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Myth: A New Age CYOA

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by Fangshi, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    So... say, if that tomb, that representation of guilt is destroyed, what would happen to Derryth's determination never to leave anyone behind, no matter the cost? That is a cornerstone of our character.

    The reason why I do not accept destroying part of the mind as a solution is that our experiences and previous decisions, good or bad, correct or wrong, shape us and make us into a better people provided we are willing to take the right lesson from them. When you erase a failure, you also destroy a chance to learn.

    You don't have to let it control your life, but you should not forget. Neither should you forget how and why you felt about it.

    I guess it's 'indirect' dream therapy for me.

    By the way, what happened to our parents?
     
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  2. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Codex 2012
    I'm more interested in knowing what happened to the promised interlude. :troll:
     
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  3. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
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    No way to know unless you do it. Derryth would certainly lose any emotions attached to those events though.

    They got into an argument with 'Imperial Soldiers', I am sure your imagination can fill in the rest...

    Cold booze and warm women. That update never stood a chance. ;)


    They are both still coming though, I would say today but I can not promise that for sure, as soon as I have a moment to finish them up though I will post them.
     
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  4. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Codex 2012
    Thursday, right? +M
     
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  5. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    No, not exactly. What happened there?

    What do we know about our characters' backgrounds? Is there an approximate timeline of how they spent their lives up until now?


    Also, since we are in a place where we can literally show our memories to other people, can we ask Morpheus about Mayer's wife, her condition and a potential cure?
    This had been bothering me for a while.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2014
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  6. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
    Joined:
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    Nevill quit trying to save everyone and their second cousin so we can get back to treasure hunting!
     
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  7. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    I think we switched that for the Watcher hunting already. Besides, if you want treasure to get rich, you should be able to see how helping Mayer and getting him on our side complements that goal nicely.

    There is a lot of things I want to do, actually:
    1) Obtain the Power of Metal! (TM) and start a band
    2) Complete the Halcyon stone and master its use, thus fulthilling Henry's dream
    3) Continue the rise though the Watcher's worst enemies list, ultimately topping Alric by killing the fucker
    4) Recruit our own rat Luftwaffe
    5) Give Nine a nice new body
    6) Investigate the murder of our family
    7) Investigate the circumstances behind the death of Thais' father
    8) Seduce Lyssa. And Caoilainn. And learn that other meditation from Morpheus
    9) Broker a peace between the Dwarven Kingdom and Ghol States
    10) Obtain immortality and a Dream of our own, and finally become an archmage
    11) Found our own Empire that those who are neither of the Light nor of the Dark would be able to call home
    12) ???
    13) PROFIT!

    Treasure hunting is not the only fun thing in the world.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2014
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  8. Grimgravy Augur Patron

    Grimgravy
    Joined:
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    Treasure hunting is the path to your #2 and # 10. Which are the only things on your list that I care about.
     
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  9. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
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    Alright, if you want this is the woven together backstory of Derryth and Thaïs as originally conceived. Just the broad strokes so to speak though I reserve to right to alter any minor detail necessary if it has not already appeared in an update (it is possible that I have already made slight changes to the backstory when inserting it into the updates so if there are any discrepancies then the info in the update takes precedence.):

    A Tale of Two Mages:

    Well both ladies are roughly twenty eight, Derryth was born outside Madrigal in the north of the Province while Thaïs was born far to the south in around Strand. Derryth's parents were free farmers working a plot of land a couple days north of the city, she grew up in simple surrounding, played in the woods and the streams, helped her mother around the house, and just generally got up to all sorts of good-natured mischief. Thaïs by contrast was born into a merchant family on the rise, her childhood was spent on the family estate, she learnt to read, to write, she learnt music and poetry and how to ride, all the things a 'proper young lady' should. She also learnt how to manipulate people, how to lie and how best to get what she wanted.

    When Derryth was ten or so she lost everything, a group of twenty men claiming to be soldiers sought a place to stay for the night and though her parents did not really want them around they could hardly say no. The 'soldiers' were put up in the barn for the night. About half way through the night Derryth hears her mother scream and her father yell, their house is filled with the sounds of fighting and she does the only thing she can do, she pulls up a lose floorboard and she hides under the house. The next morning when she hazards a peak her parents are dead, all their livestock are dead and the farm itself has been ruined. Most children would be completely at a loss as to what to do but even then Derryth was rather spirited. She intended to go to Madrigal for help, to find someone in the military that could help her avenge her parents, she gathered up all the money she could find (a small bag of coppers) and she fled to the city.

    No one there would listen to one small and dirty peasant child though so she had to make do on her own. She gave up on finding her parents' killers and became a criminal, a pickpocket and a thief. She learnt to read and to write so that she would be better able to commit her crimes. She also developed a rather hard edge to her that has only started to soften recently. She also met Henry in Madrigal and for a long time he was her only friend, he would hire her to help him with his 'jobs' in the city and he always payed fairly and on time, he even brought her a sweetroll on the winter solstice once, she never forgot that.

    Thaïs's late childhood and early teen years were completely different, her education continued though she neglected most of her studies in favour of flirting with the other little boys and girls that she knew. When she was twelve her mother past away (I am not sure if I switched this in the later drafts, it might be her grandmother if I did) and her behaviour began to change, she became more wild and less dutiful. Her father gave her everything she could ever desire which in turn spoilt her a great deal. When she was fourteen she was caught with the gardener's thirteen year old son, it was the only time her father ever hit her. Though what hurt her most was the shame on his face and the tears in his eyes.

    During their teenage years the two ladies essentially traded places. Derryth's life began to improve as Henry realized she had a talent for magic and took her under his wing. The two of them traveled the Empire and some of the land beyond, he taught her the basics of magic (though he often held out on her) and he also gave her a classical education, history, poetry, the works, though she often had trouble paying attention. Those were some of the happiest days of her life and she thinks of them fondly. She traveled with many of Henry's old friends as well, she met Madb and Ian, two of Henry's dearest friends and she found a sort of family, ever if she did keep everyone but Henry at arm's length.

    Thaïs' teenage years were much harder. He father took on a number of risky contracts that failed to return his investments. Gradually he slipped into debt as he tried to provide his girl with the lifestyle she was accustomed to. With his creditors circling, demanding payment, and no way out of his obligations he put everything he had into one final throw of the dice, a caravan of the Dwarven Kingdom loaded down in exotic goods. The caravan was lost, as was his future. He decided then that he would not drag his daughter down with him, as a man of honour he would take the only path open to him, he ended his own life when she was sixteen.

    She had known none of this and when she read over his books and his journals she realized that she had played a part in destroying the only family she had left. Her father owed a lot of money but much of it was forgiven when word of his suicide got out. Still, more than enough was owed to ruin the family, Thaïs sold off everything she had and fled to Scales, in her late teens she wandered those streets without a friend in the world. It was there that she became a courtesan, she was taken in by Petra who taught her everything she knew about the profession and how to extract as much as one could from a customer while doing the bare minimum required. Thaïs was a natural and made a small fortune for herself, she began to grow comfortable again and as he client list grew she began to pick up a variety of skills and even a little magic.

    Jump forward through a number of years, both happy and sad, and you come to the last war, Soulblighter's War. Once more Thaïs lost almost everything as Scales fell to Shiver's advancing army, no one she knew survived as far as she can tell. She fled with the rest of the refugees to the north but one by one the cities of men fell. She lived out a bleak existence in the refugee camps and hideouts of the west during the war.

    Derryth and Henry sat out the war, Henry's contacts gave them fair warning of what was to come so the two of them relocated to the east and avoided the horrors that plagued so many others. It was at this time that Henry began his search for the Halcyon Stone, a search that would ultimately cost him his life.

