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6/21 The Burdens of Fatherhood

JWaldman Jun 22nd, 2019 71 Never
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  1.  "Ah... Sounds like Feth is captured. Doubt he would want to fight you right now…"
  2.  
  3. Even if Nyphadora had some sway over Artaghh, one had to respect when disasters happened. She had only just met the lad, but now he was captured by Gehenna? Certainly not a good thing!
  4.  
  5. "Kerafym's eye? Can't imagine that being tough for someone like you."
  6.  
  7. (Nyphadora)
  8. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  9.  
  10.  Ser Artaghh would blink, his skin blanching as he received the news of his son's capture. His pipe stumbled to the ground as his jaw hung upon lightly. In that moment, the knight commander seemed to age ten years in the blink of an eye, his face sagging of energy and life. He'd lean against the lamp with a solemn nod, drawing a piece of parchment and a vial of ink from his cloak before beginning to pen a letter.
  11.  
  12. "I....see. I'll send out some letters then.....see wha' I can do."
  13. (Artaghh)
  14.  
  15. Ser Artaghh would pace aimlessly forth across the stony steps of Dawn's cityscape in a blur of malaise, stumbling idly without much seeing his surroundings. His pace was lifeless, haggard, near autonomously driven almost by muscle memory towards the only place he could think clearly. Pacing forth to the northern outskirts of Dawn without heart, jerky clank by clank of his black sabatons up the craggy rock into the snowy peaks.
  16.  
  17. Steadily, the knight commander would find himself at his familiar cliffside plateau, the place where he'd spent many hours with his companions mastering the mystic arts, teaching the youths of Dawn the inner workings of energy magic as he continued to explore its depths for himself. It had been a place he'd once brought Feth with hope that his son could surpass him one day. That he'd be the knight in shining armor his beloved home and city would require to defend it from ruin.
  18.  
  19. But he was captured. As a father, Artaghh had failed.
  20.  
  21. Gazing off into the distant horizon as the mithril paladin slowy paced to the edge, Artaghh's face would sag entirely as for once, he allowed himself to entirely give into despair. Dawn sat distant below, cold walls of brick and lifeless stone, the warmth of the embers that had once kept them sun baked and inviting suffocated tragedy by tragedy that had beset the commander of the legion. Yet never had his city looked less inviting than now, with no son there to ruffle their hair and show him the ways of the world.
  22.  
  23. (Artaghh)
  24. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  25.  
  26. [19:24] Artaghh would stare off for quite some time, his remaining eye half lidded and glazed as the knight gave into despair, his greatest fear realized as his body slowly failed him. Minutes, then perhaps hours passed before the fog finally began to lift, as if the commander's mind had begun to acclimate to yet another instance of horrible trauma. Slowly, he would flick the straps and bindings of his heavy nyeshk plate, his cuirass clanking with a loud crunch into the snowy rock of the plateau as the brisk air finally blew in fool across the knight's burn scarred, maimed flesh of his torso.
  27.  
  28. The biting chill centered the commander for a moment, bidding him to pace forth towards a puddle of glittering melted runoff from coagulated slush, perhaps a natural volcanic vent of heat amongst all the unyielding cold. Staring down into the reflective icy sheen of the mountain run off, Artaghh could look with clarity for the first time in far too long what he'd become. The frosty puddle served almost as a vanity for the mystic, a way to look both at himself and introspect into his very soul.
  29.  
  30. The jagged mithril stitching that bound his marred skin to mithril, holding what remained of his muscle together from that damned day in Crafthold. And beneath the plate still, his stitched, rot scarred lungs that failed more each year the knight spent as a mortal. His rigid frame was heavy with muscle as ever, but the skin had begun to wrinkle all the same, advanced aging by the stress of command doing no favors for Ser Artaghh. No matter how hard he pushed his body in training and adventure, the commander could not defeat entropy. He was not that strong.
  31.  
  32.  
  33. (Artaghh)
  34. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  35.  
  36.  Ser Artaghh stared with self loathing at his reflection, resenting the pitiful old cripple he'd become. He'd lost his friends, his body, his youth, his son, and no doubt soon his life for an oath he was honorbound to keep. His faith in Azrael came once from his honest love for an Oscuri woman, from the son she'd given him and the dream of a family they shared. Yet his beloved Amelie had disappeared over a decade ago, her brother's death too much to bare. And it seemed soon his own son would join Alastor on some Gehennan's sacrificial dinner plate.
  37.  
  38. Ser Artaghh had borne many burdens, but if Feth died, it would kill him.
  39.  
  40. The foul hatred boiled over as his energy ignited with a blue fire, Ser Artaghh's mana circuitry spiking so bright it almost mimicked reika in its brilliance as his right arm expanded forth with mass and power. The burn scarred flesh stretched over the mana infused muscle tissue blue lines shimmered a brilliant sapphire over the expanded muscle of the knight commander's arm. With a great heave and roar of fury, the dense mystic mana surrounded the mithril paladin's bulked out blunt appendage like a dense second skin, a mighty heaving smash of spirit energy slamming forth against the muddle as the rock crunmbled beneath the tremendous kinetic force.
  41.  
  42. The stone crumble, Artaghh barely backstepping before the puddle and sludge began to crack and fall hundreds of feet below to the mountain's foot, cracks spreading wide across the plateau from the sheer might of the blow. The mystic energy's density, manifested often to expand Ser Artaghh's reach, served equally as a density enhanced for brute blows it seemed. The burning lines of mana circuitry seared upon Artaghh's arm flesh, the skin flickering translucently as the sapphiric light of his pathways glimmered visibly beneath. His muscle tissue ached, but that pain at least was familiar. Simple. No emotional traumarequired.
  43.  
  44.  
  45. (Artaghh)
  46. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  47.  Turning to the mountainface that rose above with fury, Ser Artaghh would leap towards the stone without hesitation and begin to relentlessly slam into the stone with his shimmering fists. His circuitry burned with each slam, churning mystic energy out as his muscle mass increased beyond healthy limits, the ethereal glow of his mana circuitry overcharged with spirit energy a flashing display as each resounding connection of fist to stone echoed out a kinetic shockwave of force.
  48.  
  49. The granite bore each strike with spreading cracks, crumbling bit by bit as each ruthless smash shattered a bit more stone above the mountainous heights of Dawn. The density of the mystic energy served as a blunt reinforcement of each massive, augmented swing, the energies of the spirits interweaving with Artaghh's own as he gave in to loss and rage and battered mindlessly against the stone. Each concussive blow exerted a bit more of his condensed strength, pushed his aged, maimed muscle a bit farther than it could bare. Yet the sparking, furious energy of the knight of the Green Hill surged ever forth with passion, an emotional expression of brawn.
  50.  
  51. The commander continued through the knight, swinging again and again against the solid stone with balled fist and bulging muscle, before at last dawn rose with the etchings of early sunlight upon the knight's back. Heaving, cold, and covered in sweat, Artaghh felt entirely drained as the loss of his son set in fully. He'd only been captured, and no one had yet heard of his death on the field. Sorely, the knight would grip his right arm with his left as hit hung limply by his side, burns trailing in lines across his skin where he'd surged just a bit too much energy through his circuits.
  52.  
  53. He would get his son back.
  54. (Artaghh)
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