• Closed • Stairwell to the Kingdom [Part I]

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
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Peake
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Stairwell to the Kingdom [Part I]

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111th Ashan 716
Peake was in shock. He couldn’t train, he couldn’t focus. He couldn’t even wring out all the ideas that flew into his mind, all of them spawning from the rumors the bribed guard told him. Said guard shared them so casually, without realizing all the potential from those two phrases. Peake was different. Driven by his greed, by his determination to claim a place of power, for his will to dominate others, he knew he could use the rumors for his own ends. He could really profit from them, in fact, yet he was unsure as to how. At the moment, he could not think about them as much as he wanted, in the middle of the arena, wielding his arming sword and his shield as he stood in front of one of the new knights under his watch. Peake had lost men this season, chasing necromancers around, encountering beasts in the wilderness. However, he had been successful, and the rutine was returning to the usual boring pace. The knight opposing him was somewhat nervous, surely never having faced an opponent as big and prestigious as Peake himself. It wasn’t that Peake was famous, but he was noble and his presence was quite frightening.

Without delay, the Knight lunched forward, his long sword coming in with large sweeps that were pretty stupid and reckless, Peake doing nothing but stepping back to avoid hit after hit, not even bothering to cover his armored chest with the shield. Too busy thinking about his way of handling the rumors, he was. Too much potential to act recklessly, too much details to leave to chance. Thankfully, the Knight before him was not giving Peake a hard time. The Knight grunted before he launched his longsword in a rather obvious downwards motion, going for a chop towards Peake’s head that failed miserably as Peake did nothing else but step to the side. The boy was nervous, indeed, trying to show eagerness and passion instead of actual skills. From the bottom, the boy swept his sword sideways, trying to catch one of Peake’s feet. Peake blocked the sword with his, his other leg coming forward to harshly kick the opponent’s sword which disarmed the opponent. Victory.

Peake stepped back to let the knight retrieve his sword. The King had been stabbed this season. The Queen was fucking the Lord Commander. The Lord Commadner was one of the most powerful men in the Kingdom, controlling the army and working directly for the king. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he just took the throne for himself. The Queen, however, was a bitch. If she plotted against the King, it wouldn’t be long before she plotted against the Lord Commander himself. She was doing it all for herself, apparently. Peake could come in and help her, let her know that he knew her plan and that he wanted to help. However, being the bitch that she was, she would surely send some killers to murder Peake, or accuse him of a false crime. Then, his life would be over. The Queen was too risky to deal with – Peake needed to get rid of her.

The boy took his sword and bowed, before going at it again with the same recklessness. Again those wide swipes, that lowered guard from the shield, those yells that did nothing but waste his oxygen. Peake’s constant dodging, which was done merely by stepping back and to the sides before every hit, was starting to slowly anger the boy. He used his sword with much more strength, but in an even worse fashion. Once again, a chop was starting to be prepared to be launched against Peake, whom instead of dodging, decided to parry it. A parry was stopping the opponent’s motion before it started, in this case on top of the boy’s head, before it gained strength. Stepping forward with a quick lunge, Peake raised his shield and smashed it against the opponent’s blade, which couldn’t advance downwards and complete the chopping motion. Now, Peake had his shield blocking the opponent’s weapon, and he was in obvious advantage. If the boy raised his shield to protect himself, Peake could still cut on the legs to incapacitate him. Instead of doing that, he rose his leg and smashed it against the boy’s hip, sending him to the ground.

The other option was the Lord Commander. Peake could approach him and tell him that he knew… but that was a risky move. The Lord Commander is committing treason, and he wouldn’t doubt to get rid of him if he felt in danger. There would be no way to extort that man or blackmail him, persuasion being something Peake was not very good at. And so there was only one option: the King himself. Siding with the King was disgusting, as Peake hated that little brat with all his guts. However, he was stabbed, and so he was weak and angry due to his immaturity. He was a flake, in a way. Peake doubted he had much power within the government itself, but he was still the king – his word was law. He would be easier to manipulate, to steer into one direction. However, Peake wouldn’t just hand over the Queen and the Lord Commander’s head to the King, not without profiting first. What he wanted was the Barony, to push his father aside and finally claim what was his. He wanted a reputation for himself, to be feared, respected, and even loved. The King could provide him that, but only if Peake earned it.

