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Tatsukuya

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PostedOct 31, 2011 11:45 am

Arts of Norica

Chapter One: Terren Alrose
Terren Alrose had been tracking the Frost Fang for the past two moons when he finally caught up to him. He had him in a backalley in Archill, the man's frost-covered hands breathing mist into the warm night air. Terren looked into his eyes, his cold sapphire eyes, and he hated them. He knew he had found him, the man who killed his father.

He had a stark jaw and his skin clung so tight to his skin that he almost looked a skeleton. His face was a bit wide, as well as his nose. He stood as tall as Terren, though much thinner, and his black hair hang loosely from his head to his shoulders.

"So you're the one who's been tracking me. What do you want?" His voice was deep and rugged.

He doesn't even know who I am, Terren realized. "I've come for your head," he looked down, "and those hands of yours." His voice was deep too, but smoother.

"You must be a Dragon here to avenge the one I slew. Well, I hope you like disappointment because I am no ordinary Artist. I am Master Artist Bastion Corigg, my skills are beyond the likes of you."

He still doesn't know. Terren looked into the man's eyes once more, "It is you who will be disappointed, for I am no ordinary Dragon. I am Master Terren Alrose, first son of the late Master Koen Alrose, but you will not live long enough to speak my name."

"I see, so you're his son, the great Black Dragon of House Alrose. It makes no difference, being a Master of House does not make you a Master Artist. It is said that you breathe smoke rather than flame. Smoke that devours flesh and bone alike."

"I wonder which hungers more, my smoke or your frost?" He gave a wicked smile as a few wisps of smoke escaped from his mouth.

"Let us see then, shall we!" Bastion came at him, Terren reached into the bag that hang at his right hip to grab one of the round glass flasks he had stashed in there. Five, he remembered, I only have five. The Frost Fang was upon him before he could draw the flask, he felt a chill begin to creep down his chest as frosted fingers wrapped around his throat. Terren opened his mouth and blew a cloud of smoke in the Frost Fang's face.

Bastion screamed and swore as the flesh from his face was devoured by smoke. He touched his hands to his face, covering it in a thick layer of frost and stopping the smoke from eating his flesh. "So it's true, that smoke has got some bite to it after all. ****, that stings." He flinched as he touched his frosted left cheek.

Terren had no reply for him, he drew one of the flasks and hurled it at Bastion's chest. Bastion was quick in turning and the flask flew past him and shattered on the ground, releasing the smoke it contained. He came at Terren once more, the young Dragon threw another flask at him, Bastion ducked with a sweeping kick and brought Terren to the ground. He tried to get up fast but he could not find his footing, the ground was slick with ice. Bastion grabbed his left leg but Terren brought his right to his face and he staggered back. Now, Terren threw another flask, it shattered against the Frost Fang's chest and the smoke began to eat through the leather vest he wore. His chest was bare in seconds but the smoke continued, beginning to open a hole in his chest.

Bastion's screams echoed through the alley, scaring birds that were perched on walls and rooftops. Terren heard justice in those screams. Justice for Father, he thought as he drew Frostbane from its scabbard on his left hip and walked toward Bastion. The screams stopped when the smoke reached his lungs, he fell to the ground silently writhing in agony. Terren stood over him and rested his scarlet blade on the Frost Fang's neck, "Now... I'll have what I came for." In one swift strike he removed Bastion's head from his shoulders, then he took his hands. He dropped the last flask on his body, giving it to the smoke, then he sheathed his sword and put the Frost Fang's head and hands in his bag. He was a bit of a challenge after all, he thought.

It appeared to Terren that the Frost Fangs wanted war, and he felt it past time to oblige them. Of course, he would have to call for consent from the other four Dragon Heads. House Forax had always been the more bloodthirsty of the Houses, he had no doubt that they would consent. House Shahk was the youngest of them and would love the chance to earn their honor in a war. Houses Chaqe and Rook had had their fair share of wars, but if they saw cause...

And he had his cause now, with the Frost Fang's head they would see who killed his father. Terren knew he had to return to Perosia immediately. If he remembered correctly, there was an airship port not far from him in the North District. He began to make his way there moving from backalley to backalley. He hated having to sneak around the city like some common thief, but he could not risk being seen. If he were, the entire city would be up in arms against him and it would have all been for naught.