    With the end of the war both women, now utterly alone in the world, headed to Muirthemne, Alric's new capital, they had very different reasons for going and neither could predict what they would find there. Thaïs set up shop in an abandoned building with easy access to both the Merchant Quarter and the tent city and she began to do a good trade though it was still unfulfilling and far dirtier than in Scales. Derryth began to plan her approach, a mad raid of the most dangerous 'dungeon' in the entire world. One fateful day a dissatisfied client came to pay Thaïs a visit at her tent with a few of his friends, things quickly turned heated. At the same time Derryth was enjoying a walk through the tent city and heard a commotion, out of curiosity she went to investigate and the rest you well know.

    Whether or not any of this will be terribly relevant in the future is hard to say. If you do things that involve their pasts it might be but if you don't a lot of this is not likely to directly appear in the story.

    He is well aware of the condition that afflicts Mrs Mayer but her husband has asked him not to speak of it with anyone. The two of them have an arrangement, you see, and he is not prepared to violate that contract. He suggests you talk to Mayer himself if you want to know more, he also wishes you luck in that endeavour as getting personal information from Mayer is akin to drawing blood from a stone.




    Also the Interlude is finally 'done', took a few re-writes and it has expanded quite a bit but it should be ready now I think. It will be up within the hour which means the vote is closed.

    The actual update will be out within twenty four hours as I should have more than enough time between today and tomorrow.

    Edit: I have a bit more work to do than I originally thought, not enough to actually push the update back a day or anything but I will probably be done it this evening instead of this afternoon, so an additional four to six hours or so.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
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  10. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
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    Interlude 5: The Worrier King

    It is back, that creeping pain behind the eyes, the knife driven through his skull, no doubt the result of the stress Serpent has been under, or perhaps the lack of sleep he has had to endure, maybe, just maybe, it is down to the tensions within his growing young state, but no, it is likely the result of getting punched in the head every five minutes for the last couple of weeks.

    Speaking of which, he better pay attention.

    With a deep breath he closes his eyes and is greeted by the silence of the morning, no birds, no beasts, just him and his foe in the low, slow, rolling mists.

    He raises his blade, assumes a wide stance and slows his breathing, stretching out each moment, centering himself.

    Then the attack comes.

    A high blow, aimed at his head, the blade whistles through the air as he sidesteps the blow.

    "One," his opponent calls out with a chuckle.

    His training has been severe but it is necessary. It was not difficult to break the remnants of the Prophet's forces but in searching their supply train he came across a horrible discovery. The Prophet was only the first on a number of threats directed at the region and his fledgling kingdom. There were other forces marshalling even now, preparing to strike. One word stood out against the rest, a word that filled all of his inner circle with dread.

    Myrkridia.

    The old horrors let loose in the world since the last war, they have grown in numbers, bred in the dark corners of the world and if the Prophet's journal is too be believed they are headed north in numbers not seen for an age. If his newly minted kingdom is too survive then it must be ready, he must be ready.

    The Berserk before him turns in his course and twists his blade back toward him. He manages to bring his blade down in time, deflecting the blow away from his body.

    Two weeks ago, that strike would have killed him.

    "Two," the Berserk growls.

    The massive Northman swings again, a thunderous blow that could cleave a man damn near in half. There is no stopping such a blow so he leaps backward.

    "Three," the large opponent calls out with a nod to him.

    The next attack takes the form of a quick thrust to the body but he has seen this many time before by now and easily turns the blow.

    "Four," Serpent shouts while a smile plays upon his lips. He is doing well, much better than before.

    The Berserk laughs, "You won't make it to five brother!"

    He waits for the next attack, eyeing his opponent cautiously, if he wants to win this then he needs to land a blow, he needs to go on the offensive.

    His blade extended before him, he thrusts. With one hand his opponent catches the tip of his blade with his own, the Berserk rolls the blade away and swings with his free hand.

    That great fist, it once more collides with his face and knocks him flat. Instinctively he raises his blade to ward of the finishing blow but it will do little good. If this were a real battle he would be dead.

    "Hahaha!" the Berserk bellows in his deep baritone, "Well done brother!"

    The Northman extends one great arm as he groans, "I lost Angtyr. I lost again."

    "Brother you are too hard on yourself," the Berserk answers with a sympathetic smile.

    "I have to be hard on myself, if I am going to lead the clans then I have to be better," he answers as he sucks wind, he does his best to ignore the throbbing in his head, now stronger than ever before, "We need to start again."

    "No time Serpent," Angtyr answers with a shrug, "We must depart for the Duns today if we are to arrive in time for the gathering of the clans."

    He doubts he is ready for this but it is his idea. No way he can back out now.

    "I wish Christine were coming," he sheathes his blade as the pair turn back to the fort.

    "She is busy brother," his comrade lays a single great hand upon his brother's shoulder, "She has a way with the Steel-fur spiders and she is our best chance at recruiting the druids to our cause, provided she can find them."

    He knows that is true, it does not make their separation any easier though. He will just have to hope that she succeeds in her task while he focuses on his.

    Hopefully all the training he has undergone will be enough, he sighs, "Alright, let's get going then."

    He hopes he will be up to the challenges before him, not for his sake but for the sake of his people.

    -----------------------------------

    "Your Majesty, please slow down," the captain calls from behind her.

    "Like hell I will Leo!" Christine calls back, leaning over the side of her mount to the horsemen below her, "We need to find more of these beasts! They could well be the difference between victory and defeat."

    She whistles to the creature, it increases its pace, stomping along on eight broad legs, clicking as it runs. She, in turn, tightens he grip on its harness. Below it and around it scurry a swarm of smaller beasts, chattering away and eyeing Leo's horses hungrily. Only her presence holds them back, this is power, this is control, an army under her command, one that will secure her throne, her place in the world.

    It is just a shame that Serpent is not here with them, if she hurries though she should be back in the capital well before he is due to return.

    One of Leo's riders comes charging up the path with three hound sized beasts in close pursuit, "Help! Another pack! Twelve strong!"

    She whistles again, a single low note followed by two sharp, shrill notes. Her mount, the largest spider she has ever seen, rolls forward on its massive legs.

    The rider whips his mount faster and faster as his pursuers close on him.

    "Just a little closer Goliath," she mutters and the beast responds, pushing itself to its utmost.

    As soon as she enters range she begins to weave he spells, normally it would take days to bind a spider and weeks to months to train it but her mother was clever. The Silvers knew a way to instantly bind the creatures but not without a cost. She opens her silver spider box and withdraws a single silver pill, she has already expended over half her stockpile to get this far into the dark woods, she hopes this will be worth it. She crushes the pill in her hand and smoke begins to pour forth, weaving into silken strands before her. She plucks at the strands with her mind, weaving them together into cords that drift toward the minds of the creatures. She provokes them and they shift targets moments before they catch Leo's horseman.

    They burst past the exhausted cavalryman and charge toward her, "That's right just a little closer," she begins to whistle, each note a string that sticks to their minds, she whistles high and they begin to slow, she whistles low and they begin to sway, in but moments they are hers to do with as she sees fit.

    A flick of her wrist and a rolling tone give them all the information they need, eyes glazed over, they fall into formation behind her advancing column. She will need to spend a moment later to fix their loyalties in place but for now this will be enough.

    "You there! Scout!" she raises a hand from Goliath's back to flag down the rider.

    He pulls his steed to a quick halt before the great 'roc-eater' spider, "Yes ma'am!"

    "Report," she commands while Leo draws his mount up beside her.

    His report comes quickly in the clipped cool manner of a veteran mercenary, "A nest up ahead ma'am. At least twelve of the little beasties and maybe one or two of the bigger ones as well. They are congregating around an old fellow."

    "Good," the Queen answers with a grin, "That would be our druid. Shall we go and meet him then?"

    "Your majesty," the mercenary captain begins, "Allow me an my men to ride ahead and ensure this is not a trap-"

    "No time Leo! We must press on immediately!" she winks at the exhausted captain and again she whistles, crashing forward, her column of slaved spiders rushing on behind her.

