The Great Library of Palanthas

An Aesthetic shows you to a small reading room.

Stories of Ansalon from the view of Teague.

A little gully dwarf runs by and says 'Wordwrap Off 65 80.'
The gully continues 'Eyes hurt? Turn Color OFF!! (regular story dates)

Astinus says 'Enter the main library here to view only the author list.'
Astinus gently places a thread-bare book bound in cloth on the table in front of you.
You note the spine bears the word 'Teague' scribed in dull orange ink.


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Mon Aug 27 16:44:42 2007
Subject     A Meeting by Chance...

Tellumaelnor sits at a table in the corner a plate of food before him.
 It shakes slightly and rises slightly off the table before falling
back down with a clank

Teague he nodded at the young man with a wry smile and picked at the
food a little.

Tellumaelnor says '*muttering* why won't you stay up? it is so simple,
why won't you work? *pokes at the plate*'

Teague ponders the young man as he speaks to his plate, wondering why
he hasn't seen him at the tower yet.  He had potential but obviously
needed some work.  It was then he noticed he'd been staring.

Tellumaelnor closing his eyes he sighs deeply, and then appears to
concentrate on the plate again as it begins to shake this time not
even eetting off the plate, as I open my eyes I see the elf across the
table staring at me

Tellumaelnor asks 'canna I help you?'

You shake your head.

Teague sighs a little as he chuckles softly

You slowly state 'I'm sorry, you seem to be having some trouble
there...'

Tellumaelnor asks 'observant one aren't you?'

Teague "try letting your mind work a little more freely.  You're
pushing it too hard." he held out his hand and, with little effort,
caused it to rise, raising an eyebrow.

Tellumaelnor says 'very impressive...I may need to remember that'

You smirk.  You ask 'It is only difficult if you see it that way.  Are
you bound for the towers?'

Tellumaelnor says 'Might that I be, heard that from here it be only a
hop and jump so seemed a good place to look for the way'

He lets te plate lans softly.  You say 'but I've been rude.  You may
call me Teague.  'I suggest you do...You have the potential, I see.'

Tellumaelnor says 'well Teague, I am called Tellumaelnor, and I have
had some instruction but apparently not enough. 'though from all I
hear, with my lowly skills the towers would only just laugh at me. 
though anything near here, would be nice..the food here is great'''

You shake your head and chuckle.  'we all have to start somewhere. 
Even the greatest of mages were once foolish children in the Art.'
Teague took a few bites and then sat back in his chair, running his
hands through his wild hair.

Tellumaelnor says 'there are times when I feel that my connection to
the white moon is not strong enough to propel me as a powerful mage'
'it is hard to learn of other connections, when the tutor you were
taught under would speak only of the white moon, and all you can find
of the others is tiny snippets in his meager library'

'The White moon, you say?  Well perhaps you seek a connection that is
wrongly chosen...' 'Well, at the tower you will have plenty of
resources and time to choose your path.  I hope to see you there soon.
 With your age, you should begin as quickly as possible...

Tellumaelnor says 'I had hoped that upon my travels towards the
towers, I would be able to find one who is learned that would be
willing to expanded upon my knowledge in this world...I hope too
though I still think I am to weak to make into the tower'

You slowly state 'I'm not one to shirk off the opportunity to teach
but My ways are of the hidden Moon, I must warn you...'

Tellumaelnor says 'I know little of the hidden moon...for there was
only a single entry that I have read on itand forever is it burned
upon my mind "From the darkness, they walk to expand their own power"'

Teague sighed a little as he sipped his spiced wine.  He pondered the
statement as he nodded slowly... state 'It is so, what you've read,
but I believe it is a bit more...complicated than that.  We each have
our reasons, you see...'

Tellumaelnor says 'that is it though...with what I have been taught
but more importantly not taught...there is so much I do not see' You
say 'There is much that we all do not see.  Even the greatest of Mages
must admit that or fall to their own accord.  You shouldn't feel bad
for not knowing, only for not seeking.'

Who is it that gives others the right to say what I or you may or may
not do to seek knowledge'

you say'You see...That is one of the reasons I have chosen my path.

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Mon Aug 27 17:00:15 2007
Subject     Meeting continued...

I wish to see all that I can, even that which might burn me to my
core...' Teague he grinned slightly, obviously pleased with the
statement his dining companion had made.

Tellumaelnor slowly states 'well.....I am of the mind that knowledge
gained without pain, is worthless compared to that which we must
sacrifice that which is important to us....'

Teague nods with a look in his eyes that tells of more experience in
such things than he would like to mention. You say 'We must all
sacrifice for what we want; even a warrior must spill his own blood to
grow stronger.  '

Tellumaelnor nods slowly as he idly picks at the food on his plate not
really interested in it Tellumaelnor slowly states 'though where one
such as me would find more of the hidden moon is a mystery....'

You ask 'We all find it if we look hard enough, but for now I would
keep your options open.  It isn't the path for the weak at heart, to
say the least.  Tell me, just how much have you learned thus far?'

Tellumaelnor says 'of what? I can conjure some basic darts of magic,
and other minor spells such as invisibilities.  But I feel as I have
been held back or more so not shown how far that magic can take me'

Teague nodding he taps his chin in thought. 'Such things can get you
on the right foot though.  ou shouldn't be so hard on yourself.  You
have much to learn but an apprentice is only allowed a certain amount
before the Orders take them in...'

Tellumaelnor asks 'and paths are meant to be walked and explored, not
feared...for what is the worst to happen?  death?'

Teague didn't mean to laugh so harshly.  'But what good would it do to
allow yourself to spiral into the unknown and die?  Seeking knowledge
is important but caution must be used in these harsh beginning ties,
else many flowers of magic would nev er bloom...'

Tellumaelnor asks 'yes in the beginnings some caution must be
exercised, but how many never grow to what they can because they are
too scared of what might happen?'

You say 'It is true, what you say, but I have a feeling you won't be
one of them, eh?  I expect great things from you in the years to come.
 You are bound to d something decent with that attitude.'

Tellumaelnor says 'one can strive for that, so either I will succeed
or I will burn out...either way my life will be lived on the edge and
with luck I walk that line well' Teague considered the words before
nodding once more.  It sounded like something he had once said and
that amused him more than a little. Tellumaelnor says 'but I do
suppose that you are correct, in your assement that once I am within
the towers that I will learn of these ways...I just wish to prepare
myself before hand as thoroughly as possible'

You say 'I agree, it would be better to burn quickly and brightly so
as to leave your mark upon the mantle than not at all.  In the future,
I hope you will seek me out if you need anything.  I suggest a woman
named Maire as well, she is quite an interesting mage, herself.  I
think she might be able to aid you as well.''

Tellumaelnor nods slowly 'I may need to search her out, it can never
hurt to talk'

You say 'as for seeking prior knowledge, I could answer some of your
questions.  I don't see how it could hurt.'

Tellumaelnor says 'well after your conformation of the hidden moon, I
want to learn more of that...there are nights when I see nothing in
the sky but I feel a pull and now that it has a name it makes sense
now'

Teague considered what was safe to say, not wanting to turn the young
mage away by fear or lack of information. 'Nuitari, the hidden moon,
is an interesting subject best not discussed much in such company. 
Bit I will tell you that, if he pulls at you, you might be wise to
look further into it.'

Tellumaelnor says 'well now that a name has been given, it gives
direction in the search of information, for before there was very
little I knew.  All others I would mention it too would look afraid
and not answer any questions'


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Mon Aug 27 17:10:26 2007
Subject     Meeting Part three

Teague waved away the pathetic fears of the ones who had refused this
young man before. 'He is mysterious in his ways, preferring to allow
us to make our own paths in our learning.  He only requires that we
turn not away from the power that will aid us in finding what we seek,
no matter what that may be...' 'People fear what they do not fully
grasp.'

Tellumaelnor says 'it was as I thought, that it is something that a
lack of knowledge caused the fear...or possibly the power that was
granted to them'

Teague scoffed a little.'Ignorance begets much more dangerous things
than fear, I'm afraid...'

Tellumaelnor says '*nodding slowly* such as hate....and conspiracies'

Teague smiles a little bitterly.  'Yes, terrible things are born of
this lack of knowing.  Many a war has begun in such a way...Even the
one hat rages now.'

Tellumaelnor says 'though to find other mages doing that to other
mages, is somewhat a disappointment....I have felt that we would be
above thatbut alas fear gnaws on all'

You say 'Do not be surprised, for even your own master will probably
seek to undo you with such fears and misinformation.  Especially if
you seem to be blooming quickly.  Mages are jealous creatures, always
striving to outdo each other by might of wit and knowledge.  I advise
you take what they can give you but seek to find certainties only in
yourself, friend.' Tellumaelnor says 'with luck I will survive such
backstabbing, and be the undoing of those that which to destroy me'

You say, grinning bitterly, 'Sadly, you will even find such things
amongst the White Robes.  But such is true in all walks of life.  Just
remember, everyone lies...Even me.'

Tellumaelnor says 'if you show me someone who has not told a lie, I
will show you someone who does not interact with others'

Teague sighed with a bit of exhaustion creeping through.  'I'm afraid
I must retire soon, for I have spent many days traveling from
Solanthus.  But I would wish for you to come to me with anything you
need. I like to see the ranks of thetowerlings growing with such wit.'

Tellumaelnor says 'well it is now nice to know that I have at lest a
voice of support among those in the tower, and I thank you for you
time here'

You say 'Think nothing of it, friend.  I expect to hear from you
though.'

Tellumaelnor says 'I am sure you will, our paths were meant to cross
this night, and many more times before the end'

Teague grins as he tosses enough money on the table to pay for both of
their meals and then some.  'Good night.'  He nods to the young man
and turns to take his room...

Tellumaelnor says 'sleep safely'

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Tue Sep 11 15:02:15 2007
Subject     A bit of gossip to be passed around...


My, my, my

What have the Red Robes come to if they must hide behind petty
half-truths, omissions, and idle threats?  Much to my amusement and
slight displeasure I was finally confronted by Lord Snefru, of the
Reds today.  There I was, minding my own busines on one of my few
brief visits to the Tower when he came out of nowhere to defend his
bruised ego and pride.  I thought him better than that when I had
first met him and treated him with the respect he seemed to be due but

I was sorely disappointed when I found he had been using the
information I had garnered for the Order without sending a slip of it
on to the Counsel or anyone who could have used it really save for the
elves.  But you see, Im not s inclined to he lp the Elves for free as
I am to aid the Order.  In fact, I was quite surprised to find him
giving them such precedence above the Orders at all.  In fact, Im
quite infuriated about it.

This morning however, he has crossed the line.

Not only did he come to me to call me a liar, but he threatened my
well being as well.  I have never been one to pay much heed to threats
in the past but this one has scathed me in a way that I simply cannot
forgive.  I insisted that I had no min d for lies, especially to the
Gods, nor did I appreciate his threatening tone.  When he pushed the
subject, I was forced to question whether he was in truth trying to
convince me, the Gods, or himself o this crazy attempt to save himself
from the wrath of those who were involved.  Not that it matters to me
what happens to him.

I must take care to decide how I deal with him in the future, if I
ever find him worthy of my important and few morsels of time again
though.  It seems that the Black Robes are not the only ones who
choose to play shadow games in politics though. It would be a pity to
underestimate him but I feel the need to take some of the credit I
once gave to him away

You would do good to do the same.

(Oh yes, he IS spreading the rumor about.  Can't help but being a bit
ticked off that Snef would call him a liar and insinuate that the gods
are too stupid to know the difference.)

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Tue Sep 18 02:28:09 2007
Subject     Love?

 He wasnt one for the company of others but sometimes, occasionally,
 he would feel the pangs of loneliness twisting its cold fingers
 around his heart.  It wasUnpleasant to say the least..  His journeys
 had brought him into many places but they had managed to bring him
 nothing of consequence save for some meager experience driven
 knowledge and wealth.  He couldnt be happy with such menial things
 right now, though at any other tim e it would have brought him at
 least a small amount of satisfaction.


 Here, in the barren grey wastelands of the Abyss, there was little
 need for such things though.  The spectral breeze that whipped at his
 clothes and hair, while doing little to cool him in this place where
 temperature was nothing more than a memory, brought only one thing to
 him: the thoughts of an idle mindThoughts of a woman.


 Oh he knew her name and appearance as well as he knew his own, but he
 longed to know her better.  Who was she?  Oh he would probably never
 tell a soul save for her, if he even fond the time to tell her.  He
 was as likely to love her from afar as he was to openly seek her
 company.  To love openly was to become closer, to learn the truth of
 a person.  He wasnt sure he wanted that just yet, if ever.  Her
 strengths and beauty were too clandestine to dirty with his tainted
 hand.


 His brow furrowed at the thoughts drew feelings from within his cold
 and twisted heart in a way that nearly brought him to his knees.  In
 the distance, he could see the fiends of the realm, as vicious as any
 womans scorn, and he raised his hands to the sky.  As his voice
 raised so did the winds, whipping about his body even more greedily
 as thunderheads began to gather in the sky.


 Lightning struck, throwing sinister reddish shadows across his
 features.  As a grim smirk began to pull at the corners of his lips
 he began to make his Lightning struck, throwing sinister reddish
 shadows across his features.  As a grim smirk began to pull at the
 corners of his lips he began to make his descent towards the
 gathering hoards below him.


 ...With the foulness of his mood this evening the poor fools didnt
 stand a chance

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Fri Sep 21 16:35:21 2007
Subject     Prelude to Journal

Teague Morag Vaughn isnt like most oldest sons.  In fact, he isnt like
most other people in general.  From an early age it was apparent that
he wouldnt be joining the ranks of the knights that his fathers family
had served for generations and it wa s a great disappointment upon his
father to say the least.  He was always the weakest of his younger
twin and himself, preferring logic and words to any blade or fist.  It
was a good thing, since he wasnt the strongest of builds, nor did he
ever re ally show any talent for things martial as his younger
brother, Arrin.  As his brother had much more of his fathers
admiration while he retained his mothers attentions for far longer.

Teague, is not a weak young man however, strength comes in many forms.
Early on he showed an extreme talent for magic and the understanding
of such complex theories.  It seemed only right that he be sent to
study at the mage towers to gain what ai d he could.  Being that it is
tradition that the eldest son join the Knights of Solomnia, he has
felt much ridicule in his lifetime.  As a result, he feels bitterly
towards most everyone he meets, has developed quite a sharp wit, and
is slow to tru st.  He feels love but only for those who show him that
they understand the true meaning of loyalty, such as his brother and
mother.  Outside of his tightly knit little group of friends and
family, he has little use for the attentions of others.




He isnt usually a racist man, urged to ignore simple-minded things for
more logical approaches, but he hates all of Elven-kind (stories and
art and all things elf-related) with the deepest of passions due to
their natures and lack of regard for t he other races; something he
finds weak.  He has an unexpected soft spot for the weaker races such
as gnomes and kender, knowing that their strengths do not lie upon the
surface and are thus overlooked far too often.  He loves the innocent
nature o f the kender, finding them some of the only beings worthy of
trust.  This is somewhat odd since he has little patience for anyone
or thing other than lore and magic.

Once released from his master, he chose to travel with Arrin amongst
warriors and the sort, seeking to make himself stronger than his more
bookish brethren of the robes, however, which is how he became rather
fluent in the campspeak of the mercen aries.  Due to his brothers
light heart though, a rift was driven between them and now they make
their separate ways here in Karthay.  Hes never been without him
before but he feels that he shouldnt be alive if he must rely on the
kindness of other s.  Hating to owe people, he always makes good on
his end of the bargain, even if his end doesnt equal what they
expected, and he never makes a promise he cant keep.


Now he is alone and seeking the power he always wanted and will stop
at nothing to gain, hoping that it might be able to soothe the
terrible storm brewing within him.  Little does he know that the
strings of destiny were pulling upon them all or t hat he would soon
be faced with a difficult and trying quest...

...  But somewhere inside he is still human.  He still has something
related to a heart.  Will it be his greatest strength or the bringer
of his doom?  

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Fri Sep 21 16:45:41 2007
Subject     Journals (Pt 1)

Written just off the streets of Palanhas around lunch time...

Day of Luindai, 28th the Month of Hiddumount, Year 389 Post Cataclysm

There was something about this morning that struck me as odd.  It
wasnt the Moons that woke me in an urgent sweat but something else
entirely.  It was a dream.  There were two paths before me, both of
which I knew I must walk.  I couldnt walk upon o ne without also
walking the other, but I could only choose the destination of one. 
These cryptic dreams are becoming much more frequent and I know not
why.

The mage, Newally, might have something to do with it for these
frequent dreams have grown in depth and lucidity ever since our
meeting.  I trust him only as far as I know him.  He is a young one as
am I but his heart lies in things I have very lit tle use for. 
Friendship is useful but the rate of betrayal can rise beyond lethal. 
A friend will always betray you, it just matters how badly he does so.

Fear not the long blades that scream for your blood, but rather the
short blades that silently stand by your sideTo end this entry I will
simply remind myself of this and push myself further to strengthen
myself against the most dangerous sort of weapon out there.

Trust.

What, after all, can save you from something of your own devising but
the simple act that you know you hold the blade to your own throat? 
My brother couldnt see such things and thus we have split ways.  In
some moments I think of him and hope he h as been able to survive in
these dark times.  Not everyone is as good and simple-minded as he.  I
feel he will be the victim in this all, taken advantage of by his
peers and...  Friends...

I know these things, but to me he seems no more than a simple fool to
be used as a tool.  One can never afford to discount a good tool or
its uses, no matter what it may be, but...  

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Fri Sep 21 18:05:37 2007
Subject     Journals (Pt 2)

Day of Gileadai, 34th of the Month of Hiddumont, Year 389 Post
Cataclysm

The path to the right had lead towards the conclave, as all young
mages such as I; but the second one lead to Sanction.  Im traveling
even more now that the dreams had continued to plague me and to find
the tower, should the Conclave find me worth y.  I wasnt sure what I
would find and Im still not sure if what I did find is the right thing
bu...  We must all take chances from time to time.

I met a man named Kailith upon the road that was of the Dragon Army
who only had one arm.  At first he was humorously defensive and even
pulled his weapon but I was able to bring him around to a peaceful
understanding.  One has to wonder at the way people see mages across
Krynn...  I was invited to the camp but I do not know if I will go
there.  I must consider my actions and the possible results before I
continue down any path at all.  But the mages may call upon me and
then I must answer thei r call, for Wayreth finds you when it will. 
Until then I will remain here in the lands surrounding Neraka for I
have no other real choice as of the current situation.

I fail to see how this would be considered treasonous to the Order but
I should keep it silent nonetheless.  My colleagues would either see
it as a threat or something to further their own gain and I simply
wont have that. If they want something f or themselves, they will have
to work for it.  This is my destiny and I will see it through no
matter how dark the night may become for it may be the only way to get
what I want.


I hate dragons!  So then why am I even considering dealing with this
Kailith? Time will only tell and my patience begins as thin as a tiny
spider web. Should I find him anything less than useful I shall have
nothing to do with this entire ordeal, dreams or no dreams.  I must be
careful to remember that it is better to have a graveyard full of
possible enemies than one single living one.


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Wed Oct  3 03:58:15 2007
Subject     The Wyvern and the Wolf

 (This is a RP we did on 10/2/07)

Teague had been traveling hard for hours by the time hed reached the
inviting cool of the forest.  It was almost an hour later when hed
stumbled upon the half-dead man.  He searched him, of course, as he
considered what he would do with him, almost deciding to leave him to
his fate.  A twinge of something at the edge of his mind was the only
thing that set him to patching him up after dragging him to the small
camp hed made a little ways off.  He wasnt much good at it but it
would do almost deciding to leave him to his fate.  A twinge of
something at the edge of his mind was the only thing that set him to
patching him up after dragging him to the small camp hed made a little
ways off.  He wasnt much good at it but it would do, he figured, as he
set to stoking the fire and waited for him to wake, if indeed he ever
did...

It must of been hours after the man found him that Dante awoke. He
wakes with a start, sitting almost straight up. At first he looks
around, but he remembers he cant see anything and tilts his head. He
hurt all over and wanted to die.  "Hello?" He asked quietly, wincing
in pain as he shifted his weight.

Teague started as well as the injured man awoke, though his icy cool
expression never shifted.  Setting his tankard down at his feet he
almost didnt catch it bit his mind began to wrap around the fact that
this one couldnt see.  His soft voice floated across the flames
licking at the night air between them, Good eveningYou had quite an
adventure I see.Though you seem to be doing better now.  I wasnt sure
you would wake up at all.  His robes and mismatched armor chinked and
swished as he leaned forward to retrieve and offer the man a much
harder drink of whiskey from his flask.

Dante felt that the man who spoke to him was offering something and
slowly reaches out for it, wincing again as he moves. He took the
flask and sniffed it first, then helped himself to a long gulping
swig. He shuddered as he finished and offered it back.  To be honest
with you, I didnt think I was going to wake up either.

Teague let a smirk play at his lips as he took the flask from the
injured man, I suppose you were lucky I stumbled upon you.  Seems I
find myself in reckless company more and more these days.  You can
call me Teague, if you wish.  He let his eyes fall to the stew hed
come up with earlier in the evening, Hungry?  Ill supply dinner for
the price of the story that brought you to such a state.

Dante shook his head gently, the mention of food nauseating him for
some reason. Leaning back he clenched his teeth in pain.  "Thanks all
the same Teague, but I dont think I can eat right now. I am Dante." He
said as he closed his eyes, But I will, if you'd like tell you what
happened.

Teague let himself slouch just a bit as he reached down to close the
spell book hed been skimming through, setting it aside in his
traveling pack.  His voice betrayed his curiosity as he nodded his
head, I had to wonder all this time what brings a blind warrior to
these woods and nearly deaths door.  Please, enlighten me.  He lifted
the mug of spiced ale to his lips now, enjoying the taste as it warmed
his belly and tinted his cheeks a light shade of pink.

I wasnt always Blind...In fact that is apart of my story. Several Days
ago I was toying with some villagers, I had killed a few of them and
they chased me. But, my paws could carry me much faster than any of
them could go.  Dante said, laying a hand on his side and grunting
sourly. "It had been going well too, at least until I jumped over a
log and didnt see the hole on the other side. I fell into it and hit
my head and was knocked out. When I woke up, I was in a cave and was
blind.


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Wed Oct  3 04:21:36 2007
Subject     The Wyvern and the Wolf (Part 2)

 Teague couldnt help but interrupt, the mention of paws sticking out
 in his mind.  Your...  Paws?  Are you a mage of some sort?  He became
 painfully aware of the dagger he carried to his back, his fingers
 almost feeling out components should he find himself in the company
 of a renegade.  His voice barely betrayed his suspicion as he prodded
 his guest to explain, Im sorry but the idea is a little...  Difficult
 to wrap my head around, friend.

 Dante chuckled weakly, but the chuckling lead into a fit of coughing.
  He covered his mouth with his hand and when the fit was over, blood
 could be seen on his hand.  "Me...  A mage?  Thats funny.  No, no. 
 Im a warrior, what I have is a gift.  When i was younger, I found a
 pair of mages that said they could make it to where i can transform
 into a wolf.  They used magic to seal gauntlets to me, infusing the
 gauntlets with the magic.  But some few weeks ago, my queen decided I
 did not need the gauntlets.  So she removed them and infused the
 power into me.  I can transform into a wolf now when ever I want to. 
 But that is it.

 Teague let his smirk grow a bit more broad, as this intrigued him a
 bit further of course, My, my, very interesting indeed.  Ive heard of
 things such as that in my travels but never have I come face to face
 with its handiwork.  He mused over his mug for a moment, the
 firelight glittering in his deep green eyes, Your queen you say?

 Dante frowned gently before pushing himself back into a sitting
 position. "You sure ask a lot of questions, Teague.  One, is curious
 as to why that is."  He voiced quietly, raising an eye brow.  His
 hand moved down his leg to the dirk that was alway s there only to
 find that it wasnt there anymore; hed lost it in the cave.

 Teague chuckled softly before leaning in closer to the fire, his
 voice nearly a whisper over the crackling of the flames, That I do,
 Dante, that I do.  One in my line of work finds it most useful to ask
 of others. Knowledge is power, they say.  Teague chuckled softly
 before leaning in closer to the fire, his voice nearly a whisper over
 the crackling of the flames, That I do, Dante, that I do.  One in my
 line of work finds it most useful to ask of others.  Knowledge is
 power, they say.  He set the tankard down once more as his
 battle-hardened eyes caught the slight movement towards what appeared
 to be nothing.  A weapon lost, perhaps.  He felt by the reaction hed
 gotten that he already knew the answer to his question and so decided
 to go out on a limb.  Ah but our queen, she respects the resourceful,
 does she not?

 Dante breathed a bit easier at that.  He knew he was in no condition
 for a confrontation.  He nodded gently, relaxing his tensed muscles. 
 "Aye, that she does Teague.  That she does."  He falls silent, his
 teeth clenched tightly together as a spasm of pain wracked his body. 
 After a moment, he shudders and starts to speak again.  "I was lost
 in the cave for Several days...  At least I think so.  It could have
 been longer, or shorter.  Time means nothing to a blind man.  And I
 happened to find a way pain wracked his body.  After a moment, he
 shudders and starts to speak again.  "I was lost in the cave for
 Several days...  At least I think so.  It could have been longer, or
 shorter.  Time means nothing to a blind man.  And I happened to find
 a way out.  Only, the way was blocked by goblins...  A lot of them.

 Teague nodded though he knew the man couldnt see his action.  I can
 see how that would be a problem.  They did this to you then?  He
 wasnt a healer but it didnt take a fool to know that the wounds
 inflicted on this man had come from some serious force-driven blows. 
 No goblin could have wielded so much power but he preferred to play
 dumb when he could get away with it.  He used the technique to test
 people.  Those must have been some nasty goblins


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Wed Oct  3 04:34:01 2007
Subject     The Wyvern and the Wolf (Part 3)

Dante chuckled and shook his head.  "I killed the Goblin with ease
What came after that is what damn near killed me."  He said, grunting
again in pain and shifting his position gently.  "I was sitting there
wrapping a cut, when an ogre charged into the clearing.  He had a
massive hammer and shattered my sword in a single blow.  It went down
hill after that.  He picked me up and threw me across the room and
into a wall.  Then after I found a Halberd, he managed to land a blow
to my chest.

Teague raised an eyebrow.  Hed fought ogre before as well and they
were no picnic even with his vision intact.  This Dante must be a
formidable foe on the field, he recognized.  He would have to be much
more careful with him in the future.  Though they may have shared a
bit of interest in the Dark Queen, the two of them currently held no
alliance that he was aware of..  I see, by some fortune that you
felled the bastard...  Im no stranger to the brutes either.  The
distaste dripped fr from his voice like a quick poison, But what now? 
Youre in no shape to travel on your own, of that I am certain.

Dante nodded, frowning.  He honestly hadnt thought about that, and he
must have been too far for his Wolf Bound to hear him or they would of
already been there.  "I dont know...  I was hoping one of my Wolf
Bound, or one of the soldiers would have found me so they can take me
back..."  He stops himself from saying the last bit, not really
trusting the man.

Teague could almost feel Dantes apprehension as he passed before
revealing the destination hed been considering.  Hed have to probe for
information in a way that was a bit more sideways, it seemed. 
Soldiers?  What sort of soldiers exactly?  You dont strike me as a
knight so Ill have to guess that you fly with he dragons...  He
chuckled a bit at the thought, What a small world it is.  The greens
are such lovely creatures, dont you think?  He sighed a bit, reaching
up to push an unruly beaded braid back from his face. Stop me if Im
wrong, of course, but if Im not then...  Perhaps I can be of some
assistance...

Dante chuckles gently, a smile breaking across his face.  "I Was a
knight... At one time.  And dont get me wrong, but I dont fly. 
However...  It is a small world.  We seem to have alliances that lean
the same way, do we not? Perhaps you can be of assistance...  That is
if you are headed toward the Citadel...  If not then I will manage.

Teague matched the chuckle with his own quiet one, Yes I believe I am
going that way.  When Im away from Wayreth, I find myself residing
there.  Its a wonder that we havent seen each other in passing.  He
offered his new traveling companion the flask once more, willing to be
a bit more generous now that he knew he was in safer company.  Ive
been away for a bit and I found it time to report to Kailith once more
so it wouldnt be any trouble at all.  In numbers we find safety I
suppose.  He didnt find it odd to speak of the Highlord using his
first name; it was what hed always called him.  I dont either by the
wayFly that is.  But Id like to one day I think...  The trouble is
finding a willing dragon to be my mount.  They are rather picky I
fear.

Dante took the flask and another long swig from it, the strong whiskey
easing his pain somewhat.  He offered the flask back and nods to him. 
"You might have seen me around and didnt realize it.  Im usually in my
wolf form. I myself need to report to Kailith and see if he orders has
orders for me. But you're right, it is safer to travel in numbers than
it is alone.  Dante smiles gently, leaning back.  He felt some what
safer now that he knew the man was a part of the Dragonarmy.


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Wed Oct  3 04:37:11 2007
Subject     The Wyvern and the Wolf (Part 4...short)



Teague let the smirk fade into a slight smile as refused the flask and
set to breaking a bit of their camp.  You get some rest then and Ill
prepare for travel before I rest.  That way we can break camp early
and head upon our way.  It shouldnt take us more than a week to reach
the Kalkhists.  He dropped his voice off as he worked, his mind
splitting in a thousand directions or now.  He figured Dante had
slipped off to a night of restless sleep when he didnt reply and it
was probably for the best.  Hed have to ride Teagues horse to keep up
and it wouldnt be a pleasant experience with those wounds.  In no time
at all hed finished his job and joined the sleeping man by the fire,
wrapping himself in his cloak and settling in to a light sleep after
setting some alarms by spell...

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Wed Oct  3 05:46:17 2007
Subject     Bitter Roses for Ayasana

 Roses were beautiful and, just like her, they had thorns.  

He stood alone in someones chamber; not his own.  His fingers held tiny
crimson stones aloft as he muttered a few words, flicking his wrist deftly. 
They took flight multiplying and blanketing the bed and floor as a shower of
rose petals.  He stood there in silence for a moment, eyes closed and lips
curling into a satisfied smile.  He lingered a moment, letting the sweet
scent of her mingled with the roses light perfume.  Opening his eyes he took
in the sight of the place on last time.  

It was a womans room, Ayasanas room.  Or at least the one she would be
sleeping in tonight.  Hed used his most powerful scrying spells to find her.
She had never met him but he knew of her, fad looked upon her from afar
night after night.  He loved her as much as his distrusting and icy heart
would allow.  His figure shimmered as his strength and concentration began
to unravel.  

Seconds later the room in all its finery faded into his own chambers in the
Citadel.  The soft curtains became a heavy crimson barrier, the entire place
shifted into the cluttered quarters he had managed to commandeer.  He opened
his eyes, surrounded by half-burned candles and covered in a thin sheen of
sweat, he sat cross-legged in the center of the book and parchment-strewn
room.  His exhaustion, threatening to take him, he snuffed out the lights
and fell upon the bed, his thoughts on what she would do when she arrived to
find the roses all about...  

Was he crazy?  Perhaps a bit.  He frowned silently as he crossed his arms
beneath his head while laying flat on his back.  He could think of only one
cure for what ailed him and he wasnt quite ready for that just yet.  He
couldnt simply approach someone such as herself without thorough planning. 
Sleep made his eyelids heavy and urged him on into mostly peaceful slumber
as his thoughts struggled to keep on track.  There would be other times, he
knew, and tonight he would find himself quite incapable of considering it
with sound mind.  He gave in finally to the depths of his own haunted
dreams, her scent still drifting through his senses.  

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Fri Oct  5 05:43:50 2007
Subject     Love is gray

 The grim landscape of the Abyss was nothing to him as he stood upon the
edge of oblivion to catch a glimpse of her while she dreamed.  Hed come to
discover that her mind touched this place as she slept in one of his many
excursions.  Tonight, though the risk was great, he couldnt keep himself
from stealing away in hopes that he might steal a glance of her from the
Grey.  

He couldnt let something like simple danger keep him from her tonight; all
logic had been displaced by the need for a woman.  It was something he was
neither familiar nor wholly comfortable with.  Nonetheless, he was here,
watching and waiting from the highest point of the land, as nervous as he
could ever get.  

It wouldnt be long before he would see her, he surmised.  Even if it was a
while to wait, he would have done so willingly.  His talk with Dante earlier
in the evening had served to steel his nerves just enough to get him this
far at least.  If a blinded warrior could get back on his feet so quickly
and without visible fear, certainly he had the strength to confront as
simple a fear as a womans scorn.  He couldnt allow himself to be such an
embarrassment, even if he was the only one who knew of his secret shameful
uncertainties.  

By his side stood no one now, his strength lying in the fact that he didnt
need them in the first place.  This wasnt his childhood in Solanthus, it was
something far more mature and confusing.  He couldnt afford to act like a
blushing child in the face of this strong and capable woman.  He would have
to show his strengths or be the fool in her eyes forever.  That, he could
not bear to even consider.  

A stray braid fell in his face, urged there by a mild breeze that seemed to
originate somewhere around forever and he shook it away with a frown.  What
would he do if she could see him?  The thought had never occurred to him
until now and it served to weaken his resolve a bit.  He would have to deal
with that when the time came, he chastised himself.  Weakness got you
nothing and he wouldnt settle for that.  Though he couldnt place how or why
she had been able to catch his eye, he was trapped in her now.  

Something shifted in the distance and he pushed aside the thoughts for now. 
With a low wispy growl he began to stride down the hill with more purpose
than ever before.  He simply had to see her, no matter the consequences...  

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Mon Oct  8 02:15:29 2007
Subject     Into the light

 At last he had found her.  Down across the dim plains she danced across
his vision like a perfect statue, not a single thing disheveled in this
heavenly beauty she exuded.  Here her armor was nothing to the silken
shadows that caressed her skin as he would have liked to so many nights when
he had watched her in not so bold of a way.  Here her strength ebbed and
flowed, one with the world of nothing around her, in a way that made her
seem all the more precious to him.  She was all he could think of as he fell
short of her senses, all that he could ever want...  

But then something changed.  Her almost indifferent expression becoming
something suddenly acute and vigilant and then shifting into something
somewhat more like annoyance.  The time was too short for him; she had
sensed him watching perhaps.  Maybe some pathetic excuse for a servant had
disheveled her peaceful sleep, thus taking her from him so soon, so cruelly.
He cursed softly as she disappeared from view and the turned to make his way
back to his own physical prison within the Citadel.  It was getting more and
more inconvenient, his need to see her.  Soon he would either have to cast
such silliness aside or make himself known.  

His eyes opening, he looked down into the pool of bloody water before him
and decided to take a more personal look before returning to his usual daily
activities.  Closing his eyes once more and reaching out to caress the edges
of the bowl before him, he began to chant as images of her floated across
the liquids surface...  

She was just now leaving her room, down the halls towards what he didnt
know.  Quickly he learned that the location she had chosen was obviously a
study of sorts.  His lips curled at the right corner into an almost anxious
smile as he took in the room and her to the fullest.  His presence could
have been detected at any time by someone strong enough but danger was
almost nothing in comparison to his need.  He would have to find her soon,
not that he didnt know where she was but...  He would have to find himself
with her soon enough...  Something that seemed almost impossible to him at
the moment.  It was a worthy quest indeed though.  

He lingered perhaps a bit longer than he should have before allowing his
mind to return to his present form.  His mind racing with ideas of what he
should do.  His hand found its way to the crushed velvet bag at his side
containing a few tiny green dragon scales and the rose petals he had saved
rather than leave in her chambers.  Taking a single black moon shaped disk
and binding it to the bag he whispered words into it with a cheshire smile. 
It would take a day or so to reach her but he had all the patience of a
serpent laying in wait for its prey to wander too close.  

The messenger he chose was strong and well-paid, then sent off with urgency
to deliver said bag unto his love.  The words he had whispered would remain
a secret until her ears were present for it was a phrase meant only for her.
His soft voice, along with the vision of a tavern near the docks in
Sanction, would flow into her mind, once the bag had been opened of course,
to reveal himself in his usual enigmatic way.  

'...  I know you have sensed me near.  I mean you no harm; by the Moons I
swear it.  Please come to see me when Lunitari is full and at its full
height.  I await you in sanction...  I simply must see you...  I beg you
grace me with your presence.  ' 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Mon Dec 31 04:24:33 2007
Subject     Impatient Lovers Demand

 Ayasana...

Teague had been waiting for too long and his temperament was growing fouler
by the day. Hed been away from the Conclaves silent halls and the Citadels
many noises of war for what seemed like months but in fact had been little
over two weeks. He and Dante had first raised the tiny village that had
caused his comrade to lose his sight, leaving almost no one alive to tell
the terrible tale of their wrathful vengeance before making the rough trip
to Sanction. Hed hoped his love would be there waiting for him but there was
not even a single sign to be had of her precious passing.

It was because of this dreadful humor that he had been akin to accepting a
drink from a lovely young lady at the bar. It had been a terrible mistake
however. He learned just how awful it had been within minutes of her idle
chatter as his vision becan to blur and his head grew too heavy to hold up.
He recognized the drug almost immediately as the effects began to take their
toll upon him and he cursed with a low growl as he forced himself to his
feet. That was his second mistake of the evening.

You...Bi...

And then there was the floor rising up to meet him. In sanction, no one even
bothered to look twice when a black robe couldnt hold his liquor though. The
last thing he remembered was the beautiful but treacherous face looming over
him and then there was only darkness.

He awoke in a pen, his hands were bound by heavy shackles and he was gagged.
The scent of unclean bodies, illness, and the painfully dry taste of dust in
his throat assaulted him at once. It only took him seconds to realize hed
been stripped of his weapons and components and only seconds longer to fall
back to his last resort. 

He prayed...

---

About three days later hed returned to the bar and delivered a swift dose of
vengeance upon the sultry temptress that had sold him off to the highest
bidder. Looking down upon her charred remains he sighed and chuckled
bitterly. What a waste...

It was hard to believe and even harder to accept that he owed his freedom to
a random little Kender and her nimble little fingers. It was far easier to
think that Tahkisis and Nuitari had taken pity on him while still
maintaining some semblance of cruel humor. He silently thanked whoever or
whatever had been the cause and decided to be upon his way. If Ayasana had
indeed answered his call, he certainly had missed her during the unexpected
twist of fate that had seen him embarrassed in such a way.

It hardly took him any time at all to reach Neraka on the wind with a handy
fly spell though it was cold enough to make him reconsider twice. He would
not be turned away from his ultimate goal by a little snow however and thus
he pressed on despite his deep discomfort. With any luck she would be there
and he would not waste time with some petty and incompetent messenger this
time. This time he would go to her himself and he would not be turned
away...

His boots hit the cobbles of the road before her keep as the light that had
bent around his form to render him invisible faded to reveal his cloaked
form. He lifted his hand with but a single wave and a booming knock
resonated through the massive gates. Looking up his cloak fell back to
reveal his little-known identity, the insignia of a Sergeant of the Green
Dragonarmy at his shoulder and black robes beneath the armor pieced together
from his fallen foes. 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Mon Dec 31 07:42:02 2007
Subject     "It Takes Two to Raise a Village..." 

 His mind drifted as he stood there waiting for the guards and, more
importantly, Ayasana to acknowledge his arrival. It was a good time, of
victory and karma The villagers they had taken vengeance upon surely
deserved much worse but Dante had appeared to be pleased. In the end that
was all that mattered. Anyone who stood against them would have to be taught
the lesson of what consequences followed. He glowered about how late hed
been as images of their meeting were conjured into the forefront of his
mind. 

Dante stands by a tree out side of the citadel, his halberd in hand. There
is a White wolf sitting next to him and His Wolfbound were spread out behind
him. He wore his armor, what little he ever wore, and look like he was ready
for a fight. Where is he...He was supposed to be here 10 minutes ago." He
says growling softly as he adjusts the cloth wrapped around his eyes.

Teague had only momentarily returned from his little spying trip in time to
realize that he was late for meeting up with Dante. Vengeance, he heard, was
something best served cold but today it would be served as hot as the blood
they would spill. Standing up and absently donning his armor he made his way
back down the western tower towards the gate of the mighty citadel. It wasnt
long before he was making his way towards his comrade beneath the tree,
stuffing a small pouch within one o his many hidden pockets. He managed a
wry smile more for himself than the other man who wouldnt see it anyways.
His voice was a little airy and listless but he had more than enough juice
to plow a town up today. Forgive my tardiness, Dante. I was a little caught
up on some...Surveillance. 

Dante grins and nods. "I fully understand Teague." He says looking around to
the 5 men that stood behind him. "Meet my Wolfbound." The men incline their
head and their wolves do the same. "And my bondmate, Anaru." Grimly he
reaches to pet Anaru, but reaches in the wrong place, and she moves slightly
so his hand could find her. "Are you ready? Blood will spill tonight...Those
damned people will feel my...err our Wrath." 

Even if he couldnt see it, surely he felt the icy smile that graced the
young mages lips as he shook his head slowly. Your wrath, my friend, they
must feel your wrath. I am here to assert our dominance upon the land. They
attacked one of our own and thus, should see how we react when trifled with.
My emotions, for a job well done, should be removed, I feel...Until the job
is done. He reached out to clap him on the shoulder as he nodded to the
Wolfbound, Distractions can be fatal when dealing with magic, you see?. So
feel free to take credit for all of the wrath that you want. He chuckled
softly as he ran his fingers back through his wild hair. So...Where is this
place again?

Dante tilted his head gently and shrugged. "Im not for sure really. Ill have
to sniff it out." He says with a grin. "And if you'd like I will order one
or two of my WolfBound to make sure no one bothers you while you cast your
spells." Upon saying that, he seems to shrink into himself and shimmers into
his wolf form. Lifting his head he sniffs at the air, taking long deep
breaths. Nodding with satisfaction, he finds the scent. "We go this way." he
says padding off toward the south. Its not a very big town...But big enough
to have fun with." He says, as he sniffs the air more and follows the scent
trail. 

Overly glad his comrade was more worried with the task at hand than the
reasons hed been so terribly late, Teague simply shrugged and followed the
wolfish one as he tracked their quarry. His mind was split in two this
evening, between his friends vengeance and the woman hed regrettably left to
herself in Neraka, but he figured he would be fie without the guard Dante
offered. He waved it away with a wry smirk, I dont think Ill need a personal
guard then, friend. The effort 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Mon Dec 31 07:51:54 2007
Subject     "It Takes Two to Raise a Village..." (cont.)

 The effort is admirable but I fair relatively well toe to toe if I must
find myself there. He chuckled softly and paused a braid back behind his
ear. Small or not, though, we should still be careful. A man defending his
home can be far more dangerous than a paid soldier sometimes. 

Dante chuckles gently and pauses for a moment, intently sniffing the air.
Grimly he starts to move again, his paws making little noise on the leaves
and underbrush. "Aye...but then again...My Wolfbound and I don't get paid.
We fight to Kill..and for the glory of Takhisis." His shoulders shrug gently
and he hops up onto a dead log. "We are close to where i fell...Ive been on
this log before." He says quietly, then sighs. "let us move on." He hops
down and trots toward the scent of the village. His Wolfbound were ranging
out on either side of Him and they moved almost silently.

Always the paranoid sort, Teague muttered a few words of indistinguishable
mystic gibberish and his eyes glowed blue at the flick of a wrist. Just in
case there were more than townsfolk in these woods, they wouldnt be getting
an invisible drop on them any time soon. He had learned early on that the
most simplistic of spells could come in handy if only one bothered to use
them. Nodding at Dantes retort and findings he followed a bit more closely
now, his voice dropping to an even more hushed tone than normal, Alright, I
know...One cant ever be too careful you know. He wasnt usually the cautious
type, which revealed his temporary uneasiness brought on by the current
dealings he looked forward to having with the woman hed been entranced by.
...Not like Im worried about some silly townspeople too horribly much... He
quickly added in an almost absentminded tone.

Dante shimmers into his human form and crouches low next to a tree. The
smell of smoke is in the air and the sound of a festival is heard. "We are
close Teague. Do you wish for me to order one of my men to keep anyone away
from you so you can cast your magic?" Dante asks, holding his halberd low.
His ears and nose twitch as he starts to growl lowly. A great anger was
building up in him for some reason. The villagers had nothing to do with
Dante's blindness but he thought he would feel better after he had killed a
few dozen people. 

Teague nodded absently to the offer Dante suggested, I suppose it would e a
good idea to cover the mage in any case, eh? His attention to their
conversation had been somewhat diverted by the low rumbling storm that had
been gathering within his comrade as they had made their way thus far. Anger
could grant you strength that you had never dreamed of but it could also
blind you in ways that Dante wasnt plagued with quite yet. He wouldnt
mention it but hed be certain to keep an eye on him just in case. It wasnt
likely that the townsfolk would put up much of a fight once theyd been
stricken with the fury of both his storm and Dantes blade though. His voice
was no more than a hiss as he found himself just behind his friends
shoulder, Say the word and Ill stir them up a bit before we rush in... A
hint of excitement was becoming apparent in his voice now. Hed been itching
for a chance to stretch his wings since hed been put under the smothering
tutelage of Mistress Maire, and now he was finally getting a chance to do
just that. The adrenaline was already coursing through him and his fingers
twitched as he tapped at the many-pocketed belts that hung loosely about his
waist. 

Dante grins bleakly as he motions for one his WolfBound to stay by Teague's
side. With a curt nod, a man with long black hair and a grey wolf move to
stand on either side of Teague. "By all means my friend...stir them up." He
says flexing his shoulders and arms, his lips curling backward to form a
wolf-like snarl. Tonight...would be good for him. He has needed this for
quite some time and its only right for those who had been after him that
night to die. 


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Mon Dec 31 07:59:21 2007
Subject     "It Takes Two to Raise a Village..." (cont. 2)


The idea of their confusion rising up before them was almost more than
Teague could bear. Withdrawing a pinch of silver dust from one of his
many pockets he closed his eyes and drew in a slow and measured
breath. His soft voice took on an odd tone as his gibberish-sounding
chant began to rise from within his throat. The wind picked up around
them as his hands worked, outstretched towards the sky. The low rumble
of thunder and the scent of rain fell heavily upon them as a bolt of
lightning struck dangerously close to them. Unaware of the lightning,
it seemed, he pulled yet another unidentified bit of something from
yet another pocket and began to call a strong smoky mist from the
ground around them as the storm struck the area with a startling
ferocity. A silver rod was the last piece of the puzzle to be placed
before he would be satisfied. Using it, he called the lightning into
the village, striking their meager hovels as well as the scurrying
villagers at random. His head felt light and the world around him spun
with a mix of fatigue and excitement but he shook it off with an
almost dreamy expression upon his face. His lips curled into a smirk
as he nodded to Dante, The scene is set for this great tragedy,
friend. Have your fill and I shall be right behind you. He chuckled
quietly as the chaos within the village grew, I hope you dont mind
getting wet.

Dante laughs evilly as he moves forward. "Of course not My Friend!
Just dont hit us with lightning." He calls to Teague before
disappearing into the mist. The WolfBound fade into the mist also, all
save for the man and the wolf who stayed by Teagues side. The village
was already in chaos from Teague and the sudden appearance of Dante
and his ghost like WolfBound did little but to make the chaos worse.
Soon, Dante was covered in blood, holding his dripping halberd in his
hands. He lifts his head and laughs, then moves on to the next Victim.
His WolfBound killed as mercilessly as he did and once, when a few of
the villagers got too close to Teague, the Man and his wolf attacked
with brutal force. The town was doomed...

Teague took a moment to gather himself after Dante and his wolfboud
had made their way into the village. He was almost as ghost-like as
they had been with his dark robes fluttering in the storm and the
wispy mist pooling about his form. He sighed to think of what would be
left of this place once the sun had risen. He lifted his hand to send
a bolt hurtling into one of the villagers as they passed by in a panic
and smiled cruelly as a few who were brave enough to find themselves
close to him fell with ease, their blood spattering across his robe
and face to make him seem even more sinister that he was. This was a
good night, he decided as he made his way into the center of the
settlement. He chuckled softly as he sent another bolt into a woman
who had been trying to shield her child from the carnage around them
and let his expression dim a little. He wouldnt kill a child for any
reason so he passed him up, shooting a glance at the man who guarded
him that spoke of many terrible things that would occur if he decided
to deal with the cowering boy himself. Without another word he turned
his back upon the small one and continued with their plan, sparing
only those who were too young to fight for themselves.

Dante's cackles echo through the village as he moves toward the man
and boy Teague passed. He absently kills the man, whos blood sprays
all over the boy. With a grim look, he raises his halberd to kill the
child, only the child runs off before he can finish the strike. He
shrugs and turns, his nose and ears searching for another innocent.
Only finding none, He howls deeply calling his WolfBound to him.
"Search the area. Kill any survivors." He gives them the short harsh
order, and they nod, disappearing once again. Dante wipes his face
with his forearm, only smearing the blood worse on his face.

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Mon Dec 31 08:05:11 2007
Subject     "It Takes Two to Raise a Village..." (cont. 3)

 The rush of the slaughter was probably the only thing holding him up by
the time things settled down and Dante gave his order to kill the remaining
survivors. He would have argued for the lives of the young ones of this poor
village if he hadnt been about to pass out. He was leaning heavily upon his
assigned protector by the time the rest of the Wolfbound had dispersed into
the now fading mists to do Dantes bidding. Managing a weak smile he pulled
himself away from the dark haired man to stand on the last bit of strength
hed managed to save. He was always just nearly outdoing himself these days
it seemed. Clapping his comrade on the back a lot lighter than he usually
did, he chuckled softly, I may have almost overdone it again I see. Do you
feel any satisfaction from this thus far, then? It was a lot quicker than I
anticipated but I think it was for the best since Ive got to learn some
restraint...

---

And then it was gone. His mind returned to the present task at hand only
seconds after he'd let it slip away. It was good to remember the lessons of
your victories and losses but only at appropriate times. He had a feeling
the last battle they had fought would do little to nothing useful as for
what lay ahead... 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Mon Dec 31 08:57:02 2007
Subject     Journals (Part 3)

 Day of Luindai, 14th of Hrarmont 

It came to my attention that I dont quite know everything yet today when I
stumbled upon the scene of a floating citadel. It was more by curiositys
urging than the need to attend the one known as Kailith, though it seemed to
him that I had come to answer the questions he had lay before me when we
first met. Answers I have found, indeed, but answers only breed more
questions, sadly. I couldnt have ignored the suging energies or the quaking
ground any more than the next person, though. I simply had to see what it
was and now...

And now I find myself wondering just what I might have gotten myself into in
the first place. I feel that it was meant to happen this way, however. I
needed it to happen this way or else I may never have truly seen what was
going on here even as I write these words. I need to consider my actions and
hope that the Gods take pity on one who only seeks to better himself and the
world he lives in. The Conclave may not be so forgiving though, as they lack
the divinity of understanding as a whole. It isnt pity I seek nor is it
truly understanding though...

And so I find myself waiting for the Conclave to call upon me to take my
test, not sure what I will tell them when I stand before them but never
having to consider my true loyalties; not even for a second. Will I succeed
in making myself stronger under the watch of the Conclave, or will they turn
me away in fear of my plans, which they dont even have a clue about? Who
knows what they do and dont know really, but my secrets are mine alone and
even my brother never knew my true intensions...

The sulfurous air of Sanction weighs heavily upon me tonight and I must
bring this to a close. Tomorrow finds me elsewhere and in much better
spirits, I pray. 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Mon Dec 31 09:03:28 2007
Subject     Journals (Part 4)

 Day of Manthus, 10th of Phoenix 

I have met with the Dragon Army and I have met with the Mage known as Lord
Snefru, head of the Order of Red Robes, and it seems that my dangerous
mission might be over before I know it. The two sides wish to keep off each
others toes but their goals are muddled with self-interest, as usual. I
cannot say if the rogue mages of the Dragon Army will be allowed to come to
the Orders for testing, but if they do it will only serve to complicate
things more for the Reds leader, who also holds stakes in the Elven Nations.


If they do not, there will be complications all over the place. For me at
least...

I could care less, actually. If they are allowed to test then I will
continue to be of use in my not quite as dangerous as they think missions,
but if they are then I can openly be proclaimed a mage and have my renegade
status revoked. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult life must be for
those who pursue magic alone in this world but I can say that Im relieved
that it will only be a little longer for me to take this difficult trial. 

With any luck, I will have found a way to greatly better myself in this well
before it is over. Kailith and the Orders could both be irreplaceable allies
in the future as I strive towards my personal goals, whatever they may
become. We must always be vigilant in the search for strength and knowledge,
no matter the cost. 

I am unable to voice the specifics of my plans or recent actions due to the
seriously sensitive nature of that which would be enclosed here if I did. I
feel it would not only endanger my work but possibly even my very life.
Nonetheless, I will continue my work without further hesitation, for I must
know what the future holds or me in relation to these vivid and disturbing
dreams... 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Mon Dec 31 09:10:42 2007
Subject     Journals (Part 5)

 Day of Gileadai, 20th of Mishamont 

Well I certainly have to say that the people Ive chosen to involve myself
with are some of the most untrusting sort that I have met thus far. This is
both a good thing, for it means they are far from stupid, and annoying, for
it means I have to work all the more to see things go my way. I have no
reason to bring down either group, though it could be said that I have no
reason to elevate them either. The two do just fine at that on their own and
need little if any aid from me to accomplish that.

I met with several people along the way to gathering the information I was
set to find this time. I must regretfully report that Newally, the young
mage I mentioned earlier, has been greatly surpassed by me and though I feel
the urge to aid him from time to time, I gain nothing from associating with
him as I once did. The warrior Shronius, of Ergoth, was rather amusing
however. His arrogance alone could melt the walls of Palanthas to the
ground. He claims to be the greatest warrior in all of Krynn, but when
confronted by me as a liar, he simply turned and left my presence. I know
not what to think of him as of now but I plan to consider the matter further
in the future. I took to traveling with a mage bent on the Red Order named
Aligor for a while and I must admit I have grown a bit fond of her and her
straight forward ways. I appreciate knowing what to expect from the people I
affiliate with far more than their skill.

I was able to come across a missive just outside Solanthus that spoke of an
attack on Thelgaard Keep from a secret pass through the Garnet Mountains.
Kailith tells me it is ancient but it may still have its uses though
Tarantel believes it to be a plant. Hes a wise man to think so and I have
confirmed his suspicions against Snefru, who is withholding pertinent
information from him. I dont believe it is my job to settle their
differences but the fate of the Order is of great concern to me. It is
disturbing that my information has not gone to as much use as I expected it
to. Now that the fog has been cleared from the Whites eyes I feel that that
will change soon though. 

My personal advice to myself is to remember the young woman in Sanction, who
got the better of me through use of her feminine charms, though. I would do
well to remember the occasion when faced with a beautiful face and a mug of
ale in the future. I was drugged and awoke to the inside of the slave
market, much to my dismay. If it hadnt been for the helpful Kender known as
Miranda, I would still be there now...Or worse. I owe her a favor now, which
I am glad to repay. The honor of the Solamnics seems to be upheld in my word
even to this day, which is why I seldom give it, I assume.

Tonight I leave to examine this hidden path through the Garnet Mounains and
to investigate the state of Thelgaard, though I know no attack is eminent.
It could be useful to know of such a pass, especially if Kailith does not
know of it. It could do either side some good to hold such a place. The
Order probably cares very little for the pass but the Elves might enjoy the
knowledge of its existence, even if the Dragon Armies gain hold of it first.
The next few days should be interesting at least. 

Speaking of interesting, my brother, Arrin, has emerged from the home of our
parents to once again seek his fortune though he is not yet a knight. I
sense this will bring only more of a rift between us if he seeks to involve
himself with me once more. I truly love the poor sod but his morals are
upheld in the Code of the Solamnic Knights and our views on the world are
extremely different. If he seeks to stop me from reaching my goals, I know
not what I will be forced to do... 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Thu Jan  3 08:11:08 2008
Subject     Journals (Part 6)

 Day of Nuindai, 22nd of Mishamont 

(The handwriting is shaky and hesitant) 

I remember...

...Green grass...Rolling plains...Mother...That bastard...

Why have I come back here? I was supposed to go to Thelgaard but...It was so
close...I couldn't resist...

My home was once here and, though the walls still stand and my family still
lives... I can no longer call this place my home. He saw to that. My father,
the fool, refused to see my potential as anything but a practice dummy for a
beating stick. These were the worst days of my life and I hate them all.
Anything that reminds me of them. She loved me, yes, but did she stop him? 

Of course not. What could she have done? Who would have believed that the
chivalrous Kight of the Crown was anything but pious and kind?

Theyre filth. All of them... 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Thu Jan  3 08:16:23 2008
Subject     Journals (Part 7)

 Day of Boreadai, 12th of Bran 

Well this certainly isnt what I expected but I cannot, regretfully, I cannot
even mention the details of what has transpired. Not even in this, my most
private of journals. Let this serve as a reminder meant only for myself,
should I need to review my past actions. Let us just say I am displeased
with the way things have turned out. 

I have been driven, by the state of the Orders, to prayer. I know not what
it is that I could do to make things right but I begged the Moons to send me
both the guidance to do something along with the wisdom to receive said
aforementioned thing. I can only hope it isnt too late to change things for
the better. As it is now, I can see that the Elves have taken a bit more
priority in the eyes of the Conclave as far as the war and politics go.
Theyve even gone so far as to directly involve themselves in taking lands
recently procured by these roving mercenaries I hear of. 

I can think of far more pressing for the Order to deal with then this petty
war. 

Regardless, I have not forgotten the true purpose we have been placed on
this land to see dealt with. The magic, of course. What else is worthy of
those capable of wielding such power?

Forget the fact that Krynn is crumbling around us. We were before the
Cataclysm and thus we shall be here even if another does call upon the land
via Mans stupidity and pride. But I see too clearly now that one neednt be a
Kingpriest to call such ruin upon themselves, for I watch it in my comrades
every day. It is only a matter of time before those around me destroy
themselves and I, I shall be here to pick up the shattered remnants of what
is left. 

Perhaps I am simply frustrated, but with good cause! I shall lay my head
down here in Sanction this evening, to dream of what may come. Until next
time... 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Thu Jan  3 08:21:26 2008
Subject     Journals (Part 8)

 Day of Nuindai, 22nd of Bran 

I had another dream last night. It was about my mother in Solanthus. I dont
yet know why my mind has wandered to such times and places in the midst of
such turmoil but it is disturbing to me in a way. Usually my mind does not
wander to that dismal place of chivalry and wealth, preferring to leave the
past in the past, where it belongs. I find lately though my mind has been
loosed to meander where it will. I can only assume it is due to the moderate
amount of stress caused by my current predicament. One cannot complain of
the laying in the bed they made for themselves however. 

There is something about my predicament that I can speak of though. I am
concerned and alarmed that I have been operating under the Orders for so
long without a master to learn from. I have learned much from Tarantel and
Snefru (mostly from Tarantel) but I fear it is not enough. Is there some
reason that they are trying to cripple my learning process or are they truly
that disorganized? Perhaps it is arrogant to presume that they are actively
trying to keep me from obtaining more knowledge, as if I may be too advanced
already or simply too dangerous. Whatever the case, it needs to be looked
into. 

Which brings me to consider my second query...

I requested that Lord Tarantel reflect on being my master for the time being
for, though we do not come eye to eye on the ways of the world or magic, I
have come to respect him as a mage. He outright refused me in a brisk but
polite manner though, insisting that he no longer took black robed oriented
apprentices. I was able to glean from him that something painful had
happened in his past dealing with the mentioned situation but nothing more.
What could have happened to him, or his apprentice, to make him deny me in
such a manner? Im more intrigued and disappointed than I am angered with his
decision but...

Perhaps it is my insatiable curiosity that fuels me to seek these answers
rather than the sting of being spurned. I must reflect upon this subject
further. 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Thu Jan  3 08:28:18 2008
Subject     Journals (Part 9)

 Day of Gileadai, 34th of the Month of Phoenix 

It has been quite some time since Ive had the mind to write all of this
down. 

Ive been weary from my travels and the seeking of the knowledge that I will
need to pass my Test, should it eventually come. I have traveled the face of
Krynn by sea and foot, by Gnomish contraption and by dragon. Yes, by dragon.
At one point along my journey I had the honor of being graced by the company
of a young green whom I call Silk. Shes been, perhaps, my greatest asset and
ally in these war ravaged times. Shes contrary and moody, insisting upon
many things but I, enjoying her company and aid, have been moved to give to
her those few things she seeks. 

Along with her I have taken to the company of a young man named Omar, an
Ogre-blooded sea dog of wily nature, who has aided me as much as I have
aided him. Recently I have seen him join the ranks of the Order as an
apprentice much to many folks surprise. It isnt often that one of his
interesting lineages chooses to take such a structured path. Nonetheless, I
see him going places in the future and am glad to have been a part of his
story. There was another, whom I met within the crowded hall of The Inn of
the Last Home, his name is Tellumaelonor. Hes a young man not much younger
than I whom shows great promise in the arts though I fear he might also find
great aggravation in his search for power. He is a bit nave, yes, but in
time that will change. Though not his master, I find myself drawn to aid him
in any way I can and, if the Gods permit, someday I could be his Master on
the path of the black robe. We shall have to wait and see, however...

As for my current relations with the Orders, I find them strained at best.
Both sides that I play have little reason to fully trust me and they would
be fools to let me continue on unchecked. Solinari himself has become
alarmed by my recent endeavors and I have no reason to blame him, though I
wonder what the actions of one lowly mage truly mean to a God such as
himself. This too, will more than likely come to surface soon, I pray and
fear. 

As for my master, Maire, I find her both arrogant and worthy of contempt.
She makes to tell me to seek my own way for the path I have chosen but finds
the time to lecture me on my methods time and time again. I do not
understand why she finds no capacity to understand my growing distaste for
my more scholarly minded brothers. If it is the way I choose and it brings
me to my death, so be it. She herself is a n aggravating conundrum to me,
for she seems to hold great knowledge but very little common sense. I must
also wonder what sort of creature would willingly betray a God for another
on such a simple thing as blood. Time shall tell. 

It also worries me that, with the other side, things will soon be growing
unstable, if only momentarily. I am not at liberty to discuss such things
here in my journal for fear that it might be read by someone who would use
it for reasons I would deem unsatisfactory though. 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Sat Jan  5 03:51:17 2008
Subject     Impatience...No Longer Denied?

 Teague waited there at the gate for about as long as his pride would
allow but, just before he was about to think of acting, he was miraculously
given entrance. With a sigh that was burdened heavily with fatigue and
impatience, he entered at the beckoning of what he assumed was something of
a servant. He took a moment to let his eyes fall upon the city of Neraka,
far behind him now, before turning to face the most terrifying and
enthralling creature he had ever dared to lay eyes upon.

Making his way into grounds he noticed the common everyday bustle of
servants, pages, and the like headed this way or that on some errand or
such. He didnt pay them much mind though. What he did pay much mind to was
the guards, apparent exits, and the heavily fortified gate that had just
been barred behind him. He couldnt help but remind himself that this single
action could be the worst decision he ever made. He quickly steeled his
nerve with the refutation that it could very well be the best one just as
easily.

The hall he had been lead to in this great leviathan house of marble and
copper was a spacious one with a somewhat less militant feel to it. It did
little to put him at ease but it was a nice gesture, none the less. Either
way he wouldnt have ever allowed his nervousness to show beyond the
slightest hint. Though, he assumed that the attempt made here was one of
comfort for receiving, her martial nature permeated even the warmly lit
walls here. He had to smile as he stepped up to the crackling fire to await
her presence where, he couldnt help but take the time to allow the bitter
cold of the Kalkhists to slowly seep from his joints. He glowered down into
the flames as his minds voice chirped on with a thousand o more famous
quotes about how the path of a warrior could make one grow old early.

He had to whole-heartedly agree with himself just this moment but he thought
on it no more past that moment for her image had been conjured into the
place of those heavier thoughts. He brought up into his minds eye, that
perfect form and warrior stance, both petite and still as dangerous as a
lioness protecting her young. That, along with her ebony hair, cascading
down to frame her beautiful but perilous eyes of slate, was enough to drive
him near madness. He couldnt have ever dreamed there would be a woman such
as she.

His thoughts were interrupted and, regrettably, he allowed the image to
fade. There were footfalls near and he could only hope that something much
better than memories and scryed images would be before him soon... 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Sun Jan  6 16:37:53 2008
Subject     Oh Must I?

The early morning was terrible in these mountains but Teague didnt notice
much as he trudged down from the West. He would have liked to have gone
straight to the Manor of Ayasana but he had his duties to uphold and that
was something he didnt take lightly. He let a grin play upon his lips as he
strode into the camp of Luerk, news of the Goblins to the west rolled up and
tucked into his inner shirt. Hed probably stay a bit and then be on his way
but first things first, he thought as he grabbed a nearby guard as he
entered and told him to announce him to the Captain in a somewhat less than
polite manner.

Luerk, visible annoyed, only allowed himself the slightly acknowledgement of
his saluting guard. He remained as he was, seated at over his maps, a while
longer. The newly arrived messenger could wait and settle his pride before
he would show. Sighing loudly, Luerk lifted himself from his low table.
Nodding to the guard, he dismissed him and prepared his cloak for the
mourning chill. "Dismissed soldier. See that the messenger is escorted
outside my tent; have him wait in the cold a bit longer." Luerk smirked,
being was a man of little patience.

Teague, disgruntled by the wait, made his way inside. Hed never been made to
wait for Kailith before and he wasnt in the mood to start now. Hed almost
walked right on in, and if the soldier hadnt come out finally, he would
have. It was just the way he dealt with people. But his grin slowly faded
into a grimace when he was told to wait. Growling under his breath,
something hed picked up from being around Dante too long, he strode in
without a word and barely a salute. As long as he could remember he had only
saluted Kailith and he didnt know this man or his worth. Looking him over he
thrust the papers to the desk and chuckled grimly. There are your Goblins,
sir. It was like a needle in a haystack but their position is marked
clearly. If you wish... His dry tone was an indication of the last shred of
patience he had left, ...I will give you a full report.

Luerk had only managed to throw the cloak around his shoulders, but refusing
to give into the insolent soldier's demanding nature. He slowly did the
clasp and adjusted the cloaks position. Soldier, it pains me to remind you
that I hold rank over yourself. It would do well for you to follow orders,
salute properly and wait until spoken to. Luerk slowly turned, looking over
the man with a lazy glance. He reached for the papers, but did not look over
them. "Finish your report then, soldier."

It was everything Teague could do to keep the scowl off of his face as Luerk
intentionally stalled him and added to the annoyance factor with chiding.
Forgive my shortness...The Kalkhists have a way of wearing on ones
temperament... He managed a proper salute through the venom dripping from
his tongue before continuing, Their supplies and weaponry are minimal though
there numbers are a bit more than we expected. There are several tiny passes
you could use leading to their camp as Ive marked here. Im not opposed to
showing a few the way either. It was obvious he didnt have the highest
esteem for the meat of their army though he didnt say why. It wasnt like him
to offer opinions and small talk during business though.

Luerk nods once before looking over the papers in his hands. The cold makes
his hands thin and stiff, so he only briefly scans the maps. "These are
Colonel Kevril's reports if I read the writing properly. Have we confirmed
hostilities?" Goblins and their kin once served with the Dragon Armies if I
am to remember my history lessons." Luerk places the papers upon his desk,
wonder if a side excursion would be worthwhile, perhaps to blood his troops.
Luerk was disgusted with the forces Lord Saige had placed under his command,
or at least he had been. They were sloppy, unruly and sorely undisciplined.
But the Blackwood Contingent has come a long way, solely due to Luerk's
unbending will. 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Sun Jan  6 16:42:56 2008
Subject     Oh Must I? (Part 2)

Even if he was disgusted with them, they were his troops, and few should
dare to show contempt. The insolent messenger showed contempt. Too much.
"Soldier, what is your name and rank?"

Teague simply nodded, his mood calming to a low smolder, Yes you are right
on both accounts, Sir. He shifted, not sure how much longer he would be
needed here and hoping he wouldnt be needed to lead them through the pass. I
would consider that a safe bet, Sir, if they were stronger beings it would
be even more worth the time. He didnt have a high opinion of Luerk just now
but his opinion of goblins was much lower. He had half expected to earn the
Captains ire but his asking his name and rank was a little surprising. He
couldnt remember the last time hed been asked that. With an almost inaudible
sigh, he relented however. He was rebellious, yes, but never would he go
that far, Sergeant Teague Morag-Vaughn, sir. The name tasted even worse than
this contingent looked. It bore nothing but the eternal annoyance of his
lofty Solamnic family, whom he had been ashamed of for far too long.

"Your opinion is duly noted Sergeant Morag-Vaughn, thank you. However, if
you dare to toss your contempt and pride in my presence again, I assure you
that it'll be the last time you speak." Luerk glares at the messenger, his
lips turning into a sneer. It is your attitude, and similar conspirators
that will be the end of his army. And unless you've devoted yourself
completely, it is the Dark Queen's ire you will risk, not mine. And I
daresay she'd rather enjoy Solamnic blood to spill." Luerk snickers as he
continues. "Your report has been filed Sergeant Morag-Vaughn, you are
dismissed. You are welcome to stay and eat your fill of the stew. I assure
the cook is quite capable. If you so require, a cot will be assigned to you,
though I dare suppose you'll find better within the walls." Luerk salutes,
expecting the messenger to disembark quickly. Pondering to himself, he
wonders if the man deserves a bed tonight. But, he supposed, that would be
quite rude though he couldnt resist a snicker to himself.

Teague nodded, not feeling a retort was appropriate. Your hospitality is
kindly looked upon, Captain, But I seek the Manor well above us before I
rest tonight. Good luck. With that, he managed a proper salute and made his
quickly into the morning... 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Fri Jan 11 16:24:31 2008
Subject     Black Roses in the Lilies.

 Luerk paced the length of his large tent, finding that even though he
had plenty of room to stalk, the edges of the canvas arrived too soon before
him. He raged within, though he allowed himself only a sever sneer. The
recent breach in security troubled him, "A solamnic loose, under my watch!"
he fumed, pacing faster. Luerk had captured and detained the knight himself,
he was positive his arrangements were complete. The knight had help, an
accomplice maybe? Luerk's mind raced, running through his mental catalogue
of his troops. "No, no." He thought, "No simple soldier posses the
capability to undo my art." Luerk had set for the Sergeant stationed in
Neraka, but his patience was beginning to wear thin.

Teauge was in a much better mood today than the last time they had met up.
Of course, hed been on his way to deliver his own letter of intent to court
the lovely Ayasana and thus had been much more stressed out while giving his
report. The truth was, hed been more than a bit insulted by being treated as
a mere soldier. It was a shock to him, having Kailith gone, even though it
had been some time since he stepped down from Highlord. The snow was falling
steadily as he made his way into the camp on horseback this time. Slipping
from the saddle and tossing the reigns to a lone soldier in his wake, he
made his way towards the man ho had summoned him here with a decent mood
upon him despite their earlier misunderstandings. He stopped outside once
more but now up to his ankles in the icy white precipitation and announced
himself to Captain Luerks guard. He would have an easier time of playing the
patience game this time, he hoped.

Luerk immediately ceased his pacing at the announcement of his request
guest. He had heard the crunch of the horse's hooves long before, but only
now he attempted to master himself. The sergeant himself was a prime
suspect, and if found guilty, Luerk would show no mercy. "Enter Sergeant"
Luerk called, gripping his fingers together, cracking his joints loudly.
Luerk forced his rage into a smolder, but the fire was evident in his eyes.
No man, woman, elf or monster would cross him, or at least live to boast
about it.

