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 Dark Myths 
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Stablehand
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Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2004 11:05 am
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Post Dark Myths
[ooc: if you wish to join in please make sure to read the thread fuly before hand, and to contact me with a vague idea of how you feel you'd like to join in. thank you :ooc]

There are many tales told of the fae folk of ancient days.

Many were the stories spoken of their beauty, skill, and abilities. And in truth each of these stories had some founding in fact, but like all truths had become stretched into legends and children's stories. The children did love to hear the tales of the elven-kind, for were they not more glamorous, more agile, more intelligent than any man could ever be? Each an example of a perfect people?

For a time and many an age perhaps they had indeed been so great, for the elves were once rulers of most lands, their race rising far in its ascent of the the world. Their magics could shape the land, their songs could tame the beasts. Great cities were raised as a symbol of the greatness of their people. Vast spires and halls in which to study and perfect themselves, aiming for the continued expanse of their lands and their lives.

But like any great people they spread far and wide, and in doing so became a more fractured people. Diversity spawned amidst the realms of elves. There were those that shunned the high arts and returned once more to nature, becoming the forest-kin spoken in tales as watchers of glades and glen. There were those too that reached to all the different areas of the land. Some settled in the vast deserts, others by the lakes and rivers, even in the underground realms where they would later become the Drow. And some too retained the old ways of their ancestors.

And in time the elven peoples fell from dominance as both wars of enemy and kin alike took their toll on a proud race. So it was they they began to fade from the world, each of the elven kind losing contact with the others as their species shrank into myth and legend amongst the younger races. In the eyes of the elves could be seen an acceptance that the greatest things had come to pass, that now was their nightfall.

.....But not all were so willing to see this. They would not accept such a fate for themselves, for they were young and had not the knowledge of the world of their fathers and mothers. In the hearts of these youths grew the seeds of selfishness and hate. They despised their elders for not letting them be free as they sought.

In the end they made a great exodus away from their own people, travelling far beyond the safety of the old world and into the bleak lands of Korgythe. There they settled amongst the dark pine forests and towering black mountains. A land of no hope and joy where even the light of the sun filtered through the great ravines as a poor grey that left shadows and silence in its wake. Here the seeds that had begun to grow learnt to flourish. Their souls became as the landscape; bleak, black and filled with chill.

Of their departed young the others elves never heard again, for their people dwindled in numbers and it became more unsafe to leave the borders of the fae realms.

And so they passed into the legends and myths of the younger races. Tales of kind, wise, beautiful beings who could work miracles. Of beings attuned to the magics and works of nature. Of beast tamers and spirit dancers.

......Yet around the mountains and forests of the Bleak Lands the young people's told different stories to their children:

"Beware the ones that come in the night....."


[center]***************************************[/center]

In the arena the crowd roared and shouted their approval. Already the dusty ground was thick with the blood of the other competitors who had neither the skill nor strength to survive. Great sweeping stains where arteries had been slashed created the illusion of brush strokes on a canvas. And in a way that was what they were. But the brushes were made of finest steel and the paint was the lifeblood of the fighters. It was a masterpiece greater than any simple painter could ever accomplish. Here was a work of sweat and blood, of toil and pain, emotion and skill. Each delicate slash contained in it the very passion of life, a desire to stay alive at the expense of those around you.

The final two combatants circled each other around the centre, stepping over the warm corpses of the fallen. Each had a number of cuts across their bared limbs, blood leaking slowly across the skin to mix with that spilled from their victims.

High up in the seats of the noble houses sat a number of representatives from each of the noble lines. Members of Yhrienti, Causkh and Korian making sure to sit at a comfortable distance away from their main political opposition comprising of Frukhan, Strothi and Asyrin. In between the middle of these two groups was the rest of the noble houses whose political motives and alliances were more 'fluid'. Amidst these was Noble lord Yokhri Thalikh, along with his youngest of three sons, Urithain.

They watched the combat intently like all of the other noble houses, occasionally giving a cheer at a particularly skilled avoidance as the two fighters continued to duck and weave around each other's blade.

One of the two was owned by Yhrienti. The other by Strothi. While to those in the common stands this was simply a fight for amusement, to those that played the deadliest game of all it was matter of showing strength in front of the opposition. If either house lost it would diminish their standing with the other swayable houses. Similarly the winner could expect greater support in council matters and opportunities for trade agreements. Nobody liked to be on the side as a loser.

The battle came to a climax as the house Yhrienti fighter rolled under a parry and slid his blade straight across the neck of his opponent. There was a slight gurgled scream as the dying fighter dropped his own blade and clutched at the hole across his windpipe. Blood fountained over the victor and floor alike before finally he slumped to the ground silent.

