Into the Walls... (2 Viewers)

AMOH

Desert Cataphract Man
Event Team
35134

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All shall be set right by steel and blood.
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A diminished and badly bloodied patrol of Mandarazi cavalrymen make a hard ride towards the Sapphire of the Azaharr. They arrive to fast-paced developments of the nation, the foundations of the people in and around Mutajara shaken in the wake of political upheaval. Dissent and confusion marshalled through the streets, with supporters of the self-proclaimed King Garai squabbling and skirmishing within the city with loyalists to both the representative Council of the Emirs. The city's atmosphere is arguably for the first time perplexing and unbecoming of the simplistic peoples of the Sands, their ways, their mannerisms. A deviation from that normal Ways that has cost these people quite dearly before.... The memories still linger...

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Brimstone shall be the coffin-bed.
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The patrol is asked by the people of Mutajara of their condition, ragged and tired. Why do you arrive bloodied? Where are our brothers, our fathers, our husbands? Why are your fine weapons shattered and your horses heave and your armor torn? The patrol leader pleads his case in front of the statues of Kurus and Hayasiya, corralling as much people into the sacred square as a means of information and security. We return from battle, fearsome and brutal. No, it is not the Rakhtari, for they have yet to make contact in the open. Rather it is the Avaltans. The host amass numbers, rivaling the grains of Sands with which we step upon. And with them Beasts of Doomsday... The crowd is silenced. War approaches the Walls of Mutajara. Whispers and groans emanate from the huddled mass of denizens. Worry sets into the minds of the women and children, steeled animosity within the men. A war cry.

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Death shall have itself a rival, named.
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The bodies of seven men and women, Yusati and Darthian would bleed upon the sacred square of Kurus and Hayasiya as panic arrested the masses. Scattering like insects, the people screamed and cried woe and mercy as war cries echoed in the City. Assassins. They donned Avaltan robes and weaponry, shouting in broken Vershi toscatter the peoples. They preyed upon this moment in the making. Months of sowing the seeds of dissent would finally come into fruition. The spies had done their work upon the populace and the recruits of the Mandaraz. As quickly as they had struck, they were gone. No sign of them was to remain, save for the bodies they left in their wake and the blood that pooled around the lifeless corpses. Yet it was not just the general public that was affected. Within the walls of Sanuharr did an insurrection take place. Senior officers of the Mandarazi were slain, assailed almost in unison by subordinates when their guards were down. The betrayals were quick to be quashed, the assassins finding a blade of their own being slotted somewhere in their spine, abdomen, chest, or neck. Yet, it was done. Those who were struck but did not succumb to their wounds would find no solace as poison gave them a slow, agonizingly painful death. Staff of the Emir Council were bathed in crimson. Even some of those who were respected in their time of Tash'ar lay upon the blood-caked dust and stone, their finals moments taken from them dishonorably...

Reports would circulate in the aftermath that the former Prince was missing. Perhaps for the better.


"Shall we make preparations?"

"Of course. They have only just begun to taste Fear."

"What of the Florentians?"

"They, too, shall burn. And I will be left to rule their ashes..."

"And the new King?"

"He wears a leased Crown."
 
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changelingirl

Inane content generator and local annoyance
Lore Team
(A glass rests on the table, a hand pushes it off; it falls, gracefully, and shatters. There is nothing to prevent the reverse, yet it only falls. It never comes back. It falls and it shatters and it remains. (non)Spontaneous, irreversible action and reaction. The system. The impetus.)

There are so many bodies. There are so many funerals to visit. There is so much to do and so little time in which to do it. There was time, before, but she hadn't used it. There was plenty of time to stop this and she hadn't. There are so many bodies, there are so many dead, she knows so many of their names, she can't stop the voice in the back of her head crying that this is unfair, that this isn't how the world should go because she's had time long enough to know that this is exactly how the world goes, that every time you find something worth keeping--

There is so much going on, there are three crises and an apocalypse, there is the fact that her friend colleague has possibly declared her traitor, there is the fact that she knew the names of the assassins and still couldn't see what they would do, what would happen.

(She still thinks there is such thing as spontaneous reaction, an effect without a cause. She can't see the cycle that rusts the nail, the hand that pushes the glass; she has not yet imagined the shattered pieces.)

This is a blank face; this is a dress covered once more in blood; this is cowardice and protection rolled into one as she curled in the space under the bed in the caravan, curled in front of Credence, a hand on Margot's neck and her ankles atop Kuruck, shushing and shivering.

