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7/5 Blood Boiling like Magma

JWaldman Jul 7th, 2019 (edited) 130 Never
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  1. Ser Artaghh would proceed to approach Ardith with unbelievable ghost force and speed, whirring through the air before with a swift rumbling gesture within his cloak, a WHOLE PLATE OF SOMEHOW FRESHLY WARM, BUTTERED, AND SYRUPY PANCAKES WOULD DESCEND WITH IMMENSE KINETIC FORCE UPON THE YOUNG ACCURSED'S PERSON.
  2.  
  3. PREPARE.
  4. (Artaghh)
  5. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  6.  
  7.  {Item} You drop Pancakes.
  8.  The still-budding occultist is caught off guard by the bald knights charge and the plate of hot, buttered flapjacks. She inhales the wafts of steam coming off of them and her stomach growls like a beast of Helheim.
  9.  
  10. Ardith squints at him, for good reason, then toddles over and sits down at the table with the pancakes.
  11.  
  12. Before shoveling them into her mouth like she's absolutely starving. The gawky magi has to get the energy to grow from somewhere.
  13. (Ardith)
  14. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  15.  
  16.  Artaghh says, "See, now ye' can forgive me for kickin' ye out."
  17.  Artaghh says, "Well, probably."
  18.  Artaghh says, "Mostly."
  19.  Ardith says, "...Mostly."
  20.  Ardith says, "Feth's still an asshole. And I had to sleep at Tiny Tim's. It smells funny there."
  21.  Artaghh says, "Listen."
  22.  Artaghh says, "Tim Cobblestone is one'a the oldest knights tha' has e'er lived."
  23.  Artaghh says, "An' though I haven' seen him in decades, his tavern is a wholesome place o' merriment."
  24.  Artaghh says, "A shame Dawn's fallen on such.....hard times."
  25.  Ardith says, "Mhm..."
  26.  Ardith asks, "...What happens to Dawn now? We just...wait to see what happens?"
  27.  Ardith asks, "Act like Sors' good little puppets and dance when he tells us to?"
  28.  Artaghh says, "I..."
  29.  Ardith doesn't hide her bitter feelings about the matter. Her tone, and aura, are a dead giveaway. She also forgoes manners as she jaws with a bunch of pancake in her mouth.
  30. (Ardith)
  31. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  32.  
  33.  Artaghh says, "Mmm.....fuck."
  34.  Ser Artaghh would lower his bald head into his hands as he exhaled a deep sigh of exhaustion. It was almost as if whenever the knight thought that his life couldn't get worse, his problems couldn't manage to somehow grow more troublesome than they already were, the cosmos find a determinate manner in which to fuck all of his shit up. The weight upon his shoulders he'd briefly thought to have passed had now only redoubled, Dawn's skeleton crew halved even then by this...."civil conflict".
  35.  
  36. "I...don't know Ardith. I don' know an' it frightens me. All ma life I've battled ma uncertainties an' demons within this city. I've stood for wha' I believed was right to protect the people I was sworn'ta defend. An' yet all those people are dead or gone, an' those tha' remain are monsters or strangers. Every student of mine I've e'er taught perished before me, an' yet I stand here old and crippled in a ruined city half living in their place."
  37.  
  38. The mystic's face would drop then, any facsimile of false happiness and energy banished from his expression as he spoke frankly to his squire, a woman grown now after all these years.
  39.  
  40. "An' now Sors speaks of the fallen angel, o' cease fire wit' the Thorns, an' all I spoke o' wit' the council was made...moot. Every bone in ma body tells me I should leave an' ne'er come back, get outta Dodge before it's too late. Bu'...I can'....jus'....walk away. The shackles o' ma oath strangle me, an' soon I fear they'll kill me, though perhaps tha'd be a mercy."
  41.  
  42. The knight would slam his fist with anger into the wooden table, rumbling it with a creaking, splintering sound as he stared down upon the wooden frame for a time, his gaze hanging upon nothing at all.
  43.  
  44.  
  45. (Artaghh)
  46. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  47. Certainly she was cross for being ousted from the house, but it's hard to hold on to that anger when she sees the bald, stout knight begin to strain under the weight of his burden.
