Depheant Makepeace - Tales of a young man

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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:25 am

(Author's note : this was second more significant character development. The storyline started in 2013, and though it starts also with small story snippets, it gradually turns into lengthier adventures that follow up on each other or link. The tale is about a young man with the dream of becoming a knight. He's deeply fascinated by (romantic) stories from books he read while he spent most of his life on board of his father's ship. At some point however he took his life in his own hands, and that is where this storyline starts. The story is still unfinished but at some point I intend to continue it on these forums. Copies as well from the Dasaria forums where I originally posted them. Just like with the other 'Das stories', a spell check will be performed somewhere in the future...)

*** Deph ***

With his foot the young man kicked another stone in the water before he took a seat on a rock near the docks, watching over the calm dark glittering surface and eyeing the softly bobbing boats. The sun was about to rise and soon the water would lit up in different shades of blue. An early seagull had left its nest and was gliding over the waterline in an attempt to catch breakfast for its squeaking brood. The temperature was about to rise up to a comfortable level.

He sighed, as he briefly looked over his shoulder, watching the entrance of the inn while absently rubbing with his fingers over the envelop he was holding.
This was not something he was used to.
His father had raised him with a firm hand and learned him about having respect for people. For almost whole his life he found himself on a ship belonging to his parents. Before he was old enough to realise... he was already working for them. And even though he was the son of the captain, he didn’t receive a preferential treatment.

No, he had to start at the bottom of the ladder, just like his parents did. He shrugged, multiple times his father had repeated that they even started lower than him... as slaves.
Off course he had never been a slave but the work he had to do came, in his humble opinion, pretty close to it.
And to his father’s disappointment he didn’t excelled at anything, mainly because he didn’t really like the life he was experiencing. It only became worse during his puberty in which they exchanged a lot of evil words.
At some point his father almost ordered his deckmaster to give his son a taste off the whip, just to remind him how worse things could have been.

He rubbed his hair, ignoring the fact that it got all messed up again.
Why didn’t he feel relieved on the day his old man died? After all, finally the tiran was gone. The reason was probably to be found in the last moments between father and son. For the first time in his life, the father gave his son a present... a drum.
He knew the drum was important within the family as it was a reference to his father’s past, the life as a rower on a slave ship.
His father sometimes played it, but had changed its song into something positive... a song that cheered up the crew of his own ship, and yet gaining the same effect : motivation.
Well, except on him...
After his father died, and he had a long conversation with his mother who sometimes lived on the ship, sometimes on shore, he decided to break his ‘chains’. He had no intention in taking over his father’s business... at least not yet.

The young man stood up and stretched his legs. That is how he ended up in Cear, or like he wished to call it, the start of a new life.
He quickly discovered that this life didn’t come exactly cheap and that he had to work for it. Well, he was used to work so, that didn’t form any problem.
But meeting certain people during this ‘work’, that was something completely different.
Although there were a few women on board of the ship on which he was raised, every contact with them, detected by his father, was immediately broken. First he had to learn how to respect people and … especially women.
That made life on the ship even more turbulent as he already had some innate charms. Nevertheless he knew how to treat a woman, even without his father’s ‘lessons’.

The young man turned his face to the upcoming sun and could feel the first warmth of a spring day. He could also feel something else, within his chest... especially when he recalled those reddish eyes looking into his.
He stroked the cheek where she had touched his skin, with her soft warm hand, and afterwards, with her lips. Never in his whole life he received any kiss, yet she gave him small one. Or was it just common around here, as he had seen in other cities during the short times he was allowed on shore?
He looked down at the envelop which he was holding with two hands. Somehow, he was feeling ridiculous, but he failed to detect the reason for it.

He took place on the rock again,...

Last edited by Admin on Mon May 22, 2017 12:25 pm; edited 1 time in total


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:26 am

*** Among knights ***

One night he ran into this lady again of who he had learned that her name was Celestia.
Last time she had shown him a bit around at the docks, making him familiar with the temple of the seagod. He wasn’t alone this time as a fellow with the name Amilcar had joined him on a little quest down in the city's library.
It appeared this lady Celestia and Amilcar knew each other. And he also learned that this young girl carried a lot of titles, especially for her age... a fact that made him a bit uncertain, not uncomfortable... at least not yet.
For a moment he even wondered why she would talk to him.

And as if that wasn’t enough a lot of other people showed up and they all seemed to know each other. Most of them were dressed in armors covered with materials that made him wonder if they were all royal. And some among them even proved to be true knights.

After his adventure with these... prominent people, on which he was allowed to join, the young man had traveled to the big city he had seen from the hills.
The Ravenswatch inn was a building no one could miss. At a nice round table he took out a notebook from his backpack. In the corner of the inn it was quiet and he was able to focus. Stretching his arms he continued writing where he had stopped last time, just below his messy notes.
He lifted his quill pen and reread a certain passage...

First I brought the wounded child to the nearest temple and after have seen it was being taken care off, I returned as quickly as I could to the place of destruction. And it was even more horrifying than I have read in any tale.

Flames high as treetops were leaping from the roof of the farm. Around it the soil was covered with blood and charred bodies, some even incomplete. Among them I could perceive a little child. It looked as if they had made an attempt to escape, but without having the slightest of chances.
One could see this wasn’t a normal fire and after one of the ladies in the party discovered traces in the grass, it was clear there was a connection with the flying thing we saw in town.
To my great unbelief, one of the ladies walked into the flames and picked up the child between the all-consuming fires.
Along with our group was a little person, also a child I think, who listened to the name Enyeto. I learned he had the ability to bring the child back. Just like I read in a tale about some priest who was able to heal even the deceased. But it didn’t happen, they didn’t do it, as the ‘consequences’ would have been too serious.
“Let her rest,” Was what the lady Celestia said. Somehow I could only agree with her.

The young man leaned back to clear his mind, wrote down a few details about their journey before coming to the part where they had entered the lair of the beast.

A dragon, more terrifying than any picture from the tales. Standing so close to it gave a feeling of total despair. And I wasn’t the only one, as one of the ladies also stepped back. I had the feeling I had to do something when I saw two other ladies walking up to the mighty horned beast on the other side of its lair. Its greenish lizardlike eyes observed every visitor that just had entered its cave.
A hilarious thought came up in myself... Do dragons have a sense of taste... and would I taste more different than one of the ladies for example? Strangely enough, and even after my unfortunate encounter with a deadly trap, that thought also gave me some courage as I followed the two ladies towards the beast.
After all, what could happen? ... I was among knights!

The young man sipped from his wine before starting on the story in which the beast was finally put down.

… and the lady, Dame Amelia Almaran, made a circular move with her blade before lashing out with her sword at the creature’s leg. Her blade, obviously magically enchanted, was able to find its way through the thick dark scales in which the beast was totally covered. Crippling its movement, the other lady, Celestia Lightbringer, was able to evade its claws and moved around quickly, and with a masterly example of sword work, she struck the monstrous creature several times in its side. As black blood was spraying from its wounds the beast roared, deafening everyone in the cave. The others in my party also attacked and I joined them, only to discover my blade wasn't even able to deliver a single scratch.
Undaunted by the terrible sound Lady Amelia cut in its other leg and the creature had but no choice than to fall with its torso on the rocky floor, leaving its neck unprotected against the magical blades of the jury that had agreed on its death sentence...

The young man added a few more details before closing his notebook. He looked outside and decided to rent a room for the night. Tomorrow he would check if the giants formed a problem for his return to Cear. And if so, he just had to find him another knight or someone who could help him get back.
While walking to the other side of the inn he considered a few things. Spending a day among such people was truly amazing, but he wasn’t really used to that. And the things and places they talked about... it was just a bit overwhelming.

He smiled a bit though, as he recalled Lady Amelia’s comment in his direction. “You did pretty good...”
The moment made him blush a bit as he knew they outmatched him in every way. He had answered,” You are too kind, milady.” Which delivered him a faint smile from her side.
While he was preparing for the night in the room he had just rented, something struck him. Something with the story he had been writing... it was missing a piece that other tales often missed as well.
What would happen with the child? Who were the mourning families?
He sighed, great stories are mostly about great knights and their great fights... described with the finest eye for detail. But often, if a tale really happened, it was accompanied with loss, grief, people left behind. In other words said, a part that was easily overlooked or even forgotten.
Their stories were forgotten most of the time... at least in the tales.

Deph made one more decision, as soon as he was back in town he would look for the child...


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:26 am

*** Intentions ***

The young man was returning from the orphanage near the docks where he visited the little girl, the sole survivor of the dragon attack less than two weeks ago.
Walking with a determined expression on his face, he set course to the Arena in the hope to find someone who could help him increase his skill with the sword. Partially he was driven by anger right now and the next murdering dragon that crossed his path would at least receive a scar.
He knew he sounded stupid within his mind as he probably wouldn’t stand a chance against such legendary creatures.

The little girl’s name was Emma and while crying in his arms, she told Deph she lost her parents and two brothers.
He felt a bit uncomfortable at first but the Sister gestured him to stay as it formed a part of treating and processing traumatic experiences.
Little Emma told him how she was playing outside with her brothers just near the apple tree at the south side of the farm. She told him that if she didn’t had asked her brothers to get that apple in the top of the tree, the reddest and probably sweetest..., and making a contest out of it..., that they probably still would be alive.
That affected him deeply. He embraced the little child just like the sister he never had, telling her it was absolutely not her fault...
In the end Emma finally fell asleep and he only left after he made sure she was put to bed.

“I will be back,” was the only thing the young man said when he turned to leave. That delivered him a warm smile from the Sister, but he missed it as he was already heading towards the Arena.
Something else was bothering him too now, stories like Emma's were almost never recorded.
The gates rose up high but he marched through them, his step almost the imitation of a knight.
He could already hear people shouting, yelling and giving comments on an ongoing fight.
Great! He decided to watch first and took the stairs up towards the platform to get a better look.
Deph found a place at the railing and overlooked the arena. He was lucky, a new fight was about to start soon and when the gate opened, someone familiar came out.

He recognized the figure by the colors of his full plate armor, but also the way how he carried his weapon and shield. An enermous sword holding in one hand, the end of its blade pointing up towards the sky. On his other arm hung a large shield, … the man gave a relaxed impression... but Deph knew better... this man, or rather knight, was Sir Kadmiel Greywolf.
He already witnessed Sir Kadmiel in combat... closeby actually, when they fought side by side against the Bugbears. Deph remembered how he tried to look at the moves of this knight... but due the ‘circumstances’ he had been too busy with defending his own skin back there.

His attention was fully drawn now by this upcoming fight, and he tried to move a bit sideways to get a closer look. This time he would get the opportunity to watch the moves and ways of a knight from a more distant and observing point.
The opponent of Sir Kadmiel was a large muscled man with a tanned skin. He looked pretty strong and intimidating, but even Deph could already see that he wouldn’t prove a match for the knight.
And indeed, as soon as the fight started and in accordance to his appearance, the man started to shout ugly words at the knight. Deph couldn’t see the knight’s expressions as he was carrying a helmet, but he could imagine that he at least raised a brow or two.

Sir Kadmiel however seemed unperturbed by the taunting and his only reaction was a shift in the grip of his sword. This man knew exactly what he was going to do... and Deph knew his opponent wouldn’t like it.
The barbarian, at least that’s how Deph called him now, ran to Kadmiel and raised his axe. The sharp blade made acquaintance with the a lightning fast raised shield. As if it was one move, Kadmiel rolled his shield sidewards, making the barbarian almost trip over his own feet, a result of too fast running into this knight.
And he didn’t gave his opponent a second chance for discussing it. With his armored boot he gave the man a kick under the butt and his greatsword swooshed through the air, hitting with its flat side the barbarian on the arm, forcing him to let go of his axe.

Applause and laughter for this fast victory was the knight’s share and Deph... got inspired.
If Sir Kadmiel came out, Deph would ask if the knight had some time for him.


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:27 am

*** That one tale ***

After escorting Sonya, - the young woman with whom he had dinner - back to the docks, Deph returned to the Buck inn. Just in front of the establishment he hesitated and glanced to his left. Changing his mind he closed the door of the inn, walked towards the entrance of the theatre next door, and entered.
It wasn’t the first time he had visited it but this time the place seemed deserted... not that he minded.
He walked over to the first row and hopped onto the stage, taking a seat facing the empty chairs, his legs dangling a bit above the ground while his two hands were stretched backwards, and bringing his body into a relaxing posture.
He enjoyed the silence for a moment. The night was not so young anymore but as long as his mind kept him busy, he knew he wouldn’t catch sleep. And this was now the perfect place for a bit of musing.

This evening the young woman with whom he had dinner had ‘provided’ him with an eye opener.
He shared a bit about himself, piece by piece while assessing her reactions. Unlike others she didn’t mocked him. She smiled several times yes, but he assumed it was more out of amusement, rather than to make fun out of him. Feeling comfortable with her, he intrusted the girl with a few of his thoughts about knights and tales, but also about how he looked at certain things now.
Telling this one tale... he already knew how it had to feel, where it had to touch people. He even had a title for it, but so far it lacked content. Perhaps somewhere down the line during his adventures, he may find the inspiration to fill in that part.
He grinned while he looked over his shoulder at the empty stagefloor. Perhaps one day he would stand there, telling that one tale that people would remember and would never forget again.

Realizing that he had been sitting there for probably more than an hour while his mind ran through this conversation with the young woman again, Deph jumped off the stage and left the theatre.
He rubbed his hand through his hair, messing it up again. He had better try to catch some sleep as tomorrow, or rather today, he would visit little Emma again… along with Sonya.


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:28 am

*** By your side ***

The pair was walking down the path, enjoying a late summer’s evening. One hand of the lady was resting in the arm of the man and if one could look closer, he could see their fingers now and then shyly sought contact.
Courtesy was the highest priority for the young man escorting this lovely lady and he would not disgrace her.
Yes, he would love to take her in his arms and kiss her publicly, … yes, he would love to kneel for her and sing how beautiful she was and how much she warmed his heart, … yes, he would love to ask her to spend the rest of her life with him...
But how could one do that... when one knew she was about to marry another?
Suddenly he gestured the lady to halt. If one was close enough he could hear how the lady sucked air between her lips the moment she saw how the man knelt in front of her, as if she feared for the worst... an impossible love being announced...
But the man didn’t say anything, instead he unhooked his cloak and put him on the ground in front of her feet. The young man looked up at her and gave her a warm smile,” A puddle, milady.”

Deph closed the book and leaned back in his chair with his two hands behind his head, entangling his fingers and rubbing his hair on the back of his head,... messing it up a little.
It really felt as if he had to stop reading these tales, as they sometimes it caused doubt. The way the characters in these stories acted... sometimes it felt as if it belonged to a different time, another age... perhaps even another world...

He rubbed his eyes and searched his mind to see if there was another person within... another Depheant. Not the one like now, the one who was raised by a harsh father and read tales as if they could form an escape from a life he never liked. Not the one who tried to talk like the knights from the tales, showing this courtesy were some people seemed to make fun off.
Sure, there were people who appreciated it... the way he was.
And on the other hand, he couldn’t just judge people or expect them to react like he ‘learned’ in the tales... right?

In his mind he went back to the past days. The conversations with two knights had made him come to another conclusion.
The young man leaned forward and shoved the book aside, revealing a pile of blank papers. He dipped his quill in the ink but suddenly hesitated.
No, he would tell him personally. A letter seemed so... impersonal and when he considered the content again it may look as if he was avoiding a good… conversation... a confrontation perhaps?

Gaining the title of knight wasn’t important in itself, … if one really deserved it, a title would find its way to him... as long as one stayed on the … right path.
Deph rubbed his hair, recalling different conversations again and made a decision.
He was who he was, and it didn’t matter what people think about his view on courtesy and chivalry for instance. If this was his path, so be it.
This last conversation with lady Celestia had inspired him once more.
Yet, somewhere he felt the need to outgrow the child within him and probably... he would. But he wouldn’t forget where he came from, he wouldn’t forget the dreams he always had as child, he wouldn’t forget... the kid within... he... was he afraid?
No, and he certainly wouldn’t forget the tales behind the tales either... like the tale of little Emma for instance.
He whispered to himself,” I’ll be always by your side,” … uncertain if this referred only to the little girl.

He gave a start as suddenly someone knocked at his door. He got up from his chair and left his thoughts behind.
“Hello Deph...,”
The young man recognized the girl standing in the doorway as one of the barmaids of the inn where he was staying. She was the one who usually serves him the food and drinks when he was down at the tavern.
“Can, can I come in?” She looked curiously over his shoulder as if to make sure there was no one else in the room.
Deph rubbed his hair, messing it up a little. “Ehm, eh... sure, sure milady, do come in.” He turned aside to let her enter the room and softly closed the door behind her.
Meanwhile the girl was taking up the room, which was rather cleaned up... for a man, well except the desk which was filled with books and papers, some even on the floor next to it.

She turned around and looked him in the eyes.
“Are you a writer, Deph?”
“Eh... well, not really... just making... notes, I guess.”
She gave him a warm smile. “Its... its okay Deph, I like writers.”
He smiled a little,” Thanks... what,... what can I do for you?”
Suddenly her eyes turned a bit sad,” I eh, … is it true... that you are leaving? Going to Two Bridges?”
He nodded,” Aye, at the end of month I’ll be out of here, but I don’t think it will be permanent.”
The girl looked as if she found hope,” Will you come back? I mean to the Buck inn?”
He rubbed his hair once more,” Eh... I guess... don’t know...”
“Is it because of one of those girls?” She suddenly asked, her eyes sparkled a little.
“Heh... girls?” Deph answered.
“Yes, one of those nice looking ladies you bring down here at the inn for dinner.”
The young man blinked before saying,” Look, I really don’t think...”
“Do you find me attractive, Deph?” She interrupted him. “I mean you have always been so friendly to me and smiling... listening... your attention...I...”

Deph lifted his arms to her,” Look, I’m sorry... I just am... my intentions were pure fr...”
Suddenly the girl started to open her dress, slowly.
The young man blinked,” I... eh...” He quickly stepped forward and took her hands.
She smiled at him until she realised what he was about to say.
“I’m sorry milady, but I don’t … I don’t have feelings for you... I …” He looked at the ground as if he had the hope to find the right words somewhere written on the wooden floor.
“I hear ya Deph... sheeesss...,” She covered her naked neck and the upper part leading to her bosom. “You just could have told me you had someone...,” She walked over to the door and looked over her shoulder to the perplexed man. “I would have followed you to Two Bridges...”
She closed the door softly, leaving him behind with his thoughts.


