#1 Edited by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio

Hail, glorious conquerors, so far from home.

So much has changed in the world. But there is a place that has gone untouched by modern man, a realm where the fantasia of myth comes unhindered.

A realm of monsters, kings, and wars where legends are judged by the blood on their hands.

Skellbrieg - where the real meets the fantastic! Where the boundary between fact and fiction is blurred!

Imposing castles raised by the hand of men protect a populace struggling against the brute nature of their enemies on all sides. Giants, ogres, orcs, dragons, garuda, harpies, and all other sort of evil, any form of demon walking the ground on Skellbrieg wants to torture and kill humans to their hearts' content. It is a strong person indeed who guides the masses.

But squabbling lords and kings fight just as much against themselves than against other, more important, threats.

It is a dark age of Skellbrieg, the mysterious Eighth Continent of the World, where all things stories dream of come true.

Key Locations:

Midland

Rather appropriately named, Midland is the centermost point on Skellbrieg's geographical surface. It is primarily grassland with a few mountain ranges (namely Araknoak and Sfiflheim) that divide it. Midland is the home to the powerful human nations that make up most of the actual human population in Skellbrieg. Within Midland are several distinct kingdoms, each of which feud between themselves despite existing in such a desperate age of terror.

Isuldor

One of the largest of the fiefdoms of humankind, Isuldor is a proud nation with much power compared to other human realms. However, that hardly makes them a unique threat to the monsters that raid their towns and villages. It is not a normal day unless Isuldor goes to war against at least one of their myriad of enemies. By the blood of its people, Isuldor has been made into a martyr nation and a bulwark zone. This makes it the prime target for mercenary armies.

While Isuldor appears powerful with its gleaming armies and outstanding experience on the battlefield, its long line of cowardly kings keep it from achieving any true progress. Expeditions of brave soldiers are sent into the unknown to satisfy the fear of doubt in the modern royal family's hearts only to come back butchered or not at all. The same goes for the mercenaries sent along with them. With blood or gold, the Isuldorian royal family has a waxing control over the fear sapping the will of the citizens they brainwash. The skyrocketing popularity of the Monotheistic Cult only serves to cement the fact that Isuldor will continue to stand its ground, but feel unimaginable suffering in the process.

Aralgnor

The smallest by geography of the human fiefdoms, Aralgnor is nothing short of astounding. With only one city and hundreds of thousands of citizens, it is impossible to imagine a single castle holding that many. Instead, the native Aralgnorians are bred to be horse-riders. With traveling bands of mighty nomadic warriors born in the saddle, it would seem that the Aralgnorians are natural candidates for Isuldorian allies in the dark age.

The truth is quite the opposite. With the Monotheistic Cult infringing upon the horizon, the king of Isuldor has become paranoid of pagans and other so-called heretics. Since the Aralgnorians refuse to accept the Cult and build temples (instead, they call them a waste of time and resources), the Isuldorians practice active executions and purgings of Aralgnorian refugees coming into Isuldorian territory looking for trade, shelter, or simple survival. Aralgnor's main armies under the command of its king do their best to fight the coming chaos, but war against Isuldor seems inevitable at the current rate of diplomatic decay.

Araknoak

As suspected, Araknoak is based in the mountain range of the same name. Working alongside the native dwarves, the humans of Araknoak are skilled blacksmiths and stonecutters. Collectively called the "Bearded Ones" due to their hairy disposition, the humans of Araknoak are seldom seen because of the Isuldorian xenophobia where they are based. They keep to themselves in their caves and mountain fortresses, preparing for the inevitable storm.

They sometimes go to war in heavily-armored regiments colored black. They are rightly feared because of their equipment, which they wield with unmatched ferocity and skill. While their mercenary work is rare, it brings an astounding amount of revenue back to their caves because of the sheer demand for their undeniable power.

Morrogoth

Seldom spoken-of, Morrogoth is a dread and bleak place where no good things emerge from. Swampy and ugly, it forms the barrier between normal human realms and the Ice-Wastes. It is cold and miserable - the perfect place for a Womb of Evil to take root. While minor compared to other Wombs, the one found in Morrogoth is still exceptionally sinister because of what it managed to create: Nosferatu.

Drawing in the evil spirits of humanity's collective anger, lust, and greed, the Womb of Evil in Morrogoth spawned the very first Nosferatu in Skellbrieg when a particularly loathsome count actually killed and devoured his children. Since then, the Womb inflicted him with the lust for blood and his curse haunts Morrogoth and beyond to this day. The armies once marching proudly under the banners of ancient Morrogoth now spill out at the behest of powerful necromancers under the influence of evil and their collective desire to both destroy and feed upon the living.

The Great East

Because of its proximity to Africa and the Middle East, those civilizations that were founded within the Great East are heavily inspired by the Babylonian and ancient Egyptian royalty. As such, the giants native to the Phoenix City march to war in gold and red while their king wears purple as is customary of royalty. They also have thick curly beards and thick brown skin from having lived a lifetime in the desert. The giants and monsters from the Great East are more akin to the mythologies of the Middle East. Creatures like anthropomorphic jackals, giant crocodiles, oliphaunts, and even the occasional Walking Island Tortoise are common sights.

