• Closed • Snakes and Shields

Beyond the city of Rharne lies the Stormlands, which is home to a number of farms, forests, fields, Lake Lovalus, and the River Zynyx. This subforum also includes the Stormwastes to the south.

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Varlum
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Snakes and Shields

Sat Nov 21, 2020 4:00 pm


32nd Vhalar, 720
Thud!

It was later in the evening, Varlum swinging his axe down hard onto a training dummy. It had only been five minutes and the mix of wood, straw and other components had been shattered, straw pouring out and splinters of wood littering the floor. Varlum gave small, deep breaths as he looked to the stationary target, sighing a little as he tried to keep his head focused. The creature that had attacked them in the Stormwastes, giant flames and scorching heat beyond that of anything Varlum had dealt with before. Then the Umbral Caverns, filled with more creatures they had yet to see and more mystery for them all. It was something different. As much as he'd never admit it, Varlum was almost scared. For the first time in a long time his hands had started shaking, nerves filling his veins and bringing him to a point of fear and confusion. The fact he was still alive after spending so long fighting creatures far more powerful than himself was a miracle. It could have been his death, the last anyone had ever seen of Varlum Onarmus.

As the thought of it haunted his mind for a moment, Varlum put his axe to the floor and took a small breather, sitting back on a crate and closing his eyes. His life had been nothing but fighting for a long time now. Being a soldier was hard and he knew it, it was what he had signed up for, but this was something else. Ellasin, Storm's Edge, Flameborn. Everything he had done had been a battle, every fight he fought taking more and more risks and putting him in graver danger than before. One day it could catch up to him. One day it could mean the end. It was a risk he was always willing to take, one he had never feared. Yet it was easy to be comfortable with the idea of death when you hadn't stared it in the face. But Varlum saw death in every creature and beast he fought. He saw what death would mean in the dark eyes of the creatures that fought him.

As his eyes raised he looked at the few soldiers still out and around, some on watch and others relaxing or training of their own accord. One of them, however, stood out more than the others. Prae. Another Ithecal, but more than that. One of the few that had been there to see what he'd fought out in the Stormwastes. What they'd all fought together. It was almost a welcome sight, seeing someone else that had been through the experience he had been through. With a small sigh and a moment to clear his head, Varlum stood up and picked his axe up, approaching the other Ithecal with a small nod and a subtle smile. "Good to see you again."

As he came over he noted a couple of things, both that he'd noticed prior. His shield was one of the first things he noticed when he met Prae, a shield he seemed incredibly familiar with. It moved as if he had held one since the day he was born. Varlum almost had to admit jealousy in that regard. Another, however, was the silver shield on the back of his hand. In all of his time serving Ethelynda he had never met another Shield-bearer, not that he could recall at least. It would potentially give them a lot to talk about. Finally, his eyes noticed some of the markings over his body. Glowing runes and fire in the back of his throat. With Mutations that blatant, on top of Varlum being made of stone, the two could likely tell each other as mages without a second of hesitation.

"It's been a while. How have things been?"
word count: 660
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Praetorum
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Re: Snakes and Shields

Sun Nov 22, 2020 6:03 am


Date: 32nd of Vhalar, Arc 720
Status: Chatty


Weapons: Trident, Tower Shield
Armor: None
No Current Magical Effects

Praetorum twirled the scythe in his hand, running silently through a set of drills so familiar he could have done them in his sleep. But it was always good to go back to the basics, and he was in a nostalgic mood today. Curled in a corner of the courtyard, Sneabru worked on something he'd said was a secret, occasionally glancing up as if to check that Prae was still there. 


Prae met his eye with a brief smile, and continued with his drill, every sweep and strike landing as they had a million times before. At his back, his shield shifted to one side, and Prae smoothly shrugged it back into place with his next slash. He'd loosened the strap a little to try something new, and he was still getting used to the slight change; he gained a little more mobility around the shoulders, in exchange for some instability as his shield swayed at his back. Still, with his tail as a counterbalance, it worked just fine, and he was able to go through each movement without any real issues. 


He finished the last move, a sharp chop downwards, and then released his grip on his weapon—the scythe fell, but vanished into nothing before it hit the ground. Prae's right arm slipped through a leather strap, and he shrugged his shield off that shoulder—at the same time, Prae's left hand came up behind his back, and caught the handle of his tower shield as it was freed. He was half a trill late, claws fumbling for a handle he couldn't see as it started to swing down, unbalanced now that the strap was only around one shoulder, but managed to catch it all the same, though he had to readjust his grip as he brought the shield up in front of him.