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SirCalanon

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PostedNov 03, 2011 3:26 pm
Personally, this seems excellent as a prologue, now you just need to start another chapter backtracking to what happened in Terren's childhood and reveal among other details, the history of him, his family, and others surrounding him. Awesome story. :)

Tatsukuya

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PostedNov 21, 2011 2:37 pm

Just a small part of the next chapter I'll add the rest soon

Jarrel Harlick
The stag fled deep into the dead forest, but the scent of its blood lingered in the air. Splotches of scarlet stained the snow that blanketed the charred forest ground. Jarrel could feel the his paws start to numb from walking in the snow, but he would not quit so easily. The scent of blood was getting stronger, thickening as he closed in on the wounded stag. Then he saw it, slumped up against a charred kudro tree, he knew it was finished. It can't run anymore, he thought as he stared hungrily at the deep gashes in the stag's hind right leg.

He wounded it just as it began to flee, sinking his claws into its hide and tearing open its flesh. The stag tried to stand as it saw Jarrel padding closer, but its leg would not allow it. Jarrel lunged at the creature, sinking his teeth into its neck, he gave his head a quick jerk and its neck snapped. It fell to the ground and Jarrel began to tear the meat from its neck, then he made his way to its belly.

When he filled himself, he went to rejoin the rest of the pack waiting for him outside of the forest. The dead forest was silent and dark, save the few spears of light that pierced through the screen of tree limbs. The once violet kudro trees were now charred black along with the grass that once danced so lively with the wind on the forest ground. The kudro trees once bore the greatest fruits and herbs said to cure all ailments, but they were gone now and all that remained in the forest was death . . . and snow. Cold, Jarrel thought, why is it so cold? There should be no snow falling in the east.

Indeed, it was a troubling thought. There had not been snow in the east since the Dawn of Dragons. The Dragons had stopped the Whole Frosts from bringing the frost upon them, or what was left of them, during the slaughter on the Field of Mourning and the Frost has left the Bound in peace ever since. Could it be . . .? He emerged from the forest to find his pack waiting for him. They had all caught their prey and fed already but they could not leave without Jarrel, for the Bound were few in number and could not afford to lose even one of their kind.

