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Author Topic: CAIRLANN - Coming Soon  (Read 8391 times)

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Offline Operative13

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Re: CAIRLANN - Coming Soon
« Reply #60 on: July 12, 2021, 02:05:17 AM »
A Tales of Cadamaria Story - Battle of Garagil Pass (Part 4)
Like a pack of wolves with snarled teeth and rabid growls, glimmering swords and arrow tips eyed one another as Captain Halan and his men stood their ground around their fallen fellow. The wolf pelt man and his company slowly approached the surrounded knights, gazes trained against the other, his blade still held towards the Lord Captain.

“You should have killed us when you had the chance, Hersir,” said Halan.

“And you should surrender when I offer it, Cairlannder,” the man replied. “I know those colors you wear on your armor. Either you’re a brave knight to come all the way here with such poor protection, or a stupid one, and with how you turned down my offer, you must be the stupid kind.”

Halan scoffed. “Would you expect less of a Knights Chaplain? For a man of your experience, I would’ve thought you’d know better than to try.”

“Not as foolish as you are. Do you know how often I get to capture a Captain of Cairlann?”

Halan did not answer, to which the man chuckled.

“It is a trick question: I never had a thing for prisoners. You should be honored! You’ll be an excellent prize to bring to our great King Olvek, and I’m willing to spare your men’s lives if you come with us willingly.”

“I’m flattered that you honor this stupid knight with an offer of surrender, but out of honor and great respect to you, I’m afraid I must decline.”

“Crawl back to your Goat’s Ass, you pig-stinking dog!” Hrodgar spat.

The hersir’s proud grin scowled into fury. “You know what? I think bringing your heads on a spike would be a finer prize instead. Kill them!”

The archers drew their bows, to which Captain Halan immediately hollered to his knights.

“Shields!”

At a moment’s notice, Bowdyn and Hrodgar interlocked their shields with Halan’s, putting themselves between the barbed hail and their wounded Cenric. Arrow tips clicked and clattered against the knights’ hardy shields, and with the Lord Captain’s resounding cry to push forward, marched against the enemy’s thunderous shafts. The archers slowly withdrew, keeping their distance from the glistening spark of the knights’ gray mail, but the slippery slope of the outcrop stole their balance and distracted their attention. Only a few men within the hersir’s party carried shields to halt the Cairlannder advance, and when they came within blade’s reach, the knights broke from their clasped formation and charged.

Edges forward, the knights bashed through the enemy’s hastily-assembled line, shattering jaws and breaking ribs as they plunged their swords through their poorly-armored foes, donning little more than hats and helms. The hersir’s men did all they could to strike back, slashing and stabbing at the knights’ joints and near the head and neck, but the heavy chainmail they wore stopped much of the fatal blows. Like striking at a boulder, the enemy could do little but slow the knights down as they drew closer to the hersir himself. The archers could not fire for risk of hitting their own as Halan and the others fought behind their foes.

The hersir gritted his teeth, his eyes mad with rage. “Surround them! Cut them down! Don’t let them escape!” He then took up his horn and roared a great cry across the fields, the echo carrying itself to the horizon as it weaved through the twisting rocks. More were sure to come now.

Halan parried a blow from the side and quickly swung down into the man’s neck before hearing another scream coming from both his sides. He shuffled to the right, keeping his shield up as he lined the two men one-by-one, preventing them from striking at once. A thrust from the man in front, knocked aside by Halan’s shield. As the man tumbled forward, Halan quickly stepped past and struck the other man across the neck before he could raise his shield. The tumbling man uprighted himself and wildly swung back, dazed by Halan’s forceful push, but his sword only met the knight’s blade, who parried the strike with ease before plunging the sword through the man’s abdomen. As his opponent fell, Halan looked ahead to see the hersir before him.

The hersir only smirked with a devilish gaze. Halan nodded, understanding he would be the one to face this man. Halan looked to his sides: Hrodgar had several arrows stuck across his chainmail, cutting down the archers refusing to flee while Sir Bowdyn suffered blows in front and behind from the remaining swordsmen circled around him, fighting as badly wounded as he was. Time was not on their side, and Halan would have to finish this fight before reinforcements arrived.
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

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Offline Operative13

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Re: CAIRLANN - Coming Soon
« Reply #61 on: July 19, 2021, 02:58:58 AM »
A Tales of Cadamaria Story - Battle of Garagil Pass (Part 5)
Halan and the hersir readied their shields. In a split instant, they struck towards each other, wood breaking as their shields rammed together and turned sideways. Through the gaps, their swords swung, each one aiming for the exposed gaps in their armor between the neck and armpits. Yet both failed to reach their mark, striking instead squarely at their collarbones. The men spun off from one another as they disengaged. Halan lifted his sword and shield in a ready stance, but he could feel the twisted pain gnawing at his chest. The chainmail had blunted the hersir’s swing, but the bruise stung worse than any cut. He gritted his teeth, bearing the pain, but the hersir merely grinned back. It was as if the man revelled in the pain, welcoming death at his door.