Teague could hear the aggravation in Luerks voice as he was beckoned to
enter and wondered what hed done now as he slipped through the tents flap.
He had no idea what was going on but he took a slow soft breath to keep his
temper down. He entered and saluted in his still clumsy manner, forgetting
to remain silent until he was spoken to. You sent for me, Captain? Forgive
the time it took but the main pass is getting a little rugged, not to
mention the smaller ones. He took the moment to take in Luerk fully as he
spoke, the fury and fatigue from the recent event showed themselves to him
as if he were looking at a painting though it would have been difficult for
a simple soldier to pick up on.

Growling, Luerk gritted his teeth before attempting to make coherent sound.
"It may...surprise you to hear that our Solamnic prisoner has escaped."
Luerk grasped his right shoulder, where the knight had left a mildly
threatening injury. Underneath his cloak, his tunic and the bandage applied
by an attending cleric, Luerk could feel the sore wound pulse. Was it from
his rage that brought this nearly healed wound to life? Or did the remnants
of the cursed Paladine's strike still linger. I am quite sure the knight was
helped by a member of the Dragon Armies. As my means of keeping him captive
were, persuasive, I doubt any ordinary member of my troops could have
assisted him. The highlord has been informed, and I do not doubt his ire
will be strong." Luerk breathed heavily. If the knight was not recaptured or
the scum traitor found, Luerk himself would be next guilty in line.
"Sergeant Morag Vaughn, I require your services." 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Fri Jan 11 16:28:22 2008
Subject     Black Roses in the Lilies (Part 2)

Surprise him it did, though he worked hard to hide it. Hed never heard of
a prisoner escaping in all his years with the Dragonarmies. He also tried
not to notice the obvious weakness Luerk was showing him; filing it away for
further use should it become necessary in the future. He crossed his arms in
front of him, a questioning eyebrow raised. A traitor, you say?  This was a
new development but one that was to be expected he supposed. I see. And you
wish me to find the Knight? Im not much of a hunter of men in those regards,
I must admi...But Ill do whatever you ask of me to better the Dragonarmy of
course.

Luerk sneered through his pained faced. "Find the traitor or confess;
whichever it is." Luerk snickered, making no movement for violence against
the sergeant. "As expected as this may sound to you, it will not be
tolerated. I have faith in your abilities, Sergeant, you are cunning beyond
most. I will expect results soon, as will the Highlord." Luerk straightened,
saluting the sergeant before turning back to his maps. He remains massaging
his shoulder, as if nursing an old wound. His knuckles whitened and relaxed
in rhythm.

Ah, well that is a different story, then. As you wish, Ill fid the man
responsible and may the Gods help him when Saige finds out his identity. He
had to chuckle just a bit, not that he was amused at the idea of a traitor,
but the probable fate of said traitor was interesting to guess at. He
figured, also, that the time to linger was coming to an end so he saluted in
his awkward fashion and turned to go. He almost took a step but paused,
reaching into his deep pack for one of the many baubles and potions he kept
on his person. Setting a vial of bluish liquid down upon the desk, he then
made his way towards the exit, not looking back as he spoke, Itll help in
these cold nights...On your injury. And then, before anything else could be
said, he was gone. 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Sun Jan 20 15:40:09 2008
Subject     The Rose and the Lily (Part 1)

 Ayasana stopped about three steps above the Hall floor, looking at the
mysterious visitor, noting the dark robes and mismatched armor, "So this is
one of the Dragonarmy, how interesting."  She waited as her guards took
position before her, " Welcome to House Matar, I am Baroness Aya'sana uth
Matar, how may we help you?" Looking up slightly she saw Starfire, in human
form, watching from the shadows across the hall.

Teague took in the sight of her for the first time face to face. For such a
long time he had watched her from afar that it nearly took his breath away.
He almost faltered in his speech but managed to keep his composure dignified
as he bowed to her, paying little notice to the guards by demeanor. I know
exactly who you are, Mlady. My name is Teague Morag-Vaughn, of the Black
robes and, yes, of the green dragon army under Highlord Saige.  He slowly
began to raise his eyes to meet her own,  I have come bearing a letter of
intent.  Cautiously he removed the finely crafted scroll case with a wry
smile, And to bestow upon you gifts fitting of your station, if you will
allow...

Ayasana smiled slightly as her guards quickly placed their hands on their
swords, half drawing them, and Starfire began muttering some incantation.
She lightly placed a hand upon her katana, smiling at the man,  "A letter of
Intent? What sort of Intent are you speaking of?" 

He let his smirk flash into a grin as her loyal guards moved to keep her
safe from even an unknown threat such as he. It was nothing that bothered
him really, hed never been a stranger to threats upon his life, spoken or
not.  Why a proper intent to court you, of course Mlady. I wouldnt bother to
do their dirty work if they wished you harm, be assured.  He extended his
hand, holding out the case to the nearest of her protectors. It was carved
from ivory and liquored black, set with tiny sapphires and emeralds; the
letter it bore was traditional but to the point when asking her permission
and penned by a well-practiced scribe.  I also must offer you an apology...

Ayasana looked wide-eyed at the scroll the man held out, blushing as she
heard a choked laughter from the shadows where sure death was about to rain
out. She glared around at the guards who were starting to snicker behind
their visors, quieting them with but a glance.  Your intent to...court...me?
Are you serious?

He didnt acknowledge the tiny chuckles her men released nor was he bothered
by her stunned question.  Oh yes, MLady...As serious as death. And the
apology would for coming unannounced, MLady. I wouldnt have done so but for
a sudden twist of events; that, and for not being in Sanction to meet you
when I called upon you.  He didnt grimace though he wanted to. The whole
ordeal had been a total embarrassment and not a soul save for the Kender
knew.  I would beg your permissions, just as the letter asks. Forgive me if
Im a little straight-forth on the subject but, as you may know, I simply
dont have the luxury of the time.  He hated to admit it; the truth had
always been his most venomous weapon but he was hanging himself with it
tonight.

Ayasana tilted her head in exasperation,  A mage of the Conclave, a group
that does not see quite eye to eye with the Knighthood, and a member of the
Dragon Army...with whom we have a precarious alliance at the best of times,
comes to this Manor, my home, the Commander of the Lily arm of the
Knighthood...  She gaped at him in disbelief,  "A proposal to court...do I
even know you...or knew of you before tonight?" 


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Sun Jan 20 15:49:44 2008
Subject     The Rose and the Lily (Part 2)

 She did have a point; it was rather risky of him. He chuckled a little, 
I suppose it is a bit brazen. I couldnt deny a single thing youve just said
but I ha to come, you see.  He paused, puzzled by her final question,  What
do you mean? Didnt you get the message I sent for you? My messenger didnt
seem to make it back but there are a thousand perils in the Kalkhists and I
felt the message trigger...  He suddenly felt a little less prepared and a
little more awkward at the thought of her not even having gotten it.

Ayasana was taken aback by the man's reference,  "A message?"  she said
slowly, looking at Starfire,  How was it sent?" 

He was quickly beginning to see what good one got from assumptions at this
sorely delicate time but he didnt blink as he replied.  Why, by a personal
messenger. It was in the form of an enchanted item...It spoke with my voice.
 He raised a questioning eyebrow ever so slightly.

Ayasana repressed a smile as she remembered the messenger and his
possession,  "Well yes, the end he met was by my hand I'm afraid, and the
message...well, it was incomplete, ah, the delivery of it was, I mean."  She
glanced at Starfire slyly, as her draconic companion explained. "I thought
it a trap, not the ramblings of a suitor, I destroyed it before Aya'sana
came to harm." 

He wasnt blind to the look but decided it wasnt quite proper to show his
true feelings on the situation until Starfire made her little confession.
His lips curled into a wry smile and he chuckled softly. It seemed that hed
made a fool of himself without even trying. Shaking his head he waved away
the admission, it didnt really matter now that it was done.  Well...It would
seem that fate has played a clever trick upon me. Forgive my abrupt arrival
even more, I pray. I had no intensions of catching you so...Unprepared.  Why
her? That was something he had asked himself far too many times. As for who
he was, that was complicated.  As I may have mentioned, I am Teague
Morag-Vaughn; first born of Jerrod Morag-Vaughn, Knight of the Rose. I have
heavy...Interests in those ho claim to serve the Dark Queen Takhisis. Why
you, you ask? I must then answer withThere could be no other. I have come
upon you many times before and none have ever matched you in my eyes. Your
money is of no concern to me, I assure you...But your cause...Your beauty
and your strength could only be matched by your convictions. I have, from
time to time, checked in on you; unable to keep you from my thoughts. 

Ayasana's eyes widened,  "You...have been spying on me?"  She began,
laughing nervously,  "Not that I hide from anyone, but, we have never
actually met?"  she asked incredulously.

He chuckled softly once more, his cool green eyes finding hers without the
slightest amount of fear or regret.  Dont feel as if me spying on you makes
you any different that any other player in this world. Its my occupation to
know what everyone is doing. You, above all people however, have caught my
attention. I couldnt let such a thing simply pass me by. It is very
difficult to turn my attentions from the task at hand but youWell, Im afraid
youve clouded my better judgment, Im afraid. 

 I see, so, you chose me out of the thousands of other more attainable
partners out there,"  Starfire then stepped forward to ask, "You say you are
the first born of a Knight of the Rose?"  Ayasana noticed her guardian
looking at her meaningfully.


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Sun Jan 20 15:57:23 2008
Subject     The Rose and the Lily (Part 3)

 Teague nodded to affirm her assessment.  I guess we could say youre
one-in-a-thousand, MLady.  His cool smile turned to a somewhat roguish
smirk.  Why yes, but do you think I would be here if I had chosen to ally
myself with the likes of Solamnic Knights? Even I dont have the impudence to
do something like that.  He paused as if pondering a notion.  Pray tell,
does it surprise you that someone would seek your hand? 

Ayasana looked astounded at the brazenness of this man then, looking to
Starfire, who seemed to be speaking to herself, "When the one of a Rose,
finally attends to the one of the Lily..."  Ayasana blushed slightly,
looking back at Teague,  "So, this was your only intent at coming here? Not
as a representative of the Dragon Army? Just to...see me? Are you sober?" 

He was somewhat taken aback by her question, allowing a slight flush to
enter his cheeks,  Of course Im sober. I couldnt be more sober than the day
I was born, I assure you.  His expression lightened a bit after hed taken a
second to compose himself,  Only a fool would be unaware of the
possibilities that a union between the two of us could open up between the
Knights of Takhisis and the Green Dragon Army, but you are correct. As far
as I know, very few people are even privy to my current whereabouts, let
alone my intensions.  He held out his hand and an icy blue rose solidified
there. With but a gesture, it went to her born by unseen hands.  So yes, my
only true intension here was to see you. 

Ayasana looked at the rose, then looked meaningfully at her two bodyguards,
raising her hand just as Starfire raised her voice,  "Don't...you DARE!" The
dragon-woman almost yelled. Ayasana froze in place, wide eyed as Starfire
continued, "He's to be treated as a guest, an HONOURED guest, and you will
act with proper protocol!"  Ayasana blinked once, then twice, before
whispering,  "Yes ma'am...You will be treated with courtesy, Teague
Morag-Vaughn, as befits a guest of Matar Manor, and until I have decided on
what course of action to follow, i apologize for my, hastiness" She bowed
slightly, waving her arm to the main hall, where a table was being set with
food and drink. He flinched at the sudden outburst, obviously unsure of what
was truly going on here. This woman seemed to know something he didnt and it
intrigued him to no end. With a somewhat hesitant look he nodded, returning
the bow. It wouldnt be looked well upon if he refused such an offer of
hospitality.  Im honored by your offer, MLady, and graciously accept.  He
took her lead to make for the main hall, pausing only a moment to ponder the
proper way to handle this. Should he wait for her to enter first? He wasnt
too keen on getting in too close to those very protective bodyguards just
yet. He moved into the room, awaiting her arrival at the table.  Im glad you
decided not to have me killed, at least. 

Ayasana smiled wryly,  "Killed? I am required to offer you chambers, and our
hospitality, until such time as you need to depart, to tend to your
duties...My mentor would have it no other way, it seems."  She uttered the
last part under her breath. She sat at the head of the banquet table;
Starfire on her left, Teague one seat removed to her right looking annoyed
as the bodyguards took position behind her.


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Sun Jan 20 16:05:01 2008
Subject     The Rose and the Lily (Part 4)

 He looked at the two open seats, not quite sure what to make of the
extra placing and where he was to fit into its logic. His confusion played
in his eyes even if it didnt touch his face. It but a seconds consideration,
he took the farther of the two from the lady he had come to see, reasoning
that the distance would propose a sense of respect.  Required? I would bet
youve broken a few rules in your day. I certainly would have killed me for a
spy.  He chuckled in a somewhat icy manner as he settled into the chair,
thankful for any luxury after his long trek through the Kalkhists at Captain
Luerks behest,  I dont mean to push myself upon your hospitality, by any
means.  They were empty formalities, these words he spoke; his eyes were the
truth tellers, spilling forth the infatuation he had held secret for so
long. 

Ayasana's smile seemed to warm a bit, as she looked up,  "I have been remiss
in my manners, I rarely receive visitors here for any other reason then the
political dealings with the council."  She winced as Starfire chimed in,
(C"Rarely indeed, more close to never, except when Raina sneaks in to visit,
and don't think I never noticed."  Ayasana looked to Teague to distract the
conversation,  "So, have you any baggage that should be taken to your room;
a horse or something for the stables?" 

His icy smirk seemed to warm as well as the two went back and forth,  I
assure you, Im almost as bad sometimes. In fact, I havent actually been home
to receive any guests in quite some time. Since I was conscripted by
Highlord Kailith, Ive been anywhere but Solanthus. The military wears on
your manners, it seems.  He shook his head at her offer,  My luggage, I
shrink down into my pocket and I believe someone has already seen to my
horse, thank you.  It was at this point that his curiosity could no longer
be ignored as he set his gaze upon Starfire,  You said something in
there...The Rose and the Lily...? May I ask what you meant? 

Ayasana eyes fiercely turned to her guardian, who, ignored her by looking up
at the ornate ceiling, "Just something I remember from long ago, I have to
retrace the origin through a couple tomes in the library here."  Ayasana
impatiently taped a fork on the table as Starfire continued, "Maria'sana
first discovered it, it is a convoluted poem, supposedly a prophecy, pay it
no heed, I was just musing."  Yes, pay it no heed, Starfire occasionally
rambles about old things that usually turn out baseless or forgotten.
However, tell me more of this Kailith person." Ayasana leaned forward a bit,
 "He is Highlord of this rabble that calls itself an army? What does he
intend? Lord Kalevi has been on contact with the Dragonarmies, I have had
little time to involve myself with them as yet; I have more or less retired
from the Knighthood, for the time being, I am more concerned with the
rebuilding of Neraka as a trade centre." 

He allowed the subject to slip from their conversation, filing it away for
future use, should it become pertinent. He had to stop and think about
Kailith, it seemed that it had been forever sine hed seen or heard from the
man. He sighed a little as he gathered his thoughts into words,  KailithWas
an interesting man, to say the least. Hes no longer our Highlord, however.
His place of power has fallen to Saige. I never would have even been
involved with the dragon armies had it not been for a dream I had prior to
meeting him. At that time, it seemed almost...Preordained. But, I must admit
that even he understood my true purpose only on occasion. At least he was
intelligent enough to allow me to help him in my own way.  He still hadnt
decided exactly how he felt about the new changes since their current leader
had taken office so he tried to keep his expression impassive.  Trade, is a
noble enough thing. It takes many different pieces to complete a puzzle
successfully. Im afraid that the business Im in doesnt allow for that sort
of stability though. 


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Sun Jan 20 16:15:56 2008
Subject     The Rose and the Lily (Part 5)

 Ayasana growled inwardly at the mention of Saige's name, thinking of the
deserter suffering a dozen painful deaths. However, she maintained her
composure.  Trade is what supports the Knighthood, cattle, slaves, goods
from other lands, the richer the city-state becomes, the greater our Queen's
influence grows. Our family has long been members of the Tii'Mhut council,
and as such it falls to me to continue the building of Her Majesty's Desire.


He nodded,  The logic is unmistakable.  He smiled softly as he thought of
the chaos that was his life,  Discipline is something you should be able to
posses despite your circumstances, dont you think? The chaos, is not quite
as bad as you might think and what true intent the Dragon Army holds is
necessary, I believe. I have an intuition for these things more often than
not. That is why I choose to aid them...It seems odd to me though...  He was
perhaps treading upon thin ice but he pressed on anyways.  You say 'Our
Queen'...Doesnt it seem counterproductive for our sects to rail against each
other so often? 

Ayasana smiled, perhaps a bit superiorly,  "Our...differences...come from
the conflict that a disciplined and dedicated group, like the Knighthood,
has, with what we see as an essentially undisciplined, self
serving...wavering and disruptive group of thugs, raiders and ne'er-do
wells, in the way to best serve our Queen. As I understand it, a priest of
Hiddukel was the driving force behind this gang of thieves... in the first
place, which seems to support the concept of self serving. Other then that,
our policy thus far has been to stay back and watch to see what damage this
den of vagabonds...can do to perhaps aid in, at the least, distracting our
enemies, so that we might defeat the Knights of Solamnia, and the damned
elven nations... before we finally eradicate all the apostates who scorn the
Blessing of Her Majesty...  Her voice became louder, and her movements more
animated as she got carried by her passion. She was standing, her eyes
aglow, as she looked upon Teague, alive with the fervor of serving
Takhisis.

His expression wavered ever so slightly as he listened to her uneducated
assumption of the army he served.  I beg your pardon madam, but I have to
say that youre sorely mistaken. Perhaps they arent as disciplined as the
Knights of Takhisis and perhaps they can be self serving from time to
timeBut they and Kailith have never wavered in their dedication to Takhisis.
They have the ability to act unhindered by law or honor, to see done the
things that many of discipline would feel beneath them. If both halves were
to form a whole, they could better serve the Dragon Queen.  He stifled
himself, finally becoming aware of his own rising fervor.  The point is dear
Lady that even the Council of Mages knows, while apart, neither side poses
enough of a threat to truly fear. 

Ayasana leaned forward, placing both hands on the table, looking the seated
mage in the eyes,  "Vision, Order, Obedience, all tempered with Honor and
Dedication... THAT is what serves Her desire, not selfish undirected
violence or self promotion...the Dragon Armies fed upon themselves in the
past, and will do so again.  She caught Starfires eyes, seeing the threat
unspoken in them, then reseats herself.  However, that is not a subject for
the dinner table, I apologize for my rudeness, please, enjoy your repast. 
She bowed her head in prayer, then tears into a roasted game hen, preventing
further conversation.

He didnt say so but he was somewhat glad to be finished with what he knew
now was a hornets nest of fervor and ideal-bashing. If it hadnt been the
wrong time and place, he would have enjoyed a good debate on the subject
though. It was obvious they didnt yet agree but it didnt bother him; he was
patient enough that, sooner or later, the actions of his comrades would
bring the truth to light. With a sly grin he shook his head, watching her
pray before doing so himself. 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Fri Jan 25 00:21:12 2008
Subject     Lelthas' Lesson (Part 1)

 It was late in the evening when Teague had reached the Tower and he was
beyond exhausted from the trek from Neraka. It mattered to him about as much
as his magic mattered to his father though. He had work to do; reports to
give and maybe, if he was lucky, a moment for something educational. With
times as they were, hed been able to learn a lot as far as spells went but,
in the wisdom of application, he was lacking a bit. Hed never admit it
through his nearly indestructible mask of pride though, it would give away
too much of his true nature to too many he couldnt trust. In his mind he
juggled the recent events and what was to come as he made his way down to
the Orders laboratories, where he had been told his Master, Lelthas was
working late just as he was.

As he entered, Lelthas nodded slightly, taking a vial up from one of the
work tables. Returning the nod to his master, Teague caught a smirk upon the
older mans face as he glanced at the empty vial as he held it up to the
light. There was only a moments pause before his Master stated flatly,
Fantastic. His attentions diverted momentarily from his work unto the young
man at the edge of the table, Ah yes, my dark apprentice. I trust you have
been well? 

Teagues soft voice rose barely above a whisper to affirm, Of course...Things
have been a bit...Hectic, but I find myself quite well. And you, Master, do
you find yourself the same? 

Lelthas, returning to the vial, replied, I'm as well as well can be at my
age, I suppose. Having seven apprentices will lend more creases to my brow
I'm sure, but in the meantime I'm enjoying it. Now then, on to business. 
His red robed Master began preparing a potion as he continued to speak, I
haven't had a chance to review your case yet, being pressed as I am for
time. Tell me where your tutelage under Maire left you? 

Teague nearly sneered at the mention of his failed attempt of a Master,
Where did it leave me? She'd already all but released me from her care. Of
course, there is the fact that I'm already a field agent within the dragon
armies. 

Lelthas, though he didnt seem to notice, raised an eyebrow as he stared into
his creation for a moment.  Field agent, hmmm? 

Teague blinked a moment, not sure if hed heard his Master correctly, Of
course, certainly you knew of this? 

The older man sighed in the general direction of the wall in front of him,
nodding slightly as he ran a hand over his shaven head. It is difficult to
be Master of the Conclave and not know these things.  Lelthas glanced over
his shoulder to his new apprentice, letting his hand drop to the table, Your
self-imposed responsibilities do not preclude your duties as an apprentice
of the Conclave. 

Teague sighs just a little, his frustration and fatigue fueling his words, 
Of course, Master. Ive learned almost as much from the mages there as I have
here. Maire... 

Lelthas returned his view back to the table before him, murmuring softly and
cutting off the young mans words, That says very little for your learning.
Tell me...Do you know the difference between an Ogre and Solamnic Knight
when it comes to the art of the sword?  He slid a vial back into its wooden
holster and turned to face Teague, clasping his hands behind him as he
regarded him with a raised eyebrow.

Teague shot back, almost irritated by the seemingly simple question, Of
course I do!, Ive been forced to during these strange arrangements as of
late

Lelthas cut him off once more, Do you care to speculate to redeem your
statement, or would you rather I just told you, despite your presumption. 

Teague raised an eyebrow, pausing to think a moment, I'm...not quite sure
what you mean, Master?  

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Fri Jan 25 00:29:39 2008
Subject     Lelthas' Lesson (Part 2)

 Lelthas folded his arms in front of him, sighing as he leaned back
against the table.  You have a lot of pride, don't you? I suppose it's not
uncommon in the Black Robes. But let me tell you that I'm less impressed
with any apprentice who thinks they already know the answer to a question
their Master asks. Your job is to assume you know nothing until you're told
you know something, understand?  Lelthas tapped one of his shoulders
slightly with the fingers of one of his hands, his expression indicating
displeasure, impatience, or both.  This isn't because every Master in the
Conclave has an immense ego. We do. But it's for your own good; you'll never
learn anything if you think you know everything. Now then, I'm tired of
talking to myself. Speak or go reside in your chambers for the day and
reflect on what I've said. 

Teague nodded, his cheeks flushing behind his hood-cast shadows, I'm
sorry...It's not quite what I meant, Master. 

Oh? 

He slowly restated his thought, being careful not to sound too full of
himself, She...Resents me...For my proximity to the Drangons...The servants
of the one who destroyed her family and her face...  Teague lowered his
head, not sure what to expect from this new Master next.

Lelthas returned coolly, If you're referring to Maire, she resents you from
a great distance. She's gone back to wherever it was she came from now. 

The young man almost faltered in voice, ...She's gone? How strange...I
didn't expect it... 

Lelthas began to explain to his apprentice, When I compared the ogre to the
Solamnic, I meant this: A sword is a sword to the Knight and the Ogre both.
To the knight however, it represents their life...their honor...their
philosophy. To the Ogre, the sword means power, and a means to get what they
want.  Teague slowly nodded as his Master continued, The knight wields their
sword with care and respect; the ogre...with disdain for life, for form, for
anything that cannot be achieved through coercion. Mages of the Conclave are
the caretakers of Magic and practice the arcane as the Knight his sword.
Renegades regard magic as a tool, like the Ogre. We seek to preserve magic
for the sake of both itself and everyone potentially influenced by its use.
Renegades are no afflicted by that concern. So I make this point to
illustrate that what you learned from the Renegade mages was an obscenity.
They care not for order, only themselves. Magic is not their life, it is
merely a tool. To wield magic without reverence is to be an ogre with a
sword, inflicting your petty wants and desires over the good of anyone in
your way. Sorcery differs from low magic. The consequences become more
potent and long lasting. It has been my experience that getting my
apprentices used to this mindset is best for the balance of our world. Do
you understand? 

Teagues hood slipped down as he looked up with a spark of recognition in his
eyes, I see what you are saying...I've seen this comparison for my own eyes
when watching the Dragon Armies and the Knights of Takhisis, I
think...I...Feel as if I have been at a lack of a guide on a trek through
the Kalkhists thus far...Maire and the others have taught me to use the
torch...but not how to make one for myself, or when is best to use it. 

Lelthas nodded at the young Black, That assessment is most likely correct.
Maire was taught by Galaphale, but she did not learn his ways. She was more
typical of the black robes of old, and had a renegade mindset. Power was her
obsession. I won't presume over whether or not this was incorrect, I will
only speculate that it leads to a wrongful mindset regarding High Sorcery. 

Teague returned the nod, trading balance from one foot to the other as he
formed the words first in his head and then out loud, I'm very knowledgeable
in the Arte, or so I have been told, but just as you and I both have pointed
out, the ways of the order are somewhat grey to me I suppose. 


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Fri Jan 25 00:37:33 2008
Subject     Lelthas' Lesson (Part 3)

 That is part of the duty of being a Master to an Apprentice. The art
comes naturally to some of us, but wisdom must be developed.

...The head of the Whites...He tried to tutor me in such but refused me
before we could go very far...

What robes did you wear before coming to train under Maire? 

Teague spoke with a bit more than bitterness behind his words,  Why...Black
of course. I've always worn them, but...I suppose he took a liking to me...


If Lelthas picked up on it, he either ignored it completely or pretended he
didn't hear. Tarantel, was it? He wore the black, once upon a time. He was
one of many white robes corrupted by the Lich Galaphale. 

Teague pondered the idea for a moment, somewhat aware of a tiny slice of
this story, Alwrenn, my mother, a White Robe as well...She always spoke so
highly of him and I too came to deeply respect him. This, she never
mentioned, however...I assume that is why he so bitterly refused my company
then? 

Lelthas replied a bit flatly,  The White Robes would generally rather not
think of how they themselves can be corrupted. That may or may not be an
incorrect assumption; I can only give you the facts. You're responsible for
your interpretation in this case. 

Teague gave a nod, I hardly see how it matters now though...

That is a correct perception.  Lelthas continued,  We do not live the
vaunted life spans of the elves, though those of us lucky to have some elven
blood cling to life a bit longer than most. We do not have time to linger in
the past. 

Ready for another chapter to unfold, Teague pushed another subject, Aside
from this conversation...I also bring word of the Dragon Army's
movements...If you like, I could put it in writing to save you time...Or I
could do it in person...So that I could better answer any questions...  He
paused only a second before cracking a wry smile and adding, Not that I wish
to take away from your lesson. 

Lelthas rubbed a hand over his shaven head once again, a wry smile playing
at the corners of his lips. That depends on how much you think you've
learned. 

The apprentice took not a moment to think before answering as truthfully as
he could, his smirk growing into an almost warm smile,  Obviously not
enough, Master. 

Lelthas let his hand drop, nodding slightly as he folded his arms in the
sleeves of his red robes.  I do not beg or coerce my apprentices to receive
the knowledge I offer. I only ask their consideration...But your answer
would certainly seem to indicate you've learned what I had intended for
today. Tell me of the Dragon Army, then. 

Teague leans against the table, I always will take your words into
consideration...Knowledge and wisdom have proven to be far more powerful
than the ability to wield the power of magic...I always will take your words
into consideration...Knowledge and wisdom have proven to be far more
powerful than the ability to wield the power of magic...You know that
Saige's men have begun waging war upon the barbarians, yes? 

Lelthas nodded, I know they have mobilized again now that the conflict
between nations has subsided. The details elude me, as I must confess I have
many students in addition to my duties as Master of the Conclave. 

Teague continued, The have begun to seek the aid of the goblins... 

Lelthas almost seemed interested, Oh? Have the unified tribes of Blode
conspired with them to the presumable ruin of their enemies? 

Teague nodded and continued on, The barbarians will fall, of that I have no
doubt...Under Saige, discipline and organization seem to have thrived within
their ranks 

Lelthas raised an eyebrow, These are the same barbarians who allied with the
Knights of Takhisis in the previous world wars and recent conflict? 

Teague was uncertain but he affirmed anyway, Yes, Master, I'm afraid so... 


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Fri Jan 25 00:45:28 2008
Subject     Lelthas' Lesson (Part 4)

 Lelthas said dismissively,  That does not bother me in the least. If the
Dragonarmies destabilize support for the Knights of Takhisis then this can
only benefit us and the world, for that matter.'  Teague grinned and began
to correct his Masters assumption, Oh but they also stand on the edge of an
alliance with the Knights of Takhisis... 

Lelthas gained interest from that, An Alliance? This goes against my
predictions. The Knights have fallen far to consider a union with the
Dishonorable, indeed their very genesis was an antithesis to the
Dragonarmies. Hmm... 

Teague begged to differ but he held his tongue in the current company, There
are chances that they may still be held apart but...It would require further
direct interaction between both sides... 

Lelthas brings a hand up to his chin as he seems to consider the matter for
a moment.  How strange...this is most unexpected. 

Teague decided then and there that he must be the one to regulate said
affairs and so, I'm in a position to do so, I believe...But it will be
tricky and very dangerous. You see...I'm...Attempting...Arranging to
marry... 

Ayasana? Most amusing.  Lelthas paused only a moment before addressing his
concerns, I wonder at your ability to do so. Subterfuge is something I am
very familiar with, and it is no simple matter to arrange distrust. You are
aware, I presume, that Ayasana is no longer a Leader of their order? 

Teague nodded, Yes, Ayasana is no longer the leader of their order but she
has given me the ability to interact with their new leader directly.  He
lied, happy to find a reason to use when justifying his new-found
obsession.

His Master pressed on though, And who is the new leader of the Knights?

He, you see, will finally be the deciding factor in this alliance...His
name? I would prefer to keep that to myself for a short period of time if
you will allow? 

Lelthas dismissed the question, If curiousity overtakes me, I have other
means of finding out I suppose. Very well, keep to your thoughts.  He folded
his arms into the sleeves of his robes again with a sigh.

The young one lifted his hood back over his face, certain that their
conversation was coming to a close soon,  Thank you. It's difficult to keep
these things in line but I enjoy the mental strain. As for the amount of
subterfuge needed... 

Lelthas smirked, As I said, I understand. I have experience with it from the
last world war. 

Growing weary of this exchange, Teague pushed on, I may not know as much
about being a mage as I would like to think, but my abilities there are more
than adequate, I feel. 

Lelthas replied, Perhaps. I'm wary of your confidence, my experience telling
me that it is a mistake. But I could be wrong. Just remember that you can't
trust anyone, even me. 

Lifting a hand to wave off the concerns, the young man shook his head, I
know your fears, thy have dwelled within me as well but...I must be
confidant or my mask may falter, Master. 

Lelthas nodded, You may be locking yourself into a room from which you
cannot escape. Be wary. 

Yes...Everyone lies...Even me. I am willing to make that sacrifice if it
comes to it. I knew the dangers when I offered my abilities in such a way. 

(RVery well. If you can somehow prevent this union with a union, the irony
alone will satisfy me. The Conclave unfortunately has nothing to lose if you
try and fail; the results will be the same for us. If you succeed, we
profit. I can hardly turn away from this course of action logically. Be on
your guard of the magic of the Thorns as you enter their world. 

Teague nodded once more, I know, they would never be so silly as to think
they could defeat the Order. But I will do what I can. Is there anything you
could tell me of the Thorns, by the way? I know some, but not much...I must
make myself educated if I wish to succeed. 


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Fri Jan 25 00:54:46 2008
Subject     Lelthas' Lesson (Part 5)

 Lelthas shakes his head slightly, the wry smile again playing his lips,
The magic of all three moons seems more powerful than one, but I can tell
you from what we learned in the previous wars that it is as much a liability
as a boon. I will not tell you how their magic works; only that it is not
what they claim. They claim benefits that simply don't exist. More often
than not, they suffer for their choice to draw from all three moons. This I
don't mind telling you gives me great satisfaction. If they were asked I'm
sure they would immediately disagree. But they are not in a position to
profit from the truth, in this case. 

Teagues voice grew a bit darker, The truth rarely profits anyone, it seems.

It profits me greatly. 

Teague chuckled softly,  I, myself, have always felt the truth was something
you should use, if you're smart enough to get away with it. 

Lelthas says in Human That is certainly a Black Robe's mindset. The words
brought a grin to his apprentices shadowed lips but he continued, This
concludes your report, then? 

The young one nodded with another chuckle in his voice,  Well I am one,
after all. My report? Yes, I suppose. I thought the news of alliance the
only thing worth reporting really 

Lelthas agreed, It most likely is, I have been in the Conclave for a long
time, and seen much of renegade magic having practiced it myself once upon a
time. Their efforts are of no concern to us so long as they remain
predictable and easily manipulated. 

Nodding once more the student stood up from the edge of the table, I would
wish to remain here for a few days, if that is possible...I'm expecting a
message from Solanthus...' 

You may remain here, of course...though I do find it curious that a spy had
a message sent to the Tower of Wayreth from anyone.  Lelthas smirked and
raised an eyebrow once more, Could it be that perhaps you are playing all
sides of the dice? 

It isn't of that nature...My father...He's fallen ill and I fear I must go
there when he has retired from this world.  Teague said, ignoring the
question with only a glint in his nearly hidden eyes.

The Master let up on the question with an answer like that,  I see. I'm
merely toying with your emotions anyway, you'll have to forgive me. If I
really suspected you I wouldn't show my hand so early in the game. Or would
I? Now you'll never know. As I said, subterfuge is an interesting game. 

Teague thought better of keeping a secret that mattered so little, Well, I
must say that...In a way you are correct, though my loyalties lie within the
magic as much as yours do. 

Lelthas pushed away from the table he was leaning on and withdrew his hands
from inside his robes resting them on his belt,  As long as you remember
what I said about the Ogre, and the Knight. If you've any sense then I have
little to worry for in terms of your loyalty. 

Growing tired of nodding he simply stated,  I would be a fool not to take
advantage of the situation for my own gain if I can. I will remember,
Master. The idea was most enlightening. I'll be sure that I don't become the
Ogre, of that you can be certain. 

 You're a black robe, I expect such things. You work for Magic and yourself.
I work for Magic and the Balance the way I see it in the big picture. The
White Robes work for Magic and the good of everyone. The only way the White
and Red differ is what that "good" means. But these are the philosophical
musings of an old man. You are dismissed, for now. Feel free to call on me
whenever I am teaching any of my other students.
 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Fri Jan 25 00:56:20 2008
Subject     Lelthas' Lesson (Part 6)

 Finally released to see to his affairs Teague began to reach for his pack,
Musings of more than simply an old man...It's a subject I feel will be
debated forever.  Bowing to his Master with minimal flare, he offered his
farewell as he left the room,  Good evening, Master. I hope I shall see you
again. 

Lelthas lifts a hand to draw the hood of his red robes over his head. With
any luck, you will be correct.  Lelthas acknowledged the bow with a slight
nod and turned back to his work. 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Sat Feb 16 21:20:30 2008
Subject     The beginning of something very bad.



The Kalkhist Mountains were treacherous to travel through on a good day but
this time of year they were both as dangerous and cold as the Dark Queens
smile. Teague had spent the better part of three days cursing Captain Luerks
very existence and the better part of three more avoiding Silvanesti patrols
out of Kurmost, and it wasnt getting any better. The winter storms had
picked up again and those paired with the elves and their paranoia of
outsiders was more than enough to press him further south as he tried pass
after pass to little avail. It quickly became apparent to him that he was
going to have to take his least favorite route through the desert if he
wished to reach Sanction and then the Citadel in mostly one piece. It took
him only a week or so to make his way southward and arrange for the supplies
he would need. Resting for only a night at the edge of the desert, he was
quickly and quietly upon his way once more. 

If it didnt take him long to come up with the plan, it took him only half as
long to abandon it to continuous weather complications. He really hated this
side of the world this time of year. His guide was dead, their rations were
gone, and hed just eaten his ride inside the mouth of a desert-side cave in
the cliff face. If anyone could have been more sullen looking it would have
been a miracle. Night came quickly and hed nodded off for only a second
before he woke to a great shudder within the earth. He was still getting his
bearings when the answer to his curious expression hit him in the form of
absolute terror. He recognized the feeling well as it coursed through him,
nailing him to the spot against his will. Somehow finding the strength to
look up, he saw her there before him.


The sun glinted off of sapphire scales in a manner that nearly blinded him
as it craned its neck downwards to take in the little mage before it. The
creatures breath nearly knocked him backward as she snorted and, with a
swiftness that seemed almost impossible, brought her great claw down on him.
He didnt even have time for a spell to hit his lips. Her eyes and fangs
crackled as she studied him in the way someone might a bug of flower. Her
voice was ht upon his skin and it sounded like sand rushing over glass when
she finally spoke, demanding a quick response, What are you doing in my
domain, speck?

He could barely breathe from the rib-cracking amount of pressure upon his
body but he managed to get a few words out, N-nothing...I didnt kno-

His voice was cut off by the sudden addition of pressure upon his body,
Didnt know?  She chided in a mocking tone, Poor insignificant creature has
just happened into the spider web then, I see? The thing settled down
against the floor in an almost feline manner, Let no one say Im not fair.
Tell me, why should I not destroy you? She nearly purred the question as she
pressed upon him, her claws digging further into the stone beneath him and
his ribs screamed in agony from it.

It was the beginning of a very inconvenient and dangerous conversation.

((As for what we said, I figure Ill mention it in a flashback soon. ^_-)) 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Mon Jun  2 03:32:12 2008
Subject     It is time...Part V

 He knew that this would happen sooner or later. The Order's summons and
Saige's orders had arrived on the same day and nearly in the same hour,
bidding him in two very different directions with orders that were never
meant to be optional. Hed just barely made it out of the desert alive and
had only arrived in Solanthus a week earlier. He'd spent a great deal of the
time he was supposed to be recovering dealing with his family's wealth and
final business. It was as taxing on his mind as the desert had been on his
body and, he was certain that his well-needed and earned rest would be ever
upon the horizon. 

A grim smirk touched his lips as he tossed both of the orders behind him
onto an ever growing pile of information he didn't have the time to deal
with just yet. He wasn't in the mood to deal with Highlord Saige or his
bookish order brothers nor did he have the health to make the trip just yet.
He began to prepare a letter for each of the parties involved. 

Highlord Saige, battle. I do not fight upon the front lines that you can see
but upon the ones that I was recruited to fight upon. I have been summoned
to the tower for a council of minds and I intend to do just that.

In Service to Our Queen, Master Teague Morag-Vaughn of Solanthus

The second was much the same but leaned more upon the idea that he was on
the edge of battle and unable to take leave to join the council. He fully
intended to make his way towards the tower as quickly as possible but knew
that he wouldn't leave Solanthus before two suns set. He dried the ink with
a wave of his hand, rolled them, and sealed them with his new signet ring
before handing one of them off to one of his family's most trusted
messengers and sending the other by summoned hawk. 

He trusted that neither of his letters' recipients would be terribly pleased
but it wasn't fair to make him choose after all. With his smirk growing into
a thin grin, he laid back across a divan of elven silk and drifted off
towards a restless sleep. 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Tue Jun  3 15:43:41 2008
Subject     Returning (Pt 1)

 Teague entered the courtyard with a gloom you could have cut with a
knife and, upon seeing the apprentices, he lugged his heavy travel pack onto
the ground in front of him and gestured for him to follow without so much as
a word.

Misto glanced down at the travel pack then looked back up at Teague, "Can I
help you?"

He nearly sneered at the young man before he caught himself, replacing the
gloom about him with the chilly air he was accustomed to. (g Yes. You can
help me get this to my room, apprentice.(x

Misto looked thoughtfully at Teague for a few seconds then reached down and
picked up the pack with his left hand, gesturing for Teague to lead the way,
 "After you then Master...?"

Teague began to walk with a slow and steady pace for he had little reason to
rush. He was already late. He was silent until they had reached the he held
residence in when he rarely graced the tower. Pausing, he looked back at the
youth and sighed a little hiss. You must be relatively new here, yes? If
Maire had been here your first day you wouldnt dare be so sluggish. 

Misto heaved the pack over his shoulder as he followed Teague, "Don't know
any Maire, nor do I know you. So what you call sluggish, I call being
prudent."  He said in an offhand manner.

Teague furrowed his brow and looked this apprentice over in a disturbingly
intrusive manner for a moment and then shrugged as he chuckled, leading the
young one up the stairs of the Black Tower. Obviously not. My name is
Teague. I have little time for petty titles and silly things of the sort. In
less prudish company you may call me so if you wish.  He stopped outside a
moderately sized room and opened the door. And who might you be then? 

Misto chuckled and smiled at Teague, "People here know me simply as Misto;
It's the only name I claim for now."  His gaze then took in the room before
him momentarily before turning back to Teague,  "It's a pleasure to meet
you." 

Teague stepped into the room, indicating that Misto should drop the sack on
the floot of the low bed. The room was sparsely furnished and could have
been just about anyones from the look of it. Not exactly what one would
expect from a black robe at least. He flipped a few coins in Mistos
direction and waved away the welcome of sorts.  Tell me that once youve
known me for a few years. If you make it that long.  He knew he should wait
to see his Master and elders of the Order but his thirst was much more
powerful than his need to follow protocol. Why dont I buy you a drink in the
pub by the forests edge? 

Misto reached up and deftly caught the coins with his right hand as he sat
down the pack looking warily over at Teague, "I'll take that drink, but
neither of us may have a few years if what the High Archmage says is true."


Teague shook his head.  The High Archmage, you say? Well if HE says it it
MUST be true.  With an almost playful wink he tossed his cloak off to reveal
what looked more like a hardened adventurer with bits of Dragon Army regalia
and the gods only knew what else. He barely wore robes, preferring battle
robes that had been altered for travel and armor. Maybe you could enlighten
me as we drink, eh? 

Misto inclined his head towards Teague, noting the armory upon the man and
smiles, "Not a problem there."  He paused for a moment to reflect upon his
past then looked back up at Teague, "Let's go get that drink." 

---At The Pub---

Teague simply took it all in for a moment. The pub, at least, hadnt changed.
He smiled as the heavy scent of ale and sweat reached him mixed with the
best potatoes short of solaces last home. He didnt notice Luerk at first,
instead demanding a drink for himself and his new companion for the evening.
He glared someone out of their seat in the corner by the fire and smirked
back at Misto as he took a seat,  Now...Whats this about the High Archmage?



Author:    Teague         
Date:      Tue Jun  3 15:50:24 2008
Subject     Returning (Pt 1-b)

Misto glanced over at Luerk for a moment as he takes the offered drink
from Teague then took a sip, savoring the odd taste then sat the mug down on
the table as he spoke,  "We held a meeting for the ConClave and we're
planing on raising an old tower and,  Misto slowly states,  It seems that
magic is dying out in this world due to an inbalace caused by renegades." 

Teague followed Mistos gaze and, much to his dismay, found one of his least
favorite people. He managed a bitter smile in the direction and then
returned to his current conversation in an attempt to forget his presence. 
You dont say, hmm? It took them long enough to notice I see.  His voice
practically dripped with venom as he drowned his agitation in the bitter
ale. What does this High Archmage think we should do? Surely a simple
building of stone and mortar wont help that much...

Misto sighed softly then took another sip from his mug then looked back up
to Teague, "I'm not sure to be honest, the last time I saw magic vanish
there was nothing that could be done about it." 

He shook his head with a grim expression setting in,  Magic doesnt go
anywhere. Its us who vanish from its view. Just like the Gods. Turn you back
on their ways and they will turn on you.  Of that he seemed certain; as if
one of the gods had told him so himself.

Misto shruged as he leaned back in his seat, "That or the gods die in which
case magic vanishes and all that remains is darkness."  A look of
apprehension crossed Misto face briefly.

Teague chuckled and waved away the apprentices worries. I doubt theres
anything we mortals can do to cause the death of the gods. They were here
before us and will be long after. Anyone with the idea that they can is far
more arrogant than even I dare to be.  He downed most of his mug and
motioned for the overworked maid to refill him. He noticed her for a moment,
noting that she most likely had been pretty once, before years of serving
here had weighed upon her girlish looks.  I have been telling them that the
renegades were a problem for years and only now, once theyre sorely
outnumbered, do they even care. 

Misto paid little attention to the serving maid as he took another sip from
his mug not really tasting it then looked questioningly at Teague, "It
doesn't always take a mortal to kill a god, some times sheer stupidity on
ones part can bring crashing down. 

He clicked his tongue and placed his forefingers upon the table in front of
him as he sighted the young mage. Maybe on their part but I doubt out
stupidity could do anything more than p!ss them off. We all know about that,
though.  He sipped at his filled mug and let his gaze wander over the
patrons as he spoke, I agree the renegades are a serious problem but why
mask it with idle threats? Unless he thinks we wont follow him without
them...

Teague had to agree with a slight nod as he brought his almost saddened gaze
up to meet the mages across the table. On that, we both agree. But the
renegades are not the true problem where that is concerned. It is us.  He
paused only long enough to give a sense of urgency to his statement. Weve
forgotten what the Orders mean...Weve forgotten the purpose of the balance.
Did the High Archmage say anything about that? 

A slightly confused look crossed Misto face,  "No, he didn't mention
anything about Orders or the balance."  He then sighed and shakes his head, 
"There's so much I've yet to learn about this world and how magic works
here." 

Let his near grimace soften a little.  The influx of new students is high.
Im sure they havent gotten around to it yet.  His eyes were kind but there
was an edge to his voice that led one to assume he was simply aiming his
next painfully true jab at this new Archmage. It was what he did. It was
almost expected. But it didnt quite come this time. The three Orders exist
to keep each other under control. Your goals arent what make you a black or
white 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Tue Jun  3 15:52:40 2008
Subject     Returning (Pt 1-c)

 White robe, its what youre willing to do to see them through. But, just
as there must be white and black robes, there must be good and evil in this
world. Without the balance the whole will suffer. This is what we are seeing
here.  He paused to take a deep drink, his eyes glued to the young and open
mind before him. The balance has been disturbed, and thus has the life blood
of this land; magic. 

(To be continued...) 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Wed Jun  4 02:55:43 2008
Subject     Returning (Pt 2-a)

Misto sighed and ran his right hand through his slivery hair then looked
over back to Teague, "You meant the orders of the Conclave, you'll have to
excuse me, all of this has me thinking of home."


Teague leaned into the table a bit, his chin propped upon a loose fist.
Believe me; I know just what you mean.  He didnt add anything further
besides the simple knowing spark in his eye before shifting the conversation
back towards magic.  What will you do with the power you gain, Misto? Here
at the tower? 

Misto leaned back in his chair and looked thoughtfully at Teague for a
minute,  "I was going to use the knowledge I gained hear to save my home,
but I know now there's nothing left. So I plan on using it save this world."


Teague arched an eyebrow with a look of almost genuine curiosity,  The
world? An interesting idea in itself.  The firelight danced across his armor
only to be caught in an amused dance within his gaze,  Your master is
teaching you how to do this? What can you; one little mage do after all?  He
wasnt insulting him though it could have been perceived as such. 

Misto chuckled softly letting his eyes take in the light reflecting off
Teague's armor then looking up into the man's eyes, his own appearing very
serious,  "My Master, knows little about what I can truly do. For that
matter I doubt he could match my power."  A small smirk crossed his lips at
the end.

Teague couldnt help but chuckle as he thought of all the near fights hed had
with his first master, Maire.  I had many a battle with my first master over
similar things.  His expression suddenly grew very serious, almost grim,  A
master who cannot match their student is something that rarely turns out
well. I left my own first master for the tutelage of Lelthas of the Reds. 
He shrugged and took another deep drink of his ale, the bitter taste
becoming sweeter by the drought. 

The serving maid walked over and placed another mug in front of Misto. The
elf nodded his thanks and pushed a silver penny across the table to her as
he took the offered drink. He sipped it then leaned slightly towards the
Black,  What if I told you Elinos wasn't my first master? 

Teague let a grin slip.  You mean...Youre a problem apprentice?  He just
couldnt help but let his tongue slip when hed started into his cups. Usually
he was so serious. Shaking his head and waving off his own sarcasm he
chuckled softly,  So? Arent you going to explain? No one ever says something
like that and then leaves the listener hanging.  He waved over another round
for himself as he finished his second mug, taking tab of just how much he
wanted to imbibe this night. He was trying to ingratiate himself upon the
White and that required a little loosening but he wanted to remember this
the next day. The task wasnt easy since Teague had always had a love for
alcohol, no matter how p!ss-poor it was. This mage was interesting. Not
quite like Tell or Luerk or Jukar. He was somehow different and that was
more than enough to keep him listening. 

Misto looked at Teague for a moment thoughtfully while he held his mug then
nodded his answer,  "I may end up regretting it, but there's something about
you I like Teague."  Misto took another sip and glanced about the room
before turning his attention back to him,  "As I told you before, magic can
die. I wasn't joking about that."  Misto's face seemed to contort slightly
as if struggling with something then resumed a look of normalness.


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Wed Jun  4 03:04:03 2008
Subject     Returning (Pt 2-b)

Teague drank deep and regarding Misto with a painfully curious
expression. He was confusing himself with this one, he feared, but he
figured it couldnt be helped. He was already drawn to him like a moth to a
fire; something that was

equally dangerous for them both.  It seems we make odd company, you and I.
An enigma drinking with an enigma it seems.  He tapped the table absently as
he lifted his chin and allowed his hand to brush the table.  I would be a
liar if I told you that you wouldnt regret it, Misto; for no mortal knows
the paths upon which they will someday walk. 

A slightly depressing chuckle passed through Misto's lips. The youthful
looking elf leaned back once more in his seat,  "Regret is my personal
Mistress, you. And she's brought me to this world."  He shifted slightly
upon his seat, his eyes lost in thought as he continued,  "How would you
like to hear a story so unbelievable that it has to be true."  He appeared
almost to be talking to no one in particular.

Teague let his suspicious nature sink its fangs into his mind as he nodded.
He never gave up the chance to unearth any knowledge, no matter how simple
and/or useless it seemed. It always helped to know how crazy your allies
were anyways.  If Ive only learned one thing in this life it is that nothing
is impossible. I would love to hear this improbable tale of yours.

Misto blinked and then smiled over at Teague, realizing the mage was still
there,  "Ok, first off understand it is about my home world. The name of it
is AI, in AI is a most beautiful city that sits upon a mountain."  He paused
briefly and waved over the serving maid,  "Bring us two more."  He then
turned his attention back before the maid could say anything,  "Now this
mountain's base does rest upon the earth. But the top of it literally sits
in clouds."  His voice carried a note of wonderment to it as he spoke. Just
then the serving maid brought back the two mugs and removed Misto's before
looking questioningly at Teague, "Would you like me to take your mug sir?"
She asks in a saucy voice. 

Teague waved away the serving wench, barely paying her an ounce of notice
anyways. He wasnt interested in her anymore than he was interested in the
lectures of Maire. He was more interested in what this special or insane
mage was spouting to him. His face was cool and nearly unreadable as he took
in the words and tones in which they were delivered. He couldnt yet decide
just what to make of any of this so far and so he simply prodded the White
to continue.  Another land? Im interested...Youve caught my attention at
least. 

Misto picked up his mug, but didn't drink, nodding to Teague as he became
ever more lost in his thoughts he spoke,  "The Citadel of Airu, they called
it. The only two known ways to enter it was either to fly or use one of the
portals down at the base of the mountain."  He stated, taking another swig
to wet his parched throat, he then looked over at Teague to ensure the mage
was listening.  "Now there are other ways into the Citadel, but I'll come to
that in a minute..." He paused briefly almost as if allowing for questions.

He nodded the White on, letting his thoughts wander a bit as well but still
listening. A flying citadel wasnt an alien idea to him at all. In fact, hed
watched the day Kailith and Saige had overseen its raising. He was beginning
to wonder if this was the sort of place to continue a conversation such as
this. The content alone was enough to get one of the superstitious patrons
on edge; mages saying it could bring about a riot. He leaned in, his eyes
speaking far more than his lips as they flicked across the bar before
training themselves upon Misto once more. His voice was little more than a
hiss when he spoke his warning,  Misto? I think this sort of subject is
better left to private chambers the likes you will not find in this
forest...


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Wed Jun  4 03:30:26 2008
Subject     Returning (Pt 2-c)




Misto nodded to Teague, then downed his mug. The mug dropped from his hand
to clatter on the floor as the mage stood up,  "You're correct about that,
perhaps we should go else where. Last time I spoke about this in public
here. I was nearly lynched." 

Teague shook his head.  I can not take you to a safer place until after you
finish your Test. There is no safe place for a confession such as this
anywhere near the other mages. They can not be trusted. Im sure Elinos is
looking for you by now anyways.  He so desperately wanted to know but he
wouldnt risk so great a secret by learning of it here, where even the ale
kegs had ears.  Im terribly curious but...  He folded his hands in front of
him upon the table.  I wouldnt put you at such a risk. To do so I would be a
fool. 

Misto shruged off the mention of death almost in a manner of one shrugging
off his coat,  "I can understand your concern and you would be correct, but
I do need tell you one thing and this above all else is true, MAGIC can
die."  His voice carried the heavy inflection upon the word magic.

He nodded, letting the information find a place to take root in his head. 
Ill remember that at least. But it requires more investigation on my part. I
hope you arent offended that I say so but...  He sighed a bit as he paid for
their last rounds and downed the bottom half of his mug.  Im a man of facts.
And if what you say is true...It warrants even more attention than that.
Letting the mug hit the table with a slight wobble, he stood up.  Its
getting late and the forest can do strange things to your head at night. I
should get you back to your master, no? 

Misto nods then looks seriously at Teague,  "I hope for your sake you don't
find it, I fear that if you do it'll be too late."  His face turned briefly
pale, he then sighed and glanced about the room as he spoke softly,  "But
you're correct; Master Elinos is excepting me for some trip tomorrow." 

Nodding and holding the door for his newest and possibly strangest
acquaintance he couldnt help but be affected by the emotions swirling within
them both.  We can not keep him waiting then. But Misto...  He absently
pushed some of his wild braids back from his face,  I know that your master
has many students..If you were to find yourself swept up or confused about
anything...You need only ask.  He managed a somewhat more controlled smirk
as he let the door close behind them and they began the short but
treacherous trip back to the towers much safer courtyards and libraries.

Misto merely nodded to Teague, his face seeming rather drained,  "Thanks
Teague, I'll keep that in mind."  His voice carried softly as the two make
their way into the night...

...Until Next Time... 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Thu Jun 19 06:30:36 2008
Subject     Bloodgrass

 Teague was a seething tempest of agitation wrapped in a mask that was as
cold and unyielding as steel in the winter. The thoughts that rose just
beneath the surface would have killed if they could have only been honed and
directed properly. Unfortunately, the only things he needed to kill were
some weeds and a few hundred different species of stinging and biting
insects. That wasnt what he wanted to kill right then though. A wondrous and
powerful High Arch Mage might have done the trick to satisfy his damaged
pride. Of course he had volunteered his time but he hadnt known he would be
doing silly apprentice errands. It was outrageous to believe that they
thought they were using his valuable time on such a menial task. Sure, he
knew exactly what he was looking for and wasnt going to be prone to confuse
it for rustweed like some clumsy amateur but he knew his skill could have
been used on much more important and/or dangerous tasks. Hed come on foot,
choosing to leave his mount in the capable hands of one of his draconian
guard; his armor hed discarded and slung haphazardly over the travel pack.
He saw no need for it and was finding himself ever more thankful he hadnt
bothered with it by the time the midday sun rose above the high canopy of
the Zhan Forest. The heat was stifling and only beginning to press harder on
him and so hed also long since pulled at the lacing at the top of his split
battle robe, allowing it to fall and hang where his many belts secured it to
his waist. Hed been searching for what seemed like hours and he decided it
was time for a rest.

It was a quiet little clearing near the rocky edges of the cliffs where he
chose to take his lunch. The rich greens coupled with the cool breeze off of
the bubbling brook that split the soft moss that blanketed the ground there
creating a peaceful environment that promised at least a moments rest. He
slumped down against an almost spongy tree trunk, his legs flung out and his
head leaned back to watch the birds chirp and tease each other just beneath
the ancient tree tops above. Only a moment did he let his thoughts wonder
free and unchecked before he shrugged off the strap of his light satchel to
pull forth some travel rations and a leather of water. He made short work of
the meal, his mind clouding over even more as he began to think of what he
was here for again. Perhaps it could have been the fact that he had refused
apprentices up until now that had them tossing him into these nonsensical
hunts. It could have been his questionable alliances with the Dragon Armies.
He growled and hefted the satchel as he took to his feet once more. It could
have been anything really. For all he knew, hed looked at the wrong person
funny and never even knew of it. It hardly mattered, he reminded himself as
he paused to let his gaze linger upon the inviting stream. He, returning to
the center of the clearing for a moment more, knelt and soaked a strip of
twisted cloth along with his wildly braided and adorned hair before tying it
across his forehead, pushing it up a bit to force his unruly tresses back
from his eyes. Satisfied for the moment, he forced his thoughts to the task
at hand once more as he trudged even deeper into the woods. 


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Thu Jun 19 06:39:03 2008
Subject     Bloodgrass Pt. 2

 He didnt expect an attack and he didnt even come near one before his
eyes caught a glimpse of reddish leaves. It was already dusk and hed not
caught one glimpse of the herb that was so damned important that they had to
send the likes of him out into the wilds for. His patience was already
running thin and so it was no surprise that he burned a good area of
undergrowth when he discovered the blasted rustweed. Cursing e tossed the
ashes in his fist behind him and started even deeper into the darkening
forest. The place wasnt too dangerous in day but who knew what lurked in
these places while the moons smiled down on them? He decided to camp would
be too much of a pain and so he pressed on ever deeper. At some point his
stubbornness lost out to his need for sleep and so he took shelter in the
fork of a massive tree for a few hours. Rousing himself was a bit more
difficult, however. His blasted brother had always been better at climbing
than he was and he was simply proving the matter further when his toe
slipped from its grip and he slid halfway down the trunk scrambling for a
hold and scraping his hands all to hell. Some of the curses that escaped his
mouth had never heard human ears before as he saw to his bloody hands on the
ground after hed gotten his head about him. He swore that, if he didnt find
them today, hed kill something. Hed HAVE to in order keep his wits in check.


He was a grumbling, robed mass by the time evening was hitting on the second
night into Zhan. His ire for his superiors was almost above his ability to
contain, his location spells had been frustrating and vague at best, and hed
had it up to his eyeballs in mosquitoes. He found it very hard to believe
that he was even still out here attempting to do this job. Even Highlord
Saige, in all his great wisdom, would have never sent someone of his prowess
to pick flowers. Hed damned near seen ever plant from here to there and
still hadnt come upon the confounded leaves he needed. He, temper flaring to
dangerous new heights, nearly turned back to give their new and wondrous
High Arch Mage a piece of his mind and about ten inches of his dagger when
it caught his eye; not the orange tinted red of rust, but the deep and
crimson hue of blood. He almost yipped as he reached down to pluck a single
blade of the grass. Raising it to his nose he caught the pungent scent of
bloodgrass. It simply could not be mistaken at this time of year and, to him
at that very moment, it was the sweetest thing hed ever smelled. He fished
around inside his satchel for a thin roll of cloth and a silver pair of
shears. With a well practiced hand, he counted each blade he cut and made
certain that they were the best specimen at his disposal. Of course, had he
been an apprentice striving to garner favor from his elders, he probably
would have wandered much longer in search of something better. He wasnt
skimping by any means though, this patch was in good health condition else
he wouldnt have even bothered to linger. While he was indignant towards the
demeaning nature of his quest, he was not the sort to do anything half way.
He took special care when laying them flat across a small unrolled leather
scroll covered with the fine linen from his pack. In a raspy whisper he
began to chant as he rolled, tied, and sprinkled the scroll with silver
dust. For a moment the tingle of magic permeated the air around him and a
perfect crystal covering rippled across the item from the spot where a
single fingertip now rested. When he removed his hand, the entire thing had
been coated, protected from both the elements and time. If they wanted it
dried they would simply had to wait, he thought as the corner of his lips
curved into a pleased smirk.


Author:    Teague         
Date:      Thu Jun 19 06:41:46 2008
Subject     Bloodgrass Pt. 3

 Once he had secured the scroll in one of his many cases, it was barely
any trouble at all. He let his mount lead the way, preferring to let the
horses instincts return him to whence he had come. The ill humor lost for
the moment, his mind drifted to the fair Ayasana who remained still in her
manor atop the mountains surrounding Neraka. Fate had seen to keep them
apart so long that he couldnt help but wander towards her in his spare
thoughts and couldnt help but think it some cruel game of the Gods that they
be ever apart. He hadnt been able to keep his mind completely on his game as
of late but he was thankful no one among the Orders knew him well enough to
be able to notice. That night, as he lay at rest beneath the stars, he
steeled himself to prepare himself for the trials ahead of him by forcing
the lingering comfort of her beauty to hide behind his agitation once more.
It was better they think of him as impolite rather than weak. Even so he had
to wonder how long he could shirk his duties to himself in favor of his
cause and those involved. He had already sacrificed so much and was strongly
determined to continue, but he was only so strong. Chiding himself for
allowing these things to cloud his judgment, no matter how temporary, he
rolled onto his side with a sullen huff. Squeezing his eyes shut he began to
meditate, forcing his body and mind to slowly drift into sleep. All his
lifes worries aside, he was going to need his rest if he was going to have
to go on any more of these exhilarating gardening adventures. 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Sun Jun 22 20:01:58 2008
Subject     Dragon Grass and Bloody Lilies...

 Teague sat alone in the darkened chamber lit only by the soft wash of
dying embers' glow, his hair hung scattered across his face, the blankets
were twisted around his legs, and his expression was that of cool despair.
Hed begun the night whiling away in a library full of nothing but books and
scrolls containing information on Bloodgrass which was annoying but harmless
enough. It made perfect sense since hed been looking into that very thing
earlier in the previous day. It was then, nearing the bottom of a pile of
dusty parchment, that he heard her voice. Instantly the scent, sound, and
look of he was all around him and then the Dragon from the mountain was with
him again and he was fighting for his life. His heart was pounding, his
chest was tight, and he could hardly breathe for almost a quarter of an
hour.

When his wits had finally come to him he growled under his breath and rose
from his resting place with a fury of blankets as he fought them off. He
left them in a pile where they had fallen. Not even a few moments after hed
taken a seat in front of the fire did he realize that his evenings sleep had
come to a complete end. His mind was restless and bounded through the
landscapes of his memory in a way he couldnt quite understand. He was vexed
by the fact that the High Archmage had so obviously insulted him with his
last errand and wanted almost nothing more than to know what he was up to
but there was something else nagging him. The Lady Ayasana was there once
again, pulling his heartstrings in directions hed never even considered
before.

The notion angered him almost as much as it pleased him. She was strong,
fierce, and fair beyond anything he had ever seen in a woman before. She was
also something he feared might cloud his judgment when the time to act had
finally come. But there was nothing he could have wanted more this very
moment but to be in Neraka. He would have to do something about this and
soon. Fate didnt see fit for him to have the time to travel to her side and
so he would have to take it into his own hands soon enough. Besides,
Sanction was in that direction and he had some unfinished business there.

First, he had something to attend to relating to more pressing matters
though. Forcing her away from the front of his mind wasnt easy but he
managed to do it by the time hed readied himself to write the letter that
hed been meaning to since yesterday morning when hed returned with the
Bloodgrass hed been sent for. Never did he act as if hed been inconvenienced
by the little quest, but he felt as if something wasnt right. Why else would
he have been sent to pick flowers? Taking parchment, quill, and very special
ink that was only meant for one mans eyes, he began to write.

 L, 

I fear that something is amiss with our Hunt. The Great Lizard has taken
action. It will use The Bones of Our Slain Enemies to its advantage. Motive,
Goal, and such are not certain. I will need your help to bring our kill unto
our lord. As the Ruby next rises in favor, I shall find you Where The Three
Gather

-T

It was short and to the point, just as he wanted it. As for the enigmas
within, he hoped for the sake of all involved that they were not too much
for the recipient. He had that much faith in him at least. Running his hand
across the scroll he dried the ink which disappeared from view just as
quickly as hed penned it, rolled it, sealed it, and sent it upon its merry
way by unseen spirits. With a silent prayer that Takhisis see it safely to
her man for he dared not risk handing it off in person. With that done and
out of the way, he was alone with nothing more to focus on but the newly
stirred coals as he fell back to his usual late night brooding accompanied
by a nearly full bottle of choice spirits. 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Thu Jun 26 05:13:00 2008
Subject     Beware: Snakes in the Grass

 When Teague got wind of what had happened with Luerk he was furious. Too
bad for him he wasnt sure exactly who he should be furious at. He shooed the
apprentice that had informed him without as much as a copper for his
troubles. He stood so abruptly that he knocked the chair back into the wall
and began to pace. His mind was bent on figuring out how something like that
could have happened without him noticing. In the end, he had to try
convincing himself that they were simply wrong. It wouldnt be the first or
the last time, of that he was certain.

He hadnt been able to continue his studies and so hed found himself walking
the gardens near the edges of the forest. Many found that Wayreth Forest was
a disheartening and eerie place but he found its solitude refreshing. It was
then that Jendaron had found him. The High Arch-Mage was obviously not happy
with him and so he met him with a cautious but cool expression when he spoke
his name from behind. Turning, he saw that Jendaros was standing there with
eyes set in stone upon him. He beckoned for Teague to follow him and he did
so but not without questioning what was happening. He knew better than to
lash out against the mage when he saw that they had reached their
destination. The dank and cool walls of the cell he was escorted to made him
scowl even more as he stepped inside without a fight and laid his own
furious gaze upon the one who had brought him here.

Jendaros spoke first. You were working with Luerk and Athin in a renegade
plot to steal plans from the conclave. 

Teagues masked expression slipped to reveal outrage and, though his voice
remained even and calm, his anger was apparent, What is the meaning of this?
That is unfounded and false. I have never sought to 'steal' anything. 

The other Black simply replied with a hint at his fate,  Perhaps, you will
have a chance to answer at a trial. 

Im sure I will. The two stood in silence for a moment before Teague broke
the silence with a surly opinion,  This is still uncalled for.  We shall
see. 

Teague took his feet, his voice little more than a whispered growl, I insist
you allow me to explain. You obviously don't know what you're doing! 

On a whim it seemed, Jendaros relented,  This is your last time to speak
before the trial on your behalf. What do you have to say, two mages have
accused you of plotting to spy against the conclave to the means of
Dragonarmy. 

The younger of the two mages was obviously frustrated near to his breaking
point but still he battled himself for some semblance of control. This is my
job, fool! I've been with them; watching over them and you surely know it. 
He nearly spat this last part as he tossed his hands up in the air.

His captors reply was brief.  I am aware of this, yes; but after the
treachories of Luerk what am I to believe.  Teague was now forcing himself
to count his words to be certain he would think before acting, his voice was
a venomous hiss still and his gaze was just as deadly.  I wasn't spying on
the Conclave. I was simply trying to figure out what YOU were up to. 

Jendaron didnt quite seem to know what to think of this confession,  What
curiosity has my actions arisen? 

The question seemed almost unreal to him but he obliged the mage anyways, I
am curious why my warnings of the Dragonarmy's movements and the threat of
Renegades were so readily ignored until now. All of a sudden, after years of
putting myself on the line for you bookish twits while being completely
ignored and now it has come to this?!?  He let his voice fall, which had
become a bit louder than he had planned on allowing, If someone had simply
listened I could have told you there were renegades amongst us. 

Jendaros considered this and finally came to a decision,  Who is it, besides
Luerk, that you wish to disclose then? Perhaps we can arrange something on
your behalf.  

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Thu Jun 26 05:17:15 2008
Subject     Beware: Snakes in the Grass (Pt 2)

 He managed to keep from yelling again but a deep and bitter sarcasm took
its place,  I've been trying to get the conclave's help to further
investigate the threat but...Must I tell you how useful that was again?  He
laughed aloud, But now, you have the notion that something is awry and you
don't even have the right people! I was suspicious of you, yes. But Luerk
was simply aiding me with an attempt to figure YOU out. I can't believe
yo...  He managed to get hold of his laughter but the incredulous mirth was
still there. 

He wasnt sure if this tactic would work but hed always found the truth to be
much better a tool than a lie. He found himself correct soon, as Jendaros
motioned for the jailer to let them both out. Ruffled but none worse for
wear, Teague gathered himself and began to leave but he paused to ask
without even turning, And Luerk? What about him?  His tone was expectant and
not at all riddled with hope for he knew what should be done. Luerk was no
more guilty in his eyes than he was himself. Hed prove it if he had to.

Jendaros offered him only one answer before he was gone and there was no
arguing left to do,  Well discuss this at a later time. I must go and deal
with more pressing matters first.

Teague didnt argue because it wouldnt matter just now. He had work to do
now. Luerk needed someone to get this worked out and he was certain that
Highlord Saige would be wondering where one of his most loyal officers had
gotten off to with no notice. Sure it had happened before but this wasnt
something that should have been considered normal behavior for Trell. With
that he turned on his heel and headed to his room to compose a full report
and see that it found its way swiftly. 

((This is NOT my report. Simply a story about what happened.)) 

Author:    Teague         
Date:      Fri Mar 16 21:39:04 2012
Subject     Storm in His Wake..

Teague Morague-Vaughn liked the storm. More so he loved the feel of it coming. The wind tore at his leather cloak and urged his mount onward with an urgency that only the earth itself could produce. The moisture in the air touched his skin and mingled with sweat on both man and beast as they made their way to Qualinesti. It would have been considered odd to strangers, how the storm followed the mage at such a steady pace, never gaining or giving ground. To those who knew him, it was not so st range. To those who knew him, it was common place. He reveled in the power and sometimes used it for his own comfort. The storm helped him to clear his head. He knew he would need it. He had not been gone from the tower long but it was long enough to miss Volaths coming. To miss the news of his return to the Order. It was probably best. He had heard that their Highlord had left them and he felt he knew why. He would say nothing of it, one way or another, but he knew there would be a need for changes. He wondered who would lead their flight and why he chose to remain there amongst the Reds. He didnt belong there. He didnt belong amongst the Blues either. He had other plans for his Queens army however. For his place in life. That would be why he intended to take care of one bit of business before he met the flight outside the borders of the Elven lands. He had to be sure. He had to know his opposite was still what he was. What he needed him to be... He hadn't seen Alexander in years. Not since he had left them for the Order. Not since their mother had fallen to illness. His mind turned it over and over again, uncertain if he would like what he found. If he did not, plans within plans would be ruined. He would have to start anew. He would have to forge a new path. The very idea was too much of an annoyance to play to before he knew for certain. He would find out soon enough. The inn they had designated for their meeting was less than a day from here and from there he would see to more pressing matters. A silent prayer...Something he rarely did. To Mother and Son. 'Let it be as it should. Let me rise as I intend. Let me serve you as I serve myself. Drive my blade and my hand...My mind and heart...My fate. Let him be as he was...

