Author Topic: A collection of my short stories  (Read 244 times)

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WriterX

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A collection of my short stories
« on: August 12, 2017, 07:19:50 PM »
Hey all,

 Wanted to share some of the stories I published on Fur Affinity, as well as my own site, focusing around Armello. My themes don't tend to focus on the known characters in the game, instead trying to look on the people within or just outside of Armello.

The only exception would be Downfall, which throws forth a theory behind how things turned the way they did.

I will post each story into a seperate post, with a link to it on both my Fur Affinity account and site.

Enjoy! And if you would like to provide any feedback, comments or just say how wrong I am that is always appreciated!

Cheers,

WriterX

WriterX

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Re: A collection of my short stories
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2017, 07:22:01 PM »
A story showing what (possibly, but not decisively) could had happened to the King of Armello.

https://www.furaffinity.net/view/24397243/

http://smokingcatstories.com/downfall/

Downfall

Armello, a land of peace and prosperity. Four clans and its people united under one noble king. The Wolf Clan, of noble warriors and hunters. The Rat Clan, of cunning rogues and tricksters. The Hare Clan, of inventors and explorers. The Bear Clan, of those closest to the magic of the Wyld. A king who was fair, wise and brave. All that he ever stood for was just, and the people loved him. The Lion King, the hero, the builder. The enemy of all evil.

When he came to power the clans rallied to his coronation. A magnificent crown was forged, in a united effort by all of the clans. Each clan aided the King in some manner. The members of the Hare Clan created weapons and armor that would serve the King and his men well. The Wolf Clan trained his armies, and stood ready to answer any call to action. The Bear Clan guarded the wilds from any signs of corruption and evil, blessing the lands with life and fertility. The Rat Clan, the ears of the King, made sure none would ever conspire against him.

With the aid of the clans and his advisers Armello prospered. All were happy, there were no shortages, disease or hunger. Traders and travelers from far and wide came to Armello, bringing new ideas and goods. It was truly a golden age for its people.

But even in a land as beautiful and rich as this there were always those who sought more. These were perilous times for those of dark hearts. The king kept a close eye on his lands, and any sign of corruption would be rooted out. Many brigands and bandits were locked away. Witches and Cultists who would seek to prey on the weak were also captured. The King's Guard was dispatched at any sign of trouble, and with the aid of the four clans any peril could be overcome.

Something had to be done.

In a dark room, behind locked doors, those noblemen who were not pleased with what was happening, plotted. Their faces hidden behind dark hoods, the sigils of their houses concealed under thick robes. They looked for a way to break this order apart, give them an opportunity to grasp more.

The choice of their meeting place, an Inn called the Toad's Croak. One of the conspirators was also the owner of this fine establishment, a frog-man who was simply known as Mister Slimes, because he put his slimy hand on whatever he could. A ruthless if a bit dim-witted criminal.

Many of those present were of similar ilk. Noblemen who were jealous of the King's power. Rogues who sought to steal what they could not have. Those who sought a quick way of ascending the social ladder. Those who benefited the most from a state of unrest, mercenary lords.

The dozen conspirators who met discussed in detail the events of the past year. Things were becoming far more difficult. The more the people followed the King's example the less they could be manipulated. Though there would always be a need for illegal goods, thievery or murder it was on a decline.

So, the only thing that could be done, was to do something about the King.

"There is no way!" one of the gathered gave a rat-like squeak, his pointy nose sticking out from his hood "My spies tell me those closest to the king cannot be bribed! I tried! No gold or riches worked!"

Another hooded figure nodded, calm and collected, features hidden entirely by his hood "My own network is feeling a tight noose around its neck. I am losing gold trying to sneak by another shipment. The King's dogs seem to uncover all of my operations." The figure reached for his goblet of wine, taking a small sip from it. "Demand has also fallen, not like that is much of a surprise."

"I even tried to... lure him into a trap of my own." this time a feminine voice spoke, with a soft purr. "But to no avail... My charm and tricks do not seem to get past that crown of his. And whenever I would come too close one of his "friends" would show up and pull me away. Tsk..."

The conspirators continued to share their failed attempts at shifting the King's power. Suggestions of future plots were each time rebuffed, attempted before. Gaining the loyalty of the guard, of the clans. Every single idea failed because the King had a way of dealing with it. A hopeless situation.