Dragon Canyon

Named specifically for the great number of dragons inhabiting it, Dragon Canyon is a massive scar in the earth from an ancient battle and acts as the boundary between Midland and the Great East. While few dragons now inhabit it due to their natural inquisitiveness of the world around them as well as their burning lust for gold and treasure, there are great wyrms, flightless drakes, and other ravenous element-breathers that would proudly call it their home.

As is to be expected, everything beyond Dragon Canyon is dangerous and all but unknown to humans. Those who try to cross Dragon Canyon are usually met with a painful death.

Rhushan

The single largest and most powerful of the human realms in Skellbrieg, Rhushan is known as the Most Powerful Human Nation of the World (keeping in mind that the 'world' to the native person of Skellbrieg ends at the Edge, the impassable wall surrounding the mighty landmass). To prove this, Rhushan has always managed to persuade giants, orcs, and even the occasional dragon to march against its enemies for the right price, of course.

Rhushan is mortal enemies with the Isuldorians, who deny their pantheon of gods and denounce them as barbarians. It is rumored that the king of Rhushan is a monster all his own.

Rhushan could be considered a splinter nation of the Empire of the God-King, but the two seem to have good relations despite them being natural biological enemies in that Rhushan is a human nation and the Empire is mostly made up of giants.

The Empire of the God-King

The largest of the lands of the giants, the Empire of the God-King holds a firm grip on almost the entirety of the Great East. Passed down from warrior to warrior, the title of God-King is synonymous with power considering all giant-kind convenes to the Phoenix City once every year to hold a tournament in order to decide the next ruler of the Empire. To have a single giant exit from such a gathering speaks volumes of how strong he (or she, considering that there have been God-Queens) is.

The Empire is content with acting as a mercenary force all its own. Most of its soldiers see battle across the length and breadth of Midland as hired swords. Sometimes, they are even commissioned by travelers from beyond the Edge of the World to fight in battles in modern Earth. The only condition the giants seem to have is that they wield their own weapons while idly considering human-made ones little more than toys.

But it is not uncommon for the Empire to march to war in full battle formation. Raging battalions of armored giant knights riding oliphaunt steeds and blowing trumpets louder than a thunderstorm are a sight of both awe and terror as those who they are engaging in battle are mowed down like wheat to a scythe.

The Empire and Rhushan have been on good terms since ancient times, both revelling in their shared hatred of Isuldorian bloodlines. Lately, however, the newest God-King Ganishka Saul has been more than intrusive in the dealings of Rhushan between other nations, indicating possible impatience with their mutual peace.

The Black Jungle

Like Morrogoth in Midland, the Black Jungle harbors a Womb of Evil and acts as a vortex of evil spirits that find hosts in the beasts already hunting the trees. Both the Empire and Rhushan utilize the demonic monsters roaming the Black Jungle as scouts, assassins, or even steeds in full cavalry regiments. The beasts from the Black Jungle consume nothing but human flesh, meaning that their riders and handlers have to be just as demonic and spiteful.

Ghost Desert

The winds blow strangely. The sand sometimes moves on its own. Something is unnatural here. Those on its borders listen to the voices in the night and whisper about shapes on the hilltops around campfires. None are able to say what is beyond the Ghost Desert and its gleaming bone-white dunes or what is hidden within them.

The Frigid South

Untameable wilderness, the southern part of Skellbrieg kisses the lanes of the Antarctic glacial waters. It is where most of the ogres, trolls, ice wyrms, frost giants, and dark elves come from. Legend has it that most of the south is a Womb of Evil, where untold horrors spill from each and every day. To go to the south is certain death, for it is inhabited by some of the most devious enemies of humanity.

Land of Eternal Midnight

Claimed by the dark elves, the black cities of their twilight empire shine forever under a shroud of misery and pain. On the very doorstep of the Womb of Evil, the dark elves make it their mission to torture every last creature on Skellbrieg's surface until only they are left unbonded. Naturally abhorrent of the sunlight, the dark elves cloak their realm in bleakest nightfall. When they are ready to march to war, the night follows with them and entire battlefields are turned into a hellish midnight bloodbath.

Relations between the dark elves and other nations are, suffice to say, not that good. With sadism and cruelty being their bread and butter, the dark elves are collectively uninterested in making peace with anyone. There are, however, some who detest the dreary lifestyle of a dark elf and venture out into the world to make personal amends by joining parties of mercenaries or becoming medicinal healers.

Ice-Wastes

A mysterious and foreboding place, the Ice-Wastes are home to the Haunted, the Walkers, the Pursuers, and a number of other strange, disturbing monsters. Humans have been reported to stay there throughout the centuries, but no contact has been maintained or even confirmed.

Boflheim

Though giants are found everywhere in Skellbrieg, it is in Boflheim where the frost giants make their home. A mighty fortress of impenetrable black ice, Boflheim is home to the throne of the Many-Antlered King, an infamous rival to the God-King of the Great East. The Many-Antlered King wears a crown littered with the bones of his greatest kills, which include the horns of the Leviathan and the teeth of the elusive and monolithic Beast Walrus.

