We will be at LinCon this year as well :)
In this adventure two groups of spacers find themselves... yes, where indeed?
Centuria at LinCon 2022? Absolutely!
From near and far hunters assemble in the northern wilderness. Here the lords of Cenovar are arranging an annual hunt. Some join for the challenge, others for fame or glory. But there are many dangers lurking... Which hunting team will emerge victorious?
They hade been travelling with Nepthys in the lead heading towards the lighthouse that could be seen in the distance. Echan's Folly a proof of divination gone to far...
They jumped off their horses and waded the last bit through the shallow water towards the derelict buildings. When they entered it seemed like time suddenly slowed down to a stop and Julian looked around.
His companions around him looked like they had been frozen in time...
Suddenly, in front of him, a woman had appeared as from thin air. She was wrapped in a fine white elven dress, not leaving much to the imagination, and showing her pale, almost white skin. In contrast her hair flowed red like fire around her face, but what grabbed Julian was the eyes. Green like emeralds and almost glowing, expelling something far from human... The Woman was beautiful but still had an aura of danger although the eyes and the smile was friendly, almost smug... Her voiced seemed to be quite quiet, but at the same time rich and reached Julian in full clarity.
"Welcome Julian Cornelius, I am the Eternal Queen, the Lady in White, the White Dragon. I am Halomyr, and I have an offer to you. I have seen your endeavor to transform this country and found it worthy. I am willing to offer you My help. In exchange, I ask that when you change your country, you give my people - my followers - a place. Do not you stand in the way of those who wish to follow my bid. Do you accept my offer, magos? Can I expect you to stand by my side?"
Julian hesitated for a moment, the smugness, there was something to it. But still they where working for a free open Damasa, for eveyone... Julian gave it a quick thought and then spoke.
"If they give freedom and space in the same way and do not get away for us and the rest, they will have a place on our side. Our pursuit is freedom, unity and equality. Is this acceptable? Will we stand on each other's sides?"
That last bit, thought Julian, might be pushing it but the smugness from her part made Julian want to push back...
"You are negotiating with a god? I do not know if you are stupid or just brave, mortal. But it does not matter. What I ask for leaves nothing to negotiate: either you support my chosen the right to follow their faith or you do not. You are free to choose here and now, but know that the reward I offer is great. Which is also the punishment if you would later let me down."
Julian though to himself and looked around at his companions frozen in time. This was a moment he would have liked their advice, this was something they where three to decide...
The where three... They didn't decide alone, even if Julian supported the other might object, and still it was about choice, it was about freedom. Choice and freedom was what the where working towards for Damasa. For everyone... Julian nodded to himself and gathered himself.
"If all goes well, everyone is equal in our future Damasa and they have as much space as we, side by side. Those who want, of their own will, will have the right to follow their own faith."
"You try my patience, mortal. I do not ask for your opinion - I ask for your faithfulness. A cheap price for what I offer. Few mortals get this opportunity. Do you want to waste it with more talk or do you have a decision?"
Julian sighed discreetly to himself, he had to stop thinking like a politician, at least abit...
"Yes, I will let those who want to follow their faith to have a place in our new country."
She seemed satisified, for the moment...
"Then it's sealed. As a first acquisition, I say to you, in the forests of Ossina, where you sent your spies, the clan Maximora conceals a secret army - an army with firearms. With that, they intend to attack Mafar-Eldio to the east and take back these lands, thus taking Molos place as Damasa's war clan. The only thing in their way is that they need a navy to move their army. Get them one so they can leave the forest behind them. Their presence disturbs those who are close to me."
After she spoken time seemed to speed up and she was gone. Julian noticed that it seemed like Nepthys just had said something.
Julian shook himself and turned his attention towards Nepthys.
"Excuse me, I lost myself in someone else's thoughts."
Nepthys just smiled back at Julian...