    "Sir? Orders?" the scout enquires.

    Leo sighs, "We follow her, to the end of the world, we follow."

    --------------------------------------------

    "So this is Kirriemuir, 'jewel' of the Duns?" Serpent mutters to himself.

    It is hardly a paradise, it is barely a city, it is, in fact, merely a collection of old stone longhouses in a loose circle on the highest hill of the Duns.

    He is told that eleven months of the year this site is empty, a ghost town home to nothing but wind and the moaning of the barely remembered. But for one month every year the clans gather to sort out their business, feuds are settled, trials are held, treaties are negotiated and all respect the peace of this place. For one month there is no war amongst the clans and all gather in brotherhood.

    He has heard stories about Kirriemuir, anyone that has traveled the empire has, though Angtyr was quick to put to rest the worst of the rumours.

    He insisted that the gathering of the clans is far less interesting than outsiders think, 'A bunch of old men sitting around gossiping,' he insisted.

    Now that he is here though, Serpent is not so sure. There are no wild parties or rivers of alcohol but there are an awful lot of armed warriors and the tension hangs thick in the air.

    There is an unspoken promise of violence here but if Serpent is to be recognized as King by the Dunnish tribes then it will have to be here and it will have to be now.

    "Well, let's get this over with," he takes the first step toward the town flanked by his brother and his cousin and backed by forty Berserk warriors. At the very least he can take comfort in the fact that his is the largest single faction at this meeting, if things go poorly they will not be outnumbered that badly...

    -----------------------------------------------

    She lets out three shrill tones before dropping into a low hiss. Goliath dutifully slows and come to rest at the center of the clearing.

    Before her an old man sits, bent backed, skin like leather, he eyes her cautiously as he takes a long, slow, draw from a large skein on his lap. On his head sits a worn hat, bizarre in its construction, it is wide brimmed and flat topped though folded on the sides. His great side burns and long moustache form an intricate pattern on his face but the most striking feature he possesses is a pair of moles on his left cheek. He seems at home here, amongst these beasts and a tiny spider with a the head of a great cat and the tusks of a mammoth rests on his shoulder while he casually drinks.

    Around him a horde of wolf sized spiders scurry, their legs make a strange sort of music as they dance.

    The two mages consider one another in silence.

    "Your Majesty!" Leo calls out as he bursts into sight and comes up short at the edge of the clearing.

    His horsemen follow his lead, hesitant to close with such a large number of these creatures. That is fine, they are safer back there anyway and she will not need them for this, "Captain! You and your men are to advance no further! You will wait for my signal!"

    "Yer Majesty eh?" the old man takes another deep swig from his skin.

    "Yes," she replies coolly, "I am Christine, Queen of the Northlands."

    He shakes his head, "Not yet y'ain't."

    "Excuse me?" she answers, he annoyance reflected in the hissing of her beasts.

    The old man laughs, his spiders chatter with glee, "Yer not Queen yet. The Northmen follow ya, what is left of them, but the Dunnish do not recognize ya and so yer not Queen."

    She brushes off his objection, "The Dunnish will recognize me, my husband is seeing to that even now," the mention of Serpent sets off a pang of concern within the newly minted queen, she hopes he will manage, she hopes he will succeed, most of all she hopes he will return to her safely.

    The old man shrugs, "Perhaps, though I would not bet on it. Still, even if they do, what good will it do? We Berserks have no need of kings and queens, leave that for the weaklings in the south."

    She grins, "That is where you are wrong, you Berserks for all your pride lack unity. Without unity you will fall. You would have fallen to the Prophet if not for us and you will fall to the next threat if we fail."

    "Is that why yer here?" the old man asks as he draws himself slowly to his feet.

    "Yes," she answers as she dismounts, "I want your help, I want the aid of the druids in the creation of a lasting Kingdom of the North."

    "We do not give out loyalty to just anyone," he tucks his skein into his belt and folds his arms across his barrel chest.

    "I know," she holds his gaze, "I will do whatever is necessary to retain my crown."

    "Hmmm," he rubs his strong chin, lost in thought, "Alright girl, follow me."

    He turns and strides towards the entrance of the cave, she hesitates but thinks of Serpent and her crown, she follows.

    -------------------------------------------

    "Let him speak!" Bran slams his fist on the table before him.

    "Ha! If your foreign puppet wants to speak, you Konthasos goat-fucker, then let him shout us down like a man," the Bachad representative shouts to boisterous cheers from his fellows.

    Angtyr rises, a hand on his blade, "If you speak against the King again I will-"

    "You will do nothing, young one," the calm and steady tone of the Culbrea elder throws the raucous room into silence.

    None will raise a voice or a hand against this man. Even Serpent, a foreigner, knows his name. He is Truan of the Hundred Battles, he is the lone Berserk chosen by Alric himself during the Great War to pierce the lines of the Dark at Muirthemne and recover the wonder weapon that helped win the war. He is a hero, not just to the Berserks of the Duns but to all who fight for the Light. He is the man Serpent hopes to impress.

    "Let this young king speak," old Truan continues, "Let him make his case and we will judge the wisdom of his words, we are free men but we need not be savages."

    His words are met with nods of agreement and murmurs of assent.

    Serpent stands, he hates being the center of attention like this but it is his role and he must play it, "Thank you Elder Truan," he bows slightly to the old man, a mark of respect for one of the last living heroes of the war, "And my thanks to the assembled chiefs here as well," a handful nod but many more scoff and fold their arms in contempt, "Today I wish to speak of unity, I wish to speak of the future of all Berserks both in the North and in the Duns. We must-"

    "There is no we!" the Bachad representative calls out with a howl.

    "Ai, let the Northmen have their puppet king! We need no unity! We are free men all and strong in our freedom!" the Taralang elder adds with enthusiasm.

    Once more the noise in the stone longhouse drowns out the young king, they call to him, "Leave this assembly!" they shout at him, "Ye do not belong here!" they ridicule him, "Pretender! Fraud! No true Berserk are ye!"

    "Enough!" he shouts as he draws Tyrvard's blade, his blade, and drives it through the table before him, "You will listen! I broke the Prophet's armies! I drove back his magic! I slew his champions! And in the spoils of war I took from their camp, I discovered a threat to all of us, all who call themselves Berserks!"

    "Ah, he will say anything!" the Taralang elder laughs derisively.

    "I say we throw these Northmen and their puppet into the sea! Let them swim back to their homeland!" the Bachad representative bellows before the crowd.

    "Silence!" old Truan once more speaks, "We will not break the truce, we will not commit violence during the meeting!"

    The assembly mutters in disappointment.

    Not to be denied a little bloodshed the Tatalang elder quickly presents an alternative, "Then let's test the boy instead! Have him fight a champion, if he wins then we follow, if he loses then we dismiss these wretches and let them get back to their herds and their island!"

    It is an idea that immediately gains traction among the assembly, "Test him! Test him! Test him!" they shout.

    Truan sighs, "Who will challenge him then?"

    "I will grandfather!" the call comes from the back of the assembly, it is light, melodic, but haughty and with an edge to it as sharp as steel.

    The assembly breaks into cheers as Serpent turns to pinpoint the voice.

    She is both beautiful and intimidating, almost two metres tall, her flaxen hair hangs loosely down her back, she strides into the center of the chamber with the same lean, predatory grace all veteran Berserks seem to possess.

    Behind him Serpent can hear his brother and cousin muttering.

    "Well that's not so bad," Angtyr whispers with a sly grin, "Brother might even be able to beat a girl at this point."

    Bran's face is ashen, "Not if that is Truan's granddaughter, Kára. It is said that as a child she swore she would wed no man save the one that could hold her life in his hands. Since then she has practiced with the blade every day and every night of her life. She has never been beaten."

    "Ah hell," Serpent's brother grunts, "We should just leave now then. Let these Dunnish morons suffer alone for all I care, let the myrkridia feast on their empty heads."

