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 [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword

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RyIII
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PostSubject: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Wed 06 Oct 2010, 5:34 pm

Just because, you know?

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Part 1: Sword of Vascani.

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The sun above shone brightly and evenly on the world of Vascani, accompanied by the gentle breeze that seemed to accompany only the most idyllic of spring days. It seemed to shine all the brighter once the light reflected off the the white marble of the great tower of Vascani.

Standing one one of its higher balconies was one of its champions. Clad head to toe in silver, etched armor, with a purple cloak draped around his shoulders, pinned with a black and gold badge displaying an armored fist clutching a sword by its blade. Every inch of his body covered by the thick plates, even the opening for his eyes showing only a pair of blue lights. With these he regarded the messenger that had come up to see him not a few moments ago, looking down to him from his own towering height. A deep voice spoke- though it was the champion's, the messenger heard it from all around him, as though the man were everywhere at once. "And you are certain that's what the message said?"

He nodded, though kept his head low. "Yes, my lord. The Valis sword has returned from the heavens."

The champion unlocked his scabbard, and drew a great, long sword, holding it flat and level towards the sun. He looked down the entwined serpentine dragons etched into the flat of the blade for a good, long while before responding. "I shall gather my men- his majesty and I are of the same mind. The Valis sword is too powerful a weapon to stay out of our reach for much longer, as the lure of its power may yet give others ideas. If it should enter even one pair of wrong hands, the ruin it could potentially bring to us is unimaginable. For the sake of the sacred oaths sworn by our forebears, we must claim that sword. For the sake of our people, the Dream World must fall. I shall leave our regular soldiers behind- a task of this magnitude is certain doom for lesser men."

--------------

Lena felt surprisingly refreshed that morning considering how much she had been burning the literal midnight oil. Her duty as the Valis soldier had taken her into the heavens themselves, where she met Yuko, her near-legendary predecessor as wielder of the Valis sword. When she had met Yuko, she had noticed that the goddess had an air of sadness about her as she recounted her own time as the Valis warrior, so Lena had decided to delve deep into the history. Though Yuko's exploits were described in mythic terms and scope, she could see the hidden layers that rested underneath. Yuko was wrenched from her home by a relative she never knew who conscripted her into fighting battles to the death against numerous merciless, implacable foes, with her only escape from that existence being her ascent to the heavens themselves. Lena had volunteered to fight against Galgear* and those who thrived under the dark power of the red moon, she asked to have the legendary sword put in her hand, and Amu had volunteered too- though it cost Amu her own life.

Another thing that Lena reflected on was what she had that Yuko didn't- a life where her struggles and achievements were known and honored by those she lived with.

Lena stepped out onto the East-facing balcony of Vanity Castle, to take in the light of the morning sun. The castle had been lovingly restored since the end of Galgear's reign of terror, and she smiled as she leaned over the railing to listen to the people below. She closed her eyes, and she could make out fragments of the chatter in the wide streets, an easy task considering that so few were out and about on the weekend days. She could hear the usual mumbles and rumors- people wondering when Valna would take a consort, idle talk about the weather, and even some chatter about strange happenings throughout the countryside.

It was the latter of these that actually got Lena's attention. As soon as one old man said he saw the most tremendous flash of lightning on a clear night, another said he saw a vast pillar of flame appear and disappear in half a moment. Then another person would recall a tornado touching down, but uprooting no trees or dirt. A few more saw similar omens, one even seeing a column of silver light erupt from the sky into the northern mountains. Lena was absorbed in all of these happenings up until she heard a very regal throat-clearing from behind her.

Lena smiled as she sat up on the wide railing of the balcony, facing towards the castle- and her blue-haired queen, Valna. "I'm sorry, your majesty. I just thought I'd take a little time to listen to what people were saying out there."

Valna smiled broadly. "I can't have you stuck in the castle all the time. Your duties don't require you to idle here, and the image most people have of you is likely more dashing than sitting at a desk. So, what are 'they' saying?"

Lena giggled gesturing with her head over to the crowd below. "Nothing too out of the ordinary, just wondering when you're going to have an heir, but it does sound like there have been some strange magical happenings- well, more so than usual."

Valna approached Lena, giving a nod. "I had actually been giving some thought to the former. I can't help but wonder what I would do if I had twins, like my mother did. What I would do if that were to happen, considering what was done to my sister by our mother, Valia. She did what she thought was right, I'm sure, but was it really 'right'? From what Yuko told me back then, even Megas found our mother's solution to be appalling."

Lena shrugged. "From what I know, I'd take any of Megas's opinions with a whole mine worth of salt."

Valna allowed herself a giggle. "True. I still think that there is a better way, however, and we will find it, should such a time come." Valna smiled. "And the sword?"

Lena smiled. "I'm taking good care of it, don't you worry- but when I've been practicing with it, it has felt just a bit lighter, livelier for some reason or another, as though something has awakened within the sword itself. Sometimes I think it possesses secrets that not even Valia knew about." Lena unbuckled her sword belt. and carefully took the long grip of the Valis sword in one of her hands. "But it feels more like I'm wielding my sword, than I'm just borrowing Yuko's. I wonder if-" Lena was cut short by a commotion. She looked up to see a brief flash in the sky, and then a scream below and behind her.

When Lena turned to look, she saw that th3e small group that had gathered had scattered out of the large courtyard, for a massive sword had landed right in the center- a gilded hilt with a green gem set in the crossguard led into a fine, strong blade etched with a tall mountain. The green jewel flashed, and the earth shook as four great cracks appeared in the courtyard, sending up shards of marble and clods of dirt. With that flash, also appeared the weapon's owner, a towering knight at quite over seven feet in height, his forest-green helmet gilded with gold, the rest of his massive form covered in a dark-green cloak. All of his face that could be seen were merely two golden lights that marked the presence of his eyes. One armored arm took his sword by its grip, and pulled it up as easily as though the ground were made of water, and the scraping of metal was followed by a booming voice. "Let the Valis Warrior come forth and do battle! Let the gods give honor to the victor and be merciful to the slain! If she should flee, than this blade shall find other blood to take in place of hers!"

Lena wasted no time. She drew the Valis sword, giving herself over to its protection, which manifested as the blue and gold 'armor' that marked her as the current holder of the sword. She leaped down from the balcony, facing him. She cleared her throat. "I am Lena, the Valis Warrior. Though I don't know your reasons, I will fight you for the sake of those who cannot."

The knight threw off his cloak, revealing that the gilding over his suit of armor was more than just that- each quarter of his thick breastplate was decorated with a separate scene of battle. His sword turned out to be so long that even he needed both of his powerful hands to wield it. "It seems that fortune has smiled upon me this day- To deliver our enemy into my hands not a second after arriving is no doubt a blessing. I, Milegeus, shall not falter before the eyes of my captain, my lord, and the First King!" He held his sword straight up, touched his forward to it, and then faced the edge and point towards Lena.

Lena looked up, and saw that Valna had already been ushered away to safety, and so began her attack. Unlike the monsters she had fought, she found that Milegeus was no mere brute. Though the Valis sword was in no danger of breaking by parrying his blows, he kept moving in order to maintain the advantage of his reach. Though she was able to keep him on the back foot for the moment, each clash of his sword against hers cracked the marble and shattered cobblestones below as the duel moved about the courtyard. Rather than merely trying to overwhelm her with his sheer strength, he seemed to be looking for an opportunity, same as her. He's a strong one, she thought, and she noticed that the Valis sword was vibrating in her hands on its own, not from the various strikes. and the sword can feel it, too. Who is this guy?

Milegeus freed one of his gauntlets from his sword. It flashed now, causing the ground to rumble and shake. This cost Lena her balance, but she recovered it quickly- more quickly than Milegeus expected, in fact, as he had already raised his sword for a killing blow against a staggered foe. He was forced to bring his sword into an awkward position to defend against Lena's strike. Though he took no wounds, it cost him dearly- he was within her reach now, and she was nimble enough not to let him get away. Her first strikes were only able to put cuts and dents in his armor, not yet enough to deal a killing blow.

Her opponent was also full of tricks. Moving one hand up to grab his sword at the blade, she made a swift swing for Lena's head. She had the presence of mind to duck, but not enough to avoid being kicked away by Milegeus's armored leg. She gasped as she struggled for breath, her vision blurring for a moment as her eyes began to tear up from the sheer shock of the powerful blow- she may as well have been struck by a bar made of steel all the way through. It was the mark of a great warrior to turn a calamity into a mere disadvantage, and her quick parry managed to keep her from being split in two by her opponent's sword. She backed off to get some distance, all the while doing her best to puzzle out how to fight such an opponent. It was then that she saw the jewel in his sword flash, and braced herself for what was to come.

An explosion of stone spikes burst through the ground, but she jumped and rolled forward. She could only guess that her opponent had expected this to finish her, as Milegeus was totally unprepared for the shallow strike she aimed at his legs. While she wasn't able to take his legs, the Valis sword grew hot as it sliced into and across the armor of his knees. Black blood flowed from the wounds, and she then brought her sword up, inside Milegeus's guard, catching the inside of his elbow. Her opponent struggled as staggered, and the wound would soon make his grip on his sword slick with its leavings. Milegeus was once again ready to defend himself, though how long he could do such a thing was certainly a matter that could be debated. The Valis sword grew warm, just short of being too hot to hold- there was someone, or something else here, too, and she soon heard a deep voice, as though it came from all around her. "Milegeus, I command you to stop this instant. You can no longer fight this foe."

Milegeus looked up- Lena was too confounded to react, other than to listen. "My lord, I was merely careless! I can still finish her."

The voice spoke again. "Your strength is bleeding out of the wounds on your limbs. In a little while, you'll hardly be able to stand, much less fight an enemy such as her."

Lena looked at her opponent. What the voice was saying was true, but how could it know? Milegeus responded, however. "My lord, I will not give up this fight! I can still slay her, and I will not give in to mere pain of flesh!"

There was a pause, and the voice spoke again. "How do you think, then, that Mylera will take it if I tell her that you allowed yourself to be slain for the sake of your pride?"

The question seemed to wound him in a way that not even the Valis sword could. He bowed his head in submission, and green, sparkling motes surrounded him. "I shall obey, my lord." In a silver flash, he was gone.

Lena looked at herself, and she had seen better days. She winced as she felt all of the bruises and cuts she had gained from Milegeus's furious assault, and it would take some time for her to breathe easily. What worried her more than her wounds, though was that this was only the first time she could remember where forces invading the dream world made an attack directly on the Valis warrior herself rather than conquering the world in places where she was absent. Troubling indeed...

It was at that point that Valna walked out, as the courtyard was in quite the bad bit of shape, but otherwise safe, with the departure of Lena's foe. Valna looked over, and around the wreck of the courtyard. "Lena..."

Lena nodded. "He's gone for now, but it's strange. Galgear wouldn't have cared if his generals lived or died, and he didn't fight like any mere monster at all. At least with those from the Dark World we could know what to expect, but... Not knowing just makes me uncomfortable."

-------------

In a distant part of the dreamworld, Asfal had just completed a ritual. He had drawn the circle with silver powder, and now sat inside of it, waiting for the magic to take effect. With this he could briefly connect two points in space, not to travel, but to converse. He knew that these happenings were no mere products of wild magic, and that someone, or something had come through over to the Dreamworld from places unknown. There were few coincidences when so much magic was involved. He could see hear a slight creak, though, and he opened his eyes to see sitting across from him a silver-armored man in a purple cloak, the visor of his helmet entirely hiding his eyes. The champion was at least as tall as he was, and Asfal was anything but a slouch in that way. Asfal nodded. "I had been meaning to speak to you. You are their leader, are you not?"

The man nodded. "I, indeed, am Knight-Captain Merogius of the Vascani, who is blessed enough to hold the trust of his majesty."

Asfal nodded. "Why are you here? A king does not send forth a trusted vassal on trivial business."

The response came quickly. "For the sword of Valis, and this world aside. I come forth with six of my men, and six shall be enough."

Asfal spoke again. "Why is it that you wish to conquer this place?"

Merogius's voice once again came quickly. "We bear no great malice towards the Dreamworld or its people. If we could conquer it and take the sword without spilling a single drop of blood, we would. As for our conquest, the one absolute fact is that there is no other way."

The former king pondered for a moment, but felt that his ritual was running out of time, so he hastily posed his last question. "No other way to what?"

"To fulfill the oath."

With that, Asfal was alone again. Merogius spoke that line far more deeply than the others, and its sheer gravity put the image in his head of a man being made to hold up the whole world by his own strength, an overwhelming duty that could not bear him to make even the slightest shrug. A single thought came to his mind. Under what burdens do you lie?
------------

*I decided to use a more direct transliteration of this name, largely because I can't think of the name "Gallagher" without thinking of on-stage watermelon smashing.


Last edited by RyIII on Thu 07 Jul 2011, 12:58 pm; edited 3 times in total
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evilReiko
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Thu 07 Oct 2010, 5:35 am

Now that's what I call a true Valis fan-fic eee short, thrilling, subjective chu

Sword of Vascani is the fanfic main title, or Part 1 title? Very Happy

I'm really so excited to know who are these 6 generals chu and what style each uses, and how/will lena be able to defeat each of them chu chu chu chu Chu eee eee Exclamation

btw, how to pronounce "Vascani"? heh-heh

another btw, you forgot to place the Author name Wink

Looking for more Chu
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RyIII
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Thu 07 Oct 2010, 11:46 am

evilReiko wrote:
Now that's what I call a true Valis fan-fic eee short, thrilling, subjective chu

Sword of Vascani is the fanfic main title, or Part 1 title? Very Happy

I'm really so excited to know who are these 6 generals chu and what style each uses, and how/will lena be able to defeat each of them chu chu chu chu Chu eee eee Exclamation

btw, how to pronounce "Vascani"? heh-heh

another btw, you forgot to place the Author name Wink

Looking for more Chu

Well, the author is me, for a start. Smile

Second, it's pronounced Va-ska-knee, and the name of the fic itself is the thread topic title.
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Thu 07 Oct 2010, 7:24 pm

Those were some mad writing skills Shocked
And I'm not just saying that either... If you can keep up that style we will have a great fanfic on our hands!
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RyIII
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Sat 09 Oct 2010, 10:21 pm

Part Two: Everybody Talks About the Weather...*

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A gray sky sat overhead- and no one was pleased more by this than the one who stood under it, directly in the middle of a windswept green field.

The one standing there was also one of the knights of Vascani, tall in his own way but not as massive or imposing as Milegeus. He held out his hand to read the wind, his own form covered in all-obscuring blue, white-trimmed armor. The wind flowed around his wrist, and with one jerk of his arm, a lightning bolt crashed down, the great clap of thunder pleasing rather than deafening to his ears. Once again, he had read the storms of this world correctly- they were his to control now. Now all he had to do was wait.

However, his attention was grabbed by that omnidirectional voice of his lord, Knight-Captain Merogius. "Milegeus and Vaijoras are already here, and the others are also gathering towards me. Only you have not moved since you arrived. Though your reasons may be good, I, as your lord, demand to know what they are."

A voice as smooth and cold as polished steel went back to his lord. "The dreamworld has a long and ancient history that predates even the forging of the Valis sword. They no doubt possess a great deal of knowledge of all things magical and mundane alike. Their ruler, Valia, is almost certainly ancient and wise. They must be aware by now that the happenings surrounding our arrival are no mere coincidence. In time, the Valis warrior will investigate, and I, Torilikos, the caller of storms, shall be here waiting for her, under a sky of my choosing. She may surprise even me, but I had only planned to test her mettle, and shall come up with a plan to slay her later."

Merogius's voice spoke again. "Brother, it would be enough to force her to yield and submit the sword. though what puzzles me is that I have dove into the greater consciousness of this world, and have yet to find anything that could be Valia."

Torilikos took a deep breath. "My lord, what is enough is that we should see her perish. For the oath, I have forsaken every other bond that restrains me from bending my will to the single task of the destruction of our enemies. You can afford to be sentimental, o paragon of knightly virtue, but I think that one dead woman is a small price to pay for our triumph at this crucial moment. Kaevoras can write as much poetry as he pleases about the wasteful death of a beautiful girl, but to kill her would make our ultimate victory far more certain. Besides, there is no better way to ensure the sword falls into our hands permanently than to slay its chosen wielder."

-----------------

Lena paced up and down the throne room as though it were part of some great purpose. Valna looked at her, the blue-hared queen sighing softly. "Lena, you've been at this for two straight hours, and you've been doing this every day since the attack. Can't you be a bit more patient while the scholars try to puzzle this out?"

The Valis Warrior did stop her pacing- not that she could ever resist the queen's commands anyway. "Sorry, your highness. In our battle against Galgear, we knew almost everything. Where he came from, what made him strike out against the Dreamworld, even where he was, and the source of his power. But with this, it feels like we're grasping at air. And my sword- it even seemed to relish combat with such a strong enemy. Who knows what shape I'd be in if Milegeus hadn't made such critical mistakes. It just feels like we're trying to build on clouds right now."

Valna lost herself in thought for a moment. "There are many talented people left in the Dreamworld, and the Darkworlders might even be able to shed some light on it. Even Cham is looking for clues right now, going through her father's old books. As one of the members of the old council of the Dark World, he no doubt had access to many things." Valna slumped back a bit. "Though if my mother were still alive, she would probably be able to tell us everything. She could see so far into other worlds, perhaps into time itself. There are some days where I wonder if she even saw her own death."

Lena shrugged. "What's important now is that we don't know anything about our enemies, though from all the weird stuff I heard, there must be at least three or four more of them here, and there's the fact that one of them was someone that even Milegeus called master. Also, he seemed to have someone he cared enough about that he was unwilling to fight to the absolute end when his master reminded him of her."

Valna looked up for a moment, and back to Lena. "To be honest, it doesn't suit me to just wait either. When Glames attacked this place, even I fought and defeated one of his generals after Yuko freed me."

Lena giggled a little, but stuffed it very soon. "Ah, sorry. I've just never remembered you as being anything but 'her highness'."

The queen had a giggle of her own. "That is fair enough, I'll grant you." It was at that moment that a large, black hawk flew in from one of the upper windows of the throne room. It soon deposited a scroll in the center of the room, and the scroll itself rolled until it was prominently displayed that it was addressed to Lena. The Valis Warrior soon picked it up, and opened it. Letters slowly appeared as she unfurled the parchment, as though being written on-site by an invisible hand.

Dearest Lena,

Though it has been some time since we parted ways, I still cannot help but feel responsible for the actions taken by my son against you, your family, your friends, and your queen. That is why I have preferred to stay out of sight for so long.

However, when I felt that someone or someone had breached this world by the force of powerful magic, I felt that the best way to repay you for my failures was to exert my own considerable powers in determining the nature of what had come to pass in the Dreamworld. From the time that they arrived, I devoted myself to finding out who and what they were, and from where they had come. I have used a ritual to communicate with their leader, who has been unexpectedly willing to answer almost everything I have cared to ask. One of the things he has so far declined to tell me was about this "oath" that their knight-captain, Merogius, keeps referring to, but I can tell it is something that is central to all of the things that they do because of how seriously they speak of it and how closely they guard it.

He says he comes from a place called Vascani, and apparently that word is an odd linguistic construction, as it refers to both the place and the people from it, with not a single letter or change in tone to separate the two definitions. Merogius also says that six of his most loyal knights have come to aid him- Milegeus, Torilikos, Vaijoras, Kaevoras, Tamorath, and Dimacherus. Why he tells me this, I do not know. However, he makes no demands on us. Perhaps he thinks it more polite for the host to surrender their home than a guest to offer to take it.

Merogius, however... While I was a king in my later days, I was also a warrior in my youth. Because of this, I can look on the largest monster or the most ferocious opponent and know, by instinct, "this thing can be slain", without fail. When I look at Merogius, that feeling does not exist, as though there is more to his existence than mere flesh and blood.

I hope that your sword protects you from this unfortunate doubt as well as from his vast powers.

-Asfal, once king.


Lena breathed a sigh of relief, and smiled as she finished reading the letter aloud to Valna. "I knew we could count on our friends. I only wish Asfal could've manged to come and tell us this in person."