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Tatsukuya

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PostedApr 16, 2012 11:53 pm

Jarrel

The stag fled deep into the dead forest, but the scent of its blood lingered in the air. Splotches of scarlet stained the snow that blanketed the charred forest ground. Jarrel could feel the his paws start to numb from walking in the snow, but he would not quit so easily. The scent of blood was getting stronger, thickening as he closed in on the wounded stag. Then he saw it, slumped up against a charred kudro tree, he knew it was finished. It can't run anymore, he thought as he stared hungrily at the deep gashes in the stag's hind right leg.
He wounded it just as it began to flee, sinking his claws into its hide and tearing open its flesh. The stag tried to stand as it saw Jarrel padding closer, but its leg would not allow it. Jarrel lunged at the creature, sinking his teeth into its neck, he gave his head a quick jerk and its neck snapped. It fell to the ground and Jarrel began to tear the meat from its neck, then he made his way to its belly.
When he filled himself, he went to rejoin the rest of the pack waiting for him outside of the forest. The dead forest was silent and dark, save the few spears of light that pierced through the screen of tree limbs. The once violet kudro trees were now charred black along with the grass that once danced so lively with the wind on the forest ground. The kudro trees once bore the greatest fruits and herbs said to cure all ailments, but they were gone now and all that remained in the forest was death . . . and snow. Cold, Jarrel thought, why is it so cold? There should be no snow falling in the east.
Indeed, it was a troubling thought. There had not been snow in the east since the Dawn of Dragons. The Dragons had stopped the Whole Frosts from bringing the frost upon them, or what was left of them, during the slaughter on the Field of Mourning and the Frost has left the Bound in peace ever since. Could it be . . .? He emerged from the forest to find his pack waiting for him. They had all caught their prey and fed already but they could not leave without Jarrel, for the Bound were few in number and could not afford to lose even one of their kind.
Zeph came padding toward him, "You didn't let that stag get away, did you, Jarrel?" She chuckled when she took notice of his blood-soaked muzzle, "I suppose not," she began to lick the blood from his fur.
"I never let one get away," he jerked his head away from her, "I was the last, right?"
"That's right."
"Then, let us return to Tavros." He unfolded his wings as he walked toward the rest of the pack; they began to do the same. They started across the Field of Mourning in great leaps and bounds, and with one last leap they took to the sky. The air was filled with the sound of their beating wings as they brought the sleeping winds astir.
The air was warm and the moon bathed the land below in its emerald glow, save where the pack of corewolves cast their shadows. Jarrel watched rivers, fields, caves, and towns pass under him, but he found nothing. Not the slightest trace of snow to be seen anywhere. Perhaps, I am concerned for nothing, he told himself as the pack landed just outside the gates of Tavros.
It was a city made entirely of stone, its walls reaching up to thirty feet tall. The only thing that stood taller than its walls was the statue of Sentinel Feroc that watched over the city from its center, eternally vigilant. The walls were art-forged and impenetrable; the gates of Tavros opened only to those who were bound. Long before the slaughter on the Field of Mourning, Tavros was home to thousands of Bound, now it was home to a few hundred that managed to escape.
As the pack approached, the gates slowly opened to welcome them home from their hunt. The two great stone slabs smoothing the ground beneath them as they swung open. Their was a burst of light from each corewolf in the pack, leaving a human where they stood when the light faded. Each of them had long, braided hair that fell past their shoulders, their skin dark as night.
Jarrel could feel the warmth of the air on his bare skin as the night breeze caressed his body in its passing, it was the feeling of life. The numbness in his toes had finally passed, and he could feel the dirt and grass beneath his feet once more as he walked.
"A beautiful night for the Sacred Union, don't you think?" Zeph asked as she approached from behind him.
"Indeed, it is. One of the best we have had in ages." Jarrel looked to the moon, now hanging low in the dimly starlit sky.