What of stirring unrest in the populace? There was no way of achieving that either, without invoking the King's gaze. There was nobody who could receive the blame, and a close investigation would uncover the truth regardless.

The night dragged on, fresh wine was delivered, the plot continued.

"If only we could kill him." said the rat-like voice again. "That would upset the balance."

This time a heavier, louder voice spoke, with a snarl, "Your assassins would have to kill him, somehow, and he is no mere pup. There is a reason why he became King. Besides... the uproar would see all of us destroyed." The speaker behind the voice matched it, for he was tall, wide, and a lupine snout was present from the hood, bearing visible scars.

"If we cannot kill him, and we cannot sway him... what is left?" asked the familiar shape of Mister Slime.

A feint knock came to the door. It was too early for new refreshments so it could had only been something important. One of the conspirators approached the door and opened it slightly, a feint "Yes?" being heard. He soon stumbled back however, screaming, when through the slightly ajar door slithered in a horde of worms, large in size, black. They crawled over the furniture, the walls, spreading throughout the room. Some screamed, panicked, others tried to fight this strange enemy. But there were hundreds, thousands of them? And no claw or boot could harm them.

The door suddenly slammed shut by the mass of worms that pressed against it. Then, as if of one mind, they crawled to the table that stood in the center of the room and began to pile up, forming some manner of shape. Taller and broader it became, until it seemed to implode on itself, disappear. Where once the menacing slithering of worms stood now instead appeared... somebody.

The woman was not familiar to any of those present, and she had a very strange, exotic look about her. She was of medium size, black and white fur. A bit like a cat, but not exactly. A creature from an unknown land. She wore strange robes, which gave her an appearance of a witch, something that was given away by her headdress as well.

She spoke with a quick, a bit of an annoying tone, as if mocking all those around, "So, did you find a solution? An answer? Hmmm?" she sat down on the table, as if it were the most normal thing in the world. The conspirators looked to each other, until the wolf took off his hood and drew his blade, snarling menacingly.

"Who are you? How dare you enter this meeting?!" he pointed the blade to the sorcerer, but she did not seem to care.

"I know you know nothing. Yes, yes. The worms told me, so I am here! With a cure to your ailment." The sorcerer grabbed the tip of the blade, trying to push it aside, but the wolf kept it aimed at her.

"A cure? You speak of the King?" Slimey asked.

"We should be careful, who is she?" the purring voice asked again.

"A messenger!" the sorcerer suddenly interjected. "I bring a gift, news that things will change, for the better, yes?"

"And how is that?"

The sorcerer took out a wine bottle, but it was filled with a white liquid, similar to milk. "A gift for the King. A great gift!"

"Poison?" the featureless hooded figure asked.

"Of course not! We would not want to poison the King, no no. It is a gift! We do not kill, we gift!" the sorcerer continued with her ramblings.

Another one of the conspirators, who remained seated and did not speak much up to this point finally spoke up, his voice frail and old "You are a follower of the Worm."

The sorcerer's ears perked up, and she crawled, still sat upon the table, toward the old man. "Yes we are! All of us are, though we do not know it."

Some of the gathered repeated the simple phrase, 'Worm". Many knew the old stories about the Worm, the Darkness. In the old days, followers of the worm would spread disease and madness. Making entire lands collapse into chaos, eventually leaving nothing behind. The Worm would corrupt everything, and then slowly rot it away.

"Why would we side... with you?" the mercenary wolf spoke out. "Are you trying to trick us? Make us kill ourselves?!"

A few whispers were exchanged, as everybody's attention was focused on the Sorcerer.

She lifted her hand up, and spoke. "If you do not act you will all eventually be caught, die in a dungeon, or worse. Just moments ago you wished for the King to die, yet you could find no way." she tapped the bottle with her hand. "Give this to the King, and I promise you an age of chaos and death that will fill your coffers to their brim. After that..." here she paused for a moment, "There will be peace. When a new King will rest on the throne. We will be of no more threat to you, believe us."

But it was all very hard to believe.

"If we asked you what you wanted, you would likely say nothing. If we are to allow the Worm into Armello... Tell us why." the old man spoke.

The Sorcerer's face grimaced and she looked to each of the gathered.