Valna smiled. "Well, if he had come himself, he could hardly continue his vital work, could he? And if something were to go wrong, or he is attacked by our foes, he would be putting more people than himself in danger. Considering Asfal's own prowess, however, I do find it just a bit alarming that even he doubts that something living in this world can be killed."

Lena took on an air of seriousness for a moment. "There are no invincible warriors. Even the Valis warriors have been pressed into dire straits, and the sword is supposed to make one unconquerable in battle." Lena was startled by a sudden thunderclap. "Strange, the sky was clear just a few minutes ago."

Valna stood up from her throne. "It think it might profit us to take a look outside."

Lena and Valna did take some flights of stairs up to one of the higher balconies of the castle, and looked on. The sky had turned gray, of course, but far off towards the horizon, they could see a great, swirling mass of black clouds crawling over each other like waves in a storm-tossed sea. Lena narrowed her eyes as she looked out towards the gathering storm. "One of them is there."

Valna blinked. "Are you sure? It could be a decoy to get you away from the castle."

The Valis warrior nodded slowly. "I don't think they're interested in attacking the castle. Valna... Milegeus came here not to ruin the courtyard, but to fight me. They're after the sword, and want to fight me for it."

Valna soon comprehended. "And if they were like other conquerors who had come to this place, they would have struck out against everywhere you didn't happen to be, first. It is always the countryside that has suffered first in such wars. I do wonder, though, if you've recovered from your last fight. It seemed to leave you somewhat sore."

Lena smiled. "Well, as intense as it was, it wasn't a very long fight. I made him pack up before he could do anything horrible, but I'll have to be more careful next time. He will too- he's not out to throw his life away." She leaned over onto the railing of the balcony. "It's strange. It's almost like they think they're playing for higher stakes than we are."

The queen placed her hand on Lena's lower back. "Hmmm... Well, I'm sure that Asfal or the others may find out what their plan is, but I think that we shouldn't talk about the weather when there's something that can actually be done about it these days."

Lena nodded, and Valna managed to restrain herself from asking Lena not to leave by leaping off of the balcony and into the courtyard. It wouldn't do any good, anyway.

--------------------

Torilikos was a patient man, to be sure. He had already been waiting in the same spot for days, and a little longer after summoning an ominous-looking storm cloud wouldn't hurt him in the least. His patience was rewarded, however, as the knight of Vascani looked first to see Lena's red hair, then down to see the rest. "I knew you'd come. I do wonder how Milegeus was so bedeviled by you, considering how your armor seems to be little else but decorative in its properties."

Lena gripped the Valis sword in both hands. "It has done well enough to protect me against many of my enemies before. Why should it suddenly stop now?"

The knight nodded, the sky-blue lights that peered out from the eye-slit of his great helm. "A fair enough assertion- we shall just have to see whether it can protect you against me." He grabbed his own sword, pulling the long, straight, single-edged blade out of its scabbard with an unnatural smoothness. He did not hesitate to swing the first blow from the top down, but Lena jumped back to dodge the cut. However, as soon as she touched ground a little ways back from the stroke of his blade, a bolt of lightning fell on the Valis Warrior, the sudden force sending her stumbling on her back. Her armored crown had done its best to act as a magical lightning rod, but her head pounded for a moment, her vision blurred as she made her best guess to avoid his next stroke, which did catch the armor on her shoulder. She refocused enough to parry the next swing, and the duel began in earnest, though she was still problematically daze, her eyes swimming slightly and her head buzzing. She watched Torilikos's sword crackle with blue lightning. She then saw the thunderbolt etched into his sword that traveled from tip to hilt.

Lena dashed in to strike, and put her blade in the way of her foe's attacks, ensuring that he didn't get more full swings, even directly striking at his sword to prevent it from being so. Even the briefest touch of blades sent blue sparks flying into the green fields, causing clumps of grass to blacken and smolder, casualties of the magic that overflowed from Torilikos's sword. This made even parrying his sword perilous, and Lena could even smell a bit of her own hair being singed and cooked by the errant sparks. The clashes of the dueling warriors even began to drown out the great claps of lightning that struck across the tumultuous sky. Torilikos was not as good a swordsman as his colleague, but the constant distraction caused by the possibility of more lightning bolts made her hesitate more than usual. She was losing ground.

Another full swing made her dodge to the side, but she rolled to avoid the inevitable lightning strike. Her ears rang from the tremendous roar, her eyes stinging from the great flash, but she herself was untouched as she did her best to put some distance between herself and her enemy. Torilikos stood there expectantly, his blue cape flapping about him in the harsh wind that began to pick up. A large spark flew off of the end of the knight's sword, and a bolt of lightning crept and bounced across the ground, forking and roaring as it thundered towards her. How she moved fast enough to get out of its way, she would never know- survival is a powerful motivator. Lena did her best to collect her thoughts. 'I can't fight him while the weather is on his side, but I can't control storms myself. Think, Lena! anything is better than waiting to get fried'! Lena looked up, and suddenly remembered. While the magic she used with the sword would not be enough to destroy her foe, it might yet serve a useful purpose.

She closed her eyes for the smallest of moments, and a bolt flashed across her blue eyes as she summoned four great balls of lightning, sending them up into the foreboding, swirling mass of clouds. Both had to shield their eyes from the great flash that erupted in the sky. Once they could see again, they both looked up at the clouds- the movement of the swirling storm having become erratic and unpredictable, the magical lightning beginning to lash uncontrollably across the battlefield. Lena then charged, before Torilikos could once again try to gain control of the storm. Her assault caught him off guard, and he was soon on the back foot, trying to recover from his awkward position as best as he could. He growled as he fought back, trying to fight all the harder because this peasant had ruined his dominance of the field.

It was not to be, however. After many exchanges where Lena, now totally focused, had the upper hand, Torilikos felt himself beginning to falter, even if slightly. He knew he was not as good a swordsman as Milegeus- he would've regained an even footing by now- and put his strength into powerful, but wild swings. He wouldn't dare to admit that he was getting desperate, and cursed himself for not considering this girl would have powerful magic of her own. While he could direct storms, the Valis sword itself was made to defy the might of the heavens.

Lena saw the weakness in one of his parries, and quickly flipped her sword over in mid-swing, bringing the flat of the blade directly down on his fingers, hammering them through the armor and causing him to drop his sword in surprise. She brought her sword down, and he attempted to block with his forearm. The blade bit into the armor, wounding him there, and as Torilikos dropped his arm, she struck him a similarly shallow, but vicious wound in the space between his shoulder and neck, causing his Vascani blood to flow over and stain the fine blue of his armor. Lena watched, though, as a thick, white fluid oozed out of his armor and hardened over the wounds, preventing him from bleeding out even further. Torilikos called a cage of lightning over himself to prevent Lena from finishing him off.

Torilikos looked over at her. "At the mere cost of a portion of my dignity, Valis Warrior, I have learned all of your tricks. An acceptable exchange, in my view. Next time we meet, you will not be so fortunate!" Blue motes surrounded him, and he disappeared in a flash.

Lena blinked, and put the Valis sword away as the sky cleared up overhead. It was only going to get harder. But where were these people going?

---------------

"It's a perfectly fine fortress. I don't see why it has been abandoned for so long." Milegeus was accompanied by another knight, this one in red and yellow armor. The gilding that ran up and down the limbs and torso of the plates covering his powerful frame were molded in as stylized flames- if the light were to strike him at the right angles, it would look as though he were perpetually ablaze. Milegeus knocked on one of the tightly fitted stone walls. "This isn't a place that would fall apart on its own, Vaijoras, not for hundreds of years or more. It has certainly outlasted its old lord, at least."

Vaijoras nodded, looking about from his helmet with his own glowing, orange eyes as his fellow knight looked around. "Perhaps, brother, there is some bad history associated with this place. None of the Dreamworlders live anywhere near this fortress."

Milegeus looked up to see a plaque above a tall arch, and reached up to grab it. He pulled, his elbow and knees still stinging from the wounds given to him by Lena days before. However, he pulled down the plaque, and the whole slab of stone it was attached to. "Hmmm... 'Enter here the throne room of the high and eternal king of the Dream World, Rogles'. Looks like he was one of those kinds of kings."

Vaijoras nodded. "Hah! When will they ever learn that eternity is longer than they think?" Both of them walked into the throne room, Milegeus setting the slab aside.

Merogius was already inside, pulling down the unsightly tattered curtains. "Rogles was a murderous delinquent from his youth through his prime, and if he's dead then it can only be a boon to all living things ha wish to live decent lives. His older brother had dignity, valor, and other kingly virtues- perhaps we can yet retrieve Megas from the void and treat him as an honored guest of the Vascani."

With a blue flash, Torilikos appeared, still clutching his shoulder. "That girl... She won't have that same chance again, I swear it."

Milegeus nodded. "I told you she could be surprising, and it seemed she had surprises enough to get her mark on you."

Torilikos grumbled. "Still, though... My lord, I do have a plan. She well not be able to fight me that way if I can make her lose her head. I would like to see her fury- what happens when she throws all else to the wind but her desire to slay. It can be done, just let me act on my own."

Merogius regarded Torilikos, letting a silence hang between them. "When you recover, you may try... Though if you are out to do what I think you're planning, and you should find yourself betwixt the jaws of death, I will not save you though you may shout loud enough to shake the heavens. Vaijoras, however, has offered to fight her next."

Vaijoras nodded. "It may be all well and good for the rest of you to dance around this problem, but a difficult opponent like this requires the use of overwhelming force at the outset. The Valis Warrior may be a formidable foe indeed, but we, the knights of the Brotherhood of the Sword, are not yet so weak to be undone by the strength of a single girl, distinguished though she may be. I'd rather we not have to trouble our lord with this foe, brothers. When the others come back from their scavenger hunt, they will curse themselves for not taking up this challenge themselves after our victory."
-------------

*The full quote, commonly (mis?)attributed to Mark Twain is "everybody talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.

To preempt any questions on that- if it looks like the Vascani are acting on old news... They are! Being the preternatural craftsmen that they are, they can easily track the movements of legendary swords. However, their information on worlds that they don't normally visit comes from bouts of divination, auguries, and magical scrying handled at notoriously irregular intervals. Sometimes they have accurate, up to date information, other times the difference is almost as bad as long-distance time travel.


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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Sun 10 Oct 2010, 6:22 pm

Just another so cool chapter Shocked eee chu chu Chu
More please.. MORE!
It's so exciting!!!! eee

Tiny side note: Am I the only one who got confused with these names >>> Merogius, Milegeus, Melegeus <<< === these three people have very similar names that gets me so confused!!

If I had some free time, I'd have already drawn a pic for each of these Generals/Knights chu
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Sun 10 Oct 2010, 6:42 pm

evilReiko wrote:
Just another so cool chapter Shocked eee chu chu Chu
More please.. MORE!
It's so exciting!!!! eee

Tiny side note: Am I the only one who got confused with these names >>> Merogius, Milegeus, Melegeus <<< === these three people have very similar names that gets me so confused!!

If I had some free time, I'd have already drawn a pic for each of these Generals/Knights chu

Melegeus is what happens when I'm trying to spell Milegeus and I'm not paying good attention, so they're the same person. I guess I'm not that confused myself because A) I'm writing this, and B), one of my favorite novels is Romance of the Three kingdoms, which has about a dozen or so different Zhang (something)s to keep track of. I at least try to keep the seven of them visually distinctive. Smile

EDIT: And I'd probably ask you to hold off on fanart of Vaijoras, anyways. He has certain visual "features" that are only revealed when he fights.
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Mon 11 Oct 2010, 11:08 am

Asfal FTW! Anyway, the story continues to be captivating and well-written! cheers And these generals specifically make very interesting villains.
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Mon 11 Oct 2010, 9:08 pm

Part 3: Day of fire-1

There were few places that could inspire more awe in the dreamworld than the great woods, known there as just 'The Woods', as anywhere you went, people would know what one was talking about. They had even become safe again for travelers, after the influence of Rogles was driven out due to his death.

In a small clearing, the rays of the morning sun filtered down through the green, spring leaves, touching upon the top of a great sword that, over time, had become mostly buried in the ground, curiously undisturbed by those passing by. The crossing of the hilt and crossguard were marked by a red jewel, that refused to sparkle or glimmer in the brightest and most direct light.

Now, however, there were those who were more curious about the sword than the Dreamworld's inhabitants. A nimbly-framed knight of Vascani, this one clad in white armor with gold trim, looked down at the ground. He took the hilt by both hands, and had to wrench the sword out of the ground, as it seemed to lay there more heavily than any other sword had the right to. Even when it was free, it lay abominably heavy in his hands. He examined it with his silver eyes that glowed in the darkness of his helmet, turning it over, holding it up to the light, examining each edge all the way down to the tiniest fraction of an inch. "Well, what a pretty blade you are... But what weighs so heavily on you, friend sword?" He closed his eyes, and let his mind be known to his lord. My lord, I have found what appears to be a magical sword in the woods- however, some things about its nature yet elude me.

He only had to wait a moment. He watched as the familiar silver light manifested, Merogius soon appearing in a flash. Kaevoras waited for his lord to come over, and held the weapon up. "It is a strange thing. While the evil that has made this sword has left it, this blade still weighs at least ten times more than it should. It is obviously a very fine weapon, but it is quite an enigma if even I cannot discern its difficulties."

The knight-captain picked up the sword. Merogius slowly closed his visor over his eyes, obscuring them completely as he examined the weapon more deeply than merely examining its edge, or testing its weight and strength. The pair stood there for a good half hour as Merogius probed the sword's history and secrets. He took a deep breath, slowly opening his visor and shaking his head. "We cannot use this sword. It is a labored weapon with a history that only one from this world can see rectified."

Kaevoras nodded. "May I ask what the difficulty with it is?"

Merogius nodded, and held onto the sword as he began to head back to the castle. "It is filled with the sorrow and regret of a girl who fought to the death against the one whom she loved most, a burden that weighs more than any mere metal."

--------------

Though the fight with Torilikos left her more confused than injured (but still considerably both), she was still elated. Cham had returned, and that meant that she had someone who she could rigorously train against for the battles that were sure to come. It was Lena's training with Cham that taught her how to fight opponents of greater physical strength, and made her into a warrior worthy of the Valis sword and capable of conquering Galgear. Now, Cham was the only other warrior in the dreamworld who could keep up with Lena's superb swordsmanship, and could still give the Valis warrior quite the workout. Valna's magic sped along her recovery, so that Lena could get straight to harsh training with her former commander and current friend.

It was after one of these workout sessions in the courtyard that Lena decided to talk to Cham about things other than training. "Well, what do you think, Cham? About them?"

Cham put down her own sword, one well-suited for a woman of her strength- she also put away her whip. While none of the knights so far had used anything other than swords, they had used a number of means of attack that required Lena to be fast on her feet. "The Vascani? Well, whatever their actual strength is, they sound like pros- the kind of people who have fought tough battles before, even if they do seem a bit overzealous sometimes. I wasn't able to find out more about them, but I think I may have found out about why Asfal couldn't get a read on our silver-plated foe."

Lena blinked, looking over at Cham. "Really? How did that happen?"

Cham got up, and began doing her cool-down stretches. Lena always admired the fluidity of Cham's motion- it was like watching a cat. "Well, I turned some important-looking pages of dad's books over to Valna, and she managed to work out what they meant. It seems that there are ways for people to 'ascend', basically become celestial beings and escape their normal bonds of... Well, not even my dad's books weren't clear on that one. Yuko did it when she became the goddess of the dreamworld, and it's possible that Merogius has gone through something similar.

Lena's eyes widened. "You mean that Merogius is a god?"

Cham waved her hand. "Not exactly- he's still living here, after all, but he may have become something more than mortal. Don't know how, but the fact that his knights aren't all like him means that there must be something limiting about it. Do remember that Galgear wasn't exactly your typical creature either, thanks to the terrible power of his ring."

Lena nodded. That battle was surreal, to say the least. "Well, at least there's only one of him, but I still wonder about his subordinates. There are still four that we haven't seen."

Cham sat back down beside Lena. "To be honest, that seems to be the Valis Warrior's lot, when it comes to fighting. It's not like Yuko had any big idea of what her opponents could do until she actually fought them. Not a very comforting tradition, but there it is."

Lena looked up at the night sky. A green shooting star flew across and dipped over the horizon. "Well, great, a green one? As though my life of late hasn't gotten strange enough."

Cham chuckled. "Well, I wouldn't worry about that. The arrival of our new 'friends' wasn't nearly so subtle as that. It's probably the one thing that we don't have to worry about. I only wish my soldiers could help you, but from what you've said, the Valis sword may be the only weapon we have on hand capable of expediently defeating their armor, which is no doubt enchanted in some ways."

Lena blinked as she saw a green flash on the horizon. "Well, looks like it was big enough to make it all the way to the ground. If it's an omen, I hope it's a good one." She thinks for a moment. "Actually, if they come to earth intact, aren't such stones supposed to have magical properties? I think I should go look for it tomorrow- we can't let the Vascani have such a thing, anyway."

Her trainer smiled, Cham leaning back in her seat. "Well, tomorrow sounds like a plan to me. I've been organizing our sentries to keep a watch for any knight-related activities." It was then that both of them heard that familiar throat-clearing, which seemed to get just a little more regal each time it happened. Both of them turned to see Valna. Lena even blushed a bit. While her majesty's nightclothes weren't all that different from her normal queenly robes, it was rare enough to see her majesty with her hair down- and it was quite a long way down. Valna didn't look any less beautiful because of it, especially under the light of the full moon. In her hands she had a small tray with three cups of tea.

The queen smiled as she sat down handing one of the cups to each of the others. "I am sorry that I've been busy, but Cham turned over some rather important-seeming things that needed to be translated into lay terms. However, even your queen needs a little break sometimes. I thought some tea would go well with tonight, at least."

Lena nodded, recovering her sense enough so that she could accept her tea, taking a drink from the cup. "You're always welcome to come out whenever you have the time, you know... and perhaps we ought to all spend more time together when the Dreamworld isn't in imminent danger from invaders and conquerors."

Cham stopped to think about it. "And look at us. Me, Valna, and the Valis warrior. I think that this is really the way it should've been back then, too."

A silence hung over all three of them. Even Lena knew what Cham was referring to. The silence lasted for a while, and then Valna smiled, raising her cup. "To Yuko, then."

Chan smiled as well. "To dad."

Lena thought for a moment, and raised her own. "To all those who couldn't be here to share this with us."

All three then drank simultaneously. Lena was the first to break the silence after the fact, giving a nod to the others. "Too bad you missed the shooting star, Valna. I'm going to go look for it tomorrow- it definitely landed a good ways to the East, I think just over the horizon."

The queen looked off into the distance. "There are some ruins that way- an old temple of some sort. It probably landed around there, but do be careful. There are worse things than monsters to worry about these days, after all."

Cham smiled, and pulled Lena close hugging the shorter warrior around her waist. "Well, nothing our Lena can't handle."

Lena decided, perhaps wisely, not to protest.

------------------

The dawn came soon enough, and Lena made her way over to the ruins, arriving there by midday. Running always came easy to Lena, and only more so after she volunteered as a Dreamworld soldier under Cham's instruction. Even collapsed and abandoned, the ruins were grand, with great, white, ivy-covered columns with remnants of arches passing between them. Large clumps of grass pushed their way up between the ancient stones that paved the paths between the remnants of the various buildings that made up the old complex. She had no problem navigating them, but she could find no trace of the shooting star. Valna was rarely mistaken about charting such things.

She moved towards what looked to be a huge amphitheater, but had to hide behind one of the columns as she heard the sound of metal on stone that wasn't coming from her own boots. She could hear the owner of a powerful voice talking to himself. "My lord is excellent at charting the course of the heavens... And yet there is no sign of the object that fell, none at all. I'm beginning to wonder if it was really a shooting star at all, or just some trick of the Dreamworlders." Lena didn't dare to peek around the corner. "This place has had a long history, but one might still stage plays in this, if they had a mind to. It's the perfect size for 'Flower of Duty'." Now Lena was confused, but still stayed motionless. It was no doubt one of the Vascani knights.