It was apparent from the first strike that they were evenly-matched. Both had successfully avoided a fatal blow, yet still came out wounded regardless. Halan doubted whether he would win a battle of attrition with this man, who seemingly laughed with glee as he brushed off the dent in his chainmail. Even then, Halan had exhausted much of his strength fighting the hersir’s men earlier. He had to end the fight quickly, or he would surely lose. Halan waited for a response from the hersir, preparing to parry whatever came his way, but it only took a brief pause to realize the man was stalling for time. The hersir only gave a twisted grin beaming side to side, unmoved even as his band fell to the other knights. The horn had been sounded, and it was only a matter of time before the knights would be caught in the onslaught of Olvek’s troops descending upon the hills. Victory would come naturally to the hersir, and he had no intention of blundering his advantage. Halan would have to make the first move.

They skirted around one another, looking for an opening around the sides. Halan sidestepped and swung at the hersir’s sword arm, but it only took the man a step back to evade it. Halan waited, then made a low slash at the hersir’s torso, only to be parried and narrowly avoiding a cut himself by stepping back and blocking the hit with his shield. Time was running out, but Halan had to wait for an opening. He couldn’t risk committing any extended trades with the hersir, for a single misstep could end him there. He kept his distance, watching the hersir’s attention, testing his response with every thrust and strike to the man’s sides.

“Come on! You want to fight? Then fight!” taunted the hersir. “Stop pawing me like a limp kit!”

It was then Halan knew the man was getting restless. Their small nips at one another began to take its toll on the hersir, who could not find an opening to exploit in the Cairlannder’s defenses. Perhaps if he allowed the man to answer, Halan could turn the fight to his side. But it had to be done flawlessly. The hersir could easily turn the fight around if Halan so much as blundered his trades. He raised his sword, ready to strike once more.

Halan struck towards the hersir’s shield arm, but was blocked and answered with the man’s own thrust. Halan turned his shield and knocked back the incoming strike as he stepped back and withdrew his sword from the other’s shield. Another stalemate, but Halan would not stop there. A low swing to the hersir’s thighs, to which the man jumped back in time to evade it and replied with a thrust of his own. Halan crouched and blocked the incoming strike with his shield, propping back up to make a thrust himself. But the distance was too great, failing to make contact before the two withdrew once more.

“Is that the best you got?” the hersir hollered. “I can do this all day!”

“Don’t you ever shut up?” said Halan.

The hersir boasted a haughty laugh. “What’s the matter, Faetor Gyre? Run out of breath?”

“Big talk for someone dressed in his own filth.”

The hersir grew wide-eyed, and in a fit of rage, thrusted his shield edge toward Halan’s helm. In that split moment, Halan slammed the flat end of his shield forward and threw himself forward, straight into hersir’s chest. The hersir, taken aback by the knight’s daring tackle, turned his blade to jab into the back of Halan’s exposed neck, but soon found himself flipped over and tumbling down the ridge. Halan had abandoned his sword and shield to take the man’s legs, sending them both flying down into the stony pillars below. Halan and the hersir smashed into one of the pillars, knocking the wind from the two as Sir Bowdyn and Hrodgar watched in horror.

The hersir, still clinging onto his blade, raised his sword to jab again, but Halan took hold of his wrists and slammed his helmet into the other. With all his might, Halan held the hersir’s wrists down as he continued knocking the man’s head down back into the stone pillar. Stubborn as the hersir was, he refused to relinquish his blade. Halan then took the hersir’s right arm and tossed him over, even as the hersir himself grabbed ahold of Halan’s cape and entangled Halan’s head into a coiled ball as he flew over his shoulder. The force from Halan’s back throw was enough to dislodge the blade from the hersir’s grip, but now the knight was blinded.

The hersir picked himself up and hurled several punches at Halan’s head, striking him at the sides as he struggled to break free from his overturned cape. He could hear the others calling out to him in the distance as blow after blow buckled through his helmet, the strength of each hit knocking Halan to each side. He felt something hot and wet, but it wasn’t the odorous sweat dripping down his face. It was thick, and the scent sharp. Blood? But he was not bleeding. No, it was the hersir’s. His punches bore so much striking against metal, his knuckles were bleeding.

Another punch and Halan crashed into the ground, still wrapped in his own cape. Halan reached around for the clasp, unable to see through the white shroud surrounding him. Hearing the heavy boots fast approaching him, and the slight schwing of a blade, Halan hurried. As the hersir’s breath drew near, he felt the straight pin of his clasp and unbuckled the cape from his armor. Free from his snare, Halan stood up just as the hersir charged at him with a knife in hand. With only the cloth of his cape at hand, Halan did the only thing he could do next.

He tossed the cape straight over the hersir’s head, trapping him in the same manner Halan had found himself just moments before. The hersir jabbed forward, viciously striking at Halan, but failing to land any hits. Halan tugged the cape around the hersir’s neck and pulled him down to the ground. With a heavy grunt, the hersir planted face-first into the rocky soil as Halan jumped atop his back and began strangling his neck. The hersir flopped, twisted, and turned, rattling his knife as he jabbed against the thighs of Halan’s chainmail. Halan tightened his hold, squeezing as much as he could, but the hersir’s immense strength eventually threw Halan off and allowed him to turn to the sky. The hersir raised his knife, but before he could act further, two blades stuck forth against the skin of the man’s neck.

