[Endor] The Long Night

The seven Duchies of Central Rynmere and their respective baronies, cities, towns, villages, and landmarks each overseen by a Duke of one of the seven noble families and ultimately controlled by the King of Rynmere.

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Malcolm
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Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:49 am

24 Cylus 717

During Cylus the world sleeps, awash with twilight and buried in snow. The grass dies, the flowers are no more, and the trees are but a shadow of what they once were. But not all is quiet, for this is the season of the rogue, and if an honest man dreads anything, it is the long night and all those who awaken to exploit it.
Malcolm sat up top his mount looking out over the field. It was the camp’s eleventh day away from home, after what was meant to be a routine mission took a terrible turn. They had lost a handful of men, not to battle, though they were all fighting their own now, but to the weather that hammered the northwestern face of the Burning Mountains. The only road between Endor and Warrick had been plagued with bandits, as it usually was this time of year, and waiting the enemy out had been a costly mistake.
The warden’s breath formed a lingering, ghostly shape before him, and the men dotted about the camp either side of him rubbed their hands together and shuffled from foot to foot in an attempt to keep warm.
Benjamin reached out and took the reins of Malcolm’s horse, and pointed skyward. “There.”
A spark in the sky like a shooting star signalled the arrival of the skyriders, and Malcolm lifted his left hand to give the go ahead for the men to light the fires, if only for a moment. On the edge of the hillside they were exposed, and without tree for cover, they were little more than sitting ducks.
“It's late,” Malcolm murmured, “they should be safe to land, tell the men they can keep the fires going behind snow walls. We will need the fires to get enough fresh water for the Volareons.”
Benjamin ushered his horse forward, jolting the beast awake with a click of his tongue against the roof of his mouth.
Malcolm remained where he was, a dark statue atop a dappled grey horse, his wolfskin cloak frozen stiff, had done well to fight off the cold for the most part. He looked on as the fires were started and the Volareons began to land. It was only now that he felt in good company, their numbers, however, few enough that they would remain inconspicuous, hopefully.
Last edited by Malcolm on Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:31 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Elyna
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Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:15 am

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The party circled in a practised manoeuvre in their descent. At first it just looked as though there was a single harrier, scouting for prey. But when the shadow with outstretched wings swooped lower it quickly became apparent that it was larger than a bird of prey, large enough for a rider to sit upon it’s bag with supplies attached to the high leather saddle. As the first volareon neared the ground it tucked its wings in, bringing them closer to it’s body before dropping from the sky and landing like a cat amongst the snow, with a snarl. The rider dismounted and pulled the creature forward through the thick snow, a slim young woman with cropped blonde hair peeking out from beneath a fur hat.
Emily pulled a unco-operative Volareon towards the fire where the creature stretched out it’s neck and hissed at anyone who dared to stand close to the warmth. Two great beats of its wings was enough to clear the snow back from the frozen grass and it sank down, curling up near the embers. All the while, more of the creatures emerged from the dank grey mist of Cylus and cleared the flattest portion of landscape for the next rider.
Elyna circled highest, watching the small pin pricks of orange light between wingbeats. Her hair was plaited and pinned beneath a woollen hat. A leather hood had fallen back so frozen air burnt the back of her neck. Eight, she counted eight Skyriders on the ground and beneath her, Rafa was part way through his descent. They’d complained that she’d volunteered to go last, but they hadn’t argued for long. Elyna would always make sure that her command landed first and the biggest risk was left for herself. She was the most experienced ‘Rider and had been their Captain, a command she had recently renewed. The Iron Hand couldn’t really afford to prevent its commanders being on active duty, there wasn’t enough of them. Still, going last meant that if anyone had seen them, she’d receive the arrows. It also meant that her descent was carried out in near-total darkness, without even the shadow of trees to break up the endless stretch of black.
The young woman adjusted her grip on the leather reins and her mount dipped sharply. She lent forward face pressed into the feathers that dotted it’s neck and closed her eyes. The Volareon was a better flier than she was, he knew what he was doing and she’d leant that she needed to trust the beast to his instincts. So she put no pressure on the reins and waited until the descent twisted into a spiral and she drew a breath. Dropping from the sky was exhilarating and sent tingles down her spine. But it wasn’t what made her legs feel weak as she dropped from the animals back and led it towards the final embers of the fire.
The flames were snuffed out and Kit took the reins from her, leaving her free to scan the mountain side. Even against the darkness, she could recognise Malcolm’s faded shadow. Her stomach twisted knots and despite her nerves, she lifted her chin and set her shoulders back. Forcing herself to climb the slope towards the Warden. He’d been back barely ten trials before setting out again. He’d promised a quick mission, but nothing these days was certain.
The fog broke enough and cast dim light on his features. Elyna lent back to watch him, “Just one party of Skyriders,” Elyna offered a cautious smile in greeting, uncertain of who she was talking to. The Warden of the North or her lover, and the father of her child. “We’re supposed to help you flush them out, is that right?” She kept her voice low, so that it wouldn’t carry across the swirling mist. The young woman glanced at the rolling greyness and sighed, it was going to be cursed task to complete if that was the case. Still, it was always worth hoping that orders and messages had been wrong.
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Malcolm
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Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:40 am