Even though she made no sound, though, the knight still spoke once more. "It's no use hiding, warrior. I can smell that your skin knows the touch of steel. It would be a shame if I, Vaijoras, had to burn you out like some common game rather than allow you to come and face me on the back of your own courage." With that, Lena stepped out from behind the column, and made her way down the steps to the vast, flat circle at the center of the theater. She looked the red-armored knight up and down, and she felt him doing the same to her. He continued. "The Valis sword must be rather confident in its wielder, to allow you armor that shows so much, though it may yet protect you in ways I cannot yet see."

Lena drew the Valis sword, gripping its hilt at its highest and lowest points as she held it ready. "Though I don't know what it is, I won't let you have whatever fell to the ground here."

Vaijoras drew his own long, great sword, etched with a design of flames running from the tip to the base of the blade. "It was merely a secondary concern of my lord. Now, however, fate has decided to give me a task far greater and more glorious, by delivering you into my hands." The sword, inch by inch, went ablaze, and he pointed it at one end of the circle. as he pulled the blade around, the circle they were standing in was blocked off by a towering wall of fire, and the knight himself manifested orange, fiery wings. "I won't make the same mistake at the others. Torilikos is too fond of games, and Milegeus may well have thought that our lord was taking him for a wimp by asking him to fight with a girl." The fire and smoke darkened the arena, beginning to obscure the sun, and Lena began to see bits embers and ash blown about the field. "Now, warrior, show me how hard one must fight to become the wielder of that sword!"

Lena knew the value of being aggressive against such foes, and so met Vaijoras in the middle, the Valis sword clashing harshly with the knight's own weapon. She slid back on her feet, but didn't give anything else up to him but a few feet of space. What she could not do was be forced into the edge of the field, and so did her best, giving her opponent the runaround with each exchange so that she could stay towards the center. Even for all of her focus on her enemy, the heat of his sword could still be felt. She kept up the attack- as these warriors were also skilled with magic to various degrees, she would have to fight her way through distractions like sparks or burning swords. It would be supremely difficult to throw him back, but keeping him reacting was a good start. Attackers in such combats usually had the advantage.

Vaijoras was no fool, and somehow find the space to make a sweeping swing with his sword, which Lena tried to block instead of dodge. the sheer force of it caused her to stumble aside, but she recovered enough to evade the next blow, countering with a strike of her own. the strike left a gouge in his shoulder guard, but didn't cut deep enough to wound him- he was good at moving with his opponent's blows. She pushed to get back on the offensive, but the two exchanged roles frequently. Lena was hard-pressed to find some gap that she could exploit, but nothing could present itself long enough for her to exploit it. Lena was forced to simply hold him there until something could be done about it.

The knight leaped back and, in one motion, pulled his red cloak from his shoulders and tossed it over Lena. the warrior cut neatly through it with a single stroke, but looked up to see that Vaijoras had taken to the air, at least briefly. His wings of flame touched together and launched a massive fireball, and Lena's surprise slightly overwhelmed her body's desire to get out of the way. She managed to avoid the worst of it, but the thunderous explosion stung her ears and eyes, and some white-hot embers found a painful home in her right leg. While the pain was exceedingly sharp, it was also brief, and not merely because she put them out quickly. Vaijoras flapped his wings harshly, summoning up waves of flame that Lena had to bound over or otherwise be immolated in the great surge of heat and destruction.

It was during these leaps that Lena saw an opportunity. She saw the timing of the waves, and made a great, single leap, bringing her sword down on Vaijoras from above while his wings were wide open. Though he blocked with his sword, it drove Vaijoras back to the ground, the arena floor cracking slightly underneath at the harsh impact of his armored legs. Lena herself bounced back, but immediately rushed in, only to find her opponent once again prepared. The light of the bright flames caused the Valis sword to flash, and it once again vibrated slightly in her hands. Lena wondered if the sword itself was reveling in this desperate battle, but she did her best to strike harder.

Sparks and embers flew. She was elated that Vaijoras seemed to be off-balance, but ended up almost being struck down all the same, as Vaijoras tried to envelop the Valis warrior with his wings of flame. She managed to escape with less severe burns than she would have if she had sat still, but it meant that Vaijoras was also able to recover from his disadvantage. Lena shook her head. Milegeus was careless. Torilikos was playing games- this one was doing neither, and not even she could see a weakness in this enemy. Her mind and heart raced in equal speed, looking for some solution to her dilemma.

The knight pointed his burning sword at Lena. "The power of the Vascani is not so easily overthrown, not even by one who wields the Valis sword. If you had deigned to submit to us, you would have met some peaceful end three score years from now rather than being burned alive in the fires of battle that I possess. It is a shame that you only now realize the magnitude of your peril, and shall soon be but a mere dusting of ash at the bottom of the crucible of war!"

Lena steadied herself, and readied her weapon. Vaijoras is powerful- I don't even know how much so... But there is someone that even Vaijoras calls Lord, so there must be a way to beat him!




I can't let them down!

---------------
---------------


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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Wed 13 Oct 2010, 4:58 am

Think Lena Think!!!
You can do it!! chu chu chu

btw, Kaevoras and Merogius took Reiko's sword, right?? for what reasons!!?? chu chu Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Wed 13 Oct 2010, 9:01 am

evilReiko wrote:


btw, Kaevoras and Merogius took Reiko's sword, right?? for what reasons!!?? chu chu Shocked

Yep, that's what they took. As for the rest, you'll just have to wait. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Thu 14 Oct 2010, 8:00 pm

Part 4: Day of Fire-2
-------

Lena found herself in quite a pickle, one of the worst she had ever been in. All around her was the roar of towering flames, simultaneously lighting up the battlefield and darkening the sky with smoke. Before her was Vaijoras, one of the knights of Vascani, and a superb swordsman, his burning sword and flaming wings, combined with the backdrop of a wall of fire, made it almost appears as she were fighting a devil dressed and armed for a war against the heavens. She could swear that his style had a weakness, but she wasn't able to discern how to exploit it as of yet. Her eyes widened as she realized there was something she could do, though it was rather risky. I don't like it, but if I pull it off, he'll end up liking it a whole lot less.

Vaijoras renewed his assault, and Lena fought him off, holding her ground, unless it was necessary to jump back to avoid the sweep of his fiery wings. Lena's eyes looked for the proper opportunity, the single stroke of his that would make her patience worthwhile, but she was sure it would take a while. He knew she was a strong opponent, and would take few chances unless he could be assured of her weakness in some way. She feigned that she was flagging, that her swordwork and footwork were beginning to slow down, heavily favoring the side that was untouched by burns from the knight's fire. She still protected her life, but did her best to make it look like she had no energy for attacking. It was then that he took the bait, and she did what she would've never considered doing intentionally before.

She let herself get hit.

Thanks to her agility, his thrust was not an especially solid or deep blow by most reckoning, but the fire and metal graced the side of her ribs as she hopped up, causing her intense, incredible pain for the moment it took for the nerve endings there to burn away under the terrible power of even that brief stroke against her flesh. The fire didn't spread on her, thanks to the protection of the armor, but she bit her lip hard to move her way through the pain, and, to Vaijoras's shock, she ended up delivering a more telling blow. The Valis sword flashed in the light of the flame as the point drove squarely into the side of his chest. His armor slowed the blade enough to ensure that the strike wasn't so severe as to be mortal, but when he felt the blade slide out, Vaijoras knew that he had gotten the worst of the exchange. The thick, white fluid that flowed out of his armor sealed over the wound in an attempt to keep it from bleeding out too severely, but the strike was too deep for that to be enough for him to ignore the wound completely. His eyes widened. Amazing! Sacrificing one's flesh for the sake of landing a telling blow! Is this the kind of warrior that has always wielded the Valis Sword? What knight could do better?

Lena's breathing quickened. Her side stung and ached greatly, but she could see her opponent wasn't in especially good trim either, so she renewed her attack. Vaijoras found himself on the defensive this time, his wound nagging at him as Lena began to push his swordwork to its limits, forcing him to fight with such a wound. He began to flag, and he was now genuinely weakened thanks to Lena's pretended weakness. Irony could be reflected on later, though, as he found himself hard-pressed to keep pace with Lena on the ground. However, he still had other resources to draw on. With a sweep of his wings of fire, he forced Lena to back off long enough for him to take to the air. Flames fell from his wings, enough to keep Lena from immediately trying to pursue him.

Vaijoras winced slightly, but, hovering above the ground as he was, he was able to keep out of Lena's reach. Though defeating her with his sword would've been best for his fame, a victory over the wielder of a legendary blade was still a victory to be honored. The sweeping of his wings rained down fire on Lena, but was dismayed to see that the flames that did threaten to touch her could be actually dispelled with a sweep of the Valis sword. It was no matter, however, as there were still ways he could destroy her. Lena dodged as best she could, and looked up to see what could be a calamity or an opportunity, if she just knew how to exploit it.

The knight touched the tips of his wings of fire together. A massive ball of flame formed between, and he peered down at Lena. "Very well, then. One is a fool of he does not exhaust everything he has to defeat a foe, and since my sword cannot prevail over yours, I shall give you a spectacular exit from this battle. As you would not yield to the sword, you cannot expect me to spare you from the flame!" With a massive roar, the fireball launched- however, Lena had a plan this time that didn't involve being burned alive by her opponent's power.

As the fireball flew towards her, she actually leaped above it while it was still in midair, and fired her own huge ball of lightning into the ball of flame, causing it to burst in a tremendous, near-blindingly bright explosion. Vaijoras was forced to shield his eyes as the force propelled Lena upward, distracting him for that vital, crucial moment as she came down from above, her sword coming with. He knew that she was above him, but only the vaguest idea where, and raised his arms to block against the nigh-unseen blow. He guessed wrong. the sword cut down through his elbow and arm, flashing as it lodged itself deep in the accompanying shoulder. She put her knee to his chest as she rode him to the ground, the flames of his wings licking up around her as they dried to dislodge Lena. The sudden, crashing stop put an end to that as the ground cracked and crumbled beneath under the force of the blow, and Lena swore she could hear something snap underneath. She watched as Vaijoras's severed forearm joined them on the ground. Lena stepped back as soon as she could get her own bearings again, and waited, ready to strike or defend as needed.

Silence hung for a brief moment, but soon enough, Vaijoras began to stir. Lena's eyes widened further- How could he still be alive?!. Alive, certainly, but in terrible shape. He used his remaining hand to pull himself up to his feet by bracing his sword in the ground, and the flames of his making- wings, wall, and sword- all died down and dissipated. He breathed and coughed sharply and wetly, eventually expelling an unhealthy-looking amount of black blood from his mouth and throat. Lena had no idea whether he would continue to fight, so asked the first question. "Stop, Vaijoras! Do you yield?"

Vaijoras struggled fully to his feet before answering. "Yes, I yield, Valis Warrior. I do hope that you aren't one to take me for a fool who doesn't think he is worth more to his lord alive than dead. To be so wounded as this is a possibility that all knights of Vascani must face. And even if my recovery is too slow for me to end up fighting you again, there are still five more like me, and our captain who are arrayed against you. You cannot even touch our lord with the power that you possess. There is nothing that you can do to stop us from fulfilling the oath!"

Lena blinked, and raised her sword. "I keep on hearing you people talk about this oath! What's it all about anyway?" She took a deep, painful breath. "Why does it demand that you fight and try to conquer this world?"

Vaijoras put is sword away, and picked up his severed limb. "For you to comprehend the gravity of our oath, your people would have to have lived in the absence of hope for an entire age, and each day dreading the rising of a hateful sun in a black sky that brought about one of endless days of torment for a whole world. A wound struck so deep against an entire people that even the unborn of today are dimly aware of it in the darkest corners of their minds, where the thick miasma of nightmares resides, Valis Warrior. I must now go to my lord." With that, and a great roar, Vaijoras disappeared in a pillar of flame.

Lena blinked, but didn't have much time to think about what he had said, before she took stock of herself. She was in scarcely better shape than he was, considering her burns, how her leg ached from that last maneuver, and even that brief strike from his sword left a nasty, burned wound. She had been pushed to desperation by this one opponent, and there were still others, at least one of which was greater than the one she had just fought. The only comfort she had was that it was a sunny day for the journey back to Vanity Castle, though it certainly wouldn't be pleasant.
-------

Sometime later, a cloaked shape dashed its way along the sides of one of the great mountains to the north. The hood obscured all of the traveler's features, save for the golden glow of her eyes. Those widened as they found something that would be obscured to those that knew no magic, or lacked an expert sight for the fine craftsmanship required to make such a secret entrance. Nimble fingers found the seam and hidden switches that would unlock the passage, and soon enough, with a great groan, the stone door slid open.

The traveler's first step was a difficult one, as the steps were made for someone certainly taller. She caught herself on her hands and feet with a grunt as she peered around the inside with those glowing, golden eyes. It was actually a rather comfortable underground residence, filled with furniture and books, and was even well-lit by a luminary orb that sat suspended in mid-air just below the ceiling. She was originally astonished by the sight, but then thought for a moment- if a person would life out of the way, wouldn't they want to live someplace comfortable, at the least? She blinked, though, as she heard someone coming. She thought she may as well stay and face it.

Asfal seemed rather unconcerned with the fact that there was an intruder in his living room, especially considering how well he had set the door. He rearranged some books, first, before speaking. "That was quite an admirable bit of misdirection you pulled, showing up quietly while arranging for some astronomical phenomenon to turn people's heads. Even my most recent conversation companion was fooled by it, and he seems hardly a slouch at anything, really." He looked down to the shorter woman, though, as with all things, short was relative. "And you may as well pull that hood of yours down, miss. It may be proof against the weather in the mountains, but now you just look like a sneak thief, when I have a good idea that you're neither."

Her cloak was sleeved, and so only showed off her gloved hands as well as the front of her metal bracers- which were thicker above the wrist and each had three slots. Claw braces, Asfal surmised. The woman pulled back her hood, shaking out the full, incredible length of her silky, dark-green hair, and underneath those lustrous tresses she wore a simple silver circlet around her forehead. Her golden eyes lacked pupils, and though they weren't glowing, they still did shine a bit in this light, and Asfal could tell that she could see quite well out of them- they didn't need to bring in light, as they provided their own. He also saw the chain of a golden necklace disappear into the recesses of her cloak. She nodded slowly. "I am sorry, but better to be inside than out. Bad weather looked to be on the way. But... Who are you, who lives alone, but like this?"

Asfal smiled slightly. "I am Asfal. Believe it or not, I was once a great king, whom time and events have conspired to make into an old fool. However, in realizing this, I figured that the best thing to do would be to not infect my fellows with my own foolishness. Besides, this world doesn't need me as a ruler, or even a co-ruler. they have a perfectly capable queen for such things." He soon became a somewhat more serious. "Besides, the last time I tried to secure a royal legacy for my family it turned out rather badly for all involved."

The young woman nodded slowly, looking Asfal over, and then the spear/staff on the wall, mentally visualizing them together. If they were posed together posed just so- "Well... I think I can believe you were a king. I think... that you could even have been one of our kings, at one point."

Asfal nodded, beginning to shelves some of his books. "Well, thank you, though I've met none of your kings. After all, I can't say I've really heard of the Vascani until rather recently."

The young woman was taken rather a back. "I.... How did you know I was one of them?"

Asfal wedged a book in a bit tighter than was probably good for it. "Well, we've had some of them about, recently. Some big, armored sorts of them, as a matter of fact. Our champion, the Valis Warrior, is doing rather well, though the fights so far have been brutal. Their captain tells me that the Vascani are natural craftsmen, so who else would be able to find my front door with the grace that you have?"

She nodded, but lowered her head slightly. "So it has already started..."

Asfal went into his storeroom, talking to her from there. "Well, no one has died as of yet, if that's what you were worried about, but I don't see how that can last for especially long. I'm sure you're at least remotely aware of how zealous your own knights are, thanks to that enigmatic oath of theirs, and our champion is at least equally determined to ensure that they won't take this world. Sadly, it is a knot that can't be undone unless greased with blood. You wouldn't happen to know anything about the oath, would you?"

The young woman thought for a moment. "Well, I couldn't tell you that much, even if I wanted to. However, the oath is the most ancient and sacred guiding principle of the Vascani warrior tradition, rooted deep in our own history. Everyone knows what it is, and why it exists, but we don't often talk about it." She then nodded. "Asfal? I would like to see this Valis Warrior... You see, my big brother is among the knights that came this way, and I think that finding her may be the only way to save his life."

She soon heard some rustling in the storeroom, and things being moved around. "Well, she lives in a place called Castle Vanity, but that's a rather long ways south from here, and all you have are the clothes on your back." He came out with a tightly sealed bag, and handed over to the young woman. "You ought to take some food with you, at least. Though you may be in a hurry, since I have given you food and directions, I think I should at least know your name, at any rate."

She looked up, and blushed somewhat, having forgotten her manners. "I'm sorry... My name is Mylera."

Asfal nodded. "Good luck then, Mylera. I do hope that your brother's life can be saved."

--------------

It was a bad night for travel in another part of the dreamworld. Torilikos stood on his perch upon a cliff, overlooking the small town below. He had chosen nightfall, as that's when he could be certain his plan would have the most effect. He took an obsidian vial in his hands, spreading the silver powder in a perfectly even circle around him. the knight then smashed the vial, placing the shards in each of the eight directions. When he was satisfied he looked out into the view below, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. He raised his hands up to the sky.

While he didn't need to speak, Torilikos believed in the power of words as much as any other tangible power that existed in the worlds. "I, Torilikos, knight of the Vascani do call upon the storms of this world to heed my bidding- to cease your chaotic course and be bound to by hand as surely as any sword would know its place to serve me as its master. With you, I will make all those conscious of your glory, and fearful of your wrath. If you will but bow down to me, your glory shall never be forgotten from the moment I ask you to display your wrath to a thousand years hence."

The powder and shards slowly rose up, bit by bit, into the sky, and when they touched the clouds, they began to swirl and roil together. A harsh wind began to blow, and Torilikos's blue cape flapped at its hard touch. He spoke all the louder to the sky. "You can do great things by me. You and I can do the greatest thing of all- with your aid, we shall end the history of an entire world, by breaking the will of her champion, reducing her to nothing but blind rage and vain sorrow!"

Lightning seemed to flash across Torilikos's own eyes, as a magic circle appeared around his feet, and the town below. "Now... Strike."

And then all was bright light and terrible fury.



















Torilikos eventually stood in the wreckage, pleased with the result of his magic. The palisade had been blown outwards across the countryside, and what ruins weren't flattened were scorched black as night, with some still burning, fed by the breeze. He decided to stride to the edge of town, to the place that he swore that used to be a gate, and waited.

His patience was soon rewarded, as he saw a merchant driving his cart along the road, slowing to a stop as the driver looked on with terror at a place he was sure used to be a town. He barely noticed Torilikos stride up to him, but the knight soon made himself more conspicuous by drawing his crackling sword and leveling it at the man. In his other hand, he held out a sealed, blue metal tube to him. "You will turn around, and take this message to Castle Vanity. You will deliver it to the Valis Warrior, and you will attest that all that I describe in it is true, and that there is no deception."

The merchant meekly nodded, taking the message and turning the other way. Once he was out of sight, Torilikos put away his sword, and crossed his arms, waiting. "This ought to get her attention."


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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Sun 17 Oct 2010, 9:59 pm

Part 5: The Calm.

----------------------------

Lena still moved stiffly. Vaijoras's magic fires did a number on her, and even the healing powers of home were taking some time in bringing her back up to her old self. She was grateful for the bandages, however- now matter how snug they seemed, they were comfortable enough so that she could move and breathe easily. She did her best not to be a layabout, but that was rather difficult, considering what she sustained at the hands of the knight of Vascani. Her showing, however, had given her something of a respite. Sending him back maimed must have forced her opponents to reconsider their plans somewhat- at least, that's what she liked to believe. She had no idea what the reality was in the enemy camp, either.