“Drop the knife,” said Sir Bowdyn, his face bloodied over a long cut upon his cheek.

The hersir snarled at the knights, edging his neck into their blades.

“Drop the knife, or we’ll put your head on a spike ourselves,” Hrodgar snarled back.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2021, 06:08:37 AM by Operative13 »
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

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Offline Operative13

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Re: CAIRLANN - Coming Soon
« Reply #62 on: July 26, 2021, 02:14:09 AM »
A Tales of Cadamaria Story - Battle of Garagil Pass (Part 6)
The hersir growled, tightly clenching the knife with his bloodied fists. The knights kept their guard, weary of the hersir’s ravenous rage, their wrists stiff as they pressed their swords against him. However, after a few brief moments the hersir soon gave in, slowly placing his weapon down next to his side. The hersir cursed at the knights in a foreign tongue, at which point Hrodgar kicked the knife away.

“You alright, my Lord?” Sir Bodwyn asked of Halan.

Halan spat, his cheeks welted from the pummeling earlier as he pulled off his beaten helmet.

“I’m not seeing angels, so that’s a start,” Halan said, blinking his eyes as he gazed up into the bright gray skies.

Halan then turned to his men, their armor muddled in drying blood and damaged in various places. Several arrows pierced through Hrodgar’s chainmail, yet the seasoned knight strutted around seemingly without a care. Sir Bodwyn, however, limped on his left leg and struggled to keep his blade up, his arm barely able to contain his shaking; his chainmail had almost completely broken apart during the fighting. The two had suffered serious injuries fighting through the hersir’s horde, and although Halan felt guilt for putting them through this struggle, it was their third companion Cenric that worried Halan the most.

“Cenric!” Halan called out.

“Right here, Captain!” the young knight called out from behind a rock. He must have crawled his way to safety when the fight broke out.

“Can you stand?” Halan asked.

“I don’t think so,” he replied. “The bastards got me good in the leg… all I see is white.”

“We’ll carry you out soon. Sir Bowdyn, if you can fetch Cenric.”

Sir Bowdyn nodded and sheathed his blade before withdrawing to tend to Cenric’s wounded leg. Halan then turned to face the hersir kneeling on the ground with his hands in the air, the swords of the two knights pinned to his neck. He slowly approached, until his figure towered over the man, whose eyes gleamed with sharp defiance.

“You put up a good fight, Hersir,” said Halan.

“I’d have finished you off sooner and you know it,” the hersir snapped. “Your men came between a fight of two equals. It would’ve been fitting for us to die between our blades. They know nothing of a warrior’s honor.”

Halan chuckled. “Fighting twenty to three is considered honorable? I thought we were at war, not a duel!”

“Til Velhas mef thig, Velgyte,” cursed the hersir.

“What shall we do with him, Lord Captain?” asked Hrodgar.

“Tie him up. We’ll bring him back to camp.”

“And do what, exactly? He doesn’t seem like the cooperative type.”

“I’m not talking to the likes of you,” said the hersir.

Hrodgar threw a left swing at the hersir’s face, knocking the man down to the ground.

Halan forced his hand between Hrodgar and the hersir. “Easy, Hrodgar. He’s a prisoner of war.”

“My ass he is! You said it yourself, Captain. The war is over. He’s nothing more than a murderous scoundrel right now.”

“He could have killed us all when he had the chance.”

“And he still tried.”

“Still, he should be afforded a chance for his life, just as he did us. Tie him up.”

Hrodgar grumbled, wary of the hersir that sat and watched the two men. He pulled pieces of fabric from one of the dead men before taking the hersir’s wrists and tying them together.

“I don’t see what’s the point of dragging him along,” Hrodgar spoke out. “We’re beat to Hell as is. We got who knows how many more of those mangy devils chasing after us, and we’re nowhere close to knowing what kind of army we’re fighting against. And you still want to drag a prisoner around bent on killing the whole lot of us?”

“Your man’s right, Cairlannder. You’ll all be dead once my brothers come for you,” said the hersir. “Nothing but fat carrasses for the crows!”

“He knows about the camps more than we’ll ever get looking from the outside,” answered Halan. “He’ll talk one way or another.”

The hersir bellowed a great laugh. “I thought you deaf the first time, but I was mistaken. You’re as delusional as the rest of your mindless trolls. Go ahead! Torture me all you like! I’d rather die with my hands crushing your neck than surrender the Jarl’s plans!”

“Come now, Hersir. Who do you take me as? A barbarian?” replied Halan. “We’re simply going to have a little talk with one another.”

As Hrodgar lifted the large warrior off the ground, several horns roared across the stone-woven fields in a maniacal chorus, each one answering the other. Sir Bowdyn scurried down the ridge with Cenric hooked around his shoulders back to Captain Halan in a panic.

“We must go, my Lord! The warbands approach!” Bowdyn hollered.

Halan nodded to Bowdyn before turning his attention back to the hersir. “Watch over our good guest, Hrodgar,” he told the knight. “If he fails to move, give him a swing or two.”

“Like I’ll ever…!”