He could do it quicker with practice, Praetorum decided, a trident appearing in his right hand. He'd never seen anyone pull their shield from rest to ready quickly enough to be usable in a battle, but Prae had a good feeling about this. He started running through his trident drills, then paused as he saw Sneabru glance up, looking warily past Prae.

Lowering both shield and trident, Prae turned, and found a third ithecal approaching him. Varlum, a warden, if he remembered correctly, a Thiussum who looked like a moving statue over twelve feet tall. No wonder Sneabru was anxious; a close encounter with the Mimai in Melrath had burned into the Wyvarnth a terror of anything larger than it should be. Prae turned back to Sneabru for a moment, giving him a reassuring nod—this one was safe, he tried to convey wordlessly. 


Sneabru did not relax, exactly, but he did go back to whatever it was he was working on. That would have to be enough. 


As Varlum drew even closer, the elements began to shift towards him; the earth especially. Prae smiled a little at that. No question about which element he was kin with—the ground practically purred with affection every step he took. 


"Good to see you again." Prae responded, absently twirling his trident. "I've been somewhat busy as of late—had a run in with those bandits in the hills. Seems they've been getting bolder recently. Or perhaps greedier."

Fates, it had been a while since he'd had to look up to talk to another person. "What about you? Word is you recently came back from some expedition or another?" He cracked a grin. "I was rather enjoying being the tallest person in Storm's Edge for a while."

Image
word count: 643
Let's play 'What's Weird About Prae'

Head

  • A fiery rune shines under his right eye
  • A firey glow in the back of his mouth

Arms

  • A ring of blue runes floats over each of Prae's wrists
  • A silver shield marks the back of his right hand

Misc

  • His tail is about eight feet long, usually knotted around his waist
  • His body temperature is uncomfortably high

Surroundings

  • Wind gusts with every step he takes
  • The area around him is slightly more static-y than normal
User avatar
Varlum
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Posts: 253
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:35 pm
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Events

Re: Snakes and Shields

Sun Nov 22, 2020 2:43 pm


It wasn't something Varlum frequently took note of, the way the elements moved. So much to take in, so many reactions and emotions behind it. It was a strange connection to make. The Earth felt alive everywhere he went. Usually, he had grown used to it enough that he rarely took note. But the air around Prae was more than just a breeze, though it seemed much windier as he approached the fellow Ithecal, it was like a dance. Air stuck to him like dirt stuck to Varlum, coating him with a level of power and authority that Varlum had never truly seen before. Every element celebrated around the two, albeit silently to those that didn't listen, making Varlum well aware of the magic that both shared. So much so that a smile began to spread across his face.

Prae's mention of bandits made Varlum chuckle a little. "I don't imagine, after all the shit we saw and fought, that some bandits caused any trouble?" he asked, almost playful. In his time in Ivorian the soldiers had always laughed while looking back on accomplishments, in between playful jabs at one another. Perhaps it was a soldier thing, maybe an Ithecal one, but it was a habit Varlum had picked up over the Arcs. As for the question of Varlum travelling to a recent expedition, Varlum gave a small nod, his smile not as strong as it had been before.

"I always knew we'd be in for a hell of a fight, but I don't think anyone expected it to go this bad" he admitted. At the very least, however, he was alive. That was something to be grateful for. "We found some dark caverns and figured we'd explore them, see what was in them once and for all. There's...some big shit going on". As much as Varlum liked Prae, he wasn't sure how much to talk about yet. It wasn't his place to share information without permission. Besides, it was a long and dark story. Why ruin a good mood now?

When Prae cracked a joke about enjoying being the tallest Varlum couldn't hide his grin. "Well, it's all fun and games being the tallest till the medics tent requires you to kneel inside" he laughed back, giving a glance to Prae's shield for a moment. Varlum had been meaning to learn one for a long time and had recently agreed to try. Ethelynda's blessing had saved his life many times but he had to take it further. He was a Shield-bearer, a protector. He couldn't protect much with a giant battleaxe. It needed to be more consistent than relying on his own durability or his powers. If both ran low, what did he have?