Still, though, her recovery was proceeding quite well- even her hair had been restored to its proper health and length over this time, a miracle considering the fire and lightning that she had to face from her foes. Unfortunately, her practices with Cham had to be set aside due to her injuries- one didn't want to go through Cham's training in anything other than one's best shape. She closed her eyes as she lay back on her bed, having had to discard the Valis armor for something more comfortable- a set of pink pajamas. Where Cham got them, Lena didn't dare to ask, but they were cozy, and fit her surprisingly well. She looked up at the ceiling with her blue eyes, then closed them as she thought about what Vaijoras had said- but not too much, as it was mainly profound in the extremity of its vagueness. It did however, mean that they could not be shaken off their course by anything other than utter defeat in a contest of arms. And it was up to her to provide that.

It was rather polite of her enemies to give her this break, however.

Lena then re-read that first letter from Asfal. She had fought three of the seven so far, and knew from her prior experience as a Valis Warrior that she was unlikely to fight more than one of them at a time. Of course conquering a world did mean more than just defeating a single warrior, no matter who it was. Unraveling those complexities, however, was best left to Valna and Asfal. The one thing that did linger, though, was why only Milegeus retreated at the reminder of some relation or lover? Laying in bed like this, she had nothing else to do but dwell on these questions.

Thankfully, however, she wasn't left alone for very long with all of these questions. Valna was not just her queen, but also her good friend, and her majesty had managed to make some time here and there to check up on Lena. When she heard the door open, she sat to attention as quickly as she could, though not slow enough to keep her from wincing. Valna was always a welcome sight, in any case, and Lena smiled. "Come to check up on your favorite layabout, I see."

Valna closed the door behind her. "I really don't have all that much on my plate at the moment. I've been able to turn a good number of things over to Cham for now, as she's also in charge of preventing panic. Thankfully, this isn't your typical invasion- well, more thankful for the rest of us than for you. It seems that you must bear the brunt of their attacks personally, because you wield that sword."

Lena nodded. "Well, I'm not giving it up to them- Yuko herself trusted me with it, and I wouldn't give it up even if all of the knights of Vascani came here and tried to take it."

Valna nodded in return. "Thankfully, that doesn't look to be the case. So, how're you feeling today?"

Lena stretched as best as she could manage, rolling her shoulders. "Better than I probably should, considering. I should be ready to go again in a few days. The injuries caused by those magical flames were stubborn, weren't they?"

The queen carefully placed her fingers against where she knew the sword wound was covered up by bandages, making sure not to stroke too hard and upset the tender flesh underneath. "It was a challenge, but my mother ensured that I was well-instructed in such things. Such weapons have been about long before these foes, though not always wielded as well. Valna looked up to read Lena's expression, to make absolutely sure that she wasn't causing any pain to the champion of the Dreamworld- no more than she had already suffered, at any rate. "You know that I like to be helpful, rather than just sitting on the throne."

Lena put her hands in her lap. "Yeah... Cham told me about how you weren't just any queen back when I first volunteered. How you had fought hard for this world, and expected the same from all of us, as well. She was good at motivation, though the others had some more choice words for it."

Valna chuckled a bit, and pulled up one of the comfy chairs in Lena's room. "I would imagine so. Would you mind holding still for a bit?" Lena did seem confused, but sat stock-still after Valna commanded her. Valna then began to brush down the full length of Lena's red hair, carefully undoing any snags. When Lena looked a bit more befuddled at this, Valna simply smiled. "While I'm sure that I should be asking some of the servants to handle this, it really feels like the kind of thing I should've been able to do with my sister when she was the Valis Warrior."

Lena blushed a bit, smiling. "Well, Amu never really went in for this sort of thing herself, either- she had other ways of expressing herself. Thank you, though, your majesty." Lena had to admit it was relaxing, which was something that she needed quite sorely at the moment. Ever since the Vascani arrived, it had felt like she was always either preparing for or was just coming back from another fight with the knights from another world. It occurred to her that the same properties that made Valna such a good wizard and queen even applied to little things like this- Valna was thorough. She even closed her eyes as she allowed it to go on.

The queen finished eventually- Lena had plenty of hair, which seemed to be a common trait of Valis Warriors. "We have gotten word from Asfal, but what he gave us was a bit vague and even a little cryptic. I wouldn't be surprised if Merogius was beginning to refuse to talk more, especially after what you just did."

Lena blinked. "Well, what did his message say?"

Valna stopped to recollect. "It said something along the lines of- 'Expect a visitor, but do not expect the same politeness given to me.". Now, he left the date on this one, which puzzled me for a moment until I realized that it lined up a day after the shooting star fell."

Lena blinked. "But it didn't land anywhere near where Asfal is hiding out. How would this guest visit him so soon?"

Valna gave a little half-smile. "Perhaps we've been had. The knights like to draw attention to themselves, but who knows who this visitor is. It's possible for people to travel quietly between worlds- Cham has done it before, herself. Once that we know of, and maybe more besides."

The Valis Warrior thought for a moment. "Well, whatever happens, I will do my best... Once I'm at my best again, at least."

Valna was about to speak again, as she heard a commotion on the floor below. There were some rushed footsteps, some shouting, and some thumping. It quieted down for a moment, until Cham came in, escorting a rather portly merchant. "Your highness, this man says that he has an extremely urgent message for Lena."

Valna looked him over- he was white as a sheet. "All right, good sir. What is it?"

The merchant handed over the blue metal tube to Valna, who passed it over to Lena. She undid the seal at the top, and pulled out the paper inside, unrolling it and reading it aloud to all present. "Valis Warrior, you have frustrated my lord's plans for this world with your antics, and Vaijoras has become the latest to suffer from it. It has become apparent to me that your insolence towards us can only be repaid in death, but I stopped to consider- in whose death must it be paid?" She looked up, and then over at the others before continuing to read. "Your failure to submit to the power of our lord and turn over the Valis Sword to a more worthy master than yourself has caused me to extract a price from the countryside of your precious world, and so I have destroyed one of your towns with the exercise of my power, leaving none to survive. I encountered this man by mere chance, and pressed him into service as a courier for this letter. If you wish to redress any grievances you may have with me over this, I shall be waiting, as long as it takes, where the lightning fell. Signed, Torilikos, Knight-in-arms of the illustrious 4th order of the Vascani Chivalry, the Brotherhood of the Sword." Lena, Valna, and Cham all looked over at the merchant. A long moment passed before Lena asked the one question on all of their minds. "Is this true?"

The merchant mumbled a bit, but a glare from Cham forced the words out of him. "Well, yes. the wall was blown outwards and in pieces, it was as though a single great bolt struck from the heavens and destroyed the whole place in a single blow. I don't think anyone in Ashvale could've lived- he struck it during the night, I'm sure."

Lena looked down at the letter from Torilikos. Her hands shook as she gripped it ever tighter, and with one great pull, she tore the letter to pieces in her hands, not saying a single word.

---------------

Torilikos was still waiting in the ruins of the town, but he soon had company. Both were knights of Vascani. The first one was wearing sky-blue armor with silver trim, bearing two swords on his back, blue eyes glowing within the darkness of his sharp-angled helmet. The second, however, was a stark contrast to the rest of his comrades. His black armor had no adornments, save for the must dull gray trim available in any world. Red eyes glowed in the darkness of his own helmet. Torilikos turned to look at the others. "Ah, Dimarcherus." He narrowed his eyes at the other. "You."

Dimacherus stepped forward. "He still has a name, you know, and is still as much one of the Brothers as you."

Torilikos nodded. "So you say. So, what have you come to tell me? Our lord has changed his mind?"

Dimacherus took a long, deep breath. "He has, but not in your favor. He has decided that you will stand alone. You are the master of your own fate, to live and die by your sword in this world. Should you be victorious over the Valis Warrior, you shall have all honors due to you for accomplishing such a feat- though if you should find yourself in death's grasp, none of us will be allowed to aid or save you from the doom you have wrought upon yourself. Take it as a blessing, however. We are merely being forbidden to aid you- Milegeus had to be forbidden from coming here and killing you himself after he learned what you did."

Torilikos put his hand to his sword. "I see. And I assume that you two also have some opinion to give?"

Dimacherus looked to his companion, and then nodded. "Me and Tamorath both feel that you should begin to repent now- as you are, if you should die in this battle, you will not find a favorable judgment should you pass into the court of the First King. We worry for the state of your soul, brother."

The lightning-wielding knight stood in silence for a moment, and eventually responded. "I can take such things from you, Dimacherus, but do remind that Death-Seeker that it his not his place for him to lecture me on such things, having forfeited all of his distinction and honor."

The black-armored knight finally spoke. "I think that it is perfectly proper for me to lecture you on such things. I, at least, am conscious of the gravity of my own sins."

Torilikos turned his back on the pair. "You two may go now. I have no need or desire to speak to the both of you anymore. Tell our lord that I will not want his help, especially after such treatment."

Dimacherus shrugged, and he and Tamorath walked away. As soon as they were out of earshot of their fellow knight, Tamorath spoke up. "While I do appreciate your help, I did not need you to stand up for me. Especially not on account of him. If he were truly proud of being one of the knights, he would heed the words of our lord more closely- glory is second to duty."

Dimacherus nodded, fingering the pommels of his swords. "You didn't stop being my friend once you were sealed into that armor, after all. Our lord has not lost his faith in you, either, otherwise he would not have brought you to such a crucial battle. We will now return to our lord, as he likely has need of us for something more fruitful."

Tamorath rolled his shoulders. "Indeed. Like attempting to stop the sun from rising."
-------------

Asfal was, however, far more pleased. His conversations with Merogius were beginning to pick up again, but his current one was surprising, for a reason he would've never expected. He looked down at the red-handled sword placed into his hands, and felt its weight. "I suppose the only question I can have now, is, why hand this over to me?"

Merogius took a moment to respond, other things obviously weighing on his mind. "We found it in the woods. We have no use for such a haunted weapon, and thought you might be able to purge it of its maladies."

The ex-king looked it up and down. "Hmmm... It appears to be a copy of the Valis sword. It's a finely made weapon, to be certain, but it's still just a copy- it doesn't have the same ever-present sense of might about it that the Valis Warrior's weapon does- it may have been made when the genuine article was not at its full strength. I don't even know if there are any who are left in the worlds who could make a genuine copy of such a weapon, or if the heavens would even allow such a thing to exist."

The knight-captain was unreadable as ever. "The fact is, however, that we cannot and dare not use such a thing ourselves, as we don't know how vengeful the spirit that inhabits this sword might be towards us. Since you have been such an interesting conversation partner, I pass the weapon to you- perhaps you can find a way to give the spirit peace."

Asfal took the abnormally heavy sword, and held it up as he examined it more closely. "It's strange. you answer most of my questions, but you never ask any of your own questions. I'm sure that you have them, unless that you and your men have had a summer residence here for some time that I have been unaware of."

Merogius paused for a moment, before speaking once more. "I have one of my men in the city around Castle Vanity. He gathers answers well enough, so I'm sure he can give me any answer I need. Except for one." Another pause. "I would like to know the whereabouts of Valia. I have not yet felt her mind in the ocean of consciousness, and I desire greatly to speak to her. It was for her the Valis Sword was first made."

It wasn't going to be easy to break it gently, but Merogius was a soldier, so he answered in full honesty. "Valia is dead. She passed on some time ago, leaving the future this world in the hands of her twin daughters, Valna and Yuko. As for them, the story is long, and not something that even I can truly explain to my own satisfaction, as I was not present for it."

There was a silence that followed that made even Asfal uncomfortable. Just as he was about to say more, though, Merogius responded. "It is a shame. I would have liked to speak to her, but it seems that time once again conspires against us all."

Asfal set the sword aside. "And you have no more questions?"

Merogius thought for a moment. "Not now, though even if I had, my mind is distracted by the thought of a battle to come between one of my brothers and the Valis Warrior. It is will be one without compromise or quarter. The heavens have set into motion a battle between two foes who cannot abide the other to tread the same ground or breathe the same air. One must live, the other must die."

With that, Asfal was left alone once again, save for the sword that Merogius had turned over to him.
--------------


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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Fri 22 Oct 2010, 10:50 pm

Part 6: War of the Thunder God
--------------

Lena's recovery seemed to hasten considerably after the arrival of Torilikos's message. The Valis sword was the first thing that she picked up once she was able to move around as freely as she used to, and she had spent as much time as possible focusing herself once more towards combat. It was obvious to everyone around her what was occupying her mind, and no one needed to say anything to her about it. There was no doubt as to where Lena would be going once she felt she was once again at her peak. Though there was some doubt about whether it was at all possible to dissuade her, it didn't keep some in her immediate circle of friends from trying to do so, all the same.

"Lena, we don't really know what his game is- you sure about going through with this?" Cham had managed to find Lena inside the main hall of the castle. "Considering what it was like the last time you fought him, who knows what tricks he might have brewed up this time?"

Lena put her hand on the pommel of the Valis sword. "I know that, but... I can't just let him do as he pleases. The other knights aren't interested in doing much to anyone other than me, and even their leader seems fine with just talking with Asfal, as though he isn't really regarded as a threat by them. But now, Torilikos has involved people who could never have fought back against him, just because he wants to pull me into a fight. Even if he does have new tricks this time around, I would have to face them at some time or another. And if the Valis Warrior won't fight to protect the Dreamworld- or fight for justice for those who have already been lost- what good is she, anyhow? We can't let things like this pass unpunished, Cham."

Cham nodded in agreement. "Well, all right, but do be careful. A dead Valis Warrior is one that doesn't do anyone any good, you least of all. However, before you go off, I think that you should at least go see the queen. She and the previous warrior held quite a literal kinship, and I think it would be best if you at least went to her before going out to do some more hero-ing."

"She won't have take many steps for that to happen." Valna must have gotten up early that morning, to already be dressed in her royal getup. "I do appreciate the thought, Cham, but our friend's departure to battle is a bit of a foregone conclusion." Valna smiled at Lena, giving her a nod. "All that I ask of you, Lena, is that you come back from this. As long as the Valis Warrior lives, there's still hope in this world for all." She gave a nod to Cham. "I think that we can trust Lena with this task. She hasn't let us down before."

Cham thought about things for a moment, and considered her own past experiences with the Valis Warrior. "Well, I still don't like this one bit, but I guess it's the Valis Warrior's job to face down impossible odds. The wielders of the sword wouldn't be so mythic if they only did the reasonably plausible." She paused. "But then, I would keep in mind that Lena came back in some really rough shape after her last fight." She turned to Lena, and nodded slowly to her, acknowledging what she had to do. "This may seem odd from me- heavens know I've gone off on nothing more than a vague idea and barely a clue, but be careful, and come back with your head on."

Lena nodded, finding this whole thing rather odd, but knew that the two of them cared for her, though she did wonder if, in a way, Valna considered her a replacement Yuko. "Well, I can win... To be honest, I have no choice. Even if I wasn't the Valis Warrior, someone would have to make him pay for what he has done."

------------

Torilikos was certainly a patient man, despite his other vices. He had once again called together his stormclouds, making sure that every aspect of the battlefield was under his control. There would be no mistakes this time, nothing that could prevent him from fighting the Valis Warrior in the way he preferred most. Her had made the winds so harsh that not even the buzzards would dare interrupt his battle by getting in the way of his lightning while they arrived to scavenge off of the burnt flesh of the dead of this town. Though his lord had admonished him for this, he would show his lord that from the seeds of destruction would grow the fruits of victory.

When he returned, he would have the Valis sword in one hand, and the body of its former owner in the other.

His eyes saw someone approaching in the distance, so he stood up from a soot-blackened pedestal he had been using as a bench. He didn't even need to guess as to who it was, though he did idly wonder how armor so scanty could make Lena such a resilient foe. Clearly, this was a mystery worthy of a weapon of legend like the Valis sword. Still, though, he folded his arms as he watched her approach, and he got exactly the reaction he wanted to receive from Lena.

Now, Lena had seen places devastated by war before, but it was never really something one got used to- and moreover, she had never seen a place so large destroyed by a single, powerful blow. She had believed that it could be done with some kind of powerful magic, but that was merely an exercise in thought, an abstraction brought about by the time she spent with Valna. To actually see something like that put into practice was boggling. She looked about her, the Valis Warrior's eyes drawn wide by what she saw. She moved slowly down what was left of the street, looking over the rubble and still smoldering frames of houses. Little fires still burned here and there, leaving no doubt that this was done through some deadly spell.

Lena spied the sheen of armor in the corner of her eye, Torilikos's armored shell reflecting the light of one of the street lanterns that was spared. She turned herself to fully face him, and pointed at him. She was trembling slightly, not entirely out of rage, or sadness, or any one thing, but a great combination. "You... I had hoped that the message wasn't true, and that you had just wanted another fight but..." She gestured to the ruins of the town. "Why do all of this? Why kill all of these people, who could've never been able to put up a fight against you or the other knights?"

Torilikos stood silently, which only made Lena more agitated. When it looked like she was about to repeat herself, but louder, he simply held up his hand. "I considered my goal, weighed my options, and this was the most expedient course. It seems that I was correct in my estimations of what would happen if I followed through."

Lena stood there for a moment, and ground out her next words slowly. "What goal could possibly need this?"

Torilikos re-folded his arms. "What you would see if you looked in a mirror right now happened to be my goal, Valis Warrior. That rage, that sorrow, everything I see in you now was my goal. I can feel your blood boiling, and can see in your every motion your desire to draw that sword of yours and carve your vengeance into my living flesh. I know very well how much you would like to see me dead for this, Valis Warrior."

Lena drew her sword. "Live or die, I have sword to make you pay for what you've done to these people. I swear that I can make even someone like you find cause to regret what you've done here!"

The knight slowly drew his sword, as fresh lightning crashed down from the dark skies above. A harsh wind once again picked up, and with it, a torrent rain, but not so heavy that it blinded the two combatants from seeing each other. All of the fires were snuffed out by the downpour, and Lena could once again see lightning crackle and dance across Torilikos's sword, steam rising off of it as the falling rain around the blade was vaporized. "You will find that you won't be able to undo my preparations this time, Valis Warrior." He held his sword straight up. "Rain, fall! Wind, howl! Thunder, roar! I can see your rage, but how does it compare to the rage of storms, Valis Warrior? If you think that my life can be so easily taken, than come and seize it from me!"

Both warriors took the advantage at the same time. She read his body language and narrowly avoided a bolt of lightning cast at her from an outstretched arm, the bolt tearing through one of the frames of the ruined homes. He did resume his grip quickly enough to properly cross swords with Lena, who still manage to bear down on him a bit more quickly than anticipated. Lena didn't even think, about a plan as she came to grips with her blow, simply delivering one swing after another as she tried to force her way past his guard by battering it into submission. To Torilikos, it was easy to read, but hard to immediately do anything about. Still, though, she was getting nowhere for the time being, and that suited the knight just fine. He would eventually need to act, however.

His eyes eventually gave him a moment of clarity, and he push-parried against Lena, putting her off-balance enough to take control of the clash. He was forced to admit to himself that she was a better swordswoman than he first thought, but he did have some ways around that. Once again lighting cracked up and down his sword, and even when she parried she was put in danger. Familiar deadly sparks flew off of the sword, sizzling and blackening whatever they touched, be it wood, stone, or all else. He found that he couldn't force his lightning down through her own sword, so was forced to make it at least seem that any action she took could be a mortal danger to her flesh. He was surprised to find that the sparks were simply absorbed by the armor that Lena did have, and merely slightly burned the flesh that they did strike. It wasn't as though she seemed to heed for her life anyway, and this gave Torilikos an idea.

While he held off Lena's blows with his sword, he locked blades with her, raising his hand as quickly as he could. A split second later, a bolt of lighting crashed down upon both of them. while Torilikos's own armor managed to conduct his own lightning safely into the soaked ground, Lena was not so lucky. There was only so much that the armored tiara she wore could do as a lightning rod against such powerful magic, and she was aware that the burning smell was coming from her at this point. Her ears rang and her vision blurred, and she feebly tried to defend against the attack she saw coming. The great sweep overcame her attempt, and aside from being tossed aside by the powerful blow, she felt that sword bite into her arm, sending shocks up and down her body. She rolled with the impact, and managed to steady herself as she got back to her feet, shaking her head to clear it of the buzzing.

