Author Topic: Story: The Hunt  (Read 470 times)

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Story: The Hunt
« on: July 01, 2017, 04:06:10 PM »

This story takes certain liberties with the lore and inserts certain characters that are not part of the official lore into the story, this has been done with entertainment purposes in mind and this story should not be viewed as canon or 100% true to the lore itself as a result, with that in mind, I do hope you enjoy.

Chapter 1:

The Brothers

Renax was kicked awake without any remorse “Get up now, it's an emergency, Brother” Renax was up on his feet almost immediately, and hurriedly donned his armor and grabbed his halberd before he followed Ajax out of the barracks and hurried over to the royal chambers to protect their king, as was their duty as kings guard, what met them as they opened the door was a chair missing Ajax by an inch as their King vented his unrestrained fury on the furniture.

“You highness, please, compose yourself ruining the bedroom will not change the facts of what has happened!” the chamberlain, a portly and rather good-natured Badger nearing his middle years, exclaimed with a surprisingly calm expression on his face, despite his otherwise unflappable demeanor it was obvious that the kings uncharacteristic behavior had the old badger worried though as his whiskers were twitching every now and then.

The King turned to the chamberlain and raised his hand as if to strike him, but then froze an expression of recognition on his face  as he seemed to snap out of his rage induced state “Moritz? Yes... you are right this is no way for a King to behave...” his voice distant “I... need some fresh air, explain the … situation to my guards” the king stomped off, probably headed for the maze again, he always liked to wander though it in order to clear his head.

Renax and Ajax Saluted the king as he passed, then waited patiently for the old badger to turn his attention to them, this wasn't the first time of late they ad received orders from the chamberlain rather than the king, and it had started to become eerily familiar to the two brothers, even more so with the kings deteriorating health, which had suddenly started some months prior, finally the old Badger decided to stop fuzzing over the room and turned his attention to the two Kings Guards “Follow me, there is a thing of grave importance I have to entrust the two of you with, no one is to know this you hear, no one” the brothers simply nodded, it was not their place to question orders.

The Chamberlain led them through the royal living quarters and stopped before a much smaller door and unceremoniously stared to open it, leaving the brothers aghast “The princess-” Ajax began but was cut off by Moritz “Is missing” he opened the door showing a completely empty room except the obvious signs of a struggle, as things were tossed all over the place and smashed into pieces and more than a bit of blood was spilled “Most of this blood is most likely hers” Ajax noted grimly, Renax could not help but to agree, the princess' scent was all over the place masking whatever smell the intruders, if any,  had left completely, if the Kings Guard didn't know better he would have said this was to cover up an attempt at running away, but why in the Wylds name would she want to do that? It simply made no sense to Renax, he was paid to look for people who were not to be in the palace and deal with them, not to think, it had never been his strong-suit, besides that he knew how skilled her royal highness were with a blade, even her father, the King could only match her simply because he had enough raw strength on his side to simply overpower her, how she could have been taken without causing way more devastation to the room and her would-be kidnappers, not to mention noise, was beyond him.

Renax snapped back to attention as his brother put a hand on his shoulder the chamberlain was looking at him with an expression that told him he had been asked a question “Sorry, Moritz, I was lost in thought and didn't hear the question, would you mind repeating it?” the lips of the chamberlain twitched ever so slightly, was that a hint of a smile?
Renax didn't know how to react to that, so he didn't “I was actually asking if you had any thoughts on what could have transpired here, after all the two of you are the best of our fine guard when it comes to investigating such things” Renax suppressed a snort, the compliment meant little considering most of the guard had any skill in the field at all and only happenstance had led the two brothers to actually lead an investigation that had seen that some of the schemes of the Rat Clan had been laid bare, though that had been pure luck, or more likely the Rat clan had intended for the convicted Rat to take the fall on purpose, such was the prize for failing their clan, after all.