"You are stupid, all of you. The Worm warned me, yes." she paused suddenly "You can help us do this, and be rewarded with the chaos you seek so much, or you will be against us, and you will perish with the rest.". The sorcerer paused again, feeling the angry gaze of the mercenary wolf once again. She brought up her hand and a wound suddenly appeared on her open palm. From it worms, maggots began to crawl out, squirming and writhing toward all those gathered, but they seemed to be held back by something. "You will cooperate... or in a moment I will infest you all with the plague. You will be covered by rot until you are nothing but lepers, seeking to spread the plague further...". With the open wound still visible, and the worms squirming maddeningly she looked once again around the room. "So, we are clear, yes?"

Even the wolf was frozen solid. The plague was no children's tale. In some corners of the realm those blighted by it still existed, but they were no longer truly alive. Shambling around mindlessly. To be infected would mean a fate worse than death.

Satisfied with the lack of further interjections the Sorcerer closed her palm, the worms disappearing, "Good! Deliver this to the King as a gift. He will sip from it and be driven mad. For a time there will be civil war, panic, chaos, and all of you will profit from it. So too will the worm. Speak of this to anybody, and you will share your King's fate..." she hopped off the table and walked to the door, opening it slightly and waving back, "Ta!" and slamming the door shut.

Though few knew at the time what the brew would do, its effects soon became apparent. The King seemed to be driven mad. Soon he closed off the palace, and guidance from the four clans was all but ignored. Unrest grew when the King's Guard were sent to attack villages for supposed treason. Witches and cults renewed their efforts, unhindered. Those who tried to find aid from the King were turned back. Something bad had happened and none knew for certain what.

From the deepest caves and dungeons Banes arose once again. Creatures that sought nothing else bu to destroy the living. They descended on villages and towns during the night, causing death and destruction.

The people called out to their King, and he ignored them.

Chaos ruled throughout the land, and the twelve conspirators soon found their hands full of gold and work. Murder, theft, corruption. It was like the good old days

But as the kingdom was falling apart the four clans took action. A new king had to be chosen, the kingdom reunited. But would it be a just king? Would it be a kingslayer, or a purifier of corruption? Or perhaps the Worm would rule once again, and corrupt the new king just as it did the old?

And what happened to the Sorceress? The one who caused an ancient evil to resurface once again? She was not seen again, yet her presence could be felt. For whenever all would seem to go too well, when peace would seemingly be restored, evil, in some form, would appear once again.

And the conspirators? Like any men who profited from others misery, they lived on. In their mansions and dens, richer than ever, more powerful than before.

Would the land ever know a lasting peace again? Could the clans be united, the evil banished and balanced restored? To so many questions we sadly might never know the answers to.

Where this story ends your tale in Armello begins. Will you be a just King? Will you purify the land of evil? Or will you turn to the Worm for aid?

You decide.

WriterX

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Re: A collection of my short stories
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2017, 07:23:36 PM »
A village under attack, who will save it?

https://www.furaffinity.net/view/24417869/

http://smokingcatstories.com/corruption/

Corruption

Armello was a land united. Where the clans served their lion King, and together the people prospered. Each of the four clans watched over its holdings, but when the King called for council, or asked them for aid, they answered.

But then the Corruption awoke once more. Thought to be silenced for over a century, this dark, evil force once again surfaced and threatened the world as we know it. It infected the minds of everything it touched, turning them into its pawns, and unfortunately it eventually reached the King himself. As he was driven mad, and the land crumbled into civil war the creatures of darkness left the shelter of their lairs and terrorized the innocent once more. The King's armies, driven by his mad will, did little to bring peace or restore order. The clans too failed to see a way for lasting peace and turned on one another.

Somebody had to become the next King. Perhaps the old King could be cured?

But this is not the tale of these clans and the King. It is a tale of strife among the common people. Those, who had to survive these terrible times. And how they had to cope when no Hero was around to save them.

*

It came in the night. With a loud flap of its wings, and a shriek that would make any sane man run. Like a blade struck into someone's back, the Bane landed in the centre of the village and began its rampage. Everybody fled for their lives, while the creature destroyed all it saw. Buildings fell, and those who were not quickly enough to flee died in the rubble. The Bane saught prey, nothing else, and it did not even have to eat. It simply desired to cause as much despair as it possibly could.