    "We can't do that, we will need the numbers in the days ahead" the King whispers to his men, "I have to fight, I have to try."

    "But Serpent-" Angtyr tries to caution his brother.

    "No 'buts'," the physician answers, "I have to try."

    He steps into the center of the chamber, "Very well, I accept."

    The room erupts in a chorus of cheers as Bran sighs, "I will go get you medical kit and some alcohol."

    -------------------------------------

    She fires off a pair of silver arrows as her spiders surge forward.

    'A test' they call it. They have agreed to help her and her husband but first they want to know if she is worthy of help.

    Humph, 'worthy' of help. She has half a mind to feed them to her spiders.

    Still, she has been to their village now, she has seen their power, she has heard their bizarre magic and she knows that it will make a difference in the battles to come.

    She will pass their test, she will succeed for herself and for Serpent.

    A rock flies past her head, mere millimetres from her skull. Right, she better start paying attention.

    Her enemies are curious creatures, blue men, three metres tall, each with six arms and three heads. Their primary means of attack seems to be merely hurling rocks and boulders and so it was not too difficult to devise a proper plan to best them.

    She will charge them on Goliath's back along with most of the larger woolly spiders she has bent to her will.

    All a distraction to let their smaller cousins slip through the side tunnels, then... Yes!

    Dozens of little horrors pour out of cover and leap at the blue giants.

    They bite and claw as the enemy line begins to disintegrate. She takes aim for the largest of them and gives Goliath the order to charge.

    -------------------------------------

    He tries to calm himself, find his center and prepare for her assault.

    He is not given the time.

    The first three strikes, aimed at his throat, stomach and groin, come in rapid succession without even the slightest pause.

    It is all he can do to parry the first two and leap out of the way of the third.

    She is faster than he is, she is stronger than he is, and she is trying to kill him.

    He tries to come up with a plan, some sort of defence, he hesitates for a moment as he thinks and he receives a fist in his face for his trouble.

    The pain arcs through him, ah, his nose is definitely broken and it is getting difficult to focus.

    He lashes out at her in desperation, a sweeping slash followed by a thrust.

    It costs him his blade as she pins it and wretches it from his grasp.

    She laughs and the assembly laughs with her. Angtyr and Bran cough uncomfortably and stare at their feet. This must be embarrassing for them.

    He jumps away from her strike and scurries to the far side of the ring.

    She sighs, shaking her head, "Here, have your sword back," she tosses Tyrvard's blade into the dirt before him.

    He snatches it up, bringing it up quickly to guard his body.

    He has been fighting for four minutes now and it is clear to everyone that he can not win this fight. He has trained with a blade for a few months, she has trained her entire life, there is simply too great of a difference between them to overcome.

    So, he is going to have to be creative, he is going to have to use his magic.

    She charges in on the attack and this time he is ready, he sidesteps her swing and blasts her with a gout of webbing.

    She spins as the spell closes in on her, raising her blade to ward of the spell.

    It is over, the webbing will hit her and fix her in place, she will-

    Her blade bursts into flame and splits the spell in two.

    He can sense a hint of magic about her, did she cast? No. But that sword must be enchanted.

    She comes at him far quicker now, her steps light and purposefully misleading, she bends and sways as she advances. Driving him slowly to the edge of the ring.

    It is then that it happens, she feints to his left, he falls for her trap and her right fist connects full on with the side of his face.

    He wobbles backward, rocking on his heels, standing but unable to move, unable to focus.

    A flying knee catches him under the jaw and pitches him out of the ring. He crashes to the ground, spread out, barely conscious as she lands on top of him.

    His ribs crack under her, he groans in pain, before he blacks out, the last thought that crosses his mind is that he failed his people.

    Now he will never be recognized as king.

    ----------------------------------

    "I have past your damn test!" she pitches the large, triangular head at their feet, "Now serve!"

    The druids have quietly gathered round the young queen, their spider followers hissing and chattering in the distance.

    The old man that led her here steps forward to speak, he tips up his hat to get a better look at her, "Aye, suppose you did," he takes in her horde of loyal spiders, scratching his cheek just below his pair of prominent moles, "An' I suppose we shall. Just let me get my axe."

    The rest of the druids nod to one another.

    She has done it, she has won them the allies they will need to survive what is to come.

    She grins is pride but part of her worries about Serpent and the task set before him.

    ----------------------------------

    When he comes to he is back in their shelter.

    "Your awake, we were afraid that maybe she had killed you of put you in a coma," Angtyr hands him jug of something strong and sweet.

    "Thank you," the broken king replies, he has trouble looking his brother in the eye, he has failed them all though he is sure they will try to downplay the significance of this defeat. Drawing his thoughts together he manages to choke out a few more words, "Now what?"

    "Now we go home," Bran answers from the doorway, "The Dunnish have the excuse they so desperately needed to ignore our warnings. They will not follow us now and so we look to our own."

    "When do we leave?" Serpent barely whispers, defeated, distraught.

    "As soon as you are ready cousin," the hairy warrior replies.

    He tries to drag himself out of bed and as he does so pain shoots through his body.

    He grunts and drops back into the bed, "In a few days I guess."

    Angtyr and Bran simply nod, "Take as much time as you need Serpent, we will wait till you are ready."

    Serpent sighs and gestures for the jug, he is not a drinking man but by Wyrd right now he needs it.

    -----------------------------------

    He is not ready for four more days.

    Though there are no known enemies between here and the island traveling in the north is always a hazardous proposition and he can see no sense in setting out before he is ready, even if he and his men must endure the contempt and snickering insults of the Dunnish.

    Bandaged and still sore he begins to pack his things, his medicine, Tyrvard's sword, the woollen robes of his 'office', as he does so he plays back everything that has brought him to this point. His journey to Muirthemne, meeting Derryth- he wonders how she is and what she would think of the mess he is making, no doubt she would be able to think of a way out of this. He shakes his head, this is his problem, well his and Christine's, and they will just have to manage. With any luck she succeeded at her-

    A scream fills the room from outside, then another and a third, a whole choir of howls and moans. For a second he just puts it down to some obscure Berserk custom he is unfamiliar with but as the sounds build in intensity and frequency it becomes clear that, that is not the case.

    It begins to sound distinctly like a battle out there.

    The first instinct of any Berserk warrior would be to rush toward it, blade in hand and deliver furious death to the aggressor, whoever they may be, but he is not a Berserk warrior.

    The first instinct of any king would be to rally his guard to him and march out into battle, to drive back the threat through cunning and superior skill, but as much as everyone insists on his kingship he has never felt like a king.

    He is a physician, first, foremost and always, and he knows that a battle means wounded. Lives cast onto the very precipice between life and death. He knows that he will be needed and so he grabs his kit and he runs out into the dim morning light for that is what he is and this is what he must do.

    -----------------------------------------

    The entire village is ablaze, tents and thatched roofs burn as howling figures race through the night. This is a myrkridia attack and they are devastating everything.

    Further down the way he spots Angtyr, Bran and his remaining guards, they call to him and quickly form a ring around him.

    "Brother! We must leave!" Angtyr yells over the flames and death cries of the Dunnish.

    He shakes his head, the answer for him is clear and that gives him courage, "We can't, these people need help!"

    "These people do not give a fuck about us cousin!" Bran grabs him by the shoulder and he winces, "Why should we give a fuck about them?"

    "Then leave if you want!" the physician shouts back, "But I will not!"

    Bran snorts, then laughs, "You have the blood of a Berserk King in your veins, no doubt about it cousin!" he turns to his men, "We are staying boys! Going to crush a few of these pups!"

    The Berserks cheer, the prospect of a good scrap does wonders for their mood.

    "We need to get to the assembly!" it is clear to Serpent, at least, what the enemy is trying to do, kill enough of the Berserk chieftains and you break the back of any possible resistance.