Renax kept silent for a moment before he said what both brothers were thinking “Something is off about all of this, Her Highness is one of the most skilled, if not the most skilled swordmaster in all of Armello, there is no way she would have been taken with so little fight, she would have taken out at least one of her assailants even if she was taken by surprise, and yet there are no unfamiliar scents in this room and none of the known scents here does not belong, so either there is a traitor among the staff working in this area...” his voice trailed off “Or she ran off and tried to cover her tracks” Moritz finished for him, his usually expressionless face now turning grim as the seriousness of this information suddenly dawned on him, the Princess that mostly likely run off while trying to make it seem like a Kidnapping, or someone from the palace' most trusted staff, his own hand picked subordinates, had committed treason and kidnapped the Princess, neither possibility was a good one “Your orders are simple, find the Princess, I don't care who you have to interrogate or how you interrogate them, just find her and return her to the palace the King's health is bad enough as it is if he doesn't have to worry about her disappearance as well, and remember, tell no one, there are enough rumors of unrest among the clans as it is, we do not need the Princess' disappearance to add even more fuel to the fire”

Renax and Ajax had of course heard the rumors that the King had been exposed to the Rot, a foolish notion, it was that damned sickness he had contracted, once the doctors found a cure he would be back to his old self soon enough, though if word spread that the Princess, who had been blessed by the Wyld itself upon her birth had run off then the ones fanning the flames of insurrection would use that as another argument for rebellion.

The sun had barely begun to rise over the horizon when the brothers left the Palace behind, stepping into the early morning mist and down the road, the morning dew having effectively hidden all scents from whomever might have passed during the dead of night, Ajax was silently cursing under his breath that preparations had taken too long and Renax had to admit he agreed, had they left sooner they might have been able to pick up the scent of the Princess but as it was the dew and the mist had done their part to hide her route from the Palace, though the nearby settlement of Oakenfall was as good a place to start as any and would be the logical place to go unless you were set on passing through the Winterblossom Woods to Houndsmouth, though bandit activity in that region meant that unless those bandits had been the culprits, which were unlikely since they had the habit of scurrying off like scared mice whenever the Kings Guard ventured even remotely close to the area, that made Oakenfall the logical choice.

The trek over the planes to Oakenfall was pretty uneventful all in all, they met a trader who had seen a group of people heading towards the settlement a few hours before dawn though the exact numbers or appearances of this groups had been impossible to determine from a distance, not too helpful, but at least that was an indication that they were on the right track.

They arrived in Oakenfall at sunset, the hamlet itself was a bustling little place that had recently seen a huge boom in industry in no small thanks to the Rabbit Clan, even now they were busy building up a stone wall to help deter bandit attacks, as well as setting up large windmills to help grind flour from the rich corn fields outside, Renax and Ajax were not here to take in the sights, however and instead made their way to the local guard contingent to get the local news as well as information about the mysterious group that had been spotted earlier.

The local Captain, a stalwart hound named Gregory proved less helpful than expected, as no crops of people had arrived that day, though several hooded and cloaked individuals had arrived in the early hours before dawn, though it was all from different directions and alone, it could be that the group had split up and entered one by one to lessen the attention they would draw, or the group could have bypassed the settlement completely, it was impossible to tell really.

Tired and weary of the road the two brothers headed over to the local inn, the Wyld Apple, due to the rebuilding there were simply no room in the barracks for the two of them as the local guard were cramped up with less space due to the reconstruction of the barracks themselves to, ironically, hold more troops to protect the town.

The Inn was a cozy little place, the air smelled of cooked fish and strong brew and all across the brightly lit common room were people from all over the settlement enjoying some social interaction with their friends and family after a hard days work, the siblings were shown to their table by a lithe and quite polite feline, who seemed quite pleased with being allowed to serve the Kings Guard, the brothers for their part remained polite and to the point, ordering food and water, they were, after all, still on duty and would be for the foreseeable future, getting drunk while on the job would see them dishonorably discharged from service, something that, to the siblings would be the greatest sin imaginable, seeing as their family had served in the guard for generations, and they had no intention of being the first to bring such a stain on the family name.

As they were eating Renax couldn't help but feel like something was off, the hairs in the back of his neck were standing on end, almost as if someone were staring at him and years of training had made him wary of his instinct, still enjoying his meal of fried trout he started to scan the room, looking around for whatever was causing this uncomfortable sensation.

At first glance he couldn't spot anything, nor on the second, he was about to just shrug it off when Ajax noticed him scanning the room and started to follow suit, though he did not know what to look for, it was Renax that spotted first though Ajax quickly noticed as well, a cloaked and hooded individual in the far corner of the room, eagerly chowing down the food with a remarkable appetite,  a bit too eagerly.