Every bone in his body ached with the cold, and after a handful of days on the mountain side, Malcolm absolutely stunk. Hot water was hard to come by without fire, and so the men had only washed with a wet rag every second day, treating the wounded first. Malcolm was a selfless man who tended to put the good of his troops before himself, and though he was thankful to see Elena, he could only imagine one whiff of him and she wouldn't quite share in his joy.
The warden leaned forward in the saddle as if to bow and embrace his lover with a chaste kiss, but instead climbed down from his house to brave the snow covered earth in his worn leather boots. The earth crunched underfoot, and Malcolm led Elena to the shared tent where some of the wounded had been treated, and were now resting. Out of the wind and cold night’s air it would be easier for them to speak.
“They have an outpost on the road. The bandits must have taken it from some of the Endor Knights stationed on patrol for the first quarter of Cylus. On the way in the group gave us no trouble, and having donned the cloaks of our fallen, we did not recognise the threat. I lost seven men and a handful more were wounded. The doctor says Ronald might lose an arm,” the warden glanced towards the back of the tent, grim. “He's doing well though, and Kathryn is treating him with herbs.”
There came a pause and the look Malcolm gave Elena said that he wanted to know how she was and how their daughter was doing. He reached out and their fingers met briefly, his own icy cold, even beneath the gloves.
“I say we attack tonight, they will most likely be drunk or sleeping. We were investigating an attack on a wine wagon when they ambushed us, which leads me to believe they were responsible. Do you think the Volareon are up to the task, or the riders for that matters?”
Last edited by Malcolm on Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Elyna
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Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:03 am

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They weren’t married and therefore, their relationship remained shadowy and unannounced to the Iron Hand. Elyna expected that the commanders and Dukes were well aware who had fathered her bastard child, and yet it wasn’t mentioned and she and Malcolm maintained a professional distance from each other. For a romantic heart however, all the facts and reasons and explanations that she knew, didn’t ease the sting of her lover’s indifference. She took a step back so that he could dismount, nose wrinkling as he passed. The skyrider followed behind the Warden, wrapping her arms around her chest to keep in the last memory of warmth.

They ducked beneath the canvas flap and her cheeks lost their colour. Ronald was injured? Heat touched the back of her eyes and she stared at the pale, thick linen and listened to soft whimpers that rose from the gloom. Confident that she was back in control of her features, the woman turned dark eyes on Malcolm and studied him. He was tired, drained of energy and she wondered if it was just the cold but didn’t ask. Her fingers curled against his, the frayed woollen edge of her gloves brushing against the cold skin. He was like a statue made of ice and she held his hand between hers, hoping to warm it.

“The Volareon will probably do better than their riders,” Elyna admitted, “they’re better at seeing in darkness,” it would come down to trust. Riders liked to see what they were doing, but in the end the Volareon could see more than any human could. “We can land on the tower and work our way down through the defenders?” She ran her fingers down the bridge of her nose.

“Will you be nearby? If we can open the gate then as a combined unit we’ll have a better chance to take the outpost back,” she touched the tip of her tongue to her teeth. Skyriders were better ranged units. Reclaiming an outpost was more like a brawl and the soldiers would be better equipped for closer combat. Arrows weren’t going to do much good from the backs of Volareon either, not in the thick fog and snow. Ideally, an archer needed to know what they were shooting at.