Author: Teague Date: Mon Mar 19 02:15:19 2012 Subject The Storm Comes...

There was thunder on the horizon, rumbling the earth and warning of future storms. Unfortunately these storms were not his own and he didnt have time to make things better for the men at the moment. He stood listening in silence as scouts spoke and higher ranking men setting out orders. He wouldnt have probably even been allowed in the tent, had he not ways to be there in mind rather than body. He didnt like relying on so-called greater men. He hated relying on anything, let alone men of any sort. No, he would be ready, already moving his meager forces into place by the time the runners came to him. He liked it that way. Always time...It infuriated him to lose such a precious thing. He would reach for the heavens while he could but he knew there were things running against him that no blade could fell. Enough of that, he chided himself as his mind idly wandered to the future. He stood and shook away the vision, pushing the bowl of water to the side and sloshing its contents upon the table's surface. He would be certain his men were ready. He would be certain they were early. He hungered for that which he was yet to gain and would use everything in his power to see he had what he truly deserved. Small steps had brought him here and they grew larger with each passing season. The magic was not the whole of it. He had the training of a soldier before he came here. He had the life of a squire to a Knight of the Rose. To his father. The bastard had done him a favor by forcing his mindset upon the boys at a young age. Had he the power to see the old man's face when he brought darkness down upon his head... His thoughts were broken as the rain's first drops fell. He paid them little mind as he moved amongst those tools he had been give, granting insight and giving direction in hushed tones as he went. He was not a cruel man but he was strict, expecting no more of them than he gave himself, and valuing their loyalty until they had taken their last breaths. And then...There would be others. For now these did the trick and they jumped to follow his orders despite the conditions moving upon them. Perhaps it was the elves, he thought to himself for a moment before he cast it aside. No, no magic here. Not in the rain. It would come and pass. Washing the earth clean for their coming, when they were finally ready to move. He had only arrived the night before to take the helm of his small portion of the Red Wing stationed here, his words to his brother still fresh upon his mind. Did he move as he did? Would the Solamnics rise to meet them at some point? He hoped they would. He prayed they would. He had no need to prove himself to them but he yearned to see the shock...If they remembered the deserting upstart bound for the Tower of High Sorcery. Magic...Would not seem so useless to the old man when he... He pushed it away again. The malice in his heart was clouding his mind. He searched for the cool blackness within to rest those thoughts in, letting them finally slip away as the runner came finally...Surprised to be met with them already moving. He barely paid him mind, listening and nodding with a distracted air before waving him off with a scowl. It was not where he wanted to be. He wanted to be promised his hand in this and felt they were being placed as a secondary strike. Though stranger things had happened. People fell in war. It was where he needed to be...Right there to pick up whatever rank hit the bloodied mud. He would be seen. He would have what was hisNo matter how far from the front he was. No matter how much a mage was underestimated in the face of true battle. No matter how long this blasted army was taking to come together... Soon. Soon there would be opportunity. Soon there would be war. Soon he would strike. But still... His mind still lingered on a squire. On a Solamnic. The other half of their whole... ((Cont...))

Author: Teague Date: Mon Mar 19 02:21:36 2012 Subject The Storm Comes...(Part II)

Only days earlier he had spoken with the boy who had become as much a man as he had in their time away from each other. He had been pleased to see all was going according to plan. That his twin's golden heart still bore Roses. He hadnt had long...Their meeting had been cut short. Such a short conversation and then the morning had called him to make haste. Again and again the scene rolled over him... He had made his way from the stables, dust still clinging to his robes and the few smatterings of armor he could barely get away with wearing. He reached back to tighten the leather cord that held his hair and then paused, hand upon the door. After a moment he pushed it inward, eyes seeking the one person he had hoped to find. Alexander made himself comfortable in the corner nearest the fire. Even with the recent actions against his order, and the assassination of the Grand Master, he was a Solomnic, and would not hide. He would not leave his weapon at the door either. He looked to the door and saw the unmistakable profile of his brother enter. Teague caught sight of the...Knight he had been searching for. His lips curled into a wry smile though his mind warned him he was playing with fire. It never seemed to stop him before and it wouldn't now. He made his way towards the fire. He paused there, back to the door, to warm his hands and weary limbs. He also needed the time to reconsider his words, "And so the son carries the father's legacy...It suits you well, Brother." Alexander smile in spite of himself. "I did not do this because of our father and you know it." He pushed the chair opposite of him away from the table, with his foot. " I was born to be a knight, the same way you where born to be a sneaky little git." Smiling even broader, "It is good to see you though, and it looks like you managed Not to bring trouble with you this time." Teague chuckled softly as he took the seat, angling it so that he could see his brother and the rest of the inn. "Its called a mage, brother." His smile drew itself with a bit more sincerity than he had felt in a while. He had to pause and consider the man that had been but a boy when last he had seen him. "No trouble with me. Not this time. And you? I assume it was taxing to get away to meet with me. How do you fair. Is there a...Woman?" Alexander rolled his eyes, "I don't have time to waste on romance, and as for getting away, I chose what was the more important of my obligations." Alex purposefully avoided the topic of Teagues love life, it had two stages, a kaleidoscope of random meaningless affairs, or infatuation with someone destined to be more trouble than good. Teague was blissfully unaware of the accurate portrayal his brother had in mind as far as his lovelife went. What little of it truly existed. "I see. Well its good to know you see some importance in family still. You...Do not appear to have changed much. But war is coming...It changes a lot of things." He lofted a brow as he flagged a barmaid for some ale for them both, "How will it change you, brother?" ((Cont...Almost done, I promise!))

Author: Teague Date: Mon Mar 19 02:26:57 2012 Subject The Storm Comes...(Part III)

Alexander looked his brother in the eye, "one thing they taught me as a squire, was is not pretty, it is not romantic, there will be hard decisions, made in the spur of the moment. I will make them when the time comes, no matter how hard they are, and I will face the consequences for them, in this life or the next, just like you." Teague listened with interest and then nodded, "I see. At least the Solamnics are teaching you -something- of use." He snorted, never being one to admire the Order. He leaned back in his seat a bit and eyed the near-empty room, "It may be quite some time before we can meet again. War, it seems, has us both by the hand." He grinned a bit, "Let us both hope your choices are the right ones. You have something grand in store for you." Alexander cut his eyes at his brother, the phrase in store for you, was a loaded one from their youth, reminding him of times when he had been "tricked' into doing things because of how epic an adventure it would be, but then he smiled, "Let us not worry ourselves now about war, tell me of your travels." Teague began to feel his grin widen as his brother returned the familiar response. He shook his head and waved off the question, "My travels? What a boring thing to ask, Alexander." He chuckled and set his eyes on the barmaid with lascivious intent as she set their ale down upon the table. "I took a horse. I'm sure I got worse looks than you did. You know how it is." He shrugged, "I'm more curious about you." He glanced to the windows, the sun having set long ago, "But perhaps we should ta ke rest first. That is, if it pleases you to remain." Alexander Nodded, sleep is of the first order, well sleep for me," He shot a futile warning glance at the barmaid and headed to bed. Teague wished his brother well and remained, preferring to spend his night with softer things in mind. He had the time for the moment and knew said time would be short soon... And short it had been. A message came to him from Tessa, to make haste. That he was needed by the Mother, their Queen...He had not even said goodbye, just a simple note between brothers and he had been off before the other had even roused himself to meet the coming sun. (End...The green text is an RP done between Alexander and I a few nights prior. Thanks for letting me use it brah!)

Author: Teague Date: Wed Mar 21 17:50:22 2012 Subject Future Field Promotions...

His platoon was in place and all was well for the moment. His nerves were feeling a tug here and there. Their enemy showed movement of sorts but nothing they could put their fingers on and it was to be expected. He hated not knowing though. It cast a shadow over his stern expression as he let his eyes shift to the forest for what might have been the hundredth time today. He wasnt nervous per say, and even if he was he would never have allowed any of those here to see it. But his squad leaders were edgy, his men were impatient. So was he. He couldn't be certain what they were waiting on, perhaps word of the battles to the north. Perhaps the rumors of movement through the desert needed to be cleared of doubt. Caution was good but too much...Too much looked like fear. Fear wasn't something he was accustomed to and it was as far from his level of tolerance as the Solamnics were. It damaged trust. It weakened your sword arm. It made the men wonder so... He kept them busy. Too busy to wonder. Too busy to notice... There was always -something- to be done. He turned from the forest once more and made his way through them to his tent. Possibly the most magically secure and dangerous tent in all of Ansalon. In his mind it was. He couldn't imagine any other wasting such precious time on maintaining their privacy within a canvas box. From time to time it brought a thin wry smile to his lips. For now, it served him well though. None of -his- men would dare enter without being bid to do so. Some were loathe to do so even then. The bowl upon the table there held murky reddish waters in its obsidian arms and that was where his attention carried him. He paused there, fingertips caressing the surface as he spoke the words of magic and felt the familiar embrace of his one true love. The air about him grew thick and shimmered as his senses tore free of his earthly prison and reached... It wasn't far. The tent of his Captain. It was dim, as were many of them in the early morning's light. There were plans here, maps. He had to know. He had to be certain that he could falter properly. He wanted to be held back. He -needed- to remain closer to the command. That meant he had to find ways to make the others more expendable. He had to find a way to convince to Captain that he and his platoon were best held close to him. He had to find a way to build doubt... His mind shifted to those other platoon leaders. One by one he spent his valuable time watching. Waiting. It wouldn't be difficult to prove his magic would turn the tide best from a distance. He stood out amongst the other three with that if nothing else. He had to be there when his Captain fell. Hed begun to plant the seeds already. Showing his ability to provide protection to the Captain with his magic was easy. He put himself at risk, perhaps, but it was well worth the gain. He drew himself back, pleased that the more martial Platoon Leaders were obviously the better choice. He held his tongue when he could otherwise offer assistance during strategic considerations. He voiced them later -just- loud enough for his equals to hear and steal. He had to make them seem far more capable in the brunt face. The Captain would hold more respect for them, viewing Teague as more of a tool...If things went the way he was pushing them. Soon... Soon it wouldn't matter -what- he thought...

Author: Teague Date: Thu Mar 22 18:18:15 2012 Subject Your Shield, My Blade

Ignorant fools... Teague watched the forces around him with an expression so controlled it would have fooled his own mother. His mind moved languidly over his plots and plans. His eyes took in his squad leaders as they went about their tasks, aware of the snake but unwilling to tussle with it. He saw them. He -knew- them. Red red red...So much red. No wonder they were such brutes. No wonder they couldnt see the truth of things. No wonder they are so wrapped in their own 14. lust and glory. I hate them. -All- of them. Ciskei... That bastard put me here and then left me in this trap. In this endless pit of idiocy and aimless greed. If I had him here right now...I might throttle him. I might... His fingertips traced the insignia that hung from its chain on his neck, secreted away beneath robes and smatterings of armor. Green armor. The ivy there served as nothing more than a bitter memory of what he had been. Of what he should be... It meant nothing amongst the ranks now. He was res wing now. He hadnt had a choice. Swear fealty to... I cannot stand it. Swear fealty to that brutish idiot or be cast from the ranks. My brothers at armsThey were nothing like this. This is not what I remember. So quickly did I find them and so quickly did I have them torn from me. I will have my vengeance on this bloody wing. I will spin their heads and make them respect my guile. They -will- respect my strength. Or they will perish. He was no fool. He knew he could do nothing in the light. That he could not take them at once. That he had not the strength. That he could not have what he wanted if it undermined his Queens goals. He was patient, however. He was intelligent. He was the short knife that dug deeper and bit more painfully than any long blade could. He would move and move slowly. His squad leaders. He had picked them himself of course, such was the way of things. He knew how to win them with promises and payment. No gold. It wasn't what they wanted. It wasn't enough. They wanted true wealth. They wanted power. He...He had promised them what they deserved. And you shall have it. You shall have -exactly- what you deserve, my fine friends... His attention fell back to the task at hand, mind clearing and energies focusing. The tingle of magic, the caress he craved more than any lover. It rose and shocked through him and he snatched hold of it, drawing and aiming...Painting a tapestry of enchantment through the gift he crafted. A gift fit for someone far greater than a mere Captain. A gift -he- held power over. A gift that would protect from the enemy, as he promised. A gift that would do as -he- bid it to do...Could not protect from -him-. Soon...Mother...My Queen. My Goddess. The Dark Son...My Moon. My God. I will show you who I am. I will -make- you see me. Soon...

Author: Teague Date: Fri Mar 23 09:39:59 2012 Subject Something Is Not Right...

Darkness was upon him. Up was down and down was far from what it should be. On the horizon there was a storm but it brought him no comfortThe storm had never brought such dread upon him. He was lost...Opposing thunderheads broke the earth and scorched the trees as it raged and yet he had no strength to control... There was no order...No sense. No power. He felt the earth drench but there was no life to be brought forth from this, only torrents and flood. The waters rose and pressed upon him. The magic failed him and, for the first time in many years, Teague-Morague Vaughn panicked. And then he woke. There was still rain...But this rain was soft and gentle, caressing the tent he sat in. The hours until dawn were few but the night remained heavy and reluctant. He reached up to snake his fingers through platinum blonde tresses, damp with sweat. His heart beat like the drums of war and threatened to burst inside his chest. He gulped for air and his senses groped for reason. Something is wrong...What is it? He roused himself, pacing the tent without care for dressing. What is this...Everything is in place. Everything is perfect...Something is wrong! He had to know. He had to find it. He could not afford this. Were his plans to go astray... The mere concept turned his blood to ice. Weakness was not a face he had the leisure of putting forth. Weakness was like unto blood in the water amongst these sharks. He made his way through the camp at night. His mind was upon the scouts. Perhaps they had found something. Perhaps it was minor. If not...If not then they would find it. They would know. He was certain. He had to find their officer. He had to find that blasted goblin... Lahrag...Where is that disgusting little creature...

Author: Teague Date: Sat Apr 14 17:33:40 2012 Subject Short Blades...

Teague was in a rush. He'd folded two notes into his robe pocket and made his way to his horse, motioning for his first squad leader to join him for a moment. He looked to the man in silence once he had mounted the steed, leaning in and motioning for him to keep his voice down. "Be wary, Akadin. Continue the work we have done and keep the men busy. I shouldn't be long." He flicked his wrist and produced the smaller of the two notes. "We have company. Time is short." The man unfolded the note and scanned the paper before refolding it and handing hit back with a nod, "Of course sir. You wish this back?" Teague shook his head and a wry smirk played at the corner of his lips as he gestured to the high command tent, "You know what to do with it. Ask my questions, Din. Like we spoke of." Hed offer a wink as they exchanged salutes and the mage spurred his mount on. He had things to do. Lahrag could wait no longer, he held that nagging feeling still. But he had to deliver the other information to their Captain himself. He had to be sure he pushed the right buttons. He had to be certain they thought what they needed to think. He had to show him what he wanted him to see. Tomorrow they moved forward on one of the villages, something that was expected to be simple. A simple procedure for a simple deception. He hadn't wanted to make his move so quickly, he liked to triple check. Money had exchanged hands, promises made. None of those who had been bought were trustworthy and they would be dealt with mercilessly once this ordeal was done with...But he needed them to take hold of the reins once they were dropped. He needed all the loyalty he could garner, true loyalty or not. He had more than enough truly loyal men beneath him. His squad leaders were dead set upon his move. They were dead set upon his rise and rising with him. He would see to it personally that they got what they deserved, good or not. all of them. He was a man of his word and everyone knew that. Some considered it weak but, though those who knew him well enough (as well as he let them), considered it a boon. Some even feared his word, for he had promised and delivered his wrath as often as he had done the same in a more positive manner. He reached the command tent, slipping from his mount to announce himself and his intent to his Captain's men. He waited now, as they took the steed to be watered at his request. Twice he folded the letter before slipping it back into the robe as they ushered him in, his mind touching upon his heaviest points. He didn't pause save for a quick salute before he spoke. "Captain, I have intelligence that a platoon of Black and a small force of Blue lead by their Highlord are moving up on our backs. Either they, or our Emperor, must believe we are incapable of our task...Or perhaps we move too slow...Tomorrow's movement? Perhaps we should push further. We have the capabilities and it will buy us more time and space. You dont want them to come in here expecting to take Silvanost in our stead, do you? They've grown bolder with the taking of Ka laman...This is meant to be our flawless victory, is it not?" He could see the truth of it. Certainly the Reds were smart when it came to being bold and vicious. They were a strong war machine. But they were proud... So very proud...

Author: Teague Date: Sun Sep 29 21:33:08 2013 Subject To Tie a Silken Noose...

The mage had been busy at work for himself under the guise of further strengthening the power of the Red Highlord, a brutish ogre he had little to no respect for. He played his part, of course, keeping to the dance and playing the weaker. His mind was as sharp as a sliver of obsidian but he was no match physically for something like that and he had no desire to lead these idiots. Ever the rebellious one, he still hated that hed been drawn into their ranks to prove his worth. He refused red in attire and clung to the greens of old, studying the art of warmage and keeping mostly to himself. He never was the sort to consort with people of that caliber anyways. He took long sojourns to the Towers, claiming research necessity, and rarely brought much attention to his actions aside from the comings and goings. Considering the way the Red had received him to begin with, he commanded neither their trust or their attention. This suited him just fine. His brother had not surfaced for some time and that Solamnic...He still drifted to his mind from time to time but perhaps it was for the best that he had gone. The mage had kept his word and seen him free and that was that. He hardly had the time for such things now anyways...Saige was moving. His spies and long-reaching eye had brought his attention to it weeks ago but there was only one wing to be dealt with now. He prayed to Moon and Mother that this hell would pass and the weak of mind would be culled, cut free like rotting flesh. Their plans had fallen to the sideline long ago and there was so much to be done. They couldn't afford to have brutes ruining it. They brought Her name low and made a mockery of the darkness. Poisons and spells brewed to the left and right as he toiled day and night, awaiting the right moment. He couldn't give the old man what he wanted on a silver platter but he could be sure that the quarry would not escape or fell the hunter. Time and cunning were a powerful weapon and he made good use of both time after time... This would be no different than the last time. He chuckles softly to himself, lifting a vial up to the light to inspect. Spectral hands would deliver his blow when the time was right and the foe would fall. His last commander hadn't seen it coming either. Sometimes... It was nice to be underestimated.

Author: Teague Date: Mon Sep 30 19:41:27 2013 Subject Razorblade Smiles & Gift Horses

"Our Dark Majesty and I thank you for your loyal service..." Teague's boots were still spattered with blood and the final pleas of the last man in the small party to speak with Sylphshade still rang in his ears. His lips twitched at the corner, forming a venomous smile behind his mask as he quickened his stride. They were of no further use to him and it would do no good to let them return with stories of a masked Black Robe to their lord. They were His men, and it was a pity to make such a waste of them but...Sacrifices must be made. It was true. His suspicions brought to light, he had much work to do. Blood Stained gloves thumped upon the desk as he entered his inner sanctum, preparing to take his leave and be on his way. He sent nothing ahead of himself just yet, intending to leave little time to wonder of his motives. They served him far better when they had less time to think, not that they oft thought quickly enough to keep up with him at all in this wing. Their saving grace lay in their distrust, but they had never hesitated to make use of him when they found the need. He would rely upon that in the days to come. A single horseman could travel much faster than a company but still he would push himself to haste... ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ... ... The storm had come out of nowhere it seemed, with little warning it howled and tore at the structures around them. It screamed of magic, twisting unnaturally with colors unseemly and and churning clouds. The Highlord Brak'kta didn't care for unexpected visitors but it had long since been the Mage's tradition to arrive upon the eve of such a corrupted tempest. He had a flare for unnecessary dramatics that set the Ogres mood foul and tried his patience. But he never came empty handed. For all his troublesome theatrics, the mage's portents and hunches had lead him to glory on many occasions. It wasnt forgotten that the mans wit and skill had brought Silvanesti's might to its knees in several instances in the last war. He would hear him, if nothing else...And crush his skull if he had wasted his time. He growled a guttural order, setting his heavy guard to allow the Storm Bringer entrance this once. ... ... The Mage expected as much. The Highlord's temper was easy to rile and his patience was tested poorly like a brittle blade. He was prepared though, knowing his words would be better received with a little proof. The scout had come willingly, or so it had seemed, the Mage's charm working is hold into his heart and mind as it tangled his sense of duty and bowed him to Teague's will. He came with the Blue Wing scout at his flank without a single thought as to what his fate might soon enough be. The chamber was dank, no doubt wrought that way by the storms Vaughn so loved to carry upon his mantel. But it was warm and smelled of the last meal taken. A small distraction if any at all to the man who reached up to pull back his hood as he took a knee, "I'm afraid I come as the bearer of ill-begotten news, Highlord." The Ogre snorted, no true respect for the pleasantries of greetings and shows of rank unless they suited him. Right now, they pulled what little patience he had left taut and threatened to snap them at any given moment. He could be dallying with his most recent prizes and drinking in the night, rather than dealing with this troublesome mage, "Speak and be done with it. I've no time for you, little Magus." Teague's brow twitched slightly but he rose, setting his gaze upon the monster of a man. He could crush him before he could even manage a full spell if it was ill-timed...But there was no need for that. It took less than magic to lull his plans to fruition. His soft gravel came as it was bid, "Highlord Saige has taken up arms and forced the other wings beneath his boot, Highlord. Its certain that he makes his way here now. He means to kull you with the rest of th--" (Cont.)

Author: Teague Date: Mon Sep 30 19:47:58 2013 Subject Razorblade Smiles (Part II)

The Ogre laughed, a booming grumble that nearly shook the walls as he moved to snatch the Mage by the fastens of his cloak. A hand came up to the creatures wrist but there was no act to resist as Teague was lifted to the tips of his toes roughly and shoved rather unceremoniously into the nearest brace. The mage gasped for the breath hed just lost as the Ogre drew closer, his hot and near rancid breath washing over the man's face, "I have no fear of that squirming Human whelp, Mage. You waste my time!" A second hand came to the man's throat, leaving little space for words to slip free but still the dangling mage rasped, "O-of course, Highlord but hear me...Saige is not a mere Human and you know this...Her favor has rested with him for as long as any of you can remember! There must be a reason and he marches here -now- alongside Uth Matar and her escort...M-more than that...See for yourself." He managed a gesture towards the spellbound scout. ... ... An example had to be made. He convinced him of that much, to serve his own aims above all else. It was intended to be a message to the oncoming would-be emperor but Teague knew it wouldn't have the effect the Highlord wanted. He welcomed the reaction he expected though, it brought him no end of joy to be honest. The magic-mangled corpse would be deposited in the path of the Blue, displayed about a day out with the grisly message like only the Ogre could conceive of... The mage would not be permitted to leave, of course, the Highlord would keep him under close eye. They still didn't trust him but they were just as willing to use his skills. Just as he intended, he would remain at Brak'kta's side, giving him an eye into the surrounding land like no other could... Until the time had come... (Fin...)

Author: Teague Date: Wed Oct 16 16:59:37 2013 Subject Shadows and Blood

The plot had been laid in full by the time he had left the tavern. The Black's end, at least. He still had work to do and everyone knew that grains of sand fell in the glass, they did not rise. He brooded silently over plans as his small guard travelled along side of him, rolling his options over again and again. This changed things. He didn't like to change his plans right in the middle of things but...He could work with it. He always rolled with things so well. Always. He would this time, as well... His meeting with the Black had gone better than he'd expected. A new ally in his chosen course. In a way...They had their own ideas of what they wanted. Everyone did. That was as constant as the rising sun. More so from time to time. He would be a fool not to count on that. The Blacks had a certain...Reputation. Then again, so did he. When he arrived back to the Highlord's side, he made his reports. There would be aid from the Black Wing as per his 'request'. An advance party of the black wing would meet him east of bloten in short time. Unfortunately, he had learned that he would be the one to meet them. The Highlord was fickle and paranoid. He had changed his mind in the Masked Mage's absence. There would be no advance. As rare as it often was, the Ogre had taken Teague's advice and decided not to give up their advantageous terrain. They would wait for this would-be Emperor to come to them. It changed things. Yet again. The weather shifted that night, to something foul and stewing. It matched his mood and suited him well. The storm had answered his frustrations with welcoming arms. The hellish and clearly unnatural torrent would wreak havoc on the roads and the swamp surrounding them. It would buy him time against a larger force, given their placement. It would give him the time to act with patience. He would twist these threads back into his tapestry. He would have his moment soon enough. Patience. There were things to prepare. For all the foundations he had laid, he knew that there was only one way to get what he wanted. You take it. There were a few things he had learned amongst the Red that he could respect. Things that they thought he could never understand. That they would regret him learning. Some of them, anyway. He would do what was required of him by the Mother... He needed to be ready and so did his men. His tongue wrought trust and bent greed to his will amongst the Highlords command. His power wove fear and respect into an armor greater than any steel. Speaking of armor... He wanted to play his part to the fullest. Presentation could very often be the difference to make everything. He needed to dress for the grand occasion. He was going to need something in Red...

Author: Teague Date: Wed Oct 30 07:47:43 2013 Subject By the Rising of the Moon

Everything had gone according to plan. Soft leather boots stood at the door to a room where the acrid scent of the Gods only knew what lingered, twisting and writhing upon the air with what was left of the telltale odor of death. Sweet and sour, the burnt floor and not much more remained. This was exactly what he wanted. A favor here, a debt to be collected there...A well placed word was more deadly than any blade in the moment before the Emperor and his Blue Bitch fell upon them. There were some who had given up hope, laying in the beds they had made. There were some who refused to see their own defeat as well. Those who despaired were given new hope this night. The later...Found a swift end in the still calm of the early morn. If they were of any note, that is. Those below notice were not of his concern. They would do as they were told or their officers would deal with them and swiftly. It was so...Easy. His personal guard had gathered near, ready to act should there be any opposition to speak of. The commanders scattered throughout the land...Well there were some who simply would not bend a knee to a weakling mage. Lucky for them, there wasnt one of those to be found this night. The Masked One was not one to be trifled with. Tonight...Tonight the storm raged overhead, bid here and held aloft by necessity. Tonight the thunder would be his mask. There were screams to be muted and lights to be snuffed. A place for everything and everything in its place. The Blacks had played their part well. A finely tuned instrument amongst a symphony of deceit and betrayal. He had waited so very long. Tonight those who would mock him would cower. Perhaps...Perhaps he had been amongst these brutal Reds for too long. Something about them had begun to appeal to him. Honor aside, there was a beauty in the swift blow of an iron fist. Those of his specific and careful choosing had been in place since the Executioner had entered the vicinity, the letter to guide his allies into safe reach having hit its mark. By his hand? Certainly not. By his will? Of course. And now... And now, he could almost hear them, the lives his word was taking now. The weight of his calculation and will upon this army. Even in Sanction, his will would be done tonight. All at once. those who would follow him would be spared. For now. His hand picked assassins would be laying waste to those who would not. Every single opposition for the position of Highlord, imagined or not, would be wiped out before the storm had passed. It would cleanse the world of his enemies. Within his ranks at least. There was only one thing to be dealt with. He stepped into the room, the man behind the mask, a thin layer of dust falling from his fingertips as he spread it over the floor. His soft voice, precise and honed as a razor's edge, lifted in the ancient language of magic. Not so much as a shift came from those who would guard him with their lives. His most trusted. The traces of the Ogre would be erased from existence by the time he had completed his enchantments. Even the scorch from the potent acids would be no more. But... Nothing was perfect, however. Nothing. It was then that he realized there had been a slight miscalculation. A shift behind him, a metallic thud and sickening crunch. Words were on his lips as his fingers fell to the powdered bone he kept within easy reach. He gave no second thought as he cast, turning to face one of his chosen...The spell striking icy fingers into the man's chest as he rose to strike the mage down. He found he couldn't so much as move, his own body rebelling in the sheer terror of the magics seeping into him and coiling about his heart. Fear held him frozen as the Storm Bringer sapped his strength and tore at his essence with no more than his will and practiced command. There was always a snag in the most finely woven plots. (To be Continued...)

Author: Teague Date: Wed Oct 30 07:56:50 2013 Subject By the Rising Moon...(Pt. II)

The man was dead, felled by the blades of the three that remained, the corpse left on the floor without much of a lingering thought. Greed drove men to stupid risks. Power, wealth and fame were very tempting motivations. He was no stranger to this. His boots padded quietly towards the fifth. He had been the one to fall...A pity. He wasn not a good man...But he had been so very reliable. The mage looked to Ceasarin and Akadin as he passed, "See his family is compensated and handle him, Ceasarin. Akadin...Gather our forces and send word. The Highlord has abandoned us in greed and fear, and another has risen to put order to this chaos. They will withdraw from all acts of defiance against the Emperor and I will have parley at his earliest convenience." He paused there, a bitter smile upon his lips, "Do not mention my name, Akadin. It might spoil the surprise." He never had a problem with a little surprise here and there. Today was not the first time things hadnt gone completely as he wanted them to and he was certain it would not be the last. His bases were covered. He and his men had alibis for the time the Highlord would have fled. There were decoys sent out to play the part of the possibly escaped Highlord as well. Meant to be seen but not fully identifiable. The assassins and decoys were paid well...With the riches the fled coward had supposedly stolen from the red coffers. The rumor was set and ready to be spread throughout the ranks. All -should- have been well. He was precise and usually thorough, but he was not infallible. This month...Was going to be long and arduous. He would no doubt, have further snags to deal with. He had seen many a Highlord rise and fall. He could deal with that though. He -would-. Swiftly and without mercy. For now...There were preparations to be made and an army to address and little time to do it in. The message was already on its way towards the Emperor now. "Astier. Summon the Executioner Sylphshade. There will be examples to be made. The rest of you with me." His rise would be flawless. It had to be. The time was now...And there was so very little of it.

Author: Teague Date: Wed Dec 11 15:25:19 2013 Subject Sickening Sweet

The storm had quieted and the dust was settling. It didn't mean things were solid and ready to move on yet. The mage was in a fury about it. He was aware the plan never goes as expected...He wasn't expecting one of his own to take a swing at him. They were an oily smudge on the wall now, of course, but it didn't stop the inevitable from happening. Delays. He hated delays. His eyes and ears were astute and almost hysterically on top of things, pushing pieces across the boards while he recovered. He'd been on his feet for a few days thanks to some well placed spells but there was no healing. Only the theft of what others had. What he, at the time, did not. He was slow to recover, the dagger had bit deep into his back, barely missing his lung. They said he was lucky. But Teague did not believe in luck. Nothing was a coincidence. The Mother and the Son had there ways, no matter how irritating they were to him. More often than not they were infuriating. Infuriating was an understatement this time, however. Things were calming down and falling into place so nicely. Until -she- intervened. Ayasana Uth Matar. The bitch. The sentiment was a proper reference to both her sunny disposition and position amongst the Dragonarmies ranks, respectively. Lapdog to the Emperor. How high she had climbed since...Well best not to mention -him- again. It soured the wine even more. Her man was here, commanding -his- troops. A blue! Commanding the Reds. It was more than an insult. It was a disgrace! If Teague had thought her capable of such treachery in earnest, he would have already had a contingency for such. That was his failure. Even with this act...He knew she didn't think that way. She was respectable in that manner. She shone brightly where the darkness blotted out the light. She was truly one of a kind. For this reason he could never hold it against her for long but...Examples had to be made at her expense. Knowing or not, she had tread upon his patience and, though he wouldnt risk his heart by taking his vengeance to her directly...She would know. Poison was too good for him. A quick death, maybe. But he would take no honor with him. Not that these dogs knew what that was. Fear for everyone to see. Fear for Teague to wield as he saw fit. The mage's temper was as vicious and sudden as an oceanic squall...But he was no fool. He would be prepared. His aims were not without consequence and -surely- the Blue Bitch and the Emperor would be displeased with the sudden coup d'etat. He expected as much at least. In fact, he counted on it. It was bold, calculated and yet still brash enough. Just enough. He had no doubt that the Queen's Chosen had already figured that the former Highlord's "fleeing" had not been all it was presented to be. He was a shrewd man at his worst. There was no denying that. He knew why the Mother had chosen him. This would likely prove that, much to the Black's dismay. Even if it were unspoken. The time for careful plotting and shadow games had ended though. He was a fan of them, to say the least and knew their true worth but...This time it was not what would win him his spoils. Tomorrow morning... The acting commander of the forces brought in from Sanction was inspecting his troops this morning. He'd heard not a word of the masked mage who assisted in the chaos of the missing Highlord. Some presumed him dead. No one saw him fall though there -were- rumors...Always rumors. It made the look upon the man's face all the more satisfying when he finally made himself known. There was no sign of betrayal as he slowly made his way across the field and no reason to consider it. The advisor was clearly injured, the way he moved and little to no threat with his small guard. Glances were exchanged here and there as he bowed slightly, greeting the man with a soft rasp. And then an even softer utterance. There were certainly some there who knew better.

Author: Teague Date: Wed Dec 11 15:32:01 2013 Subject Sickening Sweet (Part II)

If his unwitting opponent had known better, he might have noticed the few valuable men shift behind him. He might have noticed the intricate gesture as more than a flourish to the robed man's bow. He might not have leaned in to ask him to repeat himself either and...He probably wouldn't have screamed so pleasantly as the Black Robe's hands ignited in a sudden burst of flame that billowed, gathered, and then hurdled through him and his own present command support before slamming into the building behind them with a roar that might have even rivaled the dragons. Things erupted into chaos in the following moments as acrid smoke and molten debris filled the air, accentuated with the sickening sweet stench of burning flesh. His chosen already knew what to do, however. Teague Morague Vaughn straightened despite the ache in his side, shoulders steady and veiled gaze shifting over the men who were too confused to be a true threat in the face of those who had expected this. It took only moments to subdue the few bold enough to act and a conjured wind to clear his immediate area of the smoke. It would take a little longer to put out the fire but he had people on that. Always prepared. Usually. A smug smile played across his lips and tugged at his eye where no other could see, a shadow shifting in the edge of his sight to comfort him. His most valuable possession was there and no one would so much as move towards him without her swift and final sting. He lifted his voice, gathering the attention of the men there. His words would travel quickly too. There was a new Highlord and no one -there- would dare dispute that. Not to his face at least. Not today. The ashes would be gathered. Probably not the right ones but it did the trick. Melted and twisted insignia and blade would be sent back to his Highlord. Her presence was no longer needed. As for the Highlord...Well his explanation was short but a bit more eloquent. A written vow of fealty. Short and to the point. Sealed with Teague's chosen mark. The anonymous mage had more important things to see to. Order would be maintained if he had to wash the chaos away with the blood of half his army. He had a feeling it wouldnt be quite so arduous a matter.

Author: Teague Date: Thu Jun 4 13:36:17 2015 Subject A Court of Victories.

The evening was beginning to fall as Teague and his small entourage made their way into Bloten's Court of Victories. He had spent a grueling afternoon dealing with this so-called Ogre-King, locked in negotiations that would no doubt be renegotiated if not dropped all together. They needed the Ogre, he reminded himself as his pace steadied and his agitation slipped from his shoulders. He had time to throw things at his subordinates over that when it came to be, for now he had a moment to spend for himself. The leather and silk robes of black swished about his form, old spurs and various pieces of (probably not regulation) metal smatterings adding extra weight and clinking along with that nasty array of cutlery he carried, he was not the typical sight one expected when they thought of a Mage. This mage looked as much the lion as his guard and the Ogre they had been seeking to ally with. This mage was, just as he had been in his earlier days, just as likely to read a book as he would be to beat you with it. When he had begun this particular stretch of life's road, his persona was meticulously designed, from his clothing, to his bearing and every single action that came to be in (and mostly out of) the public's eye. It was necessary. His image was every bit as important as his action and he was far from a man who would turn his back on one to hone another. Despite his wicked visage, Teague was a well-practiced balancing act. It was tiresome at times, yes, but it was well worth it. It was this sort of challenge he generally welcomed and even enjoyed but, as things will often go, something had gone wrong. His persona had grown into something far closer to the truth than he had ever imagined. It was a successful gesture, but it wasn't exactly leading him in the directions he had envisioned upon the start of his journey. Who leaves their home one day as they exclaim, "I'm done with this! I'm going to Bloten to create a taxing, shaky alliance with the Ogre and live in a squalor and debauchery-filled slave-pit." He certainly wasn't one of them, if they existed. It was safe to assume not many had survived an attempt because he was here and they were not, which leads one to figure that they either gave up or died trying if ever there was another as fool-hearted and thick-headed as Teague. No matter how one looked at it, they were rotting in one way or another and he was here to enjoy and/or curse the myriad of sensory onslaughts at work upon him as he made a casually determined path across the Court of Victory. It was difficult to point out what was what in the mix that was more often than not as enticing as they were offsetting, but the masked and robed leader of what would (hopefully) come to be known as the Red Wing was no stranger to most to their origins. He was a man who enjoyed life when it was convenient, more often for business than for pleasure. He was fully recovered from the attempt upon his life following the sudden shift of powers prior to his "good fortune" here and had made great use of the downtime, all things considered. His gait was even and steady and the warmage was enjoying what little night air made it through the haze of exotic and savoury smoke. It was strange, though, how his hatred of them, had driven him to hone them into something he had grown to admire. Albeit the sort of admiration one would give to a wild and very poisonous snake, but that sort of admiration had a tenancy to demand the respect of the wise. The resentment he had held towards the entire idea of these particular men due to unforeseen circumstances had burned hot and forged something of a bond between the two and strengthened both man and men in kind. A strenuous bond that could either take your head or build you an empire. He couldn't resist. How could he? Beyond his own thrills, goals and whims was his obligation. Whatever that was, he had never shared in full to anyone. It was rare to even get a candle to it, no matter how close or far away one stood and that was not likely to change.

Author: Teague Date: Thu Jun 4 13:45:20 2015 Subject A Court of Victory (Part 2)

He would have told you that he was never meant to be here if you had asked him at the start of his rise, but now? Now he moved among them, no need to hide his presence though Akadin and a few others were at his side. At home amid the monsters, he'd found himself and he was quite fond of what he saw and how it had served him. If he ever saw his Master again, he should have to thank him for his rough regime. It made the adjustment that people saw today much more fluid. He was not overly cruel but he hadn't grown to be kind. He was demanding, testing the metal of both their capacity and patience, but fair. Eventually he was known to be reasonable and almost even honorable in a way when he was afforded the luxury and fiercely determined when he wasn't. He took what was due him and nothing more from each and every one of them and, though it wasn't originally his way, he made no hesitation to resort to force in whatever brutal manner he had on hand. He drew bold and certain lines, defending them on principle alone when it was called for. He gave no quarter. He couldn't afford to. He had given up his secluded nature when the man who had originally held his place had suddenly abandoned his hold with his riches in tow and made quite the introduction for himself, nurturing a healthy balance of love and hate face-to-face whenever he could. Whatever it took, yes..? Everything was going according to plan, and--Speaking of Akadin, the man had become something just short of pushy about this sort of thing lately and it tried the edges of Teague's patience, but it was for a good cause. He let it slide, making his way through the Court between and past beggars, slaves, scattering ragtag groups of civilians, soldiers and anything one could imagine within this Ogre-born viper's pit. Could he really find some sort of logic to hand the other man that would even hold a flame? With friends like these creatures, one had best be prepared. Teague's mind was slowly winding all over the place by the time he had found his favored den of sin to settle into, back hitting the comfort of numerous pillows on the low smoke-filled divan. He had a drink in his hand, freshly kissed by Astier's lips before it ever touched his fingers. It wasn't something he had been able to get used to, this sort of public interaction. It was, sadly, something he would have to suffer through. He had plans of moving soon and rumors of possible movement to the north were beginning to trickle in. Tensions were in the air, hanging like a storm over all of Krynn. Anyone and everyone could feel it, surely. Something stirred, and it wasn't just him. He absently listened to his two officers converse back and forth, occasionally adding to their topic when it hit him, but his plans were foremost in his head. He was on a fairly decent roll, here. And his plights, of which there were many?

Author: Teague Date: Thu Jun 4 13:53:43 2015 Subject A Court of Victories (Part 3)

Certainly not the least of which would be that he had been long absent from the Conclave and was almost certainly still on thin ice. He generally was. He would have to find a way to pacify the stuffy old librarians sooner than later. This was already in the works, of course. He had his eyes on more than his own men and the rumors of Krynn, after all. One of those things was a particular initiate within the Order's tutelage, not yet ready for the test. An apprentice could be troublesome, yes, there were obvious risks but always ways to get around those. This one was different than the past attempts he had made at offering his hand to the future of the Order...He was stauncher and bolder in make and action and it'd caught his attention over time. This one might actually make it, he mused to his whiskey and then kicked back the drink to confused looks from his men. He'd said that out loud without a shred of context, of course, and now it was time to laugh it off and order another round for everyone. He pushed the conversation towards the days to come, vague and laden with their own particular code. He had his eye on strategic points of Khur and the Ogre continued to urge their push southward into Silvanesti. He was stalling for more time with his next move, stealing away as he was wont to do on his own errands unannounced, but it was bound to be a profitable move with plenty to be gained for the small cost. The Ogre were not known for their patience but it was a careful dance, appeasing them. Never could you give them too much or too little to the treacherous and tricky brutes. He was relatively good at getting what he wanted, however. The Ogre would keep. Besides, Pashin was looking rather nice this time of year he has heard. Anything had to be better than Bloten. He could see it. His staff could see it. Now to make the Ogre see it...

Author: Teague Date: Sun Jun 7 15:55:24 2015 Subject Testing the Waters

Nestos, the newly appointed Highmaster exits the tower quickly, laden with what appears to he travelling items. His satchel is filled, and he is wearing his red robe, now almost completely covered in black interlocking runes, not the rich black robes he had taken up wearing around the Tower. He has his hair braided down to the middle of his back, and his hood is down showing the scar under his left eye. Nestos nods to the few mages he passes, but keeps to himself. Teague had a way of inserting himself into situations. It's almost cat-like, the way he ends up right in one's path in such a casual manner. Of course, he doesn't do much to change that, turning to regard the approaching new Highmaster from behind his mask with a somewhat polite greeting. "Good evening..." Nestos stops short as Teague steps out, and speaks to him. He looks to the man and smiles, "It is a good evening. Can I help you?" He states this flatly, as if ready to be given some information that would delay him. He then looks down and begins fishing through his pockets as if looking for something, but continues to look up, paying attention to the man. Teague hadn't exactly been waiting around for this sort of moment, but he had certainly been keeping an eye out for such an opportunity to arise. He was, perhaps a bit more curious than was good for him, but it hadn't killed him yet. The masked mage takes in the Highmaster with mild consideration for his rummaging. This one -had- to be in trouble. He wasn't any better or worse than himself...By his cover, at least. Which really says nothing if one puts it to consideration. He knows that look, however, and it pulls something almost mirth-born to his eyes briefly, "Ah...I've found you in a rush. What a pity." Of course. The Dark Ones could be as bad as any other. At least he was sparing him the courtesy of eye contact. As the dark elf rummages in his pockets, a large raven swoops down to land on his shoulder. In its beak it holds a pipe, which Nestos takes with a nod of thanks to the animal. After releasing its burden, the corvid looks to you, studying him up and down with more intelligence than it should. After seeming to be satisfied, it jumps into the air and flaps its wings, carrying it into the sky. The dark elf packs a few leaves into the pipe, as he does he looks up to the man, a grin on his face. "Sorry about that. I am in a rush, but I can afford some time. How can I help you?" Teague puts aside the snide edge that tries to slip into his easy tone as he gestures with a casual wave, "It's nothing of importance, I assure you. I felt like I should meet the new Highmaster..." It's difficult to tell, but the man behind the mask is probably judging you. Actually, there's no probably to it. He has to wonder. What kind of pain in my ass are -you- going to be? That's the jackpot question, now isn't it? He sure as hell isn't simply being polite...He's not well known for putting his face in front of the administration without reason. "I was on a walk if you wish to keep moving, of course." Nestos covers the pipe bowl with his thumb for a moment as he speaks, "Sure," he says, extending his arm, inviting the man to walk with him. "I am afraid you have me at a loss, may I ask who you are?" The dark elf asks, almost as if he knows the answer to the question. He removes his thumb from the bowl of the pipe, and it is cherried. He puts it to his mouth and takes a few puffs from it, blowing out a sickly-sweet smelling smoke. He then looks to the man for the answer to the question. Teague is that guy who will -never- get a promotion like they gave you, and wonders what sort of awful thing you did this time. It's nagging at him, though. Was it a play, or an accident? He doesn't bother asking because he's certain neither of them cared to share their disguised failures. It is running through the back of his head as he matches pace, offering the only bit of name he ever does. "Vaughn."

Author: Teague Date: Sun Jun 7 16:02:51 2015 Subject Testing the Waters (Pt. 2)

Teague scrunches his nose slightly at the bridge, briefly drawing his brow inward and narrowing his eyes, but otherwise he's keeping his expressions as close to neutral and/or amused as possible. The Wings were dangerous, but not quite the same way as his 'brothers in practice' were. He takes a moment before he offers any other clue to said curiosities, however. He's fairly sure his is not the only attention that's drifted in close thus far. It's probably obvious, but who among them have been forward and tactless enough to ask thus far? Nestos watches the man as he falls into stride with him, studying the man out of the corner of his eye. He continues to puff on his pipe, exhaling the smoke as he speaks, "It is a pleasure to meet you, Vaughn." He continues down the path awhile longer, studying the man, "I am, as I am sure you know, Nestos." He takes another large puff on the pipe, and exhales in a large cloud of smoke. Teague knows. You can be sure at least half of everyone knows. He expects as much, at least. Anything that shakes up these hens will get them squawking. As for a study? There isn't much to make out aside from his stride and posture. The hood and mask teamed with voluminous robe makes it difficult to get more than him than he would choose to give. He's got too much of a martial bearing for your average tower mage and he makes a habit of meeting most looks dead on with one of his own. He doesn't sound -old-, though he doesn't seem -young- either. "Of course I know...I haven't seen anyone jump the ranks like this in a while." He's not particularly concerned with it, and so the edge of his words are loaded and wry. He manages to keep it short of venomous, though. Barely. "You must have done something awful. Did you turn the Archmage's assistant into a poodle?" Nestos grins wryly, doing nothing to hid it as the two travels down the path. He shakes his head at the comment, and chuckles. "Something like that," he says, the grin still wide as he looks up tot he man. The elf is considerably shorter than man, and is just short of frail looking. His age is hard to grasp, being a Silvanesti elf, but young would probably not be the word to choose. "It got me out of taking the test again, as, again, I am sure you know," Nestos states, matter of factly, "And I guess the moral of my story is to not deny the Tower your allegiance." The dark elf's grin seems to spread off his face as he looks the man directly in the eye. A piercing glance that makes you feel as though he is looking through the mask. Nestos then turns his face to the ground to concentrate on the path, a small smile still on his face. Teague doesn't seem to have a problem pausing to meet his discerning gaze with one of his own. It's not so much blank, as it is distanced. But just below the mossy surface he kind of gives the feel of passive defiance, the sort that dares you to go ahead and look if you think you want to. "Perhaps it's a blessing, then. I've never heard of anyone having to test twice, either." He doesn't really show much expression as they continue, of course, his pace carrying him just shy of the other, "A fairly obvious moral, I'd think. But I'm hardly you." He lets the clear question hang there in silence for a moment. What -were- you thinking...? One has to wonder. Nestos nods sharply, acknowledging the other mage's return stare, then grins again, "Some may think it obvious, but I guess I was just not thrilled with the way things were, or maybe I wanted to murder the High Archmage and take his place." He keeps the grin on his face as he takes a few more puffs of his pipe, "I guess in the end, it depends on who you ask, doesn't it."

Author: Teague Date: Sun Jun 7 16:11:37 2015 Subject Testing the Waters (Pt. 3)

Teague gives him a nod as they go, a soft click of his tongue heard as he bows his gaze briefly in thought, "Why...Who else would I ask but the source? I don't have the liberty of time consuming rumor mills that only deal in assumption, fancy and speculation." Maybe his time with the Red Wing has worked a few changes on Teague. He certainly didn't used to be so forward. His underhanded knots of words and loaded questions not generally drawing the needed responses elsewhere, he's fallen somewhat out of habit. He may have left a little of his tact back in Blode, too. "So which is it? I know a man with money on the poodle theory." "The money would not be on the poodle theory," the elf says with a tinge of laughter in his voice as he grins and continues, "I was dismissed from the tower do to an altercation with a higher ranked member of my previous order." Nestos puts his thumb back into the bowl of the pipes, then makes an annoyed sounds as he then taps out the bowl on the heal of his soft leather boots. He then tucks the pipe into a pouch with the green leaves, and tucks it into a pocket on his satchel. As he does, the large raven returns, gracefully landing on the Highmaster's shoulder, again studying the other mage. The dark elf whispers something quietly to the bird and grins, then continues down the path with the other mage. Nestos grins again as he says, "I appreciate your straight forward approach to this, and hope you will use this information to make some coin. Now, if you don't mind, may I ask about yourself?" he asks, before continuing without consent, "How are things proceeding with the wars of nations?" Tisking, Teague shakes his head, thumbs hooking themselves into his belt where his more practical blades usually hang. It's a bit of a habit as he walks, to be honest. "I don't waste my time with those who haven't the gall to ask for themselves and I've little use for the time it would cost to make the paltry sum. As for your query? I wouldn't be concerned for yourself..." Yet. The belly of the war machine Teague had at his own hand was rumbling the earth and pulling mercenaries into the southern cities of Blode and Khur. But he probably wasn't their greatest concern. That sort of information was worth far more than he suspected the other man could pay, however. "Of course, I can't really speak for the nations." Nestos shrugs as if having lost a child's game, "I had hoped maybe to get a little bit of something for me to make some coin off of too." The dark elf chuckles and grins as they continue down the path, whispering something else to the raven. "That is fine, I will find out what I want another way," he looks to the other mage and winks, curling the scar under his cheek. "How much longer do you intend on staying in the tower for this time?" Teague understands the disappointment, but he would be a fool to hand off too much or even seem eager for a trade. Forward as he was, even Ogres require a certain amount of hard to get, cat and mouse. It's an ageless game that hasn't changed much since the dawn of man, he would wager. "Forgive me, but these walls have more ears than any other." They should both know that, to be honest. Teague's spent his fair share of time passing about information here and it's a fair excuse to put off any worthwhile information. Looking up, he considers as they go, head tipping back to just barely reveal a couple of dreds as he gives him this much, "Not long, I'm afraid. There's a nasty storm brewing to the south. I would hate to be caught in it." worthwhile information. Looking up, he considers as they go, head tipping back to just barely reveal a couple of dreds as he gives him this much, "Not long, I'm afraid. There's a nasty storm brewing to the south. I would hate to be caught in it."

Author: Teague Date: Sun Jun 7 16:13:40 2015 Subject Testing the Waters (Pt. 4)

Nestos looks at the other mage a long moment before speaking, "This much I already knew," says with another smile. "I am disappointed you will, no doubt, be gone by the time I return. I would like to speak with you further about what is happening around the world, and here in our own backyard. You seem like someone that can get shit taken care of, with discretion." Nestos takes another long look at the man, "I can appreciate discretion. I have to get to my destination now, however." He looks around the area they stand before continuing, "I hope indeed we cross paths again, and maybe at some point you will consider giving up some of those precious morsels you hold up there," Nestos says indicating the human's head. If the elf had seemed absent and forthcoming before, he is now focused, a predator looking for something to eat. The dark elf grins and winks at the man again. "My office will remain open to you, please feel free to come by and talk about current events." Shrugging his left shoulder, "I'm taking an apprentice with me. Assuming he doesn't wander off, you may have to see me sooner than is usual." Teague keeps going, down the path with a casual wave, "It was a fair conversation. Try not to die before the next one, yes?" The dark elf chuckles at the man, "I will try hard not to," he calls after the other mage. Nestos gives the man an exaggerated bow, and as he does wisps of smoke start to spring from his body, then he disappears as the smoke dissipates.

Author: Teague Date: Tue Jun 9 23:26:28 2015 Subject Matter of Inconvenience

The masked mage made his way from the streets, hood pulled low as he takes in the place with a keen eye. Taking a place to the side, Teague asks for food and ale for two, expecting his apprentice to be shortly behind. Settling in without much notice from the rowdy patrons, he sits back, letting the travel slowly melt from his limbs. There was something on the horizon, like a storm. But this storm did not belong to Teague. All the more reason to be wary... Nestos had heard that the masked man had arrived shortly after he did, so he began spending time in the Red Quarter, hoping to run into him. The dark elf was intrigued by the man, but was more interested in meeting the man's apprentice. He watches the man as he enters, from a dark corner in the room, speaking with one of his spies. Nestos dismisses the man, and stands to make his way over to the other mage, "Mind if I join you," the Highmaster says, a wry grin on his face. Teague became aware of the motion looking up as his ale arrived. He reached for it but made no move to drink it as he gestures to the second mug, "Go ahead, Highmaster. Fancy meeting you here." Of course, there is very little hint of actual mirth or surprise. "To what do I owe the honor...?" The dark elf sits in the chair before answering, "Nothing of any true import. Just heard you were in town, thought I might get to meet this apprentice you made mention of." Nestos grabs a leather pouch from a hidden pocket inside his robe, only black due to the interlocking runes over the red robe. Nestos pulls an intricately decorated pipe from the pouch and packs it with the other contents of the pouch. "I do hope that he will be attending tonight," he asks, as he focuses on filling the bowl of the pipe. Takes the moment of explanation to mutter a soft incantation as his fingers danced over his mug. Satisfied with the lack of poison, he gives a wryly amused reply, "As do I." The man was late, not a good promise of things to come. What was he to become if he couldn't keep a simple thing such as time in his mind. He, deep in his hood, lifts the lower edge of his mask to drink. "He has potential." Assuming he hasn't run off, died or been kidnapped yet. There was the trend, after all, and Teague wasn't a man of optimism. The dark elf whispers his own arcane words as he holds his thumb over the bowl of the pipe, "Supposed to be here already, eh?" Nestos removes his thumb from the packed bowl and wisps of smoke appear from the leaves packed inside. He takes a few puffs from the the pipe, scanning around the room as he does. Nodding to the few people that catch his eye, "We were all apprentices once, right?" Nestos says with a grin, "But then again, hopefully nothing has happened to him...unless you are trying to keep your record alive?" The elf makes the stab, clearly not out of malice, but mirth. Out of sight, Teague's eye twitches just slightly, but his temper remained even as he lets the mask fall back into place and turns his head towards the doors. "Neraka can be a bit much for someone new to the area. It's likely he's simply turned himself around." The masked mage, well out of the Conclave's more 'active' eye, has weighed himself with a few more dangerous looking weapons and even slight bits of armor here and there. This is likely the cause of Teague's shift as he settles back once more, "We shall see, no? What raises the curiosity of the Order's new early riser?" A jab, too, but equally relaxed and far from aggressive. "Is it not my position to worry about the advancement of all the apprentices?" says the mage with another grin, causing the scar under his left eye to curl up with it. "In all honesty, I arrived in Neraka shortly before you, and you happened to know I was travelling," Nestos says, extending out his arms as if to say, "Would you not suspect something?" He takes another couple of puffs on the pipe, and says with smoke exiting his mouth, "But my curiosity got the better of me, so I came over."

Author: Teague Date: Tue Jun 9 23:34:49 2015 Subject Matter of Inconvenience (Pt. 2)

Teague chuckles, an almost mirthless sound that never quite hits his eyes. He nods, giving him that. "Of course my presence in Neraka is not all that unheard of. I suppose the timing lends to consideration." Looking up again, he leans forward for another drink, careful with his hidden face, "Perhaps your spies may have a better idea of where the errant apprentice has gone..." Almost absently in appearance, Teague looks down into the ale's reflection. Focus sharpening, he considers scrying. In booze? Sure, why the hell not. Nestos nods to the masked man, and then says, "Unless he was disguised well, I usually hear about anything pertaining to mages. It was something I had set up for another reason, but tends to pay off in other ways." The dark elf takes another few puffs of the pipe, then makes a slight sour face as he looks into the bowl. He exhales as he knocks pipe against his chair a few times to clean it out, the ashes falling on the already messy floor. He takes his time putting the pipe in the pouch and tucking that back into his robe. Muttering an understanding with a nod, he lifts his hand briefly and mutters the words of the spell. The strength of his voice dips here and there, snippets of the arcane words tumbling from his lips as he stares into his own reflection and then beyond. "...arvayas gro weshann...to-sati harbandith..." Of course, the act of locating his troublesome apprentice would take a moment. This was a bit more advanced than simply checking for poison. Teague's fingers close slowly against the container, leather of his gloves audibly protesting with the suddenness of the act. Darkness. Nothing but darkness greets Teague. An enveloping and heavy sort, almost suffocating but familiarly embracing..."Shit." Nestos watches the the mage idly as he casts the spell, looking around he spots one of his spies appear in the doorway, but goes straight to the bar. He continues to glance around the room, he is pulled from his thoughts as Teague exclaims. The dark elf, assuming that that spell had failed, raises an eyebrow, "He is not powerful enough to block you from seeing him, is he? If so, that is potential indeed." As soon as he done speaking the same man that had walked in a minute ago and leans in, whispering something in Nestos' ear. Teague lets his eyes flick upward, head still inclined towards his drink as he finds Nestos' underling with his icy gaze. He takes but a brief moment to compose himself, voice even and restrained as he declines to answer. "Interesting news from the front?" Of course, he did not believe this was the doing of his own apprentice. There was simply no way that he could hide from Teague so early in his training. Perhaps someday...If he survived whatever this was. The dark elf's face gets serious as he listens, "Find out if the Highlord is in the city," he whispers harshly to the other man, who scurries back off into Neraka. Nestos turns to the other mage, "Indeed, it would appear something has befallen your apprentice." A flash of anger crosses the Nestos' face, but is gone just as quickly as it came, "It would appear that he attempt to attack a draconian from the Black Wing. Apparently, he was being taken with them so I expect he is with the Draconians, wherever they may be. I suppose we will need to visit with the Black Highlord, now."

Author: Teague Date: Tue Jun 9 23:38:57 2015 Subject Matter of Inconvenience (Pt. 3)

Teague had his own ideas, of course. The information neither surprises him, nor does it confuse him...Despite his suddenly souring mood, his voice calms even more than before. "I see." His temper was eminent, however. Teague was no exclusion from the quiet that generally came before a storm. Certainly the would be a need for a visitation, yes. It would not be the first time he dropped in on the Highlord while others believed he was preparing his forces still. "Your man is certain?" Teague was livid. For years he had avoided just this sort of situation. He had ridden the fence like a carefully practiced expert...And now Khariif was preparing to tear it to shred in front of his eyes. How dare he... Nestos nods to the man, his eyes seeming far off as he thinks. As he thinks he absent-mindedly says, "He is positive and it comes from the right places." His eyes become focused very quickly and snap to Teague's own, nothing menacing but clearly he is looking for straight answers, "Khariif is very good at keeping things close to the chest. Do you know the man?" His voice comes off just as calm as the man's sitting across from him, but something about it seems edged. Teague holds his gaze, though he sits back to take a fairly decent pull from his ale, not at all surprised that its taste had soured. Pushing it away slowly as his food arrived, he waits for the deliverer to go on their way before he speaks again, well aware of what is expected of him. Know him? Certainly not. They had worked together at times, but Teague suspected that no one knew Khariif any more than they knew himself. "I have had the honor of being in his presence." Ally? Accomplice? Yes, it was so before...But this time? "I have no idea what he is playing at." But, rest assured, Teague would certainly be enquiring. Perhaps this was where he intended to go as he gained his feet, letting a couple of coins clink across the surface of the table. The mage nods at the other, "Who knows what he is playing at? I can understand outright killing the apprentice, but to keep him alive is curious." As Nestos continues to speak, a slight smile appears on his face, "Well, there is nothing left to do, but find out why." A different man appears by the door, this one wearing the uniform of a Nerakan Guard. The man floats around the room for a bit, seemingly checking on things. As he passes by where the mages are sitting, he steps up and states, "A good choice that one, mate," Indicating the dish that was still steaming in front of Teague. Nestos watches the man disappear before unrolling a slip of paper now in his hand. "Well, it seems the man we want to speak with is in town. At the temple to be precise," Nestos says with a grin on his face now, he indicates the door, "Care to join me?"

Author: Teague Date: Wed Jun 10 13:47:15 2015 Subject Conflicts & Interests

Khariif looks up from something he is writing as you enter the room. One of the sivaks guarding the door pulls the door closed behind you. "How can I help you Highlord? You are lucky you caught me when you did. I am due to return to Abanasinia tonight." Khariif motions to a few chairs in front of the black oaken desk he uses in the temple. Khariif eyes Nestos carefully with a cold, unsteady gaze. "And who is your guest?" Teague had had better nights. He glances upwards to the ceiling, as if in silent exasperated commune with whoever may be listening. Right off the bat, he got the Highlord thing without a chance to cover his ass. Well. So much for that. He glances sideways to the Highmaster with him before nodding to Khariif, a soft reply with measured patience, "Good evening, Highlord. Fortunate of you to see us. There is a matter at hand involving my apprentice. his...Is the current Highmaster of my Order. If you must know." Khariif clasps his hands and frowns slightly. "I was not aware you had an apprentice? I knew you maintained contact with the Order but did not realize you had much time to spend at the Tower of Wayreth, when the bulk of the Red Wing sits by so idle." He turns to Nestos, stands, and bows slightly. "And welcome, Highmaster Nestos, had I known you were the Highlord's guest I would have greeted you more respectfully." Khariif sits back down in his chair, part of his steady gaze still on the Highmaster. Nestos shrugs his shoulders and nods at the admission that Teague is a Highlord, seemingly surprised but not overly so. He takes a seat in the chair the black Highlord had indicated, making himself comfortable. "It is not a problem, but we must speak about, the Highlord's apprentice," the dark elf says, emphasizing "Highlord". The masked mage's brow draws inward, causing his eyes to narrow slightly. Teague's pleasant tone seemingly dulls as he comes to rest beside the chair offered, a gloved hand resting along the back with fingers curling just a bit tightly against the finished surface. He inclines his head towards the Highmaster before his gaze shifts back to Khariif. "Yes. It seems that one of yours has encountered him in a rather unacceptable manner as he came to join us." He fails to say who 'us' may be, as well as any comment to the accusations of negligence towards his actively preparing forces. Nestos catches the other mages gaze, but shrugs it off. He scratches one of his pointed ears, seeming to ponder how to phrase his thought. "There was some sort of altercation between the two, and you now hold him." The elf looks to the black Highlord for a reaction. Khariif seems unmoved and clasps his hands on his desk as his steady gaze moves between Nestos and Teague. "I had received word one of the Black Wing's talons having captured a low-ranking wizard while in Southlund. This prisoner is indeed held back at Black Wing Headquarters." Khariif cleared his throat slightly and turns his gaze to the Red Highlord. "Had I known this young wizard was your apprentice, I would not have had him questioned. As it is, I have been gone from Xak Tsaroth since the talon returned, and would not have been able to identify if he was one of your own or not." Teague had, up until now, been unaware of said altercation. Nestos seemingly had failed to bring that particular to light. He nods once, "Think nothing of it, Highlord. The information is rather new. I took him on just before this altercation occurred. However, now that this information is privy to us both...I would like for him to be released to my custody. If you would have him escorted to my post, it would be appreciated." Did he expect it would be so simple? Whether Teague believed it or not, he certainly held himself and spoke in such a way that would lead them both to think he did.

Author: Teague Date: Wed Jun 10 13:52:52 2015 Subject Conflicts & Interests (Pt. 2)

Khariif frowns slightly and looks at his hands. "Of course he will be release, when he is done being questioned. It can be dangerous to stop in the middle of the process.. but don't worry, he will not remember what he was questioned about." Khariif opens up his hands as if to say "ta-da," a slight smile now on his face. "I can also guarantee he'll get passage back to you in Blode, that is where you will return, is it not?" Teague knew what questioning meant, of course, but he doesn't seem particularly sympathetic for the man. He does, however, make a request, "Preferably as whole as possible." What in the Abyss were they even asking him? He wasn't exactly of much used in the mage's mind. He hardly knew anything at all of worth to a warlord. He lifts his chin, head tilting back as it turned to the side. Teague waits, wondering if the Highmaster was going to protest. Fair was fair. The altercation was a move against Her Magisty's people. He must learn the error of his ways. A valuable lesson indeed. "He will remember his encounter, of course?" He could put his own fingers into the poor soul's brain once he had him safe in Bloten. Nestos looks contemplative for a minute, then looks up to the two Highlords, leaning back in the chair comfortably, "As much as it would be easy to let the young mage go through that, and I understand the risks of aborting your process, but I am going to have to protest to the continuation of the questioning." He crosses his legs and fold his hands in his lap, and then adds as if an after thought, "I would be remiss in my position to not, you must understand." Khariif nods once and places the tips of his fingers together. "When I return to Xak Tsaroth, I will see what I can do. The inquisitors will know better than I how deeply the magic and drugs have penetrated.. I would assume you want him back alive, Highmaster." Nestos holds his arms out, slightly disappointed at the Highlord's answer, "Again, I understand the methods you are using and their risks. And yes, of course I want him back alive, but I also want the questioning to stop." He clasps his hands back together and turns his gaze directly to Khariif, "I would ask that you do your best to keep him alive, but the questioning ends." The dark elf looks to the Highlord, hoping the point was understood. Teague certainly did. He gave the two a moment to speak, considering the possibilities of what this questioning might pertain to. It couldn't be himself, or if it was, there was little to worry with. His apprentice knew less of him than Nestos or Khariif did. He was not likely privy to information on the elves, considering his disposition and various other factors. The only thing the apprentice really knew was magic. What use would that be to one without the basic knowledge to use, though? Why make such a move on someone who was clearly not even an adept yet? This entire situation made little sense to Teague, and thusly held his attention's focus well. Not so well that he did not hear them, however. Khariif was ruthless and keen. There had to be something...The mention of the Inquisitor brought his gaze back down to the other Highlord, a hidden smirk playing at his lips. He gestures in a somewhat disinterested manner to Nestos' insistence, Teague's voice taking a cold and distant tone he rarely used in the halls of the mages, "The Highlord has a right to his questions and they're hardly a concern. The boy knows nothing and the process should be short. He has agreed to release him into my hands as soon as is possible. Do not worry, Highmaster, I am certain he will meet his Test in no time. This should suffice." Nestos looks down at his hands, considering what Teague had said. The dark elf shrugs his shoulder's as if changing his mind on a whim, "I suppose there is wisdom there. I suppose you may proceed until it is safe to bring him out alive. You do have a right." Nestos holds his hands out to the side conceding the point.

Author: Teague Date: Wed Jun 10 13:57:58 2015 Subject Conflicts & Interests (Pt. 3)

Khariif smiles and spreads his hands again, looking at Teague. "I do apologize again, Highlord, that this young mage happened to be your apprentice, but I hope you understand that I cannot expect all of those under my command to be aware of things even I was not aware of. Was there something else you needed that required my attention?" Shaking his head, Teague waves it off, "It is fine, really. I had not yet had the chance to make such an announcement. We all have our own concerns, yes? My business, I am sure, is the least of yours." He may be slightly pointed, but he looks down to Nestos rather than showing his dismay further. "Perhaps we should all be attending to those particulars at the moment, yes?" It's not really much of a question, despite the tone. If they're willing to torture his apprentice, imagine what they might do to a Highmaster, were he to dawdle. Teague was willing to let them manhandle his apprentice, but he would feel much more obligated towards this other prize. The dark elf stands from the chair, a wry smile for the black Highlord, "I think that would be all I have for you tonight, but perhaps we will see each other again." With this said, Nestos pulls up the hood on his black cloak to hide his pointed ears. The Highmaster turns towards the door after stating, "I appreciate the audience, Highlord." He then walks to the door and out, knowing full well it was best not to wait around too long. Waiting for the Highmaster to leave, Teague watches his back disappear through the door. He's far too intelligent to expect his 'brother in the Art' to keep his information to himself, but he expects the price will be high, indeed. That buys him some time. As for Khariif, Teague turns his head, glancing down his shoulder at the other Highlord, "I suppose it would be fruitless to ask what you hope to gain from a child of a mage." Khariif smirks "Not fruitless, Highlord. The strange thing about memory is that we so often forget we remember something. Having been in the libraries and halls of Wayreth, your fledgling apprentice knows more than he or you even realize, and at the very least, can help direct future investigations." Khariif sits back slightly in his chair as he continues. Teague isn't sure how he feels about this, but he had already half figured on it. As ripe as their tree was with renegade play-wizards, their knowledge was lacking. He should object. He should have when he suspected it...But men were of no consequence when placed beside the needs and wants of the Gods. Which God's wants he was playing to now, was anyone's quess. When Khariif continues, however, Teague has to turn to put him better in his sights, "Are you out of your mind? The Conclave has remained neutral thus far, making an enemy of them would be foolish." Also likely to get him killed...'"Are you seriously questioning my loyalty? After all of this time..." Khariif takes a deep breath and rises slowly from his chair. "Only a fool would not question your loyalty, Teague uth Vaughn. You speak of neutrality and yet here you stand, yourself caught between the machinations of Our Queen and your sentimentality for your apprentice. While removing Highlord Brak'ta served Her Majesty's purposes, I was never under the illusion it did not also serve yours."

Author: Teague Date: Wed Jun 10 14:01:02 2015 Subject Conflicts & Interests (Pt. 4)

Taking in a slow breath, "If you are going to call me as my mother would, remember that my name is Teague Morague Uth Vaughn. And you would do well to remember that it serves Her Majesty to have a buffer between the Conclave and our many renegades. As far as my forces go, they are more than idle. Perhaps your intelligence is beginning to slip in their own duties. Did I not smooth the situation over and steer the Highmaster to see your reason? Question my loyalty all you like, Our Majesty sees fit to continue making use of my skill. This move is fruitless, the mages would never join the war that is brewing, if left alone. There's nothing sentimental to it, Khariif, it's logic. Something you seem to have forgotten." Khariif's face remains impassive as he replies, "I do not fear the Highmaster or his magi, but I do desire the secrets they keep, secrets that will be ours sooner rather than later. And you are wrong, the Order WILL join the war. I would rather them permanently subdued before they have someone to ally with." Teague can see this going downhill in more ways than one. He understands Khariif's angle, but it places him in an even more complicated situation than he's ever been in. "And so we will war with them on the assumption that they may choose a side? Instead of attempting to make that side our own?" Teague turns his back, considering the door as he continues, "You cannot hope to breach the forest..." Should he even be concerned? It's never been breached...Why would it be now? Because it's a waste of Her resources. He truly believes it. "Telling you is of little use, I can see. You'll have to see for yourself." With little more to add, Teague lifts his hand to his brow and pulls it away to the side in something of a wave. There wasn't much he could do to stop this. He should report it. Certainly. Time would tell...