"I was hoping for a favour. If you're not occupied" he asked, not wanting to say what it was until he knew Prae was willing and free.
word count: 514
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Praetorum
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Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:08 am
Race: Ithecal
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Re: Snakes and Shields

Mon Nov 23, 2020 1:38 am


Date: 32nd of Vhalar, Arc 720
Status: Curious


Weapons: Trident, Tower Shield
Armor: None
No Current Magical Effects

"Well, for what it's worth, they put up a valiant effort." Prae laughed. "But no, the bandits were no real trouble." Not for him, at any rate. They'd been plenty of trouble for the folks they'd be harassing, and Prae had no doubt he'd be headed back out there soon enough to try and deal with them for good.

Varlum's smiled dimmed a little, and Prae listened silently as he spoke of his expedition. "Unexpectedly bad does seem to have become the norm." He said, trying to lighten the mood a little. He took no offense to how vague Varlum had been about the details—Prae had been a soldier once too, and he understood there were some things you couldn't share with mercenaries. But it didn't sound like it had been an easy one. 


"That's one thing I do miss about being—" He hesitated for a moment, realizing that he wasn't sure Varlum knew he was an Empire ithecal. "Among other ithecal. I can't remember the last time I was in a building or structure properly sized for me. Although I'm sure you have it much worse."  He eyeballed the height difference between them, then shook his head despairingly. "All I have to do is bend over and duck my head . I'm almost surprised you don't have to crawl to get in through doorways."

Prae caught the other ithecal glancing at his shield, and hummed softly, reminded of something. Varlum was a shieldbearer, clearly, but it seemed he'd been blessed with an ability Prae hadn't encountered before; that giant, golden tower shield Prae had seen him summon. It reminded him a little of a Korros' ability to conjure a weapon. But a Korros' weapon was unbreakable—was it the same for a Taithir's shield? 


He was trying to think of a way to bring up the topic when Varlum steered the conversation away, asking for a favor. Prae considered. He'd originally been planning to head back to Rharne proper tonight, but there was nothing particularly urgent about the trip, and Varlum didn't seem the type to ask for something that would take long without being upfront about it. 


"Certainly. Do you need my help for something?" He grinned. "If you're looking to spar, I should probably get my armor on first."



Image
word count: 434
Let's play 'What's Weird About Prae'

Head

  • A fiery rune shines under his right eye
  • A firey glow in the back of his mouth

Arms

  • A ring of blue runes floats over each of Prae's wrists
  • A silver shield marks the back of his right hand

Misc

  • His tail is about eight feet long, usually knotted around his waist
  • His body temperature is uncomfortably high

Surroundings

  • Wind gusts with every step he takes
  • The area around him is slightly more static-y than normal
User avatar
Varlum
Approved Character
Posts: 253
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:35 pm
Race: Mortal Born
Renown: +252
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Secrets
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Wealth Tier: Tier 5
Medal count: 1

Events

Re: Snakes and Shields

Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:54 pm


"As valiant as bandits can be, I imagine" he smiled back, never finding much threat when dealing with bandits. Perhaps all the recent fighting had numbed him to the rest of the real, somewhat tamer world out there for most - but bandits didn't quite compare to nickels and Flameborn. It was a weird sensation, thinking that the only real threats now were giant flaming creatures, vicious animals and necromancers with an attitude. Yet it had become the truth. Part of it was a testament to Varlum's combat ability, part a testament to the sheer size of the Knights and their willingness to act. Part of it may well be that the world was a fucked up place.

At Prae's comment, Varlum gave a small chuckle, his mood coming back a little. "Yeah. I'm starting to think there's nothing left in Idalos that'd surprise me - unless Faldrun suddenly apologized for his actions. Then I'd be truly shocked" he teased, the idea of it amusing to him. After all of the time they'd spent fighting Faldrun decides he was wrong and says sorry, ending it there and then. It would definitely be a sight to behold. Should it happen, Varlum could only hope he was there to see it.

When Prae spoke about being around other Ithecal he noticed the hesitation, deciding not to press it at all. Instead, he grinned wide. "Some buildings here are tall enough, not many. But some. Though I'm starting to think even Ivorian would prove difficult for me to walk around" he chuckled openly. "And take it from me, I've knelt down and crawled a little through doors before. I've started avoiding certain buildings to save myself the embarrassment" he teased, remembering multiple occasions that were true. Ducking only worked so well when the door was designed for people half your height. At that stage, Varlum typically gave up and went elsewhere, but there were occasions he had to make do.

