Prophecy of Eristic

Nineteen years into the reign of Routh,
There shall arrive a rider from the south.
He shall be clad in colors of yellow and green
Preceded by a beast in flight, so mean.

This harbinger will slay the beast
In the heart where the Emperor does feast,
It will kill the Emperor.
But does not seek its treasure

Those loyal, the rider, they kill,
Rise in the deaths of three, dissent will
Though he did no harm.
Divide by fifteen ways the farm
Those Earls will guard their keep
Saving many from trouble deep

Reunite with champion in the night,
Clad in purple and white
Comes to set everything right.
Neither kith nor kin
Champion will reveal a sin

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Ruby Gate

A screech pierced the air
It did give Hound Master Nikolai a scare
It had been his cause to flight
He legs now sore from running all night
While resting himself and pack
Again the air was cut with fear of an attack
A chance he could not take
His legs mustered though they did ache
Two celestial hounds him did accompany
The size of wolves and fur amber brown
With green eyes the combed the horizon
The third scanned the sky he flies in

With golden wings before setting down

These were the three in his company
Their adversary a falconer
With a flock as his reconer
They hunt for the master
Plotting his disaster
He holds the key to the gate
That holds back beasts irate
There is a wall that holds at bay
Beasts and creatures of fei
At its entrance is a keeper
But he is a deep sleeper
If he were to wake
His rouser’s direction he would take
To wake the keeper from slumber
Requires a potion of things in number
The keeper has one key component
A ruby his master handed in bestowment
In his haste he makes a path
Unaware of the cause for chase
The Hound Master does so race

To escape the falconers wrath

He entered forest deep
Where eyes of falcon do not creep
Making haste to inner keep in castle near
For guidance from Wilfreya the Muted Seer
Though much she spews is poison word
At times like this not all her wisdom is absurd
The hounds show the way
Till gone again is light of day
Outside stone walls grey and tan
He feels so small a man
Looking for entry way or door
He finds neither nor
Yet he recalls a chant from school
Then dives into the moated pool
Down he swims till under wall
Through smallest opening he then crawl
Up then to ascend
Out a well on the other end
In courtyard blue as water
He there saw an otter
It him did assess
before leaving the garden in a mess
From up tower a stone did sail
A message from seer it did mail
Advice against his own plight
Dour still would be his flight
Northward  he was to set
After a night in castle walls wet
Lightning and thunder cover gave
Falcons this weather did not brave
Till early morning broke in
Hound Master’s travel did then begin
The sun crossed a quarter of sky
When him she did spy
She the forest keeper
Ceased him from trekking any deeper
“What is your name and where you go
This among other things must I know”
With arrow notched near her eye
He paused forming a reply
“Hound Master Nikolai
On my way to the Temple Kinay
Prioress Thierry will I speak
She to advise on what I seek.”
“Through my wood you shall not pass
I, Alena, am not in agreement with the lass
To domesticate my land she tries
She offers open hands full of lies
If knowledge is what you seek
Go around like others meek”
It was then first hound did attack
Snuck from above at her back
Uncertain of what came from above
Alena held the second back with glove
The third bound came in for a bite
With dagger back she did fight
“Do you yield this fight
Away from the Falconer I make flight
Your politics I not my concern
travels beyond here I yearn
The trees cover do provide
In open field he will spy my hide.
“I yield you right of way
Be gone from my forest by end of day
Else, forest spirits you shall curse
If you stay is longer it will be worse
In my forest again, you be
Your end I will see.”
“Alena forest keeper
No harm I meant as I slinker
Yet my offense you did make
My hounds my defense did take
We flee now into the shade
Hopefully you are not too dismayed”
For two days they made haste
Out from forest into waste
Till on horizon seen
Snow-capped mountains gleam
And in the barren lands did find
A fourth hound in a bind
You jackal pup in trap
Its strength nearly sap
Nikolai did aid render
Jackal yipped thanks to him
Then followed the quartet on a whim
She lead them to water and food
To alleviate their mood
And then one day travel more
She lead them off wasteland floor
And now the Hound Master stood
Outside tall walls of wood.
From spire in the air
Came question of who stood there
A friendly rapport did follow
When by Nikolai foot fell swallow
A threat from up high
Delivered by Falconer’s ally
Sanctuary was extended
Inside walls to be defended
Prioress was Falconer’s foe
From family rival long ago
Prioress detailed Falconer’s goal
Of his want of stone red
And if need be Nikolai dead
Debate was had on action
But no plan claimed satisfaction
One night days later came
The Falconer to stake his claim
He brought other beasts of air
Giant gryphons with claws to bare
Lesser chimera with breath of fire
And trolls with machine of ire
He made demands of ruby bright
Prioress told him to take flight
Hound Master made his stand
With four faithful in command
Each an opponent did face
Not everyone won the race
One spectral hound did fall
Along with wings clipped to small
As Nikolai contemplated giving death