The crowd dropped still and quiet for a second before a slow rumble of dissaproval and anger began to rise in volume. To this were added shouts of anger and screams of rage at the victor. It was considered the worst form of sport not to correctly incapacitate the foe before finishing him. Yet this noise too settled to a quiet as all eyes turned on the noble house seating. Each one of the noble lords rose at once and held out their hand, and with a swift movement they turned a thumb up or down.

Yokhri Thalikh smiled ever so slightly as he turned his thumb downwads and registered the votes of the other noble houses. The majority were faced towards the dirt.

Without a visible signal four side doors in the arena pit itself began to open and out of them came great beasts. As tall as a horse to the shoulder, but far bulkier and longer they were huge reptiles that walked bipedal and had grasping front limbs. Each had a head resembling that of a crocodile's only shorter. Though normally fairly docile and stupid the smell of blood awoke their cold blooded bodies and they began to move swiftly towards the fighter who was already trying to run to the edge of the pit.

As the nobles sat down a renewed cheer erupted from the common stands as they observed the victorious gladiator being torn limb from limb and tossed through the air before being swallowed in huge gulps.

The noble housae lords watched a moment more and then stood up and began to leave without a word to each other, bodyguards slowly taking their place by each respective representative.

Once out into the open air of the private courtyards around the arena stadium Yokhri turned to his son. They were both tall, thin individuals with dark hair and pale skin and eyes, dressed in exquisite purple silk robes and carrying only a single sheathed sword harnessed in a human leather harness at the waist. Such was the traditional dress of nobles in a casual environment.

Yokhri spoke in an emotionless and detached manner, more like a tutor to a student than a father to his son. "So what did you make of the entertainment?"

folding his arms behind his back Urithain thought for a moment. Though the youngest of three sons he was still a good thirty cycles of age and was nearly ready to prove himself an heir to his house by joining the raiding parties of his father. "Just as you thought, Yhrienti was foolish to try such a gamble so soon after the loss of their prime gladiator trainer. No doubt they were hoping to prove that even without Kohidrian they still had strength in the arena. But this failure on their part will likely lose them the Witch Gate mining trade with Anast. That lack will set them back quite nicely for the upcoming council meetings and will likely leave their raiding parties out of the next venture and thus unable to gain their share of the prize to be had." He gave a brief smile to his father, the corner of his lips raising in a rather cruel and vicious looking manner.

Yokhri in turn nodded his approval to his son. "It seems you are learning well. Good. I would hate for you to be a poor son. You know i could not allow anything to make our house appear weak." There was no particular malice or cruelty in that comment, just the single unspoken promise; "You are expendable. Do not fail me." The bodyguard of house Thalikh approaced on horseback with two more black steeds for his masters. "Let us return home. There is much to be done this evening."

_________________
Lock up your children, shut all windows tight.
The elves are hunting for victims tonight.
When fae folk do knock at your door, you must hide,
Your death is the gift sought by elven knives.....


Wed Dec 22, 2004 1:02 pm
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Stablehand
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Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2004 11:05 am
Posts: 3
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The blades chimed as they struck.

Reeling away from the blow both combatants pulled their blades away, turning the violent clash back into the fluid motion of combat. Each swung the finely balanced steel falchions away and around in a circle again. Both heads snapped like a snake pouncing, eyes darting back and forth as they glimpsed every little motion their opponent made. Feints and tricks almost too quick for the mind to comprehend. There the slight shift in the balance of his lead foot, merely a ploy to distract from the changing angle of the wrist, which itself was only a precursor to the slight easing of the grip and rebalancing of the swords weight. Ploy and counter ploys back and forth without even touching each other or joining weapons.

Then as every counter ploy was in its turn countered the dancing paths of the two figures met like two rivers meeting and joining as one.

Again the blades sang a song of struggle. A single crisp note that echoed and bounced from every wall of the battle room, accompanied only by the slight shuffling sound of leather clad feet moving dexterously from one position to the next.

The first of the two elves was Urithain, third son of the noble house of Thalikh. He was dressed in soft leather clothing, with armour of Curon scales strapped tightly to his limbs and torso. His opponent was similarly dressed, and noticeably older with many facial scars to show a life time of violence. He was Kuyash, the house guard master. Originally he had been a common soldier drafted from the commoners. But his skill and lethal efficiency as a heartless killer had brought him to the attention of Urithain's father. Now he was the personal trainer for every one of the Thalikh bodyguard, as well as the noble sons and daughters of the household.