This is a city not given a chance to fight back.

This is not fair but that's just how the story goes, isn't it?

(The glass wobbles over the edge.)

There are a thousand of these moments, there are a million of them, and yet now they're starting to stand out starkly against the background. Hope against nihilism. Getting up against the endless pull of the void and booze and apathy. These moments, they are important in ways that cannot be described, and this is one of them; and it's hovering on a precipice, a glass on a table, a moment in time, a decision, a fall that cannot be reversed, a catch that shouldn't be undone.

(On the floor below the table, time rewinds. The shards of glass fly back into place; the glass lifts from its irreversible fall. The hand reaches for it once more.)

Somehow the world never seems to run out of villains.
 

Moolight

Member

A figure climbed a mountain tall. A figure prayed a reflection long. A figured stared into a candle bright. A figure took to heart a word forgotten. ...A figure rested, having accomplished upon that mountain what she intended to do. A small camp set, stones gathered, a token placed, a candle lit. A peace made, a guardian to linger. Thoughts dwindled away and slipped into the night, and when dawn arose, rather than rest, she packed her things and moved. Always moving, so ceaselessly, so relentlessly. Restless. Back down the mountain, back down the road, back down the way and the rock and the river. Following laid stones and sanded steps to the tent and shrine at Mutajara. To Avos and Peak, her most trusted companions. To Garai, may he be safe as he navigates the waters of securing a crown. Instead, what she returns to is the tang of blood and the screams of men.

She heard it first on the road south, of those fleeing in the chaos- to the port city, or north, or to the Spirit Isle even. Wild inflations, bold assumptions, insane and hysterical recallings of the event. But they all agree on one thing: It was vicious, brutal, and quick. Then, it was gone.


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"Tell me, what is a Man? A lion, or a lamb?"


Words, lots of words...

"But which shall you relate to the most?"

"I am neither. A lion has a pride, a sheep has a herd. I have neither, and but for the occasional companion at my side, walk the earth alone. No one follows me, and I follow no one."
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More words passed at the foot of the mountain. What howls and sunders, but cannot be touched? The wind, ferocious and unrelenting. What drives sorrow deep into the world and lingers as a weight that not even generations upon generations can forget? The brutality of war. Man is driven by desperation. So what could drive man to be so desperate... as to turn the barren beauty of the sands into a crimson battlefield once more? Would this place never know peace?

The second the sharp iron smell had hit her, her thoughts jumped to Garai, his recent announcement. Did it all go wrong? Had every fear that had wormed into her mind in the past week come true? If so, would he be among them if she went to look?- No. There is no time. There is never any time. First, it was to find Garai, rather than the bodies, and she came to the map room in the fort. Maps compared, both her own and the traders, and the grand map of the table. She marked watering holes, points that a marauding force could not ignore if they wished to keep themselves and their horses alive on the sands. Places of shelter from the relentless winds for when they stopped. Those that first coincided with the trade routes, then those further off. Then, she had her route- her own plan, to check all of them. Let no grain of sand go unturned. Let the roads know peace again.

Once her own maps were drawn, she wasted as little of this time as she could, grabbed her arbalest, sheathed a scimitar. Supplies- water, food, grabbed. Peak, stay, guard camp. A note to Garai, should he come by soon. Avos,- she saddled up and rode out into the trial left behind from the battered patrol. If she could find the site of the skirmish, and go from there, there could be a lead. The arrows in her quiver clacked and sang to her the song of a hunt. The archer had with her the letter still from one of the fallen marauders. Trails, merchant paths they harassed. She thought of the pyre, the smell of burning men. Not unfamiliar. What tracks she could follow, she did. What paths she could surmise from the marauders' map, she would follow. Canvasing, listening, always watching the horizon. Quince knew all the tricks because, unfortunately, this old woman with her kind smile and welcoming campfire, was not only a huntress of the woodlands.. but a huntress of war. Tracking animals, that is one thing.. Tracking men is another, but not an unfamiliar territory for her.

Yet as the woman rides out onto the sands, she does not ride with anger. Worse, she rides with disappointment. Those men who attacked her and Garai on the road, she'd tried to give them a chance. No, there is no anger here... there was never any anger, not even during the Void War. Not when ran from the Reiklands, widow of a traitor. Not when she buried that "traitor", and with him, her heart- so she'd thought, at least. But somehow the sands had renewed in her something to fight for again. And make no mistake, she was not fighting for a nation. She was not fighting for a place to call home. The tracks she followed over the sand were not hounded out of malice, or rage, but a duty. Marov, his very existence, was not something she despised, but a wrong in the world that needed to be corrected. A fundamental flaw of character that needed to be torn from the earth before it could propagate. Now in her long years, Quince would never first turn to violence... yet she could not ignore that sometimes, action needed to be swift, and leaving nothing to question. She spoke with Garai briefly in the map room, before finding herself where she is now...