Lena came back to her senses just in time to fend off a new assault, ending off the latest series of blows as she tried to fall back and think of a plan. His relentless attacks didn't give her much time to pause for reflection, but she realized that her desire to see him dead so quickly might well have cost her own life if she had recovered just a bit less swiftly. She had fallen into Torilikos's trap, and almost died for the sake of her own rage. She would have to find another way to fight him, because this one wasn't quite working. Torilikos himself had planned this all out, how he expected her to react.

It was time to exceed some expectations.

She knew that keeping so close for prolonged periods would be then end of her, so she started to use the advantages she actually had. She used her nimbleness to dash in and out of fighting reach, resulting in brief clashes rather than extended combats. While she wasn't going to score any blows this way, she was experimenting, testing to see what she actually could do with him like this. As Torilikos was a schemer himself, his own caution caused him to suspect something, but he had no idea what, in fact he should be looking for. Wondering what game she was playing at caused him to be extra careful as well, and Lena found that she could gradually "herd" him about the field of combat- and the lack of awareness allowed by his helmet allowed some interesting opportunities.

She gradually pushed him back towards the town square, though she was forced to doge out of the way whenever she saw that he was aiming yet another bolt of lightning at her. Torilikos soon found out her game once his heel was suddenly stopped by a low stone pedestal behind him. Warding off his blow as she charged in, she rammed into Torilikos, sending him over onto his back. He found his feet, but not before Lena had vaulted over the pedestal to chase him. He narrowly escaped the blade of the sword that cut so effortlessly into the paved street, but hadn't time to get his sword in the way of the next swing. He put his shoulder in the path of the blade before she could give him a back wound, but that was cold comfort. The armor slowed the blade, but it still cut a wound into the knight before Lena was forced to withdraw the sword to defend herself.

Torilikos staggered back, and Lena was forced to step back. She watched as that white salve oozed out of the armor and into the wound, sealing it and stemming the flow of blood. She held up her sword. It's like with Vaijoras. I won't be able to nickel-and-dime him into submission, I need to do something more telling. And I can't go even with him, or he'll surely win. Her foe stood straight up, and looked over, fury in his eyes. I now know what the Valis legend means- the Valis Warrior never loses, because she can never afford to, not even once. Lena stepped back as he raised his sword. Lena covered her eyes as she watched a massive bolt of lightning crash down onto him, and when she saw him again, his whole suit of armor was lit up, crackling with his own lightning. He took long, heavy strides towards Lena. "You must think you're rather clever. However, you cannot escape, Valis Warrior. You will die here, just like the rest!"

-------------------
The massive storm summoned by the knight spun off smaller thunderclouds that roamed the countryside. Mylera was caught in one of those, and she managed to find shelter in a cave. She curled up as she dug through the bag of provisions that Asfal had given her, and found something curiously papery among the rest. She pulled it out, and unfurled the paper, watching as letters soon appeared right before her eyes, which lit up the paper with their shine in the darkness.

Dear Mylera,

It was a bit of a longshot to sneak this in among the rest of this gift, but i felt that it would be best to leave you this message.

I know that your brother is Milegeus, one of the knights of the Brotherhood of the Sword, as I have been talking with his captain ever since they arrived on this world. I don't have a specific notion about what you plan to do with the Valis Warrior, Lena Brande, but I would advise that you consider your actions carefully. I believe that it is quite possible for your brother's life to be saved, but the Valis Warrior is formidable- I have seen astonishing feats from her with my own eyes. The same place may yet be reached by many roads unknown to a traveler.

Your first friend in this world,
Asfal


Mylera sighed softly as she looked outside, seeing that the rain was still coming down, and was startled by the tremendous, though distant crash of lightning. "Now what?"
------------------

The massive lightning bolt actually blew a crater in the ground, and Lena was not able to escape its fury. Even though she was able to avoid the bolt itself, but it kicked up a huge amount of debris, and Lena was slammed in the back by a heavy paving stone thrown by the blast. Lena gasped and wheezed as she struggled to catch her breath and get away from the following blasts. New lightning seemed to fall with each heavy step that Torilikos took. The battleground had been turned into a magical disaster area, a place where only people like the Valis Warrior or her current foe could survive. She could even feel his steps, even as she did her best to find relief from the knight's power. She ducked out of the way as another lightning bolt flared out from his hand, tearing down the street.

Lena barely had time to take stock of herself, but she knew that magic that was called had to have some kind of pattern to it, some weakness that she could exploit. He couldn't be invincible- even she wasn't. She couldn't lose to him, she couldn't leave him be, especially not while he was a walking engine of destruction. With all of the rage of her battle, however, she then noticed how incredibly loud that his lightning was, how it pounded at her ears like a pair of battering rams, trying to break into her head. She saw that he was also holding his sword lazily to once side, his lightning bolts left to do his work for him. It was in this that she saw her chance. She readied her sword, and waiting until she felt her opponent come close.

She waited for the lightning to fall once more, and, her footsteps covered by the sound. Torilikos realized the extent of his peril far too late, and couldn't defend himself quickly enough. She was just fast enough for this to work, and she drew her blade across the upper arm of the limb opposite the one whose shoulder she wounded. She was even surprised at how deep the blow went, shearing through the armor and laying it down to the bone itself before she pulled back her weapon, running off to wait for another chance. She watched, however, as that wound was also sealed to stop the bleeding, but she heard a great roar of pain from Torilikos. She stood a much better chance now than she did just a few seconds earlier, and better yet, that put his mind back on his sword.

Lena used the momentary pause to catch her breath, but even that was becoming a bit painful. In addition to the wound that Torilikos had given her, there were the blows, bruises and cuts she had received from the debris flung around by his lightning. She heard him call out to her as she hid behind a wall. "It seems I was mistaken, but I know that you are in little better shape than I, Valis Warrior. Our fates are locked together- the two of us cannot long live together in the same world. Let us end this, properly, like the disciples of the sword that we are!" Lena took a deep breath, and looked up at her sword. It actually began to glow in response to the knight's challenge, and Lena understood what had to be done. She first closed her eyes, touching her forehead to the flat of the blade, gaining a moment's peace. When she opened her eyes again, she was ready for battle once more.

She rounded the corner, and without words, struck heavily at Torilikos, who had readied his sword properly this time. She struck out with her full strength, knowing that there was no reason to hold back or pace herself- there was no time or cause to do so, and she fought even harder than she did when she was still fresh to the battle. Each hard blow rang against his sword as the knight made to defend himself and attempt to strike down Lena. The clashes themselves began to resemble thunderclaps as the two warriors struck and swung at each other, but Lena could see his eyes widen with every blow he blocked. He was in terrible pain attempting to keep up with her, though her own grunts sounded no more encouraging to her own ears.

Even as she fought him, though, there was still danger to be found, as lightning arced off of his armor and weapon and onto her own armor and skin, stinging and shocking her as she pressed forward with her attacks. She gasped, she grunted, she cried, but she never stopped striking forward, and she saw that Torilikos himself was flagging under the burden of the wounds she had given him. there was no elegant or clever way to end this fight, the victor would be the one who was most able and determined to fight to the utter finish.

In the end, it was Lena Brande.

With an upwards swing, gained from an gap she saw in his defense, she disarmed him, sending his sword high into the air. With another swing, her sword flashed as she cut a great, deep, and terrible wound across his torso. He staggered back, but she was not finished at all yet. She thrust her sword forward, flicking the crossguard with her finger so that the sword spun as she stabbed it into his stomach, drilling through his armor and himself, front and back. After she withdrew the sword, his blade landed point down in the street beside him. His lightning dissipated, the thunder and rain stopped, and the wind was reduced to a gentle breeze. Torilikos gasped and hacked, gurgling as he did his best to get some sound out. He gripped his sword as he coughed, black blood dripping from his mouth onto the ground.

Lena leveled her sword at him. "Torilikos, you are beaten. Do you yield?"

He looked over to her as he fell to his knees. "I would yield even if I did not desire it, Valis Warrior. Your sword has struck me... A deadly wound, from which I cannot be saved. Relish your victory, however briefly it will taste sweet in your mouth."

Lena put her sword away. "What do you mean?"

Torilikos nodded. "You have no idea of the power of our lord, and what it takes, what it means to become a knight-captain of the Vascani. If you did, you would lay down your sword and beg for his mercy... Even if you are able to kill the rest of us, you would never be able to even touch our lord. And even then... Even then..."

The Valis Warrior watched him ponder for a short while, and then ventured. "And then what?"

The dying knight nodded. "When your ancient blade pierced me, I felt its long and terrible history touch my mind. You have cursed your own fate by choosing to take up that sword, Valis Warrior. You might be able to conquer any foe with that weapon, but you will never be able to save what you truly care for. You know this- I can tell that you've been unable to save even those closest to you despite the awesome power that the sword possesses. You may hold it with fierce vigor now, but how many relatives, friends, comrades... How long will it take before your waking and dreaming life together become a bleak wasteland devoid of warmth and hope?" He coughed again, and looked back at Lena, as the lights began to dim in his eyes. "Hah... Though I may pass on, I cannot wait to watch the hell that will rise to greet you, Valis Warrior!" He then closed his eyes, and fell face forward into the rain and blood-slick street.

It was in this way that Torilikos passed to the Court of the First King.

Lena closed her eyes, her head bowed for a moment, but she looked up. She saw the sun break through the clouds, and a rainbow hang in the sky, the terrible storm of the knight's wrath vanquished along with him.
----------------


Last edited by RyIII on Thu 07 Jul 2011, 2:29 pm; edited 3 times in total
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evilReiko
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Thu 28 Oct 2010, 6:53 pm

I've just read Chapter 4 : "Day of Fire-2" (btw, amazing chapter titles you write, just as cool as the fanfic Very Happy ), it's so cool Chu especially the part when Vaijoras says his last words before he leaves.. so damn terrifying chu chu chu it reminds me of how Yuko of Valis 1 was terrified by Megas

Plz give me sometime before you publish another new chapter 'til I read chapte 5 and 6 Smile
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Thu 28 Oct 2010, 8:59 pm

evilReiko wrote:
I've just read Chapter 4 : "Day of Fire-2" (btw, amazing chapter titles you write, just as cool as the fanfic Very Happy ), it's so cool Chu especially the part when Vaijoras says his last words before he leaves.. so damn terrifying chu chu chu it reminds me of how Yuko of Valis 1 was terrified by Megas

Plz give me sometime before you publish another new chapter 'til I read chapte 5 and 6 Smile

No problem. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Sat 30 Oct 2010, 2:28 pm

i've just read chapter 5 and 6

MAN, THAT WAS DIFFICULT FOR LENA! Looking for next chapter Very Happy

I've to admit that Vaigoras was most exciting so far
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Sat 30 Oct 2010, 5:08 pm

Part 7: A swift and silent Wind.
---------------

Merogius sat quietly in the room her had commandeered. He had felt a little uneasy seizing the throne room of Rogles's old castle, but it seemed almost natural after a few days. Such rooms were made for those in command, though he didn't care to actually sit in the throne itself. After all, he was no king. He had nearly as many burdens, however, and that was hammered home once he felt Torilikos's life snuffed out as soon as it had happened. What was, however, more distracting to him was the fact, though one of his knights had been slain, he still felt the presence of six other Vascani the last time he reached out into the sea of consciousness. It had been difficult enough for he and his men to breach the boundary of this world by force, and even though they did, they ended up scattered to the far corners of the Dreamworld. How could one other enter this land? However, by posing the question, he had the answer, which in turn raised another question. Who let that one through?

It was for reasons like these that he was thankful he had infiltrated one of his men so close to the heart of the enemy's resolve, the city, that had sprung up around Castle Vanity. He once again reached out to contact the one whose information he sought, shutting is solid visor over his eyes, waiting until he could see Kaevoras clearly in his mind's eye. "Kaevoras... Your lord requests that you speak with him."

Though it was quite unlikely that the knight was wearing his helmet at that point, that's how Kaevoras appeared to his lord. He did soon respond. "My lord. I do hope that the days find you well."

Merogius took a deep breath. "I sit troubled. The death of one of our brothers is something that doesn't leave me at ease. I do hope that you have had more luck in your endeavors than he."

Kaevoras seemed to nod. "It seems, my lord, that what we know about the way things were are not as things now stand. Rogles is dead, slain in combat. As is his older brother, Megas. The Dark World is no more, destroyed by some disaster, and its king and commanders alike were slain in battle. Its people have moved here, and look to leadership from a woman named Cham, the daughter of one of the members of their ruling council. It seems also that some prince of another world turned down the dark path, and his kingly father, Asfal, cognizant of his duty, assisted greatly in orchestrating the defeat and death of his irredeemably wayward son. And Valia..."

"Dead also, I know." Merogius paused. "That is quite a lengthy butcher's bill, brother. Wherefore have so many powerful men perished in such violent ways?"

The knight spoke. "It seems that the first three were all brought to heel by the Valis Warrior that preceded the one we now face, who was once twin sister of the current queen, but was banished to another world by Valia shortly after their birth so that two equally legitimate heirs would not come to blows over the throne of this world. The dark prince was brought low by none other than the foe we face currently, who likely fights all the harder now because she too suffered great loss."

Merogius relaxed himself. "I had hoped that Valia would become more thoughtful after living so long, but it seems she would cast even the noblest and strongest into fire for the benefit of herself. But what happened to the Valis Warrior before this one? The queen is still fairly young."

Kaevoras seemed to hesitate, and nodded. "Though it is rumor, I have heard that... She was forced to fight. That Valia thrust the sword into her hand, and forced her to bear the heavy mantle of the Valis Warrior, to fight bitterly against Valia's enemies. After killing the king of the Dark World, she was unable to bear the heavy burdens of being the savior of all, and took both her own sword and the Leethus with her, allowing herself to be taken into the heavens to escape the world that had cursed her with such a fate." Kaevoras bowed his head, and Merogius simply waited- Kaevoras had the soul of a poet, and such stories seemed to strike him deeply. "That is all of importance that I could find of late, my lord."

Merogius's back stiffened, the knight-captain straightening up. "Brother, the path we walk is one that is draped in shadow, beset on all side by deadly foes that wish us all to perish, and is of utter necessity to our people, but it is one that we have chosen. I share your indignation at such an act. However, I must ask you to remain as you are, and that you continue to do your most vital work. I would have no one else among all of our knights do what we do."

Kaevoras nodded once more. "Also, my lord- in one of the squares in the city, there is a monument, a statue, to that warrior- she was named Yuko Ahso, I think. I just thought you might care to know."

His lord closed his eyes for a moment. "Yes, and thank you. We will speak again." With that, he lifted his visor, and saw the confines of the throne room once again. Standing there was Milegeus, his armor fixed, his body recovered fully, and looking, perhaps even stronger than before. Merogius stood up on his feet. "Ah, Milegeus. I see that you are well again. What have you now come to tell me?"

Milegeus hung his head a bit. "My lord, I must apologize for my earlier carelessness. I had not expected our foe to be so strong- but I do ask of you the chance to face her again. I cannot let my earlier defeat stand without another match against her. I desire to challenge her so I can have a true battle with her, one where I do not end up acting as a fool among fools due to a bout of undue arrogance on my own part. With Torilikos dead and Vaijoras recovering, I feel I owe it to those who cannot fight because of her to face her once more."

Merogius nodded. "Brother, you barely escaped with your life last time, and it was at my insistence that you did so. If I were not your lord, would not my pleas have fallen on deaf ears?"

The subordinate knight looked up to face his captain. "My lord, forgive my density, but what are you speaking of?"

Merogius looked up and out the window, watching as the first rays of the morning sun fell through into the throne room, then turned to face the other knight. "Many of our brothers forsake all other worldly bonds of fellowship and trust in service the oath, save for those forged between them on the field of battle. Among our order, I chose you to accompany me because your thoughts dwell on things other than glory and duty. However, you tend to forget that in the face of truly formidable foes. We must all continue to be mindful of what we leave at home, you most of all."

Milegeus was brought up short for a moment. "My lord, I swear to you that I will not die. The Valis Warrior can be conquered, and it is I who will make it so."

----------------

In the nights that followed her duel with Torilikos, Lena was able to actually sleep a little easier than before, knowing that he was done for. She turned slowly over as she slept, one of her hands clinging tightly to the pillow as she slumbered.

She wasn't alone for very long, though. Unlike her brother, Mylera was no knight, but she did know ways to move in ways that others could not see. Each foot landed silently on the smooth floor of Lena's room, her golden eyes glowing gently in the dark, looking up and down the horizontal form of the Valis Warrior. Those lights flickered as she blinked, her eyes wide open as she realized that this, indeed, was the girl she was looking for. all she felt she could do was watch Lena sleep, and there were two quiet clicks, once as her claws extended from her bracers, and another as she called them back. A third, similar sound occured, but it was not from Mylera. The Vascani girl realized that the door was being used, and those eyes turned to face it as it slowly opened.

Valna, once again in her nightclothes, and with her hair down, looked at her visitor, noting that Mylera was no small girl, standing around six and a half feet tall. The queen shut the door behind her, looked to Lena for a moment, and then back to the visitor. She smiled over at Mylera for a moment, and spoke quietly. "Well, there is our champion- it must be really important to you that you saw her, isn't it?"

Mylera, stunned that she had been caught, could only nod.

The queen smiled once more. "You could have just come in normally to state your business, but given recent events, I'm quite sure that you're not from around here. Come with me, so we can leave Lena in peace."

---------------

It was hard for Valna not to be kind to Mylera. After being shuttled to the tea room, where Valna made her own particular mix, she noticed that Mylera looked confused, and even a little bit helpless, as though hospitality was the last thing she could've ever expected in the castle. Valna nodded. "That was quite an entrance you chose to make. I probably wouldn't have noticed it if I weren't awake myself. This is my home, though, and I do have to ask you what you were planning to do in it."

Mylera lowered her head a bit. "I'm... Not all that sure that telling the truth would be the best way for me, right now."

Valna smiled. Bringing water to boil on a whim was merely a minor trick for her, and the water meeting leaves brought wonderful aromas into the room through the steam. "You and I are the only ones who are privy to what you have to say at the moment, miss. Anything you say is safe."

Mylera gave the slowest nod that Valna had ever seen. "I... I had originally come here to kill the Valis Warrior, but..." She wrung her hands together. "I met a wise man who was once a king, and he said for me to think about what I truly wished to do." She then looked over at Valna with those golden, pupil-less eyes. "So... I decided that I would come in, and watch her sleep, and consider what I saw in her."

Valna then sat down with the tea set. "Mmmm... And what did you see, then?

The young Vascani woman sat silent for a moment, before talking again. "It was almost like watching my brother. Quiet, deep, and steady, but still a bit troubled, in a way. It's hard to describe, really. But... What's important is that I can't kill her, not after seeing all of that, but now I don't really know what to do."

Valna poured out the tea. "The first thing you ought to do is have yourself a drink. Tea calms the nerves, and as a queen, I have much need for that. So, what is it that you're truly looking for?"

Mylera drank quickly, not allowing the tea any time to cool down. "Well... My older brother is one of the knights sent here to attack your world, but... Even if our knights win, I had a feeling, no, a vision that my brother would not survive the battle either way. Since your Valis Warrior has taken the challenge of fighting our champions, I have to do something to save my brother's life. But, since I won't kill her, and I know that she and my brother will fight again... There just doesn't seem to be an escape for him."

Valna took a sip. "Mmmm... It would be too much trouble for you to stay the night and tell her yourself in the morning.

The guest stopped short for a moment. "Would it work, and... Who are you, anyway?"

The queen smiled. "I'm glad you asked. I am Valna, queen of this world, and as for Lena, the Valis Sword wouldn't be given to someone who was a base butcher. She would hear you out, I'm sure, but you look like you need some sleep... and some other things besides. You might want to have that cloak of yours cleaned up, for one. You could also take it off, it is plenty warm enough in here, after all. It's not as though we're in the dead of winter, at any rate."

This prompted Mylera to clutch at her brown cloak a bit, then got up. "I think that I would rather go to bed at this point, but where are the guest rooms, then?"

Valna got up as well. "Hmmm? It's not too far from where I find you, just further down the hall."