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:29 am

*** Little Emma ***

(by Triangles and Admin)

The last sunbeams shone on the water surface. It cast rippling lights across the tanned faces of the fishermen occupied with the repairs of large nets, and the fishing boats bobbing on the dark blue water. A breeze from the sea provided the typical scent of salt and marine life. It was quiet at the evening market at the gates which separated the docks from the city.

This was also the place where he would pick up Sonya, a young woman he had met during his first week at Cear. Yesterday they had dinner and a nice conversation. He had told his story about the dragon, and Sonya had asked Deph to meet the survivor, a little girl called Emma, who had become an orphan and was staying at the temple.

The young man rubbed his hair lightly, trying not to mess it up too much. He caught himself doing this whenever he was a bit nervous... well not always, but usually. He didn’t get a lot of sleep and arrived almost too late this morning to pick an order at a little shop which closed after lunch. A little present for Emma was in his backpack now.

Deph stopped at a stall to buy a bag of peanuts and some fresh fruit before looking around to see if Sonya had arrived. The young woman had told him she lived somewhere down here at the docks. Yesterday he was allowed to escort her from the Buck inn towards home, but for some reason she said goodbye just before they even had reached the gate. He wondered...

His wondering was cut short by Sonya's approach. Her dress today was the colours of autumn, and a loose headscarf framed her head. She had something small but bulky slung over her back, and Deph thought he recognized the shape of a lute. After a nervous glance over her shoulder she caught sight of Deph, smiled gently, and crossed the plaza to greet him.

Sonya took the outstretched arm in stride and they exchanged pleasantries. The pair walked quietly at first, a small island in the bustling crowds, enjoying the sun.

Sonya broke the silence first. "I saw a clipper set sail this morning," she said. "Two hundred hands aboard... quite a lot of tales." She glanced slightly skywards with a quiet smile, perhaps speculating on the answer.

Rhauth's house quickly approached.
Deph stopped and followed her glance skywards before looking at the large water surface. “I don’t know if you ever sailed before...” he looked at her sidewards,” It... it’s very nice when you do it just for fun.” He glanced back at the water,” A lot of … freedom than.”
Deph turned back to her,” So milady, you live here, right?”

Sonya briefly glanced off to the side before answering. “I live with my mother... here,” she nodded her head to the docks district in general. “Family is a rather complicated matter. Perhaps we could talk about it another time?”

He pondered over something before with the appropriate courtesy motioning her to the entrance of the temple.

The pair entered the building and slowly took the small stairs down. Coincidence or not, but the Sister with who Deph had the most contact was there. She smiled warmly at him and looked curiously at Sonya.

Deph bowed a little,” Sister Alina... meet milady Sonya. She’s a friend and likes to meet our little Emma too.”

The Sister turned with warm eyes to Sonya and the two exchanged a few words to become acquainted before Sister Alina left to get the little girl.

Deph turned to Sonya and spoke softly,” Thank you milady... this really means a lot to me, and I am sure Emma will appreciate your attention... although she might be still too young to fully realize that....”

The peace and silence in the temple was suddenly disturbed as a door swung open hitting the ancient stones. As if it could been a small sized whirlwind, a little girl rushed out and ran directly to Deph, almost knocking him off his feet.

The young man blushed and it was clear he didn’t expected any reaction like this. He kneeled and softly squeezed the skinny shoulders.
”Hello kiddo...,” he started while trying to sound as lightly as he could but failing as he was obviously moved.

Little Emma smiled,” Are we going somewhere today... I...,” she stopped as she suddenly noticed the woman next to Deph and she looked up with curious little eyes...


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:29 am

*** Restrictions ***

Deph rubbed his hair, but he wasn’t nervous at the moment. Not now when he sat on the bed in his new room at the Two Bridges inn. He was just... mulling over something.
He looked at the letters he had just wrote, now lying on the desk, ready to be sent. It was his intention to let the people he had met know that he had moved to another inn.

Of a few people he had no address and no idea where to send it to. Harold would show up somewhere as usual. They seemed to share the same interests in visiting places, so... nothing to worry about him. They had become real friends, even though his buddy had tricked him last time when playing for ‘demon’. And that old wizard, Belli, he would show up sooner or later, just like Harold. They always seemed to find each other.

Next you had for instance milady Tertia who was a bit weird with her calculations writing all over the streets of Cear with chalk. Yet, he liked her, the way she handled those thugs who had captured an innocent girl... well. He was also a bit concerned about her, a lady should never stay on the streets alone, and certainly not by night. Off course, he knew by now quite a lot of ladies were able to protect themselves as they were not always the vulnerable wenches like described in the tales.

Milady Ashana had ‘showed’ him that. He looked at the letter that would be sent to the Vissen tavern, in the hope she was still staying there.
And then there was of course milady Celestia who had been so friendly to show him around more than once. However, he assumed that a lady with so many titles could be found easily. He would start by asking the innkeeper.
He hoped to see them soon over for dinner and sharing tales with them.

And of milady Sonya... he had no address either, but two weeks ago they saw each other near the docks, visiting little Emma. Good thing he afterwards had told her about his intentions of moving to Two Bridges. Losing contact with her would be a real shame. His thoughts remained for a moment with this young lady with who he seemed to share a musical feature... and it seemed almost magical.
And off course little Emma... she wouldn’t notice anything about his relocation as he would visit her at least once a week.

He noticed he also didn’t have an address of Sir Kadmiel, but he assumed it was just like with Celestia. The man was known and had a reputation. Their last conversations had been really nice and Deph trusted the man, … more, he actually looked up at him. Next time he sees him, he would ask more details about these values and ideals he was spreading back in the days when he was leading the Argentum Vigilo. Perhaps he would tell Deph also about this..., what was it called... Daybreak Alliance?
That reminded him that he already had sent a letter to Sir Phelan at the Knightshome in Lendose. Him too he would ask a lot of questions he assumed.

A few other people he had met passed in his mind...

His heart started to pound a little faster. It was always like this... the people he had met first on a new place were the people he recalled the most...
This feeling in his chest was comparable with the faint feeling of... homesickness. Not that he ever really had that feeling as he never had a real home, well, except the ship of his parents. But he recognized the feeling as it was described multiple times by passengers who had left their homes or were returning to their loved ones.
Deph had always listened carefully to their stories and could easily feel with them.
It was like missing... or even a gentle form of longing perhaps.
There were also a few people who he probably would never see again, … or even some he wouldn’t contact anymore... as it was for the best. It would take a while... but eventually... well...

And that barmaid at the Buck inn had a point, in a way... but he was sure he didn’t do anything... Well, yes, he showed interest in the person and gave her attention... but not in ‘that’ way.
He shook his head slowly as he suddenly recalled a conversation with his father, now almost five years ago.


“I will not allow NOR tolerate any of this! Do you hear me sunny!?”

He was standing in the cabine of the captain, with his arms next to his body, clenching his fists, trying to mask the pain from the wounds of the three whiplashes.

“Do YOU HEAR me SUNNY?” The last word was spit out.

“Yes,... ‘sir’.” Deph’s voice was soft, yet the way he said it showed a sign of resistance.

The captain raised his hand, preparing to give his son a slap,” And you really should do something about your respect for me. You are a bit too good with words and intonations...”

Deph narrowed his eyes a bit and the way he looked... his father could tell what the message was... they were the same.

As if he had found inspiration, the captain lowered his hand and changed his tone from raging to more like sounding of a patient teacher. Transitions like this had always made Deph shiver.
The captain looked at his son and said,“ Let me explain it a bit better to you.”

He turned his back to the young man and it seemed as if he was preparing for either a compelling or persuasive story. Without turning around he started,” You like knight tales, right?”

Deph blinked,” Y-yes sir.” He was surprised his father mentioned this as he had never ever brought it up before or even showed interest in his son’s lecture.

“Always treat a lady with respect, boy.” His father slowly turned around to face his son’s questioning eyes.

“But fa... sir... I didn’t t....” He stumbled over his words.

The captain raised his hand to interrupt him,” I know son. But it could have happened. You saw how the young lady smiled at you, … that made your heart feel warm, yes?”

Deph nodded a bit, his cheeks blushing.

“And I bet she liked you... but a bit too much I think.”

“Father, I don’t understand...” Deph had changed from formal to informal as he understood this was now a father-son conversation and not the captain talking to an insubordinate sailor. Ow, how he wished they would have had more conversations like that and not the beat ups his father used to order when he did something... wrong.

As if he could read his mind, the captain looked at his son,” Those whiplashes are standard and for everyone, Depheant... including the captain’s son, … especially the captain’s son.”

“But I didn’t kiss her! I never ever kissed a girl in my whole bloody life!” The young man blurt out.

The captain narrowed his eyes,” Watch that language, if anyone else had heard it, you would have received two more lashes.”

“She lied, father, I barely even touched her hand...”

“I know son,...”

Deph widened his eyes,” What??”

“Let me explain as I wasn’t finished yet. A lady is always treated with respect, yet … I also had the feeling she kindy was trying to lure you in. And … I had to protect you, and us...”
The captain took a seat on his chair and gestured his son to take place on the bed.

“You see, milady Shalia is the daughter of an important merchant. He wants to make deal with me, for a long time now... and... well, I should have seen it coming the moment his daughter set foot on our ship. And since he also knows my rules and my beliefs... well...” He rubbed his chin.

Deph blinked,” What are you saying, father? That she...”

The captain nodded,” It could have been a setup. If you would have... ‘touched’ that girl, I would have been forced to make you marry her.”

“Marry? But… I...” Deph turned a bit pale.

The captain got up and walked over to the bed, his hand resting on the shoulder of his son. “Always treat a lady with respect son, but also... be aware. There is no such thing as love at first sight...”

Deph looked up,” But you and mother...”

“I know, yet I am telling you this. If you ever meet a girl you really think to like, learn to know her first. Never disgrace her and don’t let your youthful rashness think for you. I am aware you are a very social young man... and how easy it for you is to make contact. Just, watch out. You are on a difficult age to understand that... being seventeen isn’t easy, believe me, I KNOW. Yet, I ask you to listen to me.”


Deph leaned back in his chair, eyes closed.
His father had left him a small fortune, but only on the condition if he would take command of the ship and run the family business. And as long as Deph didn't decide, everything was in the hands of his mother.

She was angry, ... very angry when Deph announced his departure. He had to leave everything behind and if he didn't return within the year he would lose it all... permanent.

And there was that feeling again, just the thought of leaving this place, Cear... certain people,... it already made him feel...
The young man rubbed his hair, messing it all up again...


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:30 am

*** Rule number one ***

Deph entered the Burning Troll inn at Lendose. It was his first visit ever here. The place looked clean on the outside but once in it got a bit messier.
The inn was loaded with fully armored men, a few with very specific cloaks of which he recalled it were Vanguards. In the taproom also hung an unbearable smell, a mixture of unwashed bodies, beer and smoked meat.
For a moment he pondered to walk further in... but when he thought about the alternatives, he shook his head.
Heading back to Morell wasn’t an option, certainly not by nightfall, he could hide, but he couldn’t see in the dark. And heading back to the keep... well, that wasn’t an option either...

Deph shrugged and walked in.
He made himself a path towards the bartender, ignoring the faces, some with questioning eyes, glancing at him when he passed.
Amazingly enough he was able to find a place at the bar. The man behind nodded and asked him what he wanted to drink.
Deph ordered a cup of wine.

A dark bearded man next to him overheard his order and smirked. He had broad shoulders and his torso was covered with a chain shirt, spattered with some blood. He turned to Deph and slapped him on the back. “Yar knights alwayz drink wine... why ya don try som real booz.”

Deph looked sideways, his mood making him able not to feel the least intimidated. ” Because I already tried and didn’t like it, sir? And I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’m no knight.”

The man shamelessly touched Deph’s clothes with his filty hands and fiddled with the material between his greasy fingers. He was at least a whole head taller. ” Ya sure look lik’one. Oy, are ya a noblez? Ya should go see tha keep, really som’tin. Evva been there?”

Deph nodded once, slowly. “I just got back.”

The man grinned as he saw how his ‘bar mate’ was not impressed by his appearance. “I like ya. First I thought, tha hells, whatz tha boy comin in here to drink between uz.” He narrowed his eyes,” But me thinkz to know tha reason for zuch... 'courage'.”

Deph sipped from his wine and looked sideways to the man. “Ow?”

“Itz a woman!,” the man chuckled loud, drawing the attention of his fellows who looked curiously between the two.

Deph shrugged and sipped from his wine again, glancing at the bartender who shook his head to him.

The man burst out in a thunderous laughter,” I knew, I knewz it! Oh c’mon, tell uz, iz it a bitch from tha keepz?”

Deph placed his cup down, very calmly. He turned to the man,” Excuse me?”

The man in front of him grinned wide before emptying a full pot of beer in one go. He wiped of his lips with the back of his other hand and slammed the pot on the bar.

Meanwhile the crowd at the inn fell silent, turning their attention at the soldier and the nicely dressed young man, looking from the one to the other.

“Ya heard me, a bitch, a slut... a tramp, a whore.”

Deph blinked at the man,” She... Why do you disgrace a lady by saying such things, sir? I must ask you to take that back.” He didn’t sound angry, but rather... somewhat demanding.

The man laughed, even louder now and a few of his fellows joined him. He poked one of his companions and said,” Told ya heez a knight.”

Deph only looked up at him,” You don’t have to be a knight for that. Those insulting words, what if … I called your mother like that?”

You could hear a needle fall on the ground, that kind of a silence fell over the Burning Troll inn. The man in front of Deph had his eyes widened and gasped.

Suddenly one of his companions started to chuckle,” Leave him alone Barz, he’s alright.” A few of his other companions started to chuckle too.

Barz beard started to split, showing a wide grin. He slapped Deph on the shoulder,” I like ya kiddo, tha wine of youz is on me.”

“Kiddo?” Deph answered.

The whole inn laughed now and soon everyone turned his attention back to their own occupations.

Deph mumbled and Barz next to him bumped him,” Whatz?”

“I said... never disgrace a lady,” he whispered without turning to the man next to him.

Barz looked at Deph, more seriously now.


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:30 am

*** Considering ***

Deph looked one last time over his shoulder at the city of Lendose, and behind it, the keep. Then he turned his focus back to the gravel path in front of him while he rubbed his hair.
He started to walk, ignoring an inexplicable feeling of tightness in his chest, increasing with each step that brought him further from Lendose.
While he was taking the road down he was so plunged into thoughts he didn’t hear the horse approaching behind him.

“Heho stranger, heading towards the boat?” A rider in full armor asked.

Deph shook up and turned towards the rider,” Greetings sir, eh...yes, I’m heading for Cear.” He bowed lightly,” Depheant is my name.”

“Aaah, Jero here” the man seemed older and his beard was turning a bit silver. “Perhaps you like some company, I’m heading in the same direction.”

The young man smiled a bit at the rider and nodded. A little diversion was welcome.

Two boat trips and a day walk later Deph arrived in Cear, though it was almost evening and reaching Two Bridges wasn’t possible that day.
Not that it mattered, his first concern was visiting little Emma anyways. He passed the late evening market and bought a bag of peanuts, somehow these were starting to become his favorite snack.

The Sister gave Deph a warm smile as he entered the temple and called the girl.
When Emma stood before him she tapped her feet. “Where have you been?”

Deph shook his head and gave her a weak smile,” Long story kiddo, lets go.” Her rubbed Emma’s hair and winked to the Sister. “Back before dark, milady.” He bowed lightly.
What Deph didn’t saw was the way how the Sister looked at him when he walked at the door.

About an half hour later they were sitting near the water, throwing little flat stones in an attempt to send them bouncing for as long as possible over its surface. They also practiced catching peanuts with their mouth after throwing them in the air.
The sun was still up, however in less than an hour it would turn dark.

Little Emma had been observing Deph who sat there silently. Deph had noticed Emma was a bit an older head on young shoulders and certainly when she said,” You never told me much about yourself Deph, are you a royal?” She looked at his clothes when saying that.

Deph looked sideways and chuckled softly,” Why does everyone keep thinking that?”

He smiled but one could see the smile didn’t reach his eyes, at least not totally. It was not certain if Emma noticed it.
While he threw another peanut in the air Emma asked,” So, when are you going the marry?” She giggled a bit.

Deph had just caught the peanut and almost choked on it.

While heavily coughing he heard little Emma laughing now. “You are aaalll red Deph!”

His cheeks were a bit red indeed, whether is was due the peanut or the nature of the question...

Emma kept looking at him,” Is Sonja coming too today? Didn’t she live somewhere here?”

Deph shook his head softly,” I don’t know,... and yes, I guess... maybe.”

“You don’t know which house?”

Deph only shook his head again and avoided Emma’s questioning eyes.
For a moment he got plunged into thoughts while absently picking up a few flat stones and sending them to an existence below the water surface.
His visit to Lendose and his conversation with Phelan had been really interesting, and actually even inspired him a bit. But right now, he...

He called for another face in his mind, well more than one, and names...
For a moment he considered the questions he now had for Kadmiel. And even Orion popped up during his musings... and his so called “Blades” or whatever what their name was.

And there it was again, that nagging feeling in his chest during every attempt he made to move his attention on other things. It just kept pulling him back.
Deph shrugged as if he could shake off his thoughts.
He looked at the mirror image of a ship, a bit more focused now and tried to imagine how his life would look like when he returned back to the family business.

“Deph...?” Emma said.

“Hm?” Deph shook up from his thoughts.

Little Emma simply looked at him.

Deph smiled a bit at her and made a decision. “Would you like to go sailing tomorrow?"

Emma widened her little eyes,” You mean that? And you are coming back, ... tomorrow?!?”

Deph nodded,” And the day after...”

Now, the only thing he still had to decide was where he would be staying...
He looked at Emma and nodded to himself, he would keep taking care of her.


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:31 am

*** Fishing ***

It was a quiet day, and with a blue sky the sun was able to deliver its full potential. Certainly out here, on the water, where the liquid surface always seemed to reflect a part of the light and warmth.
Deph’s tanned skin was the result of a life at sea. And here he was again on the blue surface, not on a ship but on a small sailboat he had rented for a small trip down the coastline with Emma.

He smiled when he looked at the little child who was holding brand new fishing gear. Emma had told him how her brothers used to take her at Two Bridges, to fish, and how much she enjoyed that. To avoid too painful memories, Deph asked her if she would liked to do it some day, but when she answered yes in an excited way, the young man decided to pick another spot for fishing.