In Boflheim, war between the frost giants and the giants of the Great East has always been a topic of hot debate. It seems that all events leading up to their inevitable conflict point to a stage somewhere in Midland where the greatest wars in Skellbrieg have always been unleashed.

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Beyond these established lands are wilderness, unexplored and wild. Wombs of Evil exist everywhere, giving rise to beasts great and small of all shapes, sizes, colors, and temperaments. There are even rumors of a leader who is able to coordinate these beasts and give their seemingly random rampages meaning.

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Extra Lore

The Ancient Mysteries of Skellbrieg

Legend of Thunder

The Blood of Midland

Beyond the Mists

Swords of the Realm

Necropolis

Distant Dimensions

Dark Horizons

Children of the Gakken

Brief Overview of the Orcs

Extra Locations

The Land of Khan (by La_Espada)

Whispers of Thuldras

Phalas Ilgor

Zulutar

Shebao - the Snake Fort (by Atomikill)

Blackwind Grotto (by _Nobody_)

Kahzor Kazaag

Za'klax'is

Major Battles

Winter War (OOC/RPG)

Conquerors of Fargate (OOC/RPG)

Against All Odds (OOC/RPG)

Clandestine Crusade (OOC/RPG)

Available Species List

(C) Coalition

(TH) True Horde

(I) Independent

(D) Desecrated

(IP) Infernal Phalanx

From Midland

  • Humans - from Aralgnor (I), Korgon (I), Isuldor (C), Kraken Harbor (C)
  • Elves - Blood Elves (TH), Twilight Elves (C), Wood Elves (I)
  • Dwarves - from the Kingdom of the Three Peaks (C), Darkstone Tribe (I)
  • Thrae - Dawnsong, Kleindorr, Lightweaver, and Sunblaze (C)

From the Black Jungles

  • Zduha - Zulutari (TH), Vangari (IP)
  • Orcs - Bloodstomper, Thundereater, Glaciertooth, and Skullsplitter Clans (TH), Darkfist Clan (I), Blackwind Grotto (TH)
  • Other - Sauros (I)

Frigid South

  • Undead - Vampires, general Undead, Death Knights, Dark Rangers (D)
  • Forlorn - Sylvania's Undead, rogue Death Knights, Shadow Hunters (I)
  • Giants - Many-Antlered King's frozen empire (I)
  • Elves - Dark Elves (I)
  • Humanoid - Wolfen (C)

Great East

  • Humans - Rhushan (I), Khan (TH, but contact @la_espada first)
  • Giants - Phoenix King's Army (I)
  • Undead - Ghost Desert (D)

Xiong Mao

  • Humanoid - Panden (C/TH), Yokkin (I), Mugol (I)

Other

  • Sea "Elves" - Naga (I)

Fargate

  • Demons - Pit Lords, Skull-Lords, and Seats of Chaos (IP)
  • Orcs - Rageblood Clan (IP)
  • Thrae - Grimsworn (IP)

OOC:

  • No destroying anything without asking me first. This is going to be a story eventually (I hope) and some, if not all, of the pieces are important.
  • Joining in is easy as asking me and voila!
  • The first part of the story is going to be in medias res when the mercenary group Band of the Ivory Skull are already established. Anyone wishing to join Gaiseric and his pursuit of human liberation are free to under certain stipulations that will be defined upon IC interactions.
  • The Edge of the World is a giant wall that surrounds Skellbrieg. It is more than a thousand feet tall and three-hundred feet thick on all sides and extends down to the ocean floor. Its main purpose is to keep the monsters Skellbrieg produces with the Wombs of Evil rampant across its surface from getting out.
  • If this doesn't work out with other people, I'll just make it into a blog post considering I already have the location approved.
  • Other than that, have fun and don't get killed too quickly.
#2 Posted by _Higgins_ (2990 posts) - - Show Bio
#3 Posted by Strongarm (5857 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman: Is it possible to have a tourism bureau to Skellbrieg in Dystopia?

http://www.comicvine.com/forums/rpg-9/detroit-dystopia-nu-living-location-1479395/#10

#4 Posted by Tranquil (3353 posts) - - Show Bio

Awesome, I got really dive into to this before I decide where I'm going.

#5 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio
#6 Posted by Strongarm (5857 posts) - - Show Bio
#7 Posted by _Higgins_ (2990 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman: You're cool with the whole ghost angle? :P

#8 Edited by _Glacier_ (6155 posts) - - Show Bio

Awesome.Too bad I won't join =/

#9 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio

@ash_walmer:

Works better than the raccoon bounty hunter :P

#10 Posted by _Higgins_ (2990 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman: Sorry I chose to write unique characters! lol

#11 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio

@ash_walmer:

It works better in this environment, I should say xD

Still like the alien raccoon thing :)

#12 Edited by _Higgins_ (2990 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman: Thanks :3 But yeah, should be handy havin' me around as recon :P

#13 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio
#14 Posted by _Higgins_ (2990 posts) - - Show Bio
#15 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio
#16 Posted by _Glacier_ (6155 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman: Wait...Is this a separated RP?Where I need to create new characters and blah blah blah?If so,count me in ;)

#17 Posted by _Higgins_ (2990 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman: So point me in the right direction! Lets do something!