In one of the barns a feline and dog hid, watching from the straw pile inside of which they lay. The dog seemed terrified but the cat had that dangerous glimmer in her eye which meant only trouble for the dog.

“These are the end times!” the dog yelped, as quietly as he could. “Where are the heroes? The guard?!” he despaired, covering his ears again as the Bane roared.

The feline did not seem to be as terrified. She seemed to be observing the Bane, its macabre dance of destruction, and plotting something. “I think I have a plan.” she remarked, and her companion looked to her.

“Patches. This is not the time for your insane plans! That there is a Bane. It will kill you the moment it sees you! We should be running away! As far away as possible!” the dog spoke in ever louder whispers.

The feline reached for something from behind, or under her. It was hard to tell with so much straw surrounding them. It looked like a massive egg, covered in cloth. “This is how we will kill it.” Patches remarked, as always not showing any bit of doubt in her voice.

The dog looked in disbelief, “An Egg?”

“No, a stone.”

“Ah yes... We are doomed.” and the dog put his face in his hands, awaiting just that.

“Don't be silly!” Patches patted the dog on his back. “It's no ordinary stone. I stole it!”

The dog, as one could imagine did not seem any more relieved. “A stolen stone is still a stone. How do you plan on-”

And patches uncovered her stolen treasure. It was a large stone, perhaps quiet heavy. Surrounded by an eerie green aura, white runes and symbols covering its surface. That was no ordinary stone for certain. There was something clearly magical and powerful about it. What exactly dog did not know.

“What... what is that?”

“I dunno!” Patches answered. “But I know what it can do. I saw it in one of them stone circles, and read somewhere that Banes never dare come near them... I figure they are either scared of them... or it kills 'em! Whatever the case, this is our weapon.”

Briefly dog was shining with hope, which quickly extinguished itself, as the Bane's merciless attack continued on the buildings in front of them. “How do you plan on using that exactly?”

“Glad you asked!” and Patches crawled out of their hiding place. Dog tried to stop her, the Bane might had spotted and chased after her. The creature did seem too occupied, and the next thing dog saw was Patches pushing a small, improvised catapult, constructed out of random pieces of farm equipment, crudely connected and dubiously operational. “We will load this up, and fire it at the Bane!”

It seemed Dog stopped listening at some point, because he hid himself even deeper in the straw pile, with only a bit of his nose and tail still sticking out.

“Don't be a scaredy cat! This will work, I swear it!” but Dog would have none of it. He would had gladly remained where he was, if not for Patches using one of the tools at her disposal. A pitchfork to the bum did not only get Dog out of hiding, but it also gained the Bane's attention as he yelped. “Now come on!”

Dog followed Patche's lead, and they pushed the catapult just in front of the barn, facing the Bane. The dark creature sauntered over, shrieking, toppling over carts and whatever still remained standing nearby. Eventually coming to a stand-still before the duo.

Dog, despite his fur color, turned a pale white, while Patches loaded up the catapult with the strange stone. The Bane lumbered over, ready to strike at the daredevil cat and her poor friend, until it noticed the stone. It fell silent for a moment, an eerie silence broken by one jovial command, „FIRE!”

The catapult collapsed on itself, but not before the load it was given was propelled forward. The Bane shrieked, but not to terrify those around it, for the first time it shrieked in its own terror. As the stone collided with the being of shadow and corruption its green aura turned white. A bright explosion that was as beautiful as it was blinding to behold. As the light died down however the Bane was nowhere to be seen, neither was the stone. Only a few eerie shadows lingered in the shade of burning houses, but those too soon disappeared... Whatever happened to the Bane, whatever the stone did, it worked.

*

When the villagers realized the Bane was gone, defeated by Patches and Dog a time of great celebration erupted. Though the Darkness was far from gone such a brief victory was something that brought just a bit of hope to the people. As news of the Bane's demise spread throughout the land many wondered what were these strange stones, and how could they be used to protect whole villages...

*

Weeks have passed since that terrible night, and though rebuilding the village came slowly there was clear and visible progress. Patches and Dog aided as much as they could. Patches with her strange and sometimes mad ideas, and Dog with his collected, peaceful mind.