The features of the stranger or even their species was hard to determine due him or her to wearing pitch black leather armor, even more so since the stranger had also decided to eat while wearing their cloak and hood, masking their looks, not only that but the strangers entire body was covered in black linens hiding their fur from view, not something someone without something to hide would do, Renax decided, he glanced over at Ajax, who nodded and they both stood up, before they could move in to interrogate the stranger however, there was a commotion outside, screams of panic and the sound of fighting could be heard as well as screams for help, the brothers hesitated, though the stranger did not.

The stranger finished of the last bit of trout and sprang up tossing some coins on the table and disappeared out the door at a quite surprising pace, apparently the clothes, despite their concealing appearance were also quite light weight, the brothers grabbed their halberds and followed suit, and what they saw stopped them in their tracks, the local militia were fighting against some kind of dark, smokey monstrosity that gave off a sickening purple glow, just looking at the thing made Renax and Ajax feel wrong, as if the thing was corruption itself, the city guard were hard pressed to keep up with the foul thing when the stranger intervened, stepping in with perfect timing to deflect the things attack and then counterattacked with a long thin blade that sent a streak of wyld energy down the chest of the monster, the thing screamed with unnatural fury and anguish and started to focus solely on the stranger.

It's dark wing like appendages streamed forth dark tendrils filled with spines to strike at it's smaller adversary, its clawed  legs, if that was what they were, raking all over in order to rip apart the small pest that had dared to injure it, but it was all for naught, as the stranger seemed to dance between the attacks with graceful, measured movements. Every attack struck against the stranger was immediately countered by a swing of the strange sword, each strike weakening the monster, seemed to somehow make it less substantial and threatening.
 Until the thing, in desperation tried to bite at the stranger, the attack never got to land as the stranger sprang up to meet the attack, spinning over the bit and planted the sword into the head of the monster burying it to the hilt, the effect was immediate as Wyld energy sprang from the sword and surged through the thing ripping it apart with such violence that it was as if the Wyld itself were offended by the creature's existence and wished to eradicate it, as the intense light of the Wyld energies faded the brothers looked up to find the stranger gone, with their lead disappeared and the sting of the monster rendering their noses useless the two brothers had no choice but to return to the inn for the night, the next morning their hunt would begin in earnest.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 04:25:55 PM by Lunaraia »


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Re: Story: The Hunt Chapter 2
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2017, 05:55:05 AM »
Chapter 2:

The Fugitive

Renax was the first to awake the next morning, roused by his slumber by a messenger from the palace.
His eyes went wide as he read the contents of the letter, still the orders had been from the King and it was not his place to question his King's judgment, even so destroying the thieves guild and putting it's members to the sword without a proper trial was pretty extreme.

Renax shook his head this was a bit to much to digest on an empty stomach, besides their orders had not changed so it didn't really affect them either. He woke his brother and the two went down into the common room for some breakfast and to have a look over the town after the mayhem that the creature caused the day before, order had to be maintained, after all.

Across town a small and badly hurt squirrel stumbled into an alley, she was bleeding badly and had been running all night. There had been no warning, no demand surrender one moment she had been discussing her latest heist with her fellow thieves, the next the Kings Guard had barged in and started their grim task. She winced as she looked down at a particularly nasty cut, she doubted she would make it much further.

Just as she was about to fall, however a linen covered hand caught her and steadied the squirrel “Careful, Little Lightpaw, if you fall here it's doubtful you will survive” Twiss flinched she had been recognized, with the bounty- wait survive? Twiss looked up at the one steadying her, only to have a bottle of wyld sap showed into her paws. “Drink, afterwards I have job for you that you can do as payment for me saving your life” she looked up at the stranger holding her, but the only features she could see was the amber eyes looking down at her from underneath the black hood the stranger was wearing.

With no real choice in the matter the squirrel downed the sap and sighed as the warmth of it's healing energies spread into her body “Now then, your job is pretty simple, there are two Kings Guards in town” Twiss flinched at their mention “Yes, I am already aware of what has transpired in the Capitol which is why I think you will find this order not only acceptable, but fun” Twiss silently doubted that.