"The children should be returning soon with their corewolves, I have missed Iven terribly these two years he's been away from us. It will be comforting to have him back home."
"Comforting it may be, but you can not treat himm like a child any longer. He is a man grown, and it would do well for his mother to treat him as such."
"Oh, Jarrel, I know he is no child. You know, it's alright to miss him, he's your son too." She moved closer to him, lacing her fingers through his.
"I know, my love," he placed a gentle kiss on her forehead, "I know. I'm sure he was chosen by one of the strongest corewolves in the litter."
"He is a Harlick, and a fierce one at that. The blood of the First courses through him as it does you, but I swear, at times he seems like the First come again.
Jarrel laughed, "Yes, that's true enough. He has the strength to be the next Alpha, if that is the path he chooses." They came to the center of the city, standing before the stone likeness of Sentinel Feroc. The rest of the Bound poured in around them, all waiting for the return of the children that left to face the trials that bond.
It was the trial that all Bound had to go through upon reaching the age of thirteen. They are taken to the mountains that lie a few leagues east of Tavros to meet the new litter of corewolves. The eyes of a corewolf were said to be capable of gazing into the souls of men, and that is how they chose their companions: by strength of the soul. Two years they stayed in those mountains, battling beasts and enduring the harshest climates in hopes of surviving to return home on the night of Sacred Union. Those who lacked the strength to endure died in the mountains and never see home again.
"There," Jarrel pointed to the sky just above Feroc's head, the children were descending to the Square mounted on their corewolves. The Square was large enough to hold the Bound who had already gathered, as well as the incoming young. There were only fifteen this year. Fifteen had gone, and, if the Sentinels were merciful, fifteen had returned. The young Bound touched down at Feroc's feet.
Jarrel looked over each of their faces . . . but not one of them was Iven. Zeph saw the pain written on his face, "You forget," she lifted his head to the sky once more, "he has always been one to make an entrance."
There he was, Iven Harlick, proudly descending to the land atop his corewolf. It was the most magnificent sight that Jarrel had ever seen, not only had his son returned safely from the mountains, he sat atop the great corewolf of legend. The great beast had two heads, one with eyes of gold and the other ruby. Its fur was black as pitch, its four wings were of the purest white, and its twin tails were entwined. It was the corewolf promised to the one who would shatter the Frost.
Jarrel could hear whispers of "the Promised One" beginning to fill the Square, and he saw the awe-struck faces of all the others as they watched his son. The time of the blessing was near at hand, the stars were shining so bright that they looked as if they were soon to burst. The moment had come to recite the Prayer of Man and Beast, while the stars were at their brightest and the moon had fallen behind the wall of Tavros. As if with one voice, the Bound began their prayer:
As we have formed these bonds with beasts,
So do we wish to remain, forever bound.
Hear our prayer, Sentinel Feroc,
Grant us your power and your blessing.
As we pray, here our call.
The adults transformed and filled the night with the mournful howl of the corewolf, the young and their corewolves added their voices to the Great Dirge. Sparkling dust began to fall from the sky, answering their call. Feroc's blessing brought the entire city alight as it showered Tavros, the Great Dirge had come to an end but still the blessing fell. The young Bound and their corewolves had begun to glow as the stardust coated each of them, the adult remained unaffected.
Then, in a great burst of light, all of the stardust had vanished and all that remained in the Square was a large pack of corewolves surrounding the statue of Sentinel Feroc. They all began to press in around Iven, too shocked to speak. Jarrel made his way through the thickening crowd to see his son, the son he had not seen for two years. He could see him again as he came closer, just a few more steps and they would be face-to-face. . . then he heard it. The deep howl of the two men that stood guard at the gates filled the silent night, and dread filled Jarrel's heart.
The guards only howl if someone is approaching the gates. He turned away from Iven and bound off for the gates wondering if he would ever get to welcome his son back home.