The second day of traveling is always the heaviest. You have gotten away, sat and frothed around in the cab or in a saddle all day. The body has not yet got used to the everyday comforts that life in the capital provides. Although Edward does not live a life of superfluous luxury, he still enjoys many comforts. Above all, he is very happy to have a short travel time to work. It's enough to cross the threshold and he's in his study. This study is not only an office but also a scientific laboratory. An achievement to feel proud of. It has taken many years of hard work to put together the most basic things, but now it is available. Some people, colleagues and acquaintances sometimes thought that it was borrowed equipment that for some unfathomable reason was expected to be returned. Edward found this amusing and completely misunderstood such claims. In addition, they were clearly not as talented as him, thus making the equipment more useful to him. This view of the whole thing had unfortunately led to some messy arguments.
A new lab assistant would not have been completely stupid, but competent people with the same passion as himself was elusive. So far, Hertig had to fill in as an assistant and companion in the experiments, unfortunately cats have a tendency to make a mess sometimes. Go and stroke against things they should have known enough to stay away from. The lack of a capable assistant had led Edward to learn a spell in order to be able to freely dictate a quill while he worked. This turned out to be a good choice as the pen itself had a nicer handwriting than Edward's twisted letters.
The passengers were elated and in a good mood when they heard the sound of the driver's whip fluttering in the air. The draft horses snorted a little in the cold morning air and the carriage started moving. Edward had been awake for a while the night before, contemplating the nature of the mission. It was not like Inquisitor Ramiero to be so secretive. After all, it was very important that they were given information to start investigating, otherwise it was easy to look blindly for misleading clues and incorrect clues. By all accounts, the others in the party had had time to think about the assignment after they parted the night before.
Edward leaned a little closer to Miss Leclair, who was sitting opposite him in the cab. She sat in the usual order and read a book. The book was quite thick to take on the road, but it did not seem to worry the young lady. Edward broke the silence.
"So, what are the Miss' thoughts on the mission? I lay awake last night after I turned off the light and thought about it."
Adelia looked up from the book and looked at Edward before speaking. "At the moment I have no theories with any support, but I think this is mysterious and at the same time exciting."
Edward leaned back on his side, glanced in Mr Falco's direction. He seemed immersed in his own thoughts and not in the mood to discuss the mission. Once the body and mind have found peace in being on the move, everything immediately became much easier. Even the weather got a little better. In fact, it was not so, but it was happily experienced that way. Despite the pale spring sun, the road to Karalis was empty for travelers this year. The day flowed by slowly and was largely uneventful.
Three centuries. Three centuries he had battled spirits, wrestled arcana from the long dead and maintained as much connections to the mortal realm as he could manage. And now he was asked to stand aside? Once this would have angered him, but one of the advantages of an incorporeal form, the emperor had noted, was how all feelings appeared dull and dim - as through being memories rather than actual experiences. It was probably an observation very close to the truth. No, he wasn't angry. Thinking further the feeling that actually came to his mind was relief. He had never questioned what he would do once he returned, but here was an opportunity; someone asked him to stand aside, to not take interest - to not be held responsible... Yes, there were other things to life, he knew. Perhaps it was time... But first he must settle with his past - and what remained of it in the world of the living...
Morion placed the Soul Key in the heavy lock. As he let go the mechanism started to turn on its own - and at the same time his protective spells suffered an assault that would definitely have slayed a less-prepared character, but his time in Damasa had helped him think like a wizard. The seal was broken. Now to head for the actual resting place...
The emperor blinked, but it mattered little in the darkness. Feelings came rushing to his head and his first breath in 300 years felt like sharp needles throughout his body. He tried to summon light, but his powers felt drained, distant... it felt like forever before one of the crystals sparked to life and illuminated the old chamber. He was naked and rather cold, so hurriedly he donned the amulets and other artifacts layed out around the casket. Then, using one of the wands he reached into a pocket dimension and produced a set of clothes. Nothing to fancy; simple yet elegant. His head spun slightly - the thought of food came to his mind like a long forgotten, not entirely welcomed, old friend. The next few hours were going to be unpleasant.
