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 In the streets of Picenum (open) 
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Teh Spam!
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Post In the streets of Picenum (open)
The sun rose and bathed the hills around Picenum in a warm, golden light. Nagash was already up and walked through the gardens which surrounded his mansion. On this terrace, he could overlook the city in its marble splendour as the sun was reflected in the golden dome of Picenum’s main temple.

Picenum was built on nine hills, around the river Mur, called after the country itself. The hills which surrounded it were covered with forests and olive farms and wineries. Four great paved roads lead to the city. The military built and maintenanced these roads when there was no war to be fought. This kept both the roads as well as the soldiers busy, useful and in good shape.

It had been some time since Nagash’s visit to the lady Allure, during the conflict between his faction and hers. Through his actions and hers, mutual respect had grown. In the time after the war, they had kept contact by means of scribes and though these letters the mutual respect had grown into a friendship. It was because of this that Allure had take up Nagash’s invitation to visit him here at Picenum. Today she was expected to arrive.
She had expressed great interest in arts, something which Picenum was famed for. The city was one of great architectural splendour and the many fountain decorated piazza’s were the meeting point for musicians, painters and other artists. It was because of this that the choice for the Letite church had been made when they had been forced to make a choice between the three dominant faiths or be overrun by all three of them. Even if Nagash and his people could care less for something as trivial as religion or world politics and would rather indulge themselves in their arts, wines and gastronomic pleasures, one sometimes had no choice but to conform to the wishes of the outside world.

At a visit not too long ago, one of the High Priests of Leto had been met with such exaggerated piety by the sarcastic people of Picenum that Nagash could barely keep himself together. In order to prevent himself from breaking out in a hysterical fit of laughter, he just stood there grinning like a fool somewhat behind the priest, trying to conceal his religious skepticism. This did not go unnoticed by the “flock”, who then doubled their exaggeration of piety. When finally one of the people, who was asked by the High Priest how his sermon related to his life and how he planned to follow the commandments the priest had mentioned, started a story about how he had been a lost sheep before he had found his faith in Leto and that being faithful felt like a multi-orgasmic sensation, Nagash finally gave in and snickered. When the angry priest had turned around, he had suppressed the laughter again and just stood there grimacing to hold himself together. When the priest left, the sounds of celebration were filling the city. Nagash had later received a letter from the priest, who expressed his malcontent about this ‘sinful people of cynics’.

Of course they made sure that they did not invoke the wrath of the church and paid their tributes and took part in a few holy wars, but by making sure that they did not appreciate too much involvement of the church, they were mostly left alone. This was also due to the fact that the people of Picenum had eagerly taken to the creation of the great temple, one of the advantages of faith in their opinion. The temple was a beacon of decadence in the region, beautifully crafted from marble of the highest quality. Its roof was supported by carefully decorated columns which the gold-covered dome as crown. Inside was an abundance of statues and paintings and the acoustics were wonderful not only for sermons, but also for plays and musical performances.

Nagash walked back towards the mansion. It promised to be a hot day, so he did not want to wear his armour today. Instead, he wore a silken white tunic with the weapon of the lands of Mur embroidered on the chest in red and gold. The best wines had been hand picked and the cooks were already preparing for the feast tonight. It was time for the lady Allure to taste the marvelous decadence of life as it was lived in Picenum.

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Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:51 am
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Post Re: In the streets of Picenum (open)
Changes. Life was all about changes, and the ability of sentient beings to handle them. Allure rode in quiet solitude through the countryside that would eventually open up to the city that was Picenum. Well, as much solitude as could be garnered when one rode in a carriage with 2 footsmen and 4 guardsmen. Still, it was a nice getaway from her daily duties and she rode in tranquility, the letter Lord Nagash had sent her assuring her safe passage through what could be thought of as enemy territory.

She smiled, a smile that lit up her eyes and brightened her face. Her fine features were at careful repose; she was looking forward to this visit more than she let on. She had undertaken leadership of her family's campaign here after careful deliberation. They had made progress and those she had allied herself with had proven worthy colleagues. Yet at times, she felt like something was missing. Other than her immediate family, few had extended the hand of friendship towards her. That the most extensive communication she had outside her family was with one outside the alliances she had, spoke volumes of the Montezuma's beliefs and ideals.

The carriage slowed and came to a stop.

"Lunch time, m'lady", came a voice outside her window. Allure narrowed her eyes at the change in the male voice when he spoke the word "lady".

"Idiot", she mumbled as she carefully gathered her skirts to step outside the carriage as the door opened. A quick intake of breath distracted her as she looked around. The countryside was beautiful! Rich forests provided a spectacular backdrop to the wineries and olive farms that dotted the area about them.