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Tatsukuya

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PostedApr 29, 2012 10:24 pm

Hyu

"Have Torr bring them in." He bid Vanrey after the page informed him that the traitors had been found. They were caught attempting to escape with the airship they used for their original treachery. The two traitors were Captain Rahz Carbell and Lieutenant Jura Traevin, found guilty of aiding in the release of five Dragon slaves and transporting them to Perosia. Torr brought them in to the Grand Chamber, their heads bowed in shame. Hyu rose from his throne of ice and descended the three steps that led to the floor; honor, pride, and strength. They are all that keep an emperor above his people. Torr forced the traitors to their knees.
"You have turned your hearts from the glory of Frost and betrayed not only the Empire, but the Leviathan as well." Hyu's voice was cold as frost itself. A voice for ruling. "Have you any last words?" He asked them.
Captain Rahz rose from his knees to look the emperor in his eyes, "You're going to bring death to us all with that tree of yours," he pointed a finger at Hyu. "Or do you think the Dragons are blind? They will see it long before it is finished and burn it, aye, and you with it." The Captain spat at Hyu's feet. Hyu stood like ice, never flinching from his words or his actions.
The emperor looked to Jura, "And you?"
"I have no words," he answered, remaining on his knees. Less pride than the other, Hyu thought, it's pathetic.
"Rise, Lieutenant," he waited. "You are weak of heart and allowed yourself to take part in this treason, but fear not, for your heart shall be made strong once more." Hyu placed his right hand over Jura's heart, "Your heart will be strengthened by frost and last eternal. Sadly, you will not live long enough to take pride in it. This will be quite painful, and slow."
The Lieutenant's legs twitched in a spasm of pain and he fell to the floor, his screams echoed throughout the Grand Chamber. The screams soon faded as the strength went from him, Captain Rahz stared at his Lieutenant, his eyes full of fear. "You need not worry, Captain, that is not your fate. You shall serve the Leviathan in the Eternal Guard, perhaps then you will see the glory of Frost. Torr, take him to join the ranks."
"Yes, Your Majesty." Torr pulled the Captain's arm to lead him from the room but he went willingly enough, What pride he had died with his Lieutenant.
"The Tempest Knights have arrived, Your Majesty," Vanrey announced as he came through the Grand Chamber's doors and went to his knees. "They wait without."
"Show them in." The Tempest Knights were the Hyu's elite guard as well as his council on matters of the Empire. Surely there will have been word from Bastion by now, Hyu had been awaiting news of the Artist's successful assassination. It had been a week since he sent Master Artist Bastion Corigg to kill the Dragon, Koen Alrose, but the last report to come in was of his arrival in Perosia.
"What news do you bring?" Hyu asked the Knights as he took his seat on the icy throne. They stood there, the five of them, stiff and silent save the Knight who began updating him on the progress of his tree of frost.
". . . and should be finished within the year," Janko Vollox was saying, "then we can make our ascension, Your Majesty."
"Very well. What of Bastion Corigg, has he returned to Gabrynth?"
"No, Your Majesty, there has been no word from, though rumors of Koen Alrose's demise have begun to sprout throughout the Empire." Ethryl Merish answered, commander of the Tempest Knights.
"Rumors are not facts, Ser, do not bore me with senseless babble from the streets. Find Bastion and confirm the Dragon's death." It was sharply said but in truth, even rumors brought hope. "Have the Bishops arrived yet?"
"Save Bishop Wylar from Fort Tartus. He should arrive on the morrow with his guard and half of his air fleet." Commander Merish seemed to realize the problem without being asked.
Emperor Hyu asked him anyway, "And where might the other half be?"
"Still grounded at Fort Tartus, Your Majesty, on orders from the Bishop."
Let's hope that there is some sense in this. "If that is all, then you are dismissed."
"Yes, Your Majesty," the Knights said in unison as they bowed and took their leave.
"Vanrey, inform the Bishops that I will meet with them at dawn, I grow tired." Hyu said to his page as he retired to his bedchamber. He went to bed alone, as he always did, and closed his eyes to dream the same dream that had haunted him for the past year.
He stood at the base of his tree of frost, snow-white feathers fell from the sky in a flurry as crimson rivers flowed down the trunk of the tree. The tree was complete, reaching so high that it pierced the heavens. He stood alone on the frozen plains of Salis, the blood from the tree began to puddle around his feet. Blood of time, a voice whispered to him.
"A fool's words," Hyu replied, "time has no blood."
But it does . . . Lost . . . it is lost. The voice explained, a woman's voice.
"What nonsense is this? Who dares to bother me with such foolishness? Show yourself now and be spared the wrath of Hyu Frost, the twenty-fifth emperor of the Frost Empire."
Nonsense? The voice scoffed, Sweet fool, you are blinded by ignorance. A white-haired woman appeared before him. Her eyes burned bright like tiny sapphire stars, frost covered her pale ivory skin all over.