-------------------

It was later that night that Valna herself was woken up by the opening and closing of her own door. The idea that Mylera might be able to bypass her own guards was certainly on her mind, but not what happened next. Mylera sat down by the side of Valna's bed. The queen scooted over towards that side, looking into those glowing eyes, trying to read the girl's expression as best as she was able, at least in the dark. She spoke quietly, like she did when they were in Lena's room. "Still couldn't sleep?"

Mylera gave a slow nod to that. "I'm sorry, your highness. My brother was has gone to battle with his lord, and being alone has never suited me well."

Valna nodded, moving to the other side of her wide, canopy bed. "Well, the floor isn't going to be any better to sleep on, you know. There's plenty of room here, though."

The guest got up, and looked at Valna with some amount of disbelief, and it was a long time before she could find the words to respond. "Your highness, you are a queen." She clenched her hands together. "You... You cannot ask me to do such a thing!" She realized what she said, and backtracked on her words. "What I mean is, I'm not honored enough to lay so close. Though my brother is one of the knights of my realm, I've done nothing in my life to earn honors, myself."

The queen thought on this for a moment. "You might as well lay down anyway... And as a queen, isn't it my right to decide such things, traveler?"

She opened her mouth for a moment to try to respond or refute such a thing, but Valna would soon feel the mattress of her bed shift as Mylera set herself onto it, and lay on her side, facing away from her royal benefactor. Mylera didn't say anything until she had gotten as close as comfortable as she could on top of the covers. "I think I can stay here, at least for this night." Mylera let off a soft sigh, and then felt a gentle tug, and realized that her hair was being brushed. While surprised, she couldn't feel any threat in Valna's moves. She slowly closed her eyes, and went to sleep herself.

---------------

Lena wasn't used to a summons from the queen so early in the morning, so she got into her regular uniform, grabbing the Valis sword as well- she couldn't very well be the queen's champion without a weapon to defend her with. She quickly stepped down the flight of stairs, even skipping a step here and there, entering the throne room through one of the side halls. She knew to expect Cham and Valna there, but there was also a third person present by the throne. She looked over to see Mylera, and then looked up, to take in the woman's full height. Bereft of her cloak, Mylera was seen to be wearing a midriff-baring leather top seemingly reinforced on the outside by a metal breastplate. Her skirt, on the other hand, was slit up her legs to allow freedom of movement, and she also had a pair of high traveler's boots. Lena thought it was a bit on the revealing side, but thought better of commenting on it when she considered what she actually wore into battle as the Valis Warrior.

Lena looked between Mylera, Cham, and the queen, but eventually gave a bow to her liege. "Good morning, your majesty. Is there something I can do for you?"

Valna gestured to Mylera with her staff. "Indeed there is. I ask you to listen to this young woman's request, and answer her as to whether or not you can fulfill it. Do listen carefully- she is one of the Vascani, but comes here for an entirely different purpose than the ones you've fought."

Lena's eyes turned to look into Mylera's own, and the Vascani woman had to pause for a moment to gather her thoughts. "To be direct, my older brother Milegeus is one of the knights of my realm who came to this world to conquer it... And you, as its champion, have taken the task of fighting the knights of my world to defend it from them."

Lena nodded. "Well, that is right- I can't let anyone walk over the people of the Dreamworld. That has always been the duty of the Valis Warrior, long before I even took up the sword."

Mylera cast her gaze more towards the ground than towards Lena, then took a deep breath. "My brother is really all I have left, Valis Warrior. Our parents perished in a great plague out in the countryside, but Milegeus, he managed to get us to the capital, where there was always work. As that was the place where the knighthood resided, there was always help needed, and my brother has always been incredibly strong, and even proved himself to be a decent assistant to the skilled craftsmen that made the arms and armor for our knights and soldiers." Mylera nodded slowly. "That is how we lived, for a time. It was a common life, but we had a roof, and food on the table."

Mylera then lifted her eyes back towards Lena's. "But then, there was an enormous earthquake in our part of the city. Many died, and I was only saved because my brother actually bore the roof of our home on his back, keeping it from falling all the way and crushing both of us. We waited days for rescue, but my brother wouldn't bend, however much pain he was in- there's only so much a body can withstand, after all. However, we were eventually found, when one man's mind reached out and found ours still trapped amongst the ruins. We were saved by a knight-captain, Merogius, and two of his subordinates, named Vaijoras and Tamorath. Impressed by my brothers' will and 'unbending conviction, though his body may be bowed', he offered him a chance to become a knight in the Brotherhood of the Sword. He did- he said it was to become stronger and protect me from all of the darker things of the world.

Mylera let out a soft sigh. "But, my brother has been out to battle many times, and I never felt so uneasy about it other than now. I hadn't ever thought that there could be anything in the world stronger than big brother, but now... Shortly after he left for this world, I had a vision of my brother dying in some ancient place. I had originally come to kill whoever might harm my brother, but I realized that there were other ways to save him, thanks to an old king I met when I first came to this world. So... Valis Warrior, I cannot keep you from fighting my brother, but I do ask that you spare his life. Her highness said that you would understand my request most of all."

Lena looked over to Valna for a moment, and then back to Mylera. The Valis Warrior knew exactly why Valna would say such a thing- they had both been there when it had happened, after all. She closed her eyes to think- Milegeus was one who would not surrender, who would fight to his last breath, if he could. How could she force someone like him to give up his arms and yield to her. However, the thought of Amu lay heavily on her mind, as a moment when even the lofty powers she possessed failed. She opened her eyes, giving a nod. "Since Milegeus seems to want to fight to his last, it won't be easy... But I will do everything I can to keep your brother from dying." Lena thought for a moment. "He seems mainly interested in proving his strength- he's no executioner, like Torilikos was, but there are still many other knights at Merogius's disposal. I don't even know if I'll be fighting him any time soon."

Mylera was a t a bit of a loss, but then responded. "Ah, thank you, Valis Warrior... Though since it may be long before the issue between you and my brother is decided, what am I to do until then? I can't simply go home and wait to hear the outcome from others, and, I can't go to my brother, as I wanted to ensure he didn't know I was even here."

Cham interjected. "Well, I don't see why you couldn't stay here until everything's settled. It's not like you came here to fight us, after all. I do wonder, though- since it was so easy for you to slip in here, it makes me think that there might be other Vascani around that we haven't seen yet."

Lena gave a look over to Cham. "Of course- Merogius is certainly a veteran, and I've fought his knights scattered all over the place. One of them might be feeding him info from right under our noses. No wonder he's so confident about telling Asfal things. While we know about their motives, we don't have the slightest clue of what they're actually doing unless we stumble on them, or they tell us!" Lena rubbed her fingers against her temples. "We can't keep on like this. If we keep letting them run around, who knows what else they might do, or even find in this ancient world of ours. There may be one of his knights right on our doorstep- we have to find him, and fast."

Cham nodded. "I'll have the city guard start asking around. There's got to be some tell-tale sign. Though these are professionals, they're knights, and still warriors at heart, not sneaks. I'm sure we can get a hold of whoever is getting a word out to their lord."

-----------

The smith held up the sword, looking it over it was a fine piece of work, with perfectly smooth edges, runnels that were neither too shallow nor too deep, and it was quite well-balanced to boot. He looked over at his new assistant. "Another fine piece of work! I'm glad you haven't opened up your own shop, I know I couldn't compete!"

His new assistant was a very tall, young man, six and a half feet, shot, white hair, and silver eyes, dressed in a white tunic with black trim where it buttoned shut on the right side, as well as simple black pants and boots. He wore a sword strap of his own, from which he wore a great sword of his own. "It was no great feat. Such a weapon is commonplace where I am from- anyone my age could probably make such a weapon."

The smith smiled, and had a laugh. "Now I wonder what superior works from your country look like, Kallen, if this kind of sword is common!"

The seemingly-young man smiled. "How about I show you, but you must promise not to tell a soul. men get jealous of the good fortune of others, at times."

The smith nodded swiftly. "Of course! If it's what I imagine it to be, I don't think anyone would believe me in the first place!"

The young man smiled, and unlocked the sword from its sheath, drawing it for the smith to see. the silver-inlaid hilt met the crossguard at a socket that had a perfect sapphire embedded in it. The blade itself was perfectly polished and sharpened, coming all the way to a needle-sharp point. it's profile was perfect and symmetrical from all aspects, and etched into the blade on both sides was a stylized cloud 'face' blowing a long gust of wind long the entire length of the sword. it was a fantastic weapon, and the smith had to catch himself. "Dear heavens! I couldn't make a sword like that, not in a hundred years! How did you get it?"

He smiled, slowly putting the sword away. "A friend of mine had it made for me, to protect me wherever I may go."

The smith eventually caught his breath. "Also, Kallen, thought it may seem odd for me to ask you something. I saw something strange a few moments ago, when I was coming back to the shop- since you're not from this part of the world, you might help me."

The young man tagged along as his employer led him out into the square. There standing was a statue of Yuko standing in a pose generally reserved for depictions of ancient kings. Standing upright with her sword turned down, stuck pint first into the ground. Though what caught the smith's attention was something else. "Now, I ask you, my boy- have you seen flowers like these before? I can't for the life of me say I've ever seen anything like these before."

His assistant knelt down, and examined the bundle, and examined the bloom. he looked thoughtful for a moment, seeing that they had a yellow center surrounded by petals that were long, thin, pointed, and red. He stayed there for a few minutes, then shook his head. "I'm afraid nothing comes to me, either."

The smith nodded. "They must just be some strange new breed or something. Sorry about this- lets go back to the shop and have lunch or something like, hm?"

Kallen looked over his shoulder. "You go on ahead- I want to look at them for a little longer, maybe something will turn up. ringing hammers can rattle the mind at times, you know?"

The smith nodded quickly, and went off, leaving the young man to examine the flowers. The assistant looked them over with great care as he thought. The Victorious Bloom. Left at the graves of those knights and warriors who perished while achieving victory. The petals are meant to be the sword of the victor dipped in the blood of foes, while the yellow is the light of the lantern that guides the dead to the court of the First King. He looked up at the statue, then down at the flowers. You honor the dead of another world, my lord. But will you so honor the one who opposes us now, after that last stroke of the sword has fallen?
------------------

Edit: Filled in, fixed.


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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Mon 01 Nov 2010, 12:22 pm

Part 8: The Poet's Riposte

---------------

It was a bit of a strange feeling to have one of the Vascani actually living right in the castle. Lena had her suspicions at first, but she could read that Mylera sincerely had no interest in helping Merogius or his knights, as she didn't really display any special curiosity, nor did Mylera seem at all hostile. While Cham said that Mylera could be a good fighter, if pressed to fight, Valna said that her regular disposition was closer to that of "A big teddy bear". Lena didn't like waiting, but it was all that she could do, while Cham's men canvassed the whole city for signs of anything more odd than normal.

Still, though, this gave her more time to get back into sorts after her fight with Torilikos. It had been a while since she had been pushed this hard, and these weren't even demons or monsters, they were more like her- skilled fighters with powerful arms and magic at their disposal. This did worry her, once she thought about it more. Even one as vicious as Torilikos was still awed by the power of their lord. Her thoughts began to wander, eventually dwelling on some of her last opponent's final words.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sounds of something thudding into one of the target stands. She looked over to see Mylera actually practicing, but it was quite odd- she was actually shooting the blades out from her claw-bracers into the target with a bit of a flourish, but the bracers themselves grew new blades after each volley. She then remembered the exquisite nature of all of the armor that the knights used, and considered that a knight as prestigious as Milegeus seemed to be could certainly have some magic weapons made for his sister. She put away her own sword and watched for a few minutes as Mylera practiced. It was easy to see that Mylera had little to no experience with actual fighting- this was just something she did to pass time.

Mylera soon noticed that she was being watched by the Valis Warrior. "Ah... I'm sorry. the guard said I could use it, and the practice halls back home are usually open only to those who are soldiers and knights, or at least training for either."

Lena nodded. "Nah, I was just watching those weapons of yours. I've never seen something like them. They seem to suit you well."

Mylera smiled. "You must have noticed that I am no knight by now, Valis Warrior. Or any one at arms below that grade, for that matter- I tried my luck against that woman who was with us and the queen when we first talked, but she tied my ankles together in no time at all with that whip of hers. It didn't help that I'd never seen such a weapon like that- our knights and soldiers tend towards less exotic arms than that."

Lena looked between the target stand and Mylera. "Well, if you want Cham to train you, she's great, but it's a pretty hard road. She was the one who taught me and my own sister how to fight."

Mylera blinked. "No wonder, then! Though, I haven't seen anyone that might be your sister around this castle. Where might she be found?"

Lena paused for a moment herself, and then decided to let it out. "She's no longer with us, Mylera. She died in battle, protecting our queen. For that matter, our queen lost her own twin sister, the previous Valis Warrior, though they barely knew each other- their mother separated them from each other at birth and sent the other to live in another world. She only barely knew her real family in this world." Lena looked more fully at the Vascani woman. "If you had wondered why were were so willing to help you, well, there you are- but I would've listened to you anyway. I think that most people would prefer not to kill their way through life."

Mylera was taken aback, pausing for a moment. She rubbed her hands together as though she said something she mustn't have. She nodded in agreement to another subject, though. "I might want to see Cham about some training sometime, then. I don't want my brother to worry too much about me."

It was then that Cham appeared at the training ground herself, wiping her brow as she sat down on one of the benches. She looked over as she saw that one of the target stands was pincushioned with the straight blades from Mylera's claw bracers, but then gave a wave to both of the other girls on the grounds. Lena looked over to Cham. "Ah, decided to stop by? Did your men find anything new or odd?"

Cham shook her head. "Well, nothing that could really be called strange, just some people having suspicions about their neighbors taking something, or deliberately being rude, nothing all that out of the ordinary. The market square always generates piles of complaints and suspicion anyways. The only good thing people really had to say was that Freylic the blacksmith seems to have improved far beyond his old skill after getting a new assistant."

Lena thought for a moment. "Well, he's never been anything but an average blacksmith himself. I wouldn't think an assistant would make too much of a difference."

The darkworlder shook her head. "I guess that is the one strange thing I found. however, it's not really him at work. Apparently his assistant makes the most excellent swords, the kind you can only really find from top-grade smiths, and..." she stopped for a moment, and looked at Mylera, something dawning on Cham at that moment. "Mylera, how good are the knights at making swords?"

When she was addressed, Mylera backed off a bit in surprise. "Well, any one of us could make swords- I could bang out one myself, if I had the tools and the like on hand- But the knights themselves, who are so intimately familiar with such weapons, can make what others would consider fine swords quite easily. However, it takes smiths entirely dedicated to the art to make the swords actually used by the knights themselves, and those swords require more than just the tools and fire of a furnace."

Cham and Lena nodded to each other, and rushed out, leaving Mylera to stand there, just a bit confused. She eventually shrugged it off, and went back to practice- though she was left alone for now, she still at least had tea with Valna to look forward to.

------------

Since Cham was well-known as a bit rough, Lena decided to head into the smith's shop in her stead. She did have the Valis Sword on on hand, but hadn't undergone her transformation. Freylic the smith gave a big smile as he saw her. "Ah, Lena! What can I do for you! That's actually an interesting question, since you, of all people, certainly don't need a sword!"

Lena smiled back. "Well, actually I've been hearing some interesting things about your shop recently- I actually wanted to meet your assistant."

The smith smiled. "Well! Sure thing." he turned his head towards the back of the shop. "Kallen, there's someone here to see you!"

She looked in back as well, and a strong, but pleasing voice called back. "This is a very delicate part of the process! Unless it's a god, a pretty girl, or some combination of both, I'll have nothing to do with it!"

The smith nods. "He's a great smith, but a bit of an odd one." He called back. "It's a pretty girl, at least by our standards, I don't know about yours!"

That was a red flag right there- he didn't even claim to be from around here! 'Kallen' stepped out, dressed much as he was the days before. he looked at Lena with his silver eyes, allowing a smile to creep across his face. "Hello to you, miss. It seems that my boss knows me well enough that he wouldn't call me out without good reason while I was working. Anything you need or want from me?"

Lena nodded. "Well, yes, but first I'll need Cham to shutter all of the windows and close the door!" With that, Cham went to work, closing out all of the windows and doors with swift speed, and the help of a few guardsmen. As the light in the shop quickly diminished, shadows fell over 'Kallen', his silver eyes soon glowing in the sudden dark. They widened with surprise as he realized he'd been found out. Lena drew her sword and struck at him as she jumped the counter, but her opponent pulled the sword from his back and parried with the scabbard as he retreated upstairs. Lena dashed after, following him up to the roof of the shop, transforming into the armor of the Valis warrior along the way. She found him standing on the roof, and she pointed the Valis Sword at him. "All right, just who are you, really?"

He smiled, spreading his arms. The pupils in his silver eyes disappeared. "As you have fairly found me, and have me at a bit of a disadvantage, I shall tell you. I, Kaevoras, will not be captured, however- my lord would certainly chastise me for it!" He dashed off, leaping to the next roof, and then the next. Lena ran after him, chasing him across the rooftops of the city, scrambling after the unarmored knight. He was swift, to be sure, and seemed to know how to jump instinctively, but he did surprise her when he came to a sudden stop to actually take a swing at her with his sword. She parried, but landed awkwardly, her own hasty swing dodged by her opponent. Kaevoras smiled. "Interesting! Most would have been cut in two by my stroke, but you're better than that, I see."

Lena dashed after him, following Kaevoras to the next rooftop, and then the next one, where he once again stood to fight for a few clashes of swords. he used the momentum from the last parry to backflip to the edge of the roof, then calling out to Lena as he made a seemingly impossible jump to the next. "Were it not for my duty to my lord, I'd let you chase me forever!" Lena looked around, and fount an alternate rooftop route to continue the chase. It was difficult to keep up with Kaevoras, since the wind itself seemed to help him make incredible leaps. However, her own path intersected with his, and she took a great swing at him, forcing him to parry and lose his momentum, pinning him down into another clash of swords. He seemed a bit nervous, but also seemed to be enjoying the little chase. With a quick feint, he forced Lena to defend against a nonexistent attack as he ran off again.

Lena was hot on his heels this time, and the jumping from roof to roof was briefly interrupted by the occasional clash of swords as the pair fought their way across the skyline of the city that had sprung up around Vanity castle. Lena called out to her opponent as they ran and fought. "Stop! Why don't you stand and fight like the others?"

Kaevoras parried the next blow that came, thrusting back, and then going to run. "As I said, you have me at a bad disadvantage, and besides, I promised my lord that I would come back if I were discovered- and I've never broken a promise in my life. I certainly don't intend to start by breaking my bond of trust with him!"

Lena dodged, and continued the chase, until they both stopped on a wide rooftop for another clash. Lena pressed the attack by leaping down, surprising Kaevoras with her ferocity and agility, drawing a shallow cut against his chest as he struggled to evade, a blow that certainly wouldn't have pierced his armor. As he backed off, she asked him. "Why do you treat your lord with such reverence?"

Kaevoras smiled. "You ask quite a question, Lena Brande. The answer is also a question: Why shouldn't we? After all, our lord has more in common with gods than with men." Lena's eyes widened as he went on. "Ah, this feeling- no wonder even Torilikos's blood ran hot, no wonder that Milegeus so desires to fight you again. An opponent like you has not clashed with us in a score of lifetimes!" Kaevoras stood straight as silver motes began to climb about him. "Hah... It seems our lord calls me back. I do hope we can fight more properly, Lena. Milegeus waits for you at a place of stone and columns- do not disappoint him." With a silver flash he was gone.

Lena was left alone on that rooftop, realizing soon that she had run from one end of the city to the other while chasing Kaevoras. She sighed as she looked around, catching her breath. Well, he's gone- but what did he mean by "having more in common with gods than men"? Asfal might know.

-------------

It was hard to mistake it when Asfal was traveling- he didn't even try to disguise who he was, the tall, black-clad dark king making his way across the countryside in long, swift strides, forcing his body to move at unnatural speeds. Among the other things in his travel bag, he carried a tightly wrapped bundle, wherein he brought the copy of the Valis Sword used by Reiko in years long past. His eyes were fixed forward, having left his mountains for the plains. He was making a quick run for Vanity Castle.