  48.  
  49. Her aura dies down to a melancholy swirl, but it's no less potent.
  50.  
  51. She'd held out some kind of hope that he might've had an answer. A joke, a smile, a thumbsup and a solution to all this madness.
  52.  
  53. He doesn't. This is different. This is real, just as he'd warned her when the fighting broke out.
  54.  
  55. "He doesn't pay you. He wants to make you a puppet. A whole slew of the city is just...it's gone. And you want to stay?" she asks weakly.
  56.  
  57. "Levengard wants to kill us. And so do the Thorns. But we're going to ignore that too? The people who mutilated us and attacked us in our own home?"
  58.  
  59. Home feels less and less like the right word as time goes on, and it hurts.
  60. (Ardith)
  61. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  62.  Ser Artaghh raise his head from the table for a time to glance into the young woman's eyes with his own remaining one, the sleeplessness of the old knight's person clear from the heavy bags that hung under both his missing and remaining ocular node. He was so....damn...tired. He'd given this city everything he'd had, and it had taken it all with interest. His body failed him more day by day, and the knight knew it. Each morning he hacked occultic bile from his rot scarred lungs, remnants of the cruel....surgery he'd endured from his burns as much as the poisons that remained within him decades later.
  63.  
  64. There was no rest for the wicked.
  65.  
  66. "...Everythin' used'ta make so much sense Ardith. Years ago....when all my friends stood behind me. When I was young and strong an' dreadfully foolish. Mmm...."Valmasian pride"...nationalistic tripe an' I ate up like sugared oats. I stood'ta defend the undead from the cruelty an' racism the world bore agains' them fer the crime'a existin', an' my brothers made this place a home. Somewhere'ta plant ma roots an' perhaps one day have a family to gather aroun' the fire an' spoil wit' presents."
  67.  
  68. The knight would grimace, his one eyed gazed glancing off towards the cooking pot and its fading embers, perhaps seeing in its slow degeneration the city he had once loved so dearly, had been willing to give it all to protect.
  69.  
  70. "An' ye' the love of ma life is decades gone, my son is a man grown, my brothers an' companions have passed on, an' the world wants us dead more than e'er. Every time I try'ta save this city, it finds ano'er way'ta drown itself an' me wit 'it. An'....I don' know what'a do."
  71.  
  72.  
  73. (Artaghh)
  74. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  75.  It's no wonder the Archon had warned her against this. He'd sown the seeds of dissent and doubt and now, in view of the dear bald knight at his lowest, they flourish rapidly.
  76.  
  77. True loyalty to this city is death. Death and poison to the fools, even Artaghh, who uphold their oaths. Used like pawns in an Adjucator's sick little game.
  78.  
  79. And when he died? Possibly brought back as a slave, under full control like she's seen with Freya. Who would want such a fate? Not Ardith.
  80.  
  81. But where else to go? He's right in that there are so many out there that will kill her, and others, just for existing. Nowhere is safe, nowhere is kind, and now with this coup there's the ever-present worry of even those close becoming traitors.
  82.  
  83. "Go somewhere better. Somewhere that's not going to make you a slave. That's what!"
  84.  
  85. The notion already has her riled and impassioned.
  86. (Ardith)
  87. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  88. Ser Artaghh felt sick to his stomach, the pale, sickly pallour of his skin whitening even further as he gritted his teeth and clenched his fists so tight his palms even began to bleed. He had been in a lot of sticky situations over the year, been dealt an endless plethora of bad hands, but never in all his years had he struggled so hard to commit himself to his duty. The man had once been an honor bound, two eyed knight with endless smiles and ceaseless cheer.
  89.  
  90. And Dawn had taken it all from him, year by year.
  91.  
  92. Grimacing as he nodded lightly to Ardith's words, he would hum a sad tune, glancing around the house that had once been bustling with Alastor's servants and Amelie's antics, now so, so quiet with only himself, his son, and the half handful of retainers that remained to him. Ser Artaghh had never felt quite so alone in his own home. Never quite so....unaccomplished in the service he'd committed to receive it.
  93.  