Ignoring the guardsman's hand, she jumped down from the carriage, wincing slightly as the fragile shoes she wore did nothing to stop the impact of hard packed soil against tender flesh. Even with that absurd helmet he had appropriated for his role on the journey, there was no mistaking the rich brown and gold rays of Rafael's eyes as he looked at his cousin, a chuckle escaping his lips as she winced.

Allure's retort was cut short as she took in the small clearing off the road, where the 2 footsmen had hurriedly spread out blankets in preparation for their meal. They were but a few hours away from Picenium, and had decided to take a small break to refresh themselves before finishing their journey. As Allure walked ahead of Rafael, her expression changed to one of hunger. Small bowls of grapes and various cheeses lay upon the blanket, a small table nearby held crystal glasses and a decanter of elven mead, nectar of the Gods!

Two of the guardsmen stood sentry within the small grouping of trees that provided shelter and shade. The other guardsman was struggling with his helmet. A silk sheet of hair fell to his waist when he managed to tug the helmet off.

Shades of righteous gibberish! Really Rafael, the ideas you get sometimes baffles even the coolest of minds! Krynnen Montezuma exclaimed as he began taking the metal breastplate off. That Rafael had insisted they were to act as part of the guarding party so that their numbers remained small was quite alright. That they had to dress the part was beyond the boundaries of indignity! Still, Krynnen was glad to be journeying with his sister. She needed a break from the heavy mantle of leadership, and he was never one to turn down the opportunity to indulge in another's hospitality.

The 3 Montezumas each took a spot on the blanket. Allure motioned for the rest of their group to join them. There was no reason for them to stand there. She was confident of Nagash's word that they would be safe while journeying to his city, and there was no reason for those in her employ not to enjoy the refreshments. The small party of 7 enjoyed part of their afternoon in quiet camaraderie, the restraints of social standing thrown to the wind. The 3 nobles traded jokes and stories with the 2 bearing military rank, as easily as with the 2 born into servitude. For a brief respite they were 7 friends of elven heritage, who had seen more of war than anyone should have to, and knew how to take the small pleasures life offered as they were. Gifts to be enjoyed and cherished, for one never knew what tomorrow would bring.

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Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:04 am
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Teh Spam!
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Post Re: In the streets of Picenum (open)
The sun was past its highest point now, and the guests would be nearby now. A cavalry regiment of a dozen horsemen had been sent out to greet the guests. They all had a flag attached to their lances and wore bronze armours with black and red patterns on it and with red-dyed horsehair plumes on their helmets. The captain found it strange that they were to escort someone who they had recently fought against, but he did as he was ordered. He was a man with great dislike for politics, a soldier through and through. They made good time on the road, and had brought one spare horse each. Fine mounts from a province somewhat to the north.

As they approached a carriage with guard, they slowed down and the captain rode forward a ways ahead of the others. The carriage was escorted by two footmen and for guardsmen, so it was likely that this was the one they were expecting.

“Ho, elf!”, he said, saluting crisply, “Is this the carriage of the lady Allure? We are her official escort, with the compliments of the lord Nagash.”

One of the guardsmen confirmed that this was indeed the carriage of the lady Allure. The captain of the horsemen dismounted and walked towards the carriage. The door had already opened and a young elven woman looked him in the eye. He gave her a military salute.

“Welcome to our country, lady Allure. Since it must have been a long journey, lord Nagash had us bring horses for you and your men. On our roads, you’ll make good time and you shall arrive at the Domus Aurea, the Golden House, within the hour. My men will see to it that your carriage is safely returned then. And should you choose to sit out the rest of the journey in this carriage, we shall accompany you for the coming four hours.”

He briefly looked at the sky.

“If I may make a suggestion, I would choose the former. The sights may be wonderful, but if we arrive in the twilight, you will miss the splendour of the gardens.”

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Thu Jul 17, 2008 9:52 am
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Post Re: In the streets of Picenum (open)
“If I may make a suggestion, I would choose the former. The sights may be wonderful, but if we arrive in the twilight, you will miss the splendour of the gardens.”

Allure grinned widely at the Captain's suggestion. She nodded briefly in response to his salute, but was determined that this visit would be about them enjoying something they had not been able to in a long while. Good food, fine arts, and, hopefully, good company.

"A fine suggestion indeed, good sir. If you would but give me a moment," she said, withdrawing back into the carriage for no more than 2 minutes. Throwing the door open, she re-emerged clad in a fine leather outfit, jet black with gold accents. The bodice was a tad revealing, but there was no mistaking the fine workmanship that indicated the outfit served a double purpose as armour. Running her fingers through her hair she flashed the Captain another smile.