And now they were here, the coast in sight, enjoying the peace and silence... well besides waving to sailors and fishermen on passing boats.
The young man was working on his text, his first handwritten story and he was almost finishing it. Well, not that there was really an end for it.

For a moment he closed his eyes, enjoying the sun on his face while leaning back and thinking how he got into this... this Cearian Players Society.
And there was that feeling again, explainable but at the same time not.
He opened his eyes and tried to shrug it off once more. Failing that he instead moved his focus to Emma who just sat there with a strained look, waiting till a fish would grab the bait they had prepared together.

It was amazing to see how quick a child could recover from a blow like she had to experience, well at least on the outside.
Deph knew better, the loss, the grief … it was still there and it would never go away. But she would live with it... or at least that’s what he hoped for.
And he would be around, helping in the process, showing her that not everything in life was lost.

For a moment he got inspired again and took his pages back to write down the last lines and finish it.
His gaze shifted back to the very beginning of the story, the title : ‘What we all lost’
For a moment he got plunged into thoughts, until suddenly...

“Deph! Deph!! Help!!!” Emma yelled.

He quickly put his pages down with a book on top of them, making sure the wind wouldn’t catch them and blow them overboard.
And while he urged to help Emma with what seemed a very promising catch, he decided to do some practice tonight at the theatre.
Perhaps there would be someone ...someone “neutral” to act as test audience.

What he couldn’t know was that there indeed would be somebody, but someone who is more than just … a ‘test audience’.


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:31 am

*** Memories ***

Deph looked through the window that had a view on the temple at the other side of the river. He stood there quietly for a while, staring a bit with a warm smile decorating his face. His heart started to beat faster just by the thought of knowing she was there, fulfilling her duties.
When his hand absently went to his hair to rub it, he realised that the letter he had been reading again was still in it. His gaze and his attention shifted from the building to the letter in his rising hand... in it a problem he felt needed to be dealt with.

His other hand moved to his back, scratching the scars that had been almost fully healed by his lady. Scars, rather wounds that had been a pain for too long. And not only physically.
He closed his eyes and went in thought back to the moment when he received them, less than four months ago.


“Sir... sir, they’re almost on to us... orders, sir?” Keg asked.

The young man who was adressed turned to the sailor,” How’s the captain?”

The bearded man shook his head,” He’s not feeling well but coming soon on deck.”

Depheant cursed soft,” Right, Keg, let the men prepare themselves, the pirates will soon board the ship.” He looked around,” Everyone with a crossbow, I want them up there.” He pointed at the upperdeck. He glanced at the steersman on it,” And I want five of our best swordsmen guarding the entrance to the steering wheel.”

The man next to him nodded,” Anything else?”

Depheant glanced at the incoming dark sails that started to block the light of the descending evening sun.
“No, the rest stays here with me on the main deck. It’s not the first time we see pirates, we’ll manage.” He attempted to sound hopeful but was far from certain.

Never before had he been in charge of preparations like this, let alone leading a defense. His father and a few others had become ill during their last visit at Cear. Even the ship’s medic was lying with a fever in his cabin. And up to now there hasn’t been a lot of improvement in their condition... on the contrary.

Depheant looked at the approaching vessel, and as soon as he could perceive the facial features of its crew he drew his short sword. The pirates were dressed in clothes of variegated colors. He could see the metal of their scimitars flashing as if brand new. And it almost looked as if the pirates seemed eager to test them. Their ship was a bit smaller than his, but it was slim and able to reach much higher speeds, the reason why they used it... to hunt. He counted no less than eleven sails spread over three masts which gave them much choices in adjusting speed and maneuverability.
A black flag was fluttering high up in their main mast and in a wicked way it was almost beautiful and romantic, just like in the tales...
He glanced back at its crew and could now see the tattoos on their bare hairy arms, and he could see hands squeezing the ropes that would be used to board his ship.

Depheant raised the hand in which he was holding his sword and swooped it down,” Archers, now!”

Just before the pirates were close enough to use their ropes, a volley of bolts besieged their deck. Depheant could see how a few pirates died instantly.
Victory lasted short though as their fire was answered. The sailor, Keg, with who he just talked and was standing next to him, died with a bolt in his throat.

Quickly as if they feared a second volley, the pirate ship steered closer, and seconds later its crew swooped over the water, landing on the deck of their prey.
Depheant’s father had personally trained his crew in close combat but even that couldn’t prevent people died... albeit on both sides.

Two pirates fell on his blade before his eye catched a man with a large black hat and a long white feather, swooping over the water in his direction. Depheant killed another pirate in front of him and turned to the newcomer... who was grinning at him.

“So sunny, ya giv’in tha orda’s here? Let ya men puts them we’pons down and I’ll spare ya... ‘boy’.”

“You are their captain, sir?”

The man grinned,” See, ya a smart one... aye, …”

“What reason can you give me to believe you?” Depheant asked.

The man raised his brow,” Oy? Becos I tell ya. Don get too smart naw will ya.”

The two men circled around each other while the fight around them continued.

Depheant rose his short blade before his nose,” Then I have to ask you to prepare yourself.”

The man blinked,” Uh? For wha? Are ya sane, sunny?” He chuckled. “O’right, hav’it yar way.”
The pirate’s scimitar lashed out at Depheant, lightning fast, and almost caught him by surprise. His blade was just in time to intercept it and it slipped off without causing harm.

The pirate captain smirked and withdrew his scim fast. “Oy, so we ave our’selves a swordfighta ey? Wanna be an ’ero? Fine!”
He lashed out five more times but Depheant parried each of the pirate’s blows. Now the captain started to make mistakes as he was getting convinced that this young man could parry but not fight. And that delivered him a scar, on the cheek, as Depheant riposted totally unexpected.

Without the two duellers noticing it, both the ship’s crew and the pirates ceased their fighting to look at their respective captains.

Both were attacking and defending now, looking for weak spots, and collecting perhaps little scars. Suddenly the pirate captain tripped over a rope when he backed up for a thrust attack delivered by Depheant.
He fell on his butt and was convinced he had just witnessed his last seconds in this life.

But the young man he was facing didn’t strike, instead... he took three steps back.
The pirate captain scrambled to his feet and commenced again, but with a raised brow.

More minutes passed and both men started to get tired, they had to fight keeping their focus to make sure they weren’t caught by a stupid mistake.
It was obvious to the bystanders that the pirate captain was more offensive and the young man more defensive... and that they were a match for each other in those aspects.

The only sound that was left was the sound of two blades meeting each other every one or two seconds... and it was certain that in one of those seconds metal would meet flesh and bone. The question was … when.

It was the pirate captain who took a risk and unleashed a rapid sequence of strikes, pushing Depheant back but also burning his energy.
Suddenly the pirate captain was too close to strike with his scimitar and before he could adjust his position, Depheant’s blade, which was shorter, rested with the point against his throat.
The fight... was over... The pirate captain closed his eyes and waited.

Depheant took a bit time to catch his breath again and looked at the man. “I have defeated you, tell your men to put their weapons down.”
The pirate captain nodded once to his men and jingling sounds of metal falling on the deck confirmed the order was executed.

Depheant’s crew quickly collected the weapons before turning their attention back on the two.

“I’m not a boy, sir. Depheant is my name and I want you and your men to leave my ship.”

The captain blinked,” Ya... ya let’tin mi go?”

The men on the deck, both pirates and crew mumbled.

Depheant nodded,” It was a fair duel and yes, I’m letting you go, but without any weapons.” He nodded to a few men to board the pirate ship and collect all the metal.


Deph winced when he remembered how his father, who came on deck an hour later, reacted. The pirate ship was already a small dot on the horizon when his father looked at him in unbelieve.
That day Deph had received his last whiplashes... and this time the scars would remain, as the little boy who was send to get the ship’s medic discovered the man had already died in his cabine.
And it was only three days later that his father died while at sea... the plague that had struck Cear was on their ship.

He exhaled slowly... reading the letter for maybe the tenth time. Deph shook his head, his mother asked him to come back... no, she was threatening actually. First she had given him one year, but for some reason she had changed her mind and wanted him to return within the week.
He didn’t care of losing the family fortune. It never,... really interested him. And besides, he was happy now. He had friends, he was striving for his dreams... he fell in love...
No, ... but he looked at the last sentence his mother wrote in which she also threatened to... to have him killed.

He looked up back through the window but this time without seeing anything as he was far to plunged in thought. How could his parents be like that, well, his father was no more. He believed he knew a part of the answer. Not long after his birth, Deph’s mother started to show signs of insanity and it had only become worse with the years, stabilizing yes... but she never got better again. Somewhere he had the feeling his father had blamed him, as if what happened to his wife was a direct side effect of giving birth to him.

Deph sighed. He would never return to his former life, but he felt the need to help his mother somehow. His parents had been harsh yes, but maybe... just maybe they couldn’t help it?


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:32 am

*** In his blood ***

The young man rose up from his bed and stretched his arms above his head, a weak smile appearing on his face as he looked through the window glancing at the temple.
Today they would see each other again... well, if everything went okay. He rubbed his hair and started to fresh up at a bowl of ice cold water. After cleaning his chest and arms he leaned on the sides of the bowl, staring at his own image in the now calm water.

Her name, was the first thing to pop into his head... and he noticed the smile on his face, which made his smile even wider. His heart skipped a beat and feelings of happiness suddenly reached out from his heart to his legs and arms, stirring in his belly as they pass.
So this is what they mean with butterflies soaring through ones stomach, he thought... and he got inspired.

Deph took a seat at his desk, picked up his quill and started to write...

Featuring a sultry glare,
willingness to give and giving it a chance,
gasping for air,
in their intimate dance.

Her hands vigorously on his skin,
her lips moist and soft,
she lures and waits for him,
her body language strong and her eyes aloft.

For him it is so tangible,
her sensual glow,
she is so irresistible,
something he never did foreknow...

... she is in his blood.


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:32 am

*** Soft spot ***

In the past months he had a lot of conversations in which he had learned things. Those involved mostly facts, history and even backgrounds about certain, places people or even factions.
But every once in a while there had been an eye-opener and some had even led to personal insight.
The conversation with Sir Hyel resulted in serious reflections within Deph.

Somewhere deep down in his heart he probably already knew, but now he was painfully aware of this ... soft spot. And he was certain there were even more... but this one felt important.
His lady had probably assumed it earlier, as she already had a lot of experience in this matter. That’s why she brought him to Daris... for another... confrontation.

He closed his eyes, … she must have already seen it even before their visit to Aucklorn Mill... even before witnessing his reactions involving the return of the body of a dead son, or assisting the ghost of a child. Things like that affected him deeply and he was glad and thankful she was at his side on those moments.

And now he was fully aware... you just couldn’t save everyone. So far he had only witnessed the results or even the aftermath of such, to him painful situations... even after they took place.
But he knew it could grow... ‘worse’...
One day he would be in the position to make decisions, being in the middle of it, just before ‘things’ happen... and like his lady but also like Sir Hyel said... he would have to live with the outcome... with the consequences.

For some reason his musings brought him back to little Emma. If he would be admitted to join the Vigilo, the number of days he could spend in Cear would be greatly reduced... the same for Two Bridges...
But Emma wasn’t an adult who could go traveling just like that. The matter has kept him busy for some time now. The kid knew Cear and Sister Alina very well by now and was doing okay. He was fond of her and at the same time would feel guilty if he wouldn’t show up so much anymore.

All kinds of solutions were running through his mind...


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:42 am

*** Waking up ***

An absolute and peaceful silence in his room... no, it rather felt like their room, here in Two Bridges. There was no need to turn his head as he was already facing her the moment his eyes had cracked open. He smiled, there she was, her head lying on his pillow, right next his... facing in his direction... her left hand under it as if for support.
She must have entered the room very quietly and maybe even removed her armor at the temple before heading this way. That, or she had made sure not to wake him up, or he had been sleeping pretty deep.

His head shifted, but only a little and very carefully, to make sure he didn’t wake her up. His gaze followed the contours of her face before studying the innocence on it. The dim light of dawn touched her closed eyelids. The expression on her face seemed to tell she was in a state of total tranquility, the muscles in it fully relaxed. Her breathing was deep and regular yet barely audible. Her long beautiful hair was a bit tangled up... yet very cute. A dark tress was lying over her somewhat blushing cheek, and it was so quiet in the room he could almost hear how its ends gently rustled each time they got caught by the air escaping from her lips with each breath.

Gradually he became aware of the rest of her body, curled up and mainly resting against his torso. Also there no movement at all, except the slow rising and falling of her chest. He noticed his arm was resting on her waist, and he also could feel an arm and hand on his.
A smile appeared on his face as he was clearly experiencing a moment of total happiness. He decided to lay still for a while in the hope to see her wake up.


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:43 am

*** Vigilo ***

Deph looked at the white cloak hanging on the coat rack. Argentum Vigilo... he was now Squire Depheant... and he felt honored. Until four months ago he had been a sailor, and arrived here to strive for his dreams. Even though his path had been short thus far, several matters and issues had presented themselves.
He smiled a bit, actually many positive things. He made friends, he had several nice conversations, most of them one-to-one.
He had the feeling he was learning things and even had started to believe he could pull it off, doing something different than being a sailor and doing what his heart was telling him for a long time now. He needed help, sure, but he wasn’t afraid to ask for it, certainly not at the ones he trusted the most.
His smile became warmer, … he fell in love and his lady was everything to him. And... she was the one to who he could talk about his personal issues...

For a moment the smile on the face of the young man faded...
He still had no idea what the Vigilo expected now from him as daily activities but he assumed he would be contacted pretty soon. And he would fulfill his obligations... just like Selchis had her duties, he would have his.
The need for taking care of things started to menace his stomache again.

This matter with his mother needed to be dealt with. Selchis had recommended Shayde to help him with his plan, and he had already written a letter to her but thus far hadn’t received any answer. Perhaps he needed to find someone else.
The letter to his mother was written and ready to be send, but not before he found decent and discrete help. Only Selchis and Celestia knew about his ‘situation’, and he was far too embarrassed to tell any others about his past. He glanced at the envelop that was to be send to Gulashir and absently twisted it to read the information he had filled in as sender, his surname looking very ironic right now, and below it... something he found even more difficult, a lie.
From : Depheant Makepeace
Location : Buck Inn, Cear

He placed the envelop on his desk and rubbed his hair, the other issue was little Emma. Somehow he had to tell her that he probably would have less time for her, and for days he had been looking for a solution. He asked a few people for advice, among them his lady Selchis and another priestess listening to the name Lilliane.
Soon he would have to visit the little girl and it would be also the first time Emma would meet Selchis.
His hand left his hair, … perhaps this was also something he could discuss with someone of the Vigilo... maybe Amelia, after all, undirectly she knew this child too.

He glanced from his desk back to the white cloak, two Gold dragons in purple decorating it. A faint smile decorated his face again and his heartbeat accelerated a bit.
Soon he would be among knights again, and learning would start with the knights of the Argentum Vigilo !


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:43 am

*** Duty ***

The young man stepped out of the inn, dressed in his new clothes. He descended the small hill towards the road when he almost bumped into a panicking man.

“Sir... sir, is everything alright?”

The man was wildly waving with his arms, spouting incoherent fragments of a thus far to Deph vague story.

“Girl, … my, there... in, taken... monstrous... green, there, help... I have... please ... !!!"

“Easy... easy...” he attempted to calm down the man by placing his hand on his shoulder and offering him a flask of water.

After the man drank, his story seemed a bit more clear, but he was still short on breath. “Please, mister, lizards, on the road, took my girl... I must, need help.”

“Alright, show me where, quickly,” Deph replied.

He followed the man down the hill and before he took a turn to the right towards Tristan, he glanced left in the direction of Cear and knew he would be late for the dance festival.
While running behind the man for a brief moment he wondered how he could make it up with Selchis, just before setting his focus on an inevitable fight,... his hand reaching for the pommel of his sword when two gigantic Koalisks came in sight, one of them carrying a unconscious young woman over his shoulder.


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:44 am

*** Like a tale ***

With the help of his lady Selchis, Deph's quarter at the Knightshome was rather quickly turned from a cold stone room into a cozy inviting place.
It looked like in his dreams, the room, the surroundings... the interior... he loved it.

The final piece brought in was the painting of Selchis which he carefully placed on the wall while she watched breathlessly.
He took three steps back and studied it, his arm slid around her waist, glancing at her before looking back at the painting.

It's a serious picture. Below is wrapped in shadow, above is pure light. Her braids seems to sway in the wind, her lips are gently contoured, peaceful in expression her eyes half slit, reflecting the light, searching. In her hands the symbol of Peralia gleaming.

Just looking at it was enough to make his heart jump. Deph rubbed her back and walked in the direction of the painting casting a glance at the desk just below it... his eyes catching the text of his very first handwritten story.
He smiled at the memory when he brought this story at the theatre.


Titled : What we all lost

Once upon a time there was an ancient spirit. One day he sat on his throne, his forehead leaning against his fist. He could sit there like that for long... hours, days, weeks, ages... it all didn’t matter to him. It seemed... as if he was thinking.

His life had always looked endless and unchanged. And actually he was wondering, wondering how and when he had became what he was. There were just no memories of it. The only thing he could retrieve were memories of being a spirit.
For a moment, a moment that could have lasted for days, he wondered why he was asking himself that question.

Time passed and the spirit rose up from his throne.
He decided to find out himself. He decided to be reborn... as one of those creatures who worshipped the gods.

And so this spirit returned to the real world, a return in which he just had to remember his birth but also to not forget who he was.
However, the moment he descended through the birth canal, his true self was already touched. Numerous emotions and feelings slammed into him, but he failed to give them a place, let alone give them a name.
He saw how its parents smiled to him, smiled in the way like only brand new parents do. He almost “ordered” the newborn to smile back, but he didn’t.

The baby in which the spirit was reborn started to grow, to experience... observing facial expressions, touching and squeezing all kinds of weird materials, tasting...
The baby grew... and became a toddler and it discovered more and more things.
The spirit sat back in the mind of the child and observed... observed how the child became a hero who protected his parents against imaginary dragons but at the same time was scared for monsters under his bed. He observed how the child took no notion of the daily problems his parents experienced... as the child lacked... the concept.
And for a moment the spirit hesitated to help the child to understand, but for some unknown reason he didn’t intervene and kept observing.
Instead the child discovered his own imagination... fantasy...

He could experience feelings now within the child, feelings of joy, of pleasure, but also feelings of pain. Strangely enough that pain didn’t always emanate from physical sources. The spirit observed how the child was in pain when his parents didn’t want to play with him. Or when they didn’t look at a drawing he had just made. This feeling was later on known as disappointment.