Elyna looked around the tent before lifting a hand to Malcolm’s face, her thumb moving in a gentle sweep over his cheek, “I’m sorry about Ronald and the others,” the corners of her mouth pulled down. He’d be feeling the loss, he hated to lose anyone.
Last edited by Elyna on Sun Apr 09, 2017 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Malcolm
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Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:47 am

The promise of fire outside had brought them a moment of tenderness inside the tent, and Malcolm turned to press a kiss to the woman's palm. A cough from one of the injured drew his eye then, and it was business as usual once more.
The growl of a Volareon warning a handful of troops away from the fire beyond the walls of the tent saw the hairs on the back of Malcolm’s neck stand on end, and he straightened, not knowing if he would ever get used to the sharp pitched, rolling sounds the creatures made.
“I was hoping we could fight them with fire,” the warden admitted, “like we did back east.” The plan wasn't to burn the outpost down, but to fluster the men, perhaps even divide them. Bandits were never quite as organised, nor prepared as military troops were, and careful planning often saw groups like theirs unravel. These kinds of men fought for nothing but greed, and were more often than not out to save their own necks rather than risk them.
He took a folded piece of soft leather hide from his belt and rolled it open under candlelight. “These are the only two entry points. If we block this one closest to the tower and force them to defend the front, they'll be further away from cover, and between my archers and your riders, we’ll be able to pick them off, especially if we have fire to light the way for both ground and air troops.” Malcolm tried to curb his enthusiasm, but it was difficult when there was so much to hope for, a task ahead of them that just might be achievable now that Elena was here.
He drew a line through the west gate with a piece of charcoal, and circled the gate in the east side. “If you think it's possible I'll inform the rest of my unit to saddle up and get ready. We’ll let you fly ahead, and after the first fireball falls, get us access through this gate and we can do the rest.”
Last edited by Malcolm on Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:43 pm

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His mouth at least, was warm against the dark wool of her gloves and she smiled at him. The expression fading as he withdrew and her fingers dropped back to her side. There was almost an involuntary shiver that fluttered through the tent at the Volareon growl and Elyna bit the inside her of bottom lip. It was a primal sound, deep and intended to strike a note of fear in humanoid hearts. It helped that she’d been a rider for arcs and she’d spent that time carefully building a relationship with the creatures, learning not to show her fear. The note still sent a shiver down her own spine but she could control it, welcome it and imagine the terror it inspired in the enemies of Rynmere.

She nodded, fire was a good idea. “We bought a few rounds, if you want us to use those then it’s a better plan,” a smile tugged the corner of her mouth for a moment, “it’ll light them up for sure.” Elyna lent forward, smoothing her fingertips over the soft hid and circling the tower entrance. “I’ll set four ‘Riders over the exit,” she agreed, “It should deter anyone from coming out that way. “We’ll try picking off anyone on the walls.” It was a solid plan. The young woman squinted, considering alternative ideas. She was nothing if not thorough.

In the end, the Volareon dropped silent through the darkness when the Knights were in place and ready. Elyna lent forward across her mounts wings and waited till they brushed the top of the fort before she gave the whistle. The low pitched sound reverberated along the stone and wooden walls and it was then that hell broke loose on the bandits. Her command dropped fire bombs which were black, until they landed and exploded and send up sparks of light.

Where they hit wood, the timber caught fire and started burning. Panicked voices raised and the flames illuminated the terrified scramble for cover as the men and woman ran beneath, scrambling for weapons and any kind of defence. With enough light, the Colonel signalled for Emily and her smaller command to cover the east gate. Arrows knocked they circled above the exit. Elyna dropped two fire bombs in the path way, a deterrent and a light to guide the ranged attacks. Two men made a run for the trees on the other side. Before their second steps fell in the snow beyond the fort, they bodkin points slammed home and dropped them face first into the slush. Crimson liquid spread in the glow of angry flames.

With the exit under control, the Skyriders were free to harry the rest of the bandits, shooting anyone who stepped into the light. Elyna circled higher and squinted in the darkness, picking out the advancing shadows. It felt like an age that the attack had been going, but it had barely been five bits and the Knights would take time to cover the ground. Elyna drew her own bow string back, checked the longbow’s position against the flank of her mount and focused her attention down the shaft of the arrow. She held her breath and saw movement beside one of the first firebombs. A young woman stepped into the light, crouched low and with a shield held towards the approaching Knights. The colonel pressed her lips to the feather and loosed. The arrow flying true in the blizzard and sinking with a whisper into the woman’s shoulder. Her scream rose and mingled with the cacophony of battle and Elyna had another arrow on the string and ready to fly.
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Malcolm
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Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:30 am