Author: Teague Date: Fri Jun 12 03:44:01 2015 Subject Dubious Arrangements

Teague was silent as they made their way out of the temple, no longer particularly interested in taking lengthy routes to conceal himself since Khariif had so graciously done away with such things. He wasn't particularly tense, not that anyone could tell, and it wasn't uncommon for the man to choose silence as he did now...But Teague was seething beneath the still waters. This was bound to put a few catches in his plans for certain. Taking the steps with a slow stride, he pauses on the street to cast a sightless glance back to the Highmaster. Certainly neither of them could meet eyes due to the depths and folds of his hood, so he speaks finally, "Perhaps we should find quieter quarters..." He didn't truly need to say it, this was not likely for the open street and common ear. Nestos walks through the cavernous temple, side by side with the red Highlord. The dark elf chose silence as well as the two travelled quickly out of this monstrosity built to Takhisis. The Highmaster shows no outward signs of anger, quite the opposite, with a small smile on his face, but his eyes seem far away as the black robe was deep in thought. He looks down at the ground as he thinks and starts slightly at the other man's voice. He takes a moment as if trying to work out what the other mage is saying, then grins and nods, "Yes, I think it would be best if we did. He holds his hand out and turns it over and back, and a black staff appears in his hand. Down the length of it are silver runes that seem to glow. "Lead on if you have somewhere in mind," Nestos says, indicating for the other to lead. Generally Teague would impose himself upon the Blue Bitch when he was in Neraka, but this time that particular approach seemed neither profitable or appropriate. The monster of a holding was in sight from the city's court, if not barely, but he knew which direction it lay in and his gaze drifts that way out of habit. A slow breath draws in, let out with a soft tcht sound before he shakes his head. "This is not my ground, nor did I plan on remaining through the night." Nestos studies the man for a moment, then nods after he speaks. He starts walking towards a small side street without waiting for the Highlord, he calls back, "I happen to know of a quiet little," he stops and looks at the other mage, his cowl blocks his face, but he seems to be looking for a word, "Tavern that has something to drink, and much more friendly company." The dark elf turns again and walks down the street, and as soon as they had made a few turns, Nestos steps into a dark alley briefly. He hands a slip of paper from a pocket in his robes, to a young street urchin who then runs off, disappearing down the alley. They make their way through the sitting, the dark elf making quite a few unnecessary turns, until finally they stop in front of a small door in a dark alley. Nestos knocks twice on the door and it slides to the right to allow the two into a poorly lit tavern. In it are very few patrons, but all of whom are the type you would not like to meet in a...dark alley. He leads them to a small table in the back corner of the bar. Teague does not fall behind, keeping a casual pace behind his shoulder. He wasn't surprised in the way the other navigated these streets, and were circumstances better, he might have voiced an appreciation towards it. As it were, silence seemed to be the trend for the evening. It wasn't common that Teague travelled this way on foot, nor did he tend to actually grace the city when he was here save for a single visit to the temple in the dead of night. No common eye was likely to be drawn by the presence of this Highlord. He takes in the entire trip and the destination with a keen and easy eye, waiting for the Highmaster to take his seat. Teague had had more than the trip on his mind, of course, and would continue to let it spin until the other chose to break their wordless stint.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Jun 12 03:51:32 2015 Subject Dubious Arrangements (Pt. 2)

Nestos remains silence as the barmaid comes over with two cups of ale and sets them in front of the two mages and quickly walks off. He remains silent as he pulls out his leather pouch, removing the pipe and filling the bowl. He again, places his thumb over the bowl, saying something to himself. He puts the pipe to his lips and takes a few puffs before exhaling, "So," the man says with a grin on his face, "Highlord, huh?" The dark elf rests the lip of the pipe on his chin as if thinking, "I knew you were no mere foot soldier, but I did not expect that." Nestos shrugs his shoulders as he takes a few more puffs, "We each carry our own secrets and identities. In this point and time, it is not my part to reveal yours." He levels his eyes at the man across the table, and smiles a skin-crawling smile at the man, "I figure with all the work to hide it, that would be the first thing you would like to hear. Perhaps it may lift your spirits slightly." Teague's spirits, be they raised or not, are not readily available behind the mask, though his voice carries a dry, wry edge to its slow soft chuckle as he takes a seat. He settles in and leans back, far less relaxed than he gives way to seeming...Though that's generally his bearing at all times, hardly a result of the situation at hand. "It is a convenience that I am aware will only serve me for so long. No secret remains a secret among the living for long." Whether or not that is a veiled threat or not, is anyone's guess. "I'm certain you have your own questions, but I assure you I had no hand in or prior knowledge of this particular maneuver." Not that it matters, Teague was up to his knees in it now and expecting to be joined as time went on...With company both agreeable and otherwise. The dark elf does not put it out of his mind that his knowing your secret risks his life, but he shrugs it off, "Well," he says giving the other mage a wry grin, "Sometimes not even the dead keep their secrets." Nestos then leans back in his chair, getting comfortable, "I have plenty of questions, yes, but I do not expect that you would answer them," he says, in no way disappointed. He takes another puff of the pipe, then sticks his thumb into the bowl of burning leaves and crushes out the cherry. "I am glad we are getting your apprentice back alive, but I fear what it is Khariif may find in his mind. He may very well have some piece of information he does not even know his has," the mage says, almost talking to himself. Teague cannot deny this, nor can he even speculate at this point. What he can do, however, is offer some sort of certainty in it's wake. "As dusty as his robes are, that may well be the case." He did find him up in the libraries, buried in a tome....Not an uncommon place to come by a mage, after all. "I assure you that The Highlord's men will not be the only hands to turn his stone." He will know what Khariif knows, assuming there is anything left of it. One way or another. "As for questions...Some are easier answered than others. You now see my position for what it is. I expect you understand." "I understand, and can appreciate your position," the dark elf says, a nod to the other, "I would hope that you would share at least a portion of what you learn, where it concerns the Tower." The Highmaster studies what little he can of the man, for a response. Nestos tucks the pipe in its pouch, and the pouch back into its pocket. As he does, the barmaid approaches and hands Nestos a small slip of paper that he looks over quickly, then with a few arcane words, the paper decays to dust. "I do apologize, I am back in town for the first time in months. There are many things that have changed, and I am trying to catch up." He then reaches down and picks up the ale and takes a big gulp, not seeming to worry about any possible poison. "Where will this leave you with Khariif?"

Author: Teague Date: Fri Jun 12 03:59:41 2015 Subject Dubious Arrangements (Pt. 3)

Leaning in briefly, Teague lets his eyes drift briefly with the bearer of the slip before he reaches up to pull back his hood, tossing a hand with a flick of the fingers, "I imagine you can imagine the answer to that. It is nothing to be concerned with. I will be certain to pass along any findings from my independent studies, of course. We wouldn't want anything to get out of hand..." It would, if they chose to let it. Teague was no stranger to watching what brewed beyond the horizon and he was far from unaware of the possibilities this could bring. Both profitable and costly in nature, one could hardly afford to gamble too heavily to chance. "May I ask you what you think of this?" Nestos scratches his chin, thinking, then pulls his hood completely off and takes another long gulp of ale. "I suppose that would depend upon what you are talking about," the dark elf says, a grin on his face. Questions are fine to ask, but the elf who trades secrets knows better than to answer such a vague question, "And for that matter, who are you asking? The Highmaster of the Black Robes, or Nestos, the humble citizen of Neraka." He smiles again at the man, wondering what he truly wants to know. Snorting softly, he lifts an arm, draping it back over the chair as he holds a palm and gently splayed fingers towards the other man, "I suppose that depends on who I happen to be sitting with, would it not? As for my inquiry, why not start with our recently paid visit to the Temple." He give a little, for the sake of his time and conversation. Not much, though. Paranoia had not yet been the cause of Teague's death, however, and he wasn't inclined to change his tactics yet. "Surely you have some sort of opinion on what has transpired." Nestos chuckles with genuine mirth and smiles broadly, "Yes, I suppose that is true, but you sit in front of both." The dark elf folds his hands in his lap and tilts back slightly in his chair, thinking. He then lead forward, placing his clasped hands on the table, "As the Highmaster, I worry that he has plans for a conflict that I would rather avoid. I think that he is quite intelligent and is not questioning the young mage for no reason." He then leans back, a large grin on his face as he holds his arms out, "And the other me wonders if there is a way to profit from it." The mage then seems to think of something, as he makes an interested face and stares of for a minute, and almost to himself says, "Perhaps both sides can get something out of this." For the first time tonight, Teague's smile touches towards something of a more sincere nature, "There is absolutely no reason for both not to be possible, certainly. Given the proper opportunities." Of course he doesn't state it plainly, but he clearly is not the sort to rely on coincidences and/or miracles. The two of them, could have something rather unique at their fingertips...Assuming it didn't eat them alive first. Drawing in a slow breath, Teague levels his gaze on the other, "Make no mistakes here, I assure you that I take my obligations seriously and I do not intend to be forced to change that. By any hand." One might get the idea he has had to say this more than a few times. The Highmaster finishes his drink and sets the empty tankard down, and shakes his head with a smile, "I have no illusions otherwise. One has to do whatever is best for them, and when under the yoke of the Dark Queen, one must tread lightly," Nestos says, as if he may have some experience in this. "I have no intension of getting involved in your business."

Author: Teague Date: Fri Jun 12 04:08:17 2015 Subject Dubious Arrangements (Pt. 4)

Teague couldn't afford to take him at his word, but he could afford to make some sort of allowance at the moment. He couldn't be entirely appreciative of the choice of words, but he didn't expect Nestos to understand nor was he particularly interested in bearing that part of himself to this one. "I haven't often had myself compared to one who must tread any way but the way he wishes to." A brief thoughtful moment later, he adds, "It is a pity, you know...That I will have to be the one to look into this matter with my apprentice. If other eyes were to take the task I hardly have time to undertake..." He couldn't be held as responsible for anything that might leak. Teague's forces were rather numerous, and the ground they covered was just as wide. Things happened...He could also find a plethora of reasons to have another of the Order about, as well as many uses for one. "That would not happen to be an invitation, would it?" The elf grins mischievously, "I would prefer to be there when the young mage is," the Highmaster thinks for a moment on his choice of words, "questioned again." Nestos shrugs at the choice as if it did not quite fit what he was looking for, "At the very least, the apprentice will not be drug through quite the same ordeal he is currently going through." Nestos makes a face as if he smells something foul, "I am certainly glad to not be in his shoes." He seems to think on the offer that is on the table, "If you would allow it, I would like to be involved, but like I said, what you do for the Dragonarmies is yours. I will not pry, yet." The dark elf grins wryly and winks at the Highlord, the scar under his eye curling. Teague taps his fingertips atop the table, watching them rather than the company he kept as he nods with an off-kilter tilt of his head, "If you felt inclined...I am certain I can find numerous reasons to have you in my camp." How long it would be was anyone's guess, but it was even likely he may beat them there at this point. It depended on the Inquisitor and Khariif's motivation, though. "I do not suspect we will remain stationary for long." Teague offers a shrug, well aware of what he would be offering the man aside from the young mage's mind. He was intent on getting an equal return in some way, certainly. The dark elf looks at the man with interest, not sure how to take the other's choice of words, "I am sure there is plenty we can offer each other, and I believe we will make great allies, but as you said so your self, I take my own obligations seriously." Nestos' voice grows serious and he leans further forward, "Understand, that I am not a part of your Dark Queen's army and I will be an ally as long as no moves are made against me or the Tower." The dark elf falls back into his chair again, all the seriousness from his voice and a smile on his face, "But I sincerely hope it will not come to that. Nonetheless, the night draws long, and I must be on my way." Nestos nods to a man at the door wearing what looks like clerical robes, "I have some business to attend, so I must be off. I am sure you know how to contact me." With this said, Nestos gets to his feet, grabbing his satchel and black staff. He makes a slight bow to the man, "It has been a pleasure, Highlord," he says, emphasizing the 'Highlord', again. Joining the other in the climb to his feet, he inclines his head as he pulls his hood back over his head, "I am many things, both terrible and great, but I am far from a hypocrite. I, too, must see to things and be off. I will look forward to sharing my suggestions with you. Until then, Highmaster." Teague mirrors the additional emphasis placed upon the title, turning to go the way they had come. Unless he finds reason to further delay his departure, he would reach the night and, with but a gesture and a soft hiss of something lost on the common ear, be lost to all who may follow. The road was long and his attempts to make it shorter would likely be costly...Best be on with it.

Author: Teague Date: Tue Jun 23 17:27:36 2015 Subject Vipers in the Nest

There had been many a night where Teague had sent everyone about their business only to haunt the war room instead of somewhere less reputable or far more private. There wasn't much to set this one aside from any other aside from the somewhat rude delivery on the steps of the temple this morning, and the foreboding feeling that hung in the air like the dark acrid clouds overhead. He had had much worse mornings in much less hospitable environments. The weather had his eye as he stood before an open slant of a window in the wall, fingers idly toying with a place marker as his chair tipped to lean back against the wall there. He had found no real profit in killing the errant and troublesome apprentice, should he actually awaken and recover from what he had done to himself. He wouldn't be particularly kind either, mind you. Mistakes were, as he was well aware, a costly but often times necessary evil. He could afford to give him one, certainly. But only one, that would be made painfully clear. It was here, reclined and turning the thoughts like so many pebbles in a swift-running river, that the viper moved. She had possibly been there for some time, stealing into the room with subtle skill. This is how Contessa came to be behind him. Much like a gentle breeze, she moved across the chamber just a hair beyond his senses, wrapping a dagger around his neck to press the razor's edge against the Highlord's skin. Just soon enough came the slight caress of sweet jasmine and the dulcet purr he had come to know, "My Lord it has been some time, has it not? Did you miss me...?" The mage was far from unaware of his surroundings but she pushed his limitations time and again. Aware of this as he was, he often did enjoy the distractions their most dangerous games led him into. Teague was not a man of extravagant spending and ridiculous shows of decadence, but he was a man and he did have his vices. Honestly it wasn't any worse than any other's deadly dabbling, be that with a drug, war, women or anything else. He chose when he let himself go however, unlike many others he had come to know. If he aimed to answer to no man under heaven, he certainly would not allow something as simple as an urge derail him. Too much. Leaning back with a lifting tilt to his chin, his hood slips to the side to block his view of the city and the falling night. She had and would likely continue to be a welcome change to the volcanic bay city anyway. A thin, wry smile spreads through his voice, causing him to betray the pleasure he gained from her return. "You are far better a sight than those I expect to be at my throat recently. You have good timing." He lets out a slow breath, a gloved finger lifting to press against the flat of her blade, "How were the roads?" He asks as if he expected she even used those, but he knew better than that. As he guided the likely poisoned dagger away, she withdrew it in favor of leaning in against his shoulder to plant a deep, heated kiss on his lips. Whether he wanted it or not, she had been gone for months upon months in her own private goals and no man or mask was going to keep her from that. Knowing this and having no real inclination to stop her, he humored her to an extent. He let her at his mask, but his hand comes up to hold it in place quickly enough to prevent even half exposure, askew as it was. She didn't seem to mind, most likely used to the gesture, but eventually breaks from the impassioned greeting to sit back across the table's edge. This, he knew from experience, was where the 'but' came in.

Author: Teague Date: Tue Jun 23 17:35:11 2015 Subject Vipersn theNest (Pt 2)

As if on cue, several Dragon Army insignia fell from her hand at the nimble flick of a wrist, blackened and scorched. "Coming from the south, I ran across a discovered scene. It seems one of your scouting parties fell prey. It looked to be that they were ambushed by a slew of archers." She then set a bloodied arrow upon the table in front of him, broken but telling. He didn't know the count off of the top of his head on a night like this, but he would come to find the news even more discouraging than even she knew. It could set them back, and the appearnces were not good. The timing of it all was uncanny and Akadin would never let him live this one down. His temper kindled, but the thoughts were slow-burning, distracted by the lingering taste of her lips mingled with the scents of war and a gentle breeze off the grasslands. He nodded, muttering in the arcane language as the room's locks began to arcanely secure themselves in ways no simple key key could remedy. "Where were they?" It could have been anywhere, really. Well, any number of places that he could name off of the top of his head. But the rule of chaos dictated that it was likely to be somewhere of pertinence. The smile she answered him with was likely in recognition of her effect upon him, for he knew she was prideful when it came to his attentions and vain to boot. He suspected, but if he only knew the full scale of the gesture...Even after such an absence, or perhaps because of it. He didn't dare trust in it, but he could appreciate that which she had to offer in its many forms with greater ease. Irony was bound to slip through the cracks to ruin such sentiments sooner or later, or put an end to them once and for all. He did glean some simple pleasure from seeing her so pleased with herself, even as she divulged the rest of her vague report, "They were near Pashin. And since the task that you laid before me has been deemed a failure, I thought it best that I come back to you. It seems that a lot has changed since I have been away." In fact, even as the news began to ripple through his mind, he still hated to tell her she was a was late to the punch on this one. But since she already seemed to have an idea of what was going on...He refrained from delving too deeply into the subject in favor of nearly crushing the tin marker in his fingers into a small and unrecognisable ball as the other hand flipped the arrow back and forth in an almost petulant manor. This wasn't the end of the world, no. Not by far. It was definitely a nuisance that required contemplation, however. "Were you able to recover any of their intelligence?" He didn't really expect it to be so, but Teague had never been a fan of assumptions, blind or otherwise. The loss of said information could potentially push things to a halt, at least momentarily in the scheme of things. It seemed, this time, he might have underestimated the elves when he surmised that they would remain in their holes unless properly motivated. If this was a calculated strike, they could very well be a valid concern once more. "Is this a military strike, or an isolated incident? Did you happen to find out in passing?" Pleased to see her as he was, he was no stranger to the concept of war with the elves. He had often contemplated on the fact that there would likely be much to gain in the endeavour, if he could find the proper motivation. He needed to know more. No doubt a more detailed report would be following in her wake. Or heads would roll.

Author: Teague Date: Tue Jun 23 17:48:10 2015 Subject Vipers in the Nest (Pt 3)

As she shook her head and replied, "I told them to be swift in their attempt to look into it further. I did not stay to learn more my self, thinking the news of the attack needed to be brought to your attention with haste, so we could start steps for reaction. Me taking a week to get here to inform you has already wasted time." She learned she was no longer in control of her army and that the black wing had taken a large step away from what it once was, that he would want her to take herself in other directions. This didn't seem to mix well with her mood as her enticing lips thinned and pursed. She didn't have to say it aloud for him to know that the delay was inescapable. He couldn't blame her for that, and as he slowly drew the leather back down over his face, studying her as he tried to convince her into his lap with an impatient reach. Hand closing over her wrist, he considered the full weight of their situation, both en mass and upon their individual persons. He could often times be a cast-iron son of a bitch but, as he continued to try and draw her down from the table, he offered some sort of condolence, "I am truly sorry that your path must diverge from it's well-paved intentions, Contessa. Khariif, I must admit, has been more profitable than he has been a thorn..." Tipping his head back, Teague takes a moment's pause to consider her before offering a small consolation, "There are other avenues one could pursue, far more advantageous ones." He was clearly loathe to admit this, of course. Aloud at least. He and Khariif had their tensions, their differences, but he would be a fool to trifle with infighting at a time like this. He had seen what came of the wrath of men, made foolish by pride. He, himself, had not been known to have the most immediately reasonable of tempers either. It was, however, far more expensive on a scale such as this, and hardly productive at all. That outlook was possibly the only thing the two men held in common aside from their devotion to their cause. No doubt they watched each other more carefully after the affair in Bloten tat saw to his rise. In his mind, it put something unspoken between on the table that Teague could only react to with a mix of both respect and healthy caution. They had once acted as the watchers, tipping the scales in Her favor in unison. The idea that they would do the same, should either of the other falter did not go unnoticed by the mage. It wasn't guilt that drew him to keep an extra eye to his back, however. The faults of men in general tend to give way to paranoia and...Paranoia had served him well thus far, and he could almost appreciate the way the other could hone his focus when he could otherwise stray to distraction. That was as clever as it was infuriating. Still. Any scale could tip in any direction at any time. He was growing quite used to this game of curses loaded with blessings and vice versa. One never knew where either would rear its many-faced head. She knew this, surely. She understood the way he worked to some degree by now. As she decided to humor him as he had her, she slid from the map-laden table at his bidding. Legs tucked down between he and the arms of his high-backed chair as she lowered herself to straddle him, wiggling her leather-wrapped hips into his. Her efforts to find a suitably comfortable spot were almost cat-like, pushing him back so that she could drape and laying across him. He caught a glimpse of her chewing the corner of her lip as she made a show of enjoying the moment she had. "I never follow the easy path, Master. I left when the Wing was small and growing. If he made it bigger and stronger..." She let her words drift, drawing his attention upwards once more while she sought to order her thoughts, "Even if it's not the way I would have taken it all, more power to him. I don't have time to waste trying to dethrone that would-be Lord."

Author: Teague Date: Tue Jun 23 17:55:22 2015 Subject Vipers in the Nest (Pt 4)

He couldn't help but sigh inwardly at her haughty acceptance, but he had no intention of pushing the issue as she leaned in to kiss his ear with a breathy whisper. "What does my Master have planned for me?" He couldn't very well argue with a woman's method of withdrawal when she was still giving him his way with minimal effort either. There was nothing to be gained by being a mouthy ass tonight. Though he had become somewhat lax in his tactfulness elsewhere, she did have a way of bringing him back into practice. Their particular situation was...Unique. Precarious and dangerously within arms' reach, their relationship was anything but typical or even sane, for that matter. Only the two of them knew the truth between them, and neither of them bothered to correct assumptions or offer any further clarity as a practice. Even now his reactions towards her were outwardly misleading, but between the two of them there was no need for question. To the casual observer, of which there were none, the way his posture and grip upon her shifted might seem almost frigidly possessive...But his gloved fingers wandering idly as leather slid effortlessly over leather held some distant cousin to affection as he gave his suggestion. "The Wings will need stronger support in the wake of all these changes. The direction Khariif seems to be taking was drawn the support of the Black Wing into a more focused design. It's only natural that the others follow suit to better attend this war machine's needs." Resting a hand at her lower back, he pushes back against the chair, reaching out past her to the table full of maps and various markers, passing over them as he continues despite the curl of her body against him or the near devilish smile taking hold of her lips, "Who better to assure me that these straggling Green Wing shapes itself into something more suitable? At least I know that you will do your best to see it through. Others have not been so reliable as of late." Reaching out, Teague plucks an almost greenish metallic wing marker, offering it to her, "Of course, you'll have to arrange this yourself. It isn't mine to simply give, but..." He settled back to let her take the piece in hand. To be honest, he couldn't ever be certain of what to think of this wicked creature. Here she was wrapped about him and taking in every word he said as if he were her soul existence. It was truly disturbing, even to him, the depths to which he had sometimes gone to survive and reach the places he had come to. She was a true testament of that. Once, she had come to end him, a dark deed with golden intentions...Not today. Not likely to ever be again. He sits there, expressionless mask betraying little as she rocks upwards, straightening to put the small of her back against the table in the thin allowance of space given. At some point...At one point he would have felt guilty, watching her contemplations paint darkly across her canvas. He might have withdrawn from this as her own hands slid up her slender form to cup her tightly leather-bound chest. Today, he simply met her gaze, unshaken by the intensity of her...Weakness for him. He was fairly convinced that they was long past any semblance of redemption point by now and her response did nothing to otherwise convince him. "Mmmm--My dear, you know how games excite me. Seeing how Black Wing is strong and thriving...An experienced and skilled follower of Takhisis could step in and help the other Wing grow..." She was the glory of a pure soul, lost in utter and complete darkness. Absolutely flawless...If not completely out of her mind. Then again, who was he to talk?

Author: Teague Date: Tue Jun 23 17:59:15 2015 Subject Vipers in the Nest (Pt 5)

He chose to live in this den of wolves and vipers. It was where he belonged. It was s a pity his smile was lost to her beneath the mask, more lucid but no less terrible. He question that followed was still fresh on his mind, the words she had uttered lingering briefly on their particular phrasing. Bigger...Harder....Stronger. for my Master and my Queen. Certainly he could draw out this little meeting as long as he liked. No one was likely to bother them. He could easily giver her any number of answers to any of the various edges this particular knife came with. He had more than just a few ideas, but both business and pleasure were better expressed elsewhere. Fingers flicked the marker away, sending it clinking as it danced awkwardly across the maps and into a half-placed set of various others like it. He pauses briefly there, hands slipping around and under her shapely curves to lift her as he got to his feet. "We should discuss this further. In great depth." Where the walls are not quite so thin. He was already moving to pursue such accommodations by the time her legs tightened around him to hold on as he carried her off, instantly lit up. Certainly she was in thrall, but the rules to this game were an odd dance. They would consider their options and formulate a plan, yes, but desires would certainly be met in more than one way tonight. She had been gone for over a year and nothing but blood had touched her skin since she left his side and Teague was--Well, paranoia had rarely caused him harm, but it had ruined more than one evening along the way. It was big enough of an issue that he almost managed to ignore the way she declared, "I will follow you anywhere you wish. Please lead the way..." ...Almost... {O(Yeeeeeeerp. That girl is going to try and wear his face one day, I swear. It's creepy. Anyway, this is a rewrite of an RP we did, as told from Teague's point of view with a little extra inner monologue added in.{O)

Author: Teague Date: Thu Jun 25 06:21:28 2015 Subject Rise and Shine

Teague made his way past the narrow, unadorned halls of his personal chambers, a quickness to his step but otherwise very little urgency. What fool would try and break into his secure chambers at this particular moment in time, was beyond his imagination, but he had roused his Watch, and they made slow and deliberate passes throughout via his request. No one knew what they were looking for...But it was certain that at least the Highlord would find it and he most certainly would like to know what and for what reason he was brought out of a dead slumber by his perimeters' breach. It was close, he could sense that much... A swirl of space and air shifts from the ether, shouting as it materializes, "I come in peace!" It bows swiftly to Teague and continues, "Forgive the intrusion Master, but I come with words from your apprentice. I know you have retrieved his body from his captors, it is unresponsive, yes? I know why." This...Was not the first time Teague had been visited in the night by some ethereal being. It was, however, the first one to bow to him. His naked blade made no attempt to return to its sheath as he lofted a brow behind his hastily secured mask. As for the rest of him? Sadly, Teague hadn't had much time. In no more than a mask, pants and belt...He clearly was not expecting this sort of visitation. After a moment, he finally spoke in a soft growl. "I hope that you do. Please. Be so kind as to enlighten me." A noise in the hall, followed by a hooded figure comes to a halt as Teague lifts a hand. All was well for now. Well enough. The shifty being again bowed to the half-clad mage in front of him, rising to hold out his arm. With a whispered word of command, his limb began to glow, the insignia of Dartanos StarLeaf rising to the surface of the mists. "My master sent me to find you, before he left to seek the Draconians. I followed his body for as long as I could, but lost him when they boarded a ship. There were magic users among them and I could not get close. So I sought you. You are a hard man to find, and I failed to find you until after you retrieved his body. I have with me, the means to return his mind to his body and I believe he can explain it better." It pulled out a glowing red ruby, "This houses his mind at the moment, Master." Being no stranger to the concept, Teague puts a hand back as the robed and hooded figure places his gloves into the grasping fingers. Much more bulky than the average human for certain, the thing keeps to the darkness behind the Highlord as he hands off his blade long enough to replace his gloves. Taking back the blade, he shifts, half facing them both with his free hand open and outstretched. He was cautious, of course. One never knew what surprises awaited them. Teague was the master of the Law of Chaos and attracting its effects, "Very well. Have you gone to anyone else with this?" "No Master Vaughn. My master's explicit instructions, should he fail in capturing these corpse-stealing Draconian, were to track his body or killers to their lair, and then find you, and reveal to you this ruby. Had his body still been among enemies, I would have also delivered his missive to you. However, seeing as his body is back among friends...I am currently taking a slight liberty with his instructions in reviving him first, to have him explain it to you. I was told to say, should you doubt me, that this is one of the spells he found while among the dusty old tomes..." Continuing to wait with his hand out for the stone, he nods to the guard and turns his back completely to the serpentine creature, a slow impatient breath releasing through his nose, "I see. Perhaps it served him better than he imagined. Shall we see?" Teague's mood was relaxing with his posture, but he was far from off guard. "Give it here and we will go and rouse him. I am quite interested to hear his explanation and see no reason to put it off." Was he ever. This was bound to be at least entertaining.

Author: Teague Date: Thu Jun 25 06:27:05 2015 Subject Rise and Shine (Pt 1)

It glided over to the masked mage, hands out and up to show his peaceful intentions. As it draws close however, it glares piercingly at the mage, "You will revive him right away, yes?" He hesitates, stone held out but not quite dropping it into the mages hand. Orders be damned, he doesn't quite trust this man. Teague was not the sort of man most people want to have to trust. Not that that truly reflects the worth and weight of his word. His scarred body tenses slightly, muscles tensing as he calms his temper's attempt to dispatch this nuisance and then deal with the errant apprentice. He maintains himself for the time being, "Why? Do you think we should wait until the Gods toss another mountain?" Mostly. The sarcasm is strong with this one. Sheathing his blade finally, Teague shakes his head slowly, voice flattening, "Do not tempt me, creature. If you wish for us to wake your master then I suggest you refrain from testing me as well." The creature felt the power and rage emanating from the mage in front of him. Reluctantly, he drops the ruby into the gloved, outstretched hand. "Place the ruby in his mouth, and it will revive him, Master Vaughn." Closing the fingers in a slow curl over the stone, he turns away again, this time leaving his back to the construct. It was far from open, however. The guard would let them both pass and take up the rear if it followed. Teague, however, did not care to see if it was or to drag this out. As they walked, however, it occurred to him that he might ask, "Where did this attack take place?" He often found that any time was a time to garner anything one could, so as he takes the passage towards a cramped spiral stair leading down, he does just this. "I dont know the exact location Master, only that it was around the outskirts of garnet. My master brought us there and summoned an force to do his bidding. Only, he was outdone by a surprise attack in from one of their outriders." Noticing the rearguard take his place behind it, it didn't worry. Few could harm the etheral mists that made up its body, one of those few being in front of him and not behind him. However, his orders were clear, and trust him or not, this mage was his master's best shot at reversing this spell. This mage, listened as he took the steps two at a time with a casual gait. He wasn't surprised that the apprentice had been overtaken, then. Summoning was no casual affair and doing it in preparation for battle was best seen to much further in advance. Teague comes to a halt in a small heated cavernous open area, moving to place his hand upon the heavy steel door set into the stone. One could imagine that Teague had led them into the very volcano itself by the way it felt like they were roasting out here. It certainly wasn't somewhere most beings wanted to linger for long. A few arcane words later, a soft ripple of space broke across the surface from his fingertips. The heavy door slid back, swinging open with an unexpected level of ease, cool and hospitable airflow meeting them as Teague stepped inside. This would be where Dartanos' body rested, on an obsidian table under the watchful eye of draconic gargoyles far too realistic to be comfortable. It may seem like they watched each and every person's motions as they pass, following them across the chamber.

Author: Teague Date: Thu Jun 25 06:31:43 2015 Subject Rise and Shine (Pt 3)

It saw its master's body laying on the stone table, but sensing the magic within the gargoyles, it is impressed at the power of the mage before him. None the less, it summoned the energy within it to become slightly out of phase with reality. Flowing towards its master's body it snatched the ruby from the gloved mage's hand in passing. Quickly, it placed the ruby in Dartanos' open mouth just as the gargoyles react to its presence, and leap into action. It dematerializes as Dartanos stirs, his last words echoing in the room, "My work is done, my master returns." As the downed mage stirs and his eyes open, his first sight was the hideous gargoyles springing into action above him and his second being his master's furious and piercing glare. Teague may often seem perpetually menacing with that mask in place and his martial posturing and, this time, it would definitely not be an incorrect assumption to make. In fact, the interruption had his gloved hand darting for his apprentice's throat in an attempt to keep him pinned on the table. His voice, as he reached, came as a gravelled hiss, "You should teach your toys some manners, boy." With no real threat to advance upon, the creatures return to their perches without a sound or so much as an breeze. One might have to wonder how real they truly were... Dartanos winced as his master squeezed his throat, but didn't fight. He wasn't quite sure what had transpired while he was invalid, but his master's volatile anger could cause him to lose his life if he wasn't careful. Quietly, speaking with as little air as possible, he replied, "Indeed master, forgive me. It is something I will address in the future, should I have the chance to make it that far. It was only trying to accomplish my orders...Where am I, Master? Last thing I remember was the draconian, and a scout jumping me from behind. I cast a spell to trap my mind into a gem for safe keeping, to prevent myself from being forced to reveal conclave secrets...Did you kill them?" Allowing him his breath, the mage places his free hand upon the table, pushing to add some force as he leaps up to straddle the other mage in a crouch on his toes. One swift movement, perhaps startling but very much not painful to the man beneath him. Firm, would best describe the gripping hand as the other reaches out to pat his cheek. Teague could be satisfied with the long-thought and carefully placed curse that was worming it's way through the body as they spoke with sudden white-hot pulses. "You are in my home. And no, I did not kill them. They brought you to me, actually. More or less." Teague waits, letting that sink in... Dartanos feels his masters magic working its way into his soul and being. He's not sure what it does, but he can feel it's not life threatening. He's sure his master will explain in due time his punishment. For the moment however, he realized his master must be a dragon Highlord, for the draconian to have brought his body to him. Shit. He attacked his masters minions. "Forgive me, Master Highlord. I wasn't aware. I only wanted to find out what they were doing with the corpses of the dead. I wasn't trying to ruin any of your plans." He's something, at least. Be that Highlord or simply high ranking member, well that is yet to be revealed but rather inevitable. He was in a mood, this much was clear, shifting to just sit on the other's legs as he lets go of his neck. He speaks to the thing inside of his new bauble of a mage and whispers vicious magics with burn to his eyes that could only be considered. Khariif had given him more than good enough reason to be certain of their secrets, but Teague would have killed the boy rather than let him take his Dark Mother's forces into troubled times with his meddling ways. The Sivak in robes drew near, but continued to give them their space. "They were not mine."

Author: Teague Date: Thu Jun 25 06:38:08 2015 Subject Rise and Shine (Pt 4)

Dartanos sat up slowly, his eyes never leaving his masters'. He felt the magic burning inside of him, felt its tendrils reaching into his mind, but dismisses it. His life wasn't threatened by the magic. If his master wanted him dead, he would be. He thought to himself, its probably a curse to keep me from spilling secrets, as if I would. Dart slowly stole his hand into his pouch, withdrawing a bit of sand. With a word, he flung it at the Sivak, magical sleep descending on the creature. "Now master, if they were not yours, why are you upset? What can I do to fix my mistake? I wont betray you Shalafi, you promised me power and freedom. What can I do to help?" Teague let him cast, the simple spell easy to discern and focused elsewhere. But, leaning forward into a standing position on the table there, a knee came up. Intending to find it's resting place sharply with Dart's face, he snapped, "You can refrain from making assumptions towards who I wish to listen to our conversations, to begin with." Hit or miss, he followed through to land himself on his feet beside the table. His eyes drifted to the fallen draconian in slumber, then upwards to meet with that of one of the gargoyle's as he added, "We will get to the rest later. Tell me what happened and where." Teague should probably feed the poor thing, but his curiosity weighs a bit more than his concern at the moment. {O(Heh. We figured it was better to leave it there, since everyone already read what happened- It's technically getting continued but we figured to skip some of it and pick up in another later scene. Thanks for reading all our stupid-long stories, guys, we lurve you!{O)

Author: Teague Date: Mon Jul 6 10:10:37 2015 Subject False Foundations & Hollow Walls

Sitting down, Teague sunk into the high backed chair behind his hideously disorganized desk, watching his apprentice in the room. He'd given him time to rest and recover from the ordeal, but his aids were packing and so should Dart, now. It was time to see what they would be up against. Assuming that Nestos being in the city didn't bring even more unwanted news. That, Teague knew, would have to be seen to once Contessa returned with the mage in tow. Also assuming he decided to humor them with his visitations rather than to flee. He was just as likely to casually, but politely refuse. "You are prepared for the trip, yes?" Dartanos bowed his head in his master's direction, his eyes roaming around the room in a searching manner. "Yes master, I am prepared. My elemental is preparing the essentials for travel. The rest, I carry on me." His eyes would alight on the over-crowded desk as a slight smirk marked his otherwise smooth face. Were his cowl not on, his master could have seen his slight scorn. "Where are we going, if I may ask?" Hearing a slight movement in the hallway, he whirled with soft words spilling out to bring a shield springing into existence about he and his master. He noticed a shadow detach itself from the wall and his master's nonchalance, and relaxed slightly though the shield remained in place. Contessa was swinging her legs in the rafters, looking down upon the both of them. Loading a blow gun with a spit wade aiming for the forehead of Teague blowing hard to send it flying at him with a giggle, "Goodevening Highlord Vaughn you look....A lil busy Sir." Looking up, Teague gave up on ordering the papers and leaned in to suddenly sweep them all off the surface with a single arm's swipe. Down they went, into a box, to be wrinkled and damaged to their hearts' content. He, sounding somewhat pleased with his sudden progress and lack of frustration on that end, tilts his head back to peer upwards at her. Despite the antics, he refused to show annoyance, though...The answer Dart got was little more than a mutter or some mix between South, and to the Abyss if we aren't lucky. He'd been in a mood, frustrated by the slow motion of his overweight forces compared to his fellow Highlords...Or maybe just Khariif. "Come down, Tessa. Did you leave our guest to be considered by the Watch? I assume, by your good mood, that he did not choose to evade me." Dartanos sighed and bent over, pulling some papers out of the box to look them over. "While I need a vacation, the abyss doesn't sound like a pleasant place to visit, and I'd rather stay away from it if I can." He perused the papers while his master entertained the sinuous elf playing about the rafters, content in knowing his shield would protect HIM from spit balls. Contessa pushed off the wooden beam landing next to Teague's chair with a bounce to her step, grinning all the way. "No, he thought to, I think, but once I told him a quick snippet of my plans...and the profit he could earn, well...He should be on his way shortly. Some....magey stuff he had to do, apparently. I think he needed his makeup on." She twirled on her toe, a sudden trip bringing her to fall across his desk...Certainly by accident. Rolling his eyes, Teague was clearly about to speak to one or both of them. That is, until the knock came, drawing him up and over to the sound of mildly annoyed mage-searching Draconian. He put a hand out, pulling the door inward with a dismissing wave, "Let him be. His weapons are the least of your worries." And then to Nestos, waiting beyond the Red Watch, "So kind of you to have joined us, Highmaster. I trust your stay in Sanction has been adequate?" Of course Teague doesn't really care, but he might as well pretend to. It's an entertaining dance, if nothing else.

Author: Teague Date: Mon Jul 6 10:17:36 2015 Subject False Foundations & Hollow Walls (Pt. 2)

"My stay in Sanction is always adequate," The mage spoke with grin as he stepped into the room, eyeing the Highlord's apprentice. He nodded to Contessa before turning back to the Highlord, "I appreciate the invitation. I am glad to see your apprentice made it safe across the sea." Nestos pulled back the hood of his black cloak with runes sewn to the inside, to reveal his pointed ears. Dartanos bowed to the Highmaster, banishing his shield with a wave of a hand. "Yes, well...There was a certain misunderstanding that has been corrected. I prefer to move forward and not look into the past." He left his cowl over his face, the golden runes enhancing the shadows hiding his face, and put the papers down on the desk. "Speaking of the future, perhaps you'd care to enlighten us as to what the future holds, Master? And why the Highmaster is here?" Contessa sprawled out on the desk, knocking the papers back off onto Dart's feet as a cat would. Just to annoy someone for the sheer fun of it. "Well, he is really here for an idea I had. To help us gain the power we need to take Silvanesti and lay claim to it...Or at least have some fun with it. As well as to talk about helping me gain a new home. Because this place just doesn't have enough closet space for me, and well, a girl has to be able to shop." She grinned once more, looking up to the three men in the room. Teague let the new arrival step past him and, with a nod to the guard, he pushed it closed before returning to his desk. This time he planted himself atop the newly cleared thing, a hand bracing as he leaned, studying Nestos, "That, Dart, is a question we both share. What does bring you to our fine cit--" Pausing, Teague let his gaze drift down to Tessa as she wallowed behind him on the desk in the way she so often did, "You intend to ask Nestos for his aid in this?" Not a whisper of the insult he felt would likely be perceived, but he certainly did not know her plan here. Dartanos walked over and leaned against the wall, his hands folded within his robes. His eyes gleamed as he took in this new information, his thoughts in a whirl. His loyalty was to his master for the time being, and he had no lost love for the elves, but the Tower of the Stars in the hands of this saucy elf would not be pleasant. He looked to the Highmaster, and wondered if he felt the same way. He remained silent while thinking, nodding to the others to continue the conversation. Nestos slowly made his way to a free chair and sat, making himself comfortable. As he crossed his legs he answered the two mages, "I am here to check in on the errant apprentice. And yes, stir up the past." He reached into his red robes, so covered in interlocking runes that they looked black, and pulled out a leather pouch to withdraw his pipe, "Do you mind?" He asked the Highlord, still continuing to load it. Contessa rolled over to sit up and pat Teague on the head, "Oh my. Sir, your cock is plenty big enough, but for what I have planned...I need more. First, I wish to raise your old home back into the sky, and you know you cant do it alone. Second, I wish to play with the Green Dragon Orb that the Silvinesti hold onto. I wish to show them that even the great can fall into my grasp, if I wish to play with them. And that brings in Nesty-poo, here. I need his skills in magic, as well, to give him a fair compensation." They got her smile and a wink to top it off.

Author: Teague Date: Mon Jul 6 10:21:39 2015 Subject False Foundations & Hollow Walls (Pt. 3)

Shaking his head, Teague waved off the question of the smoke as inconsequential. The gloved hand came down to draw a slow line down Tessa's side, absent-mindedly making certain show of what belonged to who. As he took in a slow breath, he finally decided to give a little, `r"Your concerns, as you voiced them previously, are invalid as of now. I can assure you of that, Highmaster." Thankfully. He didn't want to have to scramble the brains of the only apprentice to make it this far. Teague has his priorities and they involve avoiding the Conclave's wandering eye as much as possible. As for Contessa...He didn't even comment. He hadn't quite figured out what to say about her goals. The Citadel...? Could it even be done? Dartanos lifted his head at the mention of the Dragon Orb, and his jaw dropped. "You're going to give this elf a Dragon Orb? I'm surrounded by madness. I dont care about the elves, let them burn in their own superiority, but the orb should go to a magic user. It came from magic users, it should stay with us." He pushed against the wall and walked towards Teague, his hands coming out of his robes to show he had no intentions of attack. "Master, did you know of this?" Nestos held his thumb over the loaded pipe bowl and whispered something before speaking, "I am not beyond working with the Dragonarmies," Nestos says with a wry grin stretching the scar under his eye, then indicated the other dark elf, "Plus, when there is mention of a Dragon Orb, who would not want to be involved." The mage lifted his thumb from the bowl to show a glowing cherry. He took a couple of large puffs, letting the smoke cloud around him. "And the orb belongs to whoever has it. I just hope the person to use it is prepared." Contessa looked over to the apprentice shaking her head, "It seems you are not smart enough to figure it out. I don't want the orb, in fact. I want it to stay in Silvinesti. I want them to keep it close to them, grasping it tight in fear when we come to take it. I need Nesto to further its curse and bind the orb to another as well..." She pushed up off the desk to walk around Nestos, "I need it to stay there. To whisper such sweet words to their leader. And yes, my dear, the citadel can be raised. If done right, the Green Flight will have their floating fortress once more." Teague had an idea, but nothing as in-depth as this, no. He simply looked to Dart's questions and leaned in with an even tone, "Go and see that my tomes are being properly cared for, Dartanos. You and I will have plenty of time to discuss this on our journey." He wasn't certain this fell into the specifics of the curse, either, to be honest. He'd always hit those nails a little too hard. Go figure, considering who hiss Master was...But one could never be sure until it was far too late to reconsider. "We may be at this into the morning. I will call for you if we need you." He was curious to see what else she had to reveal... Dartanos glared at the impertinent dark-elf, his hand stealing into his pouch. "You don't know what you're messing with. A Dragon Orb won't be cursed easily. It seems you're not smart enough to value your own soul." He turned to the Highmaster and bowed again, whispering, "Good Luck Master Nestos." Before turning to his master. "Good night, Master. I look forward to our discussion on the morrow." Whispering words, he vanished in a cloud of smoke. Nestos studied the other three in the room as they spoke, briefly staring at the red smoke for a moment before turning back to the other two, "You have an interesting apprentice, but he does raise many good points." He took another couple of puffs, blowing out the smoke as he spoke, "I would require a sizeable compensation for messing with such an artifact."

Author: Teague Date: Mon Jul 6 10:26:53 2015 Subject False Foundations & Hollow Walls (Pt. 4)

Contessa continued to grin as she walked around the man, through the red smoke. Biting her lip, she let her fingers trace around him, almost touching him but never once did her nails graze his cloak. "How would you like to keep the orb after the city is ours...Curse free, of course. Yo reclaim such a item for your mages would bring great renown. More respect as well, my cute lil mage." She stopped in front of him, leaning in to peer into the man's face, "And you are pretty cute, ain'cha?" Teague wouldn't dare put his hands on something like that. On the subject he was no expert, but he knew better than to be caught holding that at the end of the day. He kept his gaze neutral and focused between the two as the smoke cleared from his path of sight. Dartanos. He had many words for his apprentice, but correct was not a common one. This time, he must concede the point, however. What she asked was more than what he would give for gold alone. Teague let her do as she wished, the display common to his senses. His thoughts were his own for now, however, and the injured pride was slowly beginning to relax and give way to reason. Thankfully. Nestos continued puffing on the pipe, seeming to stare off into space, considering the possibility of keeping the Dragon Orb. The dark elf was pulled from his thoughts when he realized the other elf had gotten so close. "That is a trap in itself," He pauses, leaning around the female he continues to Teague, "I don't suppose you will tell me what happened with the apprentice?" Contessa smiled, backing away so the men could have their talk. "I didn't say it wouldn't be difficult. But it would be very much worth your while. What else would you want, my cute Sir?" Licking her lips she moved back, the room's shadows seeming to hug her curves as if she were one of their own. A wild look flashed in her eyes. She was crazy. Even more so to come up with this. There would be a few more moments of consideration before he pushed up from the desk to cross the room. Coming to a halt by a cabinet, Teague reached for a crystal tumbler to pour the potent honey-colored liquor into as he spoke, "You would do better to appeal to his purse and his ears, Contessa. As for the apprentice..." He turned, lifting the glass as if to offer the same to his two guests, "He was brash, ridiculously suicidal and yet...He managed to keep the Conclave's secrets well intact." How many times had he been called just about the same? Perhaps this match was better than he imagined. Perhaps not. Teague knew he had much to learn. "All is well." Well, that depends who's side you're on. Teague was on both in this case, so it was safe to say that it ought to bode well for either side. "I feel Khariif has grown distracted from the mages...The matter should be well beyond closed." Nestos grinned wryly at the other dark elf, "Well, that will depend on what exactly the curse will be, and who the target is." He took a few more puffs from the pipe, then looked down at the bowl with a frown. He tucked it back into its leather pouch and replaced it into his robes. He turned his gaze from the shadows to the Highlord, "Well, at least he did not give up anything, but certainly Khariif tried." Lorac, was all she mouthed for a moment as her grin grew more and more wicked, "And the curse on that orb is simple. I want the orb to be bound, so that a Dragon's soul will be tied to it. So whispers of my Queen can be spread into his mind and soul. To show him the truth of things." She just continued on smiling, as if she was looking into the future...Of what he would go through, should this be done.

Author: Teague Date: Mon Jul 6 10:30:18 2015 Subject False Foundations & Hollow Walls (Pt. 5)

Nodding, the slightest of low chuckles rolled off his lips with a casual gesture back at Nestos, "Would you not? No matter, there are more pressing matters for each of us to be tending to, rather than wondering on what could have happened..." Teague felts this way, at least. He had to wonder, though. "Why? Have there been inquiries...?" The mage took a slow draw from his drink, his back to them both as he added, "I was under the impression that you were handling this particular misunderstanding..." Which means it shouldn't be raising questions. Isn't that right? As far as Tessa's request went..? He was certain it would take someone of considerate skill to single out a draconic soul and keep it such. At least without some sort of cooperation. He had heard of theory involving the orbs and how they were made, but their use...Well, that was a mystery best left known to those poor souls lost trying to figure it out. The Dragon Orbs...They could not afford to simply give the thing away when they were done with it, either. No matter. Teague would be sure to handle that personally. Now, however, he had a few things on his mind and little time to accomplish them before the last light of the morrow. He set the glass down, "Perhaps this conversation would go better with some rest. Would you be so kind as to remain a bit longer, Highmaster? As my guest, of course." Nestos raised an eyebrow at the woman, surprised at the her direct manner. He leaned back into the chair again, "You are talking some serious magic. It is a little more than whispering a few words," }He then grinned to the shadows, "That will indeed cost you." He glanced back to the Highlord, "Well, I am glad it worked out," He said, his mood becoming lighter, "but unfortunately, I must be off..." The dark elf stands up from his chair, stretching slightly, bowing towards the woman in the shadows, then turned back to the 'offer', "I would appreciate that, thank you." With that. he then turned and let himself out of the room, the Watch waiting to show him the way to his evening's quarters. Contessa smiled, "Think of what you want Nestos. I like to make things happen. I don't like to wait long. As you can probably tell, I'm quick to the point." Teague set the glass down empty once they were both gone, his expression hidden but the tension very visible in his shoulders. This was a dangerous game, just the sort he usually enjoyed...But now there was more at stake than just himself. Even when it was, he was far too careful to gamble as his deadly counterpart did. Especially with one such as Nestos. This would possibly produce quite a slippery slope with little to no guide. It was something he would have to keep a close account of...

Author: Teague Date: Tue Jul 28 03:32:21 2015 Subject Duels and devils (pt 6)

Of course Teague was pleased that this wasn't one of those run of the mill hot-heads out to die proving their lack of worth., He moved with the shift of force, his balance accommodating as he let up to skip a pace back, either to draw his opponent into further action or to buy some of that short-handed space. Magic. What was it with people and their inability to accept the greater power of those around them? All of his life was a dotted with expressions of fear and resentment. He had to wonder which one was going to lead the unforeseen foe when he faced other mages. Briefly. The motives of others were his business, but not his priority at the moment. The thing with magic was that not all of it was as flashy as one might expect. He was a black robe before he was a member of the Dragonarmies, and he would always value the power of forethought. Today was no exception, especially given the recent news of elven interference and the fact that he probably shouldn't even be here. He was out of his mind, Akadin would say without a doubt, and he wouldn't be inclined to argue. His body was just a bit quick to react and his strength...They just weren't matching up to the look of the man as he toyed with the other with an almost casual swipe. Goading. "Who needs magic? What are you waiting for, the collapse of civilization?" A hot-head this swordsman wasn't, and it would take several magnitudes more provocation for him to lose his cool, but the opportunity for a convincing feint was hard to throw away. "Waiting?!" The snarl was easy to throw into his voice, and the excitement of battle added to the effect. "You'll be waiting long enough to heal from this thrashing!" Today the road was a stage, and the exposition of deception was complete, now, the conflict! And what was more theatrical and direct than a blade raised high in the anger brought on by a lust for revenge? There was a clash, but the apparent overhead assault was a ruse, and as the blade began to descend he twisted his hands about and his sword flashed to the side, a horizontal cut to the hands or forearm raised to defend against the hoax. It was still a decent strike otherwise, and was as dangerous as any other may be if not dealt with. No matter the case, he would dance back after the attempt had concluded, no more interested in being cut up by the mage than the reverse. Teague was having far too much fun with this. Real anger didn't need a face to truly define to the senses, it sang its truth in the eyes and the recklessness it wrought. He wasn't letting himself be drawn in, quick on his feet and astutely following the motions and momentum from the blow. It wasn't seamless by any means, but he was more than fast enough to bring his own blade across to catch the other's in its sudden sideways transition. The clang danced off the rocky gravel of the road, dust kicking about their feet to coil in the evening breeze. He countered, but he was merely holding his foe at bay long enough to slip his hand into his robes. A small glass vial was caught by deft fingers as he gave ground, blade probing experimentally, "Hn. Surely not." Static hit the air around the man with but the first utterance of whatever spell was to come, sharp and precise. It was a wonder they hadn't drawn attention yet, ill or otherwise, as well-travelled as the roads here could be. Even at night, they weren't that far off from the walls of the city...Perhaps they were lucky.

Author: Teague Date: Tue Jul 28 03:36:30 2015 Subject Duels and devils (pt 7)

His tone cooled, despite the on-edge tingle he felt about himself as his hairs stood on end one by one. "Ah, not convincing enough? Need to put some work into that one I suppose." Casual, as if he was commenting on woodworking or some other peacetime craft. There was precious few moments to waste upon such endeavors in the recent months, as the days seemed to grow unnaturally dark and the storm of war strained against the borders of their unwitting prey. Warfare was organized chaos, and as it was, that particular force of ruin was slipping its tendrils about the nearby town of Pashin, and the entire region. Advancing upon his foe once more, the swordsman was given pause. It was not the battlemage before him, nor allies of the Highlord, but a sense of wrongness. It seemed as if the night plunged deeper, and though the stars still hung in the sky it was as if their illumination was muted. Fierce eyes flicker to his sparring partner and away, sensing a similar reaction on the other side. Caution gave way to the reality of the matter as it became swiftly evident that malaise was no trick of the scant light. His irregular medium armor had the feeling of heavy chain, yet he very much doubted it would now offer greater protection, and there was a greater sense of wrongness than what his immediate opponent should exhibit, mage or no. Speaking of whom, perhaps he'd have seen the newcomer, were he not so preoccupied with spellcraft and polishing his own ego. Instead it is up to his battle-distracted wariness to catch the scuff and the whistling sound which foreshadowed the sharp pain and a surprised shout. On a positive not, he'd just enough warning to displace himself, and suffered only a glancing blow. Though he was slow to anger, there was more than a hint of bile as he spun around with a shout of "Interloper!" A fair few other words and phrases come to his mind, each less endearing than the last, but he's kept busy with a swift series of slashes and stabs in the direction of his newfound antagonist. There was, after all, an advantage to be regained and ire to be soothed. Darting back in a brief retreat, he frowned at his most recent handiwork, the swordsmanship below his standard of speed and precision, it is then he pries his left hand from the death grip it had adopted that he realized it was, in its entirety, numb. Sensible, of course, given the blow it had suffered, but undeniably unwelcome. Shaking the feeling back into the stunned limb, he warily assessed the figure before him. Teague was far from unaware as sparks arced up his arms and then down into the earth around them, fizzling under the weight of the very wrongness that his opponent felt. He was, perhaps, a bit more keenly aware of what it was...But no more capable of ignoring the presence and strength of something far more dark than himself. This was not something one came upon every day and it was not of his Queen's making, that much was clear. He made no move to aid or disrupt what was happening, instead stepping back beneath a veil of quickly scattered dust that removed him completely from view. He could feel the magic at play here and began to focus his own as the headstrong stranger engaged the enemy in more open combat. He could feel and trace the lines of it, and that meant he could unravel them given the time. That, they were short on, but it did not deter him from adjusting his attention to destroying the ill effects it had upon them and the more fortuitous touch it put upon the one who brought it. Death. This place took on the feel of a disturbed tomb as words tumbled past his concealed lips...

Author: Teague Date: Tue Jul 28 03:39:25 2015 Subject Duels and devils (pt 8)

The gloom which hung heavy on the air also masked the appearance of the latest foe, leaving little more to be made out than the menacing mace, dark robes, and the hint of skull facades adorning the aggressor. A tomb, very much so, and if this was the case then here was one of its occupants, risen in an gambit to terrorize the living, a task which he was accomplishing with quality and poise. Already beleaguered by the curse and a briefly debilitating injury, the swordsman found himself drained and suddenly losing ground under the heavyset onslaught. "Tcht, didn't even need to sneak up." Which may be the closest thing to a compliment he's willing to pay at the moment, but he could be forgiven for being barren of good humor. He didn't particularly have much faith that his sparring partner was going to come to his aid either.. Oh, sure, he wasn't putting his money on finding a blade in his back, but he was well enough aware that there was little to tie them together. It depended on the personality, of which he had no measure. Unknowingly to him the curse had been set upon the Highlord as well, and Teague was not taking kindly to this 'minor detail'. Indeed. The masked mage had plunged his blade into the softer roadside, putting the larger portion of his attention into dismantling the pressure upon them, though his effort was more for his own benefit at the moment. It was Szara's good fortune alone that he would be included. The chanting continued, a soft murmur beneath the sound of conflict. It was the sudden silence that would come as more of a shock, pressure shifting outward with a soft popping to the ears as the magic was released, every trace of it rended from the direct area for friend' and foe alike. He was taking his damned time if he meant to be of much aid here, but he appeared to be watching Szara blunder to survive for the moment. Fingers closed over his own blade once more as he let his eyes flick to the clear night sky. Nothing. Nothing ever went as planned, but when it went this sort of wrong, there were generally reasons...So. What was the purpose of this one? He kept his sights on the battle, considering the foes' form as his fingers game up once more from his bet's pouches slicked with oil. His voice lifted once more as the clear night began to darken for the combatants, the area as a whole slowly filling with billowing smoky fog...He, of course, did this more out of his own defense should they draw any more attention from the path or the walls. Blundering, beleaguered, two sides of a coin, aren't they? Of course were this coin of poor material or forging, it'd have found itself smashed into pieces some time ago, perhaps during another conflict. So much like the present it had been in that he found himself standing alone and beset upon by unseen forces. Or perhaps less than it had seemed, for now he found himself unbound from the scourge which had afflicted him and instilled with renewed vigor as adrenaline pumped freely. Though he had been driven back until he was near enough to smell the cheap mead on the Highlord there was more than enough fight left in him, a mettle now amplified as he was once more free to bob and weave as he saw fit. Perhaps he had an ally, and perhaps not, the matter was still up in the air and the other mage was never far from his thoughts. For now at least he still found himself in single combat and on even footing. His foe wasn't an amateur, he'd readily grant that, and would be hard pressed to prove otherwise even if hed been so inclined. The pair continue to trade strikes, though as of yet neither had yet done more than graze his foe, a fair few fresh injuries decorated each combatant as the brawl continued. Time was always on somebody's side, and today?

Author: Teague Date: Tue Jul 28 03:42:43 2015 Subject Duels and devils (pt 9)

Seeing as how other man wasn't dead by the time the mage had begun spewing smoke like a house fire, he tilted his head and straightened up. Rolling his shoulders, the masked mage drew his blade from the earthen sheath and made his way through the smog with slow and calculated purpose. The stuff clung to his form, swirling like so many spectres in a river of death, hissing like a pit of snakes...It obscured his own vision to a point, but these were conditions he was used to and he followed the shadows with ease as his chanting continued to proceed him. He felt the magic taking hold, speeding his motions and building strength atop his natural capacity as he lurched forward in a rush to put a shoulder into the back of their new foe. By then, the smokescreen would begin to disperse in the evening's breeze, revealing the predicament they had found themselves in. Still without a clue as to who this was or why they were here, he caught the opponent's mace with his blade, pulling some heat from the other in hopes that he might get his shit together and return the favor. Of course, their assailant was giving ground at this point, giving Teague the impression that he might flee before Szara got the honor. Indeed, their shadowed antagonist, with the tide of battle turned firmly against him, chose flight over the taste of his opponents steel. The shrill cry of some a Khurrish nighthawk was cut off by an unnatural pop and a flash which silhouetted the trio and temporarily blinded those unprepared for the sudden development. Szara keeps himself moving, his weapon raised and hunting for incoming attempts on his life as he blinks away the malediction. The disorienting flash left not a lasting impression, but one mildly irate swordsman staring off at motion in the distance...Right along down the road, beating a quick retreat to the nearby town it seemed. With a soft snarl and a glance to his companion of the moment, "I'm not about to let him get off with that so easily. You?" Not that he sticks around for an answer, giving chase post haste, tearing down the trail almost recklessly but with sure and swift footing, sheathing his blade as he moves. The attempted blackjacking was only a minor offense, all things considered, but not one he was willing to let slide, considering how the odds were arranged. There wasn't much need for an answer then, was there? No matter. Teague had held some wariness for the stranger in the wake of their fleeing attacker, however their pursuit seemed to be in the forefront of their priorities for now. He had to see this through, of course. If that was a hit in his person, then someone had sent him. He would see his motives and/or see him dead if he had his way and so...Here was the disguised Highlord, giving chase on an unknown assailant into a city he fully intended to sack and soon, with the strangest highwayman he'd met thus far. How could this possibly go wrong? Stop. Don't even start to answer that. It was a little late, anyways. He took swiftly to the horse and threw a hand down to his temporary comrade in passing, a short chirp of a whistle coming to seek his attention. They were clearly not going to catch him before he hit the city streets, but wasting time on foot would cost them.

Author: Teague Date: Tue Jul 28 03:45:02 2015 Subject Duels and devils (pt 10)

Queer as he may be, he isn't the type to snuggle up close to the Highlord and take him in a gentle embrace.. The offer of a ride however is accepted, his next step turning into a bound as he grabbed hold of the saddle and outstretched hand, hauling himself up behind the stranger. "Alright," he admits, "I'll grant this is faster than legging it. But by the moons, take a bath every week or so, you smell like a char-.." He breaks off his admonishment suddenly with a scowl which deeply creases his hidden brow, and a sniff at his own shoulder. "Or it could be me." Under his breath he adds, "Thrice damned mages..." Like a querulous wild cat he hunches down to stabilize himself for the ride, though he expects it to be brief. "And to think I do it for money. What about you? What brings you to these wld roads?" It's not like they're busy chasing someone, right? Oh. Wait... ----------------------------------------------- (This story authored by Szara and Teague, and is the story related to warnote 14, Szara and Teague vs Makarth. Props for a hell of a fight. There is more to come, but we wanted to get this up since it has been awhile since the pk, and to spread the postings out a bit.)

Author: Teague Date: Wed Aug 5 07:07:31 2015 Subject Aftermath (Pt 1)

The mage flicked blood from his blade, glancing up across the body to the mouth of the darkened alley they had tracked him to and then wiped the blood on the felled foe's cloak. Taking a knee, Teague began to rifle through his things, with a soft and controlled voice, "Do you know this man?" Questions of import were many, and the answers were often far from the grasp. Which of them was he after. Had someone sent him or was this just the dead man's last bad day? He was no stranger to assassins...But who even knew where he was if Akadin didn't even know? Szara stood with his arms crossed and his blade at the rest, hints of impatience hanging about him like motes of dust. His attention was toward the mouth of the alley, and he was still amazed at the lack of lawmen blocking their exit. How in the dwarf-halls had they escaped scrutiny he's no answer for, nor Teague's interrogative. "Let me get a clear look at his face, once you're done with his rubbish." Though he had his doubts, it was worth the verification. Enemies were easy to make in his profession, "Or, perhaps, we can we can.." Abyss, why am I even waiting about? What tie did he have to the mage? It certainly wasn't a warm fuzzy feeling, that's for sure. "..Scoot before the constables come around. Murder investigations are so tedious." Not finding any sign of orders or real identification, Teague jerked the hood back and took to his feet. "Right." A vague gesture to the fool's face came, as he reached into an inner pocket to withdraw a small pouch within his palm. Drawing the strings open, he was beginning to believe this was yet another annoying circumstance. One of many in his lengthy story, "Be quick." He was already beginning to mutter the arcane language as the acrid scent of the bag's contents slowly enveloped their small space...Investigation? Not if there wasn't a body. With another quick appraisal of his surroundings Szara slides over to the Highlord and victim, stooping close, he took the man's slack jaw by his chin and turned it, checking all the way back to his ears for familiar scars or tattoos after concluding that this seemed to be a stranger. "No one I recognize. And not a 'friend' of yours. Well, another random gnome-job isn't that bizarre, times what they are." He rises to his feet, and speaking of which.. This fellow had some footwear that seemed to be in good condition. Better than his own had been since the altercation which had gotten his last set of companions sent off to the after. No use in squandering the opportunity, so he helps himself without a second thought. "What're you fiddling with? Incense?" If the mage is lighting a pyre..... He'll be beating feet as quickly as he ever has. Teague was rather fond of fire, but that wouldn't serve them well for the moment. Fire left far too much behind and the city's closed in space made it more of a hazard than he was willing to gamble with. The powdered iron, copper and sulphur was poured into the glove, noxious acidic fumes beginning to pour fourth as the words grew more firm but never louder. Billowing from his fingers as a cloud, the substance began to liquefy and coat their attacker. His answer would come then, of course, as the strong chlorine began to eat into the body. Stepping back from the fumes that seemed to be delving into the orifices, he shook his head and took to studying Szara. "I believe we have both had enough excitement for the night. Shall we away? A drink is in order." Or six. "I insist you join me." Metal and bone were resisting, but slowly giving way. In moments, Teague's spell would erase their mishap, leaving no more than a brackish scar upon the cobbles.

Author: Teague Date: Wed Aug 5 07:14:19 2015 Subject Aftermath (Pt 2)

Szara was swift enough to back away from the happening with a suspicious but curious stare, wrenching his eyes away to ensure they were not yet being watched too obviously. "Useful, that.." Perhaps he'd attempt to contract a gnome to replicate the results using mundane measures. At worst he'd get a laugh out of whatever ends up blasted halfway across the city. Szara says "Right, we could use some an ounce of blending in." Isn't sodding off exactly what he'd already suggested? Well then a hideout was exactly what he already wanted. "As I suggested." Hear that, mage? This was his idea. Teague's boots plodded against the dirty street, already en route for whatever looked most likely to serve something at least a smidge above swill. Food would be lovely after the ride. Speaking of which...He reached casually for the reins of the steed that had carried them so swiftly, her flanks soaked with sweat from the effort. He drew her along, towards a stable perched between a decent enough looking establishment and a house of ill-repute. He had to consider their options a moment, but eventually decided business before pleasure. The tavern it was. He made no comment to the haughty attempt at pride bolstering from the stranger turned accomplice, satisfied that he was along for the ride. Of course, should he run then there may be need to dig two graves. He still had yet to be convinced that his companion did not know who he had come across in the road. Still. Teague was sometimes a man of reason...And he could feel something dwelling beneath the surface of the swordsman's skin. Perhaps this was less coincidence than he had imagined. "I do not recall what your name was..." Szara was hovering along, for the moment. Confident enough in his ability to make himself as sparse as he wanted to be if he so desired. The relative silence of the night had him almost as much on edge as it would usually set him to ease, considering the energetic brawl which had taken about another half of a street and an entire alleyway to resolve. No doubt a few local facades would need refinishing, or at least some scrubbing. Not that the damage was likely to be found before dawn. The haughty mage wasn't quite an annoyance in Szara's records, his disposition lending itself well to putting up with more than a few overbearing pricks so long as their actions didn't threaten him worse than he could deal with. "Which means you aren't hallucinating too much. Almost always a good sign." Teague snorted softly handing his horse and a gold coin off to the boy outside the stables on his way past. "Feed, water...See to her well, boy." That was not a request and he hardly seemed to spare the young man a second look as he scrambled to take the warhorse around the side. He shot a look over his shoulder at Szara briefly as he approached the open tavern door. He did not seem to be particularly concerned with their mess or its discovery, either due to his precautions or the fact that this was a stopover city. Mercenaries and drifters were plentiful here and one more dead in the alley wasn't likely to raise too much of a fuss, if there was enough left to be discerned as a body at all. Teague was more concerned with the make of the place as they had travelled the road, taking careful account of the state of the guard and inner walls as best he could. He took the doorway first, heading for a table in the more crowded area of the place. There was not much more suspicious a show than a cloaked duo hiding out in the quiet depth of the place where ears could easily pick their words from the din of patrons. He took a seat, neither facing the door nor away from it. Teague looked to the approaching maid, calling for good whiskey for them both and a meal should there be no protest...Then turned his gaze upon the other in silent contemplation.

Author: Teague Date: Wed Aug 5 07:18:08 2015 Subject Aftermath (Pt 3)

Potentially free food? Any mercenary worth his salt would be both hard pressed to turn down the offer and wary of inconspicuous consequences. Poison was a favorite, of course. This was the moment in which Szara had to judge his accomplice and the establishment, and take a wild guess at the odds of both of them wanting him dead or out of action. Szara's assessment led him to follow the lead of the other. For now. Why bother taking him out, anyway? Why even drag him all the way into the town first? Besides, he hadn't the feel that he'd annoyed this man, if anything they've at least enjoyed the adventure. His hood remained in place for the moment, nothing unusual, and the mask might draw more attention. Szara nodded to the wait staff cordially, then returned the gaze. Oh! Lost in those eyes! About as comforting as the claw of a multi-hued dragon. Not quite a staring contest, yet it gave him a better look at the the other mask which at least cracked his lips with the hint of a grin. The adventure was very much enjoyed, to be honest. It wasn't so often that a danger made it's way past both his men and his personal guard, let alone was in any shape to give Teague a good run. He settled back, reaching up to loosen his bevor before removing the single gauntlet, setting the latter aside as the first hung low by a strap. He wasn't wearing his usual mask, but a plain one, covering what the bevor did not. He pursed his lips as the whiskey came, a freed hand working over the glasses and bottle to show no signs of poison before he reached to pour. "You are a curious one...What brings you to the desert's edge?" There was more to him than met the naked eye...But was he too old? Perhaps. But they had said the same for himself and that had certainly been a mistake...Not once did he break their shared gaze, save for to test their drink, "Are you a mercenary?" Szara's eyes flicked to the supposed magic about the alcohol. It was, after all, a safe bet that the man wasn't blessing the drink at the very least. "A man of fortune is what I go by. Sometimes there is blade work to be done, or a decent band that doesn't look to be marching to its death. When favorable, I may do mercenary work, but trustworthy hands aren't always easy to find." And few lucrative contracts went out to a mere handful. And might Szara get around to answering the first question? "And as for Pashin? Travel. It might have opportunity, yet I've other matters to attend to before slogging along with a few lost sons of burghers." He had little information that could be considered important at the time, a sad state of affairs, yet his previous mission hadn't been particularly intriguing. The feature of Szara's which shone most obviously at this moment was his stillness, if it were not for his flesh and dialogue, one might confuse him for a statue. Teague was far from still, relaxed in posture and all other appearances, though the martial-minded may not be fooled. He was far from off guard, here in the city he would return to conquer. He broke their gaze with a slow easy nod, a thin smile taking his lips with a dubious lack of show to his eyes. He lifted the tumbler, slowly draining it as an arm came back to hook over his chair, "Other matters? I see. This is too bad, indeed. I have great use for a man of skill." Clothed as a mercenary, yes, but he hadn't the feel of one. He set the glass down and lifted the bottle for a brief inspection as he leaned forward to pour again, "And fair coin to cover their fee..."