Falconer lay breathing heavy breath

“Heed my word young brother
After you come another
Your fight has just begun
She will chase you under next sun”
“Do not speak of kin to me
I give your final breath to thee.
There will be no other after you
Or do they see through birds too?
“No the bird shall no longer vex you sky
She is far more sly
With beasts shadow dark
That is how she will find her mark
I see you next when gates ajar
We both come from fae lands afar

Dragon and Troll

It was in the time of merriment
That the dragon and troll were sent
With flask of wine and mead
To throw smoke upon their lead
Though they sang us songs of praise
It was then they made fog and haze

Their goal to hide a fast decent
Breaking oath and covenant
Our bond and strength did fail
Concern with only where I sail
Rubble was all I saw
In a land without a law

When next I woke
With neighbor I then spoke
Yet he and I at odds
Whether to blame the two sods
Was it ours the shame
When we took the flame

Oft I went with no sound plan
Without company for some span
In search of Dragon and Troll
Who mocked and talked droll
They sought to make light
On my misery and plight

Where first alone I met Dragon
Offering me quaffs from his flagon
Wiser now I quickly declined
My poor judgment he opined
And flew away in hot retreat
His breath scorched my feet.

Then next I met Troll
His virtues he did extol
With wise words a path did craft
Yet this time I felt not daft
For if I followed to his den
No one shall I see again

With curse and howl troll did retreat
Telling me to rue my defeat
Yet lost I was in their land
Out in the open I did stand
I raise hand to my brow
And to return home I did vow

After oath then was silent
Rumbles across the field defiant
As goblins in shadow arose
What allies had I chose
Behind me in my need
Came not a noble steed

Yet weasels in number came
To protect my rebellious claim
For goblin they did not fear
No more than trepid deer
Weasel with razor paws
Made short work of toothless maws

Like they came the went
Weasels back to the woods bent
I left the field to improve my skill
With resolve to steel my will
Dragon and Troll I come for thee
Next time I bring aid with me

In days to town I came
Their leader a man so lame
Yet in his eyes there was a fire
For his people he had great aspire
He knew the Dragon and Troll
And their games not droll

Twas them that gave his lot
Vengeances for his family sought
Yet he could not join my quest
Sword he gave to face my test
I left his house rested and fed
Go south for help he plead

So for another twenty five
I searched and found one alive
Among the rubble of defeat
I met another suffering from deceit
To my cause did he agreed
To a master west he would lead

The learned one was Jason
My companion was Greyson
The two when met sized the other
It was when I learned they brother
Now three we made a scheme
For others to join our vengeful team

Then we gathered those to arms
who Dragon had stolen farms
Sophie a shield maiden with talent
Traveled with Barnabas the valiant
Eugene was tall and strong
leading ten more in his throng

Next were those who claimed right
To best the Troll in a fight
The wizard Wendell the grand
And Graham master of the sand
Then Aluna the ever huntress
Who ruled from the verdant fortress

Us nineteen brave and able went on stroll
Time for us hunt the Dragon and Troll
Through lands far and wide
We sought the two wherever they hide
Following tact and rumor
A swift end to it all we did humor

Three years on the quest
Off in a land far to the west
Dragon was confronted in a cave
Finishing a meal on countless slave
We snuck up much to his surprise
To land a deserved demise

Yet is us who were unaware
Of allied dragon residing there
The day went quick and long
And heat from them was strong
In the end we did succeed
Vanquishing one of renown deed

In the evening we laid to rest
Those that had not fared the best
Eugene said goodbye to seven men
Graham, Sophie and Greyson
Had passed protecting an ailing Jason
In all ten had fallen
The night left us all sullen

Up came the banner at morning light
It was time for Troll to face his plight
In Dragon’s cave we learned his stay
It would be over in fourteen day
In that time we would nurse our wounds
Venturing close to Troll in the dunes