"Not quite sparring, so no need for the armor" he grinned, not intending on their fighting to be anything more than basic techniques. Varlum wasn't ready for much more than that. "I've been trying to use a shield as of late. I don't know how well it'll fit me, might not keep using it after a while. But I was hoping you could show me the basics. Help me figure out if I'm built for a shield" the Ithecal confessed. Being a Shield-Bearer was important to Varlum, more than anything, but so far Shields had felt wrong. If Prae couldn't help him with that then perhaps nobody could. But he had to try, at least. If he found a shield style he preferred he could train it more, otherwise he could forget it and shield people how he did best - stepping between them and the threat.

"It shouldn't take too long, and you're free to say no. I'm sure I can let some recruits swing at me and try and block it for a while. But I figured I'd ask."
word count: 541
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Praetorum
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Posts: 746
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:08 am
Race: Ithecal
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Medal count: 4

Contribution

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Re: Snakes and Shields

Wed Nov 25, 2020 4:39 am


Weapons: Trident, Tower Shield
Armor: None
No Current Magical Effects

Now, this, Prae had not been expecting from the larger Shield Bearer. Varlum was clearly a fairly experienced warrior, and most tended not to try and mix up their fighting style once they'd settled into one. What had sparked this, Prae wondered. Perhaps he'd only recently gained that golden shield, or perhaps he was only now having to fight in formation? There was an obvious flaw with that theory; what Rharnian would even fit in a formation with a twelve foot tall ithecal?

Well, it didn't particularly matter. "I'd be happy to help." He told Varlum. "I'm not much of a teacher, but I doubt there's more than a handful of people in Rharne who could match me with a shield." There was no boast in the statement, only fact—Prae had never much believed in either humility or arrogance. Varlum wasn't too far off with his earlier assessment of Prae: he hadn't been born with a shield in hand, but he'd been born into a military family, and he'd practiced with them even as a youth, long before he'd ever joined the legion and taken up the tower shield. 


"Do you know what sort of shield you want to use?" He asked. "I noticed the tower shield you summoned last time; a gift from the Shieldmaiden, I assume?" He gestured vaguely between their respective blessings. "It's a little harder to learn to use the tower shield if you're fighting alone. Obviously, it's possible, and has its advantages, but it's really meant for formation fighting. Uh, although I'm not sure how well that would suit you when you" — Prae waved his hand, trying to get across the general idea of turning into a twenty five foot behemoth. "Formations work best when everyone is the same size. A tower is meant to protect the soldier on your left, but if you're so big you're blocking their view, you'd probably be better off out of formation."

"On the other hand, if you have the strength and experience for it, there's a lot you can do with such a large shield. Mine uses a handle grip," he said, showing Varlum the horizontal handle at the center of the shield, "and if you're good enough, you can block anything within arms reach." Even a little beyond arms reach, though Prae hadn't met anyone else capable of it besides himself. "Personally, I wouldn't discourage you, but I wouldn't recommend starting with a tower."


"If you're not using a tower, then you're going to have to narrow it down for me a little; are you going to fight aggressively or defensively? Do you want to focus on speed or power? Actually, you should tell me those things anyways." Prae glanced up at him with a slight grin. "I have a feeling I know the answer to those questions, but I shouldn't assume."


Image
word count: 528
Let's play 'What's Weird About Prae'

Head

  • A fiery rune shines under his right eye
  • A firey glow in the back of his mouth

Arms

  • A ring of blue runes floats over each of Prae's wrists
  • A silver shield marks the back of his right hand

Misc

  • His tail is about eight feet long, usually knotted around his waist
  • His body temperature is uncomfortably high

Surroundings

  • Wind gusts with every step he takes
  • The area around him is slightly more static-y than normal
User avatar
Varlum
Approved Character
Posts: 253
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:35 pm
Race: Mortal Born
Renown: +252
Character Sheet
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Wealth Tier: Tier 5
Medal count: 1

Events

Re: Snakes and Shields

Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:33 pm


Varlum nodded in agreement at the Ithecal's comment about being one of the best, if not the best, in Rharne. From what Varlum had seen it was true. Their limited time fighting together had been enough for them to know at least somewhat how the other fought. Prae was agile and fast, yet he was sturdy too. The shield seemed as natural to him as biting through people did to Varlum. "I don't doubt it, and none of those handful helped deal with that bastard Sentinel" he agreed with a small grin, making sure to compliment the man. Truth be told, Varlum might have been dead if it wasn't for Prae and the others, the least he could do was acknowledge the help he'd been given.