Author: Teague Date: Wed Aug 5 07:23:39 2015 Subject Aftermath (Pt 4)

Szara had business to attend to, sir. He can sense that hook you've laid out, with little more subtlety than a bull. "Great use? Gray tell, for what use? I don't imagine the roll is bodyguard or carriage driver." Yes, that about sums up his sense of humor there. "Offers are worth remembering, in any case.. My task is not a lengthy one, and Morning Dew is not so far away." All things considered, it wasn't even a quarter of what a crossing of the Plains of Dust would require. There may have been some interest, and the money might have been secondary amongst reasons, but what did it matter at the moment? Szara had time to make his journey, for their band wasn't due back for some time yet. A mirthless chuckle came along with the delivery of their meal, "Perhaps we will have more to discuss, should you return." Yet again, the motion came, just as with their drink. A thick stew, laden with yesterday's haunch of elk, fresh bread and a sharp cheese. It wasn't much to the eye, but it smelled like a dream after the day's exertions. He hadn't bothered eating at the filth hole the two had initially crossed paths at and he was perhaps a bit eager. Not too eager that he didn't take the time to be certain that food was -all- they were consuming. He watched the woman swaying off, with almost as much interest as the food got. Her pleasant curves and raven curls bouncing as he enjoyed the view and a quick wink. Then it was time to play the bull once more, "You've more to you than a blade and a dry sense of humor. I could show you how to harness it, if you were bold enough to seize it." Szara could care less for the lass until the moment she had a dagger in hand, in which case matters could deteriorate...Thankfully they were able, for the time being, to enjoy some semblance of peace so he moved to inspect the meal. Finally. He was no mountain of a man, but trees would bend before him when winds came howling. "Now that's not something I hear everyday." Or year, in fact he's up to twice in a lifetime now. And though Szara had not been disappointed with his former swordmaster, it was something of a tall order for one to so casually make such a claim. "The question is whether you've something to stand on there." Which was not an attribute he could so easily discern, at any rate.. Listening probably wouldn't kill him any faster than partaking of the stew and bread. "...Go on." He could do more to hide his curiosity, yet he knew there was always a line with poker faces. Teague chuckles once more, taking pause to pull from the steaming bread, his eyes torn from the lovely piece of meat towards something more nutritional. He shook his head, taking a bite before he nods, "At your age I doubt you do. In my line of work there are very few coincidences. I sincerely doubt that this is one of them." A light dinner ale had come with their meal and he paused to take a drink of the cool amber liquid, "You've a storm in you, boy. Has it manifested?" Or practiced. His head tilted as he watched the other, taking several bites as he waited. One might get the impression that he suspected the answer was yes. Szara, for once in quite a long while, found himself confronted with questions he hasn't the faintest idea about. "Pardon?" A storm? Was this some wiseass crack at his temper? Senseless...Nothing matched with such a theory. "I didn't give much credence to the philosophers who went on and on about how tormented the human condition was." Really he'd mostly just found them boorish and unimaginative, charlatans of the psyche. He wouldn't admit it, but he was disturbed by his own lack of an answer.

Author: Teague Date: Wed Aug 5 07:25:02 2015 Subject Aftermath (Pt 5)

Now was the time for Teague to actually laugh. He was wrong, perhaps, about the latter of things but certainly not the most of it. He just about choked into the process, his elbow resting on the table as he rested his slowly shaking head. He gave a soft hoot and drained some of his cup before tucking his chin down to watch him very closely, "You're serious? I'm not talking about a condition, son, Human or otherwise. No philosopher's bullshit can hold a candle to magic. Consider your life a moment. Think back. You're telling me there's never been a single thing you couldn't explain? In a rage, perhaps? In fear? In passion...?" Teague took a bite of the bread, thumping back into the chair, "Not even once?" Of course he didn't believe it, especially in this one. Coincidences, as he had said, were few and far between.

Author: Teague Date: Wed Aug 5 07:29:32 2015 Subject Aftermath (Pt 6)

Szara thought back, a slight scowl coming to him once more as he sifted through his memories despite the slight suspicion that this mage may be a bit batty. "You're asking me about magic?" Not that it was precisely a question. "Not exactly something most of us receive any education in." Most, though perhaps not himself... "I may have.. Had something of a wild upbringing. I put that energy into my training...And studies." Szara continues, "Tarsis hasn't exactly been fond of magic since the Cataclysm. And it's easy to understand, their lifeblood was drained within a span of days." Though, unlike Istar, the former port city had not been rent asunder. Yet this wasn't much consolation when half the populace had lost their livelihood in a heartbeat. Ah, but he mustn't allow himself to ramble. "But I digress.. You're telling me there is magic about me? And..." Perhaps Szara shouldn't have done this, but to the hells with it. No one else was likely to notice the very fine book he withdrew from within his cloak, and only the man across from him was likely to recognize it for what it was. The fine decoration was some indication, but the magical power it exuded screamed its purpose. Spellbook. Evil. Not terribly powerful, no, and perhaps an easy read for the Highlord...But a curiosity to the man whom had taken it. "Not this particular trinket." There were many points the mage could have made against the ideas of the people of Tarsis. Teague hadn't a clue about the what and why of the Cataclysm, but the magi were far from at fault. He wasn't one to make excuses, however. Especially those he could only partially back. He had no need, for the man's curiosity was piqued even more than Teague had expected. How fortunate. He set his plate aside, a glover hand reaching to caress the edge of it's cover but fell short without permission, withdrawing back to his relaxed posture. He considered this a moment, for it was a fair point to be made. But it was moot. Nodding, "I do believe so, yes. Unrefined, as ore from the earth, but I know what I see." There was, perhaps, potential. More than the failure of his last attempt. "I could show you how to read these words, to deny them their constant twisting and swimming. This tome..." He gestured briefly towards it, "Do you feel it? What lay within it's pages? Have your tried to read it yet?" All the better if he could...But even Teague had trouble when first he went to the Towers, even with his mother's meagre and short-lived training. Szara placed the book upon the table, his own still gloved hand resting upon it, though only just so, practically hovering upon its surface. "Now that's right out of a faerie tale." Then again, this was a land where magic was very much real, if not precisely as common as steel. Whatever the case, there he was, hooked by something. "I have not, no, though I have been tempted to in more... More than one case. I have refrained, thus far, should it be protected in a way I do not understand." Though dubious about the idea that has some sort of magical aptitude (as swordsmaster Veingrad said, assuming one was better was an excellent way to find a short cut to an unmarked grave), Szara recognized the opportunity to expose himself further to another art which was of significant importance in large scale conflicts, and in many matters beyond the battlefield. "Tempted despite this caution. I didn't need the first hand experience to know from whence it came."

Author: Teague Date: Wed Aug 5 07:31:33 2015 Subject Aftermath (Pt 7)

Nodding, Teague put a hand out towards the book though he did not move to take it. Instead, a gesture came to ask the other's permission, "A wise consideration. Perhaps I could provide some light upon the situation. May I...?" Permission given or not, he took a drink with his free hand before adding, "There's very little room for children's stories here or anywhere else. Not any more. This book holds the favor of the Hidden Moon. I would ask from whence it came, but I would rather not know. Perhaps it is best you, yourself, have a lapse in memory. May I...?" (To be continued soon...)

Author: Teague Date: Thu Aug 20 00:52:40 2015 Subject Necessary Evils

This was not the march south that the Highlord had wished for, but it was nothing that he hadn't been prepared to deal with. He hadn't expected it to be the Elves, however. Not this early in the expedition. Not this far north of Pashin. He was aware enough of their meddling thus far to be unsurprised, however. Typical. Everything had been clear but weeks before and he sincerely doubted that this was going to be the least of it. Every push forward was a stroll through thorns. It wasn't enough to deter them, but it slowed their progress...It drew on their supplies and morale. It was inevitable, however. This was but a hint of what a push southward would bring. It was better to have the men test the waters before diving right in. Their numbers were few...But the capacity of a small band of elves in the wilderness was more than enough to be a nuisance. Despite the fact that his bulky force was far from pressed, the setback was more of an irritant than it should have been. The Highlord's mood soured. Reports were confirmed that Khariif's victory in Crossing was a great success, but he had yet to hear of any further movements. It wasn't a competition, but sometimes it settled across his shoulders as if it were. He had more pressing matters to attend to at the moment...He could not afford to expect that the gates of Pashin would fall as easily as he had dared to hope they would. Also typical. The city could feasibly lock up tight and settle in for a long and expensive resistance to the impending siege that came with the masked mage. This could very well be more trouble than it was worth by the time it was over. He knew this, of course, but he was no beacon of virtue and no stranger to pride. He would burn it to ashes before he let these pathetic creatures stand before the might of Her Majesty's forces. He hadn't climbed this far to open the act with failure. More disturbing was the looming storm. The skies were clear, but his mind was unsettled by the heavy silence n his dreams. There was only darkness there, or rather, a lack of definition...Coupled with the dead still one might find just before all hell tore down from the skies, riddled with anticipation that was often as much dread as it was excitement. He had not yet been able to discern the meaning of these strange dreams populated with the faces of strangers and those who had gone before. Why now, of all times, did the dead choose to linger on his thoughts. What was gone was gone, and he had other concerns each taking their places in the far reaches of his mind. They lay in wait, snatching greedily at him when he least desired. Most of them were directly related to their current situation but certain mages were not far from his thoughts. Flying citadels. Cursed orbs. Some were much more pertinent than others, but the dragon had been one of the least of them. That is, until this morning at least... Neither were gryphons.

Author: Teague Date: Thu Aug 20 00:55:29 2015 Subject Necessary Evils (Pt. 2)

Damnable creatures that they were, they were formidable enough to cause a stir and airborne on top of that. The damage they had wrought upon their supply train was going to cost them. Having seen the damage for himself in mind if not in body, he knew he couldn't afford to allow this to continue undeterred. Not if he wanted Pashin in his hands with anyone left to hold it. The army was large, yes, and that was part of what made it formidable...But with a cut in supplies, it would threaten to wither. That was neither here nor there yet, but it was something to consider for the future. Their lines were not cut, but things could get tight if the people of Pashin were somehow able to meet them with resistance. It was almost certain their element of surprise had been lost by now, if not already with the scattering of scouts they had been losing in a slow but steady fashion in the weeks prior to their southward push. Small strikes here and there he could afford, but he would need to offer them a threat that was heavier than their want to strike. Of course, he knew this day would come and that it was fast approaching now, but he had avoided the concept of directly addressing the creature up until now. His reasons, in his mind, were more than valid enough despite the growing pressures around them. The Highlords had each bonded with these incredible and terrible beings, strengthening their forces and binding them tighter into previously unexplored depths of servitude. He didn't trust the beasts or their loyalty to the cause, but he would have been a fool to expect that this was not a necessary evil or that he would be able to evae it for long. Only Akadin was privy to the expressed petulance the prospect had brought upon him, though most others would have been pressed to recognize it as such even if they were able to bear witness. It was difficult to hide from a man who could read you beyond a mask. This was not initially part of his plan. Becoming Highlord hadn't been either, but things change with time and so too must plans. This was part of Her plan, after all, and while Teague knew better than to blindly trust Her plan, he would do everything in his power to see Her will be done. No sign of reluctance from him had ever been an act of defiance in that regard thus far. He would do what was necessary, despite his preferences. That would be, after all, why he stood here waiting now... (To be continued...)

Author: Teague Date: Sat Aug 22 03:32:15 2015 Subject Tempered Blaze

Teague stood there considering his options carefully before pushing the majority of concerns deeper into the recesses of his mind. He pushed himself forward towards this temporary dwelling of draconic hate, the stones protesting under his boots. His pace was steady and even, though the churning in his guts was more than nerves. It was time to see if his pride was stronger than the gripping fear billowing from the darkness not unlike the accompanying smoke. He held his head high, shoulders and stance grounded and even...But ever fiber of his being was a tense knot. His expression was, as usual, hidden from view which made it difficult to gage his current feeling from gaze alone. Normally. Even he, the stubborn ass that Teague was, held the uncertainty of terror churning beneath the mossy jade stare that was so often hard as stone. Leather protested against the fist he formed absent-mindedly as old spurs caught stone. With any luck this would be done and over as easily as he had scaled the uneven terrain here. Teague knew better than to expect it, however. It was not in his stars more often than not. Struggle was the name of the game and he loved -every- minute of it...Even if he was often not aware of the fact. If it were not for the Cause... But it was. Teague waited, convinced the thing new he was there already in the mouth of this earthen pit. Here goes nothing, he though, a bitter smile taking behind his mask. It would be a pity to climb this far only to be eaten, after all. The dragon was curled up, chin propped on a talon-laden fist as it regarded him with a hint of amusement evident in its eyes. It drew a deep breath, seeming to take all the air in the room with it as it did. Its voice boomed out a moment later, "A little creature come to visit me here? I'm not even hungry yet, the dark queen must be seeing to my pleasure even now." The voice came, acrid and pretty much exactly as he had expected it to be. Why, then, did he seem rooted where he was silently choking on his own? It took a brief moment to speak, straining to get a look at the thing as he finally moved one foot and then the other. He generally spoke softly, better to conceal his intent, and this time was no exception even if the reasoning was. "Perhaps. But not here, Dragon. There will be plenty more, should you choose to partake..." Blaze sighed, bringing his head from his fist for a moment. Two paces forward he fell still, muscles twitching beneath the concealing silk and leather as he asked past his own grit teeth, "What is your name, creature?" "You cannot comprehend my name, let alone pronounce it. Suffice your curiosity with the word Blaze, it is what the nations of men called me in times past." Blaze settled his head back down to its perch, giving a sigh as his other hand reached down to dig up the treasure beneath him before letting it drift from his talons back to Krynn slowly. Smoke slowly began to billow from the dragon's flared nostrils, the sound of coins and trinkets echoing through the chamber as he continued in his distraction with the treasure.

Author: Teague Date: Sat Aug 22 03:37:36 2015 Subject Tempered Blaze (Pt 2)

Swallowing hard, the Highlord forced another step, but couldn't quite get himself to look up. He'd never run before, not out of fear, and he wasn't about to do it now. Not while She certainly watched closely. Not with everything on the line as it were. That didn't mean he wasn't sorely wishing he did. Saving face the only way he could, he shifted to look -away-, lifting an outstretched hand back from whence he had come. "Very well then, Blaze..." He let it drip from his lips, the name, doing his best to mask hesitance with consideration as he focused his breathing and simply tried not to accept what was there. Teague was not particularly successful, but it worked well enough for the moment. "I believe the time has come...For the might of our Queen to show it's face in the lands of Men. What better way than with you and your kind to the forefront?" That...Was not what he'd meant to say. It was far more cautious...Way more polite. The dragon stared at him blankly for a moment before a deafening blast of laughter sprung from him. "I was not expecting such eloquence from such insignificance. Well played little thing. Now tell me why I should care? The dark queen has fought wars before and failed to make purchase of the world. Some of us have had our fill of your petty conflicts and wish to pursue our own interests..." Teague snorted before his derisive gesture caught and held tight right around the area of his ribcage, coming out as more of a cough. His entire being despised this. The creature and it's unknown power and motivations posed a threat to him as much as it did to Krynn. He was no fool. This was beyond playing with fire. So much was he put out by the reply that his voice took on an edge despite the gripping panic threatening to crack his reply, "If it were my conflict I would have sought other allies. This is not my interest. It is Her Magesty's interest." There it was, as close to polite as it could get. His feelings on the matter tainted the delivery, yes, and so did dragonfear...But it was close enough. Now the dragon rose, spreading its wings as it stretched to fill the chamber. The sound of coins tumbling from their perch tinkled softly beneath him as they were displaced. It drew in another deep breath and roared, "The dark queen's interests are manifest in me and my kind. Your are as blades of grass, meant to wither and die beneath us as we soar through skies that you will never alone be gifted to enjoy. I am power incarnate, what would you have me do that I have not already done in wars past? What would you wish of one of the queen's noblest of creatures?" Partially glad he had his back mostly to the thing, he lofted a brow behind the cover of hood and mask. Was the answer to that not clearly obvious? These creatures might possibly be more arrogant than he could dream of ever being. The heat of anger met the chill of fear and lingered within his chest like an ocean-wrought storm as Teague made himself breath once more. With unseen hesitance upon his brow, he forced himself to turn back, gaze drifting up the thing's form as he grasped for reason in his inner chaos. "What Her blades of grass cannot do." Why must he scrape and snatch at words for this beast? It was insulting to say the least. "I ask that you aid us, Her forces, against these men you consider so lowly. That, for one such as yourself...Should be simple enough, is it not?" Make no mistake...He was one breath away from giving ground when the words finally came, but he would face what he must. Even if it was on his knees. "Help us to see her Will be done."

Author: Teague Date: Sat Aug 22 03:43:25 2015 Subject Tempered Blaze (Pt 3)

The dragon's wings fold behind it as it lifts a talon to scratch at one of his nostrils. He considers you for a moment before replying, "She is always plotting. Always scheming. I suppose though, I have no recourse but to aid her in another one of her endeavours. After all, Huma is dead, and his baleful lances gone with him. Magius is no more, and the Paladine's children are loathe to get involved. Perhaps the world would be more enjoyable in the grip of her...enthusiasm for chaos." To be honest, Teague didn't give a rat's ass for what brought this thing pleasure so long as it wasn't the grinding of his bones. He was loath to continue along this attempt to placate the whims of the Queen's hounds, though. He was impatient to be gone and moreso to be grinding someone -else's- bones himself. "Her plans will be lucrative for us all, should we but take advantage of what is laid before us. My men march to the south, towards the lands of the elves. They harry us with gryphon-borne attacks." Much more satisfying than bony humans, certainly. "Ah the elves and their despicable gryphons, it's been too long since I tasted the flesh of either. I hate all of Paladine's children, as do my kin. Erasing the blight of their existence does hold a certain...promise, to it. Very well little thing, very well. I tire of sleep and hunting for the sake of food alone. My hoarde could be bolstered as well. I will take what I please from what you capture, and keep it for myself." There was a twitch to the man's eye, followed by a slow sigh of cleansing breath. His first instinct was to tell it to go screw itself. Thank the Gods he rarely went with his immediate instincts, or he would be long dead. He swallowed the pride, as big as the lump already caught in his throat from the displeasing creature. His voice came again, this time with slightly more confidence since the thing seemed wooed to their endeavours, "Whatever is not necessary to continue Her greater plan." He could give that much. That much, Teague could work with later, when the time came. The sounds of metal clinking together echoed through the chamber as the dragon settled down on its hoard of treasure and heaved a bored sounding sigh. He made a dismissive gesture with a massive clawed hand and rolled over as it murmured, "Begone then, petty thing. I will find your armies when it suits me and join the fray. I do hope this experience wasn't too taxing, I wouldn't want you to expire before I have the chance to kill you when it's all over..." Booming laughter shook the very walls of the chamber. Teague had his own plans for when this was done, and no intention of expiring at the hands of this particularly nasty creature. But it was not the first time he had worked with such a situation. It certainly had new parts to it, but it was far from different now. He refused to give it another look, loathe to the feeling of lost control in it's presence, instead simply leaving without another word. His mood was foul, but soon there would be plenty to release it upon. For now, he was -more- than done here and eager to go...Despite this, Teague forced himself to do so with as much dignity as he could muster. He hated the Dragon more than he'd imagined. The fear only burned hotter the furnace of his desire. This was not how he had planned for this to go. He would have likely refused to acknowledge such a thing even if it had. His dedication to the Cause had held him firm, of course, but if this wasn't for Her..? There was a chance he would be a dead man now. If he would have come at all. But it was, he was not. He was definitely here...And there were far more pressing matters at hand.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Aug 28 01:19:05 2015 Subject Prevention (Part 1)

An army marches on its stomach, a weakness that has applied to all military campaigns in history. Quick action was required and Teague had made arrangements, assuming the elves hadn't breached the magic required to do so. A heavy fog had settled as the formation squared off, drawing their remaining supplies train deeper into their midst. This required a full day of formation shift, as well as a tightening of security to the war camp and he went over each possible outcome now. He offered a thin strip of meat out to the smallish falcon that often accompanied Akadin. The other man sat across the table, going over the day's events in a slow drone. Their supplies, like so many parcels, had been spread out through the bulk of his force but the carts remained. There was still need of them, after all, covered as they were. The beasts would come again if they could, and if they did, they would find the army's more mobile catapulta collection primed and waiting. That was only part of the plan. It would soon be time to enact the rest of it. They would be losing more time, yes, but not to the gryphons' riders. "Are you ready, then?" Akadin's voice broke through his thoughts, piercing into his preoccupation slowly at first. "Vaughn...?" The mage snapped to, head jerking upwards to place a mossy gaze upon the other man. Head tilting, he considered and nodded. "Yes, I believe so. I must not be disturbed." Teague pushed himself to his feet, finishing off the water in his glass. He gestured, working at the fastens and straps of his armor. His comrade helped with his cloak to quicken the work. With a nod, he broke from the other and slipped off into the back half of the command tent as the other man took the bottle of wine they had conspired but failed to share. Teague had a love for spirits, yes, but he loved his fingers more. The mage had found that there was rarely ever a good time to mix them with the intricacies of magic. The mask came down as he stilled his waters, breathing in slowly as the foreign lack of weight nagged at him and then passed. He centered himself, preparing for the task at hand. The misery of the din he chose to summon would be suffered by his men, but perhaps he could hold the wolves at bay until their "friend" saw fit to join them, if, indeed, it did. Their last encounter hadn't gone so wonderfully and the faith the Highlord placed in the beast was low, to be kind. Teague would do precisely what he had learned long ago to do: rely on one's self over all others. Blast it all, if he had some aid aside from the ill-trained smattering of renegades at his disposal...This would have been a lovely time to have an apprentice. Bah. He would come. Of this, the mage was fairly certain. As certain as he could be. Szara did not touch his thoughts for long, however. It was time to do what he was known for... His voice came soft and slow, hands swift and clear of the bulky armor that often hindered the potential of his craft in full. The chanting, foreign and verdant with their weight, began to slowly gain strength as the pressure of the rushing air bowed the walls of the tent inward. It plucked up and discarded items willy-nilly and picked at him as well, tearing at his robes as he stood amid the twisting wind. A flicker lit the room followed by a rumble in the distance. This task, he knew, would take well into the night. A storm was difficult to command at best, and a struggle when one sought a certain level of precision and staying power. He would still return to the den of the foul beast sooner than he intended, however, no matter how taxed he may be. The storm would serve as a fair diversion, playing prevention in conjunction with the longer reach of the catapulta that lay waiting for the next elves to come, but it would only hold as long as he and his few adepts could handle it. No doubt, a spell of this nature would likely cost him a few of their lives to maintain when it was all said and done.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Aug 28 01:21:02 2015 Subject Prevention (Part 2)

Of course they would be watching...The charade would have to be kept. That was precisely why most of his own men weren't even aware of the switch. It was not the concern of the many, but of the few. Should their enemies choose to brave the storm in flight again, that was. It would be far more satisfying and morale serving to see the damned thing do something... But he also had to wonder if his own men would stand up to that immobilizing fear that the Dragons brought with them. How many of them could even imagine such a thing? Well. Time would certainly tell.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Sep 11 01:39:51 2015 Subject CommonEnemies (Part 1)

{p(This story is a flashback to a couple years back, kind of a lead in for Lahrag and Zeke to pop back in and an introduction into story for Sirene. It's part group plotting, part short stories and part rp...More to follow from the Lahrag-Man.{p) ========================================================== The night was still this close to the curse ruins. A few days of forced travel had brought them to their limits, but they were out of Silvanesti reach here. For the moment, they would fall back to Bloten and Sanction, to rebuild and return with new strength. They would be crushed eventually. Her plan was inevitable. Assuming he survived. There had been miscalculations. Or so he thought. All things, as he should have known, were in Her hands after all. She had her way of getting what She wanted, and She was far from finished with him yet. That would be why they were here, after all. Horses having begun to fail them, they were forced to take refuge, much to {pAstier and Akadin's relief. Teague hadn't had much of a choice anyways. The poison had been slowed, but he couldn't stop it. In his haste to reach the closest of their possible rally points, he'd simply pushed himself a bit too far. That would likely be why he and what was left of his escort were skulking through the storm the night that Sirene woke with a start... ========================================================== Something was coming. She threw her blanket to the side and got her gear on, hastily pulling at leather armor and shoes. Cautiously, she went to her tent flap and peered out into the rain. Rain. Teague loved a good storm, but preferred to be in a far better state when he enjoyed one's company. To be honest, Ziratell was doing most of the work getting them down into the valley. He hadn't even made it half way home. Akadin wasn't interested in humouring the stubbornness of his comrade today and, so far from the beaten path, he didn't have to. He'd be damned if he was going to let him ride himself to death. {pAsti wasn't either. He could tell because she'd gone far enough as to slip Teague something to calm his temper. That would also be why they were both basically carrying him by the time they began to see the outer-most signs of ruins. By then, he didn't know what hit him. He'd be furious eventually. Most certainly. But he'd be alive to express it. Probably. Sirene grabbed a lantern and stepped out of the tent, waving the travelers over. These people were important for some reason, and even if they weren't, one didn't seem to be walking very well. She would help them. Teague was determined to return to Sanction as quickly as possible after the past few day's events, hopefully with his regathered forces. There was no news of Lahrag or Zeke as of yet, let alone the state of the rest of the army in retreat. He was infuriatingly stubborn when he was determined and losing copious amounts of blood. Downright insufferable was what Akadin would have said. Through the haze, he was sure he -had-, too. He wasn't foolish enough to think he wasn't in need of a tactical retreat from the situation as a whole. How they'd gotten the jump on them was beyond his addled senses at the moment. To be fully honest, Teague wasn't capable of replaying the events just yet. He didn't see the light, nor did he even notice the chill rain or the shift in their direction. Right now, moving was proving to be challenging enough. Teague should have more than likely taken Aka and {pAsti's earlier advice and sought some sort of reprieve. Now he was lacking a certain amount of dignity that left him glad for a lack of audience so late.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Sep 11 01:44:14 2015 Subject Common Enemies (Part 2)

Akadin could have cared less about his pride at the moment, and he was right. Again. He was also losing his patience. After a moment's consideration, he paused to turn into Tea, hoisting him up over his shoulder in order to make the last few yards. He hoped this lass was at least half as able as he'd been lead to believe. Sirene gave a little bow. "Welcome, travellers. If you are looking for sanctuary, please, make yourselves comfortable here. I have a rest tent and some limited supplies. But I am guessing you would like me to help your friend first, so, this way to the med tent." She turned and, holding the lantern aloft, headed to a tent right next to the one she was in. There were plenty of things he wanted right then, but he was sorely lacking as far as any of them were concerned. He knew they were only moments away from serpentine backup...Why then, were they coming to her instead of bringing her to Teague? Akadin would have had more than enough time to come up with several theories by then, but the most likely was clear. He knew the other man and he refused to have this supposedly touched woman into his camp. He wasn't keen to announce there was a need of her and he didn't have the patience to treat his image with more delicate care this evening. He'd struck out on his own horse, accompanied by an appropriate escort with perceived intent to reach Sanction ahead of the rest of them...But he had been aware of the possible need for this. Akadin expected it. That wound was worse than he was trying to let onto and those with the skill to deal with the kind of fever he was developing were few and far between. Half of them were charlatans. He brought the two into the tent behind {pAsti as the shadows moved in the forest. How many of them were there? It was hard to tell...But it was safe to say Teague's party was -far- more than three. The two remained in the doorway, letting their smallish cloaked companion consider their surroundings. Eyeing the healer, Akadin put a possible measure to it and broke the silence first, "Are there any others here with you?" Sirene shook her head. "The last group that visited left a few days ago." She was attentive, taking in the visitors but keeping her head bowed slightly. "Please lay your friend down here, so I can get a better look at him." Sirene then moved to set up a pot of water to boil. Akadin waited for the nod from {p{pAstier before bringing the cloaked mess of a man around to the pallet, already working at the fastens on the armor. The arrows had been removed and the wounds cared for, but the Gods never seemed to cease their testing of Man's mettle. It was not often they chose to push Teague this far, however. He made the trip without protest, aware enough to let Aka handle this in preference to his own clumsy hands. {pAsti had already slipped back out into the night, but her shadow betrayed her presence. The mage closed his eyes under the watch of Ziratell, letting him do his job. Teague wasn't on the verge of death yet, but he could be without a little extra care. The wound in his shoulder and side were angry despite clear attempts to keep them cared for. A practiced eye might guess there had been more than wood and steel to the barbs that had taken root. The physical damage just wasn't enough to bring a healthy man down so far.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Sep 11 01:47:35 2015 Subject Common Enemies (Part 3)

Sirene looked the man over, not touching anything quite yet. From the look of the area even all bandaged and his feverish tone, she suspected poison, but was not sure yet. The water still getting to boiling, Sirene gathered some tools, a clean cloth and then checked the water again. Taking it off the heat when she found it boiling, she took a water skin and washed her hands off with that as the other water cooled. She then gently unbound the bandages, looking up to Akadin for a moment beforehand to be sure. With the military types, she always has to be certain they knew she was not going to be hurting their people. They often got so jumpy and that could lead to them interference, so it just is better all around. The patient seems cooperative enough so that was good here. Akadin didn't seem to mind, still waters amongst the mess of the storm, both figuratively and otherwise. He was close and watching both healer and patient, but he was smart enough to know when he was outclassed on a subject. Medicine was not his forte. There was a casual amount of noise behind the rain as makeshift shelters were quickly coming about, likely with Teague and his daring duo, considering their lack of response. The mage, spottily wary of the situation but in no shape to protest, was indeed behaving himself for the most part. Goddamned pointed eared bastards were going to be the death of him, of that he was certain. Assuming he didn't find a way to scorch their asses from existence first. He couldn't say he didn't deserve the abuse, for it was well earned and then some. If he had his way it would be more so in short time. He could feel it burning through him, of course, and had a guess at the cause as well but no way of treating it. She was the most logical way to set him back upon his path to attempted genocide. He wouldn't likely be so keen later. He was dotted in runes, ritualistic tattoos and a mess of scars. That was a lot of defining feature she was getting an eye of and it was sending him to reeling just lifting his hand to make certain his mask was in place. Suffocating leather or not, there were some priorities he couldn't overlook even in this state. Sirene looked at the state of the wounds, then checked on the water. It was still warm, maybe a little uncomfortably so, but wouldn't scald. She dipped the clean cloth into it then turned back to Teague. "Alright, I'm just going to clean the area here. Will sting a bit." The movement outside wasn't unusual. The traveling armies usually brought the wounded to her first before settling in. But this seemed somehow different. This was not just one of the soldiers that was wounded - too well dressed for that - it had to be one of the officers or something of the like. So the person watching over, the advisor? Well, she was awoken because this was important, and she would take care of them. Sirene carefully cleaned the wounds, looking them over as she did so. She tried her best to not look at the mask too much. The mask was there and he obviously wanted it to stay that way, so she tried to ignore it as best she could. Ziratell sucked in a slow breath before leaning forward to push the hand down. He wasn't going to let her remove it and he made that known by resting his own hand in the other's place a moment. He cleared his throat and bothered to ask now that she had had time to get an idea of the situation. He wasn't impatient and he didn't seem worried, but it was part of the job description. "That's not an infection, is it?" it wasn't much of a question, more of a request for confirmation followed by a look that stated as clearly as words that he wanted to know if she could treat this. Teague was going to be the death of him one of these days.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Sep 11 01:53:08 2015 Subject Common Enemies (Part 4)

Somehow equal parts venom and listless, Teague slurred out, "It's poison, gods be damned...Did you let {pAsti drug me...?" He was going to throttle that man once he could sit up. Sirene was shaking her head to Akadin, and then Teague answered, so she went into a nod. "Yes, it's poison. Silvanesti, by the looks of it. Have had a few other soldiers come in with wounds like this, so I have the right herbs on hand." She was very familiar with the effects. Looking to Teague, she continued, "I'm going to need to flush the wound, and it's going to sting. Can you hold still for me?" She turned for a moment, pulling out a flask from her cabinet and a second cloth, then returned to his side. Pausing, she glanced to Akadin and then back to Teague. Slanting his gaze towards her briefly, Teague relaxed and braced himself, though he wasn't sure if he'd even notice a sting over the howling pain it was already treating him to. He gave a nod as his head turned away to study Akadin, "Yes, of course it was." His temper and patience were wearing against each other as Akadin rolled his eyes, expecting to get an ear full with all the grace he could muster. He sat back just barely out of reach and gestured towards the prone man almost casually, "I wouldn't test a healer's patience if I were you." Teasing at a time like this? He certainly seemed to be. He didn't look like he would be dead any time soon. Not yet. He could survive a little riling, which was just what he was getting. This elicited a low set of grumbled curses towards the watchdog. "Her's...Is the least of your worries tonight." It was hard to muster the energy for the distraction his friend so expertly delivered, but Tea was grateful to here the tired return, "Isn't it? It certainly isn't yours." Properly distracting and distracted, the task of keeping him still was all but covered by the time Aka put a cherry on top by asking her, "I'd love a full night's sleep for once. I don't suppose you could give me one?" Seriously? People shouldn't just go around drugging Highlords, damn it, brand new or not. Teague didn't have time for this. There was still no word of the Highmaster or his force. That wasn't generally a good sign. Sirene chuckled, shaking her head slowly at the banter. While they spoke, she poured some alcohol from the flask onto her cloth. In response to Akadin, she smiled, "We'll, we can see what we can do there." Waiting a tad for banter to start again, her patient calm, Sirene poured a bit of alcohol on the shoulder wound first and then the side wound in one fluid motion. Taking a step back for any immediate reactions briefly, she then stepped forward again to tend to it with her alcohol doused cloth once any immediate lashing out has passed. Teague was mid-attempt at questioning the legitimacy of his comrade's birth when the blasted liquid gnawed into his side like white-hot nails. He didn't lash out, however. Either he was too spent or too disciplined to let a little pain get the best of him. He also lacked the strength needed to actually reach the one he would've been more likely to hit than the medic. He didn't care to make a practice of angering the physicians. It wasn't particularly profitable or wise...Especially when they had their hands on you. Akadin just chuckled slowly and gave a shake of the head as he got his feet to go to the door. He had one eye on Teague, of course, but he broke open the door enough to mutter back and forth with Astir as Sirene continued her labor.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Sep 11 01:56:52 2015 Subject Common Enemies (Part 5)

Sirene thoroughly cleaned the area of both wounds, then set her cloth and alcohol down on a table nearby and grabs some gauze and bandages. She worked with Teague, moving him as needed to bandage him up again, not even looking at the mask this time. Sirene then laid her hands on each wound, closes her eyes and muttering a prayer in the Silvanesti tongue. Opening her eyes, she looked to Teague. "Alright, I'm going to start up something to help take the fever down, then make up the antidote." She added a bit of water to her pot and put it back on the fire. She went to her cupboard and pulled out some willow bark adding it to the water, then gathered up various herbs, bringing them to a table with a motar and pestle. Teague wasn't too difficult to work with, withholding any protests he might've had. He wasn't strong enough to be overly helpful and Aka's activities drew his heavy-lidded eyes across the room. It was probably best she didn't touch the mask. People lost fingers for less. His attention was only averted for a moment, though. He couldn't help but have it snatched back by the prayer, head tilting as she withdrew to her medicines. Head swimming, he struggled to parse together what he could make out of the place and the evening. "What's all this..." He wouldn't likely remember anyways but it beat silence and the twist to his guts. He shifted with a groan, trying to keep her in sight. Who the hell was this anyways? Did she work for him? Where were they, for that matter? "Is this your home or a way station...?" Sirene works on her antidote, grinding up some of an herb, measuring it out, and adding it to a little bowl, then continuing with another one. But she can talk while she does so. "It's a way station. I'm the only one that stays, offer healing and supplies in return for what supplies they can spare for the next group that comes through." Sirene set down her pestle and checked on the water. It was already warmed a bit and it was not a large pot, so it didn't take too long to boil. Didn't want to heat it too long. She took it off the heat when it was ready then went back to the herbs, letting the water cool and steep. Having been trough more than a few way stations, Teague had to admit he found it odd. Or he would in a moment. Was she praying? He let his head sink back down with one eye slit open on her, which was becoming quite the chore. His breathing was slowing a bit, pulse following not far behind, but he wasn't gaining much for lucidity. He would've killed for some decent brandy. Right now he'd settle for idle and half-thought questions, "Who was that...You were praying to someone?" Sirene looks to him and considers the question for a moment. She wants to keep him awake to at least drink the willow bark... And they have markings of the Dragon Army, they might believe her. "It... you may have heard of some of the gods returning. Sargonnas speaks to me, and it was a prayer to him." She then checked on the willow bark again. It should have steeped enough, so she poured some into a cup before bringing it to Teague. "Drink this. It'll reduce your fever and take away some of the pain." There was the mask issue though, so she looked to Akadin, gesturing to him to come. Aka didn't take much time to withdraw from the cloaked creature outside, making his way to help the masked one sit up enough to drink the steaming beverage. He was attentive but far from doting, which was far healthier for him than injury to Teague's pride. Despite the quick hand offered, he was already trying to help himself, stubborn as he was. He did made a face though... This stuff was as bitter as he was! He just about choked on the first bit of it but either acclimated with ease or simply gave up on his taste buds all together. "What in the Abyss is this..." It was clear he was seriously ruined at the moment. He didn't even check for poison... Not that he could've managed in his state.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Sep 11 02:00:58 2015 Subject Common Enemies (Part 6)

Akadin gave her another questioning look as he knelt there supporting Tea while he tried to get as much of the hot drink down as he could. If it -was- poisoned, she wouldn't be far behind him on his way out..."Sargonnas..." Teague knew the name. He knew it pretty well, actually. Something was nagging about it, too, right in the back of his mind like a slow itch you couldn't reach. After another few sips he asked, "What is your name?" Sirene sighs. "It's willow bark in the drink. Bitter, but there's nothing better for the pain and fever. And my name is Sirene. You two?" She set up another pot of water to boil and went back to preparing the herbs. She was aware of them watching her, aware that this might look bad. And she was just preparing her antidote. Actions spoke louder than words and all that... He probably agreed with her, if it crossed his mind. Who was he, of all people, to judge though? He let Aka introduce them casually as he drew from the cup again. Here she was, speaking Silvanesti in prayer to Sargonnas as she healed a man who'd not long ago barely escaped those very people with his life, with Aka about to tell her that he was Commander Ziratell and he almost got out the whole of Highlord before Teague was shoving the cup half into his face and pushing himself back to the pallet. He was burning up so much that he was tempted to just lay on the stone. That would have been more effort than he was willing (and possibly able) to give, however. "You're from Silvanesti lands?" Sirene hmmed at the introductions, giving them each a nod them, only a minor reaction to the Highl-- thing. She only really knew stories of the Dragon Army and what the soldiers told her in passing. Just confirmation that he was indeed a high ranking person. She added the herbs in her bowl to the water on the fire, then worked on crushing and measuring a few more. Sirene acknowledge the question while she worked. Responding with a bit of distaste, "I'm -from- them, yes. Fled and made a home here." Teague nodded with his eyes closed, "I see. Unfortunate. Why here..." His honest level of interest wasn't apparent due to the fatigue and mask, and he was slipping off again. That never helped a conversation. But it'd been a long week... Muttering to Akadin, he shifted again to lay on his uninjured side with his back to her and her toils. Teague wanted that report...Despite his lack of a capability to see straight or even retain it. Nothing about this boded well, least of all her. She was an anomaly...Which never happened on accident. Sirene looked to him with a hmm, taking the pot off the heat and adding her remaining herbs. She gave it a little swirl as she contemplated how to answer her drifting patient and the attentive commander."Sargonnas led me here believing that it would be a safe refuge." Sirene poured some of the brew into a cup, then some water from a skin in to cool it down. She brought it to Teague and Akadin. "And here is the antidote. I want you to drink some now, along with some water, and then some in the morning after you rest. It's a bit bitter, but not as bad as the other one was." Akadin took Teague's cloak and his own, rolling it to prop the young Highlord so that he could drink with some of his pride still intact. He knew him well enough for that. Teague knew it too, and his nod came with a brief and veiled glance that was truly thankful for it. He took the antidote and made an effort to get down as much of it as he could. He was taking his time since he now had minimal aid story + from Ziratell, but he would make do. At a pause for breath, Teague's fevered gaze landed back upon her. "So...You are touched? By the Gods...? What do they say?" It was a point of interest to him, surely, but also a distraction.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Sep 11 02:05:58 2015 Subject Common Enemies (Part 7)

Sirene gave him a smile, "They say it's important that you recover. So, you should get some rest. Think you can drink a bit more water and then do that?" Teague took another draw on the medicine before letting Akadin take it, nodding absently to her non-answer. He didn't have the mind for word games at the time but the thin smile threatening to tug at the commander's lips betrayed that he was more than capable. She was right, after all. The mage needed his rest. Akadin the water up to offer it to him, before urging him to lay back. Stubbornness kept him awake, put Aka's patience had always been stronger than Teague's petulance. This time was no different save for the fact that he was being a bit more pointed with his actions. Such as standing and looking to the priestess. He clearly had something on his mind as he looked her over and Teague began to drift, "Would you mind having a word with me? We have injured if you are willing to see them as well." Sirene gave him a nod. "Of course. Would you prefer your own tents for that? If so, let me grab a few supplies. Any of them shot with the poison arrows and need more antidote?" She was going to end up having to teach them how to make the antidote by the end of this, she just knew it. With Teague nodding off, he gestures to her setup, "We should let him rest, I believe. If you don't mind the intrusion upon your space." Of course there would be a guard posted. "A few were afflicted, yes." Sirene gave a nod and pulled a basket from under the table, putting the gathered jars of herbs in it along with the pot of prepared antidote and her motar and pestle. Then some clean clothes followed, along with gauze and a water skin before she closed the lid. Nodding again, she walked towards Akadin. "Lead the way then." Akadin, giving Teague one last glance over the shoulder, waited for her to join him. As he stepped out, Astir would step in, of course. ========================================================== It hadn't been a clean retreat from Silvanesti lands. Things were not going well, with chaos infiltrating the ranks of the newly formed army. Teague had gone to speak with Lahrag at a modest scout camp on the edge of the forest, knowing he was likely to have the best view of their situation. He was on the verge of calling his own retreat, preserving his forces and furthering his goal while ensuring their Queen retained their service. They were informed and prepared to make the call, should he fail to return in a timely fashion. He almost felt obligated to confer with the Goblin, however. He was convinced already that they would both agree that this campaign lacked structure, foresight and was clearly an embarrassing failure. It had been quiet on their trip. Akadin and Zeke rode to his right and left, respectively, with {pAstier to their backs and a small but formidable escort. Ziratell had seen to their assembly himself to be certain of it. They made good time, free of the awkward bulk of Teague's forces. He knew then, that something was wrong...But nothing came of it. There was no ambush. Not so much as a sign of story + trouble. All was well. All was quiet. That was rarely a good sign in situations such as theirs. It had him rather uneasy by the time they dismounted and made their way to greet the one they sought, but he wasn't about to let these disgusting creatures get the better of him. No elf would unnerve him to the point of making a foolish mistake. Not on their terms. Oh if he only knew...

Author: Teague Date: Fri Sep 11 02:11:56 2015 Subject Common Enemies (Part 8)

========================================================== Teague settled into the furs by the table in his command tent, pale but no worse for wear. His spirit was strong and his need to fight had brought her blessings to strengthen his resolve and recover more quickly than any had expected. There were whispers amongst the camp that this was a sign from the Gods. It certainly had their touch if nothing else. Having invited the priestess to his table, he awaited her there, the savory meal drawing his attention as he reached for a mug laden with the scent of fermented honey. Teague's face, of course, was hidden from view, but his eyes were deep in thought... Sirene was admitted into the tent, and gave Teague a bow. "Highlord Vaughn, you requested me?" Teague looks up, rising to gesture to the far side of the table, "Ah yes, please join me, if you would. Akadin has been telling me about your unique situation...I would like to hear your story." Sirene sat where he directed, giving a little nod. "Well, where would you like me to start?" Considering, Teague gave a shrug and offered to pour her some mead or water as he nods to the food placed out for them, "Wherever you would like. I do hear the beginning is often a good start. Please, take your time. We should enjoy the meal as well, of course." Akadin was out and they were left to their own devices at this point. It would be unlikely any eavesdroppers would survive {pAstier. Sirene smiled and gave a nod. As they ate, she told some of the story of growing up, why she fled and wanted revenge. How she had come to hear Sargonnas the first time and was led here. How she'd helped passing groups of soldiers and slowly built up a small place of rest and healing here. And then he had come. "So, beyond all the propaganda, what does the Dragon Army fight for?" Teague didn't have much of a use for propaganda, really. It wasn't particularly his style. He listened to her story attentively and considered the question a moment before he gave his answer, "Everyone fights for their own reasons, I believe, be it the Goddess, riches or glory. And then there are people like us, with greater depth and dedication to a deeper cause." Reaching out to put aside his plate in favor of the drink, Teague let that rest as he drew from it and continued, "Some of us fight for what we have lost, for what we would gain...Some of us are simply tired of turning our cheek to those who would be our undeserved betters. Or any mix. I don't presume to speak for anyone. I do, however, believe that Commander Ziratell is right. I believe you are here for a reason...I believe you should come with me." Sirene hmmed, considering. "I was here to rest and have safety, and wait for the next thing to come. I think this is the opportunity that I was to be waiting for. And it's my choice from here. But will you be working to make things more equal, have people not just not having a chance from how they were born?" Chuckling, Teague got his feet and made his way to the front of the tent, pulling it open to reveal the forces encamped there, "These people?" A brow lofted behind the mask's cover, he bid her to join him, "Equality and respect is earned here, taken when necessary. If you have the strength to take it, it is yours. The races of this world are divided by fear and ignorance, products of weakness and shame. Under one banner, I do believe that will change. It is far past the time for them to set aside this weakness and embrace something more. Perhaps you would like a hand in shaping such a world..." Sirene rises when he bids her to, looking out at the people. She then looks to Teague, considering. And then a nod. "Yes. I would like to join you. Join -this-."

Author: Teague Date: Fri Sep 11 02:13:30 2015 Subject Common Enemies (Part 9)

Teague smiled, nodding, "Good. Then you have preparations to make. We move out tomorrow and you will ride with me. I wish to ask you more about your experiences." He stepped back to the side to let her pass, looking to the man posted to his left outside, "Go with her and see that she has whatever she needs. Find her a horse." With that, he turned back into the depths of his command tent with his own story + preparations to be made. There would be time for further diversion later... Fin. ========================================================== {p(Thanks for working with me and plotting awesomely, guys. This is a product of planning with Lahrag, Sirene and Zeke with logs from Siren's RP where she decides to join the DA officially.{p)

Author: Teague Date: Tue Sep 15 13:17:11 2015 Subject What May Come (Part 1)

Teague was standing over a table, pouring through plan after plan with a pensive touch to his eyes. The storm howled outside and the two Sivak at his tent's doors. He looked briefly to the priestess, head tilting back as he did, "Are you impatient?" It had been some time since they had made plans to come here. This was exactly what she wanted, however. He did have to be curious. The tent was warm and dry enough, the back half of it hidden from view with cloying scents of various origin wafting in when the wind tore at the walls from without. Teague was in desperate need of a secretary by the look of the scattered documents...But it was unlikely he had the patience for one. Sirene mmms, nodded. "A little bit. But I've waited this long, and so I can wait a bit longer." She stood there, watching him, watching the tent doors. Slightly lost in thought. Nestos stepped into the the tent lacking his usual staff, and let his eyes adjust before looking around the room. He grinned at how disheveled the room was, and took another step into the room before pulling the hood of his black cloak down, revealing his pointed ears. He nodded to the masked man, then let his gaze fall on the priestess. He smiled at her, then glanced to the medallion at her neck. The smile disappeared and he looked back to Teague, "It would appear you have been having some troubles of late." A knowing smile crossed his face as he looks around the room again. Turning from her with a nod, he drew in a slow breath as his sights landed upon the other mage, "Troubles? War is nothing but." He doesn't sound like he minds at all. Not in the least. Gesturing to the chairs about the table, Teague glanced to the box to the side of the table and took his arm to push it all to the side and into the chest. He took a seat himself, "How was your journey? Please, sit." Sirene stiffened slightly at Nestos entering, and more with his smile disappearing. She pulled her hood up, stepping back to be more on the edge of the tent. Watching, but head slightly bowed. Nestos walked over to the chair the masked man indicated and took a seat without seeming to notice the other's reaction. "The journey was quick and simple. I hear yours has not." He grinned again, and looked to the priestess, "And I hear it is my people giving you troubles." Teague had to chuckle at that, a slow and mirthless gesture but with a lighter toned gesture to cast it off, "I wonder if they would call you the same...Still, yes they have been trying on the nerves. Expensive. But they will not be enough. This is clearly not the bulk of their forces. I doubt the elves would risk much for the human city." He was exhausted, though, the spells keeping their attacks at bay having drawn upon him. A wry smile spread to his eyes as he leaned forward to offer to pour the other a drink, filling his own as well with mead. "It could be better. Ah...How rude. This is Sirene." Teague left it to Nestos to reveal his name if he so wished. Sirene quietly said, "I"m Sirene..." She looked up to maybe make eye contact with Nestos for a moment, then lowered her gaze again. Watching, but bowed and cloaked. Nestos shrugged at the other mage's comments, "I suppose they would not consider me kin, but the fact remains that we are." The dark elf chuckled at this as he made a slight bowing motion from his sitting position, towards Sirene, "It is a pleasure. I am Nestos." The mage studied the woman again, seeming to look through the darkness cast by the hood. Teague looked over the two of them as he pulled from his glass, sinking deeper into the chair. He noted her discomfort but assumed it was Nestos' origins that gave her unrest. To him, there was little to no concern, "I've developed a swift distaste for gryffons, I'm afraid. How long will you be with us?" That was a loaded question with fruit to bear no matter the answer.

Author: Teague Date: Tue Sep 15 13:20:14 2015 Subject What May Come (Part 2)

Sirene gave a little bow. "Nice to meet you." But her hood was staying up. Nestos chuckled and looked back to Teague, leaning back in the chair. "Well, I came partially on business." The Highmaster let the chair fall to the floor with his full weight, "I fear you will need to step away from this for a moment." As he spoke, the dark elf indicated the room, and the surrounding encampment. Teague set his cup down, shifting in his seat. Clearly that got his attention, "Oh? To what do I owe such an interruption?" He didn't sound overly concerned, but he was rather curious. The underlying question slid up into view just behind the obvious first, "Is this a request...?" Sirene hmms, straightening up slightly. Head no longer bowing, she watched Nestos directly. Nestos chuckled at the Highlord's remark, "I imagine if this were not a request, we would be having a completely different discussion." The dark elf grinned mischievously at Teague as he rocked back and forth slightly in the chair. "No, I think that it is a sort of meeting, but like I said, I have only heard whispers." Nestos glanced at Sirene, then back to the medallion around her neck, "Does Kinthalas speak to you directly?" Teague couldn't argue with that, but there was little sign of a returned smile...Or the lack thereof. His eyes had dropped to the glass in his hand, voice a bit low, "It never fails...Their timing is impeccable." He hardly had time for this. Following Nestos' question of the priestess, his attention shifted along to its target. Now he was sharing that smirk, curious about how she would interact with the dark elf. The question of the meeting's topic was there, of course, but he hated to interrupt. Sirene mmmed and gave a nod. "On occasions. More often if I ask a question. Do you have a question?" Nestos shook his head, almost vehemently, then smiled to the priestess, "No. Simply curious." He then turned his attention back to Teague. "I do not know what the subject of such a meeting might be", The dark elf said, answering the unasked question, "I do not think you have anything to worry about, but I have been wrong." Worried wasn't -quite- the right word. This could be an annoyance or it could be more. He wasn't one to be overly concerned with what he could not know. That being said, Teague had a tendency to try and -know-. Nodding, he sat forward to place the cup down, "Considering recent events, it could be anything. What I do know is that it is ill-timed. I haven't the means to make such a trip in a timely fashion at the moment." He hadn't been failing himself yet, between the storm and his command... But that sort of trickery was expensive. Sirene hmms, frowned slightly. Listening, not saying anything at the moment. Nestos again grinned mischievously at the other mage, "Well, I can certainly get us there, and you will not miss much of this...war...you are waging." He let the chair rest to the floor as he looked to the two, then finally reached out to take the drink he was offered earlier. He whispered something under his breathe then took a gulp. "Either way, it would be nice to have someone of...like mind attending as well." Nodding, Teague let out a slow breath against the concealing leather. He would not miss it. They had to keep on top of building events and his few obligations to the Conclave did pay in its own way, "Of course. I wouldn't miss it. It's a rare thing that they come together for anything. It's amazing some of them can stand the sunlight to make the trip." He glanced past the other mage to the tent's entry, a low rumble of thunder coming in the wake of a flickering flash, "Will you be staying until we are expected, or have you business elsewhere?"

Author: Teague Date: Tue Sep 15 13:27:20 2015 Subject What May Come (Part 3)

Sirene straightened up slightly and then closed her eyes, muttering something under her breath in Silvanesti. Something along the lines of awakening for vengeance, if one was listening closely enough. Nestos grinned at the mage's comments, but acknowledged to the priestess that he heard and understood her. "It is a wonder," he said, his attention back on the masked man. The dark elf then took a look around the tent, then out the door flap. "I do not actually have any plans, I suppose I could stay till the meeting. Unless it is delayed, as things with the Conclave are wont to do." Teague nodded as his head tilted slightly to the side to put Sirene in his vision. He didn't presume to know what she was doing half of the time, but it didn't keep him from trying to discern it now as he replied, "Yes, they have been known to fall behind from time to time. I will have accommodations handled for you then." Of course, he had no reason to believe the mage traveled in company. He'd never seen him do it before. "Perhaps I could solicit some of your aid while you are here." Sirene mmms, and then looked up at the two there. Voice distant, she quietly says "I'm sorry, excuse me..." She abruptly turned and headed into the back room. Nestos raised an eyebrow at the Highlord, "Aid, huh? I suppose there could be some fun in it." He watched the priestess exit the room as he reached up to rub a scar under his left eye before speaking, "What sort of aid are you looking for, Highlord?" The Highmaster emphasized the man's title again, making a jest of the fact that he knew. "Where did you come by that one?" Nestos asked about Sirene after she was out of the room. Then, as if an after thought he says, "Also, I will be needing accommodations for two, actually." Teague made an attempt not to sound somewhat irritated by the jab, reaching for his glass as he watched Sirene show herself out to the back end of the tent, "I'm certain we can fond something--That one?" Now that was a long story. How to explain Sirene? He took a drink, fingers idly tapping the arm of his chair, "She was a gift. From the Gods." Whether or not this was true, was yet to be seen...But Teague sounded sincere in his belief. Nestos look to the man curiously for a long moment, then took a large gulp from his own cup. "Gift from the Gods, huh?" The dark elf seemed to ponder the other man's words for a few moments longer. "I suppose one could say that about the person I need further accommodations for." Nestos gsve the man a wry grin, seeming to come out of the trance he had been in, "If you believe in that sort of thing." He took another gulp and leaned forward to set his empty cup on the table. The dark elf leaned back in the chair again, folding his hands in his lap. Lofting a brow, Teague's gaze was drawn back to Nestos by the mention of the gods. He was curious now, of course, because he very much -did- believe in such things. "Really, now? It seems the mages are not the only ones you have made waves for?" Of course he had to ask. "What makes you say that, if you do not mind me asking?" Nestos laughed at the idea, "My new friend, seems to think a god is speaking with him and feels like this god wants him near me." The dark elf again rubbed the scar under his eye, his grin making it look like a half moon. "I figure there is a good chance he will be asked to kill me." Nestos again laughed, but this one seemed almost forced, "Or perhaps he is just mad. He does not seem to think so. Either way, I would prefer not to make 'waves' with any god. For good or bad."

Author: Teague Date: Tue Sep 15 13:36:47 2015 Subject What May Come (Part 4)

Not entirely sure how to take that, he files it away with the distracting amount of times Nestos seemed to touch his scar. Teague snorted as he sets the glass down, empty now, "If the Gods wanted you dead, I have a hard time believing you would still be here. Not hip deep in one's army. That is, unless you have some sort of value the others don't want going around..." That was an interesting concept, now wasn't it? Teague found himself considering the other man for a few moments before adding, "I am not a strong subscriber to coincidences or accidents. Mad man, though...How likely is that?" He didn't consider Nestos an expert on mental maladies, but he did seem to have a good eye for motive... "Well, if this were some sort of mortal, I would agree with you. But the gods have their own way of going about things. They do enjoy toying with us," Nestos said with a laugh, noting the other's annoyance. "I think that coincidences happen more than most like to think, but I do not refute that that gods play their parts. As for this man being mad, I truly doubt it. I think him cursed before I would consider madness. He seems quite level headed, within reason." Teague nodded, sinking back into the seat as his hood shifted and fell back, "Within reason, of course." He gave a slow mirthless chuckle before he shakes his head again, "Very well, I will see you are both taken care of then. Though..." He was smiling behind his mask. It touched his eyes as he leaned in, "I would remind you that here, more than most, the Gods are watching." A little full of himself, wasn't he? Teague didn't sound proud, however...It was equal parts curse and gift if one was to ask him. "And yes, they do like to play with us...More often than I would like." A clattering crash came then, from the room Sirene had gone into. Nestos chuckled himself, casually looked over to where the crash came from, not bothering to leave his chair. "Not just the gods are watching, I have no doubt of that," He stated flatly, but with a mischievous grin on his face. He kept his head turned towards the noise, seeming to wait for something else to happen. Unlike Nestos, Teague's attention shot to the back room and he was on his feet as the crash came. He paused there to call out, "Sirene?" He cast a glance to Nestos once more before he made note of the fact that the back area was now suddenly void of light. Not normal, considering those candles did not burn with actual fire... Teague drew his blade, the hairs on the back of his neck rising slightly as he crossed the room towards the divide. An energy came from the room Sirene was in. It was dissipating and growing weaker as it got farther from its source, but a static tingle of something -holy- was coming from there. Upon feeling the energy coming from the other room, Nestos stood quickly and fluidly. His right hand reached into a pouch at his side, no doubt searching out components to a nasty spell. With his left he flicked his wrist, a charred vallenwood staff covered in runes appearing in his hand. The dark elf took another step towards the room, then turned looking to Teague, a sickly grin on his face.

Author: Teague Date: Tue Sep 15 13:39:43 2015 Subject What May Come (Part 5)

Teague didn't return the look this time. He was far more interested in what awaited them in the room beyond the break. Equal parts personal quarters and inner sanctum, the place was covered in books, pieces of armor and any number of mystical curiosities. No doubt, this was not the bulk of his collection, considering it was rather mobile. The "bedroom" of it was in the far corner, leaving room for a field desk and what appeared to be a circle drawn upon the leather floor. Teague had several candle stands and the like as well, but...He couldn't see as well as Nestos. The only light was dim from the far room and the flash of lightning. He took point, blade first into the room, breath catching in his throat from the sudden rush of ebbing power. That...Was not from his priestess. Sirene lay on the floor, having knocked down some candelabra near her in her fall. It could be seen that she had a broken vial of blood clasped in her hand. She was in the center of an arcane circle, the edges scorched outwardly. The room felt charged with a holy energy, the candles that were lit still letting off some smoke from having been blown out. The dark elf allowed the masked man to take point into the room, following closely behind, a spell on his lips. Nestos entered the room looking around, seeing that what ever had happened was done, removed his empty hand from his pouch. He took a few steps further into the room following the Highlord, then leaned the majority of his weight onto his staff. Teague looked to the candles, a thin frown forming behind his mask as the energies churning and slipping away. He found the girl, pausing briefly to silently make note of the fact that his private quarters had been invaded by an unknown power before taking a knee. Free hand reaching out, he tried to find the beat of her heart. Leaning in, he could feel her breath on his neck as he gave her a nudge. He didn't have a clue what was going on, so he didn't speak. Not yet, at least. Nestos watched as the other mage crouched to check on the priestess. He then took another step forward towards her, but instead began to look at the circle surrounding her. He walked around it leaning on his stick to see closer, then traced his finger along it. He then studied the vial in the woman's hand, without touching it. When he finished looking at the vial, he stood up and took a full look at the room. Teague's chambers were somewhat unorganized, but generally far from as disheveled as it is now. He tried to catch her whispers but, finding there -were- none, made to sheath his blade and scoop her up and to the bed. He let her lay there, taking a look around the room as well. There was no lingering threat, but he couldn't seem to wake the priestess. It was then that he had to just be honest, "I...Have no idea what this is." But he certainly didn't like it. It was an invasion at the least. The blood, though... Returning to the vial, he pulled one of his gloves and lifted the leftovers of the vial gingerly from his circle. This, he knew was something important. She had asked his aid in relation to it...But he wasn't sure if it was the cause of this. It didn't take Teague long to decide this was a matter for someone of more spiritual means. He sighed and shook his head, gesturing towards the front of the tent, heading that way, "I need to deal with this. Come...I will see you are taken care of on the way." Like hell he was leaving Nestos in here alone while he sought a cleric... (Thanks for the lovely RP, Nestos and Sirene- You guys rock!)

Author: Teague Date: Tue Sep 15 16:56:09 2015 Subject Unexpected Visitors (Part 1)

Zeke took another drink, "Its been years, but you boys are still terrible at cards." He laughed, elbowing the soldier next to him "If I didn't know any be--" He pauseed for a moment before bolting up from the box they had been playing on, "Habbakuk's balls, is that Akadian?" He spouted loudly, a mix of excitement and alcohol, before storming off towards the commander, "Akadin, buddy! Its been years, how are you?" Akadin thought he was through with that card years ago and hadn't turned a second thought his way since. The voice breaking through his concentration as he walked through the camp, then, was the last thing he expected. It took him a moment to parse it with probability, turning to put a wary eye on Zeke. Wonderful. He kept himself neutral, but his voice was lined with mild annoyance, "By the Gods...What in the abyss do you want. Who let you in here?" Well...He wasn't having them arrest him, so that was a thing... Zeke beamed happily, attempting to throw an arm around Akadin like they were old friends, "Glad to see you too, friend, how have you been? Still doing this whole army thing I see, anything new going on? Any good stories to tell?" He rambled on happily, ignoring Akadin's clear disinterest, "I got a lot of word that people were heading out towards sanction, so I figured I would see what all the hubub was about, and here we are, united once more, two peas in a pod." Akadin was beyond disinterested in the hugging, ducking down and back to give a stern looking at to the man. He shifted his helm under his arm and made to swipe for his shirt collar, "It seems you have seen, Zeke. Now what do you -want-?" He had an idea already, but his flat tone didn't give that away to the people watching. Good old serious as death Aka. Zeke just used his hands to talk even more animatedly once Akadin brushed him off, "Oh, I don't know, thought maybe I would catch up with some old friends, see if anyone was doing anything interesting, got a large group here, I figure there has to be at least one party happening." He glanced from side to side, taking in the campgrounds, "Whole lot of soldiers here, wonder what you folk are up to, trying the elves out again? Didn't go so great last time. Or maybe you guys are just doing a faint? Lots of interesting stuff happening right now." Akadin wasn't buying into the cheer, here, but that had never been his style. Eyes narrowed slightly to the questioning as he looked over those close to them with an expression that sent them all turning back to whatever they had been doing before. He took a slow breath as he went back to considering the ex-Solamnic. "Party. Right." Right now he was considering introducing him to some heavier security...But it would likely be a waste of time. Glancing up to the rain that was picking up yet again, he pulled back to give Zeke another stern looking at, "Did you come looking for money, information or the Highlord?" Gods, he didn't need this. Teague was a big enough pain in the ass on his -own-... Zeke snickered, "If I needed money, I think i could find something to do somewhere that didn't smell so strongly of goblin." He flashed a serious look for a brief second at Akadin, "I may be a little curious as to what you, the Highlord, and this whole army is doing though." Akadin could see that, Zeke. He, against his better judgment, set himself to pass on the other man's left. Doing so, he made a vague gesture for him to come along, "Well then, let us hope that the Highlord still feels merciful towards you, then." If he had sense to him, he'd send this one away. He was nothing but a distraction to Her cause.

Author: Teague Date: Tue Sep 15 17:03:31 2015 Subject Unexpected Visitors (Part 2)

Zeke tagged along, taking the hint that Akadin wanted this to be as painless as possible. "So, I noticed patrols out east, not much out there in goodlund though that I saw, seems to be you folks are focusing elsewhere.." He glanced around again, "And I hear you folks are still up there in Nordmaar, though those barbarians are not taking too kindly to you people running around in their forests like you own the place, how about out west, any news? Haven't heard you people moving into Solamnia yet, but its a big continent, maybe I've missed something. I have to say, one might be a little worried with what you folks have put together out here." Akadin wouldn't be so silly as to hope for painless, however. He kept his thoughts and Zeke's answers to himself as he picked up the pace. "If you walked half as fast as you spoke, you'd have your answers now." He's just as cordial as ever. He was nearing the Highlord's tent by then, thankfully, so he simply gestured ahead. At this point, he had cleared the guard posted with but a wry expression. He was going -with- him, of course. He wasn't a fool. He also called ahead, "Highlord there's someone here to see you..." He sounded so much less than amused. Zeke looked amused, watching Akadin's face for slip-ups while bombarding him with questions. Zeke took a moment to wink at one of the guards before entering the Highlord's tent behind Akadin, "You don't trust me Akadin? What, think I'm liable to hurt someone? Why, I couldn't hurt a fly!" Akadin had seen you hurt far more than a fly, Zeke. He trusted no one with the Highlord, or did you forget? He grumped slightly as he pushed his way into the command tent where Teague was looking up from a pile of ill-organized maps. He probably shouldn't have dumped them out last night... Teague would love to hear you tell him that now, Aka. His mood is on par with the horrible weather, and he won't hesitate to--Wait who's here? He looked past him, curiosity all but hidden by the mask of course, "What is this all about? I'm not expecting anyone." Nestos has already arrived, so who...? "Masks still? Yeesh, I figured you would have gotten a new gimic by now" Zeke grinned as he caught sight of Teague for the first time, "You should consider spending less time in tents as well, probably sleep better in an actual bed, we all know how frail you book readers are." Honestly, with everything the world and Gods were handing them right now, he could just use some sleep. He wasn't particularly worried for a bed. He set a brief look upon Akadin, head tilted. The dead were simply pouring from the walls, weren't they? This...Could not be an accident. Teague was simply too superstitious not to make note. He left the maps to slowly walk around the far side of the table, gesturing for Ziratell to get out of his way, "What sort of god-forsaken trick is this...?" Of course he didn't believe it. It was simply too...Well it was too simple. Akadin would agree, though he did get out of the way. He gave a warning look to Teague, though the mage seldom -appeared- to listen to him. Like now, for example. Zeke laughed, "By the gods, everyone here seems so miserable to see me. You all need to lighten up, its not like you're going to war or anything." He glanced around quickly, trying to inch away from Akadin a little, "I think you people all need to relax and have a drink, going to kill yourselves being so serious all the time."

Author: Teague Date: Tue Sep 15 17:06:56 2015 Subject Unexpected Visitors (Part 3)

Teague was up to his ears in coincidental circumstances he strongly suspected were not at all accidental and facing the prospect of having to -leave- the front to Aka while he went to a meeting of the mages. He wasn't expecting a large amount of good news in the near future, and that was putting it lightly. Looking to Aka, he shook his head, "I'll be fine, Ziratell. You're free to see to your business." He half expected him to tell him he was his business but all he got was a lingering flat expression before the commander made his way back to the entrance, possibly bumping Zeke on purpose as he went. Teague was just staring at him and thinking. This was either a trap or a trap, like most of life. But he pulled his gaze from the withdrawing man back to Zeke as he closed the distance to a healthy five feet or so, "You'll have to excuse me." I thought you were dead, man. "What..." "Why are you here...?" Zeke was taking as much leave as humanly possible to rummage around the command tent while the confusion set in, "Oh, you know how it is, spend a little time wandering, decide to settle down for a bit, and then you get bored." He shrugged, "Then I thought, you know, there seems to be a lot going on out west.." He paused for a moment, "I was out in goodlund you see.." He went back to rummaging around, most likely looking for alcohol, "...and so, some people I knew were heading out west, heard there was a lot of work out in the Sanction area all the sudden. I thought I would head this way myself, take my time, maybe explore the Bloten mountains for a bit, you know. Check a lot of things out, maybe watch who was traveling where and for what. It's all real interesting out there." Zeke shrugged again, "And then I somehow ended up in this army playing cards, and wouldnt you know it? Ran into my old friend Akadin. So here I am." He flashed a big smile. The idea of settling down was something alien to Teague. He would have lost his mind if he weren't up to his elbows in this or that. He would have loved to just accept this as simple truth and circumstance, but he had survived this long -not- playing to his sentiments. He watched him poke about, but he was likely to find what he was looking for eventually. Teague was a lush at best and he always had -something- stashed around for when the moment called. This might be one of those moments. As it slowly settled in, he leaned back against the table's edge, arms crossed, "I see. And...?" Are you staying? Zeke yanked the bottle of wine open as soon as he found one and then cracked another smile, "You're such a worrier. Sometimes things just happen, old friend. As for how long im staying? Who knows. I think that all depends on a whole list of things I don't have answers to." Teague looked down to the mess at his side and unceremoniously rolled it all right back into the box at the end. He would have it sorted later if need be. Right now, he nodded to the few chairs set nearby, "I've rarely seen an accident, not since I began -this- particular occupation. But I refuse to say never in many contexts. I can't simply just tell you everything, of course. But you may ask if you like..." Teague was still himself, of course...But years of wrangling the position of Highlord had definitely had its effects on him. He wasn't half as ready to trust and, well, he didn't look like he needed much of a bodyguard anymore. But, Teague was Teague. Mostly. "I am glad to see you didn't fall." And now you're in my tent drinking my booze like nothing ever happened. Huh.

Author: Teague Date: Tue Sep 15 17:11:14 2015 Subject Unexpected Visitors (Part 4)

Zeke grinned, "Turns out I'm a tough one to kill, from Solamnic bandits, to Dragonarmy goons in Nordmaar, all the way to the Silvanesti elves themselves. They keep trying and I keep surviving somehow." He laughed a little as he took a drink, "As for questions, I really only have one big one, but that can wait at least a little bit. How are you still alive? I figured, if not the elves, then some inspired lieutenant would have had your head by now. Or some mage would have dragged you back to that little tower of yours." Teague snorted, reaching out to snatch for the bottle, "Not for a lack of trying, Zeke, trust me." His own, elven assassins...There was any number of things. He'd just gotten too used to living life staring up the shaft of a knocked arrow. It was a given, wasn't it? He had even met his possible new apprentice across blades. "Perhaps we just aren't finished, yet. No one makes it out alive." In general. That was just the way of things. "I didn't make it out of the ambush on my own feet, but I've managed thus far." He glanced to the back of the tent, barred from view at the moment. He could owe the comatose priestess laying across his furs for that one. For a few of them. Zeke let the bottle escape his grip without a fight, "Well, I wouldn't expect you to make it out on your own. You are a bit frail after all." He scanned the tent a bit more closely this time, "So, tell me then, Teague, what's the plan here? What's this whole thing all about? Are you seriously gathering a whole new army to try and take on the Silvanesti again?" He asked, his tone quickly growing more serious. Teague looked down to the bottle muttering quietly as a hand came up to push back the hood. He looked a lot more warlord than mage these days, to be sure. Shrugging, he took a drink. A good long one. "Yes well, it wouldn't be the first time Akadin has drug me from my own death." He started to take another but instead, he offered it back to the other man, head tilted back to think. One could almost feel his lips take on a wry smirk and it definitely came in his voice as he replied, "I have obligations, Zeke. Of course I came back. The -last- Highlord was a fool. He overextended his grasp. This time will be different." He sounded like he believed it. But he didn't care for certainties... Zeke took the bottle, but instead of taking a drink placed it to the side this time. He folded his arms while watching Teague for a moment. "You're going to die out there, you and your whole army." He says flatly, "I followed you last time, because I didn't know what I was doing with myself and there is a fair amount of elf blood on my hands. But it's their forest, and you should have learned from last time that they don't want you, me, or anyone else in there with them. You shouldn't do this again." Several moments passed as Teague tried to discern if Zeke was saying this for his own benefit or someone else's entirely. Of course war would be the death of him. He didn't do this because he wanted to be safe. "Safe is an illusion for the weak, friend." No less certain, Teague's voice did somber enough to cast aside his usual mask of pride to convey it. There was something, though. He knew something that he wasn't offering, or he wouldn't be so dead set on this. "And what, pray tell, would I do? Run away and buy a farm?" "That would work for you as it did for me, the peaceful life is clearly not for everyone. But I also don't want to see this conflict start again. I don't like the idea of your forces burning down elven villages just so you can appease your mad overlord." Zeke sighed, "And what's after Silvanost anyway? Are you going to track down every last elf and put them to the sword or turn your attention elsewhere? What's the end goal here Teague?"