It had to be the King’s side the one Peake took. The Queen and the Lord Commander were too dangerous to try to fight face to face.
Last edited by Peake on Tue May 31, 2016 11:51 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 986
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Stairwell to the Kingdom [Part I]

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In truth, there no knowing how to approach all this with total certainty of self-preservation. Royalty was a step away from his nobility, yet that step was as steep as a mountain. Try to barge in and destroy one of them for personal gain and growth was… ambitious. Other words came to mind, yet Peake and his decisions were often in that range of vulgar words. In truth, the only true progress was made by taking risks. Slow and steady won the race to the grave, a shallow existence and an unfulfilled life being left behind by whomever first thought of that stupid expression. There was always a frontline in every army, and it was thanks to them and their ambition that conquerors rose, that kingdoms and empires were built. As an addition layer of protection, Peake’s titles and position of relative power could come into great play in the events he wanted to unfold. After all, his father was the firstborn of his grandfather, the Duke. Peake was the oldest descendant of the Duke aside from the two Barons and the Baroness of the Duchy. If only two people perished, Peake would be a Duke.

Nobody ever said the King was the most powerful man in the Kingdom. Power didn’t come with a title nor with birth certificates. The King had barely grown any hair between his legs, and surely his mind wasn’t developed enough to be taken seriously. The true power lied in those around him. The Queen, who is currently fucking the Lord Commander, another terribly powerful male as he commanded the King’s army. The Seven Duchies also held tremendous power, surely coercing the King to do this and that in their behalf. At the same time, these Dukes and Duchesses conspired on their own, made arrangements here and there, deals and treaties to further their own goals. What is the King going to do about them if he was never born into that world? The Royalty and the Nobility were two different worlds.

Peake would be the chains that bound those two social classes together.

“Boy!” He called towards one of the squires, who quickly ran towards him with a jar of water in his hands. Peake cupped some of the water and brought it to his nose, cleaning it from mucus and letting the tainted water fall back into the jar. “I’ve got a task for you, and only for you. You’re going to go to the stables and you’re going to take my horse. Just tell them that Peake Andaris said so. Then, you’re going to the Treasury as quickly as you can and find a man they call ‘Mathboyo’.” Peake looked up and whistled towards another squire, calling out loudly. “Bring ink and paper!” Squires were sort of slaves until they were granted a Knighthood, and the noble born certainly had no issue in exploiting them. More than once he had used one of them to go to the brothel and fetch whores for him. Squires didn’t complain, most of the times. A bit later, the ink and paper had arrived. Peake dipped the feather into the ink and quickly wrote on the paper.


“Find me the name of the Commander of the Royal Guard and write it down in a paper.

Peake Lootus.”



Folding the paper, he handed it over to the squire. “Be quick about it. Once you deliver the message to Mathboyo, and to Mathboyo only, you’re going to wait for him to deliver you a message himself. Go.” The squire nodded as he took the paper and ran across the yard towards the stables. Mathboyo, Peake, and a third individual were childhood friends that, be it by chance or fate, had ended up all as tax collectors for the Kingdom of Rynmere. The term ‘Lootus’ was their own internal joke, used right now to corroborate Peake’s identity as he lacked the Andaris wax seal on the message. There was no time for seals. Now that that was cleared, Peake exhaled as he turned to face the Knight in training once again.

“… I swear, if it wasn’t for that shield I would’ve gotten him.” The boy, not really as young as Peake treated him as said ‘boy’ was almost 24 arcs young, was boasting and excusing his poor performance to some of his squire friends. It was pretty common for recently knighted individuals to still keep friendships with the squires. Peake wasn’t pleased at all by what the boy was speaking, as there was no excuse for weakness. “You! Pick a weapon.” The knight looked back, somewhat shocked. “Pick a weapon and I’ll teach you just how useless you are, boy.” The boy looked at his friends before he trotted towards the weapon rack, full of different weapons to choose from depending on each knight’s test. The squire went for a spear, a safe choice for those useless for close quarter combat. Peake, unarmed as he was, didn’t even bother to arm himself as he approached the boy like a wolf approached a hare. The boy quickly spun on his heels, and upon the sight of Peake, he gripped the weapon with both hands, assessing quick stabs to the air in order to maintain Peake at bay.