"A Whole Frost?" Hyu reached out to touch her, but she vanished.
Blood of time . . . the voice whispered once more before Hyu woke up, sunlight pouring into the room from the window.
Vanrey came knocking at the door, informing him that the Bishops had convened in the Dining Chamber. Hyu dressed in plain black breeches and a turquoise doublet, he draped his wolf-hair cloak over his shoulders, it was navy blue with a cotton trim and a cerulean tree stitched on to the back.
He entered the Dining Chamber, his Bishops stood from their chair while Hyu took his seat at the head of the table. There were nine of them with Bishop Wylar still absent, one to govern each major fortress in the Empire and its surrounding lands. Once every month, the Bishops were called to Frost's Hold to report the conditions of their territory and offer the name of any Artists worthy of the title of Grand Master. Each fortress was garrisoned with over eight thousand Artists and a fleet of thirty airships.
"I'm pleased to be able to meet with all of you once again." Hyu said as he sat down.
"Well, not all of us," Fayn Corigg of Fort Virtue jested.
Hyu ignored it, "Bishop Wylar should be arriving any moment, so we will begin without him. Have you captured Rondera from the Sereps, Fayn?"
"Yes, Your Majesty, and the Artists have begun to give to the frost as you commanded." It was one of the many cities he had ordered captured and completely frozen over, all to forward his plan to restore the Frost to its original glory. He had not yet told anyone of his plan save his Tempest Knights, but today he would reveal his plan to his Bishops.
"We have broken the siege on Fort Bracer and forced the Sereps to fall back to Dalturos. Our forces are in pursuit, freezing the land as they go," Bishop Beriq Torvail announced, "It won't be long before we crush the remainder of their forces and give Dalturos to the frost, Your Majesty."
"You have my praise, Bishop, and my gratitude. I look forward to news of your success upon your next visit." Hyu was quite impressed, the young Bishop broke siege after only four weeks. The enemy host was led by Harael Drollor, recognized as a Grand Master throughout Norica for his victory against Emperor Tryden Frost in single combat. How did he do it? Hyu wondered.
"That may be sooner than you expect, Your Majesty." There almost seemed to be a smile behind the smile the Bishop gave Emperor Hyu.
Vanrey entered the Dining Chamber, "Bishop Wylar Frost," he called out as the Bishop came in. He wore a grey-and-cerulean cumbra with white silk pants, each adorned with black shards of ice. It was that garb that earned him the title of the Night Storm in the last battle of Syree.
"How kind of you to grace us with your presence, Wylar." Sharla Ilvorne of Fort Hollow Mercy said with her usual distaste for him.
"Would that I could have graced you sooner, but those Sereps did not seem to be too keen on dying quickly." Wylar took his seat at the table, the chair to Hyu's right, "We forced them against the High Wall of Fort Tartus but, with those **** archers of theirs, it took some time to finish them off. I saw to it personally that this Cortan Valion, the enemy commander, had his feet frozen to the ground and a tiger ripped his still-beating heart from his chest and devoured it." Bishop Wylar was quite fond of tigers, making use of them in any way possible.
"I'm pleased to hear that, however, I am not pleased to hear that you have left half of yor fleet grounded at the fort."
"All with good reason, Your Majesty, I've ordered the pilots to take flight in a days hence."
"For what purpose?"
"Each airship has three hundred Artists on board, they will fly south and east and west raining frost down on the land." Bishop Wylar smiled at Hyu, "Is that not what you wanted, Brother?"
"As perceptive as ever,I see," Hyu said, a bit irritated, "Though, I wish you would have at least waited until I had announced my plan."
"Your Majesty?" Morlyl Bordridge of Fort Brassingard inquired.
"Now that Wylar is here, I suppose the time has come. As you know, I have ordered several cities captured and given to the frost. I have also ordered the construction of a tree of frost that reaches its branches into the heavens. Upon its completion, forces from Fort Riverrush, Fort Frost Hail, and Fort Flamerot will ascend the tree to assault the Verillian cities in the clouds.
"Frost will rain down from the skies of Norica and the Great Purge that our forefathers sought will be brought to fruition." His Bishops sat in silence, too stunned for words, even Wylar could not have known that he meant to crush the Verillian as well. "Also," the most significant piece of his plan that he had revealed to no one, including his Tempest Knights, "Sharla Ilvorne of Fort Hollow Mercy, I hereby charge you with the task of finding the Sentinel Hyuregahn's resting place."
Emperor Hyu stood from his seat, "So it has been commanded by word of Emperor Hyurego Frost, twenty-fifth emperor of the Frost Empire. Pure-born child of frost, and the first Whole Frost to walk Norica since the Dawn of Dragons." A tree of frost sprouted behind Hyu's chair, growing so tall that it touched the ceiling.
"All hail Emperor Hyurego Frost!" The Bishops all shouted as they stood from their seats, saluting Hyu with their right fist over their hearts.