Author: Teague Date: Tue Sep 15 17:15:21 2015 Subject Unexpected Visitors (Part 5)

Teague's end game had never been spoken aloud, though it was likely She knew exactly what he was doing. It had very little to do with armies, though. He had no idea where this would eventually lead. He knew where he intended to take it, however. He had no doubt of what he said next, "I do not intend to destroy the elves, Zeke. But their illusions have gone unmolested long enough. Look at them. Everyone. Scattered and bickering amongst themselves. Under one banner, the world will be different. There won't be -need- for war. People like you and I..." Gesturing to the other and then himself, Teague shook his head briefly, "We should know that change is coming and why it is necessary." No, it wasn't what he told his men. It was what he told Sirene, however. It was what he told people who mattered. Sure, Takhisis was evil, but had the Gods of Light done any better by their people? Zeke rolled his eyes dismissively, "Sounds like no one ever told you the tale of Istar, the fiery mountain, or where the name the Blood Sea comes from. You're right, change is coming, we've both seen the signs of it. The gods are returning, but that's all the gods Teague, not just yours." He paused for a moment, seeming almost exasperated, "You're caught up in this, I get that. But you should take a step back and think about the pain you're about to involve all these people in." Yes, he knew. He had been leading men for some time and it was something to consider. He had considered it. Many times. What made Teague continue to push this envelope, then? The ends were greater than the means. He picked up the bottle and lifted the mask enough for another drink as he warily watched Zeke before answering again. He felt for him. He was a lot like Alex, really...And very much not. "This isn't something you would understand, Zeke. You're to gentle of heart, perhaps. Consider this, then...If I wanted to stop this, would She allow such a thing? Would they? Someone else would rise to the occasion. This is happening, with or without me." Shaking his head, he offered some condolence, "I can do this, Zeke. Why ask a lesser man to do so? A man who delights in cruelty, perhaps? What care would he have for banner -or- men?" Zeke paused for a moment to consider the reply, mulling the words over in his head for a long minute in silence before responding, "I don't have all the answers Teague, maybe I'm just here to try and give you some moral guidance, or a way out. We all have to live with what we've done." He paused again for a moment, "But this whole thing is going to end badly for a lot of people, many of them your comrades, and someone should at least bring it up to you. Tell you it doesn't have to be this way. We all have the capacity to make our own choices, sometimes they aren't all good ones or easy ones, but we all have options." Akadin -knew- it. He was up to something. Of course that man couldn't be trusted alone with Teague. He was a distraction. He gave reason to consider that led to hesitation. f anyone was going to be the death of the Highlord, it was Zeke. He wanted to go back in there and handle this, bit it was Teague who must deal with him. He wouldn't see reason clearly if he didn't come to the conclusion on his own. But when he did, Aka would be swift. As it was, Teague was just staring again. He couldn't imagine letting this go. He'd fought to escape his father, to prove himself, to climb to where he was, scraping and clawing all the way.

Author: Teague Date: Tue Sep 15 17:19:03 2015 Subject Unexpected Visitors (Part 6)

This was his life. It wasn't about a war with men, when one broke it down. It was -his- war against the world. How could he even begin to explain that, when it evaded his grasp at times as well. Teague shook his head, "Who is to say why you are here. But I cannot take my hand from this, Zeke." Teague sought the other's gaze as he set the bottle aside again, "This is my life, Zeke. This is what She promised. I have given everything that I have in me and then some to make it this far...Do you have any idea what you even ask?" Zeke glanced over to Akadin, starting to really notice the glare that the commander was giving him, before looking back towards Teague, "I do have an idea of what I'm asking you. I'd ask the same of every person under your command, present company included. The world doesn't need this, it never has. Us murdering each other for the glory of the gods has never done anything for anyone. Our personal reasons aside, Teague, I consider you a friend. A good one. I trust you enough to come into the hornets nest and ask you to stop. A fools errand I suppose, but someone has to ask you these questions. I know that..' Zeke pointed a thumb at Akadin, Him, and the others like him, aren't going to do it. How many people do you know who are going to tell you what you really don't want to here?" He stood, running a hand through his hair for a quick moment, "How many people are going to tell you that you are going to send hundreds of people into a meat grinder, burn down ancient forests, poison the land, and kill so many innocents just because you got embarrassed the last time you tried this it didn't work, and now you need revenge." Zeke finished. Akadin managed to somehow not look any more offended than Zeke's general presence caused at that one. He told Teague things he didn't want to hear constantly, Gods be damned. He certainly wasn't going to throw the man into a sudden moral dilemma right before the charge. What was he thinking? Surely Teague was going to toss him out on his ear for this...Sooner than later, the commander hoped. That time hadn't come yet, however. Then Teague shook his head, "I am not doing this because they embarrassed me. I can hardly be blamed for the mess I came into. Besides, Zeke, I think you sorely underestimate my preparations." He paused, leaving the bottle behind as he took his feet, trying to figure if he could win this or not. "If you have such faith that this is a mistake, then why not stay to be certain it isn't? If you care that much, that is." Of course he didn't think he would stay. He didn't want to stay last time either. He might have even been mocking. It was hard to tell sometimes. "You can't have expected me to just change my mind..." Zeke grinned happily, most the seriousness suddenly draining from his face as he grabbed the bottle of wine and took a strong pull, "Well, I don't know what you mean by stay and make certain it isn't a mistake. I don't think I can handle anymore elf blood on my hands, but if you would like to keep me around for moral support, someone to keep the troops entertained..." Zeke turned his head and grins mischievously at Akadin, "Make sure everyone is enjoying themselves perhaps. I'm sure I could find it in my busy schedule to stick around for a while." Teague, much to Akadin's dismay, was considering it. There was absolutely no reason to keep Zeke here or even alive, but that didn't really stop him before. He had Akadin, Contessa and Astier hardly counted, one was brain washed and the other was...Astier. The entire situation here made absolutely no sense, to be honest. Teague was being set up. He was being deceived. He could not afford to keep friends like this...How Akadin had become one was well beyond his understanding. He was a spy. He should kill him and be done with it, but the fact was...

Author: Teague Date: Tue Sep 15 17:22:20 2015 Subject Unexpected Visitors (Part 7)

He didn't really want to. Who amongst them would tell him he could not? He didn't listen when they tried before, and this was his show now. He didn't say anything at all for many moments, not particularly sure what to say. Eventually, however, he glanced briefly to Akadin's scowl and then to Zeke's idiotic smile. "I...Don't see the harm. But you can not be allowed to with what you may learn. You must swear to me that your intentions are sincere. Right now to my face." All the Gods help you if Teague felt he was being lied to. He would not put his wants over the Greater Plan. "I can promise you only what I'll do while I'm here, not if we part ways again. I am not a spy for anyone, I'm my own man right now with no stake aside from my own and my conscious in this war. But, once if we do part ways, if I find this unbearable or you kick me out, I can't promise that we won't eventually be on different sides of things. Obviously the smartest thing to do would be to have me killed, or jailed, or at the very least, kicked out. I am actually a little surprised I made it this far. But I'm not here to intentionally harm you, just maybe ask you a few uncomfortable questions and have a few drinks. You're the only one who can decide if having me along for the ride as a friend is worth it or not." Teague agreed silently. He should strike him down here. He could be a threat to...To what? Many things. Who knew, everything perhaps. Was this a trick by the Gods of Light, sending Zeke here unwittingly even? He had had conversations like this before. Once. That man now bore the Solamnic banner and stood across the field. Could Teague find a way to justify this? To keep Zeke from knowing enough to hurt them? It would be on his hands if he could not. Solely. This was the wrong decision. "Stay." He had doubt, however. If it fell to it, Zeke would not be the first to betray his trust...Perhaps he would be the last. He was being incredibly illogical, but that was what humankind did, wasn't it? It was what this one was doing now, much to Akadin's horror. He would get an earful of it soon, of that there was no doubt. Was She watching? What new hell would this bring? No. He -should- take his head, but...Hrm. Not today. Zeke laughed turning around and tossing the bottle of wine to Akadin as gently as possible, hoping the commander would be smart enough to grab it before it hit him. "Looks like you're going to be seeing me around then Akadin, not putting me down quite yet I suppose." He grinned happily, "I promise I'm house trained at the very least, besides, whats the worse that could happen?" He smirked back towards Teague, "Who knows you might even get comfortable enough to take off that stupid mask around me again. I am quite charming."

Author: Teague Date: Tue Sep 15 17:24:24 2015 Subject Unexpected Visitors (Part 8)

Speaking of the mask, Teague doubted that highly. He hadn't taken it off more than a few times in the company of others and he hadn't made it this far without blowing his identity to go willy-nilly about it. He had to send Aka out to avoid the growing confrontation, then, but he was gentle with his pride. "Akadin, would you see about getting someone to set up some sort of accommodations?" Did you see that? Perfect example of when the 'now' was silent. Teague was a master of silent Nows. He expected the man to move quickly, which was silly. But he did get the man moving, since he had little to say on the matter in front of Zeke at least. And so, Ziratell turned right out the entrance and seemed to actually be gone this time. Zeke laughed and winked at Teague, "I'll join him, although I think he'll hate it, might as well give you some time to regret your decision." Teague would leave him to it, then. He certainly could take care of this bottle as he tried to reorganize these maps for the third time this week. Fin. (Thanks, Zeke, was great fun. Look forward to more-)

Author: Teague Date: Thu Sep 17 11:49:17 2015 Subject Wake Up Call (Part 1)

The Highlord lived in this armor. He never took it off. The cloak? Sure. It was being tossed over the table as they spoke. The rain had made a robe miserable, too, and so he had discarded it as well. He paced slowly about the room, clearing his mind of chaos before finally coming to a halt where he could locate a stashed bottle of bourbon. This had been a long week. Where once he lost Zeke and gained Sirene, it seemed he had lost Sirene and regained Zeke. It was uncannily odd. Teague didn't know what to make of it, but he wasn't pleased. On top of that he and Aka had been at odds all afternoon and into the evening. The mages... ...This strange malady upon Sirene... ...Asshole red dragons named Blaze... Much, much more... Teague was uncertain what was next but, this almost seemed to be a sign. Once more, his storm was raging, tugging and snapping at the tents and men alike, thunder shaking the earth in its wake. He really needed this drink. Zeke stumbled into the tent, soaked to the bone, a half drank bottle of wine gripped by the neck. Although miserable looking, his face is nothing but drunken smiles, "Teague, old friend!" He said excitedly. "Your soldiers, aside from one stick in the mud named Akadin, are a blast to spend time with. Although, you know that they don't know a single Solamnic drinking song? It's a real shame." Sirene could be heard from the other room if you listed closely when it was not thundering. A quiet muttering in Silvanesti. Teague had made his way over to stand half in the front and back, eying the feverish priestess by the time Zeke came in. He was unused to all of the visitations, but his personal camp was filling quickly. Considering the weight of the night, Zeke's appearance lightened the situation for a moment. There was no way he was going to survive this campaign. He was going to think himself to death. Maybe that was why Zeke was here. A sigh came for the ex-knight, "Good evening, Zeke...I see you've made yourself at home?" His head tilted back to cast him a questioning look as if to ask if there had been trouble. "Are you drunk?" Zeke took a pull from the bottle as he walked over to Teague, mostly without stumbling "Drunk?" He snorts as he pressed the bottle into Teague's chest, implying he should drink some as well. "It would take more wine than this to get me truly drunk, 'm just in a good mood is all." He grinned happily before noticing the sleeping form on the bed, "Oh? And who's this? Sleeping with the enlisted now, friend?" Teague hadn't slept in two days so far, Zeke. He took the bottle, but drank his -own- bourbon as he hisses quickly, "She's a priestess, damn it..." Of course he didn't sleep with her, she was like unto a holy artifact. Unholy, sure, but the Gods worked through her. It would be disgraceful to take advantage of her. Pushing the bottle back towards Zeke's hands, Teague kicked back the tumbler of liquor and dropped it, empty, to a chair nearby before reaching to pull back the flap enough to show the room a bit better. Half mobile magical sanctum complete with a scorched out looking circle smeared across the floor and half bedroom, it was more often referred to as a complete mess. But right now, his bed was hers and nothing save for the blood had been tampered with. Even the candles remained unlit.

Author: Teague Date: Thu Sep 17 11:58:47 2015 Subject Wake Up Call (Part 2)

Zeke leaned over the bed, getting a closer look at the sleeping priestess, "This pretty little lass, a priestess, eh? So, sleeping with the officers then." He grinned at Teague and yanked the bottle of wine back out of his hand, if Teague wasn't going to bother to drink it. Taking another drink he took a step into the sanctum, "Performing some kind of dark rituals I suppose.." He scans the room halfway curious, "Hopefully the rituals involve wine, or I remember hearing stories of followers of Branchala who would get particularly odd sometimes, does she have some interesting incense?" Zeke grinned playfully before leaving the opening to the altar room, "Probably not, I'd imagine. You are far too serious for something like that. It's probably all angry sounding chants and sacrificing firstborn or something" He waved his hand dismissively "I'd think the whole lot ridiculous if I hadn't seen some of it with my own eyes, but you magical people." He wiggled his fingers in a mockery of actual magic, "Bah, I'll stick to nature and a trustworthy quiver of arrows, hate to say it, but I think I still agree with the Knighthood on this one, mages always seemed a bit odd to me" Zeke grinned again at him before taking another drink. Sirene stirred, her breathing pattern changing, drawing in quicker breath. The muttering quiets down as she shifted around on the furs. Teague was frowning particularly hard at Zeke as he spewed all sorts of irreverence. If one hadn't been able to see his eyes, they might have missed it. It seemed that the man had gained some sort of divine respect over the past couple of years, too. More than he'd had by far at least. Sighing, he opened his mouth to speak, "Zeke this is ser--" He swiveled his view mid-thought as she moved for the first time in days. It was a good thing he had taken the bottle or Tea would have dropped it in his haste to clear the room. "--sssst." What now... Zeke's curiosity becomes full blown once he sees Teague in a momentary panic, "Oh, Sersst eh? Never known someone by that name before.." he noticed the priestess stir, "Oh? Is the lass waking?" He took a step toward the bed to look at the priestess once more, "You seem very caught up in this one Teague, i'm sure given our conversation earlier that's no good sign for my case." He smirked again, but much more half heartedly than before. Sirene let out a quiet groan, her eyes fluttering open. She stared at the tent ceiling, mildly confused. Ok. She was...here, yes. Right? Teague hovered over her there at the edge of the furs, not certain if she should be bothered. This sleep had held her for two days straight and the muttering was disturbing from time to time. He glanced back at Zeke, too given to distraction to hit him like he probably should have. Fingers twitching, he stepped back towards the other man, his voice hushed, "It's not--" And then she moved. He was just all sorts of stretched here, wasn't he? He stood back by Zeke, giving her a moment...Or intending to. Sirene blinked slowly. Ok, she needed to get her bearings, figure out what happened...She was--Augh. The swirling dreams hit her again. That stupid bison thing... It's gone. It's gone... Blinking at the ceiling again, she slowly worked herself to sitting so that she could then twist and blink about the darkened tent. Zeke says, "So, Sersst awaken's, eh?" He took a drink and cocked an eyebrow at Teague, "I sort of expected the clouds to part and the rain to stop once that happened, given how enraptured you've looked there, Teague." Zeke smirked and took another drink before really leaning in and beaming a smile at the newly awoken priestess, "Hello there lass, I'm Zeke, it's a pleasure."

Author: Teague Date: Thu Sep 17 12:05:14 2015 Subject Wake Up Call (Part 3)

He looks disgruntled now, to be completely honest. His body relaxes, though, likely due to relief. He turned his eyes to Zeke briefly during the introduction but quickly returned to Sirene. It was a good thing the storm -didn't- break, it was helping to keep the gryphons at bay. Fire from the skies was the last thing they needed. He didn't add to the words, letting her acclimate as he kept back by the other. Teague didn't want to overwhelm her...But he -did- want to know what had happened. Very much so. It was like chewing glass to wait. Sirene blinked at Zeke, and gave a little nod. Another new person. Ok... She looked then to Teague, giving a blink there as well. "Umm..." She was piecing things together, getting a bit of a timeline of what happened there. "How...long was I out? Are things still alright?" Zeke grinned happily "Well, I'm fantastic, Teague here is still miserable, but thats just how he tends to be, Akadin is probably carving my name into a stake, and I'm pretty sure I've only known you asleep so I guess you've been asleep for at least an hour or so. Would you like some wine?" To be honest, Teague almost asked Zeke how -he- was feeling. The timing was -that- weird, considering how it happened before. He came to sit at the foot, dropping heavily there as he sighed with relief, "Only a couple of days. Everything is fine, don't push yourself." But seriously? He was bad at not pushing. He was distracted between the two and trying to decide if he was going to smack Zeke upside the head or not as he got up almost immediately to get some -water- for her, "You've been muttering the whole time. We could not make sense of it...Here." Drink the water he was giving you. And Zeke? Teague decided to let it slide. He's drunk and...Eh. It's sort of refreshing to have him here. He had to actively remind himself that this was different though. "Did something happen with the blood?" Sirene accepted the water and drank a bit before answering. She gave Zeke a look, considering... Person she doesn't know, but the Highlord knows him so... She looked back to Teague and gaves a nod, then frowns, looking down. "I failed to eliminate a threat. He... I made miscalculations." Looking around the room to see the damage, she then looks back to Teague, "The backlash didn't spread too far then?" He shook his head. The damage had not spread at all, even the lingering energies had cleared without complication. Save for her long slumber. He caught her unease and looked back to Zeke as he stepped back again in favor of not crowding her. "This is...It's fine, Sirene." However, instead of letting her go on, Teague -guided- the information with greater care. He honestly didn't know what the threat was, for she had some insight he would have killed for, but did not have. Zeke got an attempted jab of the elbow towards the side as he cleared his throat. "What happened to -you-?" Sirene mmmed... "It umm... it... umm... I think he prayed and..." She shivers. Ok, let's... not think about the details of that, nope. She looked down again, quiet. Zeke took the elbow from Teague with a slight oof but then a snicker, "I think Teague likes you Sersst, even he's not usually this testy." He took another drink before setting the now empty bottle on a table, "You know, I've prayed a few times, but I don't think the gods like me very much. Or at least not the ones I was talking to, but who knows, the gods like to do mad things like rend the world apart, which I think makes them hard to predict." He narrowed his eyes for a moment, "I've seen it with my own eyes lass, but its still hard to believe. Most I've heard of the gods are old stories they tell you in Solamnia, and if I'd wager a guess you probably aren't a priestess of the Triumvirate."

Author: Teague Date: Thu Sep 17 12:07:58 2015 Subject Wake Up Call (Part 4)

Teague sighed under his breath and eyed Zeke. More gods, you said? He had half a mind to strangle the man a little due to timing alone. Paranoia gnawed at him as he turned from them both to think. He was going to have to get more out of her, but Zeke...He couldn't risk it if he didn't know -what- he was getting, could he? No. That was too much of a risk, assuming the other man didn't already know. Was that even possible? He -prayed?- That's all? Certainly not. Teague had never heard of such a thing. The return of the Gods was fairly new, however...How could he know for certain? The answer was that he couldn't. He reached out, snatching for Zeke's bottle with strong urges towards clearing it for him like the good friend that he was. "Perhaps you should rest. Are you hungry?" Teague glanced to Zeke, somewhat concerned...Which meant he was probably twice as worried. And then it hit him. Gods be damned, not my fucking name, Zeke! He would deal with this. It was too late -now- after all. Between Khariif and Zeke, his damned identity was going to slip...He needed that if this all went south. His tone was even, which meant he was livid, "No, she is not. Could you do me a favor and stop saying my god-forsaken name, you idiot?" What Sirene got was a -look-. The sort that Teague gave when he was considering your worth against your threat. It was brief for her, but Zeke? He was getting the full deal here. Sirene is just... She wss going to be quiet now, yep. She knew that look... And to his question, a small nod, and then she was back to looking down. Zeke has enough awareness to at least stop addressing Teague by name, but remains a curious creature by heart, so cannot help but continue pestering the priestess, "Well then lass, can you tell me of the gods then, if you truly are one of their chosen? I am sure I am not the only one on Ansalon who would like to ask you this question, but luckily for me I am here now and get to ask." Sirene looked to Zeke, mildly surprised he was still there. A look went to the Highlord, and then back to Zeke. "Well... what is your question then?" Teague considered this harmless enough, but he was slow to return his gaze to Sirene. He had felt indescribable presences before. A God at distance...A Dragon, more closely. This was what came to mind as they spoke. He left them to it, brooding through his own mind as he considered what this meant. He hadn't heard anything of the Gods of Light thus far. This was worth mentioning to his peers, if nothing else. Sirene was right to be surprised. It wasn't so often he considered for so -long- without stabbing someone or lighting them afire. Teague's temper may have grown somewhat bolder over the years. Some. (A lot.) He let them both linger behind him as he went for a particularly arcane looking chest and withdrew...Whiskey. That's just where you should keep it. With your invocations.

Author: Teague Date: Thu Sep 17 12:11:13 2015 Subject Wake Up Call (Part 5)

Zeke tapped his chin thoughtfully for a moment, not being in the best state of mind to be given the sudden ability to ask questions people across Ansalon would have loved to ask for centuries, "Well, I guess what I really want to know, is what its like to have your prayers answered?" He couldn't think of a better way to phrase it right now, "I mean, no one really does anymore, right? Pray? They've been gone longer than probably even the oldest elves could know, but my father was a knight, so it was ways there on the periphery, gnawing at you, I took a trip to Solanthus before, or Palanthas, and you would see the old temples, the ones that were left, and hear stories no one really cares about or remembers all the details anymore, but you could feel that anger every time, that loss, the anger thats been passed down generation after generation, that maybe if Paladine or Habbakuk hadn't left, it wouldn't be like this, that if Kiri-Jolith was still here the knighthood would still mean something, so, whats it like, to actually get a response?" Sirene ummed... "It... is confusing, most of the time. And to get an answer, you need to be dedicated to acting on the answer you are given, not just for curiosity..." But what did he say. That name, it... Sirene looked up to Zeke, wide-eyed. "What was that name you said? The... knighthood... Tell me more about that god?" Zeke says, "Well, I always thought Habbakuk was the most interesting of the three. Sure the knighthood spoke about his loyalty and dedication and all, but the smaller stories you get bits and pieces of, that he was the lord of nature. I always liked that, but then again, I do spend a lot of time outside." Teague had little love for the names slipping past Zeke's lips, but he was listening of course. He rarely prayed, even given his circumstances. He had little grasp over the answers that his friend sought either and felt just as curious as the other. He had to wonder if it was the same as... Shuddering ever so slightly, he pulled the stopper and made to pick up each of the five serpentine candle stands around the smeared and scorched circle. White...Red...Black...Blue...Green. One after another. Teague had just righted the last of them when her tone shifted. Attention garnered, he glanced over, taking a drink of the stiff stuff. The Gods of his father never put his mood at ease. Zeke said, "Kiri-Jolith was always the most boring one, just all men with swords and honorable combat...and then Paladine of course, but he might as well be your father, all rules and judgement." Sirene mmmed again... "I don't... know all of the stories there... Could you tell me more about them? Like... I have prayers answered, but I still don't know -that- much... Why would a knighthood mean something if that god was boring to you?" Zeke chuckles to himself, not in the jovial tone of before, "By the gods lass, you're asking me hard questions now. I never really liked all these stories my father drilled into me and the knighthood held sacred, but I suppose I can try." He pondered again for a moment, "Like I said, I always liked Habbakuk the most. He seemed the kindest of the three, natural, the Knighthood and my father never really liked talking about how he was the master of rivers and creatures. They liked that he was loyal and honest, which I suppose I don't mind as well. But as for the other two...Paladine was the father, the head of the family so to speak. Master of the knights of the rose, he was noble, the law giver, the leader, he protected the weak and was the one who the knighthood said they resembled the most." Zeke rolled his eyes, "Though they did a poor job of it. As for Kiri-Jolith, he was strength, combat, war, lord of the sword knights, honorable combat...He was the one that the, lets say more brutish knights, liked the most. He was the one brought up when talking about fighting evil and just combat."

Author: Teague Date: Thu Sep 17 12:14:15 2015 Subject Wake Up Call (Part 6)

He left the circle, taking a second pull from the bottle as he took a seat back against the side of his travel desk over behind Zeke. He knew some of these stories but it had been some time since anyone bothered to speak of them. He could at least consider this somewhat harmless for now. It was left to him, as they spoke, to jot down a note. He would have to get this back to Neraka and on it's way across the desert. Teague could always hope they had already encountered the same, but he was obligated to be certain they knew. Teague's mood soured as the talk continued. He needed to now more of what happened this time, not old knights' tales. Still...He was reluctant. "You mentioned a horned beast...A pheonix...Does that mean anything?" Impatient? Maybe the Reds were rubbing off on him more than he'd like to admit. Sirene nodded, closing her eyes. "That was...The phoenix was the man, and the horns was the god. And..." Well if he's going to be alright with Zeke here then... "I think... I think it was Kiri-Jolith, that the man prayed to. The feeling of him these past couple days there..." That was -not- what Teague wanted to hear. Given, any of them would have ruined his day and he knew it. Did it always have to be the goddamned Solamnics? His eye twitched as he drew another slow pull from the bottle and then...If it hadn't been such a good brew, he would have broken it. He glanced up to the ex-knight, "We're going to exhaust her if we keep this up..." He had a much better idea that involved drinking copious amounts of this and pretending -that- didn't just happen for a few hours. The note, he folded and slipped into his open plate vest. "Sirene...You've been through a great deal. Perhaps you should rest before we glean anymore information." He needed more than just -one- more drink, Zeke. "You should eat something." Zeke threw up his hands, "Bah, I can eat when I'm dead. What I need is another drink and maybe a sword, or better yet, notch a few arrows..." "xHe grumbled to himself and threw his still soaking wet hood over his head, "Getting dangerously close to sober, gods know we don't need that" He said with a dismissive hand gesture as he guides himself surprisingly safely out of the tent entrance. Sirene sighed and gave a nod. "Yes... food and rest, alright..." Don't ask questions you don't want the answers to, Highlord. She was trying to break it to you slow. Teague watched Zeke go and then sighed once more before going to call someone to bring her some food. He came back a moment later to sink down into the most comfortable looking chair here...Which simply wasn't. He wasn't going to throw her out of his bed, but he was dead on his feet. The food would come...And he would be out cold by the time it did. There was more to be done...So much more. (Thanks for this loverly RP Zeke and Sirene!)

Author: Teague Date: Thu Sep 17 12:30:56 2015 Subject Into the Flame (Part 1)

The rain tonight was gentle, free of thunder and lightning but the wind still howled through the camp. A thick fog had settled, creeping along the tents and coiling about the sentries. For once, Teague was alone and able to let his mind drift to plans, both present and future. He stood before circle burned and stained into the skin mat that took up a large portion of the room, surrounded by five flames burning cold at each of the draconic candle stands positioned around it. He had to make a choice and soon. Was this worth it? Would he be able to complete the ritual that he had only seen a few times before? Sirene called quietly, "Highlord?" and then opened the flap to the sectioned off area Teague was in. Oh... he's busy maybe... hm. He did not look up, he didn't need to. The voice was familiar and not one he would consider a threat. His eyes flicked towards her briefly but, since she didn't seem to be trying to kill him, he went back to his contemplations. Or as close as he could get with the attention required to speak. His voice was calm, reserved and somewhat distracted, "Yes?" Sirene was going to ask things. Things about what he wanted to do at this point, what the people visiting meant, and if he was going to go to that meeting. What it meant for the army, for what they needed to do, to have the good gods about. But seeing him... He had to have been asked those questions the whole time she was out, and asked them to himself and... So, she asked a different question. "What can I do right now that would be of most use to you?" What could she do? What could he do, for that matter? The questions were real and they had been present for a while, yes. The price of certainty was great, but there was almost nothing he would not pay. This was his lot, it was his duty...He had a choice, yes, but to a man such as he? That choice was no choice at all. Looking up, Teague turned away to set the wrapped tome upon a stand, fingers sliding off of it with heavy reluctance. There were many things to see to. "The men are in fair spirits despite the conditions." Mostly. Rations would be tight until they could manage to establish a solid supply line. With the elves at their heels, yapping like the annoying lap dogs that they were...Morale was a precarious topic. Teague turned back, unaware that his hand had already landed back upon the book. "Tell me what you think of this. All of it...Does He advise you?" Sirene mmmed to herself. "Something big is on the horizon. Being decided by what we do. He's not saying what is the best choice, just that what happens in the next bit will direct a lot of the future course. He offers help in what I decide to do, and he and I know I choose to help in your efforts because they align with mine." Sirene looked around the room, seeing it restored again. "Personally, I worry about that meeting, and what it will mean. Not much insight in what is to come, just... Every action here means something. Make them count." She then had to ask, "Were you casting something?" He knew. Every choice. Every decision he made held the weight of a mountain. Especially now. Teague was not buckling under the pressure, but he was feeling it on his shoulders more than usual. Every consideration...Every moment was charged with something just beyond his senses' reach. She watched his every move, he could feel Her eyes burnng deep into his soul. Expectations were high. That would be he took such incredible care with what he did now. This was an odd situation, the sort that made him feel like a cat just before the strike of a storm.

Author: Teague Date: Thu Sep 17 12:34:04 2015 Subject Into the Flame (Part 2)

He drew his hand back and dipped his fingers into the collar of his jack of plates, the silk-muted metal clinking softly as he withdrew the letter he had written. He offered it to her then. "You must see this reaches Neraka and the Blue Lady quickly. At all costs, Priestess. If the Gods of Light intend to intervene..." It was beyond reason that any of them would be surprised, but the events that had transpired must be shared, and there were few he trusted to deliver. "We must all be aware that it has begun." He held it there, unsealed and unsigned. "Read it. Commit it. Burn it." Sirene blinked, looking up to meet his eyes, then gave a firm nod and accepted the paper with both hands. "I will. I am rested and will ride once it is committed and disposed of." She opened up the letter right there, reading through the contents. Sirene asks one question as she is opening it though. Need to figure logistics. "Do I ride alone?" Watching her take and open the missive, Teague tugged his glove free from his hand. Letting it rest atop the shrouded tome, he idly twisted the signet on his finger before sliding it off. "Of course not. You will have an escort prepared and I will mask you from sight myself when you leave. It will not last long, however. You must be free of elven intervention before my spell fails you. Here." Teague offered her the ring bearing his crest, the golden phoenix bearing blackened spears nestled upon a bed of bloody steel. "Take this as well. All will be ready before dawn's first light." Or heads would roll. Sirene gave a nod, but was distracted from the message for a moment with the crest. Quietly she asked, "What -does- the phoenix mean there, Highlord?" She reached to accept it, but hesitated, not quite taking it. And then hmmmed, her hand still hanging there in the air, not quite accepting of the ring. Suddenly she was very intent on reading this note right away, yes, not asking questions. It had been some time since he had considered the heraldry of his lineage. Teague shifted, glancing to the shield that bore the same crest across the room against the stand, a soft snort coming in almost derisive fashion, "The Phoenix is a symbol of immortality. It can be felled, but it will always rise once more. It represents loyalty and, often times, love for something. The spears...They represent the duty and purpose of the one who bears them." If she could have seen his face, she would have seen the fairly disdainful contempt in which he held the symbol. Undying loyalty to the Heart and the Measure. That is what it meant. But it was a lie. Teague believed this to the depths of his soul. The man who had shown him this truth, was none other than the one who pretended to uphold it. There was no love lost between Teague and his father. Why he held that crest, blackened as it was, was anyone's guess. Had it not been twisted to fit his ironic and dry sense of humor, he might as well have been carrying Kiri-Jolith's banner. Sirene hmms, giving the ring a look again. Considering the answer, the ring... She gives a nod and accepts it, closing her hand around it. She will put it on a chain soon. Show the emblem of Sargonnas, hide the signet of the Highlord. And she finishes reading the note through and through. She hands the note back towards the Highlord. "Will the candles here burn the note sufficiently?" Teague nodded, gesturing for her to do so if she was prepared. He took a moment to take up the tome once more. He pulled it free and made to carry himself to the secured chest at the back of his chambers, muttering an incantation to the lock, "I will see you off when you are prepared." It was a final sort of statement, a farewell and dismissal all in one. He placed to tome inside and set the lock once more by his will. His mind was heavy and he had lost his wish to converse. There were far too many things shifting into place for any one mortal to keep a hand on.

Author: Teague Date: Thu Sep 17 12:39:04 2015 Subject Broken Wishes (Part 1)

The ritual was ready, and despite the Highlord's hangups, it had to be done. The priestess had made certain that he knew the importance of the moment. The weight of their duty, and the worth of the sacrifice...Every moment could be crucial for all he knew. That would be why he was here. Alone. Teague drew in a slow breath, centering himself as he placed the small parcel on the lectern before him. Its fate had been decided, despite the lack of enthusiasm the man held for the decision. A sacrifice was not sincere, unless it was dear to you. Unless it had worth. He hoped he had it in him to complete the ritual without incident for, if he failed, the loss of the item in question would be for naught. He would not know for certain, until it was complete and the sacrifice had been made, however. Stepping up upon the dais, back to the empty temple, he looked up to the time-worn fresco. Cracked plaster and faded pigments depicted dragons of metallic hues, battling in the heavens against their chromatic kin. It was a ruined place, left to the intrusion of nature and picked over by thieves and scavengers until it was nothing but a ruined memory of itself. He found it appropriate, to seek such a thing amongst the fallen temple to the Gods. It was blasphemous, the way he had further desecrated it for his aims. It was an act of defiance as much as it was an act of pure obedience. He, once satisfied with the state of the rite, made one last check over what he had done, meticulous despite his own satisfaction. He knew something was coming, but no mystic could tell him -what-. He needed to be prepared, however. He knew that much. The stale air was dry and heavy, adding an ominous feel to the room as he took his place and began to chant. It was soft at first, steady though, and it built itself as he pushed forward. After several moments, one of the numerous candles surrounding the gift lit of it's own accord. Then another. One by one they all awoke, beginning closest to his outstretched hands and working their way around the dais. It was, at this point, the only light in the room. He could feel the energies gathering, entwining through runes, flesh, voice and tome, and knew he was doing something right. Back to the doorless entrance, his voice gained strength and so did the spell. He was lost in the magic, both a comfort and cold hard reminder of what was to come, but this was the way of such a complex procedure. He should have taken greater care. Akadin was right, he would one day be the death of himself the way he tended to come and go without a trace or word. But he could not have distraction. Not here. Not tonight.

Author: Teague Date: Thu Sep 17 12:41:29 2015 Subject Broken Wishes (Part 2)

If he failed to complete the ritual, anyone with him would be at risk as well. He could fall here and now, never to see the fruits of his labors...He could not imagine taking Aka with him. Should he fail to return, his army would need the man. Her cause might be damaged. That was completely unacceptable. That would also be why he had no warning. Why he, elbows deep in volatile magic, had not a chance in the world against the hunter who stood back observing. It shook him to his core, sudden strike from behind and then the backlash that followed when his words failed him. Candles scattered, extinguished in the struggle that followed. There wasn't much of one, the Highlord stunned by blow and the sudden pop of arcane protest. It hit him before he had a chance to reach for his blade, and it hit him -hard- at that. The force of it knocked him to the floor in front of the platform, sprawling with a head full of electric spiderwebs. Vision blurred by the lingering effects and mind dulled, his body simply refused to cooperate with him. Struggle as he might, the conflict was quickly resolved and they were gone, leaving only the tome and blade to show that they had ever been there in the first place. To what fate, only the Gods might have known. It wasn't until he woke to pitch black darkness, pain stabbing through his limbs and face, that he truly had a grasp on what had happened. Even then he could not recall the one who had felled him. His first instingt was to move, reaching for the gag in his mouth only to find himself bound. Numbed limbs had betrayed his senses until then, leading him to the disappointing truth. He had failed far more than the spell...He was not yet dead...But that might be remedied if he lacked the skill and luck required to maintain survival. For now he hardly had the strength to test the bonds, still reeling from the spell's interruption and the brutally swift precision of his hunter. Another stabbing pain behind his eyes brought a groan as he made his first and, thus far, only attempt. The world, despite or perhaps because of the lack of any semblance of light, spun and put him back to the floor as darkness took him once more... If he was relying on luck, it looked like today he might be found wanting. (In response to Warnote 40-41)

Author: Teague Date: Tue Sep 22 21:21:27 2015 Subject Carrying a Burden (Part 1)

To be honest, his pride brought him through this as much if not more than any sense of discipline. It wouldn't have been the first time he'd fallen back on the greatest of his sins to carry him through, though. Nothing could motivate Teague to withstand and defy like another's intent to keep him from it. He drew it down inside of himself, an ember that would burn hotter as the moments crept along. He hardly even considered the elves at all in favor of his new focus. One that had never, until now, even crossed his mind. He would have some sort of response to this, and they -would- regret their mistakes and transgressions against him. This would not, no could not, be ignored. He would have to return in kind, to make them regret. He had had plenty of time to consider his options. He was not to be trifled with like this. That being said, this week had not been his best show. Leaned into the wall of the lightless hole they had left him in, he could and did, take another full account of the things he knew. The waves of pain were a numbing dull wash over his senses, sucking at his thoughts like water-bogged mud would a soldier's boots on the march. Fatigue and other circumstances took their toll as well, of course. It was more of an exercise in sanity than an attempt to solidify the facts, but the end was the same: Falkore's voice and face etched deeply into his mind. Fingers twitched, agonizing knives stabbing into his body as he grit his teeth and continued into his memories. He had been there when he first saw light, revealed to be the source of his captivity and for what...? A hunch of fault that Teague -knew- was not his to bear. This was as easily playing into the mage's plans as it was Khariif's. Life would certainly bear more ease for them both if he were to turn his back on the Conclave and fight. It was the one thing he refused to do over the years. -No one- had been able to make him compromise between the two organizations, but Falkore was getting dangerously close. These accusations sent him further back to the root of the issues, of course. Again and again he quietly delighted in what the Black Highlord's face would look like when he brought a storm of fire through his office. Whether or not that would happen, was anyone's guess for now, however. He remembered their exchange, which solidified his chances for survival -this- go, but there were no such promises beyond that. Between this new turn and those of his past the Conclave would, quite possibly, be the death of him. Then he had returned to the darkness to consider his options, no closer to his freedom than when he had been brought. Bound and gagged, denied his sight, there was very little else to do aside from this and speculation. But Teague never put much weight in speculation, and thus did his damnedest to fight it off now. He turned all of his focus inward, struggling against hunger and physical stress to keep himself as sharp as possible. This came with mixed levels of success, of course, from perfect, strained alertness to complete lack of consciousness. He was doing well, letting himself turn the coals of the fire the leader of his Order had set. He still held doubt at this point, though. What would be next? Should he defy the council by showing up, or by refusing? They were both two evils amongst many others, with no light in sight. Even the most disciplined of minds would begin to wander by the third day, and by the fourth, he doing well to keep himself awake. One could only keep themselves occupied with being as ill-tempered and uncooperative as possible for so long, after all.

Author: Teague Date: Tue Sep 22 21:22:17 2015 Subject Carrying a Burden (Part 2)

It was good to be honest, that he had time. It cooled his temper slowly, settling him into a steady smolder rather than a wild burn, but just as likely to make a charred carcass of a fire-swept landscape. It gave him time to clear his addled thoughts, steel his nerve and, though he would have rather not, it helped him to be ready when Shronius came. He knew it was going to happen, but to what aim, he had no idea. Was he there to question him? Perhaps to illicit a confession of some sorts. It could have been anything, really. Slicing him up was adding a cup of water to the ocean right now, but his hands. It was all he could do not to let that one shake him enough to cry out. It hurt, to be certain. There was blood in his mouth from his efforts by the time he was back in the man's hands again, barely aware of the cuts he had made in his own palm. He might recall it later, but consciousness was being fleeting by the time the whispered words came. He heard them, but they failed to sink in as he was left once more to the darkness. This time, however, the waiting would fail to cool the fires...

Author: Teague Date: Tue Sep 22 22:49:24 2015 Subject Carrying a Burden (Part 1)

To be honest, his pride brought him through this as much if not more than any sense of discipline. It wouldn't have been the first time he'd fallen back on the greatest of his sins to carry him through, though. Nothing could motivate Teague to withstand and defy like another's intent to keep him from it. He drew it down inside of himself, an ember that would burn hotter as the moments crept along. He hardly even considered the elves at all in favor of his new focus. One that had never, until now, even crossed his mind. He would have some sort of response to this, and they -would- regret their mistakes and transgressions against him. This would not, no could not, be ignored. He would have to return in kind, to make them regret. He had had plenty of time to consider his options. He was not to be trifled with like this. That being said, this week had not been his best show. Leaned into the wall of the lightless hole they had left him in, he could and did, take another full account of the things he knew. The waves of pain were a numbing dull wash over his senses, sucking at his thoughts like water-bogged mud would a soldier's boots on the march. Fatigue and other circumstances took their toll as well, of course. It was more of an exercise in sanity than an attempt to solidify the facts, but the end was the same: Falkore's voice and face etched deeply into his mind. Fingers twitched, agonizing knives stabbing into his body as he grit his teeth and continued into his memories. He had been there when he first saw light, revealed to be the source of his captivity and for what...? A hunch of fault that Teague -knew- was not his to bear. This was as easily playing into the mage's plans as it was Khariif's. Life would certainly bear more ease for them both if he were to turn his back on the Conclave and fight. It was the one thing he refused to do over the years. -No one- had been able to make him compromise between the two organizations, but Falkore was getting dangerously close. These accusations sent him further back to the root of the issues, of course. Again and again he quietly delighted in what the Black Highlord's face would look like when he brought a storm of fire through his office. Whether or not that would happen, was anyone's guess for now, however. He remembered their exchange, which solidified his chances for survival -this- go, but there were no such promises beyond that. Between this new turn and those of his past the Conclave would, quite possibly, be the death of him.

Author: Teague Date: Tue Sep 22 22:51:28 2015 Subject Carrying a Burden (Part 2)

Then he had returned to the darkness to consider his options, no closer to his freedom than when he had been brought. Bound and gagged, denied his sight, there was very little else to do aside from this and speculation. But Teague never put much weight in speculation, and thus did his damnedest to fight it off now. He turned all of his focus inward, struggling against hunger and physical stress to keep himself as sharp as possible. This came with mixed levels of success, of course, from perfect, strained alertness to complete lack of consciousness. He was doing well, letting himself turn the coals of the fire the leader of his Order had set. He still held doubt at this point, though. What would be next? Should he defy the council by showing up, or by refusing? They were both two evils amongst many others, with no light in sight. Even the most disciplined of minds would begin to wander by the third day, and by the fourth, he doing well to keep himself awake. One could only keep themselves occupied with being as ill-tempered and uncooperative as possible for so long, after all. It was good to be honest, that he had time. It cooled his temper slowly, settling him into a steady smolder rather than a wild burn, but just as likely to make a charred carcass of a fire-swept landscape. It gave him time to clear his addled thoughts, steel his nerve and, though he would have rather not, it helped him to be ready when Shronius came. He knew it was going to happen, but to what aim, he had no idea. Was he there to question him? Perhaps to illicit a confession of some sorts. It could have been anything, really. Slicing him up was adding a cup of water to the ocean right now, but his hands. It was all he could do not to let that one shake him enough to cry out. It hurt, to be certain. There was blood in his mouth from his efforts by the time he was back in the man's hands again, barely aware of the cuts he had made in his own palm. He might recall it later, but consciousness was being fleeting by the time the whispered words came. He heard them, but they failed to sink in as he was left once more to the darkness. This time, however, the waiting would fail to cool the fires...

Author: Teague Date: Fri Sep 25 16:55:17 2015 Subject Paths in the Dust (Part 1)

They had been in the cold camp for sometime now, watching the mercenary base. Nestos had made appropriate preparations of course, leaving a note for the Highlord's commander, letting him no only the most basic information. He did not the man too well, and considering how protective he was over the Highlord, he feared he may charge headlong into this predicament to save his leader. Further, the mage had set several spells up around them, keeping them from sight as well as keeping others away. Nestos and Zhellik had tracked the party of mercenaries some distance from where the Red Dragonarmy was now camped. It turned out the man was not half bad at it, although the group clearly made no attempt to cover their tracks. The tracking was easy, the waiting was harder. At one point, as the two watched from a distance, they spotted a black robed mage appear among the mercenaries, which more than raised the dark elf's suspicions. The two remained where they were however, trying to decide how best to get the man out of his imprisonment. The need for them to secure the Highlord's release quickly disappeared as they saw the mercenaries depart, with the man in tow, lacking the majority of his clothes. He and Zhellik followed... Teague had been in worse places, but he was hard pressed to remember many of them at this point. One by one, he had set his own fingers, letting each one ignite his personal hatred for Falkore more and more. He retained it, drew it down deep and, when it didn't cost him consciousness, cauterized it soundly in place. He had no concept of how many days he had spent down there before or after his visitation from Shronius, but it was far longer than he was used to going without food or light. Hands still broken, he had been drug from he pit and out into the desert, left with only a skin of water to see him home. The heavy sun blazed down upon him, watering his eyes as he warily considered what he had. No magic, no weapons, no money and no food...By the gods, what he would do for some food. What he did have was his life, some water and a broken body. On one hand he looked rather up a creek, but on the other hand, this was a good chance for Nestos to move...The mercs did not remain for long. The duo followed the mercenaries and their captive out into the desert, veiled in a spell, keeping them from being seen. Nestos watched as the mercenaries threw a water skin at the man and then turned around marched out of the desert. The mage looks to Zhellik, both on the horses they had secured from the Dragonarmy camp, the man holding the reins of a third, with a small pack of gear tied to the saddle. As soon as the mercenaries were out of sight, Nestos lets the spell drop, as the Highlord is looking in their direction. The two appear, the heat causing the affects of the spell to make it look like the two are a mirage in the distance. Teague thought pretty much that, as he squinted towards the obvious mirage. He wavered in his stance briefly and drew his gaze out across the wasteland. Not even a lodestone's guess of which way was north. He drew himself up attempting some sort of dignity and picked the mirage because...Well, why not? He hadn't much brainpower due to fatigue and other worse factors, so he was forced to deal. As the man began to head towards them, Zhellik shot a look to Nestos, "Should I go and bring him?" To be honest, it was kind of sad watching him limp like that. "Abyss. They worked him over. Better him than me." Yes, thank you Zhell, you get the obvious statement award. Nestos looks to the half-elf and nods, then steps out of the saddle of his horse. He flings the reins over the animal's head and begins leading it towards the Highlord as well. "They certainly did work him over. We will have to see what we can do to fix that, if anything" he says, seeming to contemplate something for a moment.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Sep 25 16:59:15 2015 Subject Paths in the Dust (Part 2)

The dark elf then turns his head and whispers something to the raven on his shoulder, which leaps into the air, and in several flaps of its wings gains altitude. The bird begins making lazy circles above the three, and Nestos' gaze seems to look beyond the Highlord as he continues to approach the man. Zhell followed suit, pulling just a bit ahead. Teague looked like shit, but that didn't mean he wasn't half rabid. He kept a wary eye on this Highlord, "Careful. Who knows if he's in his right mind." He had his serious face on, no jokes. This Highlord could hear the drone of distant voices as he stumbled to a knee, growling past grit teeth as he caught himself on his hand and went down. He -did- look somewhat wild, filthy and growling as he kicked up some sand and struggled for his feet, head spinning. Teague was more likely to be reached by them than to get his feet first. He wasn't exactly on his best leg and he was frothing mad enough to scream, "Gods damn you, Falkore--I'll dine on your treacherous heart..." "I was wondering who the black robe was that was in the mercenary camp. The High Archmage, huh?" Nestos says to the man as he approaches, keeping his distance, well aware the man could still be dangerous in his broken state. The mage lets the horse's reins go, and the animal stops in its track, clearly well trained by its owner...whoever that may be. He studies the Highlord for a moment, looking over the extent of his wounds. He does not make a move towards the man, but instead turns to the half-elf, "See what you can do about healing his wounds. Focus on his hands if you can." Teague lifted his head, having gotten a knee under him. He drew his brow in and stared at the thing he had been sure was an illusion. He silently praised Her sense of timing by the time Nestos' voice began to register. Zhell was coming upon him with caution and, not familiar with the man, the mage made an almost feral show, teeth and all. A second later he was pushing himself harder to get another foot under him. He didn't quite get his way and tumbled back, balance thrown off, into the blistering hot sand once more. "What...?" Zhellik had paused just in time to probably avoid a nasty bite, staring at Nestos like he'd just eaten a frog whole. Healing? "Are you serious?" He'd never even tried. Looking back to Teague, he drew in a slow breath and at least tried to ask Whoever Was Up There to give him a break. He could only assume the break was the Highlord's assplant. "Thanks..." Zhell, stop talking to yourself. Nestos smiles at the mercenary, "I am very serious." The dark elf makes a motion towards the man now sitting in the sand, "If it is truly a god that speaks to you, it will most like grant you some ability. Why not see if it will allow you to heal the man." Nestos then turns towards the Highlord. "He is a friend and is here to help." The Highmaster then waits to see if Zhellik truly can use some sort of divine power, not quite sure that he can. Teague was leery, to say the least, but too tired and beaten to put up much of a fuss -now-. He'd let him close if he tried again, but he tried anything 'funny' he would get a foot to the face if the downed mage had anything to say about it. He was prideful, but he was also aware that he was past many of his physical limits. In fact, as Zhell and Nestos spoke, he just laid there head spinning. He wouldn't make a move for now, hoarsely exercising his voice, "Nestos...Falkore is planning something." What, was anyone's guess. He assumed it was worse than running him through the ringer, though.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Sep 25 17:03:11 2015 Subject Paths in the Dust (Part 3)

Zhell gave a nod to Nestos after realizing this was a serious request, nerves tensing as muscles worked themselves into knots inside. Healing. He could do some basic first aid...But this? He offered a hand first, taking a knee beside Teague with a silent prayer. Come on. Let's do something sparkly, eh? Is this what you want? This one is the one today? Reaching for the man's forearm gently, he explained himself to his so-called patient, "Alright...Let's see if they will put you back together, hm? Don't bite me..." Nestos nods along as the Highlord speaks, knowing that if the High Archmage was willing to put a bounty out on his own, there was something afoot. "I figured once you confirmed it was him. We will not know what until it happens If ear." The dark elf shrugs his shoulders slightly then crouches down to get closer to a level with the man, "But you know if there is information to be had, I will obtain it." He then sits and watches to see the results of the half-elf's prayers. Tea didn't doubt that he would at least try. Nestos was shrewdly resourceful from what he had come to know. He kept his eyes on his hands, though. How could he not, they were so very important to him. He gave a nod and offered them both up to the stranger, an odd feeling of calm washing over him as the man seemed to focus himself. This must be the one Nestos had spoken of...-Was- that Nestos? As Teague let his thoughts piece themselves together, Zhellik accepted his hands, taking in the damage with a slight grimace. He -had- seen worse but it didn't seem enjoyable at -all-. This time, he whispered under his breath, asking for something. He despised asking. He felt a great sense of heaviness upon him when he did, and this time was worse. It was almost suffocating. With the Highlord there on the ground before him, he began to hear his own blood rushing behind his ears, his own stance wavering this time as it hit like a flaming building, windows blowing. It physically popped his ears as the cold set into his chest like the reaches of Icewall, howling through his consciousness. Teague felt no pressure or popping, but pain wracking his body as icy cold nails dug into his fingers and shot up his arms. Pride or not, he screamed... Nestos nods as the the Highlord offers his hands to Zhellik, and grins. He waits patiently as the man prays to whatever deity, if that is what it was. Then watches with curiosity, as the mercenary began to waiver, and grins broader when the Highlord screams out. He then seems to go into a trance from a moment, the raven adjusting its path in the sky to fly towards where the mercenaries had left. A short moment later, Nestos comes out of the trance, and awaits the results of the apparent healing. Teague felt each bone slowly drawn into place with sickening snaps that made him -want- to writhe, but he bit down and bore it. Eyes rolled back as he swallowed a second scream, though, and he made a serious attempt to kick the man off of him out of wild instinct. Zhellik felt it like icy fingers slipping up behind his eyes, body shaking as he almost mirrored the man's expression of agony. The blow from Teague took him unaware, contacting squarely to send him sprawling back in a daze. Nestos steps back quickly as the half-elf comes sprawling from his patient. He stands up quickly and walks over to check on Zhellik, making sure the man was not dead from the effort. He then steps up to the Highlord and takes a look at the other's hands, which look significantly better than when they came upon him. He nods then looks back to the mercenary, "It would appear that you do speak with a god." He then grins wryly at the both of them, "And if I had to guess by the state of you two, it is not one to cross." Zhellik was not dead, no. He was nodding to Nestos, still shaking spiderwebs from his brain. He would be getting his bearing for a moment, lips and limbs numbed icily.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Sep 25 17:06:09 2015 Subject Paths in the Dust (Part 4)

Teague, was beginning to get hold of himself after the whole run of things. The pain was ebbing, leaving him slow and shaking despite his attempts to still himself. His hands? They seemed to have indeed been healed -enough-. Not perfectly, by far, but he could probably use them now and that was all he asked. For now. Nestos got a bleary look before letting his head fall back into the sand. "What...In the fuck was that..." For that matter, why are you here? Nestos stands up and walks over to the horse Zhellik had been holding, still standing where he had dropped the reins, and begins digging through it. He finally fishes out a pair of pants, a shirt, and a pair of boots. "This is the man that I spoke to you about back at the camp, and it would appear he does in fact speak to a god." the dark elf sounded sure, but still had his reservations about the idea. He tosses the clothing to the Highlord, "I do not know if these will fit, but I figured you may need something, and these were just lying around back at your camp." The mage grins wryly at the Highlord, then pulls the sword with the moon motif from his belt and waits for the man to dress himself before handing it over, "I also have your spellbook." Teague managed a wry smirk at that, the bruised and busted hands reaching for the blade before he had even dressed. He fell short, gaze snapping up to Nestos at mention of the book, "...Didn't open it...?" He didn't expect the other could read it if he couldn't. They were probably not on level, but it was a difficult attempt to even try. The clothes. Turning to watch the stranger, he dressed as quickly as he could manage, innards aching from various forms of neglect. He didn't complain, nodding vaguely as he dealt with the task at hand. They didn't fit well, but it would serve him well enough. The blade, though, he was eager to have it and reached out again. Nestos allowed the man to take the blade before speaking, "I did not. I know better than to read another mage's spellbook." He then smiles mischievously, "At least without the proper preparations, and I have not had the time for such things, what with chasing you across Krynn." He reaches into the satchel at his side and pulls out the spellbook, and with a smile offers it to its owner. "I had a feeling you would not want these items left at the ruins." Teague nodded, reaching for one and then the other with aching hands. Pulling them back to him, he gave a nod again. He eyed Zhellik with something of an almost thoughtful expression, but it was possibly simply the heat making him give pause. Wavering again, he dug the blade into the sun-baked sand to give himself balance, "The siege...We shouldn't tarry." As Teague shook off the pain, Zhellik pushed himself up, shaking sand from himself, "I'm...Going to have to agree. The desert is no place for any of us and he looks like he may still die if we breathe at him too heavily." Nestos smiles at the mercenary's comment but nods in agreement and walks over to the horse. He grabs the reins and flips them back over the animal's head before stepping into the stirrup and swinging his other leg over it's back. He then adjusts himself in the saddle, the leather creaking as he does so. "Your commander has been informed of your absence, but with very little detail. It is up to you to tell him what you want." He then waits in the saddle for the other two to get on their own mounts. Teague followed suit with Zhell and Nestos, having to struggle with this and that before he managed to pull himself up. He wasn't exactly riding high, but it would do. His sliced face shaded by his own slump, he wouldn't be quick. "Wonderful. Is there a way we can know if they are even still there?" Akadin had made his mind known with current events in play. He half expected a withdrawal.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Sep 25 17:08:36 2015 Subject Paths in the Dust (Part 5)

Nestos nods towards the Highlord as he turns the horse back the way they had come. "I will send Sitharnos ahead to check where they are," He says as he nods towards the black speck in the sky, now distancing itself further from the group. "We will see if they are still there, or if not, where they have moved." He lightly puts his heels into the horse's flanks, causing the creature to jolt into a walk. Zhellik was tapped out, a bit of a slump to his shoulders as well. He was somewhat pale, but shifted into motion with the two men in front of him. He was as vigilant as he could muster, all things considered. As for the Highlord, Teague was nodding again, in pace with the other mage as they rode. "If they have withdrawn...I would ask of you a favor." Again. Shifting his gaze to the weary man to their backs, glancing back up to Nestos. The poor man looked like he was ill and hadn't slept in weeks. He, however, was feeling much better. In fact, the longer they rode, the better he was feeling, "Can you get us to Neraka quickly?" Even if he knew the arts of travel better, he had no strength in him to spare. Zhellik caught Nestos and Teague's looks and managed a smile. He's fine, see? He had had better days, though. But he wasn't complaining. It might be odd not having his prattle and sarcasm for once. Nestos nods at the Highlord, then seems to go into a trance for several long moments as they ride. He sways slightly with the plodding of the horse, then snaps out of the trance and looks to the leader of the Red Dragonarmy. "It would appear that they have withdrawn. Allow the raven to return, and I will open us a portal to Neraka." He stops his horse, and dismounts. He reaches into his pouch and fishes around for some components. Finally, his hand emerges with a small black gemstone with runes carved into it. He begins to whisper arcane words under his breathe, and as he finishes them, there is a flash in his hand and the gemstone is gone. There is another flesh, and a tearing noise as a portal is seemingly ripped in the fabric of reality, exposing what seems to be the inside of a empty warehouse. Just as the portal finishes opening, the raven flies down to land on the Nestos' shoulder. "After you two," he says, indicating to the port with an outstretched hand. Sliding down from his horse, Zhellik made to offer Teague some aid down in silence. He was quite possibly on auto-pilot as he did so, or at least attempted. He was concerned more for Nestos, figuring this sort of magic was heavy stuff. But, this other man was important to others, for whatever reason. Teague took the aid with a brief study of the man again as he got down from his mount, warily drawing himself towards the gate. He would coax the steed through as well, though the beasts were leery of the arcane naturally. "Thank you..." Ready to collapse, he went through, looking about the warehouse as he used the horse for a brace. Nestos waited till both men were through before leading his own horse through the gate. The casting of the spell did take its toll on the mage, but he did not let himself feel it till he was through the portal, and closed it. He then slumped slightly, but looking nowhere near as ragged as either of his companions. "Welcome to my humble...hiding place." The mage grins wryly once again, pushing away the weariness from the spellcasting, "Home away from the tower." Teague was thankful in expression as he leaned into the horse a bit heavier, "Could I trouble you further for your hospitality?" This was difficult to ask for him, but he was clearly not in any sort of state to be seen, let alone doing business. He needed rest. Zhellik watched Teague request of his charge...Companion...Boss? Whatever. He offered an arm just in case, eying Nestose with what seemed like something close to genuine concern, "Big magic, bossman. You good?"

Author: Teague Date: Fri Sep 25 17:09:51 2015 Subject Paths in the Dust (Part 6)

Nestos nods to Zhellik with a smile, "Yes, I am fine." He walks over to Teague and takes the reins of his horse, then points to a door at the back of the warehouse, "We will deal with the horses right now. If you go through that door back there, you will find living quarters. You may find some better fitting, and better quality clothes." He looks to the mercenary and uses a nod to indicate two large doors at the side of the warehouse, "Take your time." Nestos then leads the Highlord's and his own horse towards the two tall doors, expecting the half-elf to follow. Zhellik nods following Nestos as Teague moved towards the indicated direction. He drew his own horse along, waiting to see if there was anything the mage needed. The other was out of sight then, so he muttered a question, "Should I see to anything for you?" He -looked- like he needed to see to a bed, to be honest. Nestos continues to walk his horse to the door as he responds to the other, "Once we tie up these horses you should probably grab some rest yourself. There is a room at the tavern in the White Quarter. Talk to the owner and he will show you to it." With that, he unlatches the old doors and swings the open, with a surprising lack of noise. He walks out and ties the horses to a rails along the side of the warehouse, before removing the gear from them and returning to the warehouse, closing the doors behind him. Zhellik was too brain-numb to disagree, following along to see to his horse as well. He took a moment, saddle in hand, "This guy's ok then? You're fine...?" He didn't trust the feral Highlord, that was certainly portrayed in his brief look. Teague was half out of his mind right now. He tried to bite him!

Author: Teague Date: Sun Sep 27 23:08:18 2015 Subject Radical Directions (Part 1)

The Highlord stood before the tall obsidian mirror set into the wall of his chambers. He was intensely deep in contemplation as he let Sirene help him wrap his ribs again. He wasn't down to a pair of black riding pants and boots, many scars both old and new bared along with the phoenix inked into his back. He had been deep within the temple all night and day, returning somewhat paler but no weaker than he had gone. The Goddess only knew what he had been doing in there, and Teague was not likely to share if not of his own whim. Still unmasked, he had to regard his own reflection with a mild sense of unfamiliarity. "You were right, the night I decided to send you here. Moreso than I would have hoped, given the circumstances." Sirene looks up to his face for a moment. So unfamiliar but... it is -him-. Her angry warlord, so full of vengeance. She will learn this face. And then she looks back to what she is doing with the bandaging. "From the timing you said for the telling what happened, I was awoken with bad dreams when you were taken. For better or for worse, the gods are watching you." Teague let her finish as he muttered something under his breath about the 'Panoptes Mother' and her many eyes. He was fortunate, but severely humbled in the wake of recent past events. He knew his mistake, unseen by many, had gone as far from unnoticed by their Queen. It made his decision all the more simple. "I will not be returning to the halls of the Conclave." And what, then, did the Gods think of that? Teague had not forgotten the devouring darkness in his consideration. He would not turn his back to the Gods that favored him, but the men who fancied themselves like unto them. Sirene hmms and gives a nod. "And what of Falkore? No direct confrontation, not walking into his trap. What happens next?" She pulls the current binding particularly tight, and ties it off. "And have you talked to Zeke at all?" He pressed his lips into a thin line as she tugged, stepping away to reach for his shirt across the chest at the foot of the bed, "Falkore is a coward, what use have I for any of them? Paranoid and absorbed so deeply in their own illusions. Why bother with hollow halls filled with dusty minds?" The tomes within, were of far more use than they. As for Zeke? That drew his gaze, slanted with a sideways roll, "I have been preoccupied. " Pulling the dark raw silk down over his head, almost invisible lunar embroidery worked into the trim of cuff and collar, Teague gave her a distant but curious look. Of all things she could ask..."Why do you ask?" Sirene sighs. "I don't... understand him. He's very much against this all, but is still -here- and trusts you and you seem to him... He's -genuine-. I..." It's weird... She shakes her head. "He would likely be worried about you, so I think you should maybe let him know stuff. I was very sparse in pretty much everything for the whole trip." The Highlord reached for a high collared vest of leather, draconic brocade, and hidden plates. Slipping his arm into it with the deep ache clawing through his muscles, Teague found himself unable to explain the situation yet again. "I stole him, from Ayasana's imprisonment. She would have had him executed, no doubt. For an Order he had no business being in in the first place." That wasn't much of an answer. He pulled it up over his shoulders and slowly, painfully, worked the clasps that formed small obsidian disks. Teague frowned slightly, displeasure tinging his voice, "There was a time when we fought well together."

Author: Teague Date: Sun Sep 27 23:14:35 2015 Subject Radical Directions (Part 2)

Sirene hmms... Not offering to help him with the clothes because of his pride. But taking him in as he works the clasps, making sure those hands are ok... "His intentions are to do what he can with his capability to have this war avoided. Even if it is just pulling some of the people out of it. He has been loyal thus far, but I feel...He does not want you in this. Does not want me in this. I... I feel we should part with him while there is still a chance to do so on good terms." She doesn't want the man hurt...Grown a -little- fond of the weirdo. Teague's hands were busted, bruised and probably in need of fresh bandages as well. Their Dark Mother had seen him functional and nothing left was life threatening, but he was going to remember the price of his stubborn and reckless nature. And Zeke. Hn. He reached for a (Dleather, plated long-coat, lined and trimmed with a deep blood red. He wasn't fond of sleeves, but it did carry a high stiff collar, deep hood and a tattered red-dipped hem that brushed the ground when he pulled it on, "I knew the day that I drew him deeper into Silvanost that one day his path would part from mine. It is inevitable." And when that day came...Perhaps their paths would cross in the form of conflict. This was very possible. Teague was certain of the man in a few things. The first was that he was a fool, the second was that he was genuinely good. He certainly did not belong here. But...He could be motivated. Perhaps this new turn would change his mind as well, not just the common man. Who was to say? The Highlord would not be pleased, but he would do what was required of him when the time was upon them. It would not be the first, last or least of the many sacrifices he had and would make in his endeavors. Sirene gives a nod, and looks Teague up and down. It looks... "You are keeping the mask off, right, Highlord? It... What they did. If they see you it will stare them in the face. That anger..." Appraising the outfit, she nods. "Want me to get the sides here?" She reaches for the laces on the side. Teague allowed this with a single not, his dexterity was trying and he instead withdrew a pair of cloves, cuffed and bearing similar embroidery to his shirt, "I have nothing to hide." Khariif was right. His face was his disguise, a tool he clung to our of fear. To give that away was to give away any chance of turning back. "My name," He paused, a thin wry smirk tugging at his lips as he looked back to the obsidian mirror and pulled his gloves on despite the discomfort, "Is Teague-Morague uth Vaughn, and I have no further reservations." Sirene pauses for a moment, then finishes up lacing the jacket. Tying it off, she steps back grins at him. "Sirene Ashrain. It's a pleasure to meet you." She gives him a full bow, holds it for a moment, then rises and smirks at him. Teague offered her a crooked smirka s he turned to cross the room towards his armor stand. Newly commissioned and just barely delivered, he looked it over. It certainly had it's charm, and function. He gestured for her to help him, for time's sake due to his slow hands, "You should join me for a walk. The temple is without fault, certainly, but I tire of idea of walls." Various hues of deep reds and dark blacks, made of scale, lamed plate and leather, the set was well made and built to impose. Teague wasn't certain of the accenting fur, but the helm's wild horsehair mane seemed to pleased him. He -did- look like he could use some sun...And some sleep. Despite his insistence that he had slept, it was restless and he had bruising about the eyes. Not that he wasn't beat to hell enough. At least Sirene's stitches on the two cuts along his face were small...There -might- not be -too- much of a scar.

Author: Teague Date: Sun Sep 27 23:19:32 2015 Subject Radical Directions (Part 3)

Sirene helps him into the armor, being gentle with his bandages. She hmms over his condition -just- a bit. "A walk is fine, and we can talk, but... will you please rest tonight? There is a limit on what even the gods can do for healing. You can't get your vengeance if your lack of sleep makes you bedridden for even longer than you avoided it." Zeke had been leaning on the door of Teague's room for a while now, nervous from both the atmosphere of the temple and from the fact he didn't know what was going to happen when Teague found out he was here on his own. After a long time of psyching himself up, he finally opens the door and steps in, doing his best to be normal even as he catches the mess that Teague seems to be in as Sirene helps him with his armor, "Teague? Fancy seeing you here. I thought you were a bit further south than this..." He blanks for a moment, not knowing what to say, "How's, things?" he questions, more at a loss for words than his normal self. Teague cleared his throat and made the work somewhat shorter with his own help, "I slept. Your concern is appreciated, Sirene, but I'm fine." He had just spent a week being a merc camp's special guest, he wasn't expecting to be--Zeke. He shifted to give a long-suffering look to the man with a slow cleansing breath. He had been told, of course. He hadn't been surprised, either. In fact, he was relieved. Had he been in the camp when Akadin had found him gone...He managed a wry smile and reached for the helm, considering it as he turned it in his hands before placing it back on the stand, "I was. There were unforeseen complications. You will be pleased to know Pashin has been spared, I am sure." Sirene hmphs at Teague. Not believing him. He's hurt, yes, but he does not look like he's gotten any sleep. But she finishes up getting his armor on and turns to Zeke, giving him a smile. "Hello there! Things... are things, yeah... Not sure how they are anymore." Zeke closes the door behind him and looks between the two of them like they're mad, "Ok, so, I believe it is time for someone to tell me a story. What happened to -you?-" He says pointing to Teague "And, what is going on with -you-?" He says towards Sirene "I feel like the only one in the room who isn't in on the joke, and this joke must be hilarious. I figured you might be ready to kill me..." He says towards Teague, doing his best to avoid saying his name but wanting nothing more than to scream at him like a child who's done something wrong, "...and you seem awfully calm to find the person who sent you here on a mission to be here with us, looking like he's been dragged through the worst alley's in port-o-call." Zeke seems dumbfounded by the both of them, and he hates being at a loss for words. Taking over on the last few straps here and there, letting the weight settle in, Teague crossed the room towards Zeke with a smile playing upon his busted lips, "Favor in the form of misfortune, my friend." His pace was slow, but steady, carrying him within arms' reach, "You're glad you came here, you troublesome shit. I had...Complications with the Conclave. It's not important..." Gasting a clance back over his shoulder at the priestess, he seemed awfully pleased with himself for the wreck he was in, "The elves and the war...It is an outdated concept." That didn't -really- answer the question, but Teague was impatient with that question, considering how many times it had been pressed. Sirene blinks at Teague for a moment. That...-that- is how he was going to explain it? That...She gives an apologetic smile to Zeke. "I'm calm at this point, but you saw how I was last night... And basically, a lot has happened, and so plans are changed." Considering. "And though the Highlord may not consider it of import now, the Conclave complications still hold a lot of importance in what all the current situation is."

Author: Teague Date: Sun Sep 27 23:27:12 2015 Subject Radical Directions (Part 4)

Zeke throws his hands up, exasperated. "Are you both kidding me? Those are the two most non answers I've ever heard, am I drunk right now. Did I somehow stumble into my own dream? Both of you are adults, that I have spent a great deal of time with, how about you give a real answer and not just leave me to wonder what in all the hells is going on." Teague sighs, glancing down to flick some mote from his pauldron. He looked back up and tossed his hands out toe side slightly before he went to the nicest thing in the room: The liquor cabinet. Opening it up, he perused the contents and gave in, "Fine, fine. I left the camp to deal with something I needed to see done before the meeting the Conclave had called. I was ambushed, by men hired by the High Archmage of my Order and their hospitality was...Lacking." He reached for a bottle of brandy, pulling it down to consider, "I was held for a week, had my hands broken, and was ordered to come to this meeting to die, accused of crimes not my own. My only other option was to be labeled a hunted traitor and renegade. Eventually they cut me loose in the desert. The mage from my camp? He and his had followed and they brought me here." Placing the bottle back, he reached for another before turning back to give a somewhat more grim look to Zeke, "The meeting is tomorrow, and I intend to be enjoying a day or two before all hell breaks loose." By that, of course, he means himself. He's not just going to nod his head and play nice. It's not -in- him. Sirene nods to Teague. Much better. She looks to Zeke. "And that was his personal thing, not my story to tell." Zeke looks like hes going to tear out his hair, gripping for a moment as he runs his hands through it, "I don't...What in the hells is wrong with you, man? Where do I even begin..." Zeke glares at Sirene, "And you, you're just letting him spew this madness? In a case like this, you march up to him and slap him across the face because he is clearly outright delusional right now." He looks between the two, with a combination of anger, confusion, and exhaustion, "You're going to just waltz back into a counsel of mages and declare war on them? Do you really want to die that badly?" Teague tilted his head to the side, eyes flicking up to Zeke as he tosses the bottle to him, not fond of the prospect of pulling that cork, "I'm not going and there isn't anything I can do to stop this, Zeke. What am I supposed to do? Cry?" He was trying to make the most of this, and was fairly sure he could, given time. "My forces are withdrawing from the south, securing our borders. This city is warded...This temple is perfectly safe. I thought the news would ease your bleeding heart..." Sirene umms and looks down slightly. "I... Yeah, he's not -going- to the meeting... So right now there is a short time for recovery, getting fitted for new gear, and all that. To be ready for whatever may come next." Zeke catches the bottle, only fumbling slightly, but he doesn't placate Teague by opening yet, "Neither of you are making any sense, you're -not- going to this meeting of mages, so because of that you have to get ready.. for mages? What are you talking about? And you gearing up for war after getting your hands broken is supposed to pacify my bleeding heart?" He looks tempted to smash this bottle against Teague right now, "Yes, such a shame I would want to have people I like stay alive, quite the bleeding heart.."