Before the hersir could finish his sentence, Hrodgar sacked the man with a solid punch, knocking him back down on the ground before the knight forcefully pulled him back up.

“Aye, I can work with that,” Hrodgar nodded back. “Now get moving, you sorry pig.” He shoved the hersir forward down the path.

Bowdyn and Cenric exchanged worried glances and looked to their battered-faced captain.

“He’ll slow us down, my Lord,” the aged Bowdyn quipped.

“Yes, he will,” Halan agreed. “But I trust Hrodgar will keep that man in line. Let’s hurry. The others will leave if we’re not back soon.”

“I don’t think he’s the one you need to worry about, Captain,” uttered Cenric. “I can barely carry myself.”

Cenric eyed his bandaged wound around his leg. The arrow had pierced through his tendons, and the knight could hardly stand without exacerbating his injury. Halan stared at the wound for a brief moment before shouting out.

“Hrodgar! Come here for a moment.”

Hrodgar, already a few paces ahead of the knights, turned back and brought up the hersir alongside him upon the captain’s call.

“Help Sir Bowdyn carry Cenric. I’ll take charge of the hersir,” Halan said as he drew his sword.

“You shouldn’t, Captain,” Cenric pleaded. “I’ll only slow you all down. Just leave me here and...”

“Get his other arm,” said Sir Bowdyn.

“...no, wait!”

Before Cenric could raise his objections, Hrodgar pulled Cenric’s arm over his shoulders, to which the young knight cried out in pain.

“Just shut up, already,” Hrodgar scoffed. “You sound like my nephew.”

Once more, the horns bellowed, ever closer. The distinct cries of foreign tongue alerted the knights.

“Your young knight understands the situation, Cairlannder.” The hersir beamed at Halan. “Soon, you’ll be the ones begging for mercy.”

“I can offer you a rag if you’d like, but I’d prefer we talk like civilized men,” Captain Halan threatened, before facing the others. “Hurry. We’ve no time to waste.”
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

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Offline Operative13

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Re: CAIRLANN - Coming Soon
« Reply #63 on: August 02, 2021, 02:58:38 AM »
A Tales of Cadamaria Story - Battle of Garagil Pass (Part 7)
Back through the weaving stone labyrinth, the knights and their prisoner traversed as the warbands closed in from all sides. They could hear the clatter of thick boots upon the rocky soil and the buckling of shields against the warriors’ backs, even as the pillars’ echoes made it impossible to tell where they approached. Quickly, the knights hastened their pace even as the hersir stiffened his with every step, yet Halan kept the man in line with a firm tug and a solid push. The great horns howled their tones, growing ever louder, ever closer. The warbands were on their trail.

Cenric clenched his teeth, squealing and squirming from each step as Bowdyn and Hrodgar carried his shoulders.

“We’re not going to make it...” Cenric uttered, a pained look in his eyes.

“Bear with us, lad. We’ll make it out of here,” assured Sir Bowdyn.
“No, we won’t… I can hear them all around us.”

“For God’s sake, Cenric, we’re saving your ass,” shot Hrodgar. ”I’ll not hear anymore of your useless drivel.”

Halan hollered back to the others. “Keep it together! We mustn’t lose pace!” He then shoved the hersir forward up the next incline.

“You think you can outrun us, don’t you, Cairlannder?” said the hersir, trotting steadily about the path.

“I thought it was obvious,” Halan mocked.

“Don’t fool yourself. You’ve got no more strength left in you. You wear all this armor, yet injured as you are, you still think you’ll stand a chance against our best hunters. Admit it: you’re all dead men.”

“Then I suppose you’ll be dead with us if it comes down to that.”

“Not if. When.”

“Keep moving,” Halan ordered.

Just as the men crested the hilltop, the knights came face-to-face with a column of swordsmen traveling up the path. Halan’s eyes grew wide as his gaze met the enemies’, and before the young hersir could react, Halan raised his shield and bashed himself into the column. Each man fell onto the other, and all but the Lord Captain himself came tumbling down.

“Move!” Halan cried out.

He took hold of his bearded prisoner’s collar and tugged him down the pathway as Bowdyn and Hrodgar rushed down with Cenric past the fallen swordsmen. Some of the swordsmen picked themselves up from the ground and began to draw their blades, but Halan hastily dispatched them before they had a chance to answer, slicing them cleanly across their shoulder blades. Hrodgar dropped Cenric’s arm to answer against more of the fallen swordsmen, with Sir Bowdyn and Cenric quickly trailing Halan close by. A few short moments later, and the young hersir sounded his horn. Hrodgar parried a blow from a stumbling swordsman, following up with a cut down the man’s thighs before finishing him off with a slash across the throat, but before he could return to the other knights, the man suddenly found himself tasting blood.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2021, 03:00:45 AM by Operative13 »
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

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Offline Operative13

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Re: CAIRLANN - Coming Soon
« Reply #64 on: August 09, 2021, 02:58:51 AM »
A Tales of Cadamaria Story - Battle of Garagil Pass (Part 8)
Sir Bowdyn and Cenric watched in horror at their fellow knight, gasping blood at the arrow that had plunged through his throat. A pool of blood poured from the puncture wound, and from his lips drooled a shallow river of red that etched down the sides of his chin. Hrodgar dropped his shield and sword, reaching for the arrow’s shaft lodged before him as if to pull it out. Yet before the grizzled knight could process what had happened, a swathe more struck the man through his rugged chainmail, breaking through the battered rings and sending the skewered body crashing face-first into the ground.