In their relationship, they could fault each other for a number of things, each for their stubbornness, Malcolm’s lack of communication, and Elyna’s tendency to jump to conclusions. But on the road they worked well together, and Malcolm knew he could count of the Skyrider’s ability to lead the riders who had accompanied her.
Just as planned, Elyna had managed to get them through the front gate, and from the sky, the riders picked off anyone who exited the tower or manned the walls. Malcolm led his unit in through the gate and rode his horse to the steps of the tower. Fire cut them off from exiting through the far gate, and those who were desperate enough, jumped from the wall to their rocky deaths.
It wasn't the walls that concerned Malcolm, but the depths of the tower. He knew that it went deeper than it appeared to, spiralling into the earth as many buildings in Endor did. For this reason, it was difficult to know just or many bandits occupied the fort, and how far their tunnels went.
They picked off all those who crossed their path, white snow turned dark underfoot with blood and mud. When the yard was clear, and the steady flow of defenders dwindled into a trickle, and then stopped altogether, they waved the Skyrider’s down, signalling that it was safe to land.
The wind howled through the burning gates, causing the fire to spread, and Malcolm’s Knights worked to dampen its efforts with snow, soon bringing the fires under control. The squires lined up the dead, picking them clean of weapons, armour, and anything else worth salvaging. Taking this much loot back for the Ironhand would go down well, and anything sold with gold pocketed, was just an added perk for those who had risked their lives for the kingdom yet again.
Once Elyna had touched down, Malcolm walked up to her mount and helped her down from the creature before pointing to the entrance to the tower.
“I don't think there are many left, but we will need to sweep the tunnels just to make sure the fort is clear before sending word to the Knights in Endor. They will need to send another unit before season’s end or could risk losing the outpost again.”
Benjamin approached, mindful that the warden was speaking with another officer. “Ser, my men are ready to enter the tower, will you be joining us?”
Malcolm looked at Benjamin and nodded, “let's go in, by morning I want to be on the road home.”
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Ent
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Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:02 pm

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Name: Elyna

Knowledge:
Detection: Picking out targets in low light
Flying (Volareon): Flying in the dark is not an easy task
Flying (Volareon): Trust your mounts instincts
Leadership: Care about those who are under your leadership
Leadership: Descend last so you risk the most for your troops health
Malcolm: Hates to lose people
Malcolm: Made a plan to take the fort back
Ranged combat (Longbow): Shooting from a flying Volareon
Ranged combat (Longbow): Hold your breathe and focus when taking a shot

Loot: N/A
Injuries: N/A
Fame: +10 leading a force to rid a fort of bandit infestation
Devotion: N/A

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 5/5
Structure: 5/5
Magic: N/A

Name: Malcolm

Knowledge:
Detection: Watching for the attack signal
Elyna: Agreed to follow your pan of attack
Elyna: You knew you could trust her to lead the skyriders
Field craft: Snow can be used to stop fire
Leadership: Accompany your troops to fight
Resistance: Surviving in the cold of Cylus takes its toll
Tactics: Bandits are not as organised as trained soldiers
Tactics: Fire can cause panic in an opposing force
Tactics: Always check you got all the enemy
Volareon: Their growl is a warning

Loot: Armour and weapons have been taken by your troops to return to the Iron Hand.
Injuries: N/A
Fame: +10 leading a force to rid a fort of bandit infestation
Devotion: N/A

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 5/5
Structure: 5/5
Magic: N/A

Comment: This was an enjoyable thread to read and the fact that it was absent of any real errors in story or structure made it even more enjoyable to review. I always like to read a thread where there is some physical conflict, like a battle or a fight and this was well done. Only two small observations. Malcolm, I noticed that quite a few times throughout this thread you wrote Eylna as Elena, might just want to be careful of that. My other observation would be to maybe have some kind of marker for when there is a change in time and place. So when the attack took place I felt somewhat confused for a few moments as there was no indication that time and place had changed. That is more of a personal thing and I would normally use a horizontal line or three dots in the centre of the post. Besides that it was a good read and I enjoyed reviewing the thread. Enjoy your rewards.

p.s. sorry this took so long, your other thread should be reviewed soon too.

If you think I missed anything then feel free to fire me a PM and I will see how I can change or fix it.
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