"There is no need for all the horses. My footmen and 2 of our guard will ride with the carriage, if you will leave one of your men behind to lead them."

At her words both Rafael and Krynnen came forward to take a fresh mount, removing their helmets and breastplates as they did so. If the Captain was surprised to see either of them, he kept it well hidden. Without further ado, the party renewed the last leg of their journey, horses at a gallop. All three of the Montezuma's rode with careless abandonment, free from the constraints of battles. They reached the city in under an hour, and were enchanted by the beauty of it. Slowing down to a proper speed within city limits, they made their way to Lord Nagash's mansion.

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Allure is just another word for Temptation
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Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:44 pm
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Teh Spam!
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Post Re: In the streets of Picenum (open)
Overlooking the city and the roads leading to it from his terrace, Nagash saw a group of horsemen approaching the city, then making their way back to the villa. As he had hoped and expected, Allure had chosen to come with the cavalrists he had sent out to greet her. He made his way to the gates, where they would soon arrive. When he got there, the sound of hoofbeats could be heard already, as the guests approached the gates on the cypress-flanked lane. He waved a greeting and as they dismounted, the soldiers rushed forward to take care of the horses.

“Welcome! This is my humble dwelling,”, he said while waving his arm theatrically towards the colonnaded villa. Then, extending his hand to Allure much like she had done in response to his military greeting when they had first met, “Glad you and yours have made it here. Come join me on the terrace and we’ll enjoy Picenum in the light of the setting sun. It’s a sight which never fails to bring joy to my heart.”

He then nodded at the other two. Rafael he knew from their previous encounter. He and his cousin were quite different, but in a compatible kind of way. Rafael seemed the more calculating and conservative of the two, while Allure radiated a personality more suited for impulse and improvisation.
The third he did not know, but there was a similarity between the three one could not miss. He flashed a boyish grin at the man, and said:

“Come, let’s save the introductions for when we’re seated and enjoying a wine and a little something to eat. Unless you want to refresh and dress first?”

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Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:42 am
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Post Re: In the streets of Picenum (open)
It was not the heat. Nor was it the dust that constantly whirled around his head and found it's way into his eyes, mouth and lungs. The sand particles, rubbing against his sweaty body with each move.
No, these things he could live with and had done so for quite some time now.

It was something else that bothered him this evening.
He sat down for a minute and whiped the sweat from his forehead with a piece of his worn tunic. A present from his late wife.
It consisted of a long piece of rectangular cloth sewed to an identical piece, with holes for the arms and head simply left unsewn.
The red dyed tunic usually worn by officers, now torn into pieces after months of hard labor.

Almost an hour had passed since she rode by. Her hair, her face... her smile. Everything about her reminded him of a different time. A place located far from Picenum, far to the north. A wife... a son...


Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:49 pm
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Post Re: In the streets of Picenum (open)
(/ooc attempting to move us outside so we can encounter Irofist, more the merrier)

Allure's lips lifted charmingly to one side in response to Nagash's slight grin.

"Refreshment's would be lovely, but rather than sitting, I wonder if you would take us on a tour of your fair city Lord Nagash? As for introductions, I apologize for not mentioning that Rafael and my brother, Krynnen, would be accompanying me on this visit. Krynnen had the misfortune of sharing our Mother's womb with me, a very rare thing for our kind, although I arrived into the world a full 5 minutes before him!"

Allure laughed as she made a sweeping gesture of her hand towards Krynnen, who stepped forward.

"And since that day I am burdened with her to look after", he said, bowing in greeting.

The only thing you have ever looked after, cousin, is the latest lass to catch your eye. Don't let him fool you Lord Nagash, Krynnen's interests all being with Krynnen, Rafael spoke with a rare air of joviality about him. Allure was happy to see her cousin relaxed, away from the responsibilities that were theirs of late.

The 3 made a striking trio. Rafael and Krynnen were of same height, but there the similarities ended. Rafael chose to wear his hair short, which was unusual for an elf, while the tips of Krynnen's silken tresses, a rich red in colour, hit at his waist. Rafael had intelligent eyes of a dark brown shot through with gold that spoke volumes of the ever working mind behind them, while Krynnen had an open gaze of the same clear grey as those of his sister. The fine lines around his mouth also gave testament that this was a male prone to easy laughter.

"What say you then Lord Nagash? Should we enjoy a stroll around your city? We caught but a glimpse of it, and we are anticipating taking in it's beauty."

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Allure is just another word for Temptation
Morituri Te Salutamus
Nobody lives forever


Mon Jul 21, 2008 3:18 pm
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