He had the luxury of thought, as running didn't require much concentration. The situation has grown perilous. I can discern nothing of the true nature of their lord, and all of my conjecture leaves me feeling cold. I can do no more by remaining idle, so I must go to Lena Brande. Only the Valis Warrior can overthrow the power that the Vascani have brought to bear on this world, and I must be present at all times to aid her in this struggle- there is no other way for us to win than to stand united behind her.

I only hope that I have not yet grown too feeble to do so.


-------------

Vaijoras grumbled. He had convinced his lord to let him stay, but he was still forbidden to fight. He understood why Merogius would not let him go to battle, but it was still infuriating to him to have to sit on the sidelines. Part of his armor had been replaced with something called an 'iron sleeve'- a single piece of metal with padding on the inside to keep his arm stable, allowing it to strengthen and heal after it had been carefully pieced back together. He at least had been allowed to stay in Rogles's castle with all of the others, and was, perhaps a bit morbidly glad that the others were having the same manner of troubles he was- it made him look far less foolish, and more skilled for surviving such a potentially deadly encounter.

Plus, other knights to talk to was a definite plus. Dimacherus always had something to say, at least, and he was just able to speak with him at that moment? Vaijoras nodded to his fellow knight. "What news, brother?"

Dimacherus shrugged, then put his hands on the grips of his twin swords. "It seems that Kaevoras has been found out by the Valis Warrior. He is currently speaking to our lord about it- seems that she got her mark on him, too, as she caught him without his armor on."

Vaijoras flexed his good hand. "Was it serious?"

The other knight shook his head. "Nothing more than a long scratch, really. He was also trying to escape her at the time. He is good and obedient to our lord- he came back to us when he was at a disadvantage, rather than trying to press for extra glory."

The red-clad knight took a seat, being careful with his recovering arm. "Curse that sword- it's a weapon made with incredible magic. These wounds wouldn't linger so greatly otherwise."

Dimacherus nodded. "Well, our lord has another plan in motion that might yet help us down the road. It is as it should be. It is up to us to worry about battles, while our lord considers the big picture down the road. Could have he become a knight-captain if he didn't look far ahead?"

Vaijoras winced as his arm twitched a bit within the sleeve. "I do suppose not. How fares Milegeus?"

Dimacherus looked to the ceiling. "Preparing, meditating, playing out every possible permutation of battle in his mind. I've never seen him so driven, and considering our brother, that is saying something. Tamorath is still putting down the monsters around the castle- it seems that some have swarmed back through the mountains, as though something that was holding them back had departed from there. I don't bother him about it, he seems to be better when occupied."

Vaijoras considered. "Well, as always, let us pray for the victory of our brother in battle- or at least, that he doesn't end up like Torilikos.
----------------


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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Tue 02 Nov 2010, 11:23 pm

Part 9: The Titan of Steel
------------------

Lena and Valna looked over the map, Lena folding her arms as she looked over the sites. "A place of stone and columns? Kaevoras had to know how many places that describes around here, and some of them are less then a day's walk from this city."

Valna looked over the map herself, hand on her chin. "Well, he is our enemy. It wouldn't surprise me if he was being that unhelpful on purpose. But still, though, he may have meant more than just paving or floor stones."

The Valis Warrior let her eyes turn towards the mountains. "It would be just like him to try to be clever like that. To be honest, though, he seemed more like a poet than a knight, especially not like these knights. I wonder what he's doing in their company? He seems more suited to a more leisurely life than that of a warrior."

Valna shrugged. "Perhaps he felt an obligation to uphold this mysterious oath that the others kept on talking about, as you said they did. I should like to know more about them."

Lena looked, tracing her finger over some ruins sites close to the mountains. "Is that why you're giving Mylera such treatment?"

The queen smiled. "You're learning, Lena. This war will not last forever, you know, and there is still much we do not know about peoples from other worlds, or what those worlds are like. Consider this: Cham was one from the dark World, and they were our enemy. But in accepting her friendship, she was able to help us gain the trust and allegiance of the people of the Dark World once they came to live here after the destruction of their world by the great void. If it were not for her help, our peoples might live forever opposed." Valna turned back. "Now, about finding our hidden knight."

Lena tapped the map. "There are some ruins pretty close to the mountains. I think I can start looking around there- Kaevoras was a sneak, but the knights have never issued me anything but an honest challenge... And besides, the more of them I can put out of the fight, the better."

Valna nodded, tracing a route on the map for Lena to follow. "Well, this ought to take you to all of them. It's a start, at least, which is all we can really hope for at the time being. Good luck, Lena."

Lena rolled up the map. "I can't say that I'm looking forward to this one, either. Mylera has a pretty high opinion of her own brother, but considering what the fights with other knights have been like, I can't say I blame her, or even that she's exaggerating that much.

--------------

Lena had done her best to chart out every possible ruin where Milegeus might be hiding, but with every failed search came a sense of disappointment mixed with relief. She wasn't looking forward to her rematch with Milegeus, considering what happened when Vaijoras and Torilikos fought their best. She could only imagine what this one had in his bag of tricks, and she only had the vaguest idea of what he was capable of- he had some affinity with earth, and if he was only half as strong as Mylera said he was, then it was still going to be an extraordinarily vicious fight.

It was on the fourth ruin that she actually found what she was looking for. It was actually the ruins of some ancient palace of the Dreamworld, built into the side of a mountain. chiseled in one of the now-freestanding walls was a relief of numerous subjects supplicating a tall, robed and hooded figure with blank eyes and incredibly long hair- it could be none other than Valia. She moved into what she assumed used to be the main chamber of the palace, her boots announcing her presence as they tapped and scraped on the cracked marble floor. The columns stood proudly despite their age, and that there was no longer any roof to support. However, what was important was standing in the middle.

Milegeus was much as he was first time Lena saw him, but was standing patiently, both hands on his sword, the blade pointed downwards, the point and more stuck down into the ground. Had she not seen him before, Lena might well have assumed that he was simply a well-preserved statue that had been left behind when the palace was abandoned. Lena didn't say anything, however, until the Valis sword had been good and drawn. "Kaevoras told me that you were waiting for me here. But why fight me again?"

Milegeus opened his glowing eyes before responding in that powerful voice of his, one that seemed to rise up from the greatest depths of the mountain itself before being projected through his throat. "I had made a mistake or more the last time we fought. I had thought that you were merely one who had taken up the sword without knowing the ways of battle- but now that I know your mettle, I could hardly let you pass without a chance for me to show the true extent of my own prowess. Your defeat would seal the fate of this world, but most of all, I will prove to you that I am no fool of battle."

Lena blinked as she felt her sword grow light in her hands, as though the weapon itself was excited to do battle with such a foe. She looked down at the blade, and then to Milegeus, who had already grabbed his sword, holding it ready for battle. Lena felt that it was only proper to respond. "It seems there's no way for us to avoid this fight, and I won't run from it, but I will not let you and your comrades write the fate of this world!"

Milegeus tossed his cloak aside, and marched to Lena, but she didn't hesitate, and soon the two were once again engaged in a clash of arms. However, Lena soon found herself rather hard-pressed. His raw strength was incredible, and she couldn't press an attack for very long without the feeling that Milegeus would pound her feet-first into the ground like a stake. Even when she parried an overhead slash from the knight, she felt the ground under her feet crack and crumble, the seemingly solid marble giving way under the mere proximity to the force of his blows. She escaped from underneath his overwhelming strength, backing off so that she would have some sure footing for the next clash.

Even distance, however, was no guarantee of safety. Lena watched as his sword tapped against the marble floor, sending reverberations through both, the tremors beneath her feet instructing her to get out of the way as a bolt of force tore up the ground underneath, breaking up the floor and sending shards of stone spraying every which way. Lena was forced to duck, however, when he was on her once more. She dodges the swing aimed at her head, the blow crushing art of the column next to her causing it to topple sideways. She was able to avoid being trapped under it as it fell, the massive piece of worked stone now standing between her and her foe. She looked to the left and the right, preparing herself for whichever of those two directions her foe would come from.

She didn't expect him to come from right ahead.

Milegeus plowed straight through the fallen column, breaking it in two and sending out a spray of fragments and a cloud of stone dust as he smashed his way through the obstacle with his own armored body. Lena raised her sword to defend herself but parrying seemed to do more harm than good. While the Valis sword remained unbroken, Lena herself was propelled through the air, and smashed through one of the more decrepit columns, skidding across the floor until her back struck the base of the column behind it. She gasped and coughed, her vision blurred as she staggered to her feet after receiving such a massive strike from her foe.

Lena managed to re-focus before she saw Milegeus rushing towards her, taking his long, heavy strides towards her, his boots leaving prints and cracks in the marble as though it were fresh snow rather than solid stone. She rolled out of the way of the strike he aimed downwards, showered by gravel as he smashed the column behind her with a single stroke of his sword. She saw an opportunity, but he turned his blade down to deflect the greater part of the force of her own blow. It cut into the armor around his thigh, and metal met flesh as she scored a wound on her opponent- however, when she saw the white salve fill it in and seal the bleeding, Lena knew that wouldn't be nearly enough to bring down such a titan among men. It did, however, hearten her to know she still had an advantage of agility over Milegeus, which paid true when she bent back to duck under his next swing.

Lena did her best to dodge or stay out of the reach of his attacks, but this left her precious few opportunities to strike back, herself. Anything was now better than facing that sword head-on, so she had to find way to get around the deadly sweep of that powerful blade. She considered she would have to become his opposite to win- what he saw as obstacles, she would have to take as opportunities. She couldn't see how anyone could dismiss him as a fool, though, since he was no pushover the first time they fought, either- just unprepared.

Not that she had a huge amount of time to think at all, considering she was in a situation that required one to make life-or-death decisions in the span of time it takes a butterfly to flap its wings. She actually jumped and climbed her way to the top of one of the crumbling columns, and waited for him to strike it down, jumping as the last second before the stonework was demolished by the knight's sword. She managed to land behind him, within good reach. He did look surprised, and turned his vambrace into the blow that inevitably came from behind. She gouged into the armor, but wasn't even sure that she managed to cut deeply into the arm before she was forced to back off from his own swing.

After a few more dodges, however, she read the arc of his swing, and managed to catch his fingers, smashing the flat against his fingers, then going after his other hand to disable his other hand. However, to her surprise, he actually let go of his sword to avoid losing any digits from the attack, a great clang reverberating around the chamber as his sword was knocked away. He moved back as she swung at him, then feinted with his armored fists, using her preemptive dodge as an opportunity to get some space. With that short amount of time, he then wrested one of the columns off of its base, and Lena's eyes widened as he began to bring it down on her, the Valis Warrior forced to make a hasty, awkward roll to avoid being smashed. She looked around for her opponent, but knew he was retrieving his sword- and knew that he was going to come at her in a straight line, obstacles be damned.

She heard his thundering steps, and as he smashed through the wreckage of the column, she slashed low into the cloud of dust and debris, and felt her blade slow as is cut into armor and flesh, and arc of black blood trailing from the edge of her sword. Roaring through the pain of the wound to his other thigh, however, he thundered out of the cloud, delivering a vicious kick to the Valis Warrior, lifting her off of the ground and sending her sprawling some distance away. while so dazed, only her ears warned her of the bolt of force that tore through the floor towards her, and she rolled out of the way, managing to avoid getting struck by most of the sharp rocks. She shook her head as she struggled to her feet, regaining her senses as she faced her opponent once more. though she had taken a nasty hit, Lena could see that he was being forced to favor one of his legs. Even from this spot, she could hear his deep, powerful breaths.

"Hah... This feeling... We have never faced an opponent like you before, Valis Warrior. While we see fighting as a grim business, the prospect of doing battle with the wielder of a legendary sword like yourself makes us fight harder against you than we perhaps would against any other foe. Fighting the best brings out the best in us!" Milegeus began to advance once more, sword held upright in his hands. "Come now, and fight me! Let us end the legend of the Valis Warrior together!"

Lena coughed and wheezed a bit, her breathing becoming labored as she struggled to catch herself. But she had to keep moving, keep aware, and keep alive. She didn't dare to look at herself to check how she had been wounded, but in the back of her mind she knew she wasn't in the best of shape. She now saw the white salve had sealed up the other wound in his thigh and the small one she left in one of his forearms. She was ahead by numbers, but she needed a real knockout blow- one that wouldn't kill him, too. Something he wouldn't see coming. Lena was rattled by the relentless assault of her foe, but she still had some tricks she could do. It would require a bit of setup to get it done.

Lena backed off, ran, and even slid away, putting a ball of lighting into one corner of the chamber, leaving it there for the time being. She put up a show of fighting, even taking a sudden swing at the knight before backing off. She threw another into the next corner, over Milegeus's head to make him duck, as well as think that the blast was aimed directly at him. She let the lightning linger for now, but she had to be quick- it wouldn't last forever, and it would be difficult to defeat Milegeus otherwise- she couldn't overwhelm him like she did to Torilikos. Even with the wounds she gave him, he was still far too strong for that.

He was hard to evade, as anything that was an obstacle to her, he could just smash right through, though her danger also allowed her an opportunity. By leading him to wherever she was, she could make it seem as though her attacks were simply ineffectual, and that she was just firing off her own balls of magical lightning out of desperation. a stray tendril of electricity even touched his armor, melting some of the gold decoration as it passed by, but stopping in yet another corner of the chamber. It was also helping to wear him down, as his wounds caused him pain whenever he crashed through yet another fallen column in the palace. He moved almost with a kind of rushing limp, and she felt the sting of sharp stones strike across her skin and bang against her armor whenever he tore up the ground with his power.

She quickly turned to cast the fourth ball into the last corner of the chamber, and did her best to lure him back to the center. she was just past that point herself, however, when she heard a wooshing sound behind her, as Milegeus's sword sailed end over end towards her as she ran. The wind was knocked out of her as the powerful blade struck her back, but that part of her back that was not protected by her armor received a vicious cut across it, her armor keeping the magical blade from slicing her in two. Still, the force of the blow knocked her over, and she cried out as the pain from her wound burned into her senses. She rolled on her back, seeing that the knight was advancing on her at a more leisurely pace. She had dropped her sword in her shock, and couldn't yet scramble to her feet.

Milegeus walked slowly, still limping from the terrible wound to his thigh, sealed though it was, his breathing labored. "I can now see why the Valis sword is so legendary- by putting such a sword against me you have pushed me to limits I didn't even know I had. It is a shame I could only fight you but twice." As he moved to retrieve his sword, Lena saw that he was standing close to the center of the chamber. "But our oath gives us a power all its own."

Lena looked around, and took a deep, painful breath before speaking. "Not power enough." She called the four balls of lighting together, all flying down simultaneously from each corner of the room, and they all linked together, forming a ring of deadly lightning around Milegeus. He tried to bull his way through, but was thrown back, the knight looking bewildered- and then all four of the balls discharged Lena's wrath directly into Milegeus himself. He gave a great roar of agony and surprise as Lena's lightning emptied into him, arching across his armor and through the rents that Lena had opened up into it with her sword. The barrage continued, the sent of acrid smoke filling the air as the incessant assault forced Milegeus first down to one knee, then the other. One hand stayed on his sword to keep him propped at least slightly, while he had to use the other to brace himself against the floor. As his throat grew hoarse, his yelling ever weaker, Lena withdrew the lightning, leaving Milegeus on hand and knees as she struggled to her own feet, gasping and grunting as the wear of her battle caught up with her.

Milegeus tried to struggle to his feet, but could only grip his sword with both hands as he tried in vain to right himself. "Damn you, treacherous body, MOVE!" He managed to get one of his feet flat on the ground, but his body was too spent by such a terrible assault. He was forced to bow his head, and spoke more evenly. "I can fight no more, Valis Warrior. Take my life as your prize and be off- I can do no more to hinder you."

Lena put away her sword, and Milegeus looked up as she sheathed it. "I will do no such thing. I have defeated you fairly, and at the fullest of your strength." She closed her eyes. "And besides, your sister would be lonely if I took you from her."

Milegeus nodded slowly. "I see... So you've met Mylera, somehow." He gave a slow sigh. "She is a fine girl, and the fact that you would spare me for her sake makes me think that, perhaps, I could never have beaten you."

Lena blinked at that. "Why do you say that?"

He closed his own eyes. "How could I overcome one who strives so greatly for true justice in this world?"

It was at that moment that Mylera ran into the chamber herself, looking between the two and moving to her brother, looking relieved that he still lived. She walked slowly over to him, and gave a nod of thanks to Lena. "Brother..."

Milegeus looked over to Mylera, and nodded. "You shouldn't have come. This world is a place where we knights are doing battle, and besides... I had hoped to spare you the knowledge of how worthless your older brother really is, as he did not see the truth that shone in his face like the morning sun."

Mylera shook her head. "You've always gone to battle for my sake Milegeus... But Lena isn't the kind of person you and the others should be fighting."

Milegeus nodded once more. "You are correct. However, our lord looks to the future, and Lena will not live forever, nor will she always carry the Valis Sword." He slowly turned his head towards Lena. "Though you will not kill me, I am at your utter mercy- in the old days of war, the victor might demand a ransom for the release of a conquered foe. I'm sure there is some request that I can fulfill- but I cannot convince my lord to stop this battle. The stakes are too high for this to end on my word, and my lord heeds no calling more than that of his duty."

Lena closed her eyes,and thought for a few minutes, before the answer struck her as a hammer would. She swiftly opened her blue eyes, and she uttered a few short words.

"Tell me about the oath."
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Wed 03 Nov 2010, 5:27 pm

Part 10: The Oath of Ages

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Milegeus was taken aback by Lena's request, but she only repeated it. "I want to know about this oath that you have. I want to know why it drives you to fight so desperately. I want to know why such a thing would drive you and the other knights to conquer other worlds. That is my price, Milegeus."

The knight nodded slowly. "If that is your price, Valis Warrior, then I shall tell you what brought us here, and what drives us to go forth as we have, time and time again. To know the origin of our oath, however, I must relate to you the ancient history of our own people- a past from which we can never escape."

Milegeus took a deep breath, and began. "Long ages ago, the light of knowledge settled on our people, allowing us to forsake the savage origins common to all people. The heavens bestowed on all of us the gift of craft, but among all other things, the working of metal is what we excelled in- we were able to bend and shape it seemingly to our very will, when given fire, hammer and tongs. Our works ranged throughout the land, and even a few of the worlds nearby, and all knew the beauty of our works. While we could not make works as grand as the Valis or Leethus swords, we were never much for war. Some travelers passing by from distant places even cared to write of us, and once named our people the 'Vasr-Ka-Dani'- those with the souls of steel."

The knight took a long pause. "But, such things can arouse arouse petty jealousy and common greed in others, and for those whom such vices come naturally, it can inspire them to go to greater lengths to seize what is not theirs. As word of our works spread, word of us came to the wrong ears, those who did have a taste for cruelty and terror, those who are far too common in this realm of men. Those who ensure that the realm will never be safe for those such as us."

Milegeus looked to his sister for a moment, then faced Lena again as he continued. "It was only after the fact that we knew why they came- the army of a band of Worldwalkers whom we called in our history the Tyrant Kings, as well as their masters, came to our word, and descended upon us with such ferocity we had wondered if the sky had fell upon our world. The killing only ceased, I suppose, because they eventually realized that they would have no slaves to do their foul bidding if they ended up destroying us all." He bowed his head. "There are times, in the depths of the darkest nights, where I find myself standing in the middle of a scorched wasteland, with cliffs all around, save for one wall that is different, shifting. It is then that I see that I am standing on the floor of a dried lake, and two tall, hooded figures damming the river with the bodies of the slain. Among them I see friends, teachers, mentors, lovers... Family. I do not know of any of us who has not had this vision."

Milegeus took a deep breath. "They set us to work for them, but they were not content to merely take our bodies. Our history was put to the hammer and torch- all we know about our past before then had to be taken from the ancient journals of travelers who visited our world in times before the conquest. Any who was caught practicing our old ways were killed, and slowly but surely, we were made to forget even who we were, or that we had ever been free. They took everything from us- in the end, even having or giving names was forbidden by our masters. all we knew was that the rising of our pitiless sun in our blackened sky mean a return to the lash, the hot iron, and the ever-present chance of an unnatural death. Not one person died old, and we were left continue in that so-called life for a whole age."