“The news of the massacre has not become official yet, though no doubt those two Kings Guard has gotten the news per Messenger already, what I need you to do is to lure them to the Stone Circle north of here, after that you are free to go as you please” the stranger waited patiently for Twiss to answer.

Twiss gave a grumble, she didn't like to owe her life to someone, even less so someone who apparently had recognized her, still the bottle of wyld sap she had just lifted from the strangers pocket was payment enough, she figured, so she nodded and started to leave.

“One more thing, Little Lightpaw, if you do a good job I have some additional payment for you, information that will gain you access into a group of like minded individuals, far better reward than this little thing” The stranger held up a rather familiar bottle, the one she had just tried to steal, before Twiss could say anything, however the stranger turned around and seemed to just melt into the shadows of the alley, leaving the squirrel alone.

“Well Twiss, guess you can be glad that one wanted your help...” she mumbled to herself as she  started to look for the two Kings Guards, wondering to herself how she was going to lure them to the stone circle without getting her head lopped off.

The answer to that conundrum came from Twiss rounding a corner and literally walking right into Renax and Ajax as they were were asking questions about the Stranger from earlier, the collision sent Twiss herself on her tail, lost in thoughts as she had been.

Renax looked down at the squirrel that had collided with him “Watch were you are going little one” he grumbled coldly, he had more important things to do than to be polite right now “As we were saying any information on this Stranger would be appreciated, we know he is dressed in all black and wields an exotic sword that are from the clan lands to the east” Ajax continued his questioning of the merchant without even noticing that Renax had  shifted his focus for even a moment.

The words did strike a familiar accord with Twiss, however “Say, Mr. Kings Guard, not to disturb or anything, but this Stranger you are looking for, wouldn't happen to be covered in black linens and black wool cowl as well as blackened leathers?” Twiss suppressed a twitch as she suddenly had the brothers' undivided attention.

“Where did you see him?” Ajax question were low, but there was a certain undertone to his voice that Twiss didn't like. “I- ah, err...” Twiss sudenly felt really uncomfortable being so close to the two Kings Guards “Calm yourself, brother, your eagerness is clearly not helping” Renax bent down and put a hand on Twiss shoulder. “What my brother is trying to say is that any information you could give would be appreciated”  Twiss was certain she could actually see a kind smile underneath the helmet that Renax was wearing, maybe not all the Kings Guard were bad eggs after all?

Twiss regained her composure at Renax' words “I saw this Stranger of yours hanging around The Starfall Stones, earlier, not sure what he was doing, didn't stick around to find out as he gave me the willies” Twiss silently hoped she was convincing, she had already seen the “justice” of the Kings Guard and were not keen on another round of that.

Renax and ajax looked at each other, The Starfall Stones were not too far away and considering the strangers' blade had been infused with Wyld energies it obviously had to been charged somewhere, Ajax, however seemed hesitant to take Twiss on her word, but in the end it was the only lead they had.

As the brothers headed out of the village  Twiss gave a sigh of relief, that was a tad more scary than she had liked, as she started down the street and cut into another alley to get some time alone. However she found herself face to face with the Stranger again. “A job well done, your payment” she handed twiss a map with written instructions “Good luck on your journey, Little Lightpaw” Twiss didn't even have time to answer before the stranger seemed to just disappear again, it was magic, Twiss was sure of it.

Twiss looked at the instructions, written with stylized letters, reading had never been her strongpoint, but these instructions were short and easy to follow, apperantly a Kings Guard caravan would be passing through the Staghorn Pines in a few days, and inside that convoy was an induvidual that would help Twiss set herself up for not only a new life, but also a new family. Not only that but the instructions also pointed er to a cabin at the north side of the forest, the one living there could possibly help, but there was no way to guarantee her safety if she went to the one living there. Twiss shrugged, nothing ventured, nothing gained as she set off southward.

The Stranger watch from the rooftops as Twiss and the two Kings Guards went their seperate ways, things were going to plan so far, but things would only get more difficult from here, though if Twiss could convince the ball of hatred and rage living in that cabin to help her, then Armello might just stand a chance, even more so if the planned meeting between the two Kings Guards and the druids would go as the Stranger hoped, only time would tell.