The child aged a little and was now in a very active phase of his life... experimenting with his own feelings. And meanwhile the spirit was sucked into this life and slowly without realising, becoming more familiar, more one with this world, with this life... and without noticing it, he slowly became this life... perhaps even forgetting who he was... but, who was he?
The spirit witnessed moments of danger too, and again almost intervened to prevent the child from stepping in disaster when he climbed on a rooftop. Again... the spirit only observed.

The spirit noticed something else, the child was learning and it was going so fast, many things slipped through his imaginary fingers. After all, he always had a lot of time to think, but here this child... this life... was going a lot faster, a lot!

For a moment the spirit wondered if he could stop it, or at least slow it down. As he concluded his life like it was right now, was interesting and... attractive.
There were no concerns, at least not like on the level of its parents. And there were plans, so many plans of how his life would look like once he would become an adult.

He witnessed the child’s curiosity and imagination, and again he wondered what he could achieve with a mind like that. There was just so much into it, so many opportunities.
He also witnessed how his parents, as soon as he reached adolescence, started to worry... concerned about their child’s future. They urged him to ‘finally’ grow up, to become an adult. The spirit just couldn’t believe it... it was now already going so fast, and there was still so much to explore.

Almost he intervened, to stop it, to stop time, so that the child had the time to think of what he wanted to be... but again, he didn’t.
The spirit was curious now, curious about how his life would evolve... but somewhere he had the feeling he had just witnessed one of the best parts. Would he regret it?


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:44 am

*** Explaining ***

Deph took a deep breath and looked at Selchis who gave him a reassuring nod. It had been more then three weeks now since he last visited little Emma.
Together they entered the temple and walked over to Sister Alina who smiled warmly at Deph and curiously studied the lady at his side.

Deph bowed before saying,“ Ow... eh... Sister Alina, this is … ehm, my lady, Sister Selchis.”

If Alina’s eyes widened a little, she did her best to hide it and turned over to Selchis,” A pleasure Sister.”

Selchis smiled at Deph before turning to Alina and the two exchanged pleasantries.

Deph only listened and watched the two. He hadn’t forgotten about little Emma, certainly not, … he just had been... busy.
But when he met Sonya again a few days ago, and it really had been a while, well... he just felt the urge to deal with the uncomfortable situation.
However, there was perhaps a light in the distance as he and Selchis were planning to look for a house... probably in Cear. Still, he wouldn’t always be around but the thought of living close to Emma again soothed him a bit.

He loved the little girl, she was so brave and so bright... he was convinced she would become a promising young lady.

Deph looked back at his lady, and it would be the first time little Emma sees Selchis. He rubbed his hair.

Alina disappeared in the temple only to return moments later with a child at her side.

Deph turned around as he heard their footsteps and smiled, waving at Emma.

Emma lifted her chin and different then other times she didn’t ran to him, but gave him and Selchis an appraising look without leaving Alina’s side.

Even Alina felt a bit uncomfortable now and glanced at Deph while saying to Emma,” Deph has returned, he’s a Squire now...”

The young man with the lady at his side blushed at Alina’s words and looked at Emma. “Hello kiddo...”

“Hm!” A firm reaction from the child.

Deph blinked and glanced at Selchis before looking back at Emma, a slight blush appearing on his cheeks,” Ehm... this is my lady Selchis, she is...”

Emma turned away and looked up at Alina,” Can we go to the market today?”

“Eh?” Deph and Alina reacted simultanously.

Alina nodded slowly,” Sure Emma, we can go later but...”

“I want to go now!” Emma said, crossing her arms.

Deph blinked but Alina quickly replied,” Hey, Deph is here now, perhaps you want to go with him?”

The child didn’t even look at Deph this time,” And with her? No thank you.”

Deph frowned and looked briefly from Selchis to Alina before he coughed softly and kneeled,” Emma... I’m right here. Can we talk for a moment? Alone?” He said it without looking at the two ladies.

Alina looked at Selchis and with a movement of her head she motioned her over to the other side of the temple.

Surprisingly enough Emma remained where she was, but she hadn’t turned to Depheant yet.

“Emma...?” Deph tried softly. “Hey... I missed you, kiddo.”

“Don’t call me like that !!” She almost yelled.

The two Sisters turned their heads in his direction but didn’t interfere.

He blushed. “Alright Emma. I... I am sorry. I know I haven’t been here for three weeks, but I was busy and...”

This time Emma turned to him, her little arms still crossed and giving him a firm look,” Busy with her I suppose!” Still loud enough for the two ladies to hear.

Deph’s cheeks reddened further,” Now look... I...”

“Hmpf!” she turned her back on him.

He realised, Emma didn’t want to hear any excuses. But he also had the suspicion more was going on. Deph glanced at Selchis who gave him a faint smile but she also looked a bit concerned.

“Emma, let me please make it up to you. How about we go...” he glanced at Selchis before looking at Emma’s back again,”... sailing? Fishing?”

Emma slowly turned around,” We... as in you and me, or...” This time Emma glanced at Selchis.

Deph smiled a bit,” Emma, she’s really nice and she wants to meet you for quite some time now.”

Emma blinked,” Meet me? Why?”

Deph’s arm reached out to her,” Why don’t we go ask her, together?”


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:45 am

*** Vigilo among the Vanguard ***

And that was that.
Deph watched how Vanguard Anne left the inn and went upstairs to her room. He turned his face back to the fire and took a seat on the chair where he had been talking with the Vanguard lady.

Over two days they would be working together... a Vigilo among the Vanguards. He had chosen for a Vanguard-like uniform as he wished to make part of the platoon and not drawing any unnecessary attention with his white clothes and cape.
He wanted those men to see him as one of them. He had no idea what kind of a mission this was going to be, but he could imagine it was for the sake of those men that they would be focused on their goals without having to worry about the ‘outsider’ among them.

He sighed... now was the time to tie up the last loose ends.
His lady already knew this was coming and he soon would visit her again to tell her the day of his departure was near.

The other loose end was a difficult one... little Emma. Last time he had regained her trust more or less and it seemed Emma had accepted Selchis too. Well, he only assumed that.
He also had talked with the child about his duties and that it sometimes could take more time to return for a visit. She hadn’t reacted angry or upset... but he remembered her reaction was one of silence.
Tough one there...

Other loose ends were some friends he would have to inform that he would be some time off, his thoughts with one in particular... Lachdanon.
The meeting with this Darion didn't completely remove the concern about his friend Lach and even though Celestia would keep an eye out... it would have felt better seeing him again before he had to leave.

He scratched his arm absently, eyes still focused on the fire.
There was still so much he wanted to learn, but... he was a patient man, at least that is how he saw himself. The lessons in ‘bardic’ magic with Captain Firin would have to wait, just like the dinner with him and his lady. Same for the dinner with this interesting singing and storytelling lady Reina and her curious man, an elf who had seemed somewhat agitated on their last meeting.
Deph didn’t had any experience with elves, perhaps he had stepped on an for him invisible toe. In the tales he had read about them, elves were rather quiet and proud beings.

Well, it would all have to wait until he got back.
A faint smile appeared on his face as he recalled that Anne had in fact been interviewing him... asking questions he didn’t expected. Not that it mattered as he had been sincere with his answers. It would have led to nothing if he would have given Vanguard Anne a false impression of himself.
People could work so much better together if they knew each other, if it were only for a little.
This adventure or whatever it was, ... he would learn from the Vanguards and from what he had heard thus far, he already had great respect for them.


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:50 am

*** We are Vanguards (and one Vigilo) part 1***

(by Triangles)

"Vanguards! You belong to me now!"

Anne Anathema of the Free Vanguard inspects her soldiers at the fortress city of Lendose. Seventeen men and women in black and gold stand arrayed before her. She had asked for twice as many.

"The good news is that your days of guarding pig farms and wishing wells are over. The bad news is that you are not up to this task. You have been carefully vetted for talent and not for skill, which is fortunate because according to your dossiers you have none! That changes beginning with today's training, and it will be a live fire exercise if you get my meaning."

It isn't completely true. She has vetted her soldiers for hardworking laziness. It took hours of cross-checking dossiers and incident reports to find them: soldiers who signed on for the pay and equipment, but did their best to appear incapable. It had worked; no one ever assigned them to dangerous engagements like the muster outside the Ravenwood. No one wanted them. It was when Cear quite literally went to hell that Anne decided the vacation was over.

"For those who did not read the mission brief en route: we are to perform domestic search and destroy operations against enemies moving within our borders. We will do so with great prejudice. At times command will attempt to reassign you, but don't get your hopes up: you're mine. In the event that you are reassigned, you will not speak of a word of this mission beyond the official purpose to anyone of equal or lower rank, and only to higher-ranking officers when specifically asked."

This was toeing close to insubordination, but she knew the Vanguard's rules well. She wrote them after all.

"Now, here is our real mission..."

It's a good day to be Anne Anathema. She watches two soldiers toss another dead orc onto the pyre, turn smartly, and march off to fetch another. She's watched them do this ten times for ten orcs that the world no longer needs. They're almost done. Paz hurries up beside her.

"Inventory, XO?" she asks him.

Paz opens a pocketbook and begins reading. "Seven tents, thirteen blankets and bedrolls, three horses, twenty-five common grade weapons plus ammunition, two days of trail rations, one day of water, two medical kits, one unmarked map, one compass, and some other odds and ends." He hesitates for a moment before adding, "Ma'am, orc rations are..."

"I know," Anne responds, "Feed it to the horses. The troops get their pick of the spoils and the rest goes on the fire."

"Yes, ma'am," Paz nods, "Anything else?"

"You didn't mention officers."

"None found," Paz replies.

Anne looks cross. "Only two days of supplies and no officers. You don't find that odd?" She casts her gaze out to the soldiers milling around the pyre. "OI! WHERE'S SOMMERS? Report!"

A sandy blonde young man stands and hustles over. "Here, Anne!"



"Here, ma'am."

"Oh, aye. Here, ma'am. Whaddaya need?"

If her platoon is full of hardworking slothes, Sommers is surely their king. The Kor had shown up outside his farm about a year ago just after he signed on with the Free Vanguard. One man against a hundred, he fought a prolonged war of attrition and misdirection against an increasingly paranoid foe. In his final act he rounded up farmers to build a battered barn two days ahead of the orcs just to pack it full of explosives. The story changes in each retelling but it always ends spectacularly. Sommers knew he needed more help but didn't envy being promoted to the front lines for such an overwelming victory. Thus, his incident report read:

Organized poachers harassing farmers, one dead, suspect five to ten remaining.

Sommers was sent a crate of weapons and the latest collected edition of the Imperial Art of Warfare. No one messes with Sommers' neighbours anymore.

"Have a look at this inventory," says Anne, handing over the pocketbook, "What do you see?"

"Hmm. Yeah. Must be a scouting arm," Sommers says, looking over the list. "Kinda big, but not too big."

"Can you find the main force?" Anne asks.

"Maybe?" says Sommers, scratching the side of his neck. "We could follow the their tracks backwards to where they came from, maybe find a divergence site. See, the way this grass is folded against the wind means-"

"Details," Anne interrupts, "Can you find them?"

"Er, yeah," Sommers nods, "Yeah, I can."

"Good." Anne turns towards the pyre. It's neat and tidy as war can be, which is a bloody gods damned mess. Still, today is a good day to be Anne Anathema. Tomorrow could be different.

"XO, give the orders."

"Yes, ma'am."

They sky is grey and diffuse, dispassionate of the small platoon below.

"I'm just surprised is all," says Sommers, "You don't strike me as the deceptive type."

Anne Anathema and the scout survey the shallow gravel pit. A moderately large group could have camped here a few days ago. The coarse ground makes it difficult to guess exactly how many. Hastily filled latrines suggest the number is quite big, and it's given a new meaning to the words "scavenger hunt."

"I am not deceptive," replies Anne.

"Yeah, but all this cat and mouse stuff..."

"Warfare is deception, Sommers," Anne states dryly, "You should know that. The enemy will only engage when there is something to be gained. I want them to be wrong every time."

They approach a smooth waist-heigh boulder that has seen a thousand more conspirators than the next nearest smooth waist-heigh boulder. Here, Anne holds court.

"What do you have, Antias?"

Antias' dossier says little about the second-generation Cordan horse farmer. In matter of fact, Antias traces her lineage back to Old Varana. What her dossier says is that she has few credited kills to her own name despite leading a wildly successful archery squad. It did not escape Anne's notice that this was the granddaughter of Felix Antias, a notable if minor strategist of the Great War. At the present she's trying to figure out how to confound an army of unknown whereabouts and size. It's not going well.

"This would be easier if we knew more about them," she says.

"We know a little," Anne turns to her scout, "Please review, Sommers."

"Er, yeah," Sommers nods and traces his hand along a map. "We can guess that a big force is heading through this ravine. It keeps them outta sight but it also keeps them blind. Some smaller groups split off to travel the ridges above, like the scouts we bumped into. Those will be their eyes, but only if they can meet up periodically with the main force."

"How big?" Anne asks.

Sommers looks unsure. "Bigger than us."

Antias takes over. "First we will cripple their intelligence. We will strike the scouts from higher ground when they enter the ravine to report."

"Why will they enter the ravine? Why not the other way around?" asks Anne, not looking up from the map.

"Their supplies are in the ravine," Antias shrugs, "You said the scouts were travelling light."

Sommers grimaces. "Sure, but if you're right, we can't attack the scouts if the rest of the army is there with them."

"The army won't be there," says Antias, and there is a glint in her eyes. "They will be forced to stop and forage when their supplies are disrupted."

"What's going to disrupt their supplies?"

Anne and Antias both turn to look upon Sommers, whose eyes widen in bewilderment.

"Oh, oh. You have got to be kidding me."

"I thought you said we weren't up to this," says Paz one evening

"That's what the dossiers say," replies Anne.

It has been a hard week of harassing orc scouting parties. To nearly everyone's surprise, the novice Vanguards are quite effective. Sommers hasn't returned yet, but a few nights ago a sentry woke Anne to a thunderous roar coming from the ravine. At least someone else isn't getting any sleep.

Anne's platoon is pausing their march for the first time since leaving Lendose. If Antias is right, they have at least two days before the enemy climbs out of the ravine.

"Why us?" Paz looks upon their camp. The mood is sanguine and there is a faint murmur of wistfulness in the air. The informality between the soldiers and the ease with which they converse doesn't remind Paz of soldiers at all.

"Good personnel is hard to keep."

"And after this mission?"

Anne shrugs. "What did you sign up for?"

"What the flyer said. Defend our homes, right? I never expected to get called to a muster."

"We're at war, XO."

"Yeah, I get that." Paz rubs the back of his neck and pauses. "It's just... the pitch made it sound like we were standing up for ourselves. Every person who's here, you called them away from what they loved most."

Anne is doing her best to hide her annoyance, but it's a half-hearted effort. "Being here may very well save what you love most. Don't be selfish. The war won't go away just because you can't see it."

"Tell that to a soldier, Anne-"


"-because we're not soldiers. We're Vanguards. We fill in the cracks. Since when do we go hunting orc raiding parties which no one has even seen?" The murmur from the camp quiets as Paz is says so.

"We regimented, XO."

"No, you did. I-"

The argument is cut short. The sentry is signalling to Anne of an approach: Sommers has returned. A minute later the camp is bustling. Twenty minutes later they're on the march. A full hour later the ground shudders as a dark column stomps up and out of the ravine.

Despite the promise of rest that night, the more urgent promise of being obliterated by a hundred orcs is enough to get Anne Anathema's Vanguards on the move.

"-plus twenty horses, six war boars, and at least two humans," Sommers adds, finishing his report.

Anne is pleased. "Officers." At last.

As pleased as is possible with a hundred orcs, twenty horses, six war boars, and at least two humans pursuing them, that is. Fortunately they had been studying the orcs' map. It was sparse on details except for hilly path that wound its way to Cear. Canas' armies occasionally mashed themselves uselessly against the port city's wall. It stood to reason that these orcs were to be the next victims.

Another unusual feature of the map was the series of cottages and watchtowers drawn on either side of the hidden trail. The sacrificial armies were rarely detected en route, so the sites were likely marked to better avoid them. The nearest farmhouse was only a few hours away, which was good, since the Vanguards were running low on supplies. They could stay the night safely, resupply, and leave behind enough crowns to smooth over the hard feelings that come with a surprise nighttime visit. The orcs would pass them by morning and the Vanguards could resume their pursuit.

Imagine the Anne's surprise when they arrived to find a well-maintained yet completely abandoned farm.


The Vanguards are making themselves at home. Anne and Paz sit on the farmhouse porch, looking completely out of place.

"I'll admit it's strange," says Paz, "But people up and leave all the time." He chuckles wryly, "Maybe they were summoned by the Free Vanguard..."

"Don't push it, XO."

Paz knows exactly how far to push it. All his life he's been a second-in-command; a right hand man; a lieutenant; a junior partner. He's learned to inhabit the middle ground that must deliver unpopular news without being directly responsible for it. He's decided that giving orders gives you a headache and that carrying them out gives you an everything-else ache. Lucky Paz, he does both. Actually it's everyone else who is lucky, for Paz has kept a cool head throughout his duties, even though he's sure that Anne, the Vanguards, and the orcs all have it out for him.

"I still don't understand why the orcs are still marching," says Anne after a pause. "Sommers says they couldn't have more than a day of rations left."

Unbeknownst to Anne and Paz, Antias is about to find out. The single-story farmhouse was not designed to shelter eighteen Vanguards and the barn smells foul. It's much like the house she grew up in, which means it should have a cellar. What Antias finds is not a cellar, but what could be more charitably described as a dungeon.

The cellar, or dungeon, is neatly stocked with water, dried provisions, and enough weaponry to equip a small division. Kor weaponry. The Vanguards have miscalculated: it's not a farmhouse. It's a supply depot.

Antias rushes up the ladder. Dawn is breaking and they will have to hurry.

Anne Anathema is in fact not fire proof. The truth is more nuanced but it's close enough for today's maneuvers.

The plan, such as it is, had been simple at first: burn the farm to deny the enemy its hidden cache of precious resources, then hope for mass desertion. There were two more such farms nearby which would need to be razed too.

"After that?" Antias had asked.