Peake halted, and instead he began retreating slowly as the boy stabbed the nothingness, his motions quick and precise thanks to the dual-handed use of the weapon. A second hand on the spear’s leverage offered great control over the spear’s tip, and the motions were quick and fluid. Still, they weren’t very well reasoned. A dozen stabs onto the air later, making Peake advance with each of them and bringing more confidence onto the boy’s being, it all came to an end pretty quickly. The boy obviously thought that making his adversary retreat was a sign of victory, and while in a battlefield that would be correct, this was a single combat. On the battlefield there was no room to retreat as there was always somewhat behind you, but here the space was unlimited. One of the boy’s stabs, left of Peake’s head, was the damnation of the boy’s attempts. Peake’s both hands moved to the spear’s shaft, and pulled it down towards his body, pressing the shaft against his body to create leverage, and using said leverage to pull the weapon to the boy’s right side. The surprise was so big that the weapon slipped off the knight’s hands, now unarmed, and Peake finished it all by dropping the spear and rushing towards the boy. Pressing his head against the boy’s chest as Peake’s hands pulled behind the knee pits, the squire was easily tackled onto the floor. Wrestling was a big advantage for individuals like Peake that had many inches in excess.

Even if the boy was unarmed and his back was on the ground, Peake squirmed forth, his hands going to the newbie’s head and gripping it, as Peake’s forehead came forth to harshly head butt the boy in the nose. Blood and screams flooded his eyes and ears respectively. This, being a training, meant a broken nose. In a battlefield or a real combat, it would’ve been death otherwise. Maybe this way the boy would learn.
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Stairwell to the Kingdom [Part I]

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Sweat dripped from Peake’s forehead as the physical activity continued. The morning star kept in motion, fluidly drawing shapes in the air as Peake’s wrist kept the heavy head of the blunt weapon in motion. Maces were different to swords, way different, and so was their handling. Swords had most of their weight in the hilt, and so moving the blade was done simply by the motion of the wrist. Maces and axes, on the other hand, had most of their weight on the tip of the weapon, which increased the force delivered onto the target. A sword could cut a man, but a mace or axe simply annihilated and destroyed anything that stood before it. Swords could be easy to handle, and they cut very well, yet a mace was superior in many ways. Firstly, it was almost impossible to destroy. If the morning star’s spikes were to bend or break, the weapon didn’t lose any power whatsoever. A sword with a broken blade was only half as good. Maces were cheaper and easier to manufacture, and they inflicted way more damage upon armored individuals. That was perhaps the main reason Peake chose his morning star as his preferred weapon.

The weight was an issue, however. The sword was easily wielded and the tip was easily redirected to wherever it was needed. The morning star, on the other hand, couldn’t be stopped halfway in the swing to be redirected. Not without an injury to the wrist, at least. Instead, the technique demanded that, if the morning star were to miss, the motion had to be kept, and the wrist had to rotate the head of the weapon using that same momentum to propel it into a new direction. That is what Peake did while he waited for the squire to return. Perfecting the motion of the ever-swinging mace was hard, and Peake had a long way ahead of him, reason why practice was never an issue. At the same time, his left arm held a kite shield, which was covering his torso at all times possible to simulate the need of protection in a battlefield.

Most blows in a battlefield were produced in the forearms, the torso, and the head. The forearms were usually protected by the weapon’s guard, yet the morning star had none. The morning star had shorter reach than a sword too, which demanded a closer distance before a strike could be made. The head was protected by a helmet, obviously. When an army was lacking funds to fully armor its fighters, as it usually happens, a helmet is almost guaranteed to be issued. After all, it was the one place that, if struck, meant certain death. The chest was usually covered by a breastplate, which was useful against swords and other puny weapons not designed to penetrate. Furthermore, a shield had to always be there to intercept and reduce any possible damage. However it may be, Peake’s mind was not with the battlefield facts, but with his own thoughts of how to battle his way into power with mere words.