"I don't know, I'm planning on making my own some time, but right now I'm stuck with the tower shield. I wouldn't know enough about shields to know where to start either way, but the power has me pretty limited" he admitted, then nodded at his question on if Ethelynda gifted it to him. As he explained the different shields to him Varlum gave his attention fully, wanting to know the perks of the shield Ethelynda's mark gave him. From the sounds of it there would be limited uses to it in a real fight, but perhaps that was no bad thing? Varlum's fighting style wouldn't rely on a shield all that often, but when he needed it he could bring it. It would definitely help to bring a better shield, however. One he made himself, one made of stronger materials. More importantly, one that he could use with higher efficiency. If a tower shield didn't fit how he fought there was no reason to have one.

On the topic of how he fought Varlum laughed a little. "Aggressively is definitely the way to look at it" he admitted, thinking about more detail for a moment to try and help make the decision easier. "When I'm not...bigger, we'll say, I like to be in someone's face to fight. Normally with my axe, because I can overwhelm them. Not many people, or things, have the strength to deal with a big guy with a big axe. With a shield I imagine it'd need to be much the same. Speed and aggression. Be in front of things so the people behind me are no longer at risk."

After explaining it Varlum chuckled to himself. "Sorry if that's the weirdest description you've had. I can't say I know enough about shields to know what works for me yet" he confessed, knowing it was strange for a Shield-Bearer to be unsure on shields in general. It just wasn't how he had fought. Throwing himself in front of the enemy, bringing their attention to him rather than his allies, it had all worked well so far. As much as Varlum wanted to hold himself to a higher standard as a Shield-Bearer he didn't quite know how to. When he fought he'd always let his ferocity take over. Perhaps it was just a factor he had to accept?
word count: 557
User avatar
Praetorum
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Posts: 746
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:08 am
Race: Ithecal
Profession: Mercenary
Renown: +290
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Wealth Tier: Tier 4
Medal count: 4

Contribution

Milestones

Re: Snakes and Shields

Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:47 pm


Weapons: Quarterstaff, Tower Shield
Armor: None

No Current Magical Effects
Prae considered Varlum's explanation, idly tapping his claws against his shield. "No, it makes sense. Get in their faces, keep them busy, and they can't focus on anyone else except you."


He probably wouldn't suit the way Prae fought—from what he'd seen, Varlum was vicious, fierce, and very hard to ignore in a way Prae wasn't. Still, Prae had fought shoulder to shoulder with people who were much more like Varlum—both in the Empire, and in Yaralon, and he had a few ideas. All shields could be used as weapons, but some shields were designed for it. "You know"—Prae grinned slightly at the memory—"I once got challenged to a duel by a man with a short spike set in the middle of his shield." Prae raised his own shield, and gestured to the raised, rounded boss in the center, right where his grip was. "Although he was using a smaller, round shield." 


He thought for a moment. "Hang on." Padding back over to where Sneabru was watching, Prae pulled out his domain bag, and retrieved his buckler from inside. "Here. Imagine one of these but with metal spikes. A buckler is already a shield meant to be mobile—you'd more or less just be punching with this thing on your hand." He offered it to Varlum. "See if your hand will fit in it." It was about the right size for Prae, which meant his hand had some wriggle room—it was possible, though not likely that Varlum's hand could squeeze in. "If not, summon your shield. A tower shield should have a grip, so I can teach you the same motions, just with something a little more unwieldy."


"And show me how you'd parry a blow, first with your axe, then with your shield." Prae changed out his trident for a quarterstaff, and waited until Varlum was ready to send two swings his way for him to parry. He was looking to see if Varlum was more accustomed to a passive block, where he held his weapon or shield static, or an active parry, where he moved in to attack his opponent's attack.

word count: 391
Let's play 'What's Weird About Prae'

Head

  • A fiery rune shines under his right eye
  • A firey glow in the back of his mouth

Arms

  • A ring of blue runes floats over each of Prae's wrists
  • A silver shield marks the back of his right hand

Misc

  • His tail is about eight feet long, usually knotted around his waist
  • His body temperature is uncomfortably high

Surroundings

  • Wind gusts with every step he takes
  • The area around him is slightly more static-y than normal
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