at how naturally she grasped the concepts.

He left the items the king had given him in the shadows of the corridor and dashed to where her voice was coming from, Sounds of fighting quickly followed suit and he stopped short as he rounded a wall of books and took in the scene. He cursed under his breath as his eyes fell upon the Shade Dancer assaulting Jade. She was putting up a valiant defense, but with the dancer's shadow magicks he would attack, and then disappear from sight, melding into the shadows to strike from another angle. Another explosion rocked the foundations of the castle, and likely, the entire airit itsself, and tore chunks from the ceiling down upon their heads, sending everyone scrambling to avoid being crushed. As the castle lurched Adego used the momentum to dash along a bookshelf and jump down beside Harnica just as the Shade Dancer was falling back and disappearing once more into the shadows. Tempest let his mind fall into the slippery weaves of magicks and for a brief second his blue eyes focused on the swirling brand on the back of his right hand. The puckered, red flesh began with a dull throb that quickly turned to an excruciating burn. He shook his hand, one solid flick of the wrist out and away from his body and suddenly a deafening wind tore through the library coming from everywhere and nowhere all at once. For one second, it was a screaming whirlwind, and then the next all was still. Debris and dust particles lifted from all the corners and coalesced into the shadows where they pelted the Shade Dancer and clung to his shadow-form, making him clearly visible and rendering his magicks obselete.

"Jade," he said greeting her with a grim smile as he tried to massage some feeling back into his right hand. "You're still leading on the balls of your feet, I see. Trading your balance for that false sense of speed. Stand properly and go get that bastard, will you." He gave her a brief, playful wink,that for a single moment lifted the weight that seemed to separate him from his age. In truth, he wasn't too many years older than Harnica, but the training to become Tempest will leave it's mark on even the strongest man, as his old master had taught him...

He turned and nodded at the shell shocked man that Jade had been defending. He knew who he was, though they had never met personally. Now clearly wasn't the best time for introductions, however. He could see the shadows closing in around the man's eyes, and judging from the woman's body along the far wall Adego guessed he had just suffered the worst kind of loss. He went and stood very near the man, putting a firm hand on his shoulder in hopes to draw him back to the present, before he fell too deeply. "We need to get the grimoire to safety. Any idea where it might be?"
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Harnica and Elzin

Post by Graymalkin on Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:34 pm

As the wind settled a swirl of emotion was left in their wake. Harnica was glad the Tempest had come to their aid and taken aback by his criticism of her style. She bit her tongue as muscle memory guided her into the correct stance...the one he had instructed her on personally. The Zephyr path was made for one skilled in both swordplay and magick. It was like air with strength and grace and not designed for one of a fire like hers. Regardless of purpose, she pivoted in proper form and lunged forward like lightning.

Elzin, still lost in the moment, torn between loss and shock, froze at his question. Only moments before, Lucia had been strucken down before his very eyes. Nothing made sesnse anymore. What was going on? Was the war still happening? Had this all been a dream? Reality seemed to blend in a void of grey. A haze set in and now the famous Tempest stood before him. He looked to Harnica for help but she was upon an assassin with sword buried seep within the fiend's chest. Adego's grip grounded him back in reality and his words began to make sense. "Huh? Grimoire?" He looked down at the bag Harnica had given him. A dog's shake of the head brought him back full swing. "I have the Grimoire."

Harnica kicked the Shade Dancer down and returned to the two.

"Thank you, Tempest." She spoke amidst a slight bow. "The main battle is outside. What are you doing here?"
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Tempest Adego Artreri

Post by Graymalkin on Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:35 pm

With out his invisibility, Harnica made short work of the Shade Dancer and came to stand beside Adego and Elzin. When she asked why he was here, he positioned himself to look at both of them, his mouth forming a grim line. "The castle has fallen." He said slowly. "The king ordered me to get the Grimoire to safety." He looked over Harnica's shoulder at the library main entrance where he knew, just outside, his soldiers were busy being slaughtered. He took a single step in that direction and stopped shaking his head and letting his eyes fall back on Elzin and the package he was carrying. The shadows still lingered heavily upon the man's eyes, giving Adego reason to pause. He couldn't do anything for his friends outside, but die alongside them, and he couldn't put life back into the young woman crumpled against the wall with a crossbow bolt portruding from her chest. He caught Elzin's eyes sliding back over to her form again. He couldn't make that right, but he understood the loss. Perhaps he could fill it with purpose, before it consumed him.

He put his hand back on Elzin's shoulder again, only gently this time, like a father would comfort a son. "What was her name?" He asked quietly. Elzin stuttered his reply. "I'm sorry you lost Lucia," he continued softly. "I know how much it must hurt." Adego did too, for the second time in his life, the Tempest was losing everyone he loved..."We'll mourn her, we'll mourn everyone properly," It was from pure force of will that he kept the emotion from straining his voice as he spoke, but even then some of it cracked through to the surface. "But first, we have to get to safety. I need you with us." He lifted the parcel holding the Arcana Sol Grimoire in Elzin's hands so that the man was clutching it against his chest. "We can't let Hassaid get their hands on this Grimoire, If they do, the damage would be catastrophic. I need you to guard it with your life."