The voice came from the other side of the locked iron gate. As the emperor turned around he saw the same young man he had once seen back in his palace - so many years ago.
"You haven't aged a day. I'm impressed."
"Yes, it has its advantages."
"So what now?"
"You have a promise to fulfil. And a country to save, I believe."
The emperor stared hard at the man in the doorway. Oh, the feelings, now that he had them back again. Envy. Admiration. Fear. He was surprised over them; he had not realized this was how he had been.
"You take a great risk in releasing me, you know that."
"Your enemies are not as spry as they once were. And neither are you."
"I will recover quickly."
"I know you will. But I also know what its like to return from the dead after so many years."
The emperor raised one eyebrow.
"So you succeeded at last?"
"Yes. Yes, I did."
"And you still love each other?"
There was silence for a moment.
"When we first met you were but a young man. I found your wishes foolish then and expected them to mature with age. But here we are again, and I think it is I who look the fool. I will remember this lesson well. And I will honor my promise - if I can have but one request."
"I wish to meet your friend. Just see her; to speak to her. It would seem we both owe her a great deal."
"It shall be my pleasure - tough expect no kind words for a start."
"I will not - though I will strive to deserve them. What a curious turn of events..."
Dead. They were all dead and there had been nothing that she could have done. She stumbled on, trying to make headway but the vegetation from the forest made formidable resistance. Katsume and Katashi had charged forward and they had died swiftly as their bold attacks had met swift counterattacks from the raging orcs. Kuma looked around, calling out for Tsume and Kiken to join her in her escape from the slaughter. She remembered back to the fighting again. Seeing her friends being butchered like cattle by the large, unwieldy but overwhelming force of the orcs. She had to get out of there, there had been nothing she could have changed and she would not have Tsume's and Kiken's lives lost on account of some southerner’s toy sword.
The forest was thick with bushes and fallen sticks. She ran. Ran away from the echoes of the battle, away from her dead friends and away from the mission. She called for her companions and listened for their answers. They were quick, if she could make the escape, so could they. But she had to know if they were back there. She turned to look and that was all it took. One extra glance away from the ground and she tripped. The forest floor came rushing towards her. The impact pressed what little air she had left in her lungs out and she was left lying there, gasping for air.
Kuma laid there gasping for air. Feeling the aching in here tired muscles, the pulsating pain from the neck wound and the sore hip where the axe had tried to bite in. She thought of here babies, Tsume and Kiken. She hoped they had found a way out of there. She thought of Katsume and Katashi and the rest of the pack. And before she stood up she spared one thought to the fallen comrades from the asiatsu commando. She was the only one left of them and she could not die. They had taken a job and it had just gotten a whole lot messier.
"What do you mean by allowing soldier Davina to duel, Sir Richard?" said Sir Michael, with a hint of irritation in his voice.
"Even if I have the highest respect for her will to defend her honor, there’s a lot more on stake here! If that guard had been seriously injured or worse it could have had serious consequences for our quest."
"It was no longer our descision to make Sir Michael, the challenge had already been accepted. I deemed the best to be Davinas second in the duel, so to see that all went according to law, and to keep the Honor of the order and herself. You don't back down from a duel once it's been accepted." said Sir Richard, trying to keep his calm but faltered in doing so...
"But you went against my orders to Davina Sir Richard!" Sir Michael answer with a raised and irritated voice. "I ordered her not to duel!" he added, noticeably dissaproving of Sir Richards decision and behaviour.
"An order, Sir Michael, that could have been given before she accepted the challenge, which she had done before we could arrive, and therefore..."
Sir Michael was leaving the room irritated and with heavy footsteps, trying to ignore Sir Richard, in the same way as Sir Richard had ignored his orders to Davina.
"Sir Michael! SIR MICHAEL!" Sir Richard almost bellowed, in a raised and angry voice, following Sir Michael out of the room towards the common room...