“My lord!” The squire’s voice alerted Peake, who left the morning star halt its momentum before walking towards the calling squire. A thick letter was handed to Peake with a bow, to which he nodded at the squire. For once, one of these recruits did a good job. “Here it is, my Lord. Your horse is in the stables, and its being fed and groomed.” Peake looked at the squire and, with his oversized and rather heavy palm, smacked the squire in the middle of the head before ruffling his hair. “Good job, boy.” Truly, that squire had done a good job. A bright future awaited the teenager. Peake, in a rare sign of appreciation, extracted a golden nel and gave it to the squire, who smiled widely at the token of appreciation. It was sad for Peake, as said coin was the only one he carried, and his plans for her were to exchange it for a helping hand from one of the whores in a nearby alley. Said whore was to please his manhood with a hand, yet now he was left without that pleasure today. The squire ran off to a nearby bench, bringing a towel and offering it to Peake, whom wiped the sweat off his face. “My Lord, may I ask why morning stars have spikes? They don’t seem big enough to pierce.”

“The spikes aren’t there to pierce, kid.” Lifting the mace and showing its head to the squire, Peake proceeded to explain. “Look at how long they are. An inch long. Any armored opponent wearing a plate breastplate would be untouched even if the spikes penetrate. The breastplate tends to have some hollow space between the plate itself and the chain-link that is below. Imagine the head was bare, without spikes, and you tried to hit a breastplate. It would just glance right off, and you’d be exposed. That’s where the spikes come in. If one or two of them make contact, the full force of the mace will be transferred to the attacker. In the case of an armored opponent, that’d mean bending greatly or straight up penetrating it, breaking a few ribs and possibly sending that fellow on its ass. If you hit strong enough, the blunt force trauma will be so great his guts will be torn within him. If you’re on foot, try to aim for the head. You’ll either make its head into soup or break their necks. If you hit straight up from above, you’ll crush not only his neck and his head, but his spine as well.” Peake watched the boy and his reaction.

“I understand, my lord. What about a shield? What would happen if a morning star hit a shield?”


“A shield won’t do much good against this beauty. By the same principle, even if the hit is blocked, you’re likely to make his arm go numb or straight up break it – if the shield holds, that is. A wooden shield, depending on where its hit, is likely to break. A metal shield will absorb the damage, but it’ll send a nasty vibration onto the opponent, so you’ll stagger him. Usually, a morning star is used while mounting. Imagine riding a horse at moderate speed and swinging the mace to hit an individual. No matter how protected he is, something is breaking. Definitely not the morning star, however.” Peake scoffed, and ruffled the boy’s curly hair once more. “Thanks, kiddo.” The letter was thick, surely the results very promising, and so Peake decided to head to his cottage. There he would be able to figure out his next move.
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Stairwell to the Kingdom [Part I]

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“Here you go, Preake. Pulled up the entire file and copied it. All his financial history is here. Burn it after you’re done or you’ll get me in trouble, you bearded fuck.

Oh, and the Kumquat said he wouldn’t be making it the first of Ymiden, so we’ll meet up next time.

Mathboyo Lootus.”


Peake shook his head, yet a smile had formed under his bushy beard. Mathboyo and Kumquat, nicknames given to perhaps the two people he could consider childhood friends, always knew how to bring a smile to his face. Their memories together spawned ever since school, a terror gang that terrorized the teachers in the last years before their paths bifurcated and each ended in one place or the other. Or so it was believed, as all three of them ended up working for the Kingdom. Peake went to university to prepare himself for the Barony while he was a squire for the Moseke Knights, ‘Mathboyo’ pursued his insatiable hunger for mathematical challenges, and ‘Kumquat’ spent a few arcs in Etzos before he returned. Their group was often teamed up to work against great challenges for the Kingdom, in the form of chasing big fish that are suspected to be lying to the Kingdom. Together they had busted a few of these individuals, which is why their superiors often teamed them together in special cases. Despite their different paths in life, they still kept contact, and helped each other when they could. More than once Peake had asked for a favor, and more than once he had given them help when they needed it.

However that may be, Peake discarded the small note as he moved on to the question at hand: the identity of the Commander of the Royal Guard, popularly known as the Ouroboro Knights. The first thing he read was the name of the individual.