He turned his attention fully on Jade, letting the man feel the weight of his words and come to his own decisions. "Jade," he said strain of emotion making the words almost too hard to say, "We need to go." To emphasize his point another violent tremor shook the Airit and more stone from the castle walls and ceiling cascaded down.
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Elzin and Harnica

Post by Graymalkin on Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:35 pm

Elzin could see the buried emotion upon the Tempest's face. He felt a kindred spirit in loss and his words helped for the moment. He nodded, to hide his face as his eyes warmed again. Elzin understood what was at stake. Probably more than his companions realized. The Arcana Sol Grimoire was more than a simple magickal tome. It was one of "The Three Tomes" of magick: The Sol Grimoire, Stella Grimoire, and the Luna Grimoire. Each possessed powerful spells lost to the ages and that were forbidden magicks. It was theorized that if you combine all three books then one could unlock the secrets of all magick. Hasaid had already obtained the Luna and the Stella had not been seen since the fall of the Airit of the Cresutanian Empire 150 years ago. He would not fail Lucia in protecting the Sol.

"How do we get out of this chaos? More so, where do we go afterwards?"

Harnica looked from the grim expression of Adego to the lost one of Elzin as the explosion shoot the Airit. She had no idea either what to do. She could swing a sword but that was nothing compared to the massive Greyscales surrounding the castle. Most, if not all, of the airships they had would surely have either been in battle or destroyed by now. Or both. She knew that surely as Adego did. Harnica clutched her sword in anger as no idea came to mind. A look of helplessness, a look not often shown by Harnica Jade, covered her face as she looked to the Tempest.

"Elzin's right. We, we need a way out of here Tempest. But for the life of me I can't think of one."
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Chance

Post by Graymalkin on Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:36 pm

Chance heard the commotion from within the confines of his stockade. The keep shook from each successive explosion. Dust rained over his shaggy hair and shoulders; he coughed and sneezed when he inhaled the particles now clouding the stone floor of his cell. He pressed his face against the bars and tried to peer down the hall as best as he could.

“Hey!” he shouted, his voice echoed in between each concussive shake of the keep. Of course, even if there were any guardsmen around they wouldn’t give two squirts of piss in his direction. He was a criminal, a convict, a murderer in the eyes of the court even though the noble he killed was at fault. The stockades shook more from another blast, but this one continued to rumble continuously.

An explosion rocked Chance throwing him against the back wall of his cell, and blasting the wind from his lungs. He gasped for air, but choked again from the dust and debris swirling the air around him. A massive hole replaced the hall in front of his cell and the gate barring him inside creased back from the blast.

It was a miracle he wasn’t obliterated by the blast alone, but his chest ached. Surely a few ribs cracked from it. The surrounding dust was vacuumed out from the giant hole and the stale air Chance had gotten used to breathing was fresh and inviting. Using the wall behind him as support, he slowly rose up and limped toward the gate. It bent inward enough for him to climb through. He looked beyond the hallway to see that he was the only person left in there, no other prisoners, no guards, no one. Strange.

He peered into the opening before him, what luck, a schooner-sized airship remained docked a level below tethered to iron wrought catwalks. The airship itself looked vastly different compared to others Chance witnessed. The vessel remained suspended in the air by twin blimps, its rear was flanked by giant turbines gated by movable tail fins. Probably to make it turn faster Chance thought. The top deck was lined with ornate railings and a wooden canopy, but there was no sign of a crew anywhere, well at least from this angle. They might be in the cabin below, and it looks as if that is where the flight controls would be housed anyway. It almost looked like it was conceptualized for royalty, wait, was this the King’s ship, the prisoner thought.

Chance looked below and saw the drop wasn’t more than a meter down, and no one happened to be around. This was the best chance to escape, he jumped down then pressed himself against a wall before peering around. After all, he was a prisoner trying to escape, and chances are he’ll be executed on the spot rather than apprehended.

With the coast clear, he sprinted to the first tethered support and began unfastening the thick-knotted rope and tossed it back to the deck, then the next before he darted to the other side of the ship.

As he rounded the corner to the other side, he heard the commotion and heavy footsteps charge toward the dock.

“SHIT SHIT SHIT!” he scorned himself. He dropped the tether and jumped onto the deck and scurried into the ship before he could unfasten the last tether. Chance found his way down into storage hold of the airship, and attempted to shove a crate with all of his might, but had no luck as he heard three voices above. He lifted the lid to the crate and saw that it carried multiple suits of armor, but had just enough room for him to fit uncomfortably.

All he kept hearing about was “tempest” and “grimoire” being repeatedly said. The footsteps started clattering about, and now they made their way onto the ship. Chance shoved himself in as the footsteps descended down the stairs rapidly.

“Quick, to the flight controls!”

His breaths shallow, his mind raced, it took all of Chance’s willpower not to scream like a madman in his predicament. They haven’t noticed him. He just had to remain here for a while. At least until they stopped somewhere or… blown out of the sky.

“…Shit…”
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