Author: Teague Date: Sun Sep 27 23:30:53 2015 Subject Radical Directions (Part 5)

He takes a deep breath, trying to calm himself, "Do you remember what I told you, that you were going to get yourself killed, and this war was going to just bring about a whole lot of death a destruction for no good reason? I feel fairly vindicated right now, because you look like an absolute mess, and it is most likely only through the graces of the gods that you're still here." this last part he grumbles out, "And don't get me started on this gods-be-damned temple. I've had enough of this place already." For a moment he just didn't seem to know what to -do- with this man. Honestly, was he never happy? "I was going to try and -prevent- more war, Zeke. But someone rather high up seems to suddenly have it out for me. This was unexpected--" He drew in a breath, coughing once before clearing his throat again. Was he sweating...? Yes, a little. "I can't just lay down, I have obligations. What in the Abyss do you -want- from me?" Sirene looks up to Teague at that cough, a note of concern crossing her face again. "Highlord...I know you have some things you want to do still today before I'll be able to convince you to sleep, but...Can you at least -sit- for right now? Drink some water..." He needs sleep and just...All the rest she can get him to take. More than that. And looking to Zeke, "I'm sorry..." Just for this all. All of it, yes. Zeke nods at Sirene, hes clearly not upset with her, if anything he seems almost apologetic towards her, hes clearly just frustrated by this whole situation, "She is definitely right about that at least, what are you doing strapping armor to yourself, you couldn't make it past me out that door if you wanted to, let alone do anything to someone who actually meant you harm. Quiet down, take a seat and think about what in the gods names you are trying to do here...Bloody mages, you are all out to drive me mad.." The mage was not opposed to the suggestion, making to try and drop himself into a high-backed chair. That was the first sign something was wrong. Fatigue was to be expected, and so was pain, but this was not the same. He felt like he was getting a fever. He reached up to work at the heavy armor that was growing a bit more weighty than he was used to. Maybe he -was- just pushing himself too quickly. He had a couple of days of peace...And he was exhausted. "Fine fine..." He didn't want to, of course, and his distaste for the situation was apparent as he tossed the first piece of gear to the floor. That would be a good second clue. Sirene frowns fully. This... What is this. A quick glance to Zeke, and then she rushes over to Teague. She starts and helps him with laces, but then quickly puts the back of her hand to his forehead. He's pretty warm there... It wasn't like that when bandaging even. Quickly withdrawing the hand, she frowns at him. "Alright. You need water, and -sleep- right now. Please." She will reach to help with laces more if he continues to let her. Zeke doesn't know what to think anymore, the tone in the room was radically shifting, and he couldn't tell which way was up anymore. And the temple was still bothering him, always present in the back of his mind like a tumor. "That idiot will only go to sleep when he passes out from exhaustion, or someone forces him to. Its a miracle hes alive right now and not passed out with a knife in him somewhere." "Ok then. So. Can I maybe get a bit more clarity on everything now? Why is your army moving, for one?"

Author: Teague Date: Sun Sep 27 23:32:32 2015 Subject Radical Directions (Part 6)

Teague let her help him, too, eager enough to be rid of it that he simply didn't think to argue. Zeke was holding his attention well enough as he shifted to a somewhat serious tone, "Because...I do not intend to war with the elves. Not any time soon." Who knew? If Tess' plan followed through, they might just do the job for them anyways. As soon as he could, he was stripping that coat and peeling the gloves. If you thought his face looked bad, his hands were a massacre. Though they seemed to be -working- at least. "Bed...Does not sound to be...Unreasonable." Well, there was clue number 3. Sirene bites at her lip. Not good, no. She helps get the armor and coats off, muttering a quiet prayer in Silvanesti. But not knowing what this -is- yet, it is just a general strengthening for him and, "Sleep then. Please." Zeke rolls his eyes, happy at least the meeting didn't come to blows, but shocked that Teague was giving up so easy, "Alright, Sirene, lets go to our room then. Give Teague some peace." Teague vaguely waved them towards the door, sinking down into the chair for a moment. "Mhmn...We can talk tomorrow." He just needed to sleep. In fact, it wouldn't be long after they were gone that he simply drifted off right there.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Oct 2 04:10:20 2015 Subject Sickbed Quandaries (Part 1)

The Highlord was in his chambers as they had left him, standing over his desk with a palm flattened across the lacquered surface. He poured over several papers, down to his shirt and pants, hair pulled back n a mess of dreds. He snatched up one map and actually rolled it closed this time, slowly as he thought...Or struggled to think. He was plagued by a fever, chills and his body ached...Probably from over-working. He wasn't moved by it, the world waited for no one. As one could see, Teague hadn't lost -all- of his stubbornness. No surprise there. Zeke hadn't checked in on Teague in some time, and while he felt he was getting somewhere with the priestess, he figured someone had to make sure the stupid mage wasn't dead yet. "Teague, how are..' he asks when he opens the door to your room, before seeing you standing there, "Habbakuk's balls man, you look like a mess, what in the hells is wrong with you?" Teague flicked his eyes up to the door, dropping the map down in favor of using he hand to wipe some sweat from his brow. The first time he started, he was interrupted by coughing, but he managed to get hold of himself, both hands bracing on the table quickly enough to hide -most- of a sway, "I'm sick, I believe." In a Temple. Surrounded by healers. "Where have you been...?" Zeke made sure to close the door behind him, others shouldn't see the state the highlord is in right now, "So, maybe the gods haven't returned then. You look like an absolute mess. I thought one of the things the old clerics did was heal the sick..." He enters the room, but doesn't get too close to him, he didn't feel like getting whatever Teague had himself, "I've been around, talking to people, you have some interesting companions around here.." He leaves it vague, for now. To be honest, Teague was convinced he had been collecting the strange ones. This...Well his retinue was anything but normal. Neither was he, though. Shifting from the table he moved towards one of the three high-backed chairs to rest, sinking down with a soft groan, "The Gods have spared my life many time by their...grace. But they cannot heal this." He glanced up, somewhat concerned looking for once. A lack of mask made him so much more readable...That and he was severely low on cares right now. "Careful...Wouldn't want you to catch it either." "Yeah, that's why I'm staying over here...Maybe, if you considered it, the clerics are trying to keep you sick, or maybe they're faking it, or maybe, if you had clerics of more friendly gods, they might be able to help you out more." Tea chuckled himself into a soft rasp, shaking his head as it bowed him from the shoulder, "M-my Queen would not save my hands to kill me now...There's far too much to be done. This is..." Something Special. "Something else..." He pushed himself back against the chair a few slow breaths coming "He...It's not poison...But it has to be deliberate. I wouldn't worry too much...It's not much more than a cold." Certaintis? Teague's never used them before, but that's the thing about being all the way across the room...When you look away, it's hard to see the mixed feelings. "It's fine...Did--Hn. Did you wish to talk about the war more?" They did cut that short... Zeke blinks, looking at him like he's insane, "A.. A cold? By the gods, how dumb do you think I am? I've -had- a cold before, it didn't do -that- to me." He shakes his head, at least glad Tea's still sitting, "I guess we could talk about the war, but, don't you think about anything else?" Teague sighs, shaking his head, "I...Would rather not, really..." He pulled a cloth from the table nearby to wipe his brow, sinking down a little, "I'm tired of it. No...Tell me more about where you've been?" He was -still- thinking about the war, of course...But there are other things, after all.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Oct 2 04:13:09 2015 Subject Sickbed Quandaries (Part 2)

Zeke chuckles a little bit, folding his arms as he leans against the wall across the room from Teague, "Spending some time with Sirene, talking a few things over. Finally spending some time outside of this gods-forsaken.." He glances around the room like he's being watched, "This gods-forsaken temple, it doesn't bode well with me.." Teague knew what he meant, but couldn't fully relate. This was, after all, the safest place he could think of right now. "How are you finding her? She's an interesting case, I believe..." Teague looked down to cough again, keeping a critical eye on the other man. He still couldn't quite get a handle on him or why he insisted on being here if he hated it so much. "She's interesting. Wish I had found her before you and your people, maybe she wouldn't have been so brainwashed then. I do find it scary though, how much she seems to enjoy this place. This gods-be-damned place makes my skin crawl and head hurt, and when she walked into it she lit up like festival lights." Teague snorts, "No one brainwashed her, Zeke...She had already made her choice by the time her pth crossed with ours. Her own people never did much for her...Even I learned more about loyalty here than home..." He shifted, trying to shrug off a chill's shiver, mind wandering over the concept of home. The fever was clearly lazing his mind by he time he muttered, "What...What if we took a break from destroying...And built something? Would...Would you change your mind? About us..." Zeke blinks, he wasn't expecting that question, "Uh.. What, what exactly do you mean..." He was taken aback, had he actually reached Teague? He didn't think he had swayed his mind before, but maybe...Maybe he actually was doing something. Not exactly, no, but Teague -did- hear him from time to time. He wasn't the only one, though. The ideas were vague, still forming plans...But he pressed on once he'd cleared his throat and pushed himself half up from the seat, "I mean...Building a home. A people. Something -different-. It wouldn't change the fact at She is our Queen...But it serves Her as well as it does them. Us as well..." No one was going to take this well, if it did go anywhere other than a fever dream. Teague had better put some serious thought and backing into before he placed the first piece, or his own would be no different than the Conclave: Out for his blood. Zeke cocks an eyebrow, "I would be very interested in that. Where would you be...building...something? Here, Neraka? One of the lands you stole from their rightful inhabitants? And what do you mean for building a home? Home for who, what kind of home?" Teague brought himself around the back of the chair, leaning into it as he tried to put things in order, "I don't know...We'll start here and Sanction I would guess. Sanction is -my- home..." They were getting into fancies now, far further than he'd fully considered and into the realm of possibility and maybe. "It's a thought, Zeke...But a plausible one. Things may move quickly and there is no place in this world for real peace, not from us or anyone else, but...I don't know. This is foolishness I suppose, I haven't the power to make that call..." But now, of course, he's considering who does. Teague the Highlord could not...Not without full support. "This, I would love to see. I would definitely stick around to see you try and build a society from the ground up, and of all the places in Kyrnn, I haven't been there yet. So it would be interesting to see...Are your bloodthirsty hordes going to agree with this? I recall seeing a large amount of sell-swords, goblins, and ogres among your forces. They don't seem the type to build a new society."

Author: Teague Date: Fri Oct 2 04:15:09 2015 Subject Sickbed Quandaries (Part 3)

He had to chuckle at that, which lead into more coughing behind that cloth, "I doubt it. Not unless I can find something for them to do. I can't abolish war, Zeke, I'm a -warlord- for the Gods' sake...I need something convincing. The renegades...Would be a good start. The Conclave does not own magic -or- people...Many of them would jump at a chance. There are more than just mercenaries. You've been outside. You've seen our people. They should be stronger...We should be certain that they -can- be..." Teague glanced to the cloth and pushed back from the chair, dragging ass to the table again. "It's like food, Zeke...Presentation is eighty percent...At least." "Well, I get your point but I must say, I've been to my share of fancy dinners and ballrooms, but I'd rather have some good venison than badly prepared quail that looks nice." Zeke gives a playful grin, "Yeah, there are more than just mercenaries in your camp, but a lot of those people are going to leave, or get violent, or get mean, you may have a full blown civil war on your hands if you decide to do this, I think that might be your biggest problem of all of them when it comes to this." Teague nods, doing his best to remain sensible as they spoke, "No, I know...Patience. Something will present itself...If we're vigilant." And the mages don't kill you first, Highlord. You're making more enemies than ever before, and quickly. "I can't say how...But She hasn't struck me dead yet." That was always a good sign when in Her temple. "If I make it that far, we will see. Hm?" {The smirk was good natured, but equal parts grim and cynicism. Zeke wrinkles his face at the mention of Takhisis, "Yes, well, there is still plenty of time to get struck down I suppose." He once again warily looks around the room, part of him wondered if he should be making jokes like that in this place, he was uncomfortable enough here as it was. "Well, at least for now, I can stick around. Maybe keep -someone- from killing you, though I don't know if I can stop the whole army of goblins you'll have knocking at your door." Teague offered the other man a smile, "If it weren't for..." He sucked in a slow breath, biting down on that one with a weary sigh, "There are not many left I would have to my back. I'm glad you returned." Even if you won't fight by my side. "-Sometimes- you even makes sense. On your good days." "God willing those days are few and far between, I don't like it when I'm making sense to you...Don't expect me to go murdering arbitrarily on your behalf either. I'll do my best to keep you safe if things go south, but I don't really want to kill people if I don't have to. Its not...exactly my favorite thing." Teague rolled his eyes, turning his attention towards some well-needed water. He poured with his back to the other, brow knitting briefly. What would he do with Zeke? How would he keep -him- alive in this place? "It isn't myself that I worry about..." He took a drink and half sat back against the table, trying to clear the cobwebs with a soft shake of his head, "Even now, we're assuming that this isn't Falkore's fault. That I'm not already dead." That came easier than Teague thought it would...But here, away from the eyes of the people? He could at least hint at the fact that he was taking this seriously and had reason for concern. "Well, if its mages you're worried about, I'm not that worried, I'm pretty confident in my ability to take out some silly bookworm. But, if you aren't worrying about yourself, who exactly are you concerned for? I can't imagine anyone has the military to seriously worry your military this far east, the elves aren't going to leave their forests, and the ogres aren't united in such a way that you're going to have to worry about them."

Author: Teague Date: Fri Oct 2 04:17:51 2015 Subject Sickbed Quandaries (Part 4)

Chuckling, he gestured with a tilt of his glass towards Zeke, "I have plenty to worry with over the prospect of war...I mean you, Zeke." Teague watched him closely, fighting not to spill the water as he hit anther deeper fit of coughing into the cloth, "If something happens. If I die or lose my power, I can't protect you from my own. You know what that means, right?" Yes, he does worry. Just not often out loud. Zeke snorts, "I went into this expecting to die, Teague, so I have no expectations of making it out alive. But if you go down and there is someone with still enough sense to try and kill me, things have gone far more sideways than I imagined. Besides, most your soldiers probably don't want me dead, and those that do..." He doesn't name any names, but Teague can take a guess, "Well, if need be, I will put someone in the ground if I have to." Teague just doesn't fully get it. So...He gives Zeke a look over the edge of the cloth, "You have to outlive me, Zeke. You might be the only person who could manage to say something truthful -and- nice for my eulogy." He put the glass down before he dropped it and leaned back into the table, hands coming up to pull his hair free of the tie, palms kneading at his temples. His head was just pounding. Zeke snorts again, he watches him closely, hoping he doesn't fall over so he doesn't have to touch him. He may have taken to his outdoor life well, doesn't mean he enjoys getting sick, "Yeah, I have a feeling I wont get much of a chance to give a eulogy at your funeral, if you even manage to get a proper burial. And, there is only so long you can keep me alive Teague. At some point you're going to do something I wont be able to abide by. That's the pact you've made, and you seem hell bent on taking it. Gods, I may have to be the one to put you down." even Zeke doesn't know if hes joking about that. Lofting a brow, Teague gave it a dismissive snort and then slid to the side, settling on the side of the bed to look at the other man. He'd never even considered his funeral before, or lack thereof. It was a sobering thought, wasn't it? Enough to have him reaching for a flask he may or may not need, "I don't understand why you haven't tried already. I'm no good man, and I won't likely change." He looked up, contemplating his situation, "You know...If someone had told me I would be here when I showed up on the Conclave's steps...I would have laughed at them without a thought. But I made my oath, Zeke...What kind of man, good or evil, cannot produce the weight of their words in action?" Zeke shrugs, "Most of them, I'd wager. Most people are bad at that sort of thing. Words only mean so much to a lot of people." He was starting to think that life might be easier if -he- was one of those people, keeping to his word was getting him in an awful lot of jams recently. "You know, the option to abandon it all and leave is still on the table. Doesn't have to go down this way." Taking a fair drink of the firewater he grimaced, biting down on another wracking cough shortly after. He settled back into the pillows, propping him up, well aware he'd pushed harder than he should already, "There's always a choice, Zeke. The so-called good people like to remind us of that, until they face their own. I suppose it's different to them, hm? So bright and shiny in the light of the Sun..." Teague wasn't buying that. He never did. "My shield brothers and sisters are here...Men I would die for and who would die for me. We all have choices, yes...But a -decent- person, more often than not, has none at all."

Author: Teague Date: Fri Oct 2 04:19:57 2015 Subject Sickbed Quandaries (Part 5)

"Who knows, at this point in my life I don't really know any decent people. That priestess might be able to be one if she doesn't slip to far into your insane plotting, but there aren't any decent people I've known for a long time. I do think that you're just making excuses to avoid the fact that you know that you're choosing to wage war instead of trying to make peace. Maybe your new plan will change some things, but I have my doubts. Even so, I guess I'll find out with you." Teague was probably building something else to fight for, yes. To fight over. He knew this, as he knew that war was in their blood. It was who they were. That didn't mean it had to be wanton and pointless. It served no one living and -barely- did a thing for their Queen either. Not in his mind, at least. Maybe he was making excuses. Maybe he wasn't. He wasn't particularly sure tonight. Teague couldn't help but break a thin smile, "You wouldn't kill me..." His gaze was down and it was half to himself, but he gave Zeke a glance after, "Look at you. You...Sound just like my brother." "I don't know anything about your brother, so maybe I do, maybe I don't. Not for me to know. As for killing you...That depends Teague. If I ever saw you doing something completely unforgivable, well I'd have to stop you, or at least try. I really don't want to be a part of any more innocents dying. I really, -really- don't know how much longer I can live with that." Teague lifted his head up, tilting it just a bit, "He's a Solamnic...Better than most." He was probably thinking on it too much, but what else was there? He'd keep prodding the man to talk if he would, "What, exactly--" Questions broken by the occasional fit of coughing. This one was a bit more drawn out than the others and it left him reeling with a rasp of an attempt to the rest, "...What is this...Unforgivable?" What -did- he think he was capable of... "I've been part of you attacking Silvanost, Teague. Those villages we were in, they weren't only filled with elven soldiers. And even then...How many of those 'soldiers' were just people trying to defend their families, homes, where they grew up and live? If it comes to that again, I wouldn't be able to take part in the very least, but...You serve a dark master, Teague, how long until those defended villages become undefended villages? You really think all the sell-swords, goblins, and whatever else is in your army aren't above rape or arson?" Teague couldn't say. He could, but he didn't have to. As Zeke said earlier, he wasn't stupid. He lifted a hand to wave it off vaguely. Feverish eyes settled on the other man, blinking gone to clear the vision, "Then why just stand there...Isn't prevention justice in the eyes of the beholders..." He was struggling at this point, though, pulling himself up to sit on his own accord despite the wave of dizzying nausea rising with him, voice quiet, "I'm evil...And you're the good man. Better than most..." He was clearly not all there right now. "You are my friend, but..." There was no regret to it, Teague didn't deal in regrets, even half out of his head. That's probably why he was hacking his way through a chuckle that bent him over his own lap, "You could be a hero instead." "Or, maybe you could be the hero. You could turn this whole thing around. You have sway here, maybe you could use this army for something good. Maybe not go out and try and take over the world and force your vision through use of the blade, but make something that you have in your head. Your ideal society. And maybe that will spread. Maybe I can convince you to do something different and I don't have to kill one of my few friends."

Author: Teague Date: Fri Oct 2 04:22:59 2015 Subject Sickbed Quandaries (Part 6)

Teague hated to disappoint, so he didn't refuse -immediately-. Instead, he let himself sink back into the bed with a moment to consider him, "A fine situation we're in." He was reminded of a home he once had but never really wanted. "I won't betray Her..." She was part of who he was. The reason he was still here, evil or not. "She showed me hope, Zeke. Dared me to rise...I would be nothing. No one." "From what I remember, and I'm no scholar or priest, but from what I remember of the stories we were told we all have choices. The gods can only give us paths, thats why Istar was destroyed. Because they made their choices to walk away from the gods. You say Takhisis made you what you are, but maybe Takhisis just showed you one of several paths and you took it of your own free will. There are other gods out there, Teague, maybe one of you can show you a different path." Teague was never going to win this one. He'd never even made progress. But it was a fine distraction from what could very well be his deathbed. "It probably won't even matter, Zeke. Look at me." His state was sorry and, even just this evening, growing worse. He was too tired to play at theology and philosophy now, though. "For what it matters, you're probably right...But I chose my path already. It might diverge here and there...But the road leads to only one place. None of us ever make it out alive, you know..." This was supposed to be a joke, of course. Teague had different plans than simply 'getting out'...He couldn't stop -here-. "Well, you say that, but i think you aren't trying hard enough. You should really look at least, you know there are other gods out there. Never hurts to look...But, as for making it out alive, the way you look, you definitely don't look like you're going to make it out of anywhere alive. Although it has probably given you an opportunity to catch up on a few years of lack of sleep." Teague let his head fall back, another rattling chuckle coming as he hit a cold sweat again, "Trying...You don't change gods and people like they're a new pair of shoes...S'not tryin, Zeke...S'not--I don't -want- a new God...I've seen what men do in the name of other Gods. None of them are any better." Oh, that's bitter. It may even have a slight touch of venom, though it's not particularly aimed at Zeke. "Why can't...Forget it. I know it will happen someday. Let's just be now." Knowing and liking are not one in the same, of course, but that rarely changed things. Besides, the way he's breaking into another hacking fit, now was in high demand and low supply. Teague managed a smile, weary and pained or not. "I've cast off my mask and spoken my name...I've cast off my protection...My safe out. Khariif was right for once." He had been hiding, clinging to a proverbial way out, even if he never intended to use it. "I'll take you until you have to go." "Well, I'll stick around for now. Hopefully you wont die in the next week and we can have some drinks together again. I am excited to hear of you speak about something besides war, maybe things can be different Teague. Maybe you can build something. Or maybe, though I'm not holding my breath, you'll realize what you want doesn't need Takhisis and you can do something grand without her. As for now, I'm going to let you go to bed. You look like an absolute mess, and as for myself? I should get out of this temple before an 'accident' ends my stay here prematurely." Teague nodded, letting him go his way. "I'll be back on my feet irritating you soon enough." He was exhausted despite the good company. It wouldn't be long before he got more of that well-needed rest. As much of it as he could get. He was in for a rough ride and he knew it.

Author: Teague Date: Sat Oct 3 22:24:59 2015 Subject The Doctor (Part 1)

The Red Highlord sat in the large open window, feet propped in the corner of the far side of the carved opening. He'd actually managed to get out of bed for the first time in days and had even bothered with dressing. Well, no shoes. Who needed those anyways. Efforts aside, he was up, he was generally lucid for the time being and...He still looked rather awful. Over the hill but not out of the woods. What fun. Death could come for him if it wanted, but it would have to come and -get- him. He hadn't the time to dalley with him today. There was work to be done. The illness had spread throughout the city and this was equal parts blessing and curse...-If- he didn't drop the ball. He would have to consult his trusted advisors without delay...Assuming they hadn't fallen ill as well. Half of Neraka had by now, but it only seemed to be claiming the infirm...Mostly the old and very young. Nestos makes his way through the temple, the hood of his cloak pulled low hiding all of his face. The only thing that shows is the occasional glint off his eyes. He leans on the charred vallenwood staff with glowing silver runes. No one seems to meet his gaze as he proceeds through the halls to Teague's rooms. He was not captive for long, but it seemed a great number of the city had fallen ill, much like himself. An interesting plague indeed, though it did not seem to be killing many off. He ends his musings as he gets to the door he was seeking and raps on it with his staff, before letting himself in. "There have been rumors floating around about you," Nestos says with a grin under his hood, only for himself. Ryna moves relaxes by her cart having brought it to the city square of Neraka. She consults her gathered notes as she eyes a family whom seemed to be working on trying to approach. Ryna moves to wash her hands with a waterskin she keeps for that. She eyes the family, father caught it first by the look of it... child seems further along then the mother... She greets the family and moves to get some herbs together already. Talking with them calmly. Teague looks up from the unfolding scene of the large market to greet Nestos with a nod and a wry smile, voice a low rasp still, "Me? I can't imagine what it is this time..." Someone always tended to be speaking of him. "It's a wonder my ears haven't burned to a crisp." Breaking off to cough into a cloth, he gestured with his free hand for him to go on and make himself at home, gaze returning to the many scenes below. It was nearly impossible for Teague to pick out his Red Watch as they made their way through the crowds towards the physician, the family and her cart. He was mildly distracted in his thoughts anyways, "Dare I ask...?" And below? The four Sivak, viciously keen, would find what they were sent to retrieve: the doctor. Magic had failed them thus far and rumor traveled fast of such things in times like this. Nestos makes his way over to a chair, and with a wave of his hand, the staff in his hand disappears. He then lets himself fall into the cushioned chair, letting out a cough as he does so. "I think you know well what I speak of...renegade," the dark elf says, his voice not as raspy as hollow, "I take it you received my message?" The mage keeps his hood pulled low, but smiles underneath knowing that he did get the message, and the High Archmage got his own message. Ryna focuses on the family though she does glance about. Getting some hot water she had been keeping and showing the family how to make the tea she was suggesting and focusing mostly on the child's treatment recommendations, not explaining the herbs that were in the pouch but showing the unique knots intently and explaining which should be taken when. Ryna nods to the Red Watch when they arrive, and asks for them to give her a moment. She eyes them and trying to get an idea of their current state as she does.

Author: Teague Date: Sat Oct 3 22:27:57 2015 Subject The Doctor (Part 2)

Teague snorted, shrugging a shoulder as he slipped the cloth away into his open long coat before gesturing out the window, "This is Falkore's doing." He didn't so much as give a pause at the word. Renegade meant nothing to him. A label from men who thought to play at God. This masterpiece below them was a swift and decisive move. He had to appreciate it with a return in kind. Soon. "For what?" The Red Watch wait, impatiently but without issue. They were not ordered to arrest the doctor, only to acquire their services. The Highlord had very specific orders regarding this. Nestos idly stares into his hands, knowing the full well the man was referring to the sickness spreading through the city. "Well, in one way or another," he says grinning again under his hood. He glances up and out of the window onto the courtyard watching the Red Watch gather up the doctor. "Have you heard that I have followed suit in leaving the Conclave?" The dark elf says, studying the man to see his reaction. Ryna gets the adult doses fewer, but stronger. explaining those. The leather of the pouch dyed. she makes sure to stress about not mixing any up and to empty each pouch completely when taking. Going over payments plans last. Ryna looks to the Red Watch once she is done and nods to them {p"Thank you for waiting. Is something ailing you as well? Or is this something else?" There was a moment where he did not react to him at all, still watching the people below, both stricken and otherwise. But he had to ask, didn't he? Shifting, Teague slid out of the window to place bare feet on the stone floors as the request is made below. This "doctor" was requested to join them in the Temple without delay. She would, of course, be compensated. He tried to read the man, coughing into the cloth once more before he returned, "Have you now? Why?" One did not simple go Renegade every day. Nestos thinks on his answer for a moment, considering whether to use the truth or not. "Falkore was the reason for my captivity, and I have an idea of why," the dark elf states flatly, and makes to continue but stops himself. "I sent the High Archmage a letter, stating my intentions." He watches as the Red Watch does their work in collecting the physician, no doubt attempting to rush her. The mage then attempts to stifle a cough, managing to just barely do so. Tea watches with him, the cloth still pressed to his lips as both brows perked a bit, "I assume he wanted to rig my trial so that he could torture me to death at his leisure." The words, though broken by the ragged voice, were slick with venom. That bastard. He'd fought for years to keep the Conclave and the Dragonarmies away from each other, but in his struggle he had been to blind to see the truth. "He has my attention. Soon, he will have the world's attention." War was not the answer. Yet. But it would be. "I feel no loss. I am no farther from the Gods to be rid of this Order of Falsities." As Teague had ordered, the Sivak would wait and then show her to and through the twisting halls of the Temple. The stench of illness was even here, amongst Her halls. Nestos shrugs from under his cloak, not caring for the circumstance as he had been in it before. "I expect that is exactly what he was going for. I cannot speculate what he wanted to do after he got his verdict, but I imagine you are not far off," he says, almost no feeling to the statement, "I am ultimately glad for captivity. It gave me some time to think, and it exposed the Tower's true colors. Plus, I was not treated nearly as poorly as you." He tosses a knowing smile at the Highlord from depths of his hood.

Author: Teague Date: Sat Oct 3 22:31:05 2015 Subject The Doctor (Part 3)

Teague put a hand on the sill, having focused on the small swath of red amongst the many, "Pain can be every bit as enlightening as solitude." Both had been almost maddening, but no less thought-evoking. He -knew- what Falkore wanted to do to him. The coward had spoken it to him as he paid the mercenary to cause the harm he hadn't been man enough to deliver himself. His greatest regret would be that he had them -release- Teague. Even he knew better than to create an enemy and leave it unchecked. More enlightening had been the reverie of a fever dream, burning the darkened serpentine phoenix in the back of his mind. Her eyes were many and they were not her own. He'd drifted, head addled by the lingering fever, but he snapped to, setting his gaze upon the other mage, "It is time for a change, my friend." And that was when the knock would come. The Highlord turned, straightening and blocking his shoulders, "Enter." It was not the doctor, but an announcement of her arrival. He quickly told them to bring her up and then dismissed them, turning to give Nestos a thoughtful look. Nestos listens quietly, studying the man, finding the fact that he had come out of his captivity in such a different way. He then turns to the door as well, his attention drawn to it by the knock. He watches as the doctor is announced, then shown into the room. He remains lounging in his chair however. Ryna waits when asked to and enters when she is anouced and looks from one to the other. She eyes the Highlord's state and nods her head {p"Hello.." She pauses {p"How long have you been sick for?" He would leave it at that, for now, but it was clear that his fires had come out of that pit fully stoked. Even if they were disease-ridden flames. Teague had a plan and it was using said flames to burn a hole in his pocket. This doctor was slipping into the forefront of his mind now. Magic had not served them here. He needed to give his people something else to weather this storm. This woman might be just the thing, Goddess willing. He waited for her to enter, giving her a brief, cold read before he nods to the men at his door. They close it behind her and he takes the time to ask his -own- questions first, "Tell me what you think of this disease, healer." Nestos makes no move, except to nod and the newcomer, still keeping his hood pulled low. He simply watches the interaction between the doctor and the Highlord. Ryna tilts her head, blinking once. This was new. She moves to get out her book {p"Inconsistent. It affects each differently. Which makes it seem not magic rooted. Teas and some herbs can help the symptoms. Been trying to figure out why some seem particularly less affected. Managed to get a few people to answer some questions to try to help find it." Teague let her answer, crossing the receiving chamber to sit upon the edge of the desk, coughing into the cloth{ again. "The only reported deaths have been of the infirm...But it appears to be spreading. Do you have the capacity to aid the people, given the appropriate resources?" Magic had to be the cause of it. He knew it had come from that sniveling fool up in his tower. He would not be convinced otherwise, "This -is- magic, mind you. We are aware of it's source." Teague not only knew, but he cared not for keeping it a secret. He wanted it to spread, like the wildfire inside of him, "The Conclave has made their first move. This is an act of war." The dark elf remains silent as the to continue their back and forth, not bothering to interject. He stifles another cough as the two speak about the plague going around. He himself was not convinced it was magic, but Nestos would not be surprised if it had been caused by Falkore's actions.

Author: Teague Date: Sat Oct 3 22:34:56 2015 Subject The Doctor (Part 4)

Ryna nods slightly in difference. "Just saying my theories based on the observations I have had to date. And yes. It spreads. Direct contact... can almost tell which member of a family got it first especially when they have jobs that keep them away from the others for a day or so." She thinks on it and nods, {p "Given the resourses... can definately ease the symptoms. Particularly the right herbs and teas... the fever and cough particularly. I am not confirmed, but one of those is likely what killed them." Nodding, Teague gestured to her, gave leveling with a cool serpentine eye, "If you can help them survive this, you will be heavily rewarded." He flicked a brief glance towards the dark elf watching him as he continued to speak to her, "You will produce a list of your necessities by nightfall." Turning his eyes back to her now, he added, "I was the first to show signs, at least a week before it began to spread. Have you any questions regarding this? I seem to be mending, but you may examine me if you feel it will gain you necessary insight." Not much of a request. Nestos is unable to stifle the next cough, but it does not seem to cause much of a problem for him. He tisks when the coughs stops, showing his annoyance at having to deal with the illness. The mage was just glad he did not have it nearly as bad as most, and seemed to be able to handle it with his own abilities. Ryna's brow arches just a hair. But she turns to her notes. Her eyes glance about the room. Rewarded heavily and a way to be sure both the oaths and her wants are met. She nods, {p "I can get the list, just need to narrow down my notes." She looks to Nestos then to Teague.{p "Might I request we have some hot water for tea perhaps first? Some idea of what symptoms come up after what I have seen so far would help me to be sure I know what doses to go with then going on theories." Teague stood with some effort, making his way to the door with his mouth and nose covered. He made the request, cracking the door and then, shutting it, turned back to her again. "It will not be long. Consular..." He paused on Nestos, smiling with some sense of satisfaction, "Are you ill as well? Perhaps she should see to you first." Why shouldn't he be pleased to have this resource? Worth more than gold or not, he was far from willing to suggest he volunteer before himself, "I insist." "I suppose you could say that," the dark elf says with obvious amusement in his voice, "And I would not mind something if it will deal with the cough, though I do not seem to be as affected as you have." Nestos shrugs, then pulls the hood of his cloak off his head. The elf was paler than usual, but other than that looked in relatively good health. "I myself first started showing signs while I was being held." Ryna gets out her pouch, putting it on her book as she gets out a smaller pouch and double checks the knot. She didn't even consider poison. No not with a potential opportunity like this, not in this position. That would be foolish beyond measure. She looks to Nestos, {p "You were held? How long ago. For how long? Where was that? Besides the cough anything else off? Swelling? discoloration?" She approaches a few steps opening the pouch looking into it and sniffing before closing it and reconsidering. Milder dose needed likely... need to make up a new batch. She moves to the table and sets her book and pouch down. Ryna takes out three other pouches. Looking through and checking knots. {p"Have you been eating anything different.. types of food... herbs used? And do either of you have Tea flavor preferences?"

Author: Teague Date: Sat Oct 3 22:39:44 2015 Subject The Doctor (Part 5)

Teague brought the water from the door, setting it on a stone at the table by the divan and chairs. He keeps one eye on the two of them, making his way around towards the window to lean once more with another go of hacking into his cloth once more. He kept quiet for now, letting the woman work, save for a short return to her open question, "I don't typically drink tea." Nestos chuckles as the woman goes into her list of questions, but it because a quiet cough. "I was only held for a day, and it was nothing too bad," the dark elf says with a grin and look to the Highlord. "As for my health, the only other symptom I have is the chills. And I do not have a preference for my tea." Ryna looks to the cups and starts to choose some herbs looking from one to the other briefly to judge doses. {p"So, eaten anything recently herb wise? And no preference bitter, sweet anything? Anything I should avoid? No use making something you wouldn't drink." Ryna works on the cups.{p "Chills though... don't have many reporting that... tried some dried berries that seem good for those thoughs in yours.. will and a fruity flavor... tried to be sure things complemented that... try to keep it from tasting terrible." Ryna looks to the highlord, {p "Your symptoms?" She moves to offer Nestos the prepared cup. {p"That should help." Teague watched her closely, and Nestos even closer. He had to think about that. He listed off the headaches, dizziness, fevers and generally hellish cold-like symptoms before pausing to consider. "Hn. It's hard to tell when the fatigue set in...There were some recent complications." He drew in a ragged breath, "I was incarcerated for around a week. The hospitality was sorely lacking." Indeed. Teague was still healing from the affair and those stitched slices on his face could have looked better. Nestos takes the tea prepared by the doctor and smells it, then whispers a few words under his breath. He smiles and shrugs before taking a sip of the concoction. He puts a quizzical look on his face, "Its not horrible." He then goes quiet and lets the Highlord explain his symptoms. He continues to sip on the tea and he watches carefully to what the doctor is doing. Ryna jots down the symptoms as he lists them, jotting down something beside each. She pauses after he finishes one or two without something beside it and she flips through the book hmming. She glances to Nestos, {p "Nothing in there is something I'd worry about someone wanting more of. Drinking that sort of tea daily would just make you feel overall healthier. Medicine should only taste bitter or bad when it is something you want to be sure they don't want to keep taking once better." She finds the notes she wanted and fills in the last ones. she looks over the list and makes the tea to cover what symptoms she can without causing things to taste terrible, or something conflicting. She pours out a bit into the third cup an tests it. She nods satified and offers it to Teague, {p "Let it sit just a little longer.. but should help clear your head an the cough." Teague reached out to take the cup, drawing it back but not drinking from it yet. It needed to cool a bit, and he was waiting to see if the dark elf killed over as he muttered something about malnutrition and physical trauma. He pulled the chair out at his desk and settled into it, now, somewhat restless with the various given circumstances. "Do be certain...We need to contain this as much as we would love for them to survive. Barring relapse, I do seem to be much better off than I was." Leaning back to place one hand over the top of his cup in thought, Teague briefly smiled to himself. Perhaps they should acquire some volunteers.

Author: Teague Date: Sat Oct 3 22:40:53 2015 Subject The Doctor (Part 6)

Nestos nods as the physician speaks to him, but remains quiet, letting her do her work. He leans back into the chair, holding the tea in his lap. "You must have looked like death, if this is much better," The dark elf says grinning into his medicine, before taking another sip. Ryna moves to make her own tea. Working out things and goes to where she was trying to figure the cycle of the sickness. {p"How long do each of you think you were sick for?" Ryna looks through her notes again. {pYes be good to help those as well but you need to be feeling well enough to get an appetite back. Those symptoms combined tend to make food... unappetizing. That tea should help that." Teague shoots Nestos a wry smile, a dry reply coming, "Yes, thank you. I am quite aware." There were several moments there he certainly -felt- like he might die. He looked down, flicking his fingers over his cup with a soft mutter of arcane tongue before he was satisfied enough to drink. It could have been worse, but he wasn't going to suddenly become a fan. There was a moment when Teague was considering the mixture before he looked back up to her. "Hm...I can imagine a week to a week and a half thus far. Shouldn't you be making a list, miss--? What is your name again, I can't recall." Setting the cup aside, he reached his feet once more, far too many ideas in his head for his ailing body to implement. There was much to do... Nestos nods as the Highlord answers the question before giving his own, "I have not been sick nearly as long, maybe half as long." He takes a larger sip of his Tea, and shrugs at the man, leaning forward in his chair, as if preparing to stand. With a wave his hand, his staff appears in his hand. He lays the staff in his lap and takes another sip of the medicine. Ryna looks to to Teague, straightening a little and nods. {p"My name is Ryna. Have most of the list made... just making it readable... and amending with the new information. Making sure nothing conflicts.. The more information though the better.." She moves to take a sip of the tea. Was plenty of sick on the way in.. could approach them and get them to help, since was to help the overall goal.. She nods to Nestos and hmms, {p "When did you two see each other in that period, or before.. how many days approx?" Teague smoothed down his jacket, clearing his throat as he had finally had enough waiting. He nodded briefly to her name and then to Nestos, a polite but still somewhat terse smile pressing it's way onto his lips, "Good. I expect results. For now I have other matters to attend." You're dismissed, that is. Reaching for the cup once more, Teague took a sip as he pulled his hood up with his free hand on his own way to the door he held open, brow lofting in afterthought, "On second thought...Come, doctor." He gestures for her to come as he waits for the other mage. "Forgive me, I am short on time." And patience. "You should rest, Consular. I wish to discuss something with you. Soon." Nestos uses his staff to rise from the chair he is sitting in. He takes a few steps towards the door, pulling up his own deep hood, hiding his face deep inside. He nods to the highlord on his way out the door, "You know how to get ahold of me." He then looks to the doctor and bows his head slightly, "I thank you, and we will have to speak about this remedy at some point." With that, he wheels around on his heal and makes his way out of the temple, leaning on his staff. Ryna gets her things gathered quickly and moves to follow. A brow arched slightly. Diplomacy was clearly not a strong suit here. She brushes it off. Being sick can bring out the worse in people. She nodes back to Nestos. {p"You're welcome." She moves to follow Teague.

Author: Teague Date: Mon Oct 5 15:23:50 2015 Subject All Paths' Beginnings

The air was heavy but chill upon his skin as his footfalls carried him through the Temple. He could never understand what it was about this place that irked Zeke so very much. They both belonged here, he was just yet to understand his part in all of this. Some day he would understand. They never understood at the beginning of their paths, where they would be in the days to come. They were all like children, fighting the light and darkness in a gray, void of purpose and direction. Sometimes they even thought that was what they wanted. He, himself, was no exception. Had someone told him that he would be standing where he was now, in this chamber of worship to the Queen of Darkness and contemplating the whys of his whats, when he had first placed his foot upon the steps of the Tower at Wayreth...Teague would have laughed in their face. At that point, he would have been right. He had no idea what was in store for him. Life was struggle. Life was survival of the strong. Life was war, against everything. Sometimes even yourself. He was nothing then. Less than nothing. He believed it sometimes, too. He was a squire to a Knight who carried the measure like a rusted sledgehammer, a man who was an even worse father than he was a knight. Struggle though he may, in any form of rebellion he could find, he could not escape it. Even now that time would slip back into his life, one way or another. He was a terrible squire, too. Everyone was quick to smile to his twin, the golden boy. First born by moments. The calm before the storm. They said he was worthless. They said his magic was a waste of time. They loved her to her face, but they felt the same way about her. Mis mother. She was the shining beacon of good, and just like all lights must, she was extinguished. It left him alone in the night without any way to find his way home. He wouldn't find such a place for many years. A twelve year old boy then did the only thing he could. He ran forward, full speed ahead into whatever the darkness may have held. Unfortunately for him, it brought him to a place filled with even more can'ts and don'ts: The Conclave. He was too old. He was too reckless...He asked too many questions. No one would take him, it seemed. No one but him. The man had been the meanest and cruelest creature he had ever encountered, but he gave him his chance. Of all the places it could have burned its brightest, hope blazed in the depths of an all-devouring darkness. A foothold, he clung to it and dug his heels in, scrambling to pull himself towards something else. Once again, despite the lack of faith others had in him, he clawed his way out of the pit he had been cast into. All the while there was something just beyond his grasp, something watching. A cruel and calculated coldness, daring him to defy those who used their so-called certainties against him. It was there, in his Test, that he finally understood what some of this meant. His choices. His fences. He saw the chains the Conclave willingly wore and he despised them for it. Still. Old habits die hard, and in his prideful lashing towards the Order of Pretty Lies, he found himself striving to be what they could not: Noble. As noble as one could be. The night he recovered from the ordeal, he knew this was not his path. He refused it outright, but he knew. Somewhere. It was Kailith...Saige...Athin...Leurk...And so many more. They were the ones that put a hand out to him. These "evil men" showed him the possibilities of what could be. They urged him on in ways that certainly fit in stride with what the hidden moon seemed to encourage in their followers. He couldn't see how it would be a problem. If he had only known.

Author: Teague Date: Mon Oct 5 15:24:53 2015 Subject All Paths' Beginnings (Part 2)

It was his loyalty to a man who brought him to Her. Men. His shield brothers. These evil men taught him more about loyalty than any Knight. They showed him what real devotion was. They were different. Different was the only thing he knew how to be. He didn't get it yet, though. He lay his loyalties to Nuitari and the Order upon one hand and the dragonarmies in another. He thought he could play the fence. He wanted to. It was safer. But, in the end, She seduced him in ways he never thought possible. She saw potential. Potential? What was this...She believed he had something to offer Her, at least. It was more than anyone had ever embued into him. It was confusing. He rebelled. He swore to his oaths and clung to them even, weaving them with his name and face into a mask. His mask protected him from both sides, from commitment...From the truth. It was easier to understand now, that the utility he found in the versatility of the concept had become a crutch. For even though he meant it when he spoke of devotion, he played on vague words. He had twisted words and daggers for so long that it was only second nature.It slipped his grasp, as he was wont to do to others. But that was not to last.

Author: Teague Date: Mon Oct 5 16:51:35 2015 Subject It's Not Enough (Part 1)

Nothing lasts, mind you. Some longer than others. The cool marble beneath the suede of his gloves woud too, in time, crumble to dust. The world was, more than anything, bound by strings. The puppet of time. None more than Man. This teague new well. Now. When you're young, you hold these ideas. You build them, covet them...They're like your children but you can't yet truly understand what that means. He did not fully understand now, but he was much closer than he had ever been. Letting them go was what made you see them for what they were to you. Only when your hands are empty can you truly feel the weight of what they once held. That truth, was becoming very obvious to the mage. Quickly. So many times he placed himself between the men who followed these gods, The Queen and the Moons. But they were never really the hands of those Gods. Men believed that they held a right to the power they had gained, but it wasn't further from the truth. The greater your power, the stronger the chains one donned. The higher you climbed on man's ladder, the tighter said chains did grow. He never asked for power. Not like that. Not in those words. What Teague had sought for so many years was -freedom-. Freedom, he would find, required the tango of hypocrisy known as power. The mages were more than he could take. Those chains...They were held by the men who had told him he could not. Masters of can't and shouldn't playing at a facade of control never interested him. Let them have their towers, he would abide by them for convenience, or so he told himself. Funny that, how cowardice can masquerade as reason. He turned his eyes towards the road of possibility. A world where he could -take- what he wanted, what he needed. A world that could only exist through Her. He adored the idea. He adored Her. He almost loved Her. His faith, then, had been selfish. He needed Her. He placed Her on a pedestal ground from the bones of his nightmares. A shrine of fear and loathing. Eventually he would come to understand that one was often synonymous with the other. By then, he should have known already. But he did not. He blinded himself with darkness and threw his pretty promises to Her. There was nothing he would not do. Save for one thing. It came, as he knew it would. He was asked to turn his back upon the Conclave in favor of her service. The first time he recited, like a good knight, that his betrayal would never come first. To either side. He claimed his position within was for the better. That he could keep an eye on the world better with them. He never lifted a hand in the minor clashes and near-conflicts unless he could stop them all together. He claimed he served them both, Dark Mother and her Hidden Son. But he only served himself, his pride and his fear. Yes, he certainly did what he promised. Even today he had not betrayed them -first-. But he had not -wanted- to betray them at all. Whether they felt it was so, and he was certain they did, he knew it for what it was. He withstood the attempts to make him choose by his "honor" and his "oath", continuing to rebel against the Gods and himself. Still much like a child, though now in the body of a man, he refused to see what others must have. That he was making excuses.

Author: Teague Date: Mon Oct 5 16:54:04 2015 Subject It's Not Enough (Part 2)

The mask, the order and his name...They were his and he would not give them. He would give so much more of himself, but never that. He needed them. Though now, bare faced he stood looking upon the gothic carvings depicting Her many-headed form...And he wondered why. He had to. How could he give of himself if he did not understand why? Nuitari had given him a tool, but Takhisis had given him the world. All he had to do was take it. For Her. Power, as had already passed hs mind, was a yolk he had only shouldered for Her and no other. He clawed from a low scout and messanger, to spy and higher...Advisor positions came and went. Command. Nothing was ever given to him and nothing made him happy if it was. Not that it had satisfied him. Teague wanted more. Less than stone but more than he could have even conceived possible. But why? If not for power, then for what? For proof, of course. He needed to know that he -could-. Still selfish and claiming his everlasting love from the depths of his twisted soul, the would-be dark knight, murdered his way straight up through the ranks of the Red without Ciskei to lead them. It was almost easy. He could have remained there. He could have been pleased with it. He -was- pleased with it. He proved to Her that no one could stop him from obtaining what he wanted. That he was worthy of Her attention. Of Her own pride. But he was not. Late twenties, early thirties...That's how old he supposed he was now. All of that time and yet he still clung to his lies while claiming that he was noble. He cited loyalty and devotion while continuing to hide. There was something that set him ill at ease. There was no pride. Her pleasure was not of his devising. How could he still be a failure? What had he not done for Her? Khariif would be the one to tell him.

Author: Teague Date: Mon Oct 5 18:26:02 2015 Subject It's Never Enough (Part 1)

Khariif. He was both a blessing and a blight upon the world, and Teague was no exception. That man was infuriating. He was stubborn, hard headed and...He was right. Teague considered him, blackened marble drawing inky visions into the Highlord's mind of that cocky son of a bitch. The amount of times he had held his wrath in the face of what seemed like a fool were lost to him, but the reason was not. He was devout. He was true. To Her, at least. He made no mistake of it and Teague had seen his hand reach from the shadows to tip the balances back into her favor more than once, easily. He hated him...Because he envied him. He was not cocky, he was certain. He was not stubborn or hard headed, he was devout. He also owed him a great debt of his own making. Khariif must have seen it early, the chains the aspiring Highlord wore in secret. Teague claimed his loyalty to the Gods, but he could not give any of them what the Gods often demand. Not as he was. Despite that, The Black Highlord had been invaluable to him in his climb to Highlord of the Red. Teague could never know what would or could have been, but he believed that it was by Khariif's shadowed hand that he dealt the final blow upon his own Highlord and still survived to meet the emperor with the gift that was not his to give. A hollow gesture, no less appreciated though. He took these forces and rebuilt them, fattened their masses and whipped them into respectable shape. He did everything that was expected of him and thensome, still juggling the world of Mages on the side. But it was not enough. It seemed sometimes, that it never was. This was a fact that insufferable man refused to let him forget. Why he put his gloves upon the desk and made the final push, Teague would never know...But he would always be glad that he had. He would never forget. The hardships this year had brought were more of the same. He had no reason to believe they were not. Not until he found himself beside a Highmaster of the Conclave and across from the Black Highlord's desk. That was the beginning of the most difficult choice he had ever made. You see, She could have asked him anything. He would have given Her the world even then if She had but asked. He would have wrecked the machinations of Man and warred upon the Gods themselves. But she did not ask. Her enemy, for the time, was none other than himself. She got what She asked for. A war against himself it would be, then. One by one, Teague moved through the chamber, crushing out the light of the candles and plunging the whole room into pitch black. From pit of despair to pit of awakening. These years must have been but a blink of Her eye. She had been far more patient than he deserved. He knew this. Swallowing against the dryness in his throat stealing the words from his mouth as he wondered to himself. Did he know what he was doing when he did it? Surely there were alternative motives. Those motives, however, Teague had a difficult time believing were not fashioned tight to Hers. He pushed him again and again to make his choice. To do what he must. Still Teague rebelled against the inevitable yet... This time was different.

Author: Teague Date: Mon Oct 5 18:26:26 2015 Subject It's Never Enough (Part 2)

This time he knew going in that things would change. He could feel it. He began to consider things he had never been forced to take so seriously before. What Khariif was doing was an act of war upon the Conclave, for nothing motivated them more than a threat to their own magical superiority. He watched Khariif then draw a line in the sand as he stared him right in the eyes and smiled. Figuratively, of course. It was then, that he began to give. Somewhere amongst the struggle against elven intervention, everything began to come together once more. Just as it had begun to but a handful of years ago. The steps were slow at first. Begrudging. He felt like these men were forcing his hands and he hated every moment of it. It began to shine a light upon the world, however, one he had never noticed before. These men were fools. There was, as Zeke was wont to say, always a choice. Even if he disliked his options on both hands. His first step was Blaze. Not the most gentle of first steps, he would later admit. He hated the dragons. They were more powerful than he could hope to be just yet and they were bloated with their own greed. He did not trust them. He did not trust Her love of them. He hated them...Because he envied them.

Author: Teague Date: Mon Oct 5 22:28:06 2015 Subject But Sometimes...(Part 1)

Dragons. There wasn't much in the world that Teague hated more than Dragons. It was almost to an irrational level at times. They were so huge, poweful, cunning...Made partially in Her image. Her children. Her perfect. Fucking. Children. Nothing was that perfect, and if it was then it certainly could not be trusted. Teague was, quite possibly, the -only- Highlord who did not aspire to work hand in hand with one of these creatures. A Dragon Highlord who refused to meet with Dragons? She never gave him any impression that he had to. His heart was Hers and surely she must have known his thoughts. But this was not his army and it was not his choice. Zeke echoed again, the litany of choices and how you always have one, and as the Highlord lifted his eyes into the complete darkness that blanketed the room...He muttered his customary reply. If a man is true, those choices are not really choices at all. And so, when it came time to make that choice...He this time chose to put what was Hers before what was his pride. This was no simple task. Internally he poured over it again and again, a sullen and petulant acceptance to the situation coming. He was not pleased. He did it, however. Barely. The first meeting was not what one might have expected, but he had expected it to be far worse. It almost was. How he managed to bite his tongue and say to this beast what was needed...Well, it surprised him most of all. Teague was no stranger to diplomacy, even if his patience favored other methods more often these days. It disgusted him, socially bowing to get what his army needed. Force would not win his day, and Her victories were worth more than his pride. This time. He hadn't even truly noticed what he'd done. Not until much later. Not until Falkore made his move. From a pit of hopelessness he had come, and a pit of darkness he had returned to. The mage did have -one- thing right as he accused Teague of Khariif's actions. Teague had known what was happening, and he never said a word. He, were he truly loyal to the Conclave, should have done something. He refused to turn on that man, even on his knees. On Her most dedicated servant. As much as he hated him from time to time, he loved Her more. Not that they gave him a chance. Even so it never crossed his mind. That too, he almost missed. Until he was once more pitched into darkness. This was where his vision cleared. Neither alone nor lost, he began to realize what he had done. What he was doing. He began to understand. It wasn't the magic and it wasn't the Conclave. It was his own pride that shone a light upon his incredible hypocrisy. He saw them for what they were, the chains. They were of no man's making but his own. The mask was removed, but he did not mourn. In fact, back pressed to the wall there with the fatigue, pain and pangs of hunger, he almost rejoiced. The weight was gone. He had a choice now. He could pick it back up. What were two men to him? What were fifty, for that matter, as far as his identity was concerned? No. He, as a man who was true, lifted the masks he had left that night...And one by one he burned them. It wasn't silk and leather, it was his fear he sacrificed to her that night. His name...His name came easily. He threw himself into it, freed internally by his commitment. He had been such a fool.

Author: Teague Date: Mon Oct 5 22:29:06 2015 Subject But Sometimes...(Part 2)

And yet She would still have him. It was more than he deserved but the only thing he truly wanted. Needed. He would not dare ask her for her forgiveness. He was bold, but even he had limits. Believe that or not. Teague closed his eyes, considering what had come of his desire for it, though. He wanted them dead. He wanted to do it with his own hands. He wanted only one thing more than he wanted to stare Falkore in the eyes and twist his blade... But what he wanted more...Was Her. This final decision was weighed again and again. Could he win? He wanted to. He'd squirmed through tighter loopholes before. In the end, his pride had him convinced that he had to, but he knew it was a lie. He -wanted- to. He then knew his choice was made. Back turned, he walked away from the Conclave. He gave what he wanted to Falkore in favor of what he could give Her instead. For a man who was true, there was no choice at all. His path was final. But even then, there was something he had not given.

Author: Teague Date: Tue Oct 6 16:38:05 2015 Subject It Is (Part 1)

All of his life, Teague had hated the misconceptions of the power that could be taken or given by Man. He knew what it meant to take that sort of loaded gift. He hated the prospect of even being Highlord, though he took that responsibility as serious as death. It was a burden he felt was necessary, especially in the face of what had happened years ago in Silvanost. He was determined to see Her Will served, not the will of a lazy wretch grown fat on Her gifts. He was unworthy, and though Teague felt he was not either, his intentions were. He was not alone in this. He had never been alone, in truth. He had a talent for leadership, despite his distaste, and this time he had used it for Her where he would not others. Why then, was this such a great sacrifice? As Highlord he had his freedoms still. He had Her army as his own and worked on his own interpretations. If he chose to be part of the greater whole he could, and if not then he simply didn't. He was capable of placing his own goals with greater ease, their weight resting lightly on Her wishes. The higher one climbed the heavier those chains were and, as he had come to know, the lack of weight was excruciatingly enticing. Whether for his benefit or others', he had been released of a great deal of weight recently. He loved it. He cherished it. And now he would have to choose to give it away, replacing it with something far more weighty than even he could imagine. Through all of these recent hardships, he had endured and learned. He had grown. He had, piece by piece seen a Greater Plan unfold before him. A world of possibility he had only dared to imagine. He had, bit by bit, begun to see what it was he must do. Even the words of the purest heart he had ever seen drove him to the truth none of them wanted to see, and it was amazing. A plan began to form, sewn in darkness and lovingly nurtured in secretive solitude. He could give Her this. He could make it work. He could build something great in Her image. Insidious in nature and unrivaled in forward thinking, he felt the rush of plausibility falling upon him more and more each day. But all was not as it should be and his gift was impossible because of it. He didn't have the capacity to unite the Dragonarmies. They were scattered and only grudgingly working in tandem when forced. They did not fight amongst themselves yet, but no one would or -could- make the calls when they came about to be made. They disagreed and hashed on small details of no importance. They, just as he, were far too open to their own interpretations of the future. They were impressive alone, mind you, but they were nothing compared to what they -could- be. Still, no one made a move towards the mantel that would make such a thing possible. He had no doubt that they would have obeyed Her, had She demanded such, but she did not. This could not be faulted towards her, but towards -them-. They each lacked the aspiration to seize their full capacity and become the force that would rock the world to its foundations. He was no exception, hiding behind false modesty and noble intentions to save himself from the weight. Now knowing a fraction of what that weight would be like, he was not inclined to celebrate the idea of what must be done. But he did revere it as he did Her.

Author: Teague Date: Tue Oct 6 16:38:45 2015 Subject It Is (Part 2)

The few he had hinted his plans to generally had either claimed he was a genius or a lunatic. He wasn't inclined to argue with either of them. He didn't care if they liked it or believed. Fewer still actually did. This was not -for- them, it was for Her. He was determined to see this jewel placed directly in her hands or die trying. His plans would wait. His goals went to the closet, buried for now and possibly forever. It was never his magic, or even the Conclave that he must sacrifice. It was his pride and his goal. His freedom. He knew what it was that kept him from Her and now... Now he was, finally, ready to do the most insane and possibly the last thing he would ever do. This time, he would do it without Her pushing. How dare he expect her to ask of them what they should give freely? No, he knew what he must do. He was to, having cast aside lighter chains, now take up heavier ones that he may -never- cast off. Voluntarily. Not only that, but he was to -ask- for the privilege. Fin?

Author: Teague Date: Thu Oct 8 14:39:11 2015 Subject Climate Change (Part 1)

Out in the clinic Ryna moves through making sure the tallies were kept about each new arrival, checking up on everyone's condition to make sure it was getting better. Being vigilant, she was on watch for anyone whom might have a bad reaction to the treatments. Teague made time that morning to take a walk through the market, intent on inspecting the clinic this physician had pulled together with his resources. He saw no reason for displeasure immediately, aside from the ill in general. Already over the worst of it, he kept that thick scarf of a cloak wrapped about his face. Two Sivak to his flanks and a step behind, Teague found his way through the mass with ease, as no one seemed to last long under the baleful gaze of the creatures with him. He, of course, at least appeared to pay no mind until he came to a halt to watch Ryna. "What is your status, healer?" {p"I've a--" A One moment gesture as she finishes up checking up on the person she was dealing with giving them instructions to go get some tea and soup. She straighten and looks to Teague. her eyes distracted some to still try to keep track of those about. {p"Well I believe. Not sure how well we are stopping spread, but definitely helping people weather it. Numbers say there is less... though." Her eyes move about the clinic. Dispite the recor saying there was less still felt like was spreading. She suspected there was populous that was not coming to the clinic... he unknown numbers... The Highlord was of the same mindset as she on the amount of people actually coming for the help. It may or may not be slowing the spread...Though if it was, it wasn't fast enough to keep the disease from reaching Sanction according to reports. He considered the reports from the doctor and his own, "You seem to be keeping things under as much control as is to be expected..." He should post more guards, keep people from getting the wrong ideas in the wrong direction. Clearing his throat he pushed on, "It is not enough to stop the spread, however. Prepare someone to continue your work here, healer. Your valuable services are required elsewhere." Ryna arches a brow slightly and glances to her cart, already trying to figure what steps would need to be taken and arranged to get it so it is no longer a piece to the clinic. She looks back. {p"Where are you wanting me to go next?" Glancing back over the over-crowded market, he gave her her answer, "You will accompany me to Sanction. I have received reports from the returning Commander that the illness has reached it's street." Speaking of street, there was what looked like something of a disturbance rising a dozen yards away to their left. Teague's attention was caught but he did add, "You have two days to prepare." A fight? Perhaps. Tensions were mounting and the rumors of the -cause- of the city's malady were already seeming to do the beginning of his work for him. Ryna nods, {p "I travel with my cart." Her condition. Likely the only one she was to make. She glances to the left and almost frowns. {p"People seem to be getting restless here...May need to ease up on treating the fatigue...Almost think I have been a bit heavy handed in that...Too much energy but still not feeling the best is not a good combination." Teague nodded, "Of course. That will be no issue. Is there a reason the treatments might be causing unrest?" He shifted, a hand resting on his blade as he caught a glimpse of black in the center. Or was it something else entirely? He nodded one of his two escort to his side and, a whisper later, the Sivak stalked that way. For some reason, it was waving back the guard here as it pushed its way through the growing crowd. There was method to his madness, though. Surely the reason would be revealed in time...

Author: Teague Date: Thu Oct 8 14:41:16 2015 Subject Climate Change (Part 2)

Ryna looks to Teague.{p "I do not believe the treatment alone would cause it. More being clearheaded enough to think and let your thoughts run wild, have the energy to actually be up an a but yet still feeling the symptoms there and knowing you have to take medicine to continue to feel well... Can cause some more volatile emotions." Teague glanced to her answer, giving a nod as he watched the crowd churn about the Sivak and his intended target. He gestured towards her and then lifted a hand to pull guards to them, "Would you like to join me, Doctor? It seems your assessment of unrest is coming along quite well." It wasn't a request and he was already moving. Ryna moves to follow, {p "Coming along nicely?" She watches him, looking mildly curious at the phrasing. Definitely intentional. Using the sickness for politics? The Highlord wouldn't poison his or Ayasana's people for political gain. Surely. "We make the best of our situations." Whipped into a tizzy, the guard had to -make- way for their approach, but eventually it would be revealed that the people had caught themselves a rather pathetic excuse for a mage. He looked as if he were as ill as the rest, but that earned her no sympathy. He could hardly keep from smiling when he saw her hands. No wonder she wasn't fighting back. Making his way to her side, his guard spread, pushing back the crowd amongst howls and jeers. "Well well, what have we here?" Ryna moves to where she might could stand inside the held back crowd. She eyes the sick mage, making a mental run down on their condition and health, as she nods. Turning things, even the setbacks, to ones advantage was an important skill. yes. She doesn't answer the question as it did not seem posed to her. Teague was certainly skilled in that. He'd hit the bottom a dozen times and still managed to survive and make it this far. He spat on the ground and turned his back in response to the mage's fatigued glare, arms out to the people as he lifted his voice, "The Conclave seems to think that we as a people will tolerate their actions! Look at this, hiding amongst us as if they have no shame! How many of your children have died this moon?! How many of your parents!" Oh yes, he was whipping them into a frenzy, the people pushing dangerously at his guard who worked all the harder to keep them back. Looking back to the mage at Teague's feet, Sivak pikes crossed about her neck to keep her up and down all at once, "What message shall we send them! That we let them strike our hearts and lay down? That we wish to live in fear of their grip on magic?!" Nos and cries for various forms of death rose about them as he kept his inward grin in check. Ryna tilts her head. Sending back the sickness would be a good response... though could likely make it there, deepening on speed of travel. Even if the mage was not alive for it. Her eyes move from the bloodthirsty crowd to Teague and the guards. Her face impassive if the mage looks her way for mercy.

Author: Teague Date: Thu Oct 8 14:45:25 2015 Subject Climate Change (Part 3)

The Highlord would give her the same mercy that the Conclave had given him, of course. It was only fair. What was that...None at all? What mercy he had received was what he had -taken- with his own hands. He motioned and the guard drew somewhat tighter, pacing with him as he reached for the kneeling woman, fingers curling into her hair as his clawed gauntlet brought blood trickling down her scalp, "For too long these mortal men have taken what the Moons give freely and hoarded it for themselves, using it at their leisure against those they persecute! They seek to control with their power, the few choosing for the many! When last the Gods saw such bold blasphemy, the world was punished for the acts of few! Have we learned nothing?!" He moved along, dragging the poor mage through the market up onto an auctioning block where he threw her to the Sivak once more in favor of addressing the growing crowd, "The world cannot survive this again! Not when the common man suffers for the mistakes of the few- We must end them before they end us! Shall we show Her our respect today? Shall we send this wretch to the judgement of the Gods?!" Oh yes, they liked that. The crowd was difficult to hear over, enough so that -he- had to actually use magic to carry his own voice over them. Teague was pleased. Again he gestured to his men, orders lost to the crowd. Someone get the doctor up here. Ryna has followed the movement trying not to end up being lost in the bloodthirsty crowd at the moment. Even if she was a dr, and the one helping them, in a frenzied state they might just see her as a outsider, rather then on their side. And she was not keen on following that line of thought far. She isn't that far from Teague when he tries to summon for her. Teague watched the crowd for a moment as his guard sought to find and help Ryna to the rise. He turned again to the mage on her knees, "Bind her. Someone get me four horses." He half turned back to the people as he gripped her face painfully, steel claws digging into the supple flesh, "They seek to own the world with their control, choking the gifts the Gods give, but i am proof that they are but men. The Conclave, The Order of Kingpriests, are sorely mistaken. No one needs them! No one wants them! No one wants to pay for their heresy and lies! Soon they will come to find that no one fears them!" He would show them proof. While preparations were made, hands outstretched as he began to work the magic. The sky darkened, clouds beginning to churn. Ryna moves to help with the binding. Knowing a good deal about knots and able to be sure they were tight. Before stepping back again some. She glances up to the clouds and takes a deep breath. Feeling wary at the unnatural display. Teague gave them the time they needed as the wind began to pick up, lightning dancing across the clouds as they grew fat and heavy with rain. He drew back, letting it rest with that, though. He was not ready to call a storm and he could feel it sucking at the energy he had. The people were equal parts wary and frenzied still, and moved was all he wanted. The highlord turned back to the bound woman, demanding she answer for the crimes of her Conclave of Lies, but her voice was weak against the outrage of many. Even when she accused him of being the traitor. That, of course, only gave Teague a second wind...And a good laugh. Back to the Doctor he asked the crowd, "This woman has worked tirelessly to care for all of you. She has seen the atrocity first hand in all of it's forms! Should we let her decide how we send them to their judgment?" Teague gave her a warning look. Kill the mage. Give them the show they desire.

Author: Teague Date: Thu Oct 8 14:48:23 2015 Subject Climate Change (Part 4)

Ryna blinks as the Highlord shifts attention to her unexpectedly. She doesn't need his warning look to know that if she did not choose to kill the woman, she would likely end up joining her. The restless and the bloodthirst of the crowd practically demanded someone die this day. She straightens her back as she looks from the crowd to the mage. Swallowing hard as public speaking was not a strong point of hers. More people gathered here right now then she was used to dealing with at all. She tries to keep signs her discomfort minimal. Ryna takes a deep breath, {p "Judgment should be death. But not a swift one, for the children whom died at the hands of this sickness were not granted a swift death. The ones that played a part in it's cause should not then be granted one." Teague seemed pleased with the return agreement from the crowd, but he was mindful that there were likely other Conclave eyes amongst them. "And what, good doctor, would you prescribe?" Perhaps not mages, but there were -always- eyes. He lifted his hands, and letting actions outshine the words, took a step back and to the side. watching both captive mage and equally captive audience. Things were beginning to fly above the churning crowd and he watched them like a hawk. This was what he wanted, but it was already beginning to get out of hand despite the incredible amount of order the city usually fell into. These guards and soldiers had families here too. When the fires began to burn, would Teague be able to contain them? Ryna takes another deep breath as he keeps the attention on her. Yes it was for this feeling of power, the moment where she knew she had the ability to just as easily kill, or torture someone as help them. Normally she makes the choice to help. It follows her oaths and her overall goals. Actually saying aloud a death sentence. She likely seems a bit blanched. Definitely out of her element and comfort, yet she doesn't move or lower her chin.{p "The people should be able to take their revenge but flail or stone would carry the risk of killing her too swiftly in her current state." Ryna errs a bit off center. not coming up with public execution sort of material as things that could instigate or otherwise keep the made in agony list through her head but those sorts of things, though she would enjoy watching then pan out, would not appease the crowd or help to calm them...Needs to be something public... She looks to Teague. Teague saw the look far better than the crowd and, understood what it meant. Leaning in, he nodded to nothing at all and smiled, "You are too right, doctor. The punishment should fit the crime. Slow and painful, crushed beneath the heel of the people!" Quartering was too good. Too fast. The press it is, then. "Let the people cast their stones! Let the weight of their actions be realized!" Perhaps a slow death at their hands would appease them enough to keep them in some sense of order. Teague turned having his guard instead bind her to the planks of the platform, calling for a heavy board, "Bring your stones! She will be the first to bear the burden of her own mistakes!" No chance of offering her a way out this time. She was dead already, despte her alliances. One at a time, though. The press would crush her slowly, a pound at a time. He had to admit to himself that it would be a wonderful display. Ryna takes another deep breath and lets it out slow as the press is chosen. That should fit the criteria. And give the crowd a focus. She looks to the mage making mental estimates as to how long she might last. Teague hoped that the focus they would put into the task would temper the flames, and they seemed pleased enough. The stonecutters were going to make a killing. He helped to set the board and reached out to the crowd, an unknown hand placing a brick in it. Turning back to the woman, he circled her with the stone held aloft for all to see.

Author: Teague Date: Thu Oct 8 14:52:19 2015 Subject Climate Change (Part 5)

"By our hands, we will save ourselves! Together we are many. We are strong! Together we will take our first steps toward victory and together we shall shake their towers to their very foundations! Come! Show them with me!" It seemed to be working for the moment at least. Who knew if it would last. The first stone, he placed upon the board, a sadistic grin surfacing as he sprinkled a powder across the whole display. He was strengthening her illness-wracked body to last. The people must be appeased. Teague then stepped back, allowing the might of his small force to keep the order. He wanted to stay to watch, of course, but the crowd was large and unruly and he was still somewhat ailed himself. He gave them their space as the people rushed to carry out the cruel sentence. It was slow enough to appease them, but would not be so slow that it lifted their frustrations. Ryna tries to stay decently close to Teague, and the guard as she watches the masses move. She moves to get something out of her pouch seeming bark like and starts to chew on it. Wanting something to help keep her nerves in check, if she let her system get compromised by that the symptoms of the illness she herself has not be able to avoid getting as well would start to show. She needed to keep up the appearance that she is well, it would discredit her greatly if she suddenly had to take to bed. He was pleased to see them falling in. It was unruly but it was an acceptable level of it. Whether or not it would keep the populace from dragging anyone in a black, red or white robe into the streets was yet to be seen. He pulled the wrap-cloak back up about his face as he tilted his head towards the doctor. "Tell me doctor, do you drink?" This would, no doubt, take time. Especially with the boost he had imbued into the victim...And magic was not free. Teague could use a drink -and- a chair. Leaving it to the head of his guard, he gestured towards the step along the back of the platform and slowly made his way. Rushing would, no doubt, cost him his steady appearance. Ryna moves to follow. {p"Not usually, but it does not sound like a bad idea at all right now."