#18 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio
#19 Posted by _Higgins_ (2990 posts) - - Show Bio
#20 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio

@ash_walmer:

Alright alright, I can make a post in the morning and get you started.

Right now I need sleep x_x

#21 Posted by _Glacier_ (6155 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman: So we're two.My eyes are almost closing automatically.So,should I PM you my character info tomorrow?Also,I would like to confirm I'll be a part of the Band of the Ivory Skull =D

#22 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio

@demolitionguy:

Go ahead and PM me, I'm sure what you have in mind is fine.

#23 Posted by Clara Mass (7779 posts) - - Show Bio

#24 Edited by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio

@clara_mass:

._.

The water is the worst part about Skellbrieg

#25 Posted by Clara Mass (7779 posts) - - Show Bio
#26 Posted by Koyaan (15 posts) - - Show Bio

I would like to confirm a place for blacksmith currently place in a... currently undefined position. how does that sound?

#27 Edited by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio

@koyaan:

I wholeheartedly accept your presence in the Band of the Ivory Skull.

@demolitionguy, @ash_walmer:

(Starting in medias res, we can make origin stories as we progress.)

"Forward you cowards!" A voice thundered over the battlefield.

Midland, specifically the grassy plains near the Belion River, saw an uprising in the form of a rebellious lord seeking to overthrow the Isuldorian monarchy while its armies were occupied on several other fronts. Rumor grew into confirmed truth and the mercenaries were called upon. The Band of the Ivory Skull formed the vanguard for a noble son of the Isuldorian royal family who wanted to see his first war. As such, they were paid the highest if he survived the siege of Ral Castle.

The voice from earlier belonged to the commander of the Ral forces, a dreadfully strong man named Vralskar Hund, who also earned a fearsome reputation as the captain of the Red Lion Knights. He aimed to kill the Isuldorian noble with one charge and lowered the lances of his cavalry division as the heavy knights neared their target.

"One kill and half of these dishonorable mercenaries will scatter! Push them back, men! No mercy!"

Meanwhile, Gaiseric unsheathed his blade from its thorned scabbard and took his best warriors out of the vanguard. These were the strongest enemies they would fight today, meaning the noble son would be safe. Forming a wedge, he signaled for a charge with a downward stroke pointing straight at Vralskar.

"The one who brings me his head receives twice their normal payment."

With such a comparatively modest battle cry to inspire them, the soldiers he chose were nevertheless the best he could ask for on this field. He trusted their courage and began the countercharge knowing they would follow him.

"Look! The Skeleton rides with a force less than half of what ours is! We will crush him easily!" Vralskar howled, thinking the siege won.

Gaiseric knew better. These were the finest soldiers in his company. They would not fail him.

(This post is open for anyone to pick up on. It's the first step in the story.)

#28 Edited by _Glacier_ (6155 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman: A clash of armies was always beautiful to see.An amazing mix of skill and brutality.That day was not different.

As an orc,Vro'zhul Coldblood fought wars always with pleasure and a sadistic smile.He was a fearsome warrior,which deeds echoed in the voice of orc troubadours around Skellbrieg.He lead a small offensive against the Skeleton.Confident of his success on the battle,he swung his warhammer in direction of the mercenaries,hoping to incapacitate at least one of the fearsome enemies.

His objectives were clear,eliminate Galseric and protect Vralksar.

"Let's get this over with,I want a new skull to join my trophies collection."

#29 Edited by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio

@demolitionguy:

In that moment, Gaiseric recognized a sight relatively uncommon in these parts of the world. An orc fighting for Isuldor was one thing, but one elevated to the position of captain within the Red Lion Knights? It seemed that even the xenophobic nature of most of those living within Isuldorian borders melted away once they were threatened with something they could not defeat alone. In this case, it was the rebels of Ral Castle being outnumbered by their former kinsmen.

The orc made a splendid mess of some of the weaker mercenaries of the Band of the Ivory Skull. His small division of ferocious knights tore into the Skeleton's riders and allowed for a momentary distraction. Even dedicated lancers had a difficult time of approaching the berserker, let alone cutting through his thick armor with their pikes. Gaiseric still had Vralskar to worry about, but in conjunction with the orc the outlook of this charge seemed doomed. In that moment, the most heavyset of the Band members gained speed next to his commander. A silent nod and he veered right, with no support, and disappeared into the dust.

"May your strength guide you to victory Lorkir," Gaiseric muttered as he deflected a spear that would have ripped out his throat.

The point of the lance rolled off the surface of his shield and he mutilated the Red Lion responsible with his thorned blade. An arc of blood, and the Skeleton continued his attack. At the front of the wedge, he pierced into the block formation of the Red Lion Knights, making straight for Captain Vralskar and his orc bodyguard. Suddenly, the mercenary from before - Lorkir - broke out of the dust with two spiked maces and began bashing his way back into visual range of Gaiseric. The figurehead of the Band of the Ivory Skull sent three more of his best warriors out to recover Lorkir with a gesture. Two of his most trusted men already fell to wounds with another three crushed under the hooves as their steeds were taken out from under them. They did not die without reason, however, and their contribution to the battle told a tale of at least one Red Lion Knight each.