Lord Yianty Fraupper.

The file provided by Mathboyo was very detailed. It included a physical description, a small list of events relevant for both Yianty and the Kingdom he served, immediate family and a financial record. There were five pages in the transcript, and so Peake needed quite a while to study it all. The Kingdom kept its information quite organized. The Public Reform of the 576th Arc had established the need for the Kingdom to keep a record for its individuals after the great scam of the same arc, in which the Kingdom was almost bankrupt due to the unaccountable public spending and the corruption that swept over the nation. Ever since, the taxes had decreased, the famine was reduced, and the public services offered by the Kingdom had improved both in quality and quantity in exchange of extra workers being hired to maintain the records.

Bits and breaks passed, and soon enough Peake had to light a few candles in his home as the darkness had started to befall upon the city. Ymiden was very near, and the days have grown longer, the sun had grown hotter and the joy had grown stronger. Heat meant crops, money, joy, love, friendship… At least it did for those that were free. Peake was certainly not one of those individuals. His days were often long, exhausting beyond imagination, as the pressures of the world crumbled to dust any chance of joy. It was always work, education, training, and relationships. People often wondered why grey hairs spawned from Peake’s hair and beard despite him being merely 28 arcs old. Truth was, even if he wasn’t a Baron nor a business owner, the stress was too much sometimes. Of course, nobody acknowledged just how much he pushed himself forward towards advancement. Instead, they all remember him for his drinking, his whoring and his violence. Perhaps a part of him was lost in the constant hassle for self-improvement.

It had been a long while since he felt happy, or at least joyous. After Mary, his mother, had passed, life had become a slope too steep to climb. Some joy was found with a woman that had cupped his heart, and in the child she bore within her. That small joy was exchanged for great grief and anger when his father took it away. It was funny just how hard it is to achieve joy and how easy it was lost. These days, there wasn’t much joy in his life. The women at the brothels kept him company, as most of them were girls Peake had formed a friendship with due to his frequent visits. The Children of the Lotus, Mathboyo and Kumquat that is, were also there to give him some laughs and companionship every once in a while. Now he was engaged to Syhera, a Biqaj that was fun to be around with and with whom Peake hoped to develop a friendship if possible. Overall, his relationships with every other living being were dysfunctional and shallow, most times limited to either violence or sex.

After re-reading the file a few times, Peake leaned back on the chair and crossed his arms. There was a possibility, indeed, to push this man away. There were financial gaps that could be useful, as they were not explained by the records. A debt of almost 7000 golden nel was present two seasons ago, and a recent influx of coin into Yianty’s bank account had covered most of it. It wasn’t his wage, which was pretty generous as far as Peake could tell, what had covered it, but something else. Another source, possibly a loan from a clandestine transaction. Such gaps in registry were very useful, and so Peake’s mind began weaving a ploy around it.

That whore Queen would soon lament ever wanting a taste of the Lord Commander. Peake would make sure of it, but not because of loyalty to the King or because he stood on top of some moral ground.


He would do it for himself, as he was the only one that mattered.
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Stairwell to the Kingdom [Part I]

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After perhaps another break, Peake laid down the feather and inspected the letter crafted. The nobleman read it twice to make sure everything written was easily legible and made sense, for otherwise the purpose of the letter would be null. He was stepping on dangerous grounds now, and so the window for mistakes was closing in quickly. A slip could cost him too much, more than his titles, more than his life, and even more than his own beard. It would cost him a chance, the international currency for glory and self-realization. Money was useless compared to time, and time granted very few chances. A chance could change everything, and the only thing needed to take it was the courage and strength of an individual’s body and mind. Just to make sure, he read it for the third time.
Lord Yianty Fraupper,

I write to you on this trial as a Steward of the Moseke Knights, as a Nobleman of House Andaris, but most of all, as a concerned citizen of the Great Kingdom of Rynmere. I expect you to be ignorant about my persona, as it is very improbable for you and me to have met before or, at any case, to be properly introduced. Alas, I am currently in a position in which a great burden rests upon my back, a secret that I fear is too heavy for me to carry on my own, and a source of evil that is, quite literally, purging me of any sleep due to the worry caused. It is for that reason that I armed myself with courage and loft the feather that feels so cumbersome when I write this letter to you. I write to you, and only to you, because I believe it is only you the one that can help me unburden my being from these treacherous whispers and evil ploys that, unfortunately, have managed to lodge themselves deep within my brain.