    His followers nod their agreement and the group sets off.

    ------------------------------------

    The scene before the great stone longhouse is somewhat disheartening. Here a large knot of myrkridia throw themselves at a quickly shrinking ring of Berserk defenders. Kára leads the defenders though she does precious little to coordinate their efforts, her idea of leadership, like that of most of her people is to wade in at the front of her men and kill as many enemies as possible. Such a method has its time and place but it is doing little good here. The humans put up a good fight but it will matter little in the end, they are outnumbered at least two to one and a myrkridia is easily a match for all but the best of warriors.

    Still, maybe there is something he can do, "Angtyr, do we have any ranged weapons with us?"

    "No brother," the great Berserk shakes his head, "No warrior would think of carrying such a weapon into battle."

    Naturally, well that is something else he will have to change in the future.

    "Is there anyone that would?" he asks Bran.

    The Berserk answers readily enough, "Aye cousin, there should be a store of boar spears used for hunting somewhere around here."

    "Good," the physician king nods, "We arm ourselves with those and we hit their rear with a few good volleys."

    "Why brother?" the big Berserk asks in confusion, "We should attack them now! Drive them away from the assembly!"

    Serpent shakes his head, "No, they are ferocious fighters and we can not risk losing anyone as there may be more out there, but we can use their very fury against them. I once heard in a surgeon's account of the last war that myrkridia, when they are wounded, fall into a bloody rage and will savage all around them, friend and foe alike, we will turn the very horde on itself and win victory with the bare minimum of casualties."

    The Berserks look at one another and grin, Angtyr speaks, "Hah, you will be a great king for our people!" he turns to his men, "Quickly lads, lets get those spears!"

    Within minutes they are ready and they begin their assault.

    His plan works to perfection, by the third volley half of the myrkridia have turned on each other in their rage. They howl, they scream and they claw at one another. Rapidly they take their toll on their brothers trapped between the wall of screaming steel that is the defenders and the blind rage of their own.

    Serpent waits, holding his men back, as the enemy disintegrates to the cheers of the surviving Dunnish Berserks. A few of them even salute him and Kára spares him a single nod as she rests on her blade.

    His men cheer and slap him on the back but he does not make a move, if this was an attempt to snuff out the leadership of the Dunnish Berserks then his enemy would not leave its success to chance. This is not over yet, he is sure of it, and it takes only a moment for his worst fear to be realized. Out of the morning mist a trio of massive myrkridia lumber, each is as tall as a Trow and carries a large sack at its side, these are Myrkridian Giants and these will pose a true challenge to the remaining defenders.

    He readies his men for the fight of his life, hopefully it won't be his last.

    -----------------------------------------

    "Keep slicing at it men! It is bound to fall eventually!" admittedly not the best strategy one could come up with but they are out of spears and he can only channel so much magic at a time, he wants to save it for a truly dire situation.

    As he stands there contemplating their strategy Angtyr flies past him and slams into the stone wall of the longhouse, he twitches, still alive, but that must have hurt.

    He directs his attention back to the battle before him, Kára circles one of the giants by herself, so far her speed has saved her from a painful end but all that monster will need is a lucky shot. She is tiring from the constant battle and he doubts she will last for long.

    The rest of the Dunnish are doing their best to mob the second giant, it kicks at them and snatches to odd Berserk up, pitching them across the square like a child in a tantrum hurling a favourite toy. One of the poor fellows hits the dirt path head first and folds in on his neck, nothing Serpent can do about that, that man was dead as soon as he hit the dirt.

    Bran and his remaining honour guard fight the last giant and that is where Serpent intends to make a difference. The beast is outnumbered but only four to one, it produced some sort of great explosive projectile, it looked for all the world like a skull, and when it hit, along with the skulls from its companions, he lost fully two thirds of his men. A horrible surprise but a useful lesson to learn now rather than later.

    He fires off a pair of silver arrows that strike the beast in its chest and neck, that catches its attention as they burrow into its flesh. It bellows and kicks Bran out of the way, the Berserk skids across the ground and comes to rest next to an overturned cart. The beast points at Serpent and begins to march toward him. If it reaches him, that will probably be it, he can not fight this thing but he does still have a card or two to play.

    He opens with a flash of light, something Christine came up with, a simple little spark to blind the enemy. Then he hits it with an energy bolt and a single silver arrow. It roars in pain but does not fall, that is fine, it is doing precisely what he needs it to do. This next bit will be difficult but if he can manage it will win him the fight.

    It opens its mouth wide, bellowing at him in unrestrained fury, and he lobs a glob of thick webbing down its throat.

    He grins as its eyes go wide, it scratches at its throat, unable to breathe, it is suffocating, a slow, agonizing death. It drops to its knees, then onto its hands, it looks Serpent in the eyes, gasping its last.

    He takes a score of steps backward as it tries to reach for him, it shakes, slams its clawed fist into the dirt and collapses.

    His men cheer, Angtyr staggers to his feet and wobbles weakly, Bran, now standing again, runs toward the beast, jumps onto its back and drives his blade in at the base of its skull, a quick kill and a sure one.

    Two to go.

    ------------------------------------------

    Kára bobs and weaves around the enormous claws of the giant, if it catches her even once then she is done for.

    She feints to her left and slips between its legs again, cutting a deep groove across its thigh. It does not matter much though, this is the eighth such blow she has delivered and yet the beast fights on. It is fast, it is strong and nothing seems to harm it for long. She is over matched on her own, for the first time she has met an opponent she can not beat alone, no, she refuses to accept that, she will find a way to win, she-

    Her thoughts are interrupted by the sound of cheers from he Dunnish fighters, did they manage to fell one of the beasts?

    She spares a glance in the direction of the noise and she sees something she never would have expected.

    That little pretender, that 'king', that outsider has felled not just one of these giants but two of them. It coughs and wheezes before him, lying prostrate at his feet. How? How in the name of the Old Ones did he achieve such a feat. He is no warrior, she has measured him and found him wanting, he is no master of the blade, hell, he is not even carrying a weapon, so how did he-

    Too slow, she should have been paying attention, the beast hits her, raking her with its claws, as sharp as any blade, like a handful of spear points they pierce her armour and rip into her flesh. It laughs deeply and hurls her at her fellows, the blood draining from what must be a fatal wound.

    To die like this, with no great deeds to her name, it sickens her.

    Sometime before she hits the ground, she blacks out.

    ---------------------------------

    He does not have any more spells left, he has no weapon but what he does have in abundance is intellect and knowledge.

    The Berserks do their part, they hack and slash at the creature, they leap and bound. Bran leads them laughing while Angtyr watches on with jealousy, "Pay attention brother!" Serpent shouts, "I need your help for this."

    The Berserk nods, holding a large water skein as Serpent mixes together a dozen rare extracts and local poisons he has collected, "Now this is important, we need to get this sack down its throat, the potion will do the rest of the work for us, do you think you can do it?"

    Angtyr nods and grins, "Brother have you ever seen me toss the caber?"

    "Brother," the physician smiles, "I do not even know what a caber is."

    The Berserk nods solemnly, "Then I will add it to your training regime when we return home."

    The young king grunts, "Great."

    The wounded Berserk lines up his target, he waits for his opening, Bran drives his blade into the creatures hip, just above the groin, and it howls in agony. Angtyr unstops the flash and hurls it across the square.

    The two brothers watch on, neither speaks, neither breathes, as the flask sails through the air and...

    It hits!

    It sails right into the maw of the beast and down its throat.

    Serpent watches what happens next with great interest.

    The creature laughs and bellows something in its dark tongue, at first nothing seems to happen but then it begins to bleed, from its eyes, its ears, its mouth, its nose, the dark blood of the myrkridian giant pours forth. It twitches, it convulses, it mutters to itself as it sweats, it pitches backward and curls into a ball shivering.

    It dies minutes later.

    ---------------------------------------

    Kára awakes in bed.