Disbelief shackled the knights in place, petrified at the sight of their fallen brethren, until the commanding voice of their captain broke their hold.

“Go!” Halan cried out.

Just above the hill's peak, the hooded silhouettes of bowmen appeared and began raining down fire upon the knights. Sir Bowdyn raised his shield just as the arrows came, lodging themselves into the shield’s wooden frame. In the brief moment the arrows stopped, Bowdyn whisked around to flee with Captain Halan’s lead, but Cenric refused to budge.

“Leave me!” Cenric cried out.

“Don’t be a fool, Cenric! There’s nothing we can do!” Bowdyn answered.

 “I’m not running!”

Cenric fought Sir Bowdyn’s grip, swearing vengeance to those that had struck down his companion. As the arrows came, Bowdyn raised his shield to brace, but as he did, Cenric broke free of Bowdyn’s grasp and fell against the ground.

“What in God’s name are you doing!?” Bowdyn yelled as he knelt down and lifted Cenric up by the collar. “You can’t stand with that leg!”

“No! We mustn’t leave Hrodgar!”

“Sir Bowdyn!” Halan called out, striking down another foe. He then pushed forth the hersir, but the hersir fell onto the body beside him. Halan pulled the hersir up and continued onward.

“Come now, Cenric!” Bowdyn ushered the young man. He put aside his shield to pick Cenric back up on his arms, just in time to hear the clunks of metal striking its boards. A dozen arrows must have struck them, as not a few lengths later, Bowdyn fell to an arrow in his already-battered leg, crying out as he and Cenric tumbled back down.

Halan’s attention reared back, hearing the pained screams of his fellows. Yet he too could not spare a moment to save them: arrows flew in his general direction, the hersir cursing back at his fellows for shooting at him although it did not stop the shafts from coming. Halan stopped, hesitant to go back, but as more arrows struck both Bowdyn and Cenric and the enemy swarmed down the hill, Halan could only grit his teeth and pushed the hersir onwards.

“Captain!” Cenric cried out in horror. “Captain!”

The clash of metal and his men’s pleas of terror echoed across the air as Halan and the hersir hurried deeper into the stone maze. He continued onwards, a stifled breath in his lungs, though Halan could not make out whether it was from his exhaustion or the fact he had abandoned his fellow knights in their last moments. Halan pushed onwards, his legs continuing to move emotionless and instinctively, but his mind only played back those dire moments. Halan took one quick glance at the hersir, to which the hersir gave a sordid grin.

“You still want that talk, Cairlannder?”
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

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Offline Operative13

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Re: CAIRLANN - Coming Soon
« Reply #65 on: August 16, 2021, 02:58:51 AM »
A Tales of Cadamaria Story - Battle of Garagil Pass (Part 9)
Without hesitation, Halan clenched the grip of his sword and smashed it into the hersir’s jaw. The hersir tumbled back, but before he could fall, the knight tugged at the man’s collar, pulling him back up before pushing the hersir back forward onto the path. The hersir cackled with rabid glee, even as the tip of his lips bled.

“Admit it! Your pride got you where you are now. You have no one to fault for your men’s demise but your own!”

“I can kill you now, just as I did to your men earlier,” said Halan. “It’d make no difference to me.”

“Then do it, Velgyte! Do it and prove me right. That only your wounded pride and arrogance is what matters to you! I welcome death! But you run from it!”

Before Halan could reply, the chatter of foreign tongues caught his attention. “Say another word, and I’ll show you a fate worse than death,” he uttered, and pushed the hersir forth into the maze of stone as the drumming of boots trailed close by.

Quickly, they hustled through the tall, winding pillars bleached from rain and sun, broken and jagged like shattered teeth. Cracks and crevices seeped through the larger outcrops, from small splits barely breaking through to wide gaps large enough to fit bodies. Halan and the hersir dashed through these openings in the rocks, intent on losing their pursuers as they strode off the worn path. Even then, Halan could make out the warbands’ conversation.

“Where did they go!?” one asked.

“They were here not too long ago!” another replied.

“They’ve gone off the trail! The ground is disturbed here!”

“Chase them down! They couldn’t have gone far!”

Halan and the hersir hurried through the maze even as the soft dashes of pebbles rustling across the ground and the heavy clinking of armor gave them away. The warbands were only lengths away from them, and were fast closing in. His legs began to buckle, a burning weight in each step. His lungs burned and his breath grew rapsy. Yet still he carried on. Halan was all too well accustomed to this strain. Battle fatigue was a constant in warfare, and his experiences fighting against the Godwynians taught him well the importance of conserving his strength. His trek crawled to a steady, but even pace, keeping his breath attuned to his raging heart.