Truth is, I know about the King’s recent wound, one that surely has caused him great pain, and caused its citizens eternal worry for their fair and kind leader. It brings tears to my eyes to think something so horrendous could’ve been done to such good man as is our King, and I even dare to imagine you too share this grief with me as you are the man he relies on for protection. You may perhaps not be quite surprised over this knowledge having reached me, yet I do believe you would be surprised to know that I, an unimportant and forgettable individual, am in the position of knowing just whom is behind such terrible scheme. As I mentioned above, it was a mere accident for those poisoned whispers to reach my ears, to which I befell immediately once my brain processed the information. I felt a wail forming in my throat, yet suffocated by a knot that silenced me. I do not wish to be silent anymore.

However, those behind this heinous and criminal scheme do feel the need to silence me. I believe they are watching me already, creeping in the shadows and staring through the fog with hungry and nefarious gazes that bring panic into my being. That is the reason why I write to you, for I have the answers to the unanswered questions the King has gained after his recent wounding. You are a man of power, a protector of a man worthy of devotion and respect, and so I am attracted to the idea of being hidden under your strength to not only save my own life, but also to bring an end to those that seek misfortune to befall upon our King. I beg you, with all my heart and soul, to your mercy and your shield to come in my assistance to at least be able to share the information I hold. It is very sensible information, I assure you, and so I feel the need to only communicate it to the King as only his wisdom is able to wring the most out of it.

Meet me in my humble cottage in Mid-town as soon as you’re able. The address is written in the back of this letter. I beg you to come alone, unarmed, and unarmored, for I suspect that if those that know just what information I hold would not doubt to take desperate measures to silence me. The ruse runs deep, and not even those who swore an Oath to defend the innocent are safe from its cold claws. However, if they were to see just another hardworking citizen walking beside me, they would surely remain patient and waiting for an opportunity to strike. I beg you to be hasty, as I’ve mentioned several times already, I fear there is not much sand left in my hourglass.


Help me, Lord Yianty Fraupper. You’re my only hope.


Signed,
Peake Maxos Andaris.

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Peake couldn’t help but burst into an hysterical laughter, cackling in the night as he was consumed by the ploy of his own creation, losing his mind in lie he had forged in the letter. In these moments of greatness, of intellect and of cleverness he remembered just how much of a predator he was, the true set of eyes that watched in the darkness, the hand that pulled the dangling leg towards the darkness below the bed. Tomorrow morning, when the letter was sent, Peake would finally begin the true test.
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Stairwell to the Kingdom [Part I]

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[columns=2]
Peake Andaris


Skills
Tactics: 1
Blades: Longsword: 2
Strength: 2
Shield: 1
Leadership: 1
Writing: 2
Intimidation: 2
Unarmed: Wrestling: 1
Endurance: 2
Blunts: Morning Star: 1
Teaching: 2
Deception: 1



Knowledge
Basic
Shield: Can be used as a weapon
Tactics: Not just for the battlefield
Lootus: A code name
Spear: A tactical weapon used to put distance between two opponents
Maces: Cause devastating damage
Maces: Good for breaking ribs
Mace: Swing attacks
Specialised
Blades: Arming sword weights, lengths, and styles.
Blades: Disarming an opponent with a sword
Queen Freya: Sleeping with the Lord Commander?
King Cassander: Injured during a trip overseas?
Logic: Knowledge is power
Wrestling: How to break a nose with a head-butt
Peake: A bad lifestyle will take a toll on the body[/columns]

Comment: His huge, bulking paragraphs made her eyes squint. She gasped, searching ahead for the next comma or relief that might come in the form of a full stop. Wasted, she slumped breathless in her chair as the story ended. lol. Nice work! You know I enjoy this plot. Twist my arm if you think I missed anything.
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A N D I T' S A L L J U S T S M A L L S T U F F, B A B Y.
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