  94. "I...dunnae if I deserve tha' option Ardith. Perhaps Dawn's decay is a sign tha' it's my time too. Dying wit' my city an' joinin' my friends at last....it tempts me more every day. Do ye' really think I deserve'ta jus' walk away?"
  95.  
  96. (Artaghh)
  97. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  98. Ardith looks all around. The mansion is indeed quiet, solemn. Apart from the servants she's come to see. Somehow it feels even emptier without the knight's mirth to fill it as she's so accustomed to seeing.
  99.  
  100. She's sick, but in an angry way. This man, still stout and strong, accepting the yoke that's been placed on his shoulders.
  101.  
  102. There's a chill smolder to her occult as she says what's on her mind immediately, impulsive and unheeding of what ears might hear. Dark magic often makes those that afflict it do foolish things.
  103.  
  104. "You deserve what you're willing to take," she claims, a gleam in the red eyes under her hood.
  105. (Ardith)
  106. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  107.  Ser Artaghh would blink idly as he heard Ardith speak, a far step away from the lack of confidence and sickly tone that once possessed the young girl. No, the scathing response of a woman is what he received, and one that bit the virtuous, foolhardy knight right to his core. She'd asked exactly the question that had possessed him for decades, and yet in some strange, fantastical land within his head he'd been willing to ignore.
  108.  
  109. He had tried so hard not to be selfish, and yet had nothing he wanted.
  110.  
  111. Could he fall any further as a knight?
  112.  
  113. "Mmm....yer right. I've made so many....excuses all these years, tried to hide the truth from ma'self willfully. With Alastor, wit' Arthur, wit' Sors. I was wha'ever was mos' convenient to those I served, and its left me a house in ruin an' ash in ma mouth."
  114.  
  115. The malaise that surrounded the knight appeared to be banished by something far more foul. Veins bulged upon the swordsman's forehead and arms as he began to grit his teeth with condensed, aggregate FURY. He was the knight of the Green Hill, not the slave of the fallen angels. Not the bedbrother of the Briars that had stolen his beloved squire from him.
  116.  
  117. With a sudden, violent motion, Artaghh would smash his fist down against the dining room table with immense, unrestrained force, fragmented splinters exploding forth in every direction from the immense kinetic shockwave of the knight's cathartic release. Turning the dining surface into a pile of spiteful wood chips as he glowered with menace.
  118.  
  119. "I will do wha' needs'ta be done. See some things through, send some letters, ensure my family is safe. But ma loyalty this day is to ma'self, the Dawn I swore my life to died years ago."
  120. (Artaghh)
  121. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  122.  In her mind it all makes sense. The whispers speak to her and make her just that much more sure. It's a cycle repeating. To uphold that oath in full, under this leadership in this place, would be the same as if she'd stayed home and toiled in the fields. It's just trading out masters and cages.
  123.  
  124. Artaghh comes to his senses, that she's sure of too. He sees the collar, the leash, and the hand holding it ready to choke him as soon as he misbehaves. Maybe it's a gift to him in return for the kindness he's given her, the roof over her head.
  125.  
  126. The table between them is dashed to splinters. Thank the Gods she'd finished her flapjacks as she steps back and out of harms way of the wooden shrapnel. His anger, his rage, is somehow satisfying to her, to know that someone else is outraged and malcontent.
  127.  
  128. She's somehow excited and furious at the same time, her adrenaline rising after the display of fury. Her lips curl into a smile.
  129. (Ardith)
  130. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  131.  Ser Artaghh stares for a time at the jagged splinters that had lodged within his right hand, sharp wooden slivers sticking out idly from the leathery, burn scarred skin of his palm as if it was the first sensation he'd felt in years. As if for once he didn't ignore the pain he bore for the sake of his duty, and could finally feel a sense of outrage over it.
  132.  
  133. He'd been wronged. He'd put his faith in the chain of command and been strangled by it. Believed Sors shared in his twisted black heart some semblance of remaining affection for Chaaca, and been proven wrong by this....alliance with black wings and poisonous thorns.
  134.  
  135. It made him sick with anger.
  136.  
  137. Fuming, the knight would shake with furious energy as he slow ripped each splinter from his palm, spurts of blood trailing upon the floor carelessly as he stared out towards the front door of his manor, the outside world he'd been kept from in his blind malaise.