Spirits restore we ventured forth
A little bit further north
Mile away we could smell the stench
Of where Troll’s hovel lay entrench
Over the dune Aluna surveyed
The lands themselves cried for aid

Lessons learned we crept ahead
Each not wanting and early bed
Down tunnel deep and winding
Lesser trolls were all the finding
Had he fled in approach
The question we chose not to broach

In lair deep in rock under sand
Is where Troll made his stand
The promise of reform he did spat
We did not accept such from the brat
Eugen and company did approach
Their spears on Troll did encroach

Aluna and Wendell guarded back
While Jason and I did attack
Troll our advance did repel
With brute force and many spell
To my horror I saw Eugene fall
As I lay pinned on the wall

The troll then acid spit
Taking away Jason’s wit
Then it was Wendell’s cast
Burning Troll’s arm to ash at last
And still Troll would not yield
Taking two more off the field

Free Barnabas took my blade
Cleaving till silence made
Then troll lay quiet now
No more deceit shall he vow
The last five of us there did stand
Taking in what was done at our hand

We parted ways the following night
I lost the spirit to fight
Aluna left to rule her land
A new follower in hand
Barnabas to his farm he went
Wendell off with his wisdom to be lent

Six year past the end
A note one did send
To my house it came
Three other received the same
Wendell wrote in hurried hand
Come east, trouble in these land

Roux

Under a hood forest green
Her eyes were kitten copper
Hidden under hair goblins red
Her smile was like a moon sliver

Her mood not the trio mean
Of help she needed an offer
Lost she waited to be led
Not knowing to follow the river

When to her aid came
A black beast with horn and mane
It ushered her back to home
With all due haste

Gone it went lest she tame
Out the wild and made so plain.
There she met the gnome
Who laid her lands to waste

With bow at the ready
And an arrow filled quiver
Questions of the little one asked
Answers he had none

She took an aim, holding steady
The gnome did give a shiver
He replied he had done as tasked
A request, he made one

That before his passing he may
Place the blame for blood spilt
To mighty warlords upon high
Who ride to neighbors and destroy

Her shot did she stay
So others may hear his guilt
Bound and gagged he would lie
Left under watch of neighbors boy

Departing the neighbor said
Roux where will you go
She was quick in her reply
To save our kin from fate most foul

In high hopes she forged ahead
A small band of fighters in tow
Quick work was what she imply
When warlords on high heard the howl

Across a valley green did they meet
Light glistening over Roux’s back
Golden warlords high replied in charge
Volleys answered thunderous hooves

The thick air turned rain sweet
As man fell in the attack
Roux lay no longer at large
Incompatible to warlords moves.

Lightning flashed from high above
As black beast emerged from cloud
His desire to aid in her need
Shocked back the victors in surprise

Landing gently as a dove
Horn bowed to Roux’s shroud
His life hers now did feed
Warlords shot down the noble prize

As red haired woman rise
Warlords fell in disbelief
What magic had been wrought
Made them tremble and stumble

She looked in each one’s eyes
Of their courage she was thief
Bowed in submission each one sought
To her whim they now humble.

Formula of Eternal Life

All the riches could save us
My child collect and discuss
Silver for a disease or curse
Pestilence gone with Jade in your purse
Gold against enchantment
Pearls for containment
Emeralds keep a spirit safe
Agate keeps away the wraith
Moonstone to keep your dreams
Lapis will focus you schemes

A few more to help you keep score
Affordable if you don’t mind a dirt floor
Rubies help against haze
Jasper prevent your daze
Opals to clean the eyes
Turquoise to find a prize
Tin to clean up your ail
Platinum for where others fail

A shipment of each
There is nowhere out of reach
Fetch each I beseech
Together their power I will teach

Wealth will misery end
Smell the future down wind
With each precious acquisition
You ascend to a new position
Choice you are now granted
Bias toward you they are slanted
In your days give each away
Regaled will your name stay
Upend the class to which you rise
But give too much and meet demise.

Departure – Final Chapter

Kit knew where they were going; it was beyond the Anjin Col.  It was far beyond the forest on the other side of the mountain.   He was charged with helping the Jaspert take the caravan to the city of GornStan, in the lands of the Fifteen Earls.  Those that signed on to the caravan had hoped to leave Saj-Graf behind.