    Her whole body aches.

    Where is she?

    How did she survive?

    Was the monster beaten?

    She hears noises, muffled voices and shuffling feet.

    She is not alone.

    Somewhere beyond her vision something moves.

    They grow closer, she readied herself, eyes open but a crack.

    A hand reaches for her blanket, she grabs it by the wrist.

    "Good, you are awake," the being answers calmly and with satisfaction, "You had your grandfather quite worried."

    The voice is masculine but she can not place it, it belongs to none of her household.

    "Who, who are you?" she asks without releasing his wrist.

    He steps around to give her a better view.

    It is that foreigner, that pretender!

    Her head spins, "How? Why? What are you doing?"

    "Checking your wounds," he replies calmly, "You came very close to death but you should be fine by tomorrow."

    Death? She almost died? And he says he saved her?

    "Where is my grandfather?" it is the first thought that springs to her mind.

    "Right outside, I will send for him," the man offers.

    "Yes, ah, thank you," she replies quietly.

    The door opens and she is met by her grandfather's misty eyes and his strong arms.

    They have much to talk about.

    --------------------------

    "Well, I suppose we should be going," Serpent and his remaining men have gathered at the edge of the village.

    Their actions yesterday have won them the respect of the Dunnish, if not their loyalty. A handful of lesser clans have pledged their service to his cause but it is less than he had hoped for.

    Still, something is better than nothing, at least he will not return home empty-handed.

    "Whenever you are ready brother," Angtyr replies as he lays a large hand on his sovereign's shoulder.

    He takes the first step along their path, the long road back to the island and his queen. Wyrd, he misses her.

    "Young man! Stop!" the call comes from behind them, "Young man! Please stop!"

    A large knot of Dunnish Berserks advance on their weakened group. At their head march Truan and his granddaughter, fully recovered, he smiles at his own handiwork, there are only maybe seven men in the entire north that could have saved that woman and he knows he is the best of them even if it is a bit prideful to say so.

    The Dunnish group draws to a halt ten metres from his group.

    Serpent steps forward and speaks, "Is there something more I can do for you, wise Truan?"

    "Yes," the old man grins, "You can remember to take your wife with you!"

    The Dunnish cheer and Angtyr chuckles.

    "I am afraid I do not understand," the perplexed physician replies.

    Kára blushes and mutters something less than flattering about him.

    Truan laughs, "Every Berserk in the Duns wants my granddaughter for his wife but not one of them had the strength to do it. Yet you casually achieve what they could not and you are not even aware of the prize you have won! The Old Ones truly have a magnificent sense of humour."

    "But I-" the physician stammers, "I still don't understand."

    Truan gives the young king a sympathetic nod, "My granddaughter swore a great oath as a girl that she would marry no man save the one that could hold her life in his hands. For years we all thought that such a situation would only come about through direct combat but..."

    The light of understanding flares to life in the physician king's eyes, "When I saved her life with my medicine I- oh, oh no this is not going to work! I am terribly sorry but I must decline!" the Dunnish warriors begin to mutter and scowl, some even reach for their blades as Serpent tries to make them see, "You see I already have a wife and-"

    Angtyr slaps a large hand over his king' mouth and whispers in his ear, "If you marry Kára then Truan becomes your grandfather as well, the entire Culbrea tribe will become your family and with them you will gain the loyalty of all the Duns. You will be King in the North."

    "Which will do us no good if Christine murders me!" the physician whispers back, "Besides, does this Kára even want to marry me?"

    "It does not matter," Bran advises his cousin, "If you do not accept you will shame the entire Culbrea tribe and all the Dunnish by extension. It will mean war."

    "That is ridiculous!" Serpent retorts.

    "That is the Dunnish," Angtyr replies with a wink.

    The physician sighs, "Great Truan may I speak to your granddaughter for a moment?"

    The Berserk hero nods, "She is your wife, you may do with her as you wish, I-"

    "Thank you," he gestures for the warrior maiden to follow him off to the side, she looks to her grandfather and he gives her a little push to get her started.

    When the two of them are far enough away from the rest of the Berserks he speaks, "Answer me plainly Kára, is it your wish to marry me?"

    "No," her reply comes quickly and firmly, "You are not a warrior and you do not have a warrior's heart, I do not wish to marry you."

    Well, that is all he needs to know. It is true, he is not a warrior, he is a physician and a mage, he nods once in understanding, "Then I will not marry you," he turns to walk away.

    She grabs his arm, he stops, she is far too strong for him and he would not be able to break free even if he struggled. He turns as she speaks, "That would mean war, you do understand that right? My grandfather would have no choice."

    "We always have a choice," the physician answers, "A very good friend taught me that and I will not disrespect her by pretending that we don't. I choose not to live a lie. If that means war then so be it, we will go to war and I will win."

    He speaks those words with a confidence he was not sure he possessed. It impresses him a little, seems it impresses her a lot too as she grabs him by the back of the neck and forces her tongue down his throat.

    She leaves him gasping for air. She grins, "Perhaps you do not have the heart of a warrior but you do have the heart of a king. I will marry you if you will have me."

    Well hell, now how is he going to get out of this?

    In the distance he can hear his Northmen and her Dunnish warriors cheering. As they walk back to the group, Bran beams at him while Angtyr and Truan negotiate the bride price.

    ------------------------------------

    Now this is magic!

    She has been practicing non-stop since they returned to the new capital.

    This magic, this 'axe' they built for her, it is perfect!

    And it is loud.

    "Majesty!" Leo and half a dozen Berserk officers come crashing into her chamber.

    They are blown back and slammed against the wall by the collective magic of the druids, it is all Christine can do to prevent the spells she is working from killing them as the head druid's raspy vocals wind down;

    "Don't sweat it, get it back to you,

    Don't sweat it, get it back to you,

    Overkill, Overkill, Overkill."

    Technically the spell should last for a few more minutes yet but out of mercy for her commanders she motions for the group to wind down their 'performance'.

    Leo finally staggers to his feet, "Your Majesty, we have word from the coast-" he wobbles on his legs as she rushes across the room to steady him.

    "My husband?" the queen asks with trepidation, he has been gone a week longer than expected and it worries her, night and day. On reflection that is probably why she has thrown herself into this new magic, it strengthens her and pushes back her fear, even if only for a time.

    The mercenary captain nods, still not able to consistently form words, "He- he is on his way with a large body of warriors- he..."

    She squeezes him, "He did it, I knew he would! He won and brought us the allies we need, I wonder," she spins on her heels, tapping her cheek with one finger and dropping the poor captain, "I wonder what sorts of gifts they brought me?"

    Well, there will be time for that later. Now she needs to see everything prepared.

    -----------------------------------

    The soldiers at the ready, her spiders safely out of sight, she even managed to convince the druids to wash themselves in something other than whiskey today.

    It is all ready, it is all perfect, as she stands there on the steps of the fort awaiting her husband.

    She sees him, riding on a black stallion at the head of his men. Pride wells up inside her, they are now King and Queen in the North, unequalled among the Berserks. They can do anything, beat anyone, they will drive off the myrkridian threat and any other that should rise before them and they will do it together.

    He dismounts and races up the steps, she meets him half way and embraces him, "I knew you would make it, what happened? Why did it take so long? Tell me everything?"

    Her Serpent grins at her, "Alright dear, I will tell you everything tonight but first," he frowns, "First there is something important I must tell you-"

    "So this is yer husband?" the head druid enquires, "Ah, must be more to the man than there seems."

    Serpent glances at the old druid, "And who are you sir?"

    "Why I'm-" the druid barely has time to begin before Christine cuts him off.

    "He is a druid dear! I found them, far to the north, on the very shores of the North Sea, they have agreed to fight for us!" she beams in triumph.

    His eyes jump back to her, he matches her grin, "That is magnificent my love. We will need all the help we can get. We ran into a myrkridian raiding party on the mainland, I do not think we have much time left."