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Tatsukuya

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PostedApr 29, 2012 10:44 pm

Lutan

Notch. Draw. Charge. Loose. His arrow fell short of its mark and pierced only the ground, he retreated a few more yards with the rest of his unit. How could it have come to this? Lutan thought, Was there naught that could have been done?
The siege on Fort Bracer lasted all of four weeks before the Frost Fangs assembled their special unit equipped with wooden armor and when the armor proved effective, Bishop Beriq Torvail ordered every Artist under his command be equipped. It was not long after that the Frost Fangs pushed through their front lines and forced them to retreat. Lutan Farcruy was assigned to the rear guard of his unit, loosing arrows at the pursuing Frost Fangs as they continued their retreat.
Curse that Bishop and his twice **** armor. He should have suspected something when the Blood Oak forest began to thin as they approached Fort Bracer. Notch. Draw. Charge. Loose. The arrow took a Frost Fang in the shoulder, Lutan retreated further. They would soon reach Olen's Burrow where his unit would have to charge the Pillar. If all of the units were successful in charging the Pillars, then they would crush the better half of the Frost Fangs' forces at the fort with one swift strike. Swift as justice.
They came to the iron gate at the entrance of the Burrow, Clerk Trayk Swyft opened it and led the unit into the tunnel lighting the way by creating an orb of lightning in his hand. The Frost Fangs had fallen behind in the last league and were likely headed to Dalturos to deal the crushing blow to the Serep forces. Judge Harael had seen through them, though, forming five units of forty-five Artists, twenty of those being archers, and gave them the task of charging the Pillars of Justice in the Burrows. The Pillars of Justice were five metal pillars that were placed at the four corners of Dalturos with one in the center, the Burrows ran under the city as a secret escape route and also as a path to the base of the Pillars. If the Pillars were charged simultaneously, a lightning cage would form around Dalturos and those who were not in the light of Sentinel Axos would be brought to light.
Lutan's unit managed to reach Olen's Burrow with twenty-seven men remaining, most importantly, Clerk Trayk Swyft had survived because he would be the one to charge the Pillar assigned to their unit. When the Frost Fangs were defeated, the Judge would send a messenger by flash to confirm the strike's success. Then, they would return to Court in Dalturos to rest before, once again, laying siege to Fort Bracer. Next time it will fall. The pillar was just in front of them now, Trayk called the unit to a halt. The Clerk put his hands on the pillar, lightning beginning to whip and crack down the length of his arms causing the large iron rings around his wrists to glow. The lightning began to flow up and down the pillar, bringing it to a full charge.
It was not long that the messenger came, appearing in a flash of light next to the pillar, "The Frost Fangs were brought to justice by the light of Axos. All units are to return to Court." Lutan heard the messenger tell Clerk Trayk.
"All men, prepare for flash," Trayk ordered, and a surge of lightning began to flow over each of them. Lutan hated travelling by flash, it always took him more that one attempt to reach his destination. It was a part of his shame, to be a member of the strongest family on the islands of Craegon and be of such low skill. In a flash of light, Olen's Burrow was empty and Lutan was standing next to the first Pillar, Mercy.
"It's always Mercy first," Lutan sighed as he flashed once more, appearing at the center Pillar of Strength as the rest of his unit made their way into the Court. They would feast to commemorate their first victory using the Pillars of Justice before they took to their beds for the night, and then they would rise to see Fort Bracer fall.
"This is only the beginning," Judge Harael Drollor was saying to the survivors of the battle as they finished entering the Court. "We shall drive the Frost Fangs back north where they belong, and all of Craegon will be reclaimed in the name of Sentinel Axos!"
The soldiers all cheered, "His light will guide the world to justice!"
"Come, brothers and sisters, let us feast and give thanks to Axos for granting us the strength to bring our foes to light." The Scribes began arranging the tables as the Judge finished speaking.
Lutan found a seat between Valtane Horris and Devron Eagress, two archers from his unit. Soon after the first course the two archers were discussing the past battle, comparing numbers and debating whose held more value, Lutan quietly ate his food as he listened to their conversation.
"Twenty-five?" Devron mocked, "I have a suckling babe back home who could shoot better numbers than you."
"I was in the front guard, all of my marks were only there because your line let them through. My numbers fit my position, would that the same could be said of yours." Valtane shot back."
"I'm proud to say that I took down seventy-two Frost Fangs, in the last battle alone."
Valtane chuckled, "You shouldn't be."
"Be what?"
"Proud to boast of such numbers, as a member of the rear guard in our unit you should have shot over a hundred."
"Easier said than done now that they have that wooden armor." That was true enough, the armor protected the Frost Fangs's torso and thighs which were the key target points for Serep archers. After they charged their arrows a shot to the chest stopped an enemy's heart, a shot to the thigh brought them down for another. "What about you," Devron gave Lutan a slap on the back. "What were your numbers?"
He knew that Devron was mocking him. Every soldier knew of Lutan Farcruy the shame of Seat Farcruy, but he had accepted his shame long ago. "I shot forty-six marks."
"A Farcruy who's a bad shot. I think we may have found the first one meant to be a brawler, Valtane." Roars of laughter rose on either side of Lutan, though he did not find the aspect of being a brawler to so terrible. The brawlers had much more freedom in battle since they were not restricted to a bow, and it was only due to his bloodline that he happened to be placed as an archer.
"Perhaps your right," Lutan said as the laughter died down.
Devron eyed him suspiciously, "Yes, well, that's. . ." The rest of his words did not reach Lutan, for his attention had been drawn elsewhere. He noticed something in the corner of the room, the shadows seemed to shift and turn in some dark dance, and no one other than Lutan saw it. Something's wrong, he grabbed his bow and an arrow. Notch. Draw. Charge. . . He held the arrow there, still as stone, waiting for whatever may come.
"What are you doing?" Valtane was shouting in his ear, "Have you taken leave of your senses!?" he heard Devron yelling in the other. He realized the reason for their outrage, Judge Harael was sitting just a sword's breadth from the intended path of Lutan's arrow. A small slip of the hand, and the arrow would make the Judge its mark. Lutan did not falter, he kept his bow steady as he watched the shadows continue their dark dance. The shadows halted, and a man appeared in the corner wearing a robe as dark as the shadows that surrounded him.
Loose. The arrow soared through the feasting hall, every voice in the room fell silent as all eyes watched the arrow choose its mark. The man in the corner raised a single finger to meet Lutan's arrow, the lightning vanished and the arrow turned to dust in an instant. Every archer took up their bow, charged their arrows, and prepared to fire; the mysterious man threw up his hands, "I- I surrender."

Tatsukuya: Aura Kingdom, Eden Eternal
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