Ertle was in a luxurious carriage with a young man by the name of Siwaldh.  The driver of the carriage was Zahar, the fallen.  The three had met one night at Ermore Inn after the days of the cloudervan.  They had agreed to leave Saj-graf and chase their fortunes elsewhere.  Though not a one revealed their past, they were certain they knew each other and the capabilities that dwelled within.

There were several lesser carts of goods from merchants Ertle had convinced to buy in to the venture and cover his cost of needing guards on the road.  Traveling in this class was Deylin Greyston, off to Pigback Pass to build another watchtower for the city.

As they got ready to leave the city two men approached the caravan and spoke to Kit.  One seemed to struggle with the light of day, and told Kit he had been a shut in and was now ready to see the world.  The other limped a bit but assured he could pay enough to convince Ertle to make space for him.  After giving them a quick assessment, Kit admitted them to the group.  It would be a long ride out and a few more hands would be nice with the troubles they may encounter on the road.

The wagons started to roll out of town by midday.  Kit looked back at Jit tower, it was the first marker of Saj-graf he had seen and would likely be the last.  Its majestic rise over the city would leave a lasting impression.  In his heart he would feel peace once he moved himself from the outskirts of town, past the farms and outlying ruins.  If he could shirk his duty and run once more off to the woods he would do so.   He looked down the length of the caravan and then back to the city one more time.

These cities were living beasts that he feared.  They grew without conscious and bread contempt amongst those that dwelled within.  Somehow they made people feel safe and secure, but for Kit, he was happy to depart and be free.

Demise

Nyo-ji watched as he entered his house.  He grew more uncomfortable with each passing moment as his guide lead him further inside.  The place was cleaner since he had last visited Nyo-ji.  There had been much planning for this moment and Nyo-ji was not above savoring justice in the rare times he could administer it.

“Just wait a moment, here,” his guide commanded. He missed the smirk that followed the order.   Nyo-ji had paid the guide handsomely for her part and it was now done.

As soon as his guide stepped outside the building the door slammed shut.  A voice from the shadows spoke up, “Sartow, you came looking for power.  I shall show you it.”

Sartow watched as little sparks of lightning started to bounce from timber to timber on the ceiling.  He could smell the burning in the air, though he saw no fire.  The dirt in the floor started to rise up like a thousand ant mounds forming and then collapsing.

Sartow ran to the door to make an escape, but it would not budge.  He ran to the window to try that and again it would not move.  The lightning now jumped between the mounds and the rafters, making audible crackling noises with each jump.  The smell of burning air made Sartow sweat with panic.

A large bolt coming down on him was the last thing that Sartow saw.  There was not time for him to scream, no time for him to feel, no time to repent.   The corpse was struck by numerous bolts as Nyo-ji’s anger was unleashed.  Nyo-ji knew Sartow would feel nothing from each successive blow, and yet hit him once for each person he had seen his scars upon.

Outside the house Cerridwen heard thunder from inside, but it was the least of her worries as she could not recall why she was at the house, let alone out in the open streets.  She quickly bolted to an alleyway and out of sight.

Calm

The building week of tension had broken last night in chaos, and now quiet filled the air. Order won the battle and was set to reclaim the rule. Its serene reassurance was to be embraced by those that had survived. As the panic in people’s hearts to escape from the cages that had been built, there was still much work to be done. Those brave enough, were out in the field tending the wounded or confirming that the large beasts were indeed dead. The Ardent order had been decimated, but their casualties looked minor to the slain cloudervan lying strewn across the field.

Artron followed Corvus as he made show of his kills to the record keepers. He wanted his share of the bounties on these beasts from the mayor. Collaboration was key and that was where someone honest like Artron came in. Artron felt no moral qualm signing off as a witness as long as Corvus kept a blind eye to the valuable metals and gems the silversmith pocketed. It was not as if there were not nobles out in the field doing the same, it was how money was made. Arton was also busy counting the total number slain in the field, he would later gather with the other counters to make sure no corpse was unclaimed or disputed. Those lower in the pecking order stood near their kills to chase of the profiteers and show their mark on the corpse. Once all was tallied the gold would be split and the only ones who lost out were the fallen.

Martell walked the field with Kit, studying the bodies of the cloudervan. Kit worked in a sketch book, while Martell collected samples from the dead. “Looks like these are an Enchanter’s experiment gone awry. That or they have some inherent magical inclination as now their bodies come apart with any of my blades,” commented Martell.