    "Well then, it is a good thing you managed to rally the Dunnish clans then," she glances over his shoulder at the chiefs riding up in the second column, an old man and a blonde woman at their head, "Serpent?" she releases her husband, "Who are they?"

    Her husband answers, pointing to each in turn, "Truan, hero of the Duns, and his granddaughter Kára. Their support was instrumental in rallying the clans."

    "Oh... good..." Christine answers without looking at her husband, the queen stares a hole in the Berserk woman as she rides through the gate.

    "Listen Christine," he takes her hand, "There is something very important I have to-"

    "Husband! What is going on!" Kára calls as she dismounts.

    "Husband?" Christine practically hisses.

    "Ah, well, see, that-" Serpent struggles to find words. This, this is not going to end well, he just knows it.

    "Who is this husband? A servant perhaps?" Kára continues, "Where is your wife? I should like to meet her? Can you send this servant off to fetch her?"

    "Servant!" the queen's fists clench, her teeth grate.

    Serpent tries to intervene, "My dear- ah, Kára this is-"

    The Berserk shakes her head, "I will meet the staff later my dear, right now I wish to meet the enchanting beauty you spoke to me about the entire way here. The great sorceress that is to be my competition."

    "Competition?" the two ask together, he is surprise, she in anger.

    "Ah yes," the Berserk nods, "I must have forgotten to mention that in Berserk households the place of first wife, or husband, goes to the first one to conceive."

    "I- ah- well," the physician stammers, taken aback.

    "Serpent," calmly Christine turns to him, she is as a storm about to break loose, she laughs, "I am certain that there is a perfectly good reason why this savage thinks you are her husband but I would like you to please let her down gently, we would not want the great oaf to break something after all."

    "Savage? Oaf?" the Berserk tenses, "Serpent, dear, it is improper to let your serving girls talk about your wives in such a way! I demand that you discipline her or I will!"

    "Serpent say something!" both women shout in his ears.

    It is back, that creeping pain behind the eyes, the knife driven through his skull, and now he knows the exact cause of it. Somewhere in the back of his mind he laughs madly and he longs for the days when all he had to worry about was a punch in the face.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
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  11. archaen Arbiter Patron

    archaen
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2014
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    620
    SOMEBODY GIVE ME THE ABILITY TO BROFIST NAO!
     
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  12. Fangshi Arcane

    Fangshi
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    :lol: It is the thought that counts, so thank you. :salute:
     
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  13. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    Messages:
    9,493
    Christine learned the power of METAL and received an AX? That bitch.
     
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  14. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Messages:
    8,169
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Codex 2012
    Yeah. She got the mad toy Nevill wanted.:lol: And now she'll kill Serpent. Great, eh? :salute:
     
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  15. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    11,056
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    DAFUQ?!

    We have to strike a literal deal with the demon and capture the Watcher's personal hound - a true Immortal, at that! - to have a chance at learning the Secrets of Metal!, and that hussy just had to beat some blue triple-headed hobos! How is that even remotely fair!

    It was supposed to be something unique, something unheard of! Now it have just gone mainstream. :negative:

    I dreamed of making a career out of this. I dreamed of our first metal album, something that would come as a revelation to the Mythverse! Only to discover that by the time we learn our first chord, the Northenders will be having their disco parties for months!

    I feel betrayed! BETRAYED! :argh::argh::argh:

    I don't care much if Serpent lives or dies, filthy males have no place in our group anyway, and two grief-stricken widows in need of comforting would present a great opportunity for harem expansion. :salute:
     
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  16. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Wait, what does Mayer know about Morpheus? Goddammit, the moment I think we got ourselves a secret weapon it turns out everyone and their mother know about it. Hell, even Faceless didn't realize that the spells in the center of the Oneiroi compound were related to the Dreaming, yet some banker (admittedly, a former adventurer himself) knows the Demon Lord personally and even has a mutual agreement in place.

    Now, we did free Morpheus from his enslavement by the Oneiroi to earn the right to work with him. What did Mayer do? Is there anything sacred left in the world? Next think we know, we'll find the Spider Goddess drinking tea with one of the Great Lords. Or worse yet, with one of their butlers.

    :butthurt:

    On the other hand, Mayer's connections with the supernatural explain his unnatural cunning when it comes to business. Did Morpeus have a hand in this?

    I am asking Morpheus not because I am curious (though I am), but because I want to confirm that there indeed is no cure for the woman. When Mayer told us that he is 'well aware' there is none, I thought that with our contacts among demons, archmages and Fallen Lords we would know better. Now I am becoming less and less sure of that.

    Just how far did Mayer go in search for the cure?
     
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  17. Jester Arbiter

    Jester
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    Actually i expect that there is way to cure her, but her condition is related to Mayer keen sense of business. Thats my point of view.
     
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  18. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    From what we've seen of him, I can not believe he is purposefully keeping her in that state. My understanding is that if he could do anything about it, he would have done so long ago.

    If he sacrificed her to succeed in business, then why is he so concerned with making her comfortable and why is he determined to live that way until the day he dies? It is clearly taking a toll on his nerves. If your wife mattered less to you than money and power, why keep her as a constant reminder of your treachery? And if not, then what do you even need money for if you can't use it to keep the person closest to you out of harm's way? It makes no sense.

    From the bits and pieces of information that we managed to pry out of him, I theorize that his wife was hurt on one of his adventures. He must have searched high and low for the cure, turning to gods and demons alike, but have never found it. After he lost all hope, he settled down and opened a business. He probably never was one for small talk even before that, his wife is a secret he obviously does not want to flaunt, and he probably got a few connections with the demons and the like on his travels, so that explains the rumors circulating about him.

    When we'll see him again, I'd like to have a talk with him about this. The man is clearly very sensitive about the issue, probably because it is painful to hope again when you have already accepted your fate. Still, we've had a few fate-defying experiences ourselves. By all means, we should have been wiped out when we decided to recapture the fort. We survived. We should have been all killed when an army several times stronger than we were and augmented by archmages, artefacts and various horrors laid siege to the fort. We survived. Finally, we should have been captured and eaten alive when we led a meager force of 20 men into a hornet nest of singing demons. Again, we survived. If anyone wants to know the meaning of the phrase 'against all odds', they only need to look at us.

    If he does not believe she can be saved, fine, he does not have to. That still won't stop us (well, me) from trying to ask every archmage we come across about what such a condition might be. We don't look like ones who give up easily, do we? If he tells us everything, we can promise never to bother him with this again unless we have news for him. It would be easier to get rid of our attention this way. :)

    If it causes him discomfort to talk about it - well, it causes us discomfort to hear that we can't do anything about it without really trying. We hate being powerless. It's our childhood trauma. Deal with it.
     
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  19. Jester Arbiter

    Jester
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    If she is a prophet or smt that would explain why he is keeping here close and well? Mby he need her to continue to be on top? If he is such person i really doubt he would allow anyone other than him to get close to his wife. If you read Epic CYOA might i remind you how highly Dio/Emperor valued life of others and how they acted when they were watched? Mby loving husband is just a façade?

    Of course its possible that he is a loving husband caught in very bad situation. Still i got vibe that there is something more going with him. Might be wrong, but we didnt spend enough time with him to be sure.
     
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  20. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    A facade for what, though? Most people aren't even aware he has a wife. Why did he introduce her to us as his wife, not as some rabid animal?

    Is this a facade, too? What for?

    No, I don't think so. It would be pointless to make all this circus just for us. There may be something strange going on, but I don't doubt that his feelings for Helena are genuine.
     
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  21. zerozero Literate

    zerozero
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    This is my first post so there will be a time delay from the moderators and it may seem jarring to the flow of the thread.

    I must thank Fangshi and all the contributors for an interesting and innovative thread and I will throw in my 2 shillings and hope to add to the adventure.