No one knew. Orcs are empirically stupid when desperate, but they would need to control the source of hope if that stupid desperation was to be counted on. The plan had changed with the result that Anne is now standing alone in a burning farmhouse. It's a strange enough sight to give the approaching army pause, so Anne takes the time to count them: a hundred orcs or so, twenty horses, six war boars, and two perplexed humans at the head. A mage and a warrior. About time.

A wooden beam creaks, then groans; then it gives. It roars down, crashing with white hot sparks and sending out a blast of hot air. Her cloak billows in an appropriately dramatic manner just as the orcs halt near the barn, itself a smoldering pile of ash. The warrior approaches. He looks furious. He must be their commander.

"You have... our attention," he says

Anne clasps her hands behind her back smartly and straightens. "Soldiers of Canas! By the authority vested in me by the Fourth Eastern Regiment so organized under the Free Vanguard in service to Princeps Siril Dairamik and Empress Nelina, Queen of Dasaria-"

The warrior waits with strained patience.

"-you will lay down your arms and prepare to discuss the terms of your surrender."

The warrior steps forward then stops to reconsider. Clearly he is not fireproof.

"And why should we do that?" he spits the words out, "You've stopped nothing."

"Soon you will have nothing," she replies. "Your rations ran out today. Your water tomorrow. There is nothing left here for you, and your southern depot has been seized."

"Our southern depot?" he raises an eyebrow. "How clever of you. Is that all?"

Anne nods. "Aye. And now your surrender?"

The warrior turns his gaze to the army behind him, then back to Anne with a smug grin. "Not today."

Daring the flames, the warrior steps forward and delivers a solid kick. Anne tumbles backwards through the fire. The floor is already weakened by the inferno and gives easily; with little choice in the matter, Anne crashes through to the dungeon below.

She groans and lifts herself from the stone surface with a curse.

"Anne?" Sommers voice is nearby.


"You all right, ma'am?" Sommers practically drags her to her feet as debris begins to fall.

"I can walk. Show me the tunnel."


No secret hideout is complete without a getaway tunnel. It would lead them far from the farm and likely keep them from rejoining the rest of the platoon until the plan either succeeded or failed.

"Give the enemy hope," Antias had said, "Make them believe victory is within grasp. Feign defeat, and then crush them."

So it was that the Vanguards burned the farm, and the southern depot along with it. She had not mentioned the eastern depot, and as far as the warrior was concerned she didn't know about it. He was wrong of course.

"Antias and the others will reach Ravenwatch soon," says Anne, as she and Sommers stoop through the tunnel. "She will have to convince the Legion to mobilize quickly if we're to catch them off guard at the eastern depot.

"And what, destroy them?"

"Eventually," Anne shrugs. "There are at least two targets of rank. I want them, Sommers. To hell with the orcs, I want those officers."

Anne Anathema has a hard time guessing what this cache had been disguised as; the battle is long over and it's nothing more than a smoking crater by the time she and Sommers arrive.

"Took a page outta my play book," notes Sommers.

Of course they had to. Firin D'Adlaer had arrived yesterday with only two dozen soldiers. They were still outnumbered, but compared to the orcs they were rested, fed, and in far better spirits.

"The colonel forced them inside with archery volleys," Antias explains as Anne arrives at the Vanguard tents, "The explosion killed or injured most of the infantry. The remainder panicked and were routed."

"And the officers?" asks Anne.

"Captured. We've set up a command tent for you. Shall I-"


It's a large tent, perhaps ten by ten feet, and tall enough to stand comfortably within. A mahogany desk sits at the centre, behind which are arrayed a few shelves and boxes. She spots a feathered hat sitting on the desk, so its wearer must be...

"Colonel," Anne straightens and salutes smartly. "I appreciate your bringing a touch of civilization, but I would have preferred more soldiers."

Firin smiles, an amused counterpoint to Anne's dourness. "The touch of civilization was captured from the enemy, actually, and what I brought is the entire available mounted segment."

She nearly protests, but instead the sound that comes out is simply, "Thank you."

Paz bustles in and rips a casual salute. He's holding two thick hardcovered tomes.

"The enemy's command logs," he states. "Our captures are Lars Caius and Kaeso Petronax. Caius seems to be in charge, but I'll wager you two crowns he's useless. Die-hard fanatic, practically worships Canas. Wouldn't shut up until we gagged him."

Anne nods, "What about Petronax?"

"Not a very nice fellow but not overly predisposed to Canas' cause either. His stake in this is to be on the winning side-

"Typical," Anne interjects.

"-and he's been plotting Caius' assassination for some time now. It would seem he considers Caius' devotion a liability. He's not in charge per se, but I'd wager he knows something. Wizards always do."

For the briefest of moments, Anne's eyes widen. "Good work, XO. Here's what we'll do..."


Caius is having a bad day. Yesterday he kicked a heretic through a burning building. It felt good. The rightful Emperor Canas preached that they should crush their enemies underfoot, but Caius never imagined it as being literal. Yesterday was great compared to today, because today his hands are bound and he's being shoved to his knees in his command tent. An unfamiliar man in black and gold armour sits behind his old desk, and a woman stands beside him... he's sure that he's seen her face somewhere before.

The coward Petronax is thrust down beside him.

"Don't get up," says the woman, whose name he might think fitting if he knew it. "I have many questions and no time for games. Despite the considerable effort we have undertaken to capture you, you are not special. You are replaceable. I will get my answers with or without your help, but with your help you may actually survive to see the end of the war. Make no mistake, Peralia and Culnul wait on my actions. I am the gatekeeper to hell and I alone decide your destiny. Do you understand?"

Caius rises slowly to his feet and levels his gaze at Anne. "Your words are empty, Vanguard, and blasphemous. You hold no power over me. My death will be celebrated! Your threat is nothing but my final reward, rightly earned in service to-"

Anne nods to a pair of Vanguards at the door. "Kill him. No, not in here. Take him outside."

Caius is dragged protesting from the command tent.

Anne pauses for effect, sniffs disdainfully and paces behind the desk for a moment. "There are no second chances. Let that be a lesson. You are Kaeso... Petronax. Am I correct?"

The wizard trembles, his head jerking to the empty place where Caius had once knelt. His yells have stopped and the soldiers outside are hushed. The only sound now is a light breeze blowing at the tent's entrance.

Anne moves to the front of the desk, half leaning, half-sitting on the battered mahogany surface. Petronax had hoped to sit behind it one day soon, after the idiot Caius had been disposed of. This is exactly the kind of blunder that Petronax had expected.

Anne grunts impatiently. "Fine, you've both been warned."

"Wait-!" Petronax inches forward on his knees. "Wait! What do you want to know? I'll tell you everything."

Anne holds up a hand to the two Vanguards advancing towards them. She turns to Petronax with a slight smile. "I will hold you to that."


Both platoons disperse into Ravenswatch a few days later. Caius and Petronax are led in manacles to the city watch.

"Heh. I'll bet he feels stupid now," Sommers smirks.

Anne shrugs. "He saw what we wanted him to see."

"Yeah..." Sommers rubs the side of his head. "No offence, Anne-"


"-ma'am, but I'm going to be scarce for a few days."

Anne nods and they part ways. The easy part is over now. It has not been without pitfalls, but the platoon is as strong as she had hoped. A few days of leave have been earned for the soldiers, but now Anne has work to do more than ever.

End Part 1


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Depheant Makepeace - Tales of a young man Empty Re: Depheant Makepeace - Tales of a young man

Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 9:57 am

*** We are Vanguards (and one Vigilo) part 2***

(by Triangles and Admin)

Leave is over. Eighteen soldiers in black and gold stand smartly at attention outside Ravenswatch. Anne Anathema finds it hard to believe this is the same platoon.

She paces calmly, her voice rising just barely over the morning breeze. It's reserved; she uses only as much volume as she needs.

"Vanguards! The bad news is that last week's maneuvers were a warm-up. You have demonstrated your talent, and your skill. This is fortunate for me but supremely unfortunate for you. My expectations have grown, and every one of you will meet those expectations or you will not make it home!"

All of it is true. She had fully expected the soldiers to outperform their dossiers, but the degree to which they did so came as a surprise. It had taken only weeks, and now she wonders how much more potential they hide. The bar has been raised.

"We are marching inland south," she continues, "Our primary mission: retrieval. Resistance is expected along the way, but such are mere distractions. You have faced this enemy before. Orcish creativity is finite. Save your strength for the dig."

Minutia are dispensed and the platoon forms up. By the time Rel reaches his zenith they are long gone.

That morning Depheant had been up very early, and he remembered feeling excited for this adventure. Still wondering where they would be going, and the moment he had heard Anne talk about ‘Orcish creativity’, he recalled his short experiences on the battlefields, fighting against the Orcs. They were brute and strong but lacked intelligence. Nevertheless it would be wrong to ever underestimate them, especially when they are lead by much smarter officers, humans for instance...

While they traveled South, Deph wondered if all the men knew there was a Vigilo among them. But right now he was wearing a Vanguard-like uniform.
It seemed better not to talk about that, but he had no problems to talk with the people in his squad. And he was rather charmed by the mix of their appearance and backgrounds.

Somehow he felt like one of them and it didn’t take long before he gave away some details of his own background. Not about the problems he had experienced during his youth, that seemed yet too personal.
He was the new guy in their unit and hoped these men would be more at ease with him if they knew little things about him.

The leader of the squad, Gerard Martanus was a very friendly, stocky man and after a small conversation with him, Deph learned the man owned a cornfield near Cear and that he was a bit worried missing the harvest. Deph also learned he used the same weapon as him and asked if they could exercise a bit together during the journey.

During one of their marches he absently touched the amulet hidden under his light armor, a temporary gift from his lady. He smiled as he felt the amulet of Peralia resting on the skin of his chest. Almost as if she was with him...

Deph glanced at Vanguard Anne and wondered about her background. Well, their communication thus far had been strict. There hadn't been much room yet for exchanging personal stories, but he could imagine she surely would have a few.
Good, someone from who he could learn. For a moment he wondered what her opinion was about friendship. She clearly seemed to be a leader, but who was she besides that?

Anyways, thus far he liked her as leader. She didn't use more words than necessary and the same was true for the volume of her voice, which by the way sounded neither cold nor warm.
Well, it was only their first day and way too soon for any opinions.

"Not wolves, ma'am. This is a warg game trail."

Sommers delivers the bad news to Anne Anathema at mid-day council while soldiers collapse the camp. Actually, he has more:

"They're nocturnal, see perfectly in the dark. You don't wanna to fight 'em like that, but if we light campfires, they'll be drawn right to us."

The terrain is not ideal. Rolling hills have given way to sparse woods and dense foliage underfoot. The sounds of wildlife surround them, always heard, never seen.

"What can we expect?" asks Anne.

Sommers rubs the back of his head. "They won't stand and fight. They'll drag a handful of us from our tents and disappear into the night." He looks sick, like he's been thinking about this a little too much. "Once they've pared us down..."

What Anne doesn't need right now is panicking soldiers. "Are you sure we're dealing with wargs?" she asks, "The area isn't known for them."

"Yeah, well," Sommers shrugs, "You're taking us in a pretty specific direction."

"And they do not stand out even if they don't belong," Antias adds, "Orcs would garner attention. Could this be the first line of defence you mentioned?"

"It could be," though Anne isn't certain. "The wizard didn't know. All right, Sommers I need- Sommers! Pay attention. No one's going to be warg food."


Progress slows considerably. They march at dawn, make camp in the early afternoon, and wake after dusk. It would be foolish to march at night, so they don't; neither can they march the entire day, or risk sleeping through the wargs' inevitable attack. Sommers checks his snares each day before dark, and Anne carefully puts their newest recruit into a thick burlap sack.

"Good night, Vanguard Shelly," says Sommers as he works the knots.

"It's a turtle, not a Vanguard," Anne shoots back.

"Hey, I found her. I say she's a Vanguard."

The camp sits at the bottom of a shallow pit. Anyone within a few miles may notice the small campfire; a few hours after dark it will be snuffed out and nearly twenty soldiers will sit in silent wait. The platoon's hope is riding on a turtle named Shelly.

"Odds, XO?" Anne asks.

Paz's tone is a model deadpan. "Given what we did last time the odds can only improve, right?"

Depheant was quickly used to the set daily rhythm, rising very early, breaking up camp, marching, eating, and eventually making camp again. Soon he had made the routine of setting up tents his own. In a way this life had some similarities with his former life as a sailor. Not that he had problems with that, not at all. He was used to discipline and performing tasks that just needed to be done.

Though the exercises with Gerard were a welcome change in the daily routine and Deph was glad to conclude his skill with the sword had increased.
But that wasn’t all, Gerard also learned Deph about the commands formations of the squad and also shared a bit information about a previous mission lead by Anne and from what he told, Deph could now deduce Anne was looking for something.

Curious as he could be, Deph didn’t ask or even mention it to Anne. It was clear the information would be given when the time was ripe and it would probably be a bad idea to have a platoon filled with speculating men. Focussing on the daily tasks was of the essence now.

After a few days marching Deph was invited upon a hill to join Anne and the rest of the executive : Paz, Antias and Sommers.


Depheant listens carefully to the news that Vanguard Sommers brings. He pays attention to the expressions of the people gathered.

At some point he raises his hand asking permission to speak. With a nod from Anne, he looks around with a slight blush on his face, “What exactly are wargs? And are they considered being intelligent?”

Sommers grimaces. “Imagine a wolf the size of a horse. Mean temper, very cunning, the whole nasty business. They'll kill a man out of boredom.”

After the brief description from Sommers he nods to thank the Vanguard but not before noticing a sense of ... was it... fear?

He also watches Anne’s attempt to reassure the man. Anne sure seemed someone who could keep the head cool and was able to convey this form of self-confidence by the way she talked and how she used her voice.
No wonder those men followed her...

While the others leave to prepare the upcoming march, Depheant approaches Anne who seems in thought for a moment, her eyes fixated on the hills.

He coughs lightly to draw her attention. “Excuse me, milady... ehm. I’m not sure if this is appropriate to ask now, but... what wizard were you talking about?”

“A Canite we captured last time,” she responds, turning. “Not exactly trustworthy. We'll know soon enough if we've been sent on a fool's errand.”

The successful thief in the night cultivates a ghost's reputation. Silent, unseen, and utterly terrifying. If a confrontation with the mark can't be avoided, it must evoke pure dread. The only thing worse than discovery is the loss of legend.

For example: right now four wargs are tumbling into the Vanguard's camps, throwing their riders wide and landing in a pile in the centre. It's absurd.

"Vanguards! At arms!"

Adrenaline and training kick in. Anxiety takes a back seat as the soldiers burst from the tents and form into practiced ranks. No one has been sleeping. Everyone is armoured. Anne's ruse is unveiled to the great displeasure of whomever has tripped over Sommers' snares.

Light floods the nighttime camp as Vanguard Shelly is lifted from her bag. The spell cast on the unwitting turtle earlier that day will last the whole night, or at least long enough to get on with the grim business. In three more spells the platoon will be unstoppable.

Anne raises her hammer and begins casting.


"They're even uglier in daylight," Sommer observes, "Maybe they're doing us a favour, hunting only at night."

The platoon's anxieties have lifted by morning. The nightmare beasts lose their mystique to Sommers' ribbings. None of the soldiers feel like reminding him how less smug he was a few days ago, or, maybe they too are feeling bolder.

Anne and Paz finish inventory. The dead riders have only a day's worth of supplies, so their outpost must be near.

"Do you think there's a Canite platoon out there like us?" asks Paz.

Anne nearly brushes it off, but the levity may as well help morale. "I hope not, XO. You're all pretty scary."

"Us?" Paz laughs.

"Make sure the soldiers know this victory belongs to them, and get us marching. I want to find that outpost by tomorrow, no later."

"Ma'am," he nods and sets off.

Wargs. Antias is right. It smells of Canites, even if they're not completely out of place. If so, there's bound to be many more unpleasant surprises. Surprises. Anne can deal with the bad hand or the insurmountable odds with one easy maneuver: withdraw. It's not the odds that get you killed, it's the surprise.

That and doubt. Time to get on with it.

Depheant cleaned his sword right after the attack. He had been impressed by the plan, the effectiveness of the traps and the idea with the turtle. He grinned as he tried to imagine if one of the Warg riders would have escaped, how he would report this ... ‘incident’ to his superiors. If they had any at least.

They didn’t sleep anymore after the attack but stayed up untill dawn, just in case there would be a second wave. Finally he could witness with his own eyes how they looked like in the broad daylight and nodded with a smile at Sommers’s comment. He also noticed the man used some of his typical humor again, perhaps this was an indication of regained self-confidence?

His earlier inside joke about an escaped Warg rider running back to his superiors was awakened again when he heard Paz’s comment after investigating the supplies on the bodies. Now he prayed there weren’t any others who had been able to avoid the trap.
He glanced at Anne and found this thought disturbing enough to talk about... not sure how that would affect any further plans though.

avigating the woods is hellish. Sommers finds the outpost easily enough, but he knows they'll soon be following Anne's directions again, which as far as he can tell are being picked through whim and sorcery. And that's what they are: directions, not some X marks the spot to which he can plot a safe route.

Which is all the more a shame when the platoon won't be maneuvered around something horrible. Yesterday he watched three Vanguards flung like rag dolls by an upset ogre. Then there was the hundred foot long forest viper, twelve-legged spiders, and a type of giant Sommers didn't recognize nor cared to meet again (it had uprooted a tree in a creative but ultimately failed effort to kill them all).

They make up the rules as they go along. Guesswork becomes proof, proof becomes execution, and when the execution falters, Anne's magic fills the gaps. Sommers knows himself and he knows he's better than Anne gave him or anyone credit for at the very first muster, but he'll be damned if the warm-up maneuvers haven't made a difference. It's probably why they're alive now. It's probably why he's counting on Anne to get them through this, because if he didn't know any better he'd think she's trying to get them all killed.

After a ten day they find it. No one needs to tell Sommers that they've arrived: a large squat stone temple sits alone in the glade before them, rising in stair-steps to a single storey plateaux. Growths of moss outline seams and cracks and serve to reveal a slight tilt in the structure's overall balance.

Sommers expects that the forest should be silent around such a site, but it isn't; the sounds of wildlife carry on, caring not for this forgotten thing. They've grown immeasurably old together.

Anne's voice is the first to cut through:

"We're here."

Working together, becoming one,... one devastating weapon for each creature they faced. If they hadn’t done that, they wouldn’t have pulled it off.
Thus far the squad, of which Deph made part, did pretty good together, at least that was his opinion. They had learned how to fight together and to match, using and deploying one’s qualities and how to make up for each other’s shortcomings. It still was probably far from perfect, but it was at least something.
As for him, his so called ‘bardic’ magic, even though still not fully mastered, had added bits and pieces where sometimes even the most ‘benevolent’ soldier failed.
He also felt something on his inside... right now, he would walk through a fire for these people.