However, Halan knew he was nowhere close to reaching the other knights. He was only little more than halfway through his journey back to the meeting point, chased by a mob of light-footed hunters closing in on their prey. He could not hope to shake off such swift fighters when his chainmail and equipment bore such great burden on his shoulders and a prisoner to keep guard. He would have to lose them if he had any chance of escaping their clutches.

The path narrowed between the open corridors, and as the rattle of quivers and chainmail surrounded them, Halan pushed the hersir into a narrow crevice between the high rocks and squeezed in behind him.

“Don’t do anything,” Halan ordered the hersir, wielding his blade against the man’s neck.

“I could scream and it’d be the end of you…”

Before the man could finish, Halan pressed the blade’s edge deeper into the hersir’s neck. Ther hersir understood immediately and did not utter another word as shadows flickered across the entrance. They held their breath as the warband called out to one another, rushing by as they passed the crevice. At first it seemed they might have missed the two, but one shadow hovered over. It stayed upon the crevice’s walls, and soon grew as the footsteps etched closer by.

“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

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Offline Operative13

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Re: CAIRLANN - Coming Soon
« Reply #66 on: August 23, 2021, 02:59:03 AM »
A Tales of Cadamaria Story - Battle of Garagil Pass (Part 10)
The two men held their breath, one under the sharp edge of a blade, and the other with the grit of his teeth. The shadow etched closer to the crevice, the crackle of dirt and gravel crawling towards them as it towered towards the ceiling. Halan reared back his legs, keeping a firm grip on his sword as he readied to fight whatever came their way into the crevice. The hersir lifted his head, the edge digging ever closer into his skin as the footsteps slowly approached. Only the hersir’s body stood in the narrow gap between Halan and their pursuers. If there was to be a fight, Halan would have to charge his way out.

Yet the shadow suddenly stopped. It looked as though it had spotted something ahead, past the rock’s crevice into the distance. A low rumble shook the ground, followed close by the clashes of metal and screaming agony. Then the horses whined and trolloped, trampling the ground with their thunderous hooves as savage men cried out in fury with each deafening blow. The shadow on the crevice wall shrank as the warriors withdrew at haste and the whisk of white capes fluttered past the narrow entrance atop stout steeds. The sight was unmistakable: the Knights Chaplains had arrived.

Halan and the hersir shuffled their way back out of the crevice as the chaos unfolded, only to narrowly avoid a stallion running them through at the exit.

“Stay your horses!” Halan cried out, holding the hersir back.

“Lord Captain!” the cheery voice called out from atop his steed. It was Koneth. “You’re alive!”

As the others warded off the oncoming fighters closing in on them, the Knights Chaplains gathered around Halan and his Godwynian prisoner.

“I thought I told you to ride back to Captain Nerian,” said Halan, though with a look of grateful relief.

“We heard the calls of warhorns over the horizon. We rode as fast as we could knowing you’d be in trouble,” said Anso. He gazed at the large battered man with a fuzzy black beard next to Captain Halan. “Where’s the others?”

Halan returned a stone-cold look and said with a bitter tongue. “They didn’t make it.”

“God in Heaven…” Aldred uttered, crossing his chest.

Distant horns bellowed across the stone-shattered fields as the scattered remnants of the warbands fell back behind the pillars. After dispatching the remaining fighters, the rest of the Knights Chaplain assembled before Halan, anxiously awaiting their captain’s next orders.

“Aldred, take the hersir with you. We’ll interrogate him on Olvek’s deployments at camp.”

“What makes you so certain he’ll speak?” Aldred asked.

“Trust me, I said the same thing,” the hersir quipped.

Koneth flashed his sword at the hersir. “Then there’s no reason to keep him with, Lord Captain.”

“We’re bringing him back. Alive. I’ll personally deal with him myself,” Halan asserted.

The horns broke once more, and only moments after, arrows came speeding towards the mounted men. The horses leapt up on their hind legs as the knights shielded themselves from the incoming fire, barely avoiding the hits. Anso pulled forth Halan’s steed and handed the reins.

“We must move!” Anso cried out.

Halan hastily pushed the bound hersir up onto Aldred’s saddle before lifting himself up on his own steed. “Keep an eye on him, Aldred.”

“Not to worry, Lord Captain,” said the old knight. “I’ll make sure he’s squealing the whole way back.”

One of the knights yelped as an arrow punctured his chainmail against his upper arm.

“Bloody bastards!” the man cursed.

”Ride out!” ordered Halan. He knocked the reins, leading his steed ahead of the others as a fury of arrows began to rain upon him. From the jagged pillars, the warbands emerged once more, and although they could not catch the swift steeds even in the twisting, narrow paths of the broken land, still they pursued as Halan and his knights drifted into the distance.
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

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Re: CAIRLANN - Coming Soon
« Reply #67 on: August 30, 2021, 02:55:41 AM »
A Tales of Cadamaria Story - Battle of Garagil Pass (Part 11)
The ride back to camp was a long and silent journey. Captain Halan and his Knights Chaplains came back wounded, weary, and mourning the loss of three of their own, with only a single unrepentant prisoner to show for their struggles. Captain Nerian and a half-dozen of his retainers from the vanguard rode in stride alongside the knights despite Halan’s insistence for his longtime friend to stay alongside his men, deeply concerned about their pursuers making contact with Nerian’s own. Yet Nerian refused to let Halan ride alone. Lord Cuthred held little tolerance for failure, and Halan would have to answer for Sir Bowdyn and his lost men.