  138.  
  139. No more, he had work to do.
  140.  
  141. "I thank ye' for openin' my eye Ardith. Bot' the one I lost an' the one tha' remains have been shut for....too long. I have work to do, we'll talk later."
  142. (Artaghh)
  143. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  144.  
  145. It's a strange conflict that squirms in Ardith's still aching head. On the one hand it pains her to see the knight hurt, she takes no pleasure in it, but the anger? It's still near to divine.
  146.  
  147. She gives him a salute, crisp and more certain. The young magi certainly has changed over the years. There's a few factors she has to thank for that, one of them being Dawn's particularly harsh environment.
  148.  
  149. "Mhm. Had...something I wanted to mention. Was going to keep going back and forth to Gehenna. Think Sors'll buy it if I say I'm there to spy?"
  150.  
  151. Technically that's part of what she'll be there for. Gleaning information, doing her up and coming research. It won't entirely be a lie.
  152. (Ardith)
  153. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  154.  Ardith asks, "He'd said something about wanting talks with them anyway...right?"
  155.  Artaghh says, "Mmm."
  156.  Artaghh says, "Tha' works. "
  157.  Ardith says, "Good. I don't like being cooped up here."
  158.  Artaghh says, "Keep yer head down, yer ears open, an' yer legs always ready'ta run. Tha's the way'a survivors."
  159.  Ardith says, "You've got it. Gonna' show him I'm worth more than just...something to shove off onto his son."
  160.  Artaghh says, "Only heroes ge' the mercy'a dyin' foolishly."
  161.  Artaghh says, "An' Ardith...ye' were always worth more than tha'."
  162.  Ardith says, "Yeah, well the heroes are Hel-bent on killing us for no good reason."
  163.  Artaghh says, "Ye' are the catch in tha' situation, nae Jun."
  164.  Artaghh exclaims, "Bahahahahahah!"
  165.  Artaghh says, "Okay, still angry. "
  166.  Ardith says, "They deserve what they get. Hope they all get torn apart..."
  167.  
  168. Ser Artaghh would pace out of the quiet plaza of Dawn in a haze of blinding fury, aimlessly pacing forth without through the streets of his home for the slow hike up the distant mountain, gritting his remaining teeth with seething anger as he rose up the mountain's height steadily with the use of the ramp that had been carved for the Daylight Hall, his home in simpler times years and years ago. When he had been young, foolish, and indestructible. Heaving steadily from his rot scarred lungs, each aggravated pace upwards was a straining reminder that age and wounds had taken their toll on the commander. The boiling rage that churned within his mithril plated innards an unfamiliar heat. His training as a mystic had required taking upon himself the aspect of the ethereal, and he'd grown detached in a sense as he watched the corruption rot his city.
  169.  
  170. Stepping over the edge of the mountainous ramp, the old knight would take a brief glance of the dusty, half abandoned Daylight Hall, long abandoned by the jolly souls that had once filled it with raucous and lively chatter in the joyous days of Artaghh's youth. It had been here the concerned citizens of Dawn that brewed into Dogslayer's rebellion had met that fateful night on the year of 1550, the 4th of July. Each crunch of his black sabatons against the mountainous plateau's stone took him further and further from the sight of that hallowed hall. The mountaintop spread endlessly out west in the commander's present state of mind, seeing nothing but the flames of wrath from his remaining eye. There would no meditation or peace this evening.
  171.  
  172. Trudging forth with a feverish pace, the mountains of Dawn soon became the black stone of old Obsidia, left to decay after the death of Neo and the his family's fall from grace. The gaseous scent of brimstone and fire burned headily in the air as Artaghh wheezed from his crippled lungs, coughing furiously as clouds of smoke hung in the air above the igneous stone. Jagged stone outcroppings dotted the sides of the volcano as the molten lava bubbled and flowed deep within the black stone hollow where the old archon of glory Ipos had made his claim on the world. Without thought, Artaghh would curl his knuckles as he lunged forth at a near pillar of stone, slamming his fist into the stone with silent fury as a spiderweb of cracks spread about the surface of the fresh stone with a shockwave of kinetic force before it shattered into a pile of jagged rock and sediment.
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