Coming into close quarters now, unable to retreat and charge again, Gaiseric slashed the throat of his fourth Red Lion Knight, sending his head skyward in the process. A lance splintered his shield only to be grabbed by the Skeleton behind it. With a monstrous tug, the lance and its keeper fell from the crimson-armored horse and the blade of Gaiseric Aelius plunged once more into Red Lion flesh.

Vralskar had seen enough. Spurring his horse onward, the commander of the Red Lion Knights brought his pickaxe to bear. The weapon's weight alone needed three men to lift, nevermind wield. Vralskar twirled it like a dry twig and howled a thunderous war shout.

"Push forward! Kill the Skeleton! Without him, his mercenary dogs will retreat without a fight!"

#30 Edited by _Higgins_ (2990 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman: @demolitionguy: Walmer had seen many wars, many battles, but never like this. He stood as a phantom in the middle of the battle, his body phasing though everything inside this massive skirmish as he witnessed dozens of spirits crawling out of the fresh dead bodies. When he was alive, he was a thief, a purse cutter who cowardly skimmed through life until his demise, but not this time. He chose his side, and he was going to push this threat back whether anyone noticed or not. He saw his target, one of the closest men near the commander of the resistance and flew right into his very soul, possessing him. Looking over to the commander he shouted. "I need to know where they are coming in from so I can cut it off, no time for questions!"

#31 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio

@ash_walmer:

(So Ash is on Vralskar's side too? Sort of?)

#32 Posted by _Higgins_ (2990 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman: As far as a ghost can go XD)

#33 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio

@ash_walmer:

(That makes things interesting, then.)

Vralskar heaved his hammer back, preparing for a swing. He glared at the man who spoke to him.

"Shut up, you fool! I am your commander and you will follow my orders! You got that?!" He shouted, unleashing the power in his arm at the Skeleton mere feet away from him.

There was no time to dodge, so Gaiseric took the full brunt of the pickaxe strike with a second shield. The blade of the axe popped through without hesitation and caused the Skeleton to spin out of his saddle. His horse galloped onward, aware of his master's location so that he could swoop in at the right time. His entire right side burned numb. The giant man lumbering over him still on horseback shouldered the mammoth pickaxe. The fighting between the Ivory Skull and Red Lion formed a circle around them, recognizing their talents as warriors.

"Is that it? The Skeleton is dismounted with only one of my attacks? I should be surprised, because one strike is enough to kill a full-grown bison! I just need to finish this in one more strike and go back to Ral Castle with your head on a spike!"

Roaring forward on his monstrous horse, Vralskar motioned for another vicious swing of his pickaxe. Gaiseric, shieldless, stood his ground. It all seemed hopeless for the Skeleton until he found the strength in his legs to leap with all his heavy armor into the air. Evading the second swing altogether, Gaiseric thrusted the thorned blade of his sword through a slit in Vralskar's helmet. Looking at his assailant, a weak smile on his face, Vralskar's dying vision locked with the cold gaze of the Skeleton.

"You talk too much," Gaiseric mocked, slicing upwards.

"S-So fast!" Some of the other Red Lion Knights shuddered as the commander of the Band of the Ivory Skull landed back on solid ground.

"You," Gaiseric said, motioning with an extended finger to the one Red Lion Knight who spoke out against Vralskar, the one that Ash Walmer possessed.

"You're not one of these soldiers. They would never suggest any sort of strategy to Vralskar out of fear of his infamous temper. I also do not remember having a spy or hearing about one in the enemy's ranks. Are you some sort of spirit?"

"Retreat! Vralskar is dead! Inform Lord-Commander Braun, he'll take out that Skeleton bastard for sure!"

"Looks like I've made quite the mess," Gaiseric said, relatively unimpressed. Lorkir and the other warriors rode up beside him. The thick mercenary with the twin clubs looked rather proud of his blood-drenched personage. The horse from earlier trotted next to Gaiseric, who mounted the saddle.

"My name is Gaiseric Aelius. The battle near the river is won for the Band of the Ivory Skull and for the Isuldorian army. I don't know what your business is here, but I would very much appreciate if you were to observe the upcoming siege of Ral Castle. Perhaps then you will realize what kind of enemy we are fighting. But for right now, we surround the city and make camp. The soldiers are tired and hungry. They've earned their rest,"

Dismissing his loyal warband, Gaiseric swung his sword through the air, licking it clean of blood with a single stroke, and sheathed it.

"Choose whichever side befits you, traveller. Whatever rumors you might have heard of Isuldorian xenophobia rests solely in those Isuldorian hearts responsible for such animosity. I fight to provide my soldiers, men and women I have known for a long time, with food and an honest living. I also have a dream of human liberation here during the dark age we live in. If I must crush rebellions to earn my keep for a dishonest monarch, then so be it. At least my friends will live to see another day. That is all that really matters to me. I bid you good tidings, traveller, and may the road of your choosing lead to prosperity."