At the same time he was amazed by the variety of creatures crossing their path.
On the other hand, these lands were unknown to him and he really didn’t had any idea what he could have expected... or what they still could expect.
Especially when they reached this place, this what looked like a temple of some kind, ... it felt as their destination, and he was almost certain after listening to Anne’s announcement this was the place where she wanted them to arrive.

Like the tip of an iceberg, the temple's exterior is just a marker under which vast secrets burrow into the ground. The platoon gains entrance easily enough for nothing guards the entrance. Anne Anathema doesn't tell them that getting in isn't the real problem, and so she considers an analogy altogether different than that of an iceberg: a tombstone.

The inside is practically bare. The darkness seems to push back even against their torches. A low whistle signifies the passage of air. Right now it's the only connection to the outside world as they step into something older and decidedly unwelcoming.

A handful of Vanguards work an immense stone tile from the ground. Antias counts and shouts commands in steady cadences to coordinate them; the stone tile is heavy enough to crush them to death if they slip up. At last it yields, revealing stone steps disappearing deep into the darkness. At least the temple is consistent.

"Eugh. Stale air," Sommers remarks as they descend. And descend. And descend through narrow passages.

The stonework doesn't resemble anything Anne has seen before. Shadows hide and crawl across the passages in ways that should be impossible, but never surprising. She can guess it's purpose too: architecture is meant to impress. So what's the message here?

The stonework doesn't resemble anything.


Should be impossible.

No, not uniqueness. The architect possessed knowledge beyond mortal understanding. It makes her feel young in an existential way.

"You see it too, ma'am?" Antias asks. The reverberations cancel any attempt to ask quietly.

Anne almost asks what exactly it is, but it's obvious. Even though the passage has branched several times, she feels like the platoon is being funnelled in a specific direction. Even now they're arriving at a fork, and if she stares hard enough, both ways look identical. Almost identical. Something about the right-hand passage sticks out. Something. Anne nods in response and they turn right without slowing down.

"There is something about-" she stops suddenly; a clatter breaks out behind her as the Vanguards who can't stop in time bump into those who can. She stops because the passage opens suddenly into a great hall. Pillars illuminated by what appear to be torches (but are clearly magical analogs) rise at least fifty feet from the ground before the shadows push back against the soft golden light. The hall is long enough and wide enough that Anne could comfortably fit the entire Fourth Eastern Regiment within, mounted cavalry and all. That is, if the hall were emptied first. Something of equally large size is already using it.

Anne surveys the great hall, littered with as far as the eye can see with cobwebs and dead soldiers.

"I am thinking," Antias says, breaking the silence, "That we are meant to participate in an unwanted future."

Anne sighs. "Life is full of disappointments."

Too easy? Deph had no experience at all in these things but at this moment he assumed it was just like reading one of those tales where the readers think like “don’t go in there”.
Thus far he hadn’t really backed away from any assignment because of fear, but this place made him at least shiver a little, and he could imagine few others shared this feeling silently.

While they went in deeper and deeper, Deph wondered how this temple ever got build in the first place. He wasn’t a man of architecture but the way this temple was build and embedded below the surface, ... right now he would pay for an opinion of a specialist in this field. If there was any at least, but he could imagine Sir Phelan might find this place interesting.
He himself couldn’t make anything of it, the walls, the tunnels, they all just looked the same and generated this general feeling within him... this place was weird.

The moment that stone tile was removed and it had become clear this temple was going way deeper, Deph was lost in thought. Thus far he had read many tales but never did he read about anything like this.
Right now he wondered, why? Why making a building so deeply sunken below the surface? Why chosing for this dominating darkness? And why picking a location so remote?
Only his fantasy could fill in and more then often the possibility of sinister activities going on down there occured to him.

At some point his mind jumped to another question : who? Humans? It had to be at least an intelligent race. These tunnels were either made to get lost in, and perhaps to fend off unwanted guests... or... rather the opposite... ? By the time they hit the great hall littered with the dead, Deph sighed and started wondering if it was really ‘necessary’ to have these musings.
But he also wondered whether they just got lost... or lured.

The Necromancer's Gambit goes a bit like this:

Facing an army of any lesser size, preparation, or competency, the Necromancer needs only to outlast his enemy. Fallen foes become a ready supply of new soldiers, and thus the size of the Necromancer's army shrinks at a slower speed than his enemy's. If he's clever it may even grow.

Opposing the Necromancer's Gambit is a nightmare of grim calculus. Most prepared commanders, knowing the stakes, will march out with the largest army they can field. This has two consequences: if the commander overcompensates, allied forces are distributed inefficiently; if the commander underestimates, the outcome is worse than sending no army at all.

The Necromancer's Gambit shows its true potential when combined with other deceits and tactical misdirections. Allied commanders hate it.


Anne Anathema states the obvious: "Outnumbering them is out of the question."

"You're sure that they will attack us?" asks Antias.

"Most of them have swords buried in each other's chests," Sommers retorts.

The room is a tableau of a long ended battle, and yet it holds certain anachronisms. Standards that are hundreds of years apart. Family crests that could have never existed at the same time.

"Milady?" Depheant is speaking up. "Armies like these are sustained by a necromancer, right? If we could make it show up..."

Anne knows the shortest means to this end. She nods to the Vigilo with tacit approval and dismisses the executive. "Vanguards! We're marching. No one draws a weapon or so much as sneezes without my permission. No questions."

The last word hangs in the air, echoing through the massive stone chamber. The pillars bear down on the great hall like silent watchers, waiting for the Vanguards to show their hand. The Vanguards march forward.

Fifty paces later comes a sound like a cacophony of snapping and cracking, like falling timber. Banners are thrust into the air around which the fallen (now quite limber) rise and begin to assemble. The Vanguards stop and watch in horrified fascination as the dead soldiers form into battle lines and ranks with ease. At last the noise decays, and the room is transformed. Nineteen soldiers against thousands.

An outmatched commander has limited options. Victory is obviously not in the cards, so the Vanguards are in a lot of trouble if this doesn't work. They're in a lot of trouble if it does too. Anne takes the obvious approach and raises both hands.

"We offer our surrender."

A wooden ripple fans out through the assembled armies. The formation before them parts, creating a passage through the great hall.

Trouble. That's all this will be.

Anne Anathema keeps her eyes peeled as they pass the parted enemy columns. A small part of her wants the Necromancer to show his stupid face. Another part of her knows there probably is no Necromancer. The temple isn't made for mortal commanders, or mortals at all for that matter. Where did I get this idea, Anne wonders, that a temple could exist for our benefit in the first place? Hubris.

Light blooms brighter from the torches like a counterfeit sun. Anne sees the end of the great hall at last. A massive stone-cut staircase thrusts itself up into the darkness, its angles exotic, impossible, and yet elegantly simple. There, too, are the remains of a staircase that must have once descended down even deeper into heart of the temple. Now it's just a few cracked steps dropping sharply into a pit.

They reach the staircase and two decaying soldiers march towards them. They look like infantry. Anne's brow creases in restrained annoyance. Then, before she can burn her bridges, the soldiers grab her by the shoulders and with surprising strength and little ceremony, hurl her into the black pit.


When Anne made Paz XO, she made it clear that it had nothing to do with martial prowess (a fortunate decision, as she would have had to lower her expectations a great deal). It probably meant he was supposed to be using his head. When Anne disappears over the pit and Paz finds himself suddenly thrust in command, it's with great disappointment that his very first order is thus:


The dead soldiers are readying their weapons, so Paz takes care to make his second order more useful:

"Form a line! Retreat up the stairs!"

No one asks What about Anne? They're all thinking it, but questions have been drilled out of them. They have their orders. What happens next is solely Paz's responsibility.

This was it... this was such a moment Sir Hyel had discussed with him back in the days when he had applied for the Argentum Vigilo. A moment in which one has to make a choice and live with it.
Only now the child in the burning house and the unit of men in danger was replaced by... the uncertain fate of a Vanguard commander and a … unit of men, who he knew a little by now, in trouble.

He bit his lip as he heard Paz’s command... and he looked at Gerard noticing their eyes found each other. The Vanguards would follow any command without hesitation, but they were also very human and he could see the question in their eyes... which wasn’t too hard to deduce as Deph had the same question.

While holding off the first wave of pursuing undead with a few quick sword blows, Deph tried to hurry up his mind to come up with ideas. His squad was in the rear, covering the rest of the Vanguard retreating up the stairs. He also noticed that fighting these undead face to face wasn’t the real issue. They were just too slow and their attacks rather inaccurate, imprecise. The men defending the bottom of the stairs greatly outmatched them in skill... but not in numbers.

If they would wait too long, eventually the men would get tired, and one mistake was enough to join the undead ranks.
Deph glanced at the edge of the pit just before cutting off a bony hand clasping a gigantic waraxe that was aiming for his chest. Amazing how these things could exist, he thought. Dark magic.

Magic! That's the word... perhaps he could use one of his tricks, even though still a bit unrefined.
Just a look over the edge of the pit, thats all what he wanted. Just to make sure...
So close in combat it was a risk but he had to try. He only needed to focus on this whisper and its melody to create the right …’tone’.
How he now wished he had planned that dinner with sir Firin before taking off with the Vanguard.

But... it worked. A deep resonant vibration was sent off towards the undead in front of them, knocking them off their feet with a clattering sound.
This would also give Deph’s squad the opportunity to take out these frontliners and even buy them a few seconds of rest as the undead had to climb over their … fallen warriors.

He glanced at Gerard and gave him a nod just before jumping over the pile of bones and running towards the pit.

No idea what he could expect, and no idea if he would make it back.

Anne Anathema slowly becomes aware of a low sound, like thick fabrics struggling against a gale. Her hand searches for steady ground; coarse. The floor is coarse. Through blurred vision, Anne sees something bright ahead, but the light retreats from whatever surfaces this place may have. Even the floor beneath her is in shadow. She concedes that the texture is all she will get.

What Anne cannot possibly know is that the floor was never meant to be gazed upon. The higher powers, consequently, never thought to give it an appearance.


The booming voice comes from every direction at once. The blur ahead - no, several blurs - are coalescing like coloured pools of ink. A golden figure stands in the centre, a red one to its left, and a black and white one on its right. Anne would never claim that these figures were "standing" if there were a better word to describe what a colourful occult corona does when at rest. If she knew any better, she would explain that it as failing limited to mortal tongues.

Rising, she asks the nagging question: "Am I dead?"


HE WITHDRAWS? Black and White asks.

Red fluctuates into a coruscant aurora. Anne watches as it bleeds into the air and fades from sight.

"What exactly-" her question is cut off by a bright flare from Gold.

MINE IS SATISFIED FOR NOW, it says, as the light returns to normal. THE WAR WILL BE PROTRACTED. THERE IS NO TIME BEGIN ANEW. Anne gets a sinking feeling it is looking at her. HIS SKEPTICISM REMAINS DEFERRED FOR THE FUTURE. Gold shimmers and with a musical sound like cracking glass, disappears too, leaving Anne alone with Black and White.

"With respect-" Anne begins, waiting for an interruption. When none comes, she continues. "What is going on?"



YOU ARE NOT DEAD. So much for that theory. Black and White offers nothing else unprompted.

"I'm looking for something," says Anne, careful in her choice of words. "A weapon."

WE OPERATE WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT YOU HAVE ALREADY FOUND IT. Black and White shifts in reply. Is that doubt in its answer? Or is it doubting her? Anne is definitely not in the mood for philosophizing. Anne is about to be disappointed.

YOUR WEAPON FIGHTS FOR ITS LIFE, states Black and White in a voice far too steady and calm. IT TOO IS BEING EVALUATED.

Anne knits her brow. "The platoon? We arrived together. I didn't come here to look for a platoon I already had."


Ho-ly. This explanation conflicts with Anne's accepted definition of reality. After some unsuccessful consideration, she changes the subject.

"How is my weapon doing?" she asks.


Pure darkness, all the way down... that’s all Deph could see. Not a trace of Anne and only a couple more seconds to decide for his next move. He glanced over his shoulder and saw the undead would soon start advancing again upon his squad.
Gerard was waiting and Deph didn’t want them to get into trouble because of him. And if he would hesitate any longer, he would be cut off from them.
He almost missed the animated corpse stepping between him and the pit, making a cut in his quickly but just not in time withdrawn sword arm. Deph winced just before parrying another blow, but a second later the corpse found itself beheaded by Deph’s longsword.

The undead started pushing now, and almost it seemed as if they drove him away from the pit.
With a few big steps he practically leaped back towards the stairs, knocking down two undead soldiers from behind with his shield, just before jumping back in line next to Gerard. Their eyes met and Deph shook his head casting a sorry glance in the direction of the pit.
Gerard only answered with a nod and together they closed the line, hoping they actually made a chance up those stairs. They retreated slowly, … without expressing their feelings.

Anne Anathema's vision fills with a kaleidoscope of images and half-forgotten dreams. Each falls carefully into place or fades in perfect cadences with Black and White's booming voice.


"What are you saying?" asks Anne. "This war is part of your plan?"


Anne grasps at history. One figure stands out. "The gods are afraid of Canas because he might win before we're done destroying ourselves?"

It's the wrong thing to say. Anne's vision explodes into needles of searing light, and she falls to one knee with a muffled cry.


Anne breathes heavily, catching her breath. "So... what are you going to do about it?"


"But the gods will be safe," says Anne. "That's the point, isn't it?"

Black and White ripples.

"Fine. I still know what needs to be done. Get me back to my platoon."


The aura around Black and White dims and the room grows cold as every drop of power is sucked from it. Anne can't help but wonder aloud one more time before the lights go out. "I am surprised that your lord does not favour a stable society instead."


Great, thinks Anne. It doesn't really want us to kill each other, it just knows better. Thinks it knows better. As the Anne winks from existence, she finds it hard to disagree.

Three Vanguard and one Vigilo were the last men to close the line and soon they noticed the attack was becoming a bit less oppressive. Gerard and Deph fighting in the back was merely a tactical and logical decision considering the advantages of their longswords, keeping the pursuing undead at bay, although a warhammer would have seemed more appropriate to this ‘occasion’.
Right now there were still undead behind them but it almost looked as if they were giving up. Or we are pushed in the 'right' direction, was a thought that occured to Deph more than once.

The question was, was that a good or a bad thing for the sake of the platoon? Right now it felt as if that sinister temple was busy spitting them out.
Anne... it was almost as if those unholy things only had eye for her, but Deph couldn’t come up with a single argument... and considering the depth of that pit he could almost assume Anne was lost.
He tried to deny, to refuse that thought, bit his lip and tried to focus on their current objective... getting out alive with as many as possible.

The wound on his sword arm and the infinite flow of undead had taken its toll on Deph’s endurance. Soon he would have to swap positions and let someone else take his place. But he refused, even with his right sleeve now turning red.
It reminded him off one those pirate attacks on his father’s ship. Only then there hadn’t been a way out. Here they at least still had a chance.

An hour later it seemed as if the undead had finally... dried up. Paz ordered the men to take a rest and Deph was happy to take care of his cut, whilst softly talking with a few of his squad. There wasn’t much to say, everyone was tired and many probably thought of their leader.
By midnight the platoon finally made it out of the temple, and for a moment with the peaceful forest surrounding them, all things seemed like they were before, … except for the fact they were missing Anne.
Not far from the temple they made a quick camp and Paz ordered for another rest, announcing he wanted to get going in a few hours...

Deph had become quiet. It had been an exhaustive retreat. The Vanguard were tired but tents were set up soon, some of them got appointed as guards and he had volunteered. He couldn’t sleep anyways, not yet, as he felt the need to think and to reflect.

Eighteen men, one … woman down... that wasn’t too bad considering the circumstances? But almost immediately he felt bad thinking that. He also realised it was just his nature, perhaps somewhat foolish that certainly in a story in which he had played along, things would end well.

Clearly not the case, and he would have to live with that... just like Sir Hyel said.
Deph glanced around and assumed many others felt the same, so it was pointless to talk about it, at least not now.

He pulled up his collar and got up, his hand on the hilt of his sword while his eyes traveled back to the temple, a slight shiver running over his body.
Strange, those undead didn’t come out, as if it was enough the platoon left the temple. Who says undead can’t think? Well, they don’t... but they were probably controlled by something. Just had to be.

What would he tell when they got home? What would he tell to Sir Phelan? And to Selchis? He touched the amulet of Peralia under his armour. For a moment it felt as if he had been protected.

He had wandered a bit off to the side of the camp before coming back, and what he saw next defied all imagination...

Vita Antias watches the camp from within the folds of her tent. The low whistling passing through the temple is easily overpowered by rustling trees at this distance. The forest pays no mind to the temple, so Antias too has angled the open flap away from it. To her it is nothing more than a scab on the earth to be left alone.

Most of the soldiers are just silhouettes against nighttime campfires. She doesn't need to see their faces to intuit the mood. Already quiet murmurs rise from the camp, probing gently at neutral topics. What will you do when you return home? Are you expecting any letters at muster? Antias wonders what fate will visit her own farm in the spring campaign. The enemy will be in for a surprise; she is stronger now, smarter, and better prepared.

The failed gambit had to have been worth that at least. As far as Antias can tell, the platoon marched out to retrieve something, received an absolute thrashing along the way, and is now returning empty-handed. Their skirmishes against the orcs were hard-fought, but perhaps not without an element of luck.

Antias notices that the platoon is suddenly hushed. She takes count: eighteen heads. No, nineteen including herself. Too many. She begins counting again and stops cold when her eyes pass over Paz's tent. The XO himself rises, and in a voice that belies his calm, gives the order to break camp. Antias' eyes fix on the figure hunched before Paz's campfire, a heavy blanket wrapped around her. Antias recognizes someone who shouldn't exist.


On days like this, it's the mind's own mastery at self-deception that protects it from unchecked insanity. The Vanguards have seen much on this trip that they do not wish to repeat, but this is too much. Most will deny it ever happened, and they will be happier in doing so. Paz is not most. He marches at the front of the platoon, and unlike most of the Vanguards, he must walk beside their commander.

"Supplies are a bit tight," he says, handing a pocketbook to Anne Anathema. "I've noted a few villages we can divert to sorted in order of urgency."

Anne looks over the minutiae. It's comprehensive as always. "We will stop at the first," she says. "No unnecessary risks."