“Nothing natural about copper being a weakness…at least on the skin. I could see it being an issue with something like blood, but copper is not that strong,” Kit commented. “You ever hear the formula of eternal life?”

All the riches could save us
My child, collect and discuss
Silver for a disease or curse
Pestilence gone with Ruby in your purse
Gold against enchantment
Pearls for containment
Emeralds keep a spirit safe
Agate keeps away the wraith
Moonstone to keep your dreams
Lapis will focus you schemes

A few more to help you keep score
Affordable if you don’t mind a dirt floor
Rubies help against haze
Jasper prevent your daze
Opals to clean the eyes
Turquoise to find a prize
Tin to clean up your ail
Platinum for where others fail

A shipment of each
There is nowhere out of reach
Fetch each I beseech
Together their power I will teach

“I had not heard that one,” replied Martell
“There is wisdom in there somewhere, or so my master says. I find it just a list of wealth without the context in which it was written.”
“I think enchanters would be able to do more with it. They are all crafting items for talismans. Yet some of those items are not used for what is listed. Maybe it is a code or done to intentionally mislead outsiders.”

The Quartet

Sit down and I will tell a tale
Drink up and relax as I regale
It is a fantastic story
Of those in search of glory
As they seek the treasures past
In hopes to make their names last
There was Balthazar the Brave
And then Nathaniel the Knave
Lucian was their leader
Bodhi was his little bleater
They sought things great and grand
As for morals they couldn’t make a stand
Swiftly they fell into town
In quest of a king’s crown
To the castle they went
The one where the folk, they sent

On the road they met rogue and goblin
Each one met was left fallen
On through field they ran
Over river they crossed a span
Griffins guarded forest nest
They did not stop the quartet going west
Towers and spires did the quartet spy
Slightly closer they saw dragon fly

Dragon’s flame rained down
Yet their pursuit it could not drown
In their green eyes drive
The four of them did thrive
Inside the stronghold
Went those so bold
Out each came with their claim
Lucian would get the fame
Faithful Bodhi title grand
Nathaniel’s reward was land
Balthazar laden with gold
Would continue with feats so bold
Crowned and wealthy
Three of four departed stealthy
The fourth now a king
Regretted being tied to a ring
Late one dark night the timing was right
Some say he too took flight
Giving pause to make amends
Then off to travel with friends

Vagrant’s Keep

Vagrant’s Keep, was once a tower on the outer walls of Saj-graf. As the city grew the tower lost its purpose, yet being a solid stone structure it was never torn down. The walkways which originally connected to other towers, have since been converted to paths above the city streets connecting a nest of buildings. Various groups have since lived in the tower as time went on. For awhile it was home to a den of thieves until the city guard cleaned it out. It was then home to the Ardent Order, till they completed their current home.

The top floor was eventually taken over by a religious cult called the Brotherhood of The Flight. Since they have been deemed harmless by the city they have been allowed to stay. The other floors have served as residence to hundreds of homeless passing through, always scared off by some ghost they claim haunts the second floor. The Brotherhood acknowledges the ghosts presence but deem it harmless.

The basement is currently home to a tavern called The Basket and Casket. It is run by a former mercenary content to spend the rest of his days safe behind a bar and his only casualties being the occasional glass dropped by a patron. He dons his old uniform from the forgotten company when he chooses to serve. His eye patch is part of the show too, as he can still see through its pinhole opening. His oily chestnut and gray hair is slicked back to add a touch of maturity to his act. Many call him Captain, though no one is certain of who he served. He has the stories and knowledge to prove he has done something.

It is in this bar listening to how he fought back goblin hoards that many try to find an escape from the surrounded city. Kadin and Maeve sit half listening to the story between drinks and discussion of their short lived celebration. Kadin had made Maeve wait two days before accepting her proposal. Though this was short by his standards, Maeve had gone near crazy when he explained why he could not answer on a whim. Kaisu had been a dear and listened to her rant while Kadin had stayed locked in meditation at the shrine. When he returned with consent she had finally had her senses returned to her.

There was a cheer from the crowd as the Captain finished his story and introduced the follow up act, Jaspert the story teller. Maeve saw he was to be accompanied by a musician, someone she may know, but was uncertain if it was her.

“Good evening to all of you. I have a new story tonight, one that is of hope.” Jaspert cleared his throat and cracked open a book. “This comes from the archives of Saj-graf. I have not memorized it so pardon the book. It is of when the Ardent Order came to the aid of people in need.”