With that, the Skeleton departed. The battle would continue anew the following afternoon.

#34 Posted by _Glacier_ (6155 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman: Even having an edge when it came to numbers,the Red Lion Knights momentanealy retreated,acting by instinct.But the men feared Vralksar even more than their iminent deaths.

The orc didn't backed a single step,reliant on his skills.

Onslaughting with an insupressible exasperated shoulder bolt,piercing the oppostion's warriors defense,intending to hit Gaiseric.Independent of the success of the hit,he carried forward with a jab at his antagonist's chin.

He knew once the leader was defeated,the group would lose consistence,occasioning a favorable outcome to the Red Lion Knights,and if he was the one to collapse the Skeleton,he would be turned into a legend,after all,his one and only objective while alive was earning his place at Dreakmür(Orc's Heaven,if you are ok with it),where only the bravest warriors were allowed.

"Time to rip the skull out of the skeleton.",his heavy voice thundered on the battlefield.

He snorted heavily,oppening both nostrils and assumed a defensive stand.

#35 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio

@demolitionguy:

Completely caught off-guard, the Skeleton was knocked once more off his horse. His jaw felt like it had dislocated. Struggling back to his feet, Gaiseric removed his sword from its thorned scabbard. The eyes of the orc turned into something more violent than before. The spirit of the berserker was awakening within him. He had smelled blood, and wanted more. Still, he recovered some of his conscious talents of active swordplay and kept on the defensive instead of unleashing an all-out attack.

"Orc," Gaiseric said.

"Do you fight for gold or glory?"

The answer, by this point, was obvious. No mercenary - no matter how greedy - would stay and fight outnumbered when most of his allies were already retreating and his commander had fallen.

"Draw your sword. Let us honor the ways of war, not sport."

#36 Posted by _Higgins_ (2990 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman: @demolitionguy: Ash, who had been following, floated down near the Skeleton, knowing a being as supernatural as him can see the specter. "Ok ok! Lets take a step back here before we get all glorified yeah? That..Is an Orc..And the last time I checked, I was literally ripped in half by one! This fight isn't worth it mate.."

#37 Posted by _Glacier_ (6155 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman: "Those who have money die known by many,but are quickly forgotten within the wind.Those who have honor die to become legends.We shall do this the honorable way."

With a single move,Vro'zhul unsheated both of his twin swords,letting his warhammer hit the ground,lifting a small dust veil.Still with both nostrils wide oppened,he waved to his foe,allowing him to strike first.

#38 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio

@ash_walmer:

"No, but he doesn't seem to want to move. Perhaps I could persuade him."

@demolitionguy:

"Your skill and strength is admirable, orc. But this battlefield is hardly admirable. Within a day, the dark elves will have swept this place barren. Our corpses would be desecrated and our memory stained with the pain of never returning home or defending what is precious to us. I shall give you a choice, orc. Strike me down now and obtain a passing victory against a tired old man or travel with me in the Band of the Ivory Skull. Study my fighting skills firsthand. Learn what it is to challenge me. Then we shall have such a fight that will go down in history, I promise you that."

#39 Posted by _Higgins_ (2990 posts) - - Show Bio

@demolitionguy: @warsman: Ash grumbled and rubbed his ghostly face, from the town he was from as a street rat, people did not talk before a fight, they would stab each other on the back. With a thief state of mind, this talking was very grating for him.

#40 Edited by _Glacier_ (6155 posts) - - Show Bio

@ash_walmer: @warsman: The orc nodded,what he could possibly lose while helping the Skeleton?His army was disperse and the commander dead.The worst that could happen was a betrayal,but Cooldblood was too arrogant to believe some tricky bastard could sneak and kill him.

"Tis fine by me,Skeleton.But you must keep your word,otherwise you won't be more lucky than that son of a grom."

His heavy voice took a more serious tone while he pointed at a man he had killed,torn apart by a devastating blow.Sheathing his swords again and placing the warhammer at his back,he spat on the ground and stared his new 'companions' one by one.

#41 Posted by _Higgins_ (2990 posts) - - Show Bio
#42 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio

@ash_walmer: @demolitionguy:

(You two want to make a PM for plot points?)

Sheathing his thorned blade with some measure of content, Gaiseric could easily have been smiling behind his skull-shaped visor.

"Good. Tomorrow, we lead the attack on Ral Castle and end this battle. Perhaps then the Band of the Ivory Skull can finally get clearance to leave Isuldorian territory."

#43 Posted by _Higgins_ (2990 posts) - - Show Bio

@demolitionguy: @warsman: Yeah sure!)

Ash listened to his new leaders plan while crossing his arms, still floating beside the Skeleton. "Sounds like a bloody good time.." He remarked half sarcastically.

#44 Edited by _Glacier_ (6155 posts) - - Show Bio
#45 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio

@ash_walmer: @demolitionguy:

Day of the Siege - Ral Castle

The Band of the Ivory Skull broke camp. Nearly a thousand mercenaries answered the rising banner of the gruesome totem the Skeleton took his moniker after. In block formation like they had practiced, the mercenaries joined the other forces surrounding Ral Castle. Most of them were Isuldorian peasants gathered and forced into combat by will of their superiors. The nobler classes were easy to distinguish because of their thick armor and great weapons. Gaiseric pitied the peasants and hated those so-called 'knights' who bullied them into fighting without the proper equipment. Most of them wore scale mail shirts and carried simple swords and round shields.