As the group rode into camp with banners of the Golden Dragon held limp on their poles, soldiers gazed with grim admission at the disheveled state of the Knights Chaplains, their brilliant white cloaks sullied with blood. Some stepped aside as the mounts came through the path while others exchanged brief nods and glances with them. Yet none hailed their return. The knights’ look of detachment said enough.

The knights reared their horses upon arriving at a large beige pavilion near the camp’s center. Outside, they could hear the agonizing throes of a number of men inside. Halan turned a solemn look to his knights, beaten and battered as they were from the day’s fighting, before dismounting. Many of the knights, including old Aldred and his second-in-command Anso, had been wounded by arrows during the flight. Some struggled to hoist themselves out of their saddle, to which Captain Nerian’s men assisted them off.

“Should I stay with you?” Nerian asked Halan. “Help get your men settled and watch your prisoner for you?”

“That won’t be necessary. I think you’d do more for us getting back to your men than keeping with us, as helpless as we are,” said Halan.

“You look like you could use helping yourself.”

“Courtesy of our guest here,” he quipped back.

The two exchanged glances at the grizzly hersir having his armor stripped off by two guards. Behind his thick fur pelts and heavy chainmail, dozens of scars and scabs covered his muscular limbs. It was a strange sight for Halan to see such a large man towering over these small, lean guards, letting them work through his gear and belongings. They spilled all assortments of scrolls, pendants, and runes from the hersir’s pouch onto the ground, shifting through them for anything of value before stuffing them in sacks, all as the eerily calm sapphire eyes of the man watched. The hersir took notice of Halan and Nerian’s gaze, and in return cocked a savagely crooked smile. His bright-yellow teeth glistened in the faded light, with bits of charred-black meat stuck between his cavities. Pieces cracked and others missing, the hersir kept his grotesque grin towards the men even as the guards hauled him away.

“He looks to be in a jubilant mood for a prisoner,” said Nerian.

“Best to keep his mood up while we can. He’ll be more open to talk once I visit him.”

“And Lord Cuthred? He’ll hear about your new prisoner, sure enough. He’ll want answers, and I don’t think a Goffreiger like him would divulge anything to someone who just pummeled his face not too long ago.”

“The man thinks he can crawl his way into my skin. I’ve been through too much to let it get to me. I have more important things to worry about these days.” Halan nodded to the wounded Knights Chaplains hobbling their way into the tent.

“If you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask. We’ll all be home soon, and I’m certain your folks miss you just as much as mine. Let’s all get back in one piece, shall we?”

Nerian patted Halan upon the shoulders as he headed back to his steed.

“I should say the same to you, Nerian,” Halan hollered. “Try not to get killed before I do.”

Nerian scoffed.”Is that a challenge? Not long ago, you were within moments of meeting your Maker.”

“I’m certain it would be a bad thing if I were. God be with you, Nerian.”

“Hey, I don’t need that right now,” Nerian pointed. ”You’d just send me to Him sooner.”

Halan gave a joking laugh as the two exchanged brief nods before Nerian rode out with his entourage. As Halan turned to join his men in the tent, a small girl in a green dress plopped her head out from the tent cover, stopping him in his tracks.

“Ah, Captain Halan!” she squealed with delight. “You’re back!”
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

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Re: CAIRLANN - Coming Soon
« Reply #68 on: September 06, 2021, 02:57:41 AM »
A Tales of Cadamaria Story - Battle of Garagil Pass (Part 12)
With her bright, silver eyes and glimmering smile, the girl met the weary knight’s gaze. Halan, already dispirited by his recent incursion, would have returned the smile had the girl’s white apron not been stained in red from head to toe. Her hands were covered in dried blood, and her umber brows dripped of sweat. Still, the man worked up a cheery tune despite his face saying otherwise.

“Eadith. Working at the dressing station again, are you?” he said.

“That I am! Sir Bowdyn asked me to look out for his men before he left. They took a pretty good beating this morning, so now me and the girls are helping them out! We’ll look after yours too, milord!” she said with a proud air of confidence.

Halan averted his gaze upon hearing Sir Bowdyn’s name. He knew quite well what had transpired, and could not bring himself to inform the young maiden of Sir Bowdyn’s fate. Instead, he continued with the conversation, hoping she would not notice.

“I’m very grateful for that. Your father must be proud of your work here.”

Eadith let out a nervous chuckle. “Well, would it bother you to promise me something?”

Halan raised an inquisitive look. “A promise of what?”

“You see, I’m not supposed to be here. Father made it clear he didn’t want me on the frontlines again, but I begged Mother to let me. Could you please not tell him I’m here?”

“I…”

“Or at least if he does push you, that you would put in a good word for me?”

Halan cracked a gentle smile, amused by her worries. Here she stood before him, more bloody than he was, having seen horrendous wounds and irreparable damage that would scar any virgin apprentice toiling in the dressing room. Yet, the girl paid no mind to any of that. Instead, it was her father that carried her thoughts, and what he might do if he were to discover her whereabouts.