During mid day, when the two of them rested after a morning of hard work their respite was interrupted by one of the villagers, running into their little hut. He was holding a backpack that appeared to be full.

The Dog and Cat looked to one another, but the villager appeared to be very stressed, worried, he looked to the two heroes. “You must leave.”

“Leave?! Why's that?” Patches asked, with a note of protest. That was just the way she was, never to be bossed around.

“The King's men are here.”

“To reward us...?” Dog asked, but he looked to the bag again, and noticed a bedroll sticking out from under its flap.

“To capture you... They were asking about a stone... You must leave, quickly, before they catch you.”

“Why would the King want us-” Patches began to ask, but the villager interrupted her.

“I do not know, but there is no time. Who knows what they will do to you both if they find you. Take these, it's what little I could get from storage, and run.”

The Cat and Dog thanked the villager and ran out the back. For a moment they circled the village and saw the King's soldiers. It was not a small group, but a whole company, with cages and chains waiting. Dog could even swear he saw a few of the villagers imprisoned already.

There were too many however, and if the villager was right who knew what fate awaited them if they were caught.

The duo took all that was left of their belongings, and the single bag of supplies and went deeper into the forest, as far away as they could...

Such was a dark time in Armello. Where heroes were named villains, where good was evil. And though Dog and Patches escaped, and could still aid others in their time of need, who would finally bring lasting peace to the land?

WriterX

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Re: A collection of my short stories
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2017, 07:26:03 PM »
What is power? How does it relate to Armello?

https://www.furaffinity.net/view/24448026/

http://smokingcatstories.com/power/

Power

The young prince Konrad von Leichmaul looked through the window of his carriage to the streets of his hometown, Dachsburg. The badger was dressed in exquisite finery. Green traveling clothes, with a large puffy hat, and a cloak with the heraldry of his house, two crossed hammers in front of a tower. Though dressed seemingly for ordinary day-to-day work his robes were worth more than some could earn in a whole season.

He was returning from his trip to Armello, on behalf of his father. Business was going well in the local kingdoms, but Armello being still under the rule of a relatively young monarchy left many doubts. Doubts which now were confirmed. The things Konrad saw and heard raised forth many questions. But, what Konrad knew would in the end weigh the most on his father was whether business was at all possible there.

Unlike in the free city of Dachsburg, where as far as Konrad can remember there was always peace, prosperity and luxury Armello looked what one would expect from the poorest farm in the region. Run down, in ruin. And things were about to get much worse.

Much of Dachsburg was built by the ingenuity and hard work of the von Leichmauls. His ancestors lay the first stones here. They are the ones that bled for this city to be free from the chains of monarchy. Dachsburg was a city of merchants, where the only denominator of power and status was wealth.

And Konrad was fortunate to be born in the most powerful of the houses in this city, respected and loved. That is not to say the other prominent families were any different. All sought the same thing, wealth. And the only great wars within this city for the past century were only for the lowest prices. Some visitors even claimed that the beggars of Dachsburg could afford their own houses. A bit of a stretch, but it served to build up the city's prestige.

As the carriage slowly drove through the city, toward the von Leichmaul estate, many, if not all of the people along the road waved to the passing carriage. They were a happy people. Badger or not, those who wished to work hard and earn an honest living found their home in this city.

There was no shortage of troublemakers, but they stayed out of sight and as quiet as they could.

Finally arriving at his family's estate a servant soon ran up and opened the door to Konrad's carriage, the princeling hopping out of it and gazing around the courtyard. Though a month has passed not much has changed. The spring added much color and life to the gardens surrounding him. Even as he looked over the entrance to the estate he felt the gaze of two large badger statues looking back at him. They held the balcony right above the entrance. It seemed a bit too much to Konrad, but he was not the architect behind these decisions.

As the servants unloaded the carriage Konrad already knew where he had to go. His father, no doubt, knew of his return and waited in his office. Through the front door Konrad entered the main hall. It was meant to be stunning. Golden chandeliers, exotic paintings and portraits, luxurious carpets upon the floor, and fetishes from distant lands. The aim was to surprise and awe-struck any visitors, and most of the time it worked.

Konrad was in a hurry however. He had no need to admire the heritage of his family. There was, after all, much to discuss.