Hardly the stuff of legend.

But, regardless, they were just fodder for the arrows and cannons.

"Shed a tear for the foot soldiers, but do them justice by remembering their sacrifice when you are cutting throats," he muttered. It was an old saying amongst commanders of code and discipline.

The first shots were fired. Preliminary rounds from the trebuchets and catapults landed squarely in the gut of the walls. If they had been anything but solid rock, then the cobblestone would have given then and there. Yet beyond those compressed boulders stood another layer of stone, and then another beyond that. Having been tested before, the walls of Ral Castle were at least twice as thick as any normal castle in the county. Entrance had to be forced through the weathered gates.

"Cannons! Aim for the doors!" Gaiseric shouted, raising his hand in preparation for the order to fire.

Wheeled up into place, the giant guns had already been loaded. They just needed the signal and the flame.

"Volley!"

Sparks from flint and steel licked the fuses and the earth shook for a split second, the two forty-pound iron balls ripping through the gates like wet paper. The defenders trying to reinforce the doors were splintered just as the wood did at their fingertips.

"Unleash hell!" Gaiseric shouted, putting one foot in front of the other as he leaped from the trenches sword and shield in hand.

#46 Edited by _Glacier_ (6155 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman: The orc remained impacient the whole scene,he couldn't delay any longer what he did best,cause sorrow.His urge for blood spilling was immense.Concentrating his strenght at his legs,he leaped through the trenches,falling near a small clutch of his old allies.Swinging his warhammer on a rage rampage,he tore apart anything or anyone which dared to stay on his path.

Coldblood could handle his own alone,but the Ivory Skull would get crushed withouth his aid.

Garhering forces with the band,he now fought side to side with Skeleton.

"I cannot let thou fall by any sword other than mine."

#47 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio

@demolitionguy:

The battle seemed won for the most part. However, a single figure rose out of the depths near the base of the central tower. Each step he took rang like a quaking church bell. This was Lord-Commander Braun, instigator of the resistance at Ral Castle. His helmet snarled like the royal feline common to the Red Lion Knights, meaning that he was also their supreme grandmaster. Hefting the battle axe larger than an ox cart over his shoulder, the pseudo-giant cackled.

"So, you're the insects who killed Vralskar? Pathetic. And you!" He shouted, singling out Coldblood with an enormous finger.

"You were one of his knights, whose strength he trusted in the thick of battle! You betray yet another commander? Where does your treachery end, renegade?"

It was in that moment, before anger could overtake Coldblood, that Gaiseric intervened.

"Grandmaster Braun, I presume? Your retribution is at hand,"

"Retribution? You command a ragtag force of misfits! Cobblers, peddlers, and merchants - hardly the stuff of soldiers! Mewling worms destined to die in the mud!"

"I command no one. These men and women follow me out of their own free will and are entitled to leave at any time. If they are not up to your standards because they still have free will, then I would have it no other way. Prepare to die,"

"Bold words for a dead man!" Braun howled, removing his axe from his shoulder and bringing it into striking range of the Skeleton.

Sparks shot out from the collision between axe and shield. The Skeleton slid underneath the monumental weight of the weapon and lashed out with a strike at Braun's eye between the slits of his visor. The thorns on the blade lashed out, and Braun found not only his eye slashed out from his head, but a fair part of his facial skin as well. He had moved out of a fatal confrontation with the fearsome ivory sword in favor of losing a functional helmet and part of his face. Bleeding profusely, he would have had the strength to counterattack - but the Skeleton did not have time for the games of a knightly duel. This was war. It had to be won sooner or later, and his soldiers - while they were fighting bravely - did not have the full strength of knights who had stayed in a castle for the duration of the conflict.

Braun's head fell to the ground, sliding off the stalk of his neck like a lump of meat from a plate. Gaiseric, still weak from his several days of constant fighting, leaned on his sword in order to keep standing. The resulting image almost seemed regal, as if a noble had triumphed over some great beast. But the Skeleton was hardly noble, or even native to this land. He turned his attention toward Coldblood, whom he knew was watching attentively.

"Capture the tower. Whatever treasure you find in Braun's personal armory is yours to keep. Here,"

Reaching into the folds of his armor, he retrieved a handful of black cloth. In the center of the fabric floated a skull crowned with thorns that glowed a modest ivory in color.

"Raise my banner, if you truly want to continue on this journey with me."

#48 Edited by _Glacier_ (6155 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman: Vor'zhul watched attently as the man decapitated the fearsome Braun.He knew powerful people,skilled men that could kill 100 enemies withouth getting hit,but none matched the Skeleton.

Vro'zhul past was a secret,but that arrogant,egocentric man unveiled part of it.He was banned of his own tribe.

He approached the fallen ally,his eyes fixed on the ground,the flush of memories and feelings were too intense,even for a though and emotionless warrior such as Coldblood.He accepted his duty to lead the band throughout the deceitful corridors of the tower.