Both of them backed off to a safe distance in order to regain their breaths and formulate another attack. Kuyash gave a grin that could have beenb one of approval, or possibly the same look a cat gives a mouse it has cornered. With the number of scars lining his flesh any expression was so distorted it would be impossible to tell if there was a difference. "You've gotten better since last we sparred. I see you're learning to focus your anger."

Urithain did not smile, he merely continued circling, shifting his balance at random out of habit alone. "Perhaps i've simply grown tired of these games and aim to one day ram this blade through your patchwork face."

If Kuyash was in anyway phased or angered by this he made no sign. His every movement was cool and filled with a restrained energy ready to be released on command. "You know i had your sister again last night. She begged me for it." He licked his crooked lips to emphasise the insult, dragging the long, thin tongue across scar tissue.

Much like Kuyash, Urithain was not phased by such meagre insults. He cared not in the least for his 'dear sister'. One day he swore he would take her out to the Curon cages and let them have their way with her before slitting her from neck to groin and letting her entrails be a meal for the beastly mounts. His sister was a pain in his side that he would gladly be rid of if only father did not have a role for her in his council games. "You and half the household, including the slaves and my father i'd have no doubt." He knew that remark could get him killed, regardless of how accurate a description it might be. But like everything else in life this was part of the game. Anyone could make an insult and take one in return, but it was a show of strength to be able to get away with something that could call death down upon your head.

Kuyash gave him an unpleasantly malicious grin. "You know your father would take your head for such a remark?"

He matched Kuyash's grin with one equally unpleasant. "Certainly. And your head could sit beside mine on the battlements for the crows to feast upon should he be made aware of your nocturnal activites with my dear sibling." It was all a game. There was never any real threats here. Kuyash would never take his head for any insult he gave out, but he would take it if Urithain could not keep up with pace of both battle and banter. There was no room for weakness and failure of any sort and a swift tongue was needed just as much as a swift blade in the every day lives of the noble born. Perhaps more so.

Each realising the day's learning had reached its end they released their circling stances and placed the blades down on the floor to be taken away and cleaned by slaves of the house after they had adjourned. The grin on Kuyash's face fell away and returned to the blank expression of the killer he was. "Your father will be impressed by your progress. Soon i shall be ready to test you. You had better be prepared, for your sake."

This statement given they each left through seperate doors to remove the used spar clothing and cleanse themselves in hot baths.

_________________
Lock up your children, shut all windows tight.
The elves are hunting for victims tonight.
When fae folk do knock at your door, you must hide,
Your death is the gift sought by elven knives.....


Wed Dec 22, 2004 4:08 pm
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Stablehand
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Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2004 11:05 am
Posts: 3
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It would be so easy to let his mind drift and become comfortable in the warm waters of the bath. Like the rest of the room it was carved from black rock, the only sort that was to be found in the realm of Korgythe. This very spire and all the rooms and walls within had been constructed by slaves using slabs of rock, which were themselves brought down from the high slopes by an untold number of slave gangs. Under the watchful eyes and lashes of the slavers the pitiful wretches had been worked to death to build his family home from nothing. A thousand or more of the wretches had died from exhaustion, hunger or the attentions of their overseers, only to be replaced by yet more who would die much the same. And once completed the last surviving slaves had been hung from the battlements by hooks pierced into the flesh of their backs. Some survived for days as their skin slowly tore and began to rot, finally plunging as the putrid meat could sustain them no more and the frail bodies were dashed along the sloping sides of the outer walls.

It was the sort of thought that could bring pleasant dreams at night, and the very image in his mind of those dying wretches was enough to stir a small sigh of wistful longing. Some day perhaps he too could create such grand achievements as his ancestors had done. It was for this reason that the house guards wore small flesh hooks on chains from their belts, to show allegiance to the household responsible for such a momentous occasion in their people's history.

The bath Urithain lay in was about twelve feet across and easily four feet in depth. The hot water had to be brought up by slave labourers from the furnaces in the depths of the tower. If they allowed the water to go cool before it was full they would each suffer a dozen lashes across the face. It was no surprise therefore that the only ones that lasted more than a few months were half blind from their first mistake and had made the choice never to fail again. Nobody was allowed to make a second mistake. What fate exactly befell such individuals he did not know, but having met the Master of Servants on a number of occasions he was confident that it would be suitably unpleasent for those involved.

The room was lit by a gentle glow from a hundred candles placed on various stone surfaces. They glowed with a selection of different colours, some appearing more purple, some more red, some slightly green. The different flames were the result of the different materials used to make the candles. Human fat in particular gave a lovely contrast to that of an orc candle.