"Yeah." Something gnaws inside Paz, and he finds himself physically unable to to keep the question inside: "What happened?"

"Still working out the angles, XO," responds Anne.

"Alright," he nods. "Did we win?"

The longer Anne takes to think about this, the less believable the answer will be. The truth isn't all that believable either. She looks back at the thin column of black and gold following behind.

"We didn't lose, XO. Sometimes that's what counts."

"The Free Vanguard is informed by one core idea: that no man or woman need be defenseless if they can raise their own banner."

Anne Anathema delivers the debrief from within Ravenswatch. The journey back had presented minor obstacles that the platoon dealt with in an almost casual manner. Their fears were already conquered in the months past, and besides, they managed the hardest leg without Anne. Now she's back and throwing around magic like the world is ending.

"The peoples of Dasaria are hardworking," she continues. "They are disciplined. The very makings of soldiers lay within each of you, and now you have awoken it. If you think this is a gift however you are sorely mistaken."

A few Vanguards exchange knowing looks.

"It is a burden. You have been given greater stewardship over your own lives and the kingdom. You are responsible for ushering in our future. Forever will the Legions be stationed where they are needed most, and forever will our enemies think that they have found hole through which to slip. Forever will you prove them wrong. You are Vanguards, and you will show our enemy that there is no safe place for them within our kingdom."

Anne looks to Paz and motions for the pocketbook.

"I will begin calling names. If you hear yours, you are being discharged from special duty and will return home or wherever else you see fit." She raises the pocketbook. "Antias..."


Every name is called. It's no use, Anne thinks, marching a veteran platoon in circles when they could be spread out and, like seeds, share the things they have learned. No, what Anne needs to do is fill her platoon with novices, and then march them around in circles until they too don't belong anymore.

Her mission is arguably a failure, unless... No. Any rationalization she can think of fits too perfectly with Black and White's assertions. Perhaps it's not the worst thing in the world; at least someone has a plan.

"You are Vanguards, and you will show our enemy that there is no safe place for them within our kingdom."

Someone has a plan, but there's no reason she can't have her own. Sometimes there's no one to stand up for you but yourself.



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Depheant Makepeace - Tales of a young man Empty Re: Depheant Makepeace - Tales of a young man

Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 11:15 am

*** Deph's mom ***

(by Rohenna->Shayde, and Admin)

Shayde folded the note from Selchis back into her pocket after reading it for the tenth time.

She had encountered Depheant on the bank of the river at Two Bridges, waiting faithfully for Selchis to find some time from the temple to be with him. They had spoken about the letter, about his mother, her threats, and what Selchis had asked of her, and Shayde had agreed to go and seek the woman, watch her from the shadows, and learn what she could.

Pushing the letter into her pack, she lifted it easily to her shoulders; travelling lightly, she would be able to find food and lodgings for most of the way, and what she couldn’t buy she could hunt.

Closing the door of her little house, she set off toward the gates of Cear.

After the encounter with Shayde, Depheant decided to set things in motion. A certain nervosity accelerating his heartbeat, the young man took a seat at a table at the Two Bridges inn and started to (re)write a few letters.

The first one was meant to be send right away.
After finishing them, he looked the first over once more...

Dear mother,

First of all, my apologies for the late reaction. Certain things got in the way and prevented me off communicating earlier.

I am willing to discuss our situation but also would like to show you something important.
Therefore I am inviting you to travel and meet me at Two Bridges. There will be a room rented for you as well.
I realise I am asking much of you, but I promise I will make it worth the effort.

Yours sincerely,


Lies... only a few but he felt bad about it. There was even a lie in the sender’s information.
He looked at the back of the envelop in which he had slid the letter...

Depheant Makepeace
Two Bridges
Two Bridges Inn

He rubbed his hair and went back in thought about his plan. The moment his mother would arrive here, a letter would be given to her from the bartender. Meanwhile Shayde would start observing his mother.

Deph gave this second letter another look.

Dear mother,

Some business has forced me move to Tristan, I am staying there but I will come to see you within less than a day after the bartender has send word of your arrival.
Please make it yourself comfortable and order anything you need at my expense.



He slid this letter in another envelop and soon would deliver it to Jal. Another letter with some lies, and also again a lie in the sender’s address.

Depheant Makepeace
Tristan Village

Deph sighed, if his mother was up to something, she would probably wait until they had at least met once. He was almost certain the first letter would make her curious enough to see to that. And he hoped all the rest wouldn't be necessary... if he could only convince her...

A calm night at the Two Bridges inn when a woman walked in, a bag in each hand.
“I demand someone taking care for my horse and someone to carry my bags, “she said the moment she had entered.

Jal turned his head in her direction and frowned. “Perhaps I can help the lady with her bags?”

She snorted, “Nevermind, you had your chance.” She slammed the door shut with her foot, and without putting down the bags she walked over to Jal.
“Tell my son he can come down to help me.”

Jal blinked, “Your son...”

“Depheant Makepeace... I am his mother and ow, he hired a room for me. The best.”

Jal rubbed his ear, before kneeling down and taking an envelop out of a closet, just under the bar. “I had to give this to you milady.”

Now it was the woman’s turn to frown so it seemed, when she accepted the envelop. After reading it she raised a brow or two. “What is this? He’s letting his mother wait?! How d....”

Jal tried to hide a smile but quickly changed his expression as she casted a venomous glance in his direction, clearly emitting the message ‘don’t you dare’.
She muttered softly after reading the letter again.
“Right, where is this room?”

Shayde knew who the woman was before she announced herself. It wasn’t often that someone entered Two Bridges Inn in such a manner; they were rarely forgotten when they did. Smothering a smile, Shayde discreetly tugged her hood lower over her face, watching quietly from the corner of the bar. Poor Jal. He had his fair share of trouble from patrons, though she suspected this kind was more of an annoyance than the usual type, and was – hopefully – not going to result in any blood on his scrubbed wooden floors.

“What is this? He’s letting his mother wait?! How d....”

Shayde smirked again, glad to be looking at the back of the woman. And so it begins, she mused. The woman who somehow produced the gentle and thoughtful Deph moved off upstairs in a flurry of exasperated sounds and movements.

She ordered some more tea, giving Jal a sympathetic smile.

Two hours later, the woman was downstairs again, this time, dressed for dinner – she obviously didn’t frequent Two Bridges very often – and demanding a table at the back of the Inn. Shayde had slipped upstairs to change herself, but into a rough linen gown designed to disguise her shape and not attract attention. Deph’s mother was quite the opposite; deep crimson satin and brocade, pearls gleaming softly around her neck – she looked like a cut jewel set in a wooden crown. Shayde snickered quietly to herself, wondering if it were wrong to be amused when Deph’s future were at stake.

She selected a seat two tables away from Deph’s mother, ordered some pie, and pulled out a book.

Deph shook up from his sleep. He must have closed his eyes for only a little while, but as he soon realised how dark his room was he figured he slept the whole afternoon.
Two days now, for two days he had tried to stay awake, nervously waiting for word from Two Bridges.

And if someone just hadn’t knocked so loud on his door, he still might have been sleeping in his room at the Roadhouse in Tristan.
He glanced at the door briefly before he stood up and rubbed his hair, the non-verbal expression of a big yawn indicating that the few hours of sleep hadn’t been enough. His hand already going to the door handle he suddenly stopped. What if...

“Mister Depheant? Its me! I have an urgent message for you.”
The young man relaxed and his hand touched the door handle while his other turned the key.
It was the innkeeper alright, with ‘the’ letter in his hand. He accepted the letter and thanked the man before closing the door again.

Quickly he collected his stuff and left the room, the letter still unopened in his backpack. He didn’t have to open him to know what it said.
His mother had arrived in Two Bridges, and it couldn’t have been more than one or maybe two hours ago.
Just before he entered the taproom he chose the first window out. He grinned when he recalled who gave him that hint.

He left his horse behind, knowing the stable boy wouldn’t let the mount of a Vigilo member starve. Besides, he hoped to get it back soon.

A bit later a man dressed in dark clothes ran right next to the road between Tristan and Two Bridges, his eyes focussed in the direction of this last.
His destination?... Well, not that far from the Two Bridges Inn.

Deph opened the door of the Two Bridges inn and walked in. It was evening and the sun had started to descend throwing long curved shadows formed by the windows and the chairs over the floor.

He was nervous, that was for sure. After all it had been five months since he had seen his mother and he had no idea in what mood she would be. Frankly it always had been like this because of the long trips with his father's ship. Back then he saw the family house maybe two or three times a year and his mother an equal number of times.

But the bottomline was that there always had been a tention when he was there. His father never talked about it but Deph had always felt it had something to do with him. His mother was mentally ill and had become like that after given birth to him. The relationship in their marriage had gone sour while before his birth it had been nothing but true love. As soon as Deph was old enough to understand, he had picked up that story and sadly enough also had noticed the changes.

He sighed as he closed the door behind him, and looked over at Jal. They made eye contact pretty fast and he could see how Jal raised a brow, before giving a nod and turning his head to the left side, giving a sideways nod in a certain direction.
Deph glanced in the given direction and immediately recognised his mother sitting at table in the back, reading papers.
Only by the clothes Deph would have known who this woman was, dressed up like a rich lady... well, in fact she was rich and judging upon her outfit he assumed business wasn't going that bad.

Suddenly doubt struck him, what if he didn't had anything to offer at all. After all, his plan had been to keep his mother busy with other things, making it look as if he contributed to the family business without having to take lead on the family's ship. Thus far he had been depending on his mother's 'love' for business, but what if...

The young man took a deep breath, straightened his back and set course towards the table of the wealthy looking lady... his mom...

She tucked into her pie with an unusual lack of enthusiasm, always unwilling to tackle a task on a full stomach, though her attention was focused on the richly dressed lady a short distance away.

There was movement behind her. Shayde turned her head slightly at the sound of someone passing her table, and noted Depheant had arrived.

Dropping her gaze, she began toying with her pie, flicking over the pages of her book randomly, her ears straining to hear, waiting for what was to come.

Deph approached the table, and thus far his mother hadn’t noticed him. Or was she only pretending?

“You’re late, “ she suddenly said without looking up at Depheant and just before he had reached her table. She had eyes hidden under her hair...

Deph stopped and bit his lip. Her welcoming had never been warm and he hadn’t expected anything else right now, really.

“And you look beautiful as always, mother, “ he replied with a hint of warmth in his voice, but in his own ears he more sounded like a son who was out for some warm words in return. He would never give up, perhaps there would be one day when she would embrace him as her true and only child. All he wished...

“One moment... , “ she said while raising a hand,stretching her forefinger and her eyes still focused on the paperwork.

As if she is reading something of vital importance, Deph thought. As if it was her intention to reproduce the ambiance in how they always had met after not seeing each other in a long while. Just like back then, at home. Deph attempted to suppress a shiver when recalling how he one day had entered her cold office after not seeing her for two months... and how she had let him wait for an hour, just standing there in front of her desk. Only to hear she was pleased with the business figures...

But not now, if she would let him wait for more than a few minutes, he...

Suddenly she looked up at him while slowly taking off her glasses and bringing a temple tip between her reddish lips. She silently examined him for a full minute as it she was looking for something.

Or does she expect me to say something, Deph thought. With his mother he had always felt uncertain, especially when looking pensive at him like she did right now.

“So, where’s your cloak?” she said.


“Are you a knight or aren’t you one?”

She knew, even though he was wearing normal clothes. Deph took a deep, yet unhearable breath, taking in air as calm as he could. “I am a Squire, mother.” He wondered how she knew, then again she had had a day to find out. Probably Jal.
He also could guess what was coming next...

“Only a Squire? Not a knight?” She chuckled and by the sound of it, there was pleasure in it.

Deph blushed and bit his lip. He always had been a patient man...

“Squire Depheant Makepeace? That’s your dream? How long till you are a knight, ‘dear’ son? Tell me.”

She didn’t even invite him to take a seat,... just like home, he thought. Right now he wished to … how ironic,... to make peace with her.
So he just kept standing, but answered, ”Becoming a knight doesn’t happen in one day...”

“Five bloody months!”

Deph blinked at this first outburst and he knew there were a few more to come. He really needed to try to get to his proposal on the table as fast as he could.
At least they wouldn’t draw so much attention as they did now. He was convinced Shayde had heard every single word... and already he felt so ashamed.
“Mother, didn’t we agree you would give me a year?”

Now it was her time to blink, her cheeks reddening when seeing her son reacting so... defiantly. She bit her lip before hissing, ”Your father didn’t give you enough whiplashes I see.”

That was... a blow, a shock, and with it another reminder how unwanted he had been... well until five months ago when his father suddenly had died and the family business required a successor.
He almost bit off the tip of his tongue to prevent letting this feeling out and increase the magnitude of this nascent dispute.
Instead he took a seat, unasked, but he did it and looked at her, “How are you, mother?”

Another loud chuckle escaped from her lips, her eyes with played disbelief, “How am I? How AM I?”

There we go again, his mother was raising her voice once more. His only luck was that there weren’t many people around.

“You must be joking! Why did you invited me over here in the first place? Did you want me come to beg for your return? What is it you wanted to show me!?” She picks up one of the top papers and waves with it.

My letter, he thought. That... is what she had been reading while letting me wait? Then again he felt he should be glad as his mother had cut to the chase right away.

He nodded, “Alright, mother...”

After he explained, he leaned back.

The woman in front of Deph frowned. “A deal?” She chuckled, “My son is into business? Who would have thought that?”

Deph stayed silent, guessing that behind this reaction and expressions his mother’s mind was making blazingly fast calculations, considering and assessing every word he had said.

She picked up her glass and sipped, her eyes still on her son, her expression growing more serious as she set down the glass. “I still want you on the bridge of my ship.”

Deph closed his eyes, raised his left hand and pinched the bridge of his nose while pondering over his next move. “I’m going to buy a house, mother... soon.”

Deph’s mom snorted. “What?! Why in the name of all the gods do you need a house?!” She stood up and leaned over the table, her eyes narrowing. “And where did you get all that money? Seduced a rich old lady??!”

Deph always had been a patient man, but considering his past encounters with his mother and after a few more earlier dealt out blows below the belt...
He got up as well and practically imitated his mother’s pose. “You of all the people should know me better than that,... mother. And now I highly doubt if you’ll ever meet my lady.”

Without another word, the young man turned around and left the inn, leaving a bewildered lady behind.

It was already dark when the young man stepped out of the inn. Deph took a deep breath.
He just made an error in there and he realised. Even though he hadn’t raised his voice very much, he was kindy angry now.
Angry for not succeeding in what he’d hoped to achieve with his mother, an understanding of some kind. Not only for that, now she also knew his other reason for not willing to return and taking command on the bridge of the family ship.

He mumbled her name softly, “Selchis...”. She meant much to him, and only the thought of maybe having her exposed to a possible danger made him feel even more stupid for his utterance.
Well, his mother still didn’t know much of her, except the fact him having a lady... nevertheless...

Deph glanced over his shoulder at the inn’s door and counted on Shayde now to watch his... ‘back’.
As for himself, Deph had a few options where to go next. His eyes locked on the temple of Peralia for a moment just before shifting towards to Redleaf tavern.
He could go there or... he could head towards Tristan...

Was his mother capable of doing what she had written in her letter, or had it been just a moment of insanity?
He couldn’t afford it to constantly watch over his shoulder, and with his mother close now, on a known location, he was able to keep an eye on her intentions during these... ‘negotiations’.
Well, if there still would be any after today.
Right now he tried to make up his mind where to go next, and there wasn’t much time to ponder over that.

Not far from the inn, the young man crouched behind a rock up on the hill, giving himself a good overview of the place and its surroundings. He pricked up his ears and observed.
This could take a while... or not... if nothing happened that is...

Deph tried to relax and recalled the conversation with his mother earlier. It was not the first time they had a quarrel... but he hoped it would be the last one, at least... under these circumstances.

Night had fallen over Tristan, the temperature was decreasing and it was getting rather cold. And that made it harder to focus as the cold also seemed to make him less conscious. The young man yawned and really had to concentrate to keep his gaze at the roadhouse down below.

Thus far no one had entered or even left the place. His hearing was doing rather well, yet he didn’t detect the creature that had sneaked upon him from behind.

“Intruderrrrrr....” a little voice rasped.

“Heh?” Deph startled as he was taken by surprise. When he looked up he saw a small creature hovering in the air above him.

A tiny finger, or something what could pass for it, was pointing in his direction. “Ourrrrr mountain... intruderrrrrrrr.”

Deph blinked,” Eh... yes... I’ll be going... ok?”

The creature giggled but its smile was evil,” Pay you have to.... yesss.”

Deph rubbed his hair,” I don’t believe this is....”

Without a warning, the tiny creature swooped down over his head, its claws scratching over his head.

“Hey! Cut that out!”

The creature chuckled as it flew up again.

The young man got up on his feet and start to move towards the path that would lead down. It may blow his cover but he didn’t feel up for a fight with an unknown creature.

“Paaayyyy!!!” the creature screamed, and with that probably whole or Tristan was awake.

He turned around and saw the creature still hovering on the same spot. Deph shrugged and continued his path... but just when he was about to descend, five likewise creatures swooped down, and caught by surprise he took a hit in the face and was knocked of his feet, making him vulnerable for the next attack...

Suddenly a shadow appeared, blades flickered and two of the creatures fell. It happened faster than an eye could blink. The other creatures turned their attention away from the young man on the ground.

Deph saw his chance and quickly rolled over and drew his blade. At least he wouldn't be that vulnerable now and without thinking he lashed out to one of the creatures, cutting in its wing and making it drop from the sky.

There it was again, a shadow with flickering blades, taking out two more creatures before merging with the dark surroundings again.
The last creature hovering in the sky ran off when it saw how its little friends died.

Deph looked at the creature on the ground, still alive and its eyes showing fear. He rubbed his hair," Right, now..." he started but didn't got the chance when the shadow appeared again, sending a dagger towards the creature, killing it instantly.

He looked up and saw a man appear, as if he stepped out of the shadows. Deph had heard him but didn't see him first.

It was a hooded man, and his face was covered.

Deph bowed lightly," Thank you sir, my name is Depheant but...."

"Please call you Deph?" the man said.

"Oh, you know me? Can I have your name, sir...?"


Deph blinked, "Destiny?"

The man nodded," For that is what I am to you."

The young man frowned and a weird feeling started to rise in his chest. "What do you mean?"

"You betrayed your family."

Deph turned a moment pale and took a step back as he realised.