Author: Teague Date: Tue Oct 13 20:12:24 2015 Subject Future Plans and Retrospection (Part 1)

The days were growing shorter, but the evenings were far from unpleasant still. The open windows drew the crisp air into the chambers with an almost casual caress and the general populous had begun to taper off below. The walls themselves lightened in lieu of the fair night and, by some miracle, the Emperor found himself alone to enjoy it. When he had claimed that there would be swift change upon them, he was far from incorrect...But he had no idea just how correct he had been. Tonight, however, the time seemed to linger and stretch on for at least this one blessed moment. There would not be many nights like this in the {eEmperor's foreseeable future. The truth of this reminded him more clearly of the many nights the renegade of a Highlord had wasted already. There were numerous ones spent resisting her full call, and many fewer than that had he been in contemplation of his oversights. Many of those more recent nights had brought him into the depths of a darkened temple at the heart of Neraka. He was resolved by then, and more so now as he sat back in his chair, eyes caught by something specific. Limp fingers help the lip of a rather plain goblet as his gaze grew even more intent upon their target. He couldn't have told you how long he sat like that, clearing a good bottle and writing tomes in his head. He could have only -guessed- that he fell asleep somewhere down the line, caught up between plans and retrospect. Probably not the best way to combat restless dreams, no one would have been surprised that he found himself in those very twisting halls again. The bowels of the Temple were not a place one generally found a man wandering without purpose. Teague made no exception of himself that night, though he knew not what he would find or if he would find anything at all. The whole of the place had pressed in on him, its atmosphere keeping him on his toes despite his outwardly steady and dignified pace. The minutes had wandered here, morphing into hours as his thoughts had wandered alongside his feet, but eventually he found himself in a humble and remote chamber of worship. Not neglected by any means, it was less-traveled and not likely to draw the attention. Aesthetically sparse but eloquently reverent, and pitched into near complete darkness. Working to clear his mind, he'd drawn himself into it, intent upon far more important affairs than his own thoughts. It was here his unconscious mind lingered in a jumble of various thoughts, some as relevant as others were not, until it happened again. "Teague." Her voice. It broke the silence, slicing through the distractions like a ice-razord blade. "Poor, silly Teague..." It slipped into you and twisted around in the most excruciatingly enticing way, working over the mind like acid on silk. "Where have you been Teague?" Takhisis, the Queen of Darkness, was there. With him. She licked her lips, veiled in darkness, before coming towards him. Teague froze, the very idea of what was happening washing over him like a slow, electric shockwave through his bones and deeper. His lips parted, but what ridiculously inadequate words he had managed were lost to him by the time his knees hit the floor, first one and then the other. The many flashes of his own impressions from what was happening were far too many to put to legible thought but he considered fever, insanity and wishful thinking amongst the first of them. "My little Teague. So reverent, so obedient, so...Slow." He could feel her disapproval upon him in a wash as she spoke once more. "I have called to you for an eon, why do you not listen?" He had been less than obedient in the past, this came with no reasonable excuse as he pressed his palms and forehead into cool stone floors. Words caught in his throat as he attempted to answer in -some- way, though he hardly expected any sort of forgiveness. He wouldn't dare ask for her forgiveness. "Mortals are flawed, My Queen. I have been a fool--"

Author: Teague Date: Tue Oct 13 20:15:52 2015 Subject Future Plans and Retrospection (Part 2)

"Did my loving words not reach your ears? High in your tower halls, in your blindness?" She sighed, and his spirit grew intensely heavy. Her disappointment, he imagined, was not the worse She could manage...He could hardly hold it on his own shoulders though. He had, indeed, been completely blind. "Did you find what you were looking? In those places? No. I think not. Are you ready to hear now? You are weak Teague. The weakest I've known." It was difficult to react to. Guilty or not, the Gods' presence was intense and the humbling experience was beyond overwhelming to any man, great and small. He had no right to remain still now, however. Swallowing back an initial attempt, he began anew. He had no way to twist his words here, not for Her. Teague's voice did find itself giving Her an affirmation to her questions. He had not, of course, and he was quick to admit this to Her. He was not fool enough to ask for forgiveness, no, but he managed to be bold enough to ask for a second chance. One where he might serve Her fully. That he had come to see his errors and that there was nothing that he would withhold from Her. Never again. She grinned darkly at that, though he could only tell by Her voice. He didn't dare to look. He desired it, yes, but--"Yes. You were wrong. I have been ever here, always waiting. I am a patient god, am I not? The halls of my son have made you deaf, narrowed your vision and kept you content. You are weak, but you have hunger. Do you not wish to devour? To feed? To rule? What has my son given to you that I cannot? You are weak now, but I will make you strong. It is only here in your most broken place, that you may receive me. Do you understand? I am what will sustain you. Feed you. Rule you." Yes. He wanted nothing more. He had wanted nothing more in the trials that brought him here, it had only taken him so very -long- to realize. Here before Her there could be no doubt. There was no curious questioning from soft-spoken priestesses or challenging debate from fallen knights here, not even overzealous bastards who knew they were right. Here he could think of nothing but Her. "Banish any other pursuit from your mind. I have chosen you. You will be my shining example. Even the simplest, most wayward children may be made invincible. Do not my armies already call you Lord? Do not dragons heed your call? Do not our slaves fear your crushing heel? But, the realm will call you King. Emperor. Conqueror." Without so much as a second thought, he spoke with greater strength and sincerity this time, "Yes, My Queen. Your desires shall be my own. I want nothing more than this." Licking her blood red lips once more, she drew a delicate ivory finger sensually across them, seemingly satisfied, "Yes. There is nothing more you could ever want. You are mine Teague. I have claimed you. You will embrace me, and no other. Unite this world under my banner, show all that I am a giving and gracious god." As she spoke of his duty, he didn't dare to lift his eyes to her, but the reflection of her chosen form shone in the dim reflection of polished stone. The mere idea of Her presence upon him was dizzying in it's terrible rush. It was not unlike the grip one's body was held in just following a brush with death, a slowly settling rush that was still far from comfortable. "Yes, my Queen. I.." His magic...He pushed it from his mind. Had he any choice? No. When a man such as himself found that he was face to face with such a clear truth, there was no choice at all. She would provide him if this was her desire. One should hope She knew what he did not, and that She would not lame him simply to test his convictions. He, as he had known he must, let go. "I will do this, yes. I will not fail you--"

Author: Teague Date: Tue Oct 13 20:19:32 2015 Subject Future Plans and Retrospection (Part 3)

The Queen of Darkness lowered her eyes, icily glaring down at him, her reflection mirroring it well, "Only the weak fail Teague. And I have made you strong." Continuing forward now, her footfalls were even and sure as she came gliding across the floor to him. Teague drew in a slow breath, shoulders squaring as she drew near. He could not seem to bring himself to lift his eyes past her feet, despite his almost consuming want to look upon Her. It drew up a battle within, between curiosity, reverence and desire, but her voice brought a swift end as he drew his eyes to the polished floor once more. "You shiver and burn. A sickness gnaws at you from within. But know this, my first law. Weakness must burn away in flame." Leaning down she reached out, her slender hands closing about his neck. He felt Her touch effortlessly parting chainmail and metal as if she were unraveling rotten cloth. The touch he did not resist, though it would have done him little good. What was to come, he could only imagine, but he did not once consider turning back from this. Certainly not now. "Know that my fire is unquenchable, that it burns brighter than all see. You are weak, but will be made strong. Dying, but made immortal. Cursed, but made holy." She leaned in even closer, whispering into his ear, "Let my cool fury burn away the chaff that is your life. I will fill you anew, from the ashes a new man will rise." Roaring with unimaginable fury, and with a sudden unrestrained violence, bit into his neck. It was so quick that he scarcely had time to register the act before Her teeth rent his flesh, like an impossible number of hot irons. Her breath was ashy smoke and it rolled heavily over him as the agony caught him and held fast. "I will burn away your inadequacies and your sickness. You have been made whole by me." The voice seemed to come from another mouth, and she bit harder, digging into him even deeper. At this point there was little he could do but writhe in her grasp, a true testament to the helplessness of mortality in the hands of the Gods. "Find the ones that speaks my truth. They will breath my love into the world, as I have breathed my fury into you." Releasing him with a casual lack of ceremony, warm blood gushing from the corners of her petite mouth, She spoke again, "Show them what I have done for you. Go forth my cleansing fire and find the ones that will grow this world anew." He left the greater part of his dignity in Her hands when she withdrew and he could do nothing more than watch her withdraw from where he lay, on his side in a pool of his own blood. Death...If one were to survive in a world such as his, one learned very quickly that it would come for them all. Eventually. It wasn't fear that gripped him initially, but confusion. It would be far too fleeting to ever become doubt, however. What came next was still difficult to grasp, actually. He would be struggling to put that into words for years to come. You see, when She was gone, he remained. Whole.

Author: Teague Date: Tue Oct 13 20:22:19 2015 Subject Future Plans and Retrospection (Part 4)

There was no illness burning stubbornly at him still, not so much as a bruise. He felt better than he had in quite some time, actually. No...Ever. He felt like he could take on the world, certainly. At least. He was high on the rush and the new-found strength coursing through him, almost dangerously so. He might find himself in some trouble if he let that get too much the better of him, but thankfully, his legs were still catching up. Giving his mind a little time to clear through the charge spiderwebbing through his brain, both lulling and urging him on, his hand reached out to find purchase on the slicked floor. He sought to pull himself up and in his impatience he missed the gleam until his fingers were closing about something in the darkness that had never been there before. Taking pause there to pick out it's edges in the darkness, he felt its twisted power and it's enticing pull, a reverent whisper on his lips, "Yes, My Queen. The world will burn for you. One way or another." And then... He woke up. The Emperor came to with a jolt, hours later into the night by the look of the candle and the bite to the air. Every night he remembered, and even now the only real proof he had that it had happened at all was the crown he found himself holding. He must have snatched it up in his sleep. He knew the call of power well enough to be wary, but this...He had dropped his glass he noticed on his way to his feet, but left it there for the moment in favor of regarding the regal artifact as he held it up in both hands, The golden circle was carved through with twisted designs, the central spire held an enormous blood ruby and many similar spires tapered down away from it. How in the Abyss did this ever happen to -him- of all people. Make no mistake, this was no easy adjustment for him or most anyone around him. Power shifts were rarely neat and painless, and he was...Well, he was willing and filled with ideas and inspiration. He was bold enough to do exactly what he felt needed to be done. He had been Highlord for but a few years though, and Emperor was a large step. He was as proactive and productive as he could have been thus far...But he was still sailing uncharted waters. There was more in the world that he didn't know than that which he did and... ...Having placed the crown aside, he found that it took him three tries to light the rest of the candles in his room. This time last week it would have been effortless to do something so simple. He certainly wouldn't have had to put this much effort behind it. He probably wouldn't have pushed hard enough to have instantly melted down half of his new candles in a blink of the eye. This was becoming mildly problematic. It wasn't the end of the world...Just his magic, yes? Absolutely -not-. He would give them -all- what they wanted soon enough...He simply hadn't expected to need it for himself. It was foreign, but he could reach it...He was far from weak. That being said, he could have done without the extra inconvenience, but there were no regrets. It was far too late for that now. He would deal with this the same way he had dealt with every path that had closed to him. He would find another way. Assuming his closer comrades didn't strangle him in the process. That... That was a whole different level of dead rat, there. ((Pssssssssst! This is pretty much a log turned into a story...Thanks folks and Immy for the help- S'the first part of a recount of the whole Emperor deal and the days that followed. I'll link the actual logs on the end of the second part--))

Author: Teague Date: Thu Oct 15 18:19:29 2015 Subject More Firts (Part 1)

Lanfer sits by the open window inside Ayasana's office. The chair he had chosen was stiff backed and rather uncomfortable, but it was as close to the outside as she would allow him as of yet. It seemed to him she meant to keep him locked in this blasted zealot hall until he was lost again. "How long before I am weighed by her Ayasana? You know I have never been one for patients." Straightening her uniform a bit, Ayasana checks her weapons and grunts, "We first have to present you to someone, then we will go when She calls for us. And try to be more servile, you are starting at zero as far as I am concerned." Lanfer kicks his feet down from the windowsill and turns sideways in the chair so he could see her. "Present me to someone? Who in Bloody hell do you plan to show me off to girl?" He trails off for a moment at the thought of starting over once more and simply finishes with, "As you wish." He turns and kicks his feet back up onto the window stretching out in the sun. Ayasana looks Lanfer over, "And wear that uniform more carefully, that is my House Guard you are representing." Chuckling Lanfer shakes his head at no one in particular. "The colors are terrible." "Blue is a good color." Teague held a quick pace down the halls leading to Ayasana's offices, but slowed enough to allow some sort of announcement of their coming. This is when he took the time to quietly remind Zeke that he was -not- to point anything sharp at him or anyone else on this outing. Sirene ought to know how to behave but the golden boy gets a withering glance from the side. Lanfer makes a show of getting to his feet much like a child would who didn't want to get dressed for a feast day celebration. "You still haven't told me who needs to know I am here. Some High Lord you want to flaunt me to?" Ayasana giggles a bit, "OH, you shall see." Lanfer shakes his head again and begins to smooth out a few wrinkles here and there. He runs his fingers through his black hair, which was somehow far less gray streaked then he had remembered. "I wouldn't want to disappoint who ever you are showing me off to. Should we tell them about the engagement?" He flashes her a devilish smirk. Ayasana blushes more from rage than embarrassment. "I should have left you buried." Sirene knows how to behave, yes. She knows she probably shouldn't have insisted on Zeke coming, but she did anyway. And, this time, walking to see Ayasana, she holds herself up tall and confident, not shrinking like the last time she met with the Highlord. She will stand where she is supposed to stand and be the perfect priestess, watching, learning. Lanfer chokes back a cackle, eying her still. "Am I going to need a sword for this?" Ayasana sneers at the old knight, "If any blood-letting is going to happen, it will just be me doing it. You need to look at peace for now." Lanfer notices the fact that she was slightly serious with that last statement and his brow furrows. He could tell she was nervous which was something that very rarely happened. How far has she stuck her neck out already for him he wondered? And better yet how much further would she have to? "I'm in good hands then if it comes to drawing blood. Lets just hope I don't say something stupid and its mine you have to let." Teague gave them each a brief glance and then lead the walk to the doors, having his patience override his wish to wait one moment longer than an announcement allowed. He could handle a door, thank you, and it kept him from scowling at Zeke. He would open the portal with an almost pleasant smile if it killed Zeke. "I do hope the timing is no problem. We were retained." Someone insisted on bringing Zeke. And who was this one? He let his gaze linger on Lanfer briefly, "Good to see you, Highlord."

Author: Teague Date: Thu Oct 15 18:22:51 2015 Subject More Firsts (Part 2)

Ayasana gives a half bow, "Welcome Emperor, pray your health be well." Lanfer does his best not to whirl on his heels as the door swings open and the group enters. Instead he quietly slides behind Ayasana and waits to be addressed. Sirene stands slightly behind Teague and to his left. She gives Ayasana a polite, shallow bow, and then looks Lanfer over. Zeke almost, -almost- freaks out when he sees who is with Ayasana, it was bad enough that he was seeing the Highlord again, hopefully she didn't remember him, but was that.. no, it couldn't be, why would he be here of all places? He gives a deep bow to Ayasana, as custom would dictate, and takes his place a step back from Sirene's side as his status as honor guard would indicate. Teague was not used to that, though it didn't displease him. He let his lips press his smile firmly in place as he nodded, "As it should be. I hope we find you well." He met her gaze for a moment and then was quite done with the greetings. "Who is this?" Straight to the chase. But don't think he didn't notice you, Zeke. That was interesting... Turning to the man behind her, one hand resting lightly on her katana, with a wave of her free hand Ayasana declares .."May I introduce his Lordship the Grand Master of the Knights of Solomnia, Sir Lanfer di'Ternian, Knight of the Rose." Ayasana looks at the Emperor with a crooked grin and a twinkle in her eye. "Recently deceased, that is." Lanfer nearly goes blank in the face before slamming composure back down upon himself. Had she really Just told the Emperor of the Dragonarmies who he really was? His mind tries its best to swirl around what he would do if this began to go back, but he forces the thoughts away and drops into a formal bow to the Emperor simply saying, "Mi'Lord Emperor." Sirene blinks at the man, and frowns slightly. Ok, there are -way too many- ex-Solamnics here, it's weird. Recently deceased...Oh. She looks at Zeke for a moment, then Teague, then goes back to a more blank face and watching Ayasana and Lanfer, watching Aya more closely. Zeke did everything in his power to remain calm, but this might be the most nervous he has been in his whole life. Why was the Grandmaster here? Did the Grandmaster even know who he was, Ayasana hadn't said anything either, maybe a few years of getting in fights and living in the hinterlands has really changed him...Even so, his hand comes to rest unconsciously on his longsword. The Emperor lofted a brow as his eyes narrowed slightly upon the man. He could make a comment on her strange bedfellows but his own entourage was anything but typical. Still. He managed not to look at her as if she'd sprouted another head as he calmly gathered himself, "I see. Hm. But why...?" There -had- to be an explanation for this. Suspicious? The way she was smiling? Of course he was. No wonder Zeke was so stiff. Teague tried to get a quick read of the man, skeptical at best as he waited for the rest of this story. Taking the whole group in, the confused Teague, the priestess she gave a flirting smile to, the man, somehow familiar, hand on his sword (Ayasana tightened her grip on the katana, too). All in all, very entertaining. "My Queen wished to have a chat, maybe some tea with Sir Lanfer. I am obeying her desire, my...Emperor." Sirene hmms at Aya's smile, looking away to then watch Lanfer more. This... She shifts in place, and is very much -not- looking at Zeke, or Teague, or anywhere that will betray her worry. Just watching with a frown. Zeke hasn't had to practice keeping his mouth shut in a long time, and it was very hard for him right now, everything inside him wanted to scream out in confusion. He did his best not to shake his head or look let down when Lanfer confessed his betrayal of the Triumvirate. Of all the things he had been expecting to hear today, this might be the literally last one on the list.

Author: Teague Date: Thu Oct 15 18:26:03 2015 Subject More Firsts (Part 3)

Teague has to worry when she makes faces like that, though he doesn't seem concerned once she gives the simple answer. He relaxes somewhat, in appearance at least. "Wonderful." He was somewhat less than amused, but who was he to question Her whims? He decided, like a petulant cat with a mouse, turn his sights on Zeke, "Perhaps the two of them might know each other." But, once Lanfer had given him a much more satisfying return, his attention was drawn back. Interesting indeed. Teague couldn't say he was surprised to hear any of it. He would have to find time to indulge his own curiosity, "What, pray tell, do you intend to tell her?" He managed to reel in his disdain for the Order as a whole to address him at least. Pleasantly guarded was what he gave for now. Barely. Ayasana gives Lanfer a worried warning glance, then turns back to Teague with the same grin as before. Still. her hand stayed on the ghostly blade, that whispered for blood. Lanfer returns his eyes back to meeting the Emperors as he scrubs his hand through his hair honestly not sure what he would say when the time came. "I imagine I'll ask her why she had me returned to this place. Her nightly visits to me in the beyond should have been more then enough entertainment for her I'd imagine. Perhaps I will ask how the once leader of the Black Regiment, turned Traitor could ever be useful to her again." He trails off wondering if he has stated to much, but he never lets his eye fall from the emperor's. Sirene gives Teague a short -look- when he starts bringing Zeke into this. We are -behaving-, your highness... But back to the conversation. Not sure what to make of Lanfer, other than the growing frown. Teague had let Zeke's presence rest with he question he'd turned to Lanfer, but it was early to think that meant mercy. He watched him carefully, with a discerning eye, and gave no real visible reaction for a moment. He considered the words and then nodded. Surely this was some part of the Greater Plan, but he was failing to see what that was just yet. He would have paid good money for a plausible guess. He couldn't fault a man for being a bull-headed fool in the face of the Gods, could he? Not without turning the crack of his wit against himself. But he had his attention now, and there were plenty of other faults to be found amongst the room. "Do you -want- to be useful to Her again?" Ayasana lowers her eyes to the floor, hiding her expression. "Speak when the Emperor asks you a question." She raises her gaze back to Teague, a crooked little half smile on her face. Lanfer seems to consider the question quite thoughtfully for a moment as his gaze drops slightly and he rubs the flat of his index finger along his lips. He finally drops his hand to rest on the hilt of a sword which was not there. "I assume she will tell me what she expects from me and I will decide if the cost is worth it. I have shed so much blood in my years here Mi'Lord, both for and against her all in some vein attempt to bring this blasted hell hole together as one solid unit." He stops and considers his next words carefully. "If blood needs to be spilled again with me at the hilt of a sword there better be a plan in place with an end I can see. If such a thing can not be made apparent to me, Ayasana will have the pleasure of running me through." He casts his purple a knowing glance, hoping very dearly it never came to that again. Sirene hmms at that, and gives a slight nod to Lanfer. She's just listening to this all, but his words make sense for his situation. And also tell pretty much nothing. She approves. The words have the feel of Zeke's too...And Zeke has been reacting with all of this...It all is interesting.

Author: Teague Date: Thu Oct 15 18:29:18 2015 Subject More Firsts (Part 4)

Zeke can't believe what he's hearing right now, his eyes dart to Teague and Sirene at various points, a bit more of a glare when it comes to Teague though, hes still not happy Teague bothered to mention him at all. Hes also regretting even more he didn't have his own tailor made clothing anymore, this shirt was really uncomfortable all the sudden. Teague saw some similarities in someone he regularly debated with, but at least there was more willingness towards reason with -this- one. He wasn't inclined to share the plan with this man, though. Not without consideration. He lingered on the glance but didn't mention it. Instead, he let it rest to look back to Ayasana. Whether or not he approved was neither apparent nor, in his opinion, relevant conversation at this time. "I will return to Sanction soon, Highlord." Reports were beginning to bring news that the illness had indeed reached it's streets and...It was lacking in order compared to Neraka. It needed a firmer hand. He "I would require your aid in establishing an escort." His arrival in Neraka was...Complicated at best, and rife with Mage shenanigans. Seeming to awaken at his voice, Ayasana nods, "I will have one of my regiments escort you...my Emperor. And I will ask my Queen's blessing for you as well." She adds almost insolently, still grinning. Lanfer turns to look at Ayasana mouth nearly dropping to the floor. He was use to her talking to him like that, but to an Emperor that bloody talk would get you burned. As he turns to regard the emperor again he rests his stare on the other man with him a moment. The face looked familiar but he still could not place it. Why would this man remember him as the Emperor had indicated. More questions had come from this little gathering then Lanfer liked. On top of the uncertainty that already loomed over him. Teague almost seemed to enjoy the response, to be honest. It was bad enough that she was calling him Emperor now. Saige and Ayasana had always been on the other side of the title game with him and this was still new. His patience for her was heavy and she still commanded his respect. He almost smiled at Lanfer's receiving of it, however. Of course he took his amusements where he could. Speaking of which..."Appreciated. I should like to see how our Queen receives the 'Grand Master' before we depart. Perhaps we can speak again, should you still exist. I would imagine that my companion here would love to speak to you as well." Zeke got a gesture of the hand from Teague, indicating between the two past knights. Lanfer, though...He was simply too curious for his own good there. His use of the title was not without its own edge of sarcasm, however dry it might be. Certainly he had wanted to actually speak to Ayasana, but three was a crowd and five was close upon a riot when such matters were concerned. He could be satisfied with being a sadistic shit, smiling politely as he asked, "-Do- you know this man, Zeke?" Sirene isn't going to be polite anymore here. She turns and is fully glaring at you, -Emperor-. Ayasana arches one eyebrow at the now fierce looking priestess, and also appraises this other man the Emperor was addressing. Interesting, she thought. Ayasana backed away a bit to stand slightly behind Lanfer, who was now the object of attention. Lanfer again eyes the other man, still unsure of where he had known the man. He turns back to Ayasana placing a hand on her shoulder. "I have still not fully recovered from all that has transpired over these last few days. If it pleases you I would like to take my leave of this and go rest. I'm sure there will be time for more of this after the Dark Mistress casts her vote on my life." He turns his head to observe the contingent that had entered the room together not quite sure what to make of the Emperor yet. Ayasana nods, "You may go now."

Author: Teague Date: Thu Oct 15 18:31:42 2015 Subject More Firsts (Part 5)

Zeke was more tempted to strangle Teague right now than he had been in quite some time, but he did his best to reign it in. He silently thanked the gods when Lanfer asked to leave, "I've seen him once or twice." He answers vaguely, hoping it would satisfy everything. Lanfer nods to Ayasana before turning and dipping into a low bow to the Emperor, not letting his eyes fall from the other man as he spoke. "Perhaps we shall meet again and we can talk over what that all means. Until then I bid you safe travels to what ever end Sanction has for you." With that said Lanfer moves off into the recesses of the room. He let it drop, either ignoring or missing Sirene's response to the aimed jab. Surely he would hear of it behind closed doors, and he intended to push the subject with Zeke certainly. He wasn't one to let his questions drop. He watched Lanfer as closely as he watched him, not certain what to make of him either. However one turned it, this was becoming oddly coincidental to a man who didn't believe in happenstance. "I hope we do." Then to Ayasana, "Thank you, Highlord, I believe we shall leave you for now." One could always try again. It was growing increasingly difficult to do -anything- alone, however. Sirene calms to put on a polite demeanor again, and gives a bow to Ayasana. Giving a short bow, Ayasana smiles brightly, saying, "Thank you for visiting us, your escort regiment will be ready to move out when you are ready." Zeke gives Ayasana a bow, "A pleasure as always, Highlord." Even still now, he can't help himself. Teague turned to go, expecting the two to simply fall in...He had one eye on Zeke, however, the whole way back to his quarters. He knew he had it coming if he got it, though. Zeke does fall in line with Teague, although he does consider just stabbing him to death right then and there. Sirene follows Teague along with Zeke, but is giving Zeke glances and Teague glares the whole time. Lanfer eases himself down onto the bed Ayasana's maids had made up in the back of the room behind a few small screens. Had he really just survived a meeting with the Emperor? He wondered if that would have gone the same when Luerk was Emperor, he thought not. That man would have had his head right there, but he was insane in his older years to say the least. For now Lanfer decided it best to lay back and get some rest. Next came the Queen. Zeke turns to Teague as soon as they are out of earshot from anyone who might be listening, "I ought to run you through, of all your talk of wanting to make sure I out live you, is this because of what I mentioned to you earlier?" He grinps and ungrips his hand, "I'm going out for some fresh air -Emperor- unless you need me for something." Teague looked to him as they walk, purposefully as impassive as it got. It wasn't a normal expression to share with the man and he knew -exactly- what he'd done. Enough to know that he should quit while he was ahead. Until Sirene spoke. He stopped, looking to her with a thin frown, "You have work to attend. There is no time for you to play the evening away." Zeke gets away with it. Not you. Zeke snorts, "Oh, the mighty Emperor speaks. Far as I'm concerned, clerics outrank self-important dipshits, but, I suppose only the gods know the answer to that." Teague turned his gaze to Zeke, hardening over as he quietly replied, "Perhaps if this were a temple to Sargonnas I would care." He had to ice over to get as stern as he was now with -Zeke- of all people, "You are here on my good graces, Zeke. You are my -guest- here. Do not make me regret that." He doesn't ask in tone, but he would like him to simmer down before this becomes a scene. This isn't a situation he's used to, and he loathes it. Don't forget that you already know you can outlive your welcome. As for Sirene, she may get a response in a moment. He's distracted by Zeke, as usual.

Author: Teague Date: Thu Oct 15 18:33:14 2015 Subject More Firsts (Part 6)

Zeke doesn't back down, not for a second, "I'm not afraid of you Emperor, you can't cow me. I don't give a gods-be-damned care about your good graces right now. You can take your threats and shove them. what, you're going to order Sirene to do something because all this power has gone to your head and you've decided the best way to use it is being petty and vindictive, -Emperor-? I get that the Highlord embarrassed you -Emperor-, but no need too take it out on us -Emperor-." Sirene shouldn't...She really tries to not...But she smiles at Zeke's response. But otherwise keeps silent with downcast eyes. Fingers twitched dangerously near one of his blades as Teague saw black on the edges. Through grit teeth, he hisses a soft but very final dismissal to Sirine, "You should retire to your contemplations, -Priestess-." Had this been anyone else, he would have already tried to slip one between his ribs, but he hesitated. This was -not- where he wanted to be and Zeke was forcing his hand. This was a trap. He drew back, convinced this was a mistake, "You do not have to remain here, but if you do, you will watch yourself when we are together in public." He would love to ignore the blatant threats and lack of respect, but he couldn't do that here. He struggled to survive amongst the reds, scraping his way up with ruthless accuracy. He knew what happened when blood hit the water amongst the sharks. This, was another heavy reminder of what he'd done. And there was no going back, was there? "If you think this is a game, you're about to find yourself sorely mistaken, friend." Zeke says, "You're the one playing the games with gods, armies and politics, -Emperor-. I'm just here as your friend and advisor, I don't play these kinds of games. I don't pretend to be something I'm not, but I'm also not the possessor of any fancy titles, so maybe I just don't get it. I will see you some other time, Emperor." Zeke couldn't believe how much he wanted to deck Teague, but even he had some level of common sense sometimes. Sirene gives a nod to Teague. She has managed to go back to a blank expression. She gives him a full bow, arm crossed in front of her chest. "Yes, my emperor." She...She did her share of misbehaving. She will go back to the perfect priestess now for the appearances. So, not even giving another look to Zeke this time, she rises, and heads towards her room. Teague knew he'd gone too far, of course. It may have been lost on Sirene, but looking Zeke in the eyes it was hard to keep -completely- under wraps. The pressure was real. To be frankly honest, he would have preferred being decked, though he was just as aware of how much of an option that was here. He just stared at him for a moment and then stepped back, voice as low as an even temper would allow, "Go then. Sulk in the woods. We both know you don't belong -here-." He gestured to the halls about them and made it easier for him. Of course he didn't care for any of it, but his pride was still his greatest sin. He could swallow it for his Queen, but for others he was sometimes found lacking. It was all he could do not to let his mood infect his motion as he left them.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Oct 16 17:21:55 2015 Subject Dead Rats (Part 1)

Speaking of dead rats... He was loaded with several all at once, but some were of greater weight than others. So many new and old faces, names and issues slipped through his mind as he made his way past his reserves on the way across the room. He drew open the heavy windows with a push, slipping his coat off and letting it drop to the chest as he made his way to the divan. Sinking down and stretching out, he let out a slow breath as if he'd been holding it...Then he took a drink. These were strange and interesting times, equally promising as they were deadly, yes...But the sort of people that seem to gather recently was beyond description in but a few words. Juggling an army, chieftains and the Conclave was one thing...He hadn't exactly planned for the full scope of things. He was well aware going in and nowhere near unprepared, but it took some adjusting. Adjusting that had been helped as often as it was hindered by the gaggle around him. None of them were attempting so bold a thing as outright rebellion, though Zeke was close at times. He slid by with far too much. He actually did have practical applications, but if those ever outweighed the cost he would be forced to consider alternatives to their situation. Such as now, of course. He wasn't adjusting to this and the proximity to the temple was having some serious effects upon his body, mind and spirit he suspected with good cause. It didn't appear to be -killing- him so it remained a source of curiosity to the new Emperor, but he did feel the occasional pang of...Sympathy for the man. He wasn't being cruel when he'd said he didn't belong here. They both knew that. It was a hassle as a Highlord to juggle this strange man, as Emperor it was becoming far more than that. He didn't doubt that -someone- had seen the scene he'd made in the hallway. He also had a nasty habit of pulling weapons at random. There were actually plenty of faults to the man, including his ridiculous conscience, but some of them seemed to miraculously shift towards strengths at the least expected moments. It was no surprise to him that he'd not thrown him a parade when the news came. It shouldn't have been a surprise that he would attempt to throw it in his face either. The truth of the matter was that Sirene knew better. She knew what she had done the moment it happened and there was nothing remotely related to Zeke or Teague's temper involved in his call. That idiot was obsessed with impossible fancies and impractical labels. He really couldn't help himself, though, Teague assumed. He could see where it came from and why, but Zeke was forward-thinking. He would come around. Assuming he didn't have to put him down first. That, unfortunately, had held firmly to his mind recently. He hadn't allowed it to distract him from his goals, but he had allowed it to occupy many moments such as this. One way or another, he was going to have to kill him if he didn't wisen up. He'd been rather set on the idea of sticking with this until his end despite Teague's advice to get out. There were only two other foreseeable possible endings if he didn't, though. Either Teague would push him too far and he would attempt to kill him for real, or Zeke would push too far of his own fool accord. Both held the result of Teague having to deal with him swiftly. The prospect of this was a good cause for a pause to drink. He was, after all, making an attempt to relax and clear his thoughts. It was helpful. Therapeutic. Pushing himself up, he caught the breeze through the window and closed his eyes a moment, letting it chill his skin and brewing frustrations. He -did- have an actual use for him, several actually, and he fulfilled those unspoken and spoken duties. He was in no hurry to make any sort of decisions there unless he had to at the moment. If he ever truly threatened the cause, he could not hesitate. His hand hadn't been his own for quite some time, and now was -especially- no exception.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Oct 16 17:24:11 2015 Subject Dead Rats (Part 2)

Not everyone was quite as difficult as the ex-Solamnic, though. There were people slowly stepping into the running, though. The priestess of Sargonnas was growing somewhat troublesome. Not because she was beginning to show her backbone some, no, but because she wasn't doing it quickly enough. Sirene was still weak in her heart. She wanted to be more, but the time to -be- more was upon them and he was uncertain she would rise to the occasion. She had been valuable, but if she challenged him as he required her to do, she needed to be worth keeping. He would hate to feed into the growing rumors about them, after all. Aside from that, she was a follower of Sargonnas. He could trust her as long as her deity was interested in the goal. He, too, would eventually fall in line for the Goddess, however, of find himself at odds he assumed. When that time came, Sirene would either be true to her faith or to him. He had, of course, been working the angle of her weakened faith to his advantage. To their advantage. But if she was to be of real use to him or Her Dark Majesty, she was going to have to step it up. At least she understood better than Zeke, when he put his foot down. She knew what she had done the moment she had done it and he could tell that she knew exactly what she was being punished for. She didn't oppose him for a moment...And she took the knee. He expected it was her God's will again. He wasn't paranoid of her, mind you. He didn't have much -reason- to be, but you could not trust that which you could not rely upon. Take Nestos for example. There was a man that you could trust to the betterment of his investments. He was investing quite a bit, even putting himself in the cross-hairs of the Conclave. It would be ridiculous to fully trust anyone, but he was fairly reliable and, despite his wiry ways, capable of being trusted to be himself. He was valuable to their Queen and the plan as a whole and willing to let it fill his pockets while still being aware of the amount of effort it would require. Probably more than most could ask for. That being said, soon he would be departing for the icy tundra. He could be put to use and the test there all at once, with not true loss if he failed. The Whites were scattered, ragtag and barely under the Dragonarmy's wing at the moment. Reports had been sluggish at best and this was neither the time nor place for sloven inaction. He would bring them to heel and whip them into shape or die trying. Of course Teague didn't intend to send him ill-prepared, and Nestos had always shown himself to be capable. He liked him as much as he would allow, not particularly ready to slip into bed with a venomous snake but more than willing to feed it and enjoy it's existence and products. He had no reason to plot against the other renegade, but he wouldn't take his eye off of him if he could help it. It would almost be an insult, he felt. -He- would be offended were the tables turned. Emperors were powerful, but there were many forms of power in the world. He appreciated their mutual respect towards the various forms it took, to be honest. Knowledge being one of the greater amongst them. They were both willing to try new things. Not unlike the doctor.

Author: Teague Date: Fri Oct 16 17:28:25 2015 Subject Dead Rats (Part 3)

Ryna, as she had introduced herself, was a fairly pleasant and useful surprise. Seemingly dropped right into his lap, she rolled in out of the north in her chirurgeon's cart with all of her knowledge and will to step outside the box. He hadn't expected her to fair well up on the block during the mob, but she had surprised him. She was skeptical and that was good, but willing to find the answers if properly funded. Of course she wanted compensation but she seemed dedicated to her craft and willing to go the whole mile if he was. She wasn't a soldier by any stretch of the word, but he imagined she could keep herself well enough. She traveled the roads in these times without a caravan. She was high in ethics and lax on morality when it came to his ideas as well. The consideration towards higher learning and practical applications seemed to entice her, but the prospect of being allowed to practice whatever sort of experimental research they could cook up without worry of interference seemed to please her more. In the name of medicine and scientific development, of course. He posed to her many hypotheticals, of course, testing her reactions and responses even as he put her towards more practical use. She was the least of his concerns right now, though clearly clever and shrewd enough to keep track of. Anyone of worth should be kept track of, to be honest. That was just part of the game. (This is the rest of the summary of the logs following Tea becoming Emp. Here's a link to the actual logs if you want to read them: http://tinyurl.com/pqn7o8o Now to get to work on that DA summary- XD )

Author: Teague Date: Wed Oct 21 18:24:07 2015 Subject Too Easy (Part 1)

The Emperor sat against the desk, waiting for his request to be fulfilled with an eye on the low smoldering hearth. He had managed to curb his curiosity long enough. Longer than he would have liked. He had a myriad of questions, some from various other angles than his own... But some of them held much more weight to him Everything was in flux around them, preparing to send them all hurdling into a future none of them could begin to foretell. Teague did not hold firm the idea of coincidences when the Gods were concerned. He played to the possibility with healthy cynicism, of course, but there were possibilities everywhere. All he had to do was find them. That -was- what She said, right? Whoever them was. There he goes, letting time get away from him again. Making a habit of it these days, aren't we? That should be fine, it'll pass the time until they get there. Lanfer sits on the edge of the small bed that had been set up in the interior room of the Blue Generals office in the Nerakan Temple. His was naked to the waist with just the pants from the livery set Ayasana had allowed him. Blood and ash she could be an interesting one at times. With a knock on the door Lanfer rose, more out of habit then anything. He knew the two guards are the door would handle it, but with Ayasana gone for a time he knew he would be summoned sooner then later. His arrival was far to interesting a topic he could only assume. The guards at the door conversed with the man at the door and Lanfer could hear voices begin to raise in protest. The blue wing had their orders to not let him out of their sights, but it seemed he was being summoned. After a time one of the blue wing approached and simple states, "You have been summoned by the emperor, get dressed." Hopefully Lanfer didn't expect a quiet evening in, because Teague's request really wasn't much of a request at all. He eventually got his thoughts in order about the time he thought they should be en route. Taking a seat near the fire, he waited with less patience than it pleased him to have. He would have waited, probably should have waited for Ayasana. Or perhaps he shouldn't have. He was still feeling this out. Either way, he was convinced he should poke at this old bear before someone speared him. The boy...How many times had he sent kid this age into battle to die? Maybe even ones younger. "Lead on Lad, I'm sure you master doesn't like waiting, none of those haughty higher-ups ever do." He flashes the boy a smile and almost chuckles as the young man tries to cover one of his own. They walk through the halls of the temple until they come to a door which the page knocks on. When the knock broke the silence, bouncing off the sparse but comfortable rooms, he got to his feet, "Enter." He was fairly certain who it would be, of course. Teague wouldn't take long to send the escort out. If he couldn't handle some old knight, he should be reconsidering his curent occupation. That being said, he felt like this man was familiar with Ayasana...If he'd learned anything, it was that the company of Highlords were rarely to be overlooked and never underestimated. Not even his own ridiculous gaggle. Lanfer, once he came around, was destined to meet a critical but somewhat polite examination from afar. He couldn't say what he had been expecting to gain from this exactly. He knew what he could get, but the stranger was more than enough of a variable to easily tip things one way or another. He caught part of the words and the tone well enough to draw a brow upwards, but he didn't look like he planned to kill him right away. In fact, Teague looked him over but his appearance was less of interest than his bearing. Thankfully for Lanfer, his bearing seemed to be leaps and bounds above his appearance. His greeting had been...Acceptable. He gestured to one of the few seats by the fire, "Why don't you have a seat...What -should- I call you now?" Polite words on a razor's edge. He had his own ideas of what one could call a traitor, of course.

Author: Teague Date: Wed Oct 21 18:28:22 2015 Subject Too Easy (Part 2)

Lanfer moves for the seat the Emperor had motioned to, "Lanfer, Mi'Lord, Lanfer Di'Ternian, Ex Grandmaster of the fools army, Ex Dragon Highlord of the Queen." He takes the seat and raises his gaze to meet the Emperor's, "And you? I didn't catch a name when we last met and I've always been one for names over titles. Titles can be won as easily as a game of dice. A Name is earned." He lets a half crooked smile touch his lips. Teague narrowed his eyes with a wry smile on his lips, "Earn it, then, Lanfer." He comes around the side of the other chair but passes it to take up a post next to the hearth, arms crossed as he dismisses the pleasantries, "When we met before, you said that you might go back to your death. What exactly did you mean when you gave your reason?" Lanfer shakes his head dismissively to himself at the lack of response to his request for a proper name and stands placing a hand on the high backed chair. "Simply that if the Queen does wish to meet with me, and this return was in fact her doing then she may not like the terms on which I will work for her again Mi'Lord." He let the name sit for a second before continuing. "I have lead both Armies, and I know just how similar they are. Fighting to fight gains nothing." He hefts a sigh and meets the mans gaze evenly. "If she wishes my help in fighting to unify the people I will help. When war rages the people who make up the heart of this land perish. I am done watching the people of this land live in fear and agony because two sides think their deity has a bigger cod piece." Lanfer cant help but go to rest his other hand on the spot the hilt of his sword should be, but did his best to cover the motion as it was not there. He would bite. Some. Teague seemed skeptical however, because the only other person who had an opinion like that was a drunk and on the wrong side of his temper at the moment. His patience for ex-Solamnics and their anti-war rants had been pushed well past its limits before he'd even met this one. So he offered another question, "What, then, would -you- suggest?" He kept it neutral, but there was always a hint of venom when these people spoke. It generally came back around to the same tired old thing. Lanfer contemplates the question for a moment before he begins letting the question slide over him. "Solidify the Boarders and protect the people we now hold. Run any who oppose through the sword here and now. Let the Solamnic have their lands to the north for now. They are weak and lead by no one. They would rather argue in their councils then feed and protect their people." He stops and takes a breath, measuring weather or not this boy before him could even fathom the next part. Lanfer decides to give the man the benefit of the doubt and finishes his though. "We show the people in Solamnic lands that we treat ours with respect and grant them the freedoms any man should be allowed. We foster the seed of doubt in those that now control them. We show them that the Army of Takhisis is not evil like their propaganda spewing Solamnic like to show them. We give the people a reason to join us, and they will fight more fervently then we ever could." Teague somehow managed to mask his surprise with the greater and sudden suspicion. He's basically just told him the basis of his own plans already. His Queen was collecting lunatics, clearly. He didn't say a damned thing for a moment, until his suspicions won out and he glanced down with an incredulous chuckle. "Who told you to say that?" Was Ayasana -spying- on him? Was Zeke finally crossing the line...Well, perhaps -that one- was a bit ridiculous. Nestos was more likely to have his fingers in this than the woodsman. Even so, he'd been holding it close to his chest. He was cool, but the disbelief was visible.

Author: Teague Date: Wed Oct 21 18:32:06 2015 Subject Too Easy (Part 3)

Lanfer looks at the man slightly puzzled, "I know you do not know me, but any who do, know that I speak for no one. Ayasana was created by me many years ago. She was taught to lead by me. She may have the upper hand in the here and now, but she to knows that she owes what she has in part to me." Lanfer begins to move towards the hearth standing on the opposite side from the Emperor. Looking the man in the eye he says sternly, "I know you must think this all a wild group of moments, I know any leader worth his salt does not believe in coincidence, but I can tell you with honest certainty that I know not why I was returned, and I want it even less then you do." Lanfer chuckles almost jovially, "I enjoyed my final ride with Ayasana to death, it was fitting. I am not sure it will be as poetic this time around." Teague drew in a slow breath, growing a lot more serious once he realized he might have actually meant that. "Coincidence is a funny thing when the Gods are concerned." It was a guarded response, "That's what you want? You're...Serious?" Hard to believe, to be honest. It was too good to be true...Or She was already at work providing him with what he might need. "And..." He gambled a smirk and presses, "You expect this is possible? Here." Lanfer looks the Emperor over now that he had move closer. He had hear the blue wing talking over the news of the newly risen man. Most were at a loss of it all. Most in the Blue wing didn't trust magic, knowing the warriors code they had been handed by Ayasana, and to have this as what rose to the top seemed off. Though no one questioned the Queen and this would be how it went. "Do I think what is possible Mi'Lord?" Lanfer tilts his head sideways giving the emperor a long look. "If do you mean that crazy Blue Highlord of a Baroness can ever be reigned in, I can honestly say No. She is a Bloody Wackadoo, but by the dark moon I still call her friend." he again smirks. Teague didn't look a thing like your typical mage. To be honest, he looked just as likely to shank someone as he was to burn them down. He held himself like something far more immediately dangerous. There was also the sword. Still. He tried, by the Goddess, not to crack up at the comment about Ayasana, and he did alright. Lanfer gets a crooked smirk and an amused glint as Teague gives in to a puff of breath outwardly. Annoyed, yes...But he really couldn't help it. "No, I would never even consider asking that." That was just the way he -liked- her, too. Composure pulling back into play, he shook his head, stealing from Zeke. "Do you think that the forces of my Queen will be so easily folded into something such as this? Many of them would call you mad simply to suggest it." Lanfer thinks a moment and then nods slowly never really looking away from the Emperors face. "I'd have done it already if I had an army as strong as the Queen has. Had the north not been ruled by Goat raping dim wits who would rather chase tavern wenches at just the chance they would see some ankle, than get their lands in order." Teague was aware of his company's -hands- more than his face, but he had fair view of most of him from where he stood. He was still somewhat disbelieving of the whole ordeal. He only looked mildly surprised at the sudden shift to questioning, deflecting it with, "I am ready to whatever it takes, no matter what that may eventually be."--And a counter, "Why do you think She would waste her time giving you the choice? Why put out the effort on a maybe?" Because there won't be one, of course. Listen to this man, he's already on board. Dark Mother above... Teague was equal parts amazed and suspicious, behind that serious mask of his.

Author: Teague Date: Wed Oct 21 18:33:23 2015 Subject Too Easy (Part 4)

Lanfer laughs a laugh full of baritone seeming very out of place for the question posed, "My good lad my only thought is that she must know our aims match up for once. Or she is as sadistic bitch as any there is and wants to make Ayasana prove her loyalty to her by doing the one thing she danced around for so many years. Kill me...." He trailed off as the jovial look passed from his face as if this was the first time he had had that thought. He shakes it away he tries his best to continue as if it was an intended pause. "In any case it will take swift action in the lands you hold now. Quell ANY dissension. Then spread either east or west from your lines. Leave the north alone and send your most skilled truth tellers there to begin the siege." Teague pressed his lips into a thin line, pleased neither by the familiar term nor the mention of a test of that nature. It wasn't a pleasant prospect and he knew that sort of dance. He could at least justify it...And maybe Aya could keep him a little longer if she wanted. In part. He guarded his thoughts' contents, if not their presence. He took a step back in thought, letting himself offer, "Expansion was not in my initial plan." It wasn't the plan, but it might as well have been a well-worded me too. "I do believe you will be joining us, Di'Ternian." Lanfer nods to the man, "I'm almost hoping that be so." He seems to find something new to chuckle about as he mentions almost casually, "Heal the sickness the men talk about as quickly as you can. Once that is over you hold a games like this city has never seen. Offer everyone who comes Amnesty. If they wish not to take it it will just further the whispers of treason in the north. If they come you play at Knights and beast them honestly. Show everyone who will watch." Changing the subject yet again Lanfer almost absently asks, "Can you do something about these dreadful cloths the Blue Worm has put me in? It would drive her bloody insane if I came back looking a bit more proper." Teague was working on that. He was still too worldly not to be paranoid with this...But why would she replace him right now. Right now. He lofted a brow and took the man in both before and after the change of subject. He almost gave it to him, to be honest. He had a thing for aggravating Ayasana...But he chuckled instead. "Worry about your insides and then we'll worry about your outsides. I do not doubt She will know your lies from the truth." Then. If you are true...Then we'll worry about your rags. He did offer a thin mirthless smile, however, and an offer. Though, to be honest, it was no longer much of a secret, "Teague Morague uth Vaughn." Lanfer dips into a much more proper bow then the half cocked one upon entering, though his eyes never leave the Emperor's, "Sir Teague," he says in almost earnest. "Id settle for a sword if the wardrobe change is to costly for an Emperor," Lanfer chuckles. "She'd NEVER expect that one." He wasn't going to get much rest for that eyebrow tonight. Teague was amused, yes. Enough to laugh, which brought him glancing away towards the far side of the room. He shook his head, "I should think not. Pray She calls for you swiftly. You should, however, return to your keeper...Least she come howling at my door." Lanfer bows again with an attempt at a flourish with his livery top. "My Dear Teague, she will be howling and quite loudly if I remember her at all." In honesty he was sure she more then likely knew the page was coming this day and chose to leave so he couldn't accuse her of abandoning him to this conclave drop out. It was amazing what guards talked about when they thought you weren't listening. And by the gods he still knew one or two within the blue wing. "May you night be well." Lanfer turns and heads for the door. (You guessed it, a log. Sorry I lost your entry post, Lanny, idk where it went. T_T It was good fun, though, and I look forward to what comes of it-)

Author: Teague Date: Wed Oct 21 21:46:19 2015 Subject Broken Word

Why would he say such a thing to him? How could he say such things and think he could just let him leave? It was beyond reason! The Kingfisher?! The Triumvirate had not only created the greatest joke of all time in the Solamnic Order, but now they had taken his friend and turned him into a weapon. In a war Zeke didn't even wish to take part of. They twisted him away from him and chilled his heart. -They- were the reason Zeke could see no logic. The reason he could not be at his side as he built this new world. If Teague had ever hated the Gods of Light more, he couldn't fathom it. He could kill him, the Emperor thought as he paced around the pool of still waters that showed him their heart-felt farewells. He should. But that would be too kind. It would serve no purpose and it certainly would not cool the fires inside of him. No. No, he had sent them to collect him. He didn't expect Zeke to fight, but he did expect him to run. Or to try. He also made certain to include the priestess, of course. She wasn't to be taken as a prisoner, but escorted to her chambers immediately and placed under watch. Assuming she didn't aid his attempts. If she helped Zeke in any way without his personal council, he would have her in chains with him. Jealousy threatened to steal his logic, of course. Zeke had given up on talking him out of here but he would stay and risk himself to try and convince -her- still. It was brief-lived, of course. He knew the man was waiting for them to leave for Sanction before he snuck away... There would be none of that, however. He saw her turn him down, which was good, but he also saw her struggle. She was not to be trusted to make loyal decisions if she took that long to decide who to aid. He would have to assign more eyes to Sargonnas' poppet, certainly. He would not punish her, however. She was older than him in years, but so much younger in mind and heart. There was far too much she simply did not understand to trust her. This was not a question of her loyalty. Yet. Of course, once she had given way to the escort and Zeke was in irons, he had turned from the taxing display. Had he not been where he was, the task would have been far less casual. That fact aside, he made to meet them in his rooms, pleased to see that the front office was prepared to receive the errant friend. He sunk down into a seat by the ember-filled hearth, not bothering to further light the room. He hardly needed it, and he couldn't have cared less for what the traitor wanted. What did he expect? Twice a traitor now, the ex-Solamnic held far more in common with Lanfer than he probably wanted to admit now. But at least Lanfer was prone to reason...Far more than Zeke. Lanfer wasn't blinded by insidiously deceptive golden rays of light, however. Neither of them could be trusted, but the new arrival was far more trustworthy than the woodsman. Teague was Human, though. He could not help that, unfortunately. He was mortal and his heartstrings were susceptible to the weakness of camaraderie. He'd let it blind him. He'd allowed the Triumvirate to strike right at him, and had he not ruined it on his own, Zeke may have done even more damage. The pain it caused was enlightening though, as pain was wont to be but sorrow, like fear, was relatively easy to spin into wrath. This advantage, if it could be called such, drove him to decisive action. He had no real choice, in the end, for his would-be friend simply knew too much and was -clearly- an enemy. No one, mortal or God, would stop him from fulfilling his obligations. Not if he had any say in it.

Author: Teague Date: Sun Nov 8 08:10:28 2015 Subject Fiery Vistas (Part 1)

Teague had spent the better half of the week rearranging the bureaucratic nightmare that was Sanction, and the last thing he wanted to think of was everything all over again. Too bad for him, he lived his work day and night. He was like that, but he'd spent his whole life scraping, clawing, adapting and climbing. One didn't have much idle downtime when you were a man on fire. So. Here he was, leaning into the thick stone and vallenwood rail of his balcony, a half-empty glass caught between the fingertips of one hand by the rim. Arms were draped across the rail and his gaze was intently upon Mount Thunderhorn. This week had been incredibly hectic, but tonight he was only to be bothered by a very specific few. It was no surprise when he heard a light knock announcing the arrival of one of them, though. He called out for them to let her through, dismissing them in the same gesture as the doors came open to his personal chambers... The priestess Sirene. The slip of a priestess stepped in and approached, stopping near the balcony but still hovering inside the study. She gave a low bow, too formal for the man's liking as he was still getting used to the new formalities. She spoke from her lowly position as he resisted the urge to interrupt her with a request for the luxry of a casual conversation. "Good evening, My Lord." She waited for him, he knew, and he made her wait for it. He pushed himself up and back off the rail, equal parts agitation and amusement beneath a polite mask of flesh, turning to lean there with his back to the city below. They were far from alone due to Astier, but she was almost always there. Somewhere. He gave her a thinly veiled and overly polite smile, "I see you are up and moving." Of course he knew already. She wasn't so much as breathing hard without it being reported back to him after the last fiasco. "Be at ease, priestess. Do you have anything for me?" He assumed she came for a reason. He was hip deep in city dealings atop the usual. The city was under a heavy fog of quiet tension regarding the recent illness and looming witch hunt that was upon them. In the whole of the sprawling city, there were perhaps fifty if they were lucky. Lanfer was getting his chance to show him what he could do, certainly. Teague was in no mood to be chit-chatting. Not unless she had something of worth the chat about. His gaze was distant and his tone was cool. She knew it, and he knew that -she- knew. Good. He was just as pleased to hear her response as she lifted herself to face him finally. "I have discovered who Nestos's man Zhellik serves, and am here to report." She was so very cautious and he had no doubt as to why. He had been harsher with her as of late, but she had been found lacking in many ways. He was not unaware of her struggles but his sympathy would do her no service. Thankfully, she did not seem to want it. Neither of them could afford such things. Not now. He lofted a brow at this and gestured to a carved stone bench against the outside wall. "I see. Sit and tell me what you've found me about this mysterious prophet." He was rightfully suspicious, of course. It paid to be suspicious and his paranoia hadn't ever landed him dead. Not yet, at least. A month of being Emperor and he had already faced two attempts on his life within his own camp and home city. He had more to come, clearly, and he wasn't keen on one of them having possible ties to the up and coming Highlord... He watched her make her way over to take a seat as he had bid, though it was difficult to tell if it was actually for her own comfort. What mattered was that she was giving her report to him right now, though. In this she did not falter. "There are still things that I only have speculation on, but he is a dedicated servant of the Dark Queen herself." She almost drew a smirk from him as she spoke of their Queen, her body dipping into a practiced show of reverence. It brought rise to the days directly following his promotion.

Author: Teague Date: Sun Nov 8 08:14:53 2015 Subject Fiery Vistas (Part 2)

As for Nestos and his madman? He suspected as much, really. It made it even harder for him to let them go along their way. However, his religious curiosity would have to give way to the greater gain and need once more. The man's master would be in Sanction a little longer with the purge moving towards full-swing. "I suspected as much when he laid his hands upon me." This must not unnoticed, however. There were forces afoot that none of them could fully understand, let alone predict. "Tell me what you think of them." He may or may not have use for her opinion. It could just as easily be another test. "Do you believe he is truly dedicated despite his subterfuge?" Or, perhaps, Her own. The Gods worked in mysterious ways. "He is very, truly dedicated, through and through. Will do whatever She asks." Her certainty combined with the content of her response lofted his brow again, but he let her continue. "If by subterfuge you mean him not saying who he serves...He does not know, and does not wish to know. He asked that I not tell him when I let him know I figured it out." He couldn't fathom blindly following anything if he didn't know what it was. He shakes his head and takes a slow pull off of his drink as his thoughts wandered over it and into other frontiers. The idea of dedication was no strange thing to him, for he knew his own sort, as each of them had come to. He let his gaze shift out over the city towards Mount Ashkir, another of the Lords of Doom. They had various theories of how to effect the volcanoes' flow, but they were volatile and difficult to predict. Caution was required, and much patience. Much like with Lanfer. The Commander was somewhat of a delicate situation in more than one way. He couldn't help but let his lips press into a satisfied smile, however, when he asked, "And Lanfer? What have you gleaned of your dearest father as of late..." He had to admit, if only to himself, that he was well-timed, this felled Knight bartered back to life by their Queen. Potentially as troublesome as he was useful...Having convenient leash potentially wrapped about his fingers in an iron grip was rather pleasing to consider. She made her displeasure known right away, of course. He knew the soft murr and pursing of her lips well, and he knew he'd touched on this situation before, but it was expected to bring up more questions for the inquisitive priestess. None of this was being particularly easy with her, but she would rise to the occasion or she simply would not. "He is a lot more like me than I expected, in what he wants. But I don't know how much he really means it. He believes you can lead the Dragonarmy to the vision he wants, but he has left us before and grown disenchanted with the Solamnics for both places not going in that direction enough. He will serve, but looks to be judging the whole way, and I don't know how much of a tie I am. Definitely some." The newly risen Emperor didn't like to gamble on their future, the future that he had promised his Queen. His internal response was divided, though he kept it beneath a casual nod as he reminded himself that She had sent this man to him, of that he could have no doubt. He had come in perfect timing with his need, their ideals and plans so supernally similar. He knew better than to put too much faith in a need for Her direct hand, not out of doubt though. He had always believed in a reasonable balance between logic and portent. Soldiers and civilians were not the only superstitious lot. Mages had good reason to be, however.

Author: Teague Date: Sun Nov 8 08:17:42 2015 Subject Fiery Vistas (Part 3)

He almost lazily corrected her at the end of her response, "The Dragon Empire, priestess." One was to learn what to focus on and what to let pass. He was no novice to the concept, but even so, he was still sometimes forced to interpret without certainty. He had made uneasy ties before in the name of this vision, one of them having chosen to settle high between the two peaks he had been observing. "Do you believe that you can safely strengthen this bond? If you make too much effort, I'm certain he will grow wary. Be mindful." Much like Lanfer, Blaze was no simple tool. Either of them were as likely to strike him if the need should arise. He had grudgingly sought out the aid of them both. Hn. "But do spend as much time with him as possible. He will be somewhat occupied as soon as he has recovered from your mistake." It was so very casually said, followed by a slow drain of the flask of his drink and a cool gaze over the rim of the glass. "I expect you can mange." He had been informed that a special prisoner had been brought into the arena's cells...He would allow the Commander to have first go, before he paid the man a visit himself. The poor girl didn't seem to know how to gage the social climate between them, taking a casual tone here and then reverting to more formal responses, even bowing here and there. He had more to worry about than her discomfort, but this was almost becoming common to him. At least he wasn't the only one still trying to figure out how this worked. "I will manage." She had better. "Dragon Empire then. That does match what we are more, yes." He liked the sound of that on someone else's lips. He would like to hear it on the lips of the Dwarves as soon as was possible, too. Yet another matter that was straining his patience. The message had been received, of that he was aware. There was far too much up in the air at the moment, but what went up would soon fall down, preferably into place. He might as well indulge his curiosities while he was at this, "How were you received in Neraka? The Highlord...She took you well? I realize I was not far behind you, but I hadn't had the mind or time to ask." Of course he wanted to know about Ayasana. It had been far too long and he hadn't had enough time to truly see for himself. The Emperor found her a pleasant challenge, and preferred her to the ever-looming subject of her near opposite in Khariif. This made him wonder...Would he come on his own, or would he have to call him to council? Making peaceful negotiations with the Dwarven nations would not be so simple if he couldn't handle it -within- first. She slipped into a more casual shrug when she answered him this time, "She...Didn't like me very much. And rubbed me the wrong way...It was an alright receiving though, I guess. And yeah, you did come there right when I was talking to her." He remembered, suddenly, the look of her when he had interrupted their little meeting. Despite it serving his own amusement, though, he really couldn't approve. She was going to need more work in that aspect, still. She had a ways to go. She did manage to pull a soft snort from him as he attempted to maintain a more stern demeanor, "I suppose your etiquette may be somewhat lacking? What was it that rubbed you the wrong way? Why do you believe she didn't care for you..." He could idle on her with his words, but his mind didn't linger long on the Highlord. She could be a threat if she wanted, but he didn't believe she had -cause-. Of course he couldn't trust. Not -completely-. That was a luxury he had given away quite some time ago, but she did hold some of that...If not his respect. He had no doubt there would be a fury to deal with if he let himself slip, however. He expected it. Not only from her, however. Speaking of social graces that the priestess lacked... He had heard about the fire, and another much less trustworthy name came to mind; Zeke.

Author: Teague Date: Sun Nov 8 08:21:29 2015 Subject Fiery Vistas (Part 4)

"I think I was too polite and deferential for her tastes. She asked if I was truly a priestess of Sargonnas, or if I was maybe one of meek Mishakal." The way she chuckled brought to light other less amusing moments, however. He could see that the same could be said for her. She was just as often too bold as she was too meek. He held a certain value for bold words and action when it was appropriate. She was getting much better at judging, but she had some way to go. He studied her as he set the glass aside and let his weight settle once more upon the rail, "Appearances." They can make or break you. He was fast learning such things. Zeke... "And Zeke? Have you anything to share about him?" He was cooperating, by their will if not his own. It was perhaps a bad idea...But there was a cruel twist to the whole ordeal. He wouldn't just let him rest. Not that easily, no. Did he wish things were different? Of course. But he wouldn't regret it. There were some bridges that weren't going to repair. Not without a little effort...And magic. There was some selfishness there, but he truly did believe that Zeke's ideas were worth the trouble. He would serve Her goals one way or another and right alongside the Emperor. As it should be. "You...Probably heard already but I ah...I learned I can shoot fire out of my hands now! And did so at an inappropriate time...I think he's alright...Is he alright?" Someone would have said something to her before now if he wasn't alright. He -might- have said something. It all depended. He had been considering asking her about the report, but she didn't give him the chance to. This wasn't unexpected, but it pleased him to see that she would offer it on her own without knowing how he would react. No one really seemed to know what to think of Zeke or his situation. Crossing his arms as he continued to lean, he managed a wry smirk and a hn of a chuckle, "I can't say there aren't a few people I would like to light on fire right now. Or at least their things. "Try not to damage him, he has work to do. He will be spending some time working with your father." He wanted to test the mettle of his geas-like servitude. What better way than to make him play god with the lives of the mages they apprehended? He would help them decide who was sincere, with supervision of course. He had a talent with people, the sort that he could not deny. The Conclave that they sought to purge would be granted the choice of living as Free Mages or dying as Conclave...Those who were deemed insincere would burn along with their comrades. One way or another, the world would burn for Her. Sometimes literally. "You could possibly ask him his thoughts on Lanfer as this unfolds." "I will ask at a time it seems appropriate, not out of place and such. I should also be ready for training with Senhica again within a couple days, if there is time for me to be resuming that. But with the anger around at the Conclave, and the sickness...I perhaps might be of more use helping at the clinic." He nodded, accepting this as a fact. In a situation such as this, she really had more place behind the lines then on them. Neither of them seemed willing to push the boundaries of logic enough to dispute that. "How are you working with this soldier?" Of course he had already looked into him himself. He had reason to approve. "I agree. I will make certain that you have access to the medical facilities and contact the doctor." The city had not been spared the illness, and a good deal of the stifling tension in the air came from that.

Author: Teague Date: Sun Nov 8 08:24:19 2015 Subject Fiery Vistas (Part 5)

He had seen to it that the Northern camp's most northern section had been converted to both contain and treat the strange and cruel malady. It was incredibly contagious and, in an environment like Sanction's, even more deadly than it had been in Neraka. They had been lucky in the smaller, more orderly city. Teague had expected this, though. He knew the near lawless nature of the sprawling port city was home to some of the most difficult sort of people. It didn't help that he had just declared that there was no place for false gods in one of their Majesty, the Queen's lands and that his first target was the long-lived Temple of Duerghast. Teague had decided it would be cleaned of all effigies and its upper levels would receive renovations. The city could find great profit in many ways from a greater arena for both free and owned champions. It would serve the Empire much better that way...But still the Gods of Light were a plague upon them. He would find a way to rid this city of their influence or bury it from sight. This he vowed silently as he pushed up to stand at full height once more. Forget the superstitions of Huerzyd for now. "Was there anything more?" "That is all I had to discuss." Shaking her head, she stood and fell in. This was more familiar an exchange between them. He could tell that she wanted to ask him something, and after a moment she divulged her inquiry, "Do you have a specific task for me today...Or should I just rest and report to the clinic in the morning?" Ah. Of course. ...He was not -completely- unforgiving. He passed her on the way into the study with a sideways glance down as he gestured for her to follow, "Take the day to yourself." Do not take that bit of rope and hang yourself with it. The illness was a real threat, this he could not deny. Reports were coming in that it had already reached across the plains to the south and east, having riddled Blode with it's destructive embrace. It had reached beyond the sea to the trade ports and was creeping across the northern continent as well as up through Taman Busk. Teague was well aware of that there were sympathizers to their enemies still in the streets and around every corner. "You may go." He'd drawn them across the study and to the doors of his personal receiving chambers by then, having reached to open the doors for her himself. He hadn't a clue what she would do with the time, but he noticed she made no hesitation to bow and head upon her way. No doubt she had somewhere specific in mind already. Now alone, he closed the doors behind her and turned towards his private chambers. His coat and wrap were left to a divan in little to no orderly fashion as he returned to his thoughts. These times were trying and there was much to do, but they were finally beginning to fall into place. He couldn't have expected more, what with the abrupt and sudden shifting and events. Now...If only he could get this whole Khariif ordeal done and over. It would be a blessing in itself if he would just play along for a while so he could deal with other matters, such as the fact that he hadn't yet received any word of Contessa or her mission... (Thanks to Sirene for helping me lay this out. We RPed this scene out and I re-wrote it to be completely from his point of view. Thanks for helping me out here, was having a hard time getting it to flow and I needed a catchup story--)

Author: Teague Date: Thu Feb 18 03:33:25 2016 Subject Siege. Serious? (Pt 1)

For some reason the guards had not fully been able to understand as of yet, Ayasana Uth Matar, Blue Highlord of Her Dark Magesty's Empire, had brought her entire force down from the north. With a natural barrier of mountain and sea, the past several years had seen the walls hand-carved and built into the passes, so this huge force had been camping in and around it this whole time that the Emperor had had her waiting. The possible outcomes had become a bit of sport and wager amongst the men who held watch over the growing port city. It was starting to become something one could almost be proud of, Sanction...But no one knew the future and no one knew the way the dice would fall in these laid out bets either. The one thing that they all knew, was that it wouldn't be long before they found out for better or worse. Tonight, it seemed, was going to be the night they found out. Of course, it probably wouldn't be the way any of them had wanted it to be. The Emperor had made known his will on the situation known. The Blue Highlord might, should she be bold and impatient enough to press her entry, be allowed to enter the city with a -small- personal guard and an escort by his chosen guard. She would also have to wait for them to be assembled. Under no circumstances would any sort of petulance be an acceptable response and they were definitely not to let any more of the blue forces in the city than what had come with Lanfer. Many of them who had served through the time were not surprised at the sudden buckling down that the Red Highlord turned Emperor was displaying. Not but a few years earlier he had done the same in a way. This time he wished for it to be more orderly and less violent, but he would be absolute in Sanction. ************************************* Teague hadn't been working on this city for a month, he'd been building it up since he'd seized control of the Red Dragonarmy in Blode. Ayasana still liked to hold it over him, how she had half trained a single wing of men years ago while he was injured. He hadn't been particularly welcoming then either, and as was recorded, sent her officers she'd left to "maintain order" back to her in boxes. She hadn't yet had her vengeance for that and he had a long memory, good enough to keep track of his transgressions. He'd introduced order to this chaos, as "crude" as it might have seemed in comparison to Neraka, and this was no longer the shanty town it had once been. The city had swelled and was beginning to hinge towards prosperity. It wasn't his hand that did this, though. He knew how to pick people who knew exactly what they were doing and what there was to be gained by doing it well. He didn't accept any less, despite the outward appearance of his men. All the way up, he had always been able to read, win and make use of people and he knew how to motivate them. How to move them. How to draw them in. This place didn't run well because he knew how to run it, it ran well because he could make people want to make it run for him. His army, in many ways, was much the same. He'd picked through it with a fine-toothed comb all the way up and then some more, shrewd but not unwilling to do whatever he had just asked of you at any given moment. He was likable. -If- he wanted you to like him. These men and this city would grow and fight for him and each other and, to be honest, everyone was itching for some sort of real action. The larger bulk of the Red Army was encamped here, working from Sanction to secure support and order throughout parts of Khur and the lands to the south of this supposed new capitol. There were many lands and servants to Darkness who had been and would have to be brought to see the gain in swearing to a great endeavor such as this. It wasn't easy and it would only get harder. It was...Weird. Unprecedented, perhaps. Insane? But still...

Author: Teague Date: Thu Feb 18 03:34:56 2016 Subject Siege. Serious? (Pt 2)

Possible. The city was under partial curfew due to the recent sickness, so -some- of the insistence that anyone from the Blue Army seeking entry was actually due to health hazard. This also meant more frequent regular patrols, lit streets and fewer people upon them. It wasn't hard to keep people off the streets here, what with the climate and volcanic ash. There would be few civilian concerns and more than enough warning and men to keep Ayasana's men from simply taking the gates or entering the city against the Emperor's will. Even if some managed to sneak into the city, they would hardly be allowed to just slay Red Watch and Imperial Guard without a fight. So... When attempting to boldly force her foot in the door, to put it plainly, they are asked to wait. They can -choose- to take it to force, but they would have to immediately face a city built and prepped for siege at any time. What's her move, then? Waiting for diplomacy or a fight? They both will send word screaming to the Emperor, but what will it say...?

The Storytellers of Ansalon, The DragonLance MUD

Astinus points to the massive wall of books behind him and bids you to make a selection.


Authors: All|A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M|N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z

Astinus sighs as he recants 'We saved 803 books from Ansalon from before the great Cataclysm through today.'
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