Taking the front row position,he lead the other mercenaries with his bravery,but withouth saying a single word,lost at the depts of his mind.Killing every enemy that opposed him,he reached the top of the sentinel,claiming it for the Ivory Skull by raising their flag,which flickered with the wind.

Two soldiers protected what wasn't yet taken:Braun's armory.Onslaughting at them,he lifted one with his own shoulders,making him hit the stone floor.The other one tried to strike him at the eye,but it was too predictable.Hitting the man's abdomen with his weapon's hilt,than using both hands to land a final blow at the enemie's head,smacking it on the ground .Blood spilled everywhere.

He turned to the men under his lead and lifted his hammer above his head,stating their spectacular victory,most probably against all the odds.

"Grab all ye can!Ye fought with valiancy and prowess!"

While the man celebrates by pillaging,shouting or clapping,Vor'zhul moved away from the group,finding in a rock,a comfortable place to sit and rest.Supporting both arms at the warhammer's cable,he inhaled deeply and closed both eyes,as if waiting for an execution.

#49 Posted by ThisIsGonnaHurt (30135 posts) - - Show Bio

@demolitionguy:

Across from Vor'zhul, the Skeleton whips his blade through the air, cleaning it of Braun's blood. He sheaths it without a word, the mutual understanding between the two warriors now a contract of battle rather than a simple agreement. Vor'zhul signed such a contract when he raised the Skeleton's banner. Their duel would come sooner rather than later, but for the moment they were allies.

Gaiseric could rest easily knowing that.

One week later

The capital city of Isuldor welcomed the return of her valiant soldiers with open arms. Women and children, the sick and the old, all flocked to the streets and celebrated with such applause that the victory at Ral Castle seemed so much more than a simple siege. They had won the war against the pagans. They were conquering heroes, honoring the fallen with their strength and memories.

The mercenaries entered Athras Mor with just as gallant acceptance as the native soldiers. They, too, contributed against the pagans. They were heroes, but heroes who fought for money rather than to protect their country. Still, the fact remained - they were indeed victorious alongside the Isuldorians. Gaiseric did not exactly seem comfortable in this environment, though he had experienced it plenty of times. The Band of the Ivory Skull had been to many battlefields with the Isuldorians. They were a household name at this point, one that could be relied on. Gaiseric just wanted to get their payment and leave as soon as possible. The parchment he had signed with the king stated that they were free to leave once Ral Castle had been captured and the money transaction went through.

"Hail, glorious conquerors!" A voice he did not want to hear chimed from the distance.

There, at the top of the stairs to the governor's house, stood King Darnoll. Gaiseric lowered his head respectfully, peeking out to Lorkir and especially Vor'shul, imploring them to do the same.

"Gaiseric, mighty Gaiseric, is it true that you slew both Vralskar and Braun? Two of the enemy's most powerful knights?"

"I could not have done such a task without the help of my soldiers, your grace," Gaiseric responded modestly before dismounting his horse.

"Nonsense! You are among the greatest swordsmen in Midland!"

"I thank you for the compliment, your grace, but I - " Gaiseric began, trying to move the matter at hand to the money he needed for food and supplies before leaving Isuldorian territory.

"Which is why I ask you, as king of Isuldor, that you stay as one of my knights - nay, as Lord Protector of the Realm!"

Shock overtook Gaiseric. This was precisely what he wanted to avoid. Dishonoring the king's request meant certain danger. He lowered his head in a show of piety.

"I...humbly accept, your grace,"

"Magnificent! Your mercenary force will become the White Death Knights, the grim reapers of the battlefield and the most feared in all of Midland!"

Gaiseric said nothing. Accepting the king's request meant that he could take land and have a sufficient amount of money for his troops. But he knew that any victory he won from this point onward would not be considered a victory for his troops, but for Isuldor. He almost began quaking with anxiety. The freedom of humanity he dreamed - nay, yearned for - would slowly shrivel if he were to continue fighting for Isuldor and unite all of Skellbrieg under its banner like he knew the king wanted. Isuldor did not mean freedom nor did it mean true unity. He knew of their persecution of Aralgnorian refugees based solely on their religious beliefs.

He needed an opening, and soon, but that time would have to wait. For right now, he had to accept the king's request lest his Band be put into danger on the spot.

"The knighthood ceremony will begin here at dawn tomorrow. I already have your first assignment ready for you once you officially become Sir Gaiseric."

"It is an honor, your grace. I shall see you hence."

Once the king departed for his chambers within the governor's house, Gaiseric stood. He did not immediately turn to his retinue, but rather just remained stationary.

#50 Posted by _Glacier_ (6155 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman: Coldblood could be many things,but he wasn't dumb.He knew that if he didn't kneed,that could be seen as an act of rebellion or disrespect.

He heard carefully.Hoping for Gaiseric to deny the king's request,he knew that,as an orc,he was going to be made fun of,perhaps downgraded,or slavery.Many possible outcomes from a single mistake.

Later on that day he was ready to leave.He was at the room he rented at an alehouse nearby the burgh.