Up the marble stairs to the first floor, down the different corridors, until, as always, Konrad was stopped by his father's guard. Though father never chose to tell Konrad all of his adventures he knew that this silent guardian pledged his loyalty decades ago, after Konrad's father saved his tribe, or city.

He was hunched forward, with a long snout. Unlike most people and creatures he knew this one had almost no fur. A skinny underbelly, and thick armored scales along its back and tail. Its talons were long, though not too practical. Due to its surprising size and culture it had a hard time adapting to the clothing most Dachburgians wore. Instead it wore something akin to a white skirt around his waist, and even in the middle of winter the cold did not seem to bother him at all.

The guard looked to Konrad, recognizing him and bobbed his head, motioning to the door.

As Konrad expected he found his father sitting behind his desk, looking over reports, ledgers and his own notes. Even when he wasn't truly occupied he tried to keep up appearances.

This seemingly venerable old man had much more life and cunning in him than it appeared, and Konrad never knew why he played these games with him.

"Welcome back Konrad. Tell me of Armello, much has changed?" the old badger set aside the book he seemed to be studying and sat back in his chair, looking to Konrad who also seated himself in front of the desk.

"I am afraid I have no good news. Armello is in civil war. Apparently the King has gone mad and the clans turned on each other."

The old badger grumbled a bit, scratching his chin, "Mad, you say? I thought the strain of such a high office would not drive one mad, but the refugees who have been coming here from Armello confirm as much..."

A servant entered the office bringing refreshments for the two lords, pouring each one a glass of red wine before disappearing as quickly as he had appeared.

"Did they also mention the monsters attacking at night? The King's own guard attacking villages and towns? What do you think has caused this?" Konrad asked. Though he spoke to many of the locals in Armello nobody knew exactly what was amiss.

"We may never know, but what is important is that we study this situation carefully and act twice so. The King will fall, no doubt. Armello was only strong when it was united. Now with the clans fighting one another whoever wins will also lose." the elderly badger spoke, a lot of confidence in his own words.

"How come? Wouldn't the new king bring order and peace?"

"And which king would that be? The Wolf? The Bear? The moment one of the clans gets their representative on the throne do you believe the other clans will bend their knee and submit? Perhaps now it seems like a race for the throne, but when the first battle is over the next one will commence, and another. It will continue until one of the clans manages to force the others to surrender. Unless it is the Rats. They would most likely play along until it was time to install their own king."

"Never trust a rat." Konrad remarked, and his father nodded.

"This does not concern us too much, this war. The King will no doubt fall, and the clans will squabble for control. It would be to our benefit to keep all of them well supplied for their conflict."

Konrad fell silent for a moment, looking down to the floor beneath him then back to his father, "But that will ruin the kingdom."

"Hmmm?"

"By giving them all weapons, mercenaries, they will keep on fighting until they have no more coin to spend."

"Indeed."

"But why then..." Konrad lifted his hand up "Not aid only one side? Why not bring this war to an end?"

"Because, my son, it is not in our interest to end this war." the old badger took a sip of his wine. "With the war over we will have to look for our coin elsewhere. And if the clans, and the king, wish to bleed each other out there is nothing we can do to stop them."

"What of the people..."

"They are not our own." the old badger said sternly.

The two lords sat in silence for a while, an air of unease between them.

"You were always different, Konrad." his father finally said, with a sigh. "Our family comes first, then Dachsburg. Armello is merely a gold mine, a pool of wealth waiting to be exploited. We did not lead them down this path, they chose to do so."

"Is it the right thing to do?"

"There is no right and wrong in commerce, Konrad. We respect wealth, we always respected it. Every merchant of Dachsburg earned it through his hard work and sacrifice. We have the strength and will to profit. And this Armello you speak of? Troublemakers, brigands, pseudo-nobles. To them you are nothing but a sack of gold waiting to be robbed."

The old badger slammed his goblet against his desk. Even Konrad found his father's current behavior surprising.

"We hold power those bastards can only dream of Konrad. Our coin is that power. All their titles and crowns, warriors and knights, artifacts and knowledge. None of them measure up to the power of a golden ducat. We do not pretend to be in control. We are in control."

And another eerie silence fell.