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"... It's not unlike haunting watering holes for a quarry... ...when it comes down to the basics... every hunt is the same. Men are no different than animals when they run.."

"What do you need? The resources of Mutajara are at your disposal."

"...Going in a small force, or alone, is the risk of capture... ...taking a large force means a fight, and I am no battlefield commander... ...The resources of Mutajara need remain here, to protect the city and its people lest this happens again, or the snakes rear their ugly heads once more."
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For the sake of a pledge she made long ago, to keep the roads free.. let one travel without fear. A force like this... it could not hide forever. Not from her, not from where fate would guide her arrows...

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"... I will take the risk."
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Give me strength, oh Traveler, Architect of Legends... Guide my fate... Give me the luck needed to guard your roads... From the wretched, from the cruel, from the unfair...

35136
 
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Vadokim

Sandman
Subscriber


"We are not defenseless."
In the aftermath of the attacks, countermeasures were taken. The standing legion of Mutajara, boasting ~two-thousand warriors, occupied the sacred valley. Divided into Cohorts, they coordinated together to thwart any attacks on the city.

The ruins of Leptis Kinaz became a forward command post, watching over the eastern approach. Its crumbling edifices and ancient walls evolved into temporary and practical fortifications. They were kept by the Second Cohort: a body of soldiers ~five-hundred strong. They carried the standard of Hayasia, and were led by Commander Cipianos (@Retired) A few parties of messengers maintained frequent communication between the ruins and the city, allowing the vanguards to call for aid upon spotting the enemy.

The city of Mutajara, with its high walls, towers, and great weapons, closed itself off. By day, patrols on the walls were doubled. The gates were watched by Units of armored cataphracts and archers, harassing and processing anyone who tried to enter or exit. By night, they were sealed- not to be opened under any circumstances. These draconian policies were not what Garai--or the council--wanted... but times like these left them with little choice. For now, the First and Third Cohorts fulfilled these duties, nearly a ~thousand men in total. Among them, if she remained in the city, Saafiya Dahan (@Marcus). She would receive news of a promotion... to Captain.

The remaining ~five-hundred kept Castle Sannuhar, performing audits into the five Companies that composed their garrison. Much of their focus was directed at Companies that contained former assassins or agents of Marov- for snakes didn't nest alone. Any man or woman suspected of treason was accosted, searched, and thrown away in the dungeons to await later trial. Much of this management was left to the surviving members of the Senior Officer Corps, freshly slighted by the death of their brothers in arms. Among their number, Captain Mohimef and Sergeant Haitan, two veterans of Tikhameru (@llmited), as well as Eduardo (@Shrike), a recruit, if he reported to the Castle as ordered.

The rest of Mandaraz's forces were nowhere to be seen in the valley, and Garai preferred to keep it that way. Even he was elusive, limiting his appearances as he coordinated from the shadows.

35140
Along the high mountains that surrounded the valley, lone nomads rode Samburru Howlers, watching the sandy wastes stretch out beneath them. They bore no outward signs of military affiliation- no ranks or special crests. Who were these strange men? What did they wear beneath their tattered cloaks? None could say for certain, but they carried with them Ta'shari Signalling Horns and... strange minerals.

They rode to each of the ancient monoliths surrounding the valley. These were hardly watchtowers- but watchtower wasn't quite the word. They constructed small pyres of wood and coal, and within hours, six fires burned in the valley of the ancients...

Should the enemy converge on any of these points- the orange blazes would begin to his and shriek, shifting to a ghostly shade of blue. Necrite- sacred stone of the dead- had some practical uses.

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"We cannot mourn. Not yet."

Seven innocents- dead. A Unit of Officers- assassinated. The sagacious staff that supported the Council and the Claimant- murdered. These bodies were collected from the scenes of slaughter and entrusted to the local priests to be interred. Some were cremated, their ashes sorted into ornate urns. Others were dried with natron and wrapped in linen bandages- mummified as the ancients were. A proper funeral- the kind of ceremony they deserved- would have to wait.

This was not a time for mourning. It was a time for vengeance.
 
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