“Now why would I do that?” he asked.

Eadith whimpered, letting out a sorrowful look, hands clasped together. “Oh please, Captain! Just let me work here! You know how much I want to help, and I’ve been doing it for so long now!”

Halan gave a brief moment of pause. “Well… if you promise to take good care of my men, then I’ll give a good word of you.”

“Deal!” Eadith exclaimed, holding out her blood-stained hands to Halan.

The knight could not help but submit to the little girl’s offer. Halan had lost good men, and suffered great injuries, all to get him out for the trouble of capturing a lone prisoner that could potentially be of little use for their campaign that day. But to see Eadith work tirelessly with such hope and devotion in her eyes despite witnessing the bloody horrors of war made Halan reconsider his mood. Here, little Eadith stood, dripping blood and sweat from forehead to her shoes, trusting Halan to keep his word. He had to return the favor. Unburdened by such a cheerful and carefree soul, he broke a smile and shook the maiden’s hand.

“They’re in your hands now, Madame,” said Halan.
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

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Re: CAIRLANN - Coming Soon
« Reply #69 on: September 13, 2021, 02:57:19 AM »
A Tales of Cadamaria Story - Battle of Garagil Pass (Part 13)
As Halan and the Knights Chaplain entered the tent, they were met with a trio of young girls about Eadith’s age, give or take a few years, with the oldest among them a tall blonde girl that stood nearly two heads over little Eadith. They too were covered in the same dripping sweat and blood stains that covered their hands, faces, and wrinkled aprons, their strands of hair peering behind head scarfs. They immediately bowed before the knights before taking a hold of their arms and guiding them to the empty mattresses laid upon the floor.

The blonde girl and Eadith then tugged at Halan’s arms.

“Come now! Let’s take a look at those wounds,” Eadith exclaimed.

Halan however, raised his hand at her. “That won’t be necessary.”

They stopped and looked up at the towering captain.

“Are you certain, my Lord?” the blonde girl spoke.

Eadith scoffed. “Don’t be silly! You’re beat up god-awful! Just look at that face, all swollen and puckered up. It’s as if you planted your pretty face in a beehive!”

“I appreciate the thought, but I have some business to attend first,” Halan replied.

“Does it have to do with that man they carried off?” Eadith asked.

“You were watching?”

She snickered with teasing glee. “Is he the one that did all this to you?”

“You could say that, yes.”

“Eadith,” the blonde girl spoke, a stern look in her eyes.

Eadith cleared her throat. “Well, I think it best we take a look at you anyways. Many injuries overlooked can cause great pains to you later. Even for a knight like yourself!”

Halan protested. “Really, I must...”

“Nah, ah, ah!” Eadith interjected. “You’ll speak not another word until we’re certain you’re well and rested!”

Before long, Halan found himself dragged further into the tent with the rest of his knights.

The tent itself was divided in several sections, separated by little more than thin sheets of maroon and medallion, cordoning off the sick and wounded. As he passed by the thin-veiled passage, he could hear the moans and wails of several men. He glimpsed at the openings to some of the spots, seeing the bloody bandages, bowls of soaked cloth, and the half-naked men almost completely wrapped in bandages, some of which he recognized came from Sir Bowdyn’s scouting party earlier this morning.

One of their gazes met Halan as he peered back, and the man uttered an intelligible word. He held a padding at his neck, but Halan could only nod back before the girls pulled him to another part of the tent where he and his knights would rest. Ten mattresses laid bare, with six of them already occupied by the others. The seventh, Eadith and the other girl helped Halan down as they began stripping away at his armor. As they worked, Halan watched as several other women in the section began tussling through the others’ armors. First the swords, then the chainmail, then the heavy padding underneath. By the time everything had come off, a cool breeze swept through his boiling-hot skin; along with the excruciating pain. He had only realized just how numb his limbs were. His thighs wrapped tight around the bone, his arms felt weighless, yet difficult to hold. His face and torso stung with every slight touch, and he found himself panting for every breath.

“You must’ve been through Hell,” said Eadith, soaking a cloth of water before rinsing him down. “Those bruises are huge!”

Halan groaned. “When your occupation is war, that is to be expected.”

“But you’re a Knights Chaplain, aren’t you? You keep the peace for us good folk. Lord knows of the good deeds your people’s done in Vermaris, and I pray you’d do the same for the people here too.”

“I’d say it’s rather contradictory that we have to fight people to keep the peace. Waging war away from one’s home so that we may keep the peace in another’s land.”

“You wouldn’t be a good Knights Chaplain if you didn’t, would it?” Eadith smudged an ointment on some of Halan’s bruises, as he held his teeth from the sharp sting. “If you can’t chase the bad people wherever they go, how else would you stop them?”

“Yes, well sometimes the people you have to go through to get to them don’t quite agree with why you’re there.”

As Eadith began wrapping bandages around Halan’s abdomen, a soldier in a black surcoat bearing the Holy Dragon and Cross rushed through the section’s opening. He looked around until he locked gazes with Halan and saluted.

“Sorry to intrude, Lord Captain, but Lord Cuthred requests your presence.”
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

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