"But ultimately, my son." he spoke again, "It is about the family. I always do what is best for us. To aid Armello means to hurt ourselves. Spending our wealth on a land that will never thanks us is pointless and senseless. We must do what is right. We must take their power away from them, because they clearly do not know how to use it."

There would be no discussion. Konrad was in no position to argue with his own Father. Nobody truly was. The old badger collected a box from one of the drawers of his desk setting it on the table and pushing it closer to his son. "These letters are to be delivered to our subsidiaries. Each of them will approach the clans separately as well as the king. None of them will know we are pulling their strings, even after their war is finally over."

Konrad rose up and collected the box, holding it under his arm and he bowed, respectfully to his elder. "Yes Father."

As Konrad turned to leave with another long journey to be planned he heard his father speak once more.

"Oh, and do visit your mother. She has missed you."

With the closing of the office door the fate of Armello was as uncertain as it has always been.

WriterX

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Re: A collection of my short stories
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2017, 09:35:52 AM »
This one is called Loyalty. It focuses around one of the King's Guard captains. The race of the guardsmen (Retrievers/Golden Retrievers) and their village of origin (Oakenfall) comes from the description of the King's Guard Armor item card.

https://www.furaffinity.net/view/24514885/

http://smokingcatstories.com/loyalty/

Loyalty

When all those years ago Leopold volunteered to join the King’s guard he could not think of any greater honor. He left his home, like so many in Oakenfall, to join the Kingsguard. His people, the Retrievers, stood loyally by the King’s side when he brought peace and stability to Armello. His reward was granting them this honorable status.

When Leopold rose through the ranks, from recruit to private, to sergeant, to captain he felt pride. Ever since his watch began he kept his king and kingdom safe. Safe from threats within and without.

Without their king and his guards the kingdom would had fallen long ago.

But now the stability of the realm was challenged.

At first he heard whispers of the King being poisoned, or falling ill. Then the orders  began arriving. To attack nearby villages, to capture the traitors of the realm. To arrest the clans.

None of it made sense at first, until his men began performing their given tasks. Fights and brawls between the guard and the clanspeople broke out, soon turning into small battles. Wherever his men were sent they found the banners of the different clans already flying above the walls of once-loyal settlements. This was not a matter of a simple misunderstanding, the clans were revolting against their king. They were taking his land for themselves, killing his loyal men. It is possible that the clans themselves have attempted to poison the king in an attempt to more easily take the throne.

It all made sense, the King knew who was responsible, and he acted quickly before the clans could fully realize their plot. They wanted to claim Armello for themselves.

Leopold would allow none of it. Not on his watch.

But this open revolt was not the only problem on Leopold’s mind. Dark creatures appeared throughout the realm, attacking every living thing in sight. Stretched thin between fighting the clans and battling this new threat almost every single member of the guard was in the field. The castle still held a small garrison, but the situation was slowly becoming desperate.

Now, Leopold with a fraction of one of the guard companies was marching to battle one of these dark beings. Already missing over half of its men the 4th Company marched on with their leader down the muddy rural road toward a village that was recently attacked. Along the way they saw scores of fleeing peasants, some greeting the guardsmen and cheering to them, some fearfully turning their gaze away.

This war was a challenge to all.

All the guardsmen wore plate armor and their hound shaped helms, halberds in their hands. A blue plume atop their helms and equally blue cloaks denoted their loyalty to their king. But some among their numbers had lost their weapons, or they were too damaged to be used. Others had dented or damaged armor, and their beautiful cloaks shredded or tattered from the weeks they spent fighting and marching. The 4th Company looked like a ghost of itself, only held up by the spirit of its few remaining members.

And this motley group would have to take down a beast.

As they entered the village they found most of the buildings in ruin. Not a single house was left undamaged. Leopold could feel the scent of death and rot in the air. He did not shudder or falter, the kingdom had to be protected.

It did not take long for the beast to find them first. A sudden loud shriek and the loud flutter of its wings was heard by the guardsmen. They looked around, weapons at the ready but it was not visible yet. The beast leapt from behind one of the ruined buildings and plummeted down upon the approaching soldiers.

Scattering to avoid being crushed by the creature’s talons the Guardsmen were far too disciplined to flee or panic from even such an unexpected attack.