The stranger continued, unperturbed," And the penalty is ..."

It was a good thing Deph had been with the Vanguard, and learned to react fast and think ahead. Before the man ended his sentence and made his way to Deph, the young man formed a word with his lips and a deep resonant vibration was sent off towards the man, knocking him off his feet and making him trip over.

The man fell in Deph's direction and the last word he said during this life was," ... death..."
Deph's blade when straight through the assassin's heart.

The young man lifted his foot and pushed the man off his blade.

He turned around and listened, but didn't hear anything else but the normal nocturnal sounds... he was alone. Deph glanced at the dead man.
The image of his mother appeared in his mind, but he quickly shook his head.
He was definitely alone...


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Depheant Makepeace - Tales of a young man Empty Re: Depheant Makepeace - Tales of a young man

Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 11:16 am

*** Sister ***

Deph slipped in his bed, his body gently touching his lady’s warm body, an arm going over her and his hand resting on her belly.
He lay still like that for quite some time, his eyes not closing as his mind was occupied with other things.
Just after his arrival at the Knightshome and before going to his own quarters, Deph had knocked at Amy’s door. And she had answered it.

He couldn’t believe it really had happened... Amy and Sammil’s relationship was over, there wouldn’t be any marriage at all. He wondered if there was anything he could have done to prevent this from happening, or even... that he should have taken action much sooner.

“No,” he whispered to himself. Thus far, before forming any conclusions and certainly before expressing certain opinions, he had always relied on facts and information he had obtained himself.
But this was a hard one, the rumors, the stories and even a few snapshots of ... ‘situations’ constantly presented themselves in his mind, as if it was a puzzle magically asking itself to put its pieces together. And all about this one man : Sammil Card.

Deph had a hard time keeping his feelings neutral, especially when he considered Amy’s situation. Well, there was at least one thing that helped in this, no matter how hard he felt sorry for her. And that was Amy’s own reaction and behaviour.
He remembered how tears had started to form in his own eyes while she was standing with her back to him, her attention on the oven with home made cookies... right after she said it.
He remembered how he had rushed over to her, his hand only to stop an inch away from her shoulder as he suddenly had noticed she didn’t cry.

Deph rolled over on his back and stared at the ceiling. She had looked so... strong. Or... could it have been something else? After all, up to now he still had no idea how their relation had ended. Again he had to prevent his mind of forming certain prejudices. Sammil Card didn’t look very good in these.
But... he should also take into account how Amy truly felt. What if the reaction he had witnessed was a reflection of her own opinion, and not just a woman who tried to look strong?

He bit his lip, even then... he had a clear opinion about how to treat a lady and especially when that lady was his lady. Even more when that lady would be pregnant with his child. Sammil should have thought of that before.
Of course, in a relation there were always two people responsible and Amy had looked happy discovering she was pregnant.
Still, he couldn’t help it feeling sorry for her and he knew he was on her side, despite his attempts to think clear and sober.

Deph rolled back over on his side, once more gently pressing his body against Selchis’s. He whispered behind her back,” I love you, Selchis and I will never ever leave your side.”
A tear rolled over his cheek as a result of the uncertainty around his “sister’s” condition in the room next door.


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Depheant Makepeace - Tales of a young man Empty Re: Depheant Makepeace - Tales of a young man

Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 11:16 am

*** Responsible ***

Emma was already running ahead. A few minutes ago they had left the temple where she was staying.
Deph smiled as he saw the girl dashing off, challenging him to catch her. He decided to play along and ran after her, doing his best to be not too fast.

“Don’t go too far now you!”, he yelled and laughed while running behind the child near the docks.

Suddenly little Emma disappeared from sight, slipping into an alley.

"Hey, don't go in..." Deph started, but instead he saved his breath and increased his pace.
Almost was he tempted to use magic for going even faster.

Nine seconds later he cornered the first building that formed the alley. And Emma was gone.
For a moment a thought formed in his head, "I'm responsible..." but he quickly shrugged off the thought that something might have happened. The child was probably now playing hide and seek with him.
This wasn’t such a bad neighbourhood, was it?

He looked briefly over his shoulder in the direction of the now sunken ship, its masts rising high above the surface, water rippling around them. Seagulls had quickly adopted the place as their newest habitat.
The charred sails now seemed no more than old rags on a washing line but soon would be removed and new lines would be attached in order to lift the ship out of the water. Raising a wreck like that would take two pontoons from about the same size as the one that was under water.
The wisest idea would be to unload its cargo first with the help of some divers as the underwater weight of a ship like that required considerable lifting power to overcome.
Yep, it would take some time before daily activities could be resumed. And someone was responsible and would have to answer for the trading losses of the local merchants, not to mention all those ships waiting to moor at Cear.

Deph rubbed his hair while recalling parts of what happened some days ago.
Shayde upset looking for Darion... he, Calimus, Zo'art and Xunva helping to find him. Then the fight near the docks that was starting to involve more people. And when that elven lady jumped between Darion and this mister Thayne, he had intervened, in the hope to prevent even more people getting hurt.
Meanwhile a ship was on fire and sinking, thirty-five people had to be saved where Darion proved to be the hero of the moment, just after admitting he had physically assaulted a citizen on broad day light.
Deph had met this man only once in his life here, but also heard tales. Once more, for a moment he wondered what would make an honorable looking man like Darion do something like that.
In his eyes he had practically been a knight...

Nevertheless, like a noble gentleman he had accepted the truce and agreed to face any sentence for his actions as long as the duel, on which he insisted, between him and mister Thayne would take place. Personally Deph didn't approve anything at all of this. For him a duel only existed when there was no other way out and when one could save other lives with it, perhaps even taking a certain responsibility with it.
There might be other good reasons for it too, only right now it just looked like unnecessary bloodshed.
At least the... 'agreement' had put an end to any further fighting on the streets and no one else got involved. Things really could have gone worse. None died that day...

“Emma?! Emma, where are you?” Deph moved into the alley.

For some reason he had to think of Sonja, and what she had told him about life, which was also her life down here at the docks. Criminal activities were higher here than in the city. Deph had talked about it, right on the street with a few men of the fleet. They said if he had complaints, he should seek out one of the officers, perhaps even Captain Beatrix herself.

Sonja... she was in his mind. She was his first friend ever since he got here, and even though they hadn’t spend so much time together, it felt as if there was a connection.
Ever since his return to Cear a few weeks ago, they had bumped once into each other, just on a moment when he was looking for her.
She told him a few things and even though she hadn’t shown much fear about her situation, Deph had offered his help but also given her his new address in Cear should she require any assistance later on.
He still had to tell Selchis about that, but up to now she hasn’t been home yet.

Deph smiled softly. Coincidence or not, just today when he picked up Emma, the little girl had asked after Selchis and Sonja.
Speaking of which! He was going to show his new place to Emma, but where was the little brat!

“BOO !!”

Deph almost fell on his back.

A little girl jumped on him as she had been standing, no, hiding in an upper recessed window frame.

“Da....!!!” He shut his mouth. Almost he had cursed.

The little girl hadn’t noticed, her little arms around his neck,” Gotcha!!” She giggled.

Deph smiled softly and wondered for a moment how it would feel to be responsible for a ‘kiddo’ like this, as in... every day.

While carrying the giggling child in his arms, Deph wondered. How bad could it be? He grinned, it couldn’t be comparable with a work-out with some Vanguards.

One day ago, at the hills of the Sacred Grove, Vanguard Anne had debriefed him and perhaps without realising she had given Deph a lot of thought about himself. She may have seemed ‘hard’, she was at least straight and honest, and Deph liked that.
Perhaps they would see each other again in some nearby future, and maybe over an relaxing dinner they could talk. After all, up to now he hadn’t asked about the objective of their mission.
Well, for once he had left his curiosity behind and assumed it was something he could always ask later. For him it was now more important to maintain this new contact.
But first he needed some thinking.
Was his past really in the way of fully developing himself or could he overcome this ‘thing’ with his late father?
He had come to Cear to hunt his dream... and up to now, he had taken offered chances.

“Are you happy?” Sonja had asked him.
“Everything seems so perfect.” he had answered.

He returned the smile given by little Emma pinching his cheek and who said,” Eyyy dreamie, are there other kids living in your street to play with?”

Deph blinked,” Eh, ow. I don’t know. Selchis and me just moved there only a few weeks ago. Lets just find out, shall we?”
He placed the Emma down on her feet.

But she didn’t run, instead she looked up at him, right in his eyes while tilting her little head,” You changed, Deph.”

It... broke his heart cause the way she said it, it felt as if she was sad. But he also knew it was true, and especially children could feel such things. So many things changed since that first day he got here, since that moment this little girl practically had fallen in his arms after the dragon attack.
More than five months...

Quickly he kneeled and placed both of his hands on Emma’s shoulders. “Maybe you are right, kiddo. But I also never forget. I’m at your side and that is something that will never change.”

Emma smiled, briefly squeezed his hand before running ahead. “Catch me if you can!”

This time Deph stayed closer.

The conversation with Anne had also stirred another and well repressed memory.
He had only been fifteen...


His best friend ever grinned at him before looking up at the top rigging and sail,” Who gets there first!”

Zachary, almost a head taller but who was about the same age as Depheant, didn’t look over his shoulder to see if he was followed.
The dark haired boy grabbed the stay that gave acces to the main-mast, and began his journey towards the topgallant mast, the place the boys used as look-out for land or other vessels. Or just to chat undisturbed.
Besides them there was no one else who dared or even could pull off this kind of climbing.

Depheant grinned as he ran to the other side and jumped to grab the stay on starboard side, his hands quickly placing one for another and making his way towards the cordage that would bring him to the first yard.
It was still uncertain who of them would win this time as they both were pretty agile and skilled.
He pulled himself up with ease as he didn’t weigh so much and his muscles were already fairly developed for his age.

He glanced at his friend on the other side who’d also reached the first yard and was looking at him with a grin. One point for Zachary.
They knew each other for three years now and had been good friends from the first day they had met. Zachary was appointed by his father as caretaker of the top sails. Whenever repairs needed to be done, his friend was the one who climbed up and made sure the ship could continue its journey. Topsails are the first sails to be set and the last to be taken in. Also, their presence and position well above the sea ensured that the ship received a steady breeze even if the seas were rough.

Today there was no reason however to go up there, this was just for sports.
Depheant could feel the adrenaline pumping through his veins as they continued their vertiginous climb, like cats crawling up against an invisibe wall. Soon they reached the second yard and Depheant just had been a little faster. So it was a tie, he still had a chance.

“You ready?!” his friend yelled. “Or do you first need to take care of those pretty hands of yours?”

It was an old mutual joke, something among friends. Depheant was the Captain’s son and Zachary loved to make a bit fun out of that. But he knew better, Zach respected him, just like he did.
The boys could both feel the wind shear... and the higher they got the more the wind got grip on their bodies. The most dangerous part was about to come. They looked at each other with fluttering hairs until suddenly Zachary winked and started the final climb, only a second later to be followed by Depheant on the other side.

“Hey, thats not fair!”

He could hear his friend chuckle.

Good thing was that the weather had been good for several days. The ropes and the rest of the rigging was dry, while the sun provided them with a comfortable warmth, shining on their bare upper bodies. Zachary was almost as tanned as Depheant and from the first day they had met, Zach had made a contest out of everything.
He grinned, as he remembered how he had always accepted the challenges and how he returned the favor once in a while. It also had raised their skills...

Half way their climb, Zachary suddenly stopped. Depheant noticed it and yelled over,” Whats up, getting tired?!” He smirked.

Zachary glanced over his shoulder at him and then pointed at something at sea.

Depheant turned his head, a flapping sail partially obstructing his line of sight with whatever Zachary was pointing at. He decided to climb higher and as soon as he reached the top yard and his hands gripped around the jackstay he turned his head to perceive what the sharp eyes of his friend already had seen. Black sails, and not from one, but two ships.
And by the looks of it there would be no way out.

Pinnaces, designed and build for fast sailing, further customized by pirates for quickly crippling and entering their prey.

“Enemy at port side, two ships!!” Zachary yelled.

A few seconds later Depheant could hear his father yell up at them,” Zach, Depheant! Get your asses down here, on the double!”


Deph hurried behind the little girl. How could have he known that that would be the last day he and Zachary would be talking to each other?


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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 11:19 am

*** My best friend ***

The young man looked down at the wooden jetty below his feet, mild waves sloshing against its piles just before reaching shore. His gaze shifting as he lifted up his head, looking at nothing in particular but the endless blue surface, the morning sun warming the skin on the left side of his face... but he didn’t notice anything at all.
It were the few flat stones he carried in his left hand which made him suddenly aware he had been standing here for a while, doing nothing. A minute later the first stone found itself bouncing over the water, hitting the surface like four times just before disappearing from sight and starting its journey to an eternal life at the bottom of the sea.

The resemblence couldn't have been more striking...


Depheant Makepeace and Zachary Ams stood side by side, just like they always had done. Fifteen years old, what could possibly go wrong, their lives only just had started and they felt energetic and invincible, after all they had each other.

Zachary was an orphan when he came aboard and almost immediately the boys had adopted each other as brothers. Before Zachary became responsible for the sails at the top of the ship, he and Depheant always worked together, sometimes dirty jobs, sometimes exciting stuff like climbing the masts or fighting imaginary pirats.
Well, and a few times that had happened for real, just like today. Meanwhile they had mastered themselves in the use of short blades and had learned how to fight together. Zachary was more offensive and took more risks in a sword fight while Depheant was rather more defensive and tactical, sometimes giving an opponent the idea he had just overwhelmed his young opponent... which was a mistake of course, certainly with a guy like Zachary at his side. They surely matched.
Zachary was also the big brother he never had, the one who tried to comfort him if his father had been angry again, the one who was there when he was in trouble just to get into trouble himself all along...

He grinned at Zach, and poked him. “Two blades...”

Zach turned his head and offered him a weak smile,”... one weapon.”

The boys lifted their short swords, bringing the shiny tips before their mouths, kissing the cold metal.

The captain, who stood not far from them, glanced and shook his head. “Lets see if you are prepared to kiss their blades too.” He pointed at the first wave of pirates preparing themselves to enter the ship.
Depheant’s father lifted his arm just before dropping it,” Archers, now!!”

And so it began...

A pirate ship left and right from them, almost squeezing the merchant ship between their dark hulls, no escape possible as arrows rained down on their ship from both sides, the only option was to fight back and pray for a beneficial outcome.
The pirates hadn’t offered anything and proved to be deaf for the words of the Mary Gold’s captain.
Good thing was his ship’s archers had been trained for this, quickly taking out some of the pirate’s archers with a few well-aimed shots and making them duck behind railings and drums.
The worst was yet to come though...

Zachary and Depheant stood in the middle of the ship, near the captain, a position where they would be able to reach every spot on the ship very fast and to assist where ever needed.
With loud cries the pirates entered the ship, swinging themselves over using long ropes attached to the yards of the masts. Those scimitars they were holding sure looked impressive and a few had a knife between their teeth... which were not exactly the type one uses for dinner.

The first wave directly hit the center of the ship, as the pirates were either after the captain’s head or attempting to split the Mary Gold’s resistance in two.
Sure this would prove to be the most difficult place for them to get foot on the ship as they would have to worry for attacks from the left and the right... but if they managed, well, that would be a very strategic move.

Zach and Depheant almost immediately had to defend themselves, but the pirates weren’t a match for this young team. Depheant’s posture lured the opponents greedy to take out this young man, while Zach’s blade lashed out, underlining their mistake. Meanwhile Depheant watched his back, warding off any blade aimed at this friend. Immortal... invincible...

Fire broke out, smoke was spreading, the sky … filled with sounds of metal clashing and gurgling sounds of the dying. The archers on both sides had seized fire and drawn long knives to join the fight. Flickering blades aimed for chests and throats lashed out while others were held up to parry them. Live or die...
The fighting around them drove the two young men slowly towards the front of the ship, to great annoyance of the captain who was calling them back, shouting at them to take a stand at his side.

Then suddenly it happened. His friend had stepped with one foot in the loop of a rope connected with one of the side anchors, just on the moment when that rope snapped as a result of a fire.
Zachary looked at his leg, too late... with a smack he landed on the deck as the loop tightened around his ankle, the weight of the anchor dragging him along over the deck.
Depheant noticed immediately, and without attention for any further incoming attacks he dashed and threw himself in the direction of his friend , reaching for and grabbing his hand, locking his fingers around Zach’s wrist.

But the sliding over the ship’s deck didn’t end there, at least not until Zach was drawn overboard, and Depheant had wildy grabbed the railing with his free hand, pushing himself away from the edge and trying to pull up his friend.
He shouted to his friend to hang tight while calling for help. The anchor was just too heavy, every muscle in his body was tensed and he knew he couldn’t pull this off alone. Meanwhile he heard his father yelling for his presence.
Depheant looked at his friend and saw something weird in his eyes, … acquiescence? Zach shook his head, he was in pain as his body and leg was stretched by the weight of anchor.

“Let me go my friend. I’ll free myself under water.”

“No!! Help, help me someone!!” Depheant yelled.

He could only hear his father reply, “Depheant, come here, ON THE DOUBLE!!”

Depheant looked back at his friend, dangling next to the ship’s side with an anchor pulling on his leg. “No... I won’t let you go!”

His friend sounded calm and confident in his reply,” Two blades...”

Tears pooled up in Depheant’s eyes before he said,”... one weapon.”

“Have faith, my brother... now let me go.”


“Let me go damn you!!” Zach started to swing, pushing himself away from the ship’s side.

Feeling his fingers slip away around his friend's wrist, Depheant had in the end but not choice then to let go... looking in his friend’s eyes as he fell down in the water and immediately disappeared from sight.

And somehow, he already had known he had lost his best friend, and he assumed Zach knew it too.

Depheant Makepeace - Tales of a young man 1-1


Another stone hit the water, and another even further away from the shore,... and ... another... until his anger had cooled down.

He loved her... she was his best friend and today he had offended her, almost causing their ways to be parted forever. At the end of their conversation things had seemed fine... but wasn’t he also asked by Zach to have faith during his last lines?

He would look her up again, soon enough,... only not today. He needed to have faith their friendship was still there... after all, even after Zach’s dead, the friendship he had felt for this guy never ended either.

The same would apply for her...
… Sonja is his best friend, and if it was up to him, it was something that never would change … AND … he would love to have her there, on that special moment...

Deph looked over his shoulder in the direction of the city before turning around and walking homewards... with the sun on his back a soft smile started to appear on his face.


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