Salts placed in the water gave a lovely metallic tang to the air which filled his nostrils and brought back fond memories of his first hunt as a young elf, plunging the steel dagger repeatedly into the chest and stomach of the human child that had been his prey amidst the castle hallways. Of course he had been chastised by his father afterwards for such sloppy killing, claiming that such brutality was unbecoming of their proud people and more akin to the wretched and worthless slaves they hunted. Urithain still had the scar across his arm where Yokhri had taken the bloody knife from his hands and slashed a deep but perfect wound along the length of his forearm. And though he hated his father for daring to touch him in such a manner, he could not fault the lesson behind it. Even as he bled slowly onto the floor he had been able to admire Yokhri's work. It was deep enough to inflict excrutiating pain and bleeding, but careful enough not to hit any major arteries or muscles which would leave permanent and possibly fatal damage.

He turned his head slightly at the sound of movement in the doorway to the bath chamber.

There stood his sister, Hespera.

Dressed in a tight fitting body gown of black silks that revealed between her breasts and had identical slits down the length of each leg, she was the very image of a seductress. Long dark hair and pale skin were the hallmarks of their family and she was no exception. Hair that shone like midnight stretched down her back and volumed out behind the the silver circlet she wore. The expression on her face was one of smug pleasure, as though revelling in some secret knowledge that no-one else knew.

Her beauty was well known amongst the social gatherings of the nobility and if it were not for her becoming a sorceress of the temple then doubtless she would have been betrothed to one of the sons of a house which fitted into father's plans in some form or another. But knowledge of her training at the temple was common, and so she was instead regarded as an item purely of depraved interest. Urithain had no doubt that she had bedded a number of the other nobility, though whether this was her own doing or part of Yukhri's schemes was not apparent, nor of great concern.

"I have already heard mention of the things you have been saying of me and they do not please me. And you know as well as i that father hear's all within these walls." Her voice, much like her body was beautiful beyond compare. But it was like a feline, selfish and egotistical. It gave the impression of a desire to toy with you briefly, before biting your head off to satisfy her needs as she saw fit.

"Why sweet sister, surely you can take a jest as well as the next. And what father hears is of no concern. What kind of father would he be to kill his beloved children over such a small slight on his name?" His tone was quite obviously toying and designed to infuriate and drag on Hespera's patience. Even going so far as a wave a hand dismissively from the bath.

Slowly she crossed over to the edge of the tub with the sort of movements designed and practiced to distract and control the minds of weak willed men. Without even asking or caring for an invite she removed her single piece gown and let it slide to the floor, revealing the true beauty of her form in all its pale glory before climbing into the tub with him and leaning in close to him.

"You and i are both aware that our father's love extends no further than the possible uses he has for us to achieve his goals. And somehow i doubt he would place enough importance on any one of us that he would not consider having us killed in an instant should it suit him." Her hand stroked gently down his arm under the water, attempting to lull his body and in turn his mind.

"Now who should watch their tongue when such walls as these have ears?" There was a slight stutter in her caressing motion as he infuriated her once more. Unlike Urithain and his brothers she had little of the patience of their father, instead inheriting the more fiery nature of their mother. It was in fact this feature of their mother's character that had led father to have her disposed of. He could not abide such emotional weaknesses to disturb his schemes and plans. Secretely Urithain hoped that his sister's similar nature would lead to her own assasination by their father.

"Tell me then dear brother, though you jest, why have you never sought any favours of me? I know how they talk of me amidst the noble gatherings. Surely you too have wondered over what i have to offer those who give me reason to give favour." Slowly she moved her face closer and closer to his, the sharp curve of her nose nearly brushing against his hair as she whispered in his ear.

He let a small smile cross his lips. "Your beauty and tales of your skills are indeed almost legendary, but i'm afraid i have no desire to contract a slave disease."

He was expecting the strike and was more than prepared when her hand slapped him solidly around the face. There was no playfulness in that blow, merely spite and hatred, just as he knew was hidden behind his sister's sweet tones. Without even saying another word she exited the bath and not even bothering to pick up her garment strode away into the hallways of the household.

Normally he would not have let such a strike touch his person without severe pain being inflicted in return, but he was satisfied to let it go this one time. It was after all his intention to infuriate her and cause such an angry reaction. Now that she was gone he felt even better than before, relaxing in the warmth of the bath. Leaning slightly towards the entranceway he shouted to the guard he knew would be in the hallway.

"Fetch a young female commoner slave, and a six inch khatei blade. And warn the house staff that the room will need cleaning once i am finished in here." Indeed he was feeling much better now and his body ached for a release. Soon he would have that as he slid a cold steel blade into resistant flesh......

_________________
Lock up your children, shut all windows tight.
The elves are hunting for victims tonight.
When fae folk do knock at your door, you must hide,
Your death is the gift sought by elven knives.....


Thu Dec 23, 2004 5:38 pm
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