“Surround it, and strike from all sides! For the King!” shouted Leopold as he gripped his halberd tighter and joined his men in the attack. Exhausted and frustrated some guardsmen barked and growled as they closed with the monster. Jabbing at it with their weapons.

The Beast did not seem impressed as the Guardsmen tried to surround it. The monster spread its wings and began to sweep them aside. With every stab of their weapons a strange alien fluid poured from the Bane’s wounds. Driven mad with fury it attacked blindly, left and right. Its screech could be heard for miles around as the battle continued.

Though their training and determination was great the beast was proving too much. One by one the guardsmen fell, crushed by its talons, thrown around by its wings, cleaved by its beak. Until only Leopold was left.

The Bane was badly wounded but it was larger than the lone retriever, and it seemed to know that. Its eerily glowing eyes gazed down at the lone captain and then it shrieked, ready to strike.

Leopold, himself, though not wounded by the beast, was exhausted. The weight of the war was bearing down on him, he only remained on his feet due to his resolve.

With a final defiant growl he roared out as he hefted his halberd up and charged at the beast, “Remember Oakenfall!” he yelled.

Before he could strike at ita loud thud could be heard, followed by an even louder shriek from the monster. The Bane thrashed around in pain and confusion, the guard captain stepping back as the monstrosity suddenly found a bolt stuck in its eye.

A few moments later another thud could be heard, and another, as some invisible attacker was accurately taking down the beast. Finally it fell, as the last bolt lodged itself in the Bane’s skull, ending its existence. The darkness which engulfed it slowly seeped away, leaving only the being’s strange bird-like skull with the bolt still protruding from it.

Leopold breathed a sigh of relief and he called out, “Well done! The Beast is dead come-” and his joy was soon extinguished. From behind the cover of a nearby wall he saw a small group of warriors from the rabbit clan emerge. Crossbowmen and men at arms, at their head appeared to be their leader. He looked like an scholar, dressed in robes, lacking any visible armor or weapons, after a moment Leopold saw a few retainers further back, carrying the supplies of the band.

“You appeared to be in trouble there.” spoke the leader of the band. His voice pleasant, friendly, soothing. Leopold did not ease the grip on his weapon, and the rabbits could see that. “We mean you no harm.”

“You are rebels and traitors!” barked out Leopold.

“No, merely explorers. We heard of this Bane attacking nearby settlements, and deemed it necessary to kill it.”

“Pfah! Liar. You take me for an oaf? We are at war, all of Armello is at war! And you tell me you wished to aid this village? The guard?”

“We were simply-” but the rabbit’s words were cut off.

“Enough! By the order of the King you are to come with me to the castle where you will face trial for the treacherous actions of your clan!” exclaimed the lone guard captain, in the middle of a desolate village, surrounded by his dead comrades.

After a brief pause the rabbit answered, “We refuse.” and the crossbowmen brought their weapons to bare, aiming their bolts in Leopold’s direction. “This war was started by the King. The Rabbit clan were his advisors yet he turned us away and began his madness, surely you see this. Surely you understand that you are throwing your life away for somebody who does not care for you or his own subjects.”

The retriever captain lifted the visor of his helm up, to get a better look at his foes, judging the best course of attack, planning this battle. As he panted for fresh air he knew the situation was hopeless, there was close to no chance of winning. He could turn away, flee, surrender. There were many other options than what he intended to do.

But Leopold was a retriever of Oakenfall. Promoted to the rank of guard captain, loyal to the king and his kingdom. To do anything but fight would be to forever stain the name of all he was and believed in.

“In the name of the King, Armello and all of its people I sentence you to death. Your Rebellion ends here!” were Leopold’s final words. As the lone retriever, the most loyal of all the king’s people, charged against the rabbit band one could hear the crunching and breaking of his armor as bolt after bolt pierced his chestplate. His charge slowed from a sprint to a stumble as his breath grew louder and heavier until Leopold fell to his knees and then to the ground. In those final moments he did not think of his failure. He knew that the other guards would protect the king, their home. Where his watch ended the others would carry on, Armello would be saved.

As his spirit passed on the rabbits gathered the dead guardsmen and buried them, as best they could, outside of the village. The helm of each guard resting upon the mound of dirt under which he was buried.

The retrievers of Oakenfall continued their watch.