    I believe that you are under-utilizing your resources in Muirthemne especially Amena, Ithapi and the children in the secret base. Given the progression of the other characters, these characters will be left behind due to a lack of skills and you will not have access to the Arrows and Pathfinders on a permanent basis. The Arrows are costing you a fortune and the Pathfinders work for the Dwarven King.

    I have a suspicion that something big is going to happen in the next few months in Muirthemne and war will break out across the continent in due course. You cannot split the main 3 mages due to the necklaces, the girls will want to stay with you and by extension Berty but you need more personnel.

    The aim is to build a force in Muirthemne that combines the essential skills from the Mages, Arrows, Pathfinders and Mercs together (from all your battle experience) and to consolidate your power & resources in one place.

    A letter can be written and sent by a fast eagle to Gareth anytime given the option.


    Gareth and Bridget will organise a plan to:-

    1-Secure a large base/ warehouse to accommodate the extra personnel.

    2- Deal with the Secret Base i.e. move Amena, Ithapi and the children and secure the secret base.

    3- Secure all the treasure and books etc.

    4- Hire skilled loyal fighters from either Gareth's and Bridget's contacts.

    5- Buy all the necessary resources for training and preparation for war. Arms, armour, mandrake etc.

    6- Training and building a force.


    Additionally

    Gareth to contact One Serpent and Christine. We know that he is trying to conquer the North and will need help to transform their military force. He will need military advisors and craftsmen/ women to make and teach bows, shields, siege weapons etc. We can hire and send him these people and maybe some arms, armour and money.

    Gareth to concentrate on the plan and spying on the Brannons, the remnants of the Eberhardt around the city and naturally Watcher/ Necromancy activity. He could use a combination of the stealthy members, the children or hire others.


    1-Secure a large base/ warehouse to accommodate the extra personnel.

    Secure a large base with easy access to land to train all your new forces, not too far from the city.

    There is a risk that your could get attacked in a remote location but you need to train archery, magic and explosives.

    You may also want additional safe houses around the city to retreat to.


    2- Deal with the Secret Base i.e. move Amena, Ithapi and the children and secure the secret base.

    Send Gareth and a team with wagons to take all that you can from the base including treasure, books etc. Naturally Amena, Ithapi and the children will be coming with you.

    Seal off or hide the location of the safe i.e. wall it off, change the nature of the room - make it look like a storage room etc. and bobby trap and reinforce the runes etc of the base to make it harder to anyone to break in and occupy.

    The safe may be important but will you ever get the chance to investigate it given all the other things you want to check out. Hopefully the safe will not be found and you can investigate it later.


    3- Secure all the treasure and books etc.

    You will have to build some sort of safe in a secure location or store it in a bank. With your artefacts and books in one place you can study them when you get to the city and explore the city.


    4- Hire skilled loyal fighters from either Gareth's and Bridget's contacts.

    Using their own contacts hire more personnel but they have to be loyal and be skilled or have the potential. You could use Derryth/ Thais contacts.


    5- Buy all the necessary resources for training and preparation for war.

    The aim is to see what was the most essential in your battles - energon cubes, mandrake, arrows, pathfinder gear.

    Convert some of the gold into gems so they become more portable.

    Stock up on mandrake and energon cubes.

    Try to get some spellbooks or scrolls to you can learn spells from.

    Stock up on a variety of explosives and arrows etc.

    Secure some transport - wagons and horses on standby in case you need to escape fast.

    Equip you named characters with the best gear and the rest with good gear.


    6- Training and building a force.

    Aim for a flexible force (approximation of what you have now i.e. mages, arrows, pathfinders and mercs) that can fight larger forces. You will be fighting dirty with explosives i.e. grenades, explosive satchels and poison e.g. gas grenades, poison weapons etc.

    Gareth - Commander - seems to have the necessary skills but trains more if necessary in explosives. he will be organising everything and hire in trainers as needed.

    Bridget - Archery and Magic, improve on these skills and possibly learn some healing.

    Ex-Legion - depending on what we get. Bridget to train an Arrow type squad with additional explosives training. Gareth to train an melee assault team with additional explosives training.

    Amena - Has magic and herbal, improve on these skills and possibly learn some healing.

    Ithapi -He has the most potential to learn new skills with his 8/10 Intelligence and Thirst for knowledge passive skill. He could become a Fighter/mage combo, something like Gareth but with magic. With his stats 9/10 in STR and CON but 2/10 DEX he is a heavy infantry type if he can use magic specialise in spells that will help him take down faster agile troops blind, tangle etc. Get him some full plate, shield and suitable melee weapon. Explosive training to have some aoe skills.

    The children - taught to be an independent unit specialising in recon and guerrilla tactics mixed with magic and explosives training.
     
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  22. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    First and foremost, welcome. :) It is always good to see new blood.

    I can see what you mean by Amena and Ithapi being left behind. However, they and the kids are more of a long-term investment.

    We left them in the tower exactly for the reasons you stated - we needed a secret base that no one would know about to consolidate our treasures, to conduct forbidden research, and to have a place to fall back to should things get dicey. Its most important advantage is the complete secrecy. It is protected first by the Imperial law forbidding anyone from entering the catacombs, second by hundreds of mahirs, and lastly by our own runes denying entry to unwanted parties. A building on the surface that would be easy to access will not stay hidden for long, especially if we are going to make it our headquarters.

    From what I understand, you want to secure another warehouse to be able to accomodate an army. Well, don't we already have one that serves as a headquarters for the mercenary forces of the Lost? What exactly do you need another one for?

    Do you mean hiring instructors from the Arrows and the Pathfinders to train our soldiers? Otherwise I don't see how we would have access to their skills.

    Unfortunately, we don't know that. We left the two of them to enjoy their honeymoon and we expect to hear from them in a year. Our characters don't know anything about the war in the north, and have no reason to worry. Christine even said to us that they weren't heading to a warzone.


    I think half of the things proposed above were covered by starting our own mercenary company that doubles as our personal army. If there is a particular direction we want to guide them towards, I believe we would be able to talk with Gareth about it personally, as I plan to visit Muirthemne shortly. Still, I think we need to see what he did with our company, first, before we try to correct the man. :)

    Me, I don't think anything major will happen before the year is up. The second biggest war of the century have just ended. What we are seeing looks more like an aftermath to me, rather than a new big war brewing.

    Instead of consolidating our forces in one place, I would prefer to invest into a quick transportation technology that would allow us to gather our forces quickly in a location of our choosing. Having several headquarters spread out throughout the continent and connected via a series of Gates would allow us to have access to all of our resourses, concentrating them where they are needed most.
     
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  23. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Codex 2012
    I'm not too keen on the idea of Gates as other than a last-stop thing. Having a permanent Gate sounds nice in theory, but since Fangshi has already warned us that other mages will be sure to pick up on it when they get close, and they can tamper with it, makes me uneasy. If they make it overload or collapse, it could mean losing manpower and resources.

    If we are to have a permanent gate, I want it to be perfectly safe from outside meddling, both by other mortals, and The Things That Lurk In the In-Between spaces.
    And I just don't see that happening. It's easier to plan for contingencies that might pop up during caravan travel, than it is to safeguard one from tentacled horrors from the great beyond, or mischief from one of Morpheus' cousins.
    Gates are dangerous and present a serious investment. They might be possible, but I'd be wary of them nonetheless.
     
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  24. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Well, what I had in mind would be closer to a network of on-demand Gates, rather than something that would stay constantly open. It is a bit different from the trading Gate we were talking about since our arrival in Myrgard.

    Right now we need to gather 8 or so mages in one place to open one.
     
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  25. archaen Arbiter Patron

    archaen
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    No point in planning. I am sure that hidden in our keep is Cthulhu and he only needs one more mouse soul to break free from his prison. He will immediately summon a jazz band and destroy us and the planet with his intimate knowledge of the blues scale.
     
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