Lena looked distressed, but before she could say anything, the knight continued. "We do not know how it happened- perhaps the heavens took pity on us, but one day, one of us remembered. He remembered everything- all that had been taken from us by our overlords was given back to him, and he became free. He escaped, and uncovered a buried and ancient forge, and for untold years he used it to forge a sword, and into that sword he placed a single, pure desire. His wish for justice, to repay all of the wrongs visited upon us by our enemies. He came back to us, his creation in hand, and struck down a giant who was about to crush a straggler under his heel- all watched as the giant's body tore itself to pieces, a deadly, gaping wound opening up on its body for every single one of us it had killed in its cruelty. He called himself Vasca, and for those who had not known the world could be any other way, he must have seemed a god made flesh. He instructed those he saved to now arm themselves for the great struggle ahead."

Lena slowly sat down one the base of one of the columns that had been destroyed in the fight. "He waged his war against our enemies, and when word of it reached the others still enslaved, they began to rebel, too, but using their skill in craft. They would make weapons that would seem sound, but break after a single swing in battle- they would make suits of armor for the commanders of our enemy's soldiers that looked strong, but would poison them and sap their life. In the end, it was hopeless for our enemies to fight on, and they fled to their own strongholds throughout the world, but the First King followed- the heavens had decreed their destruction from the moment they allowed Vasca to make that sword."

Milegeus took a pause to catch his breath- the battle had taken a great toll on him. "In the end, they fled, but could not escape. Each one of those who had brought such misery on our people fell before the sword of Vasca, and at the end, our lord gathered all of their bodies and burned them, offering them as a sacrifice to the Heavens in return for allowing him to exact the ultimate price from our ancient enemies. However, what he had seen would never leave him... and it would never leave us, so he took all of his retainers and knights, those who had followed him through fire and thunder, and they all swore the great oath together."

The knight seemed invigorated just by the telling of the next part of the story. "Because of what Vasca had seen, he made him and the others who followed him vow that, so long as our people lived, we would make and bear arms against our enemies so that our people would never again be enslaved, that we would never again let our enemies write the fate of our people, and that they would never again take our bodies, minds, and souls from us. It was there that Vasca was named the First King, and even now he rules over a court in the heavens, the one to whom all of us must bow. We still have his sword, as well, but it is only to be used in the most dire need."

The knight's shoulders sagged once more. "That is why we go forth- we can never be free of the nightmare of our past, all we can do is ensure that none can ever conquer us again, Valis Warrior. This is what drives us- we knights cannot falter for one moment in our vigilance because of how we know the terrible price of failure."

Lena's eyes widened. She thought for a moment, and then considered what the price would have been had the Valis Warriors of days past had ever failed. She opened her mouth a few times to say something, but couldn't find any words to respond to what Milegeus had just told her. She simply bowed her head as well.

Milegeus turned to Mylera. "Sister- have these people been good to you?"

She nodded in response. "Yes- even their queen treats me well. I even feel more comfortable in this place than I do on our world. But most of all, I want you to stop fighting Lena."

Milegeus nodded. "I will tell my lord it is not possible for me to defeat her. He is a wise man, he will understand. Stay with them for now, until this whole thing ends, one way or the other." He sighed. "My lord calls for me, Valis Warrior. I must go." Mylera backed off as silver motes of light began to form about him, and soon enough, Milegeus disappeared in a flash.

Mylera looked over to Lena. "I'm sorry that it had to come to this between our worlds. Will you be able to make it back?"

Lena nodded. "It won't be an easy walk, that's for sure." She winced as she took her first steps, now feeling all the effects of all that had been done to her. She sighed. "It'll be the longest walk I've ever made, in fact."

A third voice spoke, one that was familiar and welcome to Lena's ears. "Perhaps I can help you on your way." Lena turned, and her eyes brightened a bit when she saw Asfal make his way into the chamber, the former king looking around as he examined the place. "It seems I was correct- I felt great tremors coming from this place, and considering the other happening lately, I had thought that one of our enemies was here, or that you were even fighting him. It seems I was right."

Lena had a sigh of relief. "It's great to see you- but you haven't come this way in a long time. Where are you headed?"

He nodded. "Castle Vanity. I had thought to see you there, but it seems that I can at least help you on your way home, if you'll let me." Lena nodded in response, and the king carefully picked up Lena into his arms. He handed his travel bag over to Mylera, and the three of them set off.

Mylera looked over at Lean, and the Valis Warrior seemed to have fallen asleep in mere moments. She looked up at him as they made their way down the mountain. "Are you sure this is all right?"

Asfal nodded, talking quietly. "The Valis Warrior has carried this world on her shoulders for some time. For me to carry her is no trouble at all."

------------

Lena woke up, looking around her room. At first, she thought that her whole battle with Milegeus had just been a dream, and that she was waking up on the morning on the day she was supposed to leave- but then she winced as she felt the sting in her back, and and the bandages under those pink pajamas that Cham seemed to have conjured from parts unknown. She smiled as she heard the door open, and saw that Valna and Asfal had come to join her, the king carrying that tied, long bundle in his hand. "Ah, hello there- I'm sorry I fell asleep on the way here."

Asfal nodded. "It was no difficulty. though I am not in my prime, I had no difficulty shouldering you the whole way."

Lena chuckled. "Well, considering what we did together, I'm not sure you ever really left your prime."

Valna sat by Lena's bedside. "What's most important, though is that you came back to us. Anyway, Asfal has come here because he said that he was no more good to us just sitting under his mountain, plus he also has brought us something that even he didn't expect to find."

The king began to unwrap the sword. "As I informed her majesty, I did not find this. The captain of our enemies gave it to me, probably because he thinks that it will be as useless to us as it is to him and his men." He revealed the red-handled sword, showing it to Lena.

Lena looked up and down the weapon. "It looks almost exactly like the Valis sword!"

Asfal nodded. "Indeed, and it is even a copy of that weapon. not a perfect copy, but it is a strong weapon, perhaps made when the Valis sword was not at the peak of its power. Apparently it was used by a girl who came from the same world that your predecessor lived in for most of her life- she was slain in the battle, and it seems that, ever since, this sword has been weighed down by the regret of the remnant spirit of the one who wielded it. Not just figuratively- this weapon weighs at least ten times more than it's supposed to. It's no wonder that even they wouldn't find this weapon usable."

Lena blinked. "Well, why did you bring it here?"

Valna nodded. "Asfal thinks that there may be a way to make it usable again. It will have to wait until you're well, but he thinks that by using both swords together, you can open a bridge between this realm and Yuko, who resides in the heavens, allowing Reiko to move on and for the sword to be free of its old influences- the evil of Rogles, and the regret of Reiko."

Asfal began to wrap the sword again. "And even if it weren't potentially useful to us, it is better for us to put the last disturbed spirit of such a chaotic era to rest. We, most of all, cannot neglect the fallen that have come before."

--------------

Dimacherus was about to ask a question, but Kaevoras cut him off instantly. "Milegeus was defeated too. this is forming a pattern that I don't like. She did spare his life, at least."

Dimacherus leaned against one of the sturdy walls of the fortress. "Hmmm... I suppose I will have to ask our lord what he plans to do now, then."

Kaevoras shook his head. "Our lord is once again busy and unable to see you. It seems that he does have something in mind, but it requires him to prepare himself. He will see no one."

The other knight looked over to Kaevoras. "Well, you must have some idea what it's about in any case?"

The knightly poet shook his head. "Our lord has to take the long view of things. Even if he told us exactly what he was planning to do, its likely we wouldn't believe it or understand it. The best I can figure is that he's considering the possibility he might have to fight the Valis Warrior himself."

Dimacherus stretched. "Well, before then, I do hope that me and Tamorath can spare him the trouble."

Kaevoras's response came quickly. "Our lord must prepare for every eventuality, brother. He probably had that on his mind even before we left, and he's probably had it there every second we've been on this world. There's more to winning a world than mere battle, and while battle is something that we excel at, our lord makes true victory possible. Forcing our foe to flee the field is one thing, but making them surrender to us without even joining battle? That's a song not even I can write."

The one he was speaking to put his hands on his swords. "It still makes me a bit uneasy that he's not letting us in on his big secret, but then again, he did become a knight-captain. He might even think differently from the rest of us after going through that. It still nags at me, and probably won't until he comes out of whatever trance he's in now."

Kaevoras decided to lay back. "Well, whatever he's planning to do, if it gets us victory sooner, I'm all for it. Our enemies probably won't like what he's got planned one tiny bit, however."
-----------------


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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Fri 05 Nov 2010, 12:13 pm

Part 11: The Silver Terror
---------------

Asfal had finished drawing the rather extraordinarily complex magic circle in the throne room. All of the guards had been dismissed, and the only other present were Lena, Valna, Cham, and Mylera. Asfal took a step back, examining his work. "I am sorry that it took so many days to prepare this properly, but when it comes to interactions between this realm and the heavens, the geometries involved are extremely complex and delicate. I had to be absolutely certain that Lena wouldn't be in any danger- a mishap could not just be disastrous for her, in any case. Still, though all this effort will be worthwhile. It as not as though we are doing this lightly."

Valna smiled. "Your magic is fascinating, your majesty- perhaps you might like to share it with the rest of us once this is all over?"

The former king shook his head. "It is powerful, true, but it is rarely safe. The ring that corrupted my son was a product of our craft. Because of the dangers involved, there are few wizards, and even fewer old ones. Most are like me, who only use it as an occasional tool."

Cham folded her arms. "Sounds like you should be learning the Dreamworlders' magic instead."

Asfal spoke. "Now, who says that I haven't? Not much else to do under the mountain than read."

Mylera walked around the circle. "So, what exactly is going to be done with this thing, anyhow? I can't say I've ever seen anything like it,"

Asfal pointed to the circle. "Well, what's going to happen is that our Lena will step into the exact center of the circle, and she will be holding both the actual Valis sword and the copy. With the power of the spell I have placed here, the spiritual link between those who wielded those two swords should create a bridge between this realm and the heavens, allowing Reiko's bound spirit to speak to Yuko again, and hopefully move on."

The Vascani woman looked at the king. "And if it doesn't work?"

Asfal shrugged. "We'll just have to try again later. It's only dangerous if the ritual is interrupted somehow."

Mylera nodded slowly, and Lena stepped up. she grumbled a bit as she had to haul both swords. "And if she does move on, this sword will be usable again. any weapon we can wield against the Vascani will be helpful, so we should at least try to make this thing usable again Anything else I should know about this?"

Asfal nodded. "You must hold onto both swords at all times- they are the foundations of the bridge between the two realms, and who knows what might happen if you drop one. You might fall into the space between realms, half of your essence might be left here while the other half is stranded in the heavens- I wouldn't even suggest this if I didn't know that you were such a sure-handed warrior. I know that I've never seen you get disarmed in combat. We can begin whenever you're ready."

Lena nodded, and stepped into the circle. She drew both swords, though one was far easier than the other, and let their blades touch as she held them downwards- however, Asfal didn't need to even activate the circle himself, as what bound Yuko and Reiko together was as strong as any magic. Lena's vision was filled with light, and she felt herself being pulled, though she knew that she was standing perfectly still.

--------------

When Lena opened her eyes again, she found herself seemingly standing in space, amidst a starry field. though she could see no ground below, her feet felt as though they were standing on solid ground. She didn't even have the slightest guess as to where she was, and there was no way at all to tell exactly. However, the fact that she still had all of her faculties was a good sign, at least. It was in that moment that both swords began to glow, even becoming warm in Lena's hands. She then realized that she was standing right on this 'bridge' to the heavens that Asfal spoke of.

Lena thought it would be best to take no actions at all, and her patience was eventually rewarded. Yuko appeared first, wearing that pink Grecian dress that she remembered from their last meeting. Also appearing was who she assumed was Reiko- though she was dressed in what appeared to be a somewhat darker reflection of the Valis Warrior's armor- it made sense, considering the origin of Reiko's sword. She kept silent, and decided to let the others reunite.

Yuko smiled as she looked over at Reiko. "Some have gone through great lengths so that we might see each other again, Reiko. I didn't think that anyone would care to do so, bu thanks to Lean and others, it has been made possible for us to meet again, even though you passed away."

Reiko nodded, but didn't look especially pleased. "Yuko... Why did you go? Even after our battle, I was able to see you again, but for some time up until now, I haven't been able to find or speak to you. Why?"

Yuko closed her eyes. "I didn't want it to be this way either, but... I couldn't stay, Reiko. When I held both swords, it became clear to me that there was only so much I could ever do as a warrior, and I could see and do far more, perhaps from here than I could when my feet were on the ground. Don't think I'd ever forgotten what Rogles made us do to each other."

Reiko's eyes began to tear up. "But if you had to go, Yuko, why did you leave me behind? Didn't what I said to you back then mean anything to you?"

Yuko closed her own eyes. "You must think that it didn't... I don't blame you for that. But the truth is, Reiko, you are still weighed down by what you'd done while you were alive. All friends fight at some point or another- and don't think I ever stopped thinking of you as my friend. However, you still blame yourself for bringing that sword against me. You still can't get over that you fought against one who you loved."

Reiko got on your knees. "How can I? You're the only one who ever showed me true kindness while I lived. Even if it was for just a short time, you were more family to me than even my own mom and dad ever were!"

Yuko nodded. "If I'd known that before your time came, or we had more time together, I do wish I could've done more, myself. It seems, however, that other plans were made. You have to believe me, Reiko, when I wish things hadn't turned out they way they did... But we do have to deal with what is true now rather than what might have been."

Reiko got to her feet. "I can't stop thinking about that, Yuko, and I don't think you can either. I was killed in a sword fight with the only person I could ever think of calling a friend, and you were thrown into battle over and over again by a mother who abandoned you until you couldn't take living in the world anymore. What might have been is that we could've lived out our lives in peace! We could've finished up school together, we could have gone to college, we could've lived out long lives in peace! Don't you see what has become of us, Yuko? Both of us have lost everything we could've been!"

Yuko opened her eyes once4 more. "I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about such things myself, but we can't cling to regrets for all of eternity, Reiko."

Reiko clenched her hands into fists, trembling somewhat. "Since you left they're all I have..."

The goddess nodded. "You're going to have to find some way to let go of them. They've weighed you down so much that I can't lift you up, however much I'd wish to. Lena is a fine girl- she can help you find the way-" Yuko stopped for a moment, looking around.

Lena blinked. "Yuko, what's wrong?"

Yuko turned back to Lena. "Someone else is coming."

Slowly, and one by one, eight silver motes of light appeared in the darkness, forming a circle in what best approximated the ground. Lena had to cover her eyes in the face of the silver flash that followed. When she looked again, there was Merogius, clad in his silver-colored armor, the eyeless visor of his helmet drown down. In his armored hands was his great sword, pointed downwards, in a pose of regard rather than readiness. "Mmmm... It is as I had hoped. The unbreakable bond formed between the souls of the two warriors who wielded those weapons against each other have formed a bridge between our realm and the heavens."

Lena's eyes widened. "You're Merogius, aren't you?"

He nodded slowly, regarding her with that eyeless silver gaze. "Indeed. I am Merogious who bears the silver light, knight-captain of the illustrious 4th order of the Vascani Chivalry, the Brotherhood of the Sword. I would speak more to you, Valis Warrior, but my business here lies with your goddess. Since Valia is dead, I had wondered who might take the place she once had- it seems to have been split between queen Valna and goddess Yuko. it seems that Valia's fears were rather ill-considered, at best."

Yuko looked over to him. "And what is it that you want?"

Merogius spoke. "Excuse me- I should don my best vestments for a conversation with a goddess. I did not wish to be ill-mannered." After those words were spoken, six long, free-floating, golden diamond-shaped 'wings' projected from his back, and behind those, a light blue halo of sorts. His sword began to glow with a bright silver light. "There. Now I am suited for such company. As you know, me and my men have engaged in a struggle to take over the Dreamworld, and the Valis Warrior has caused us some defeats. As the lord of my knights, I must see to it that other eventualities are known before further battle is joined."

Yuko narrows her eyes as she looked at Merogius. "I can see that, but why are you here?"

Merogius nodded to the goddess. "A fair question. In fact, the reason I am here is to ask you a fair question as well, if you will grant me an answer. Yuko, I must know whether you plan to interfere in the struggle at hand."

Yuko closed her eyes. "Lena is more than capable of overcoming any challenge you present to her, but I will not hesitate to give her whatever aid I can, should she ask for it."

Merogius paused for a moment, and then spoke in that enveloping voice of his. "I see. Should the Valis Warrior rise up to challenge me, however, it will be a straight battle- a contest between us of will, and a contest between us of arms, and I would have it be no other way. You will not intervene."

Though what happened next took little more than an instant, Lena would always remember it happening over roughly the course of an eternity.

Merogius turned his grip while taking what appeared to be a single, long stride, and brought his shining sword down across Yuko's chest, a trail of blood following the deadly arc of that blade. Yuko clutched at the grievous wound and staggered back, her legs beginning to give out from underneath her. Lena watched as Yuko disappeared from the starry field, and Reiko, paralyzed with shock, did the same. Even though his visor was between his eyes and her, Lena could feel the mighty force of Merogius's gaze. She quickly uncrossed the two swords, and light once again filled her eyes as she felt herself being dragged back.

-------------

When Lena opened her eyes again, she found herself back in the throne room. She immediately dropped both swords, falllling to her knees and doing her best to recover her breath. the other rushed over to surround Lena, and Asfal spoke first. "Lena, what happened? The swords formed the bridge on their own! For a moment, all else was normal, and for some moments the magic went wild. What went on in there?"

Lena had to wait until she stopped gasping to speak. "We weren't alone. Merogius came there too!" She took a few more breaths before continuing. "He knew that the swords would be able to form the connection between here and the heavens. He let us have Reiko's sword to form the bridge... He did it so that he could get at Yuko, and then..." Lena bowed her head. "He attacked Yuko, and even cut into her with his sword! And we made it possible for him to do so!"

Valna looked concerned at Asfal. "Asfal, is it possible that Merogius was able to...?"

Asfal shook his head. "No. The power to destroy gods has not existed for some time. Also, Yuko has a very strong connection to this world- if she had been slain, we would certainly have felt it by now, one way or another. However, it is likely that Merogius though great preparation and strain on his part, managed to wound the goddess's essence."

Cham looked at the king. "So, what does that mean?"

Asfal took a moment to look around at all of the others in the room, hesitating for a moment to speak. "It means that, for the forseeable future, we are on our own. The task of defeating Merogius now falls to us alone, and we will not be able to expect any help from Yuko while she recovers from that attack." He shook his head. "To be able to intrude on a bridge like that- there are few creatures who could do such a thing, and I had thought none of them lived in this realm. It seems that, by the day, it becomes more and more impossible to overestimate the reach of our enemy."

Valna nodded. "Well, what shall we do now?" Lena got to her feet, and picked up the Valis sword, beginning to storm out of the chamber, and out of the castle itself. "Lena, where are you going?"

Lena looked back at the others. "I'm going to find Kaevoras, and when I do, I'm going to beat him into the dirt and find out what he really knows about anything. After I've done that, I'm going to come back here, prepare myself, and then go after Merogius himself. After what he's done, I let him think that he can strike at us how and whenever he pleases, or that he can get away with trying to conquer our world. No matter what good he thinks he's doing, there are some people to whom this world belongs more than anyone else." She took a deep breath. "It's what Yuko would have done- I'm sure of it."

With that, Lena walked out of the front gates of Castle Vanity, and into the wilderness to do battle with one of her foes.

-----------------

And, I'm going to stop here for a bit- not only do the next installments require a greater degree of care, I want to be sure that at least someone has caught up to this point before moving on.


Last edited by RyIII on Thu 07 Jul 2011, 3:17 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Sun 14 Nov 2010, 5:50 am

I've just read chapter 7, no battle but has some good suspension chu
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Sun 14 Nov 2010, 9:54 am

evilReiko wrote:
I've just read chapter 7, no battle but has some good suspension chu

Yeah- my original idea was to have Mylera actually attack Lena, but that got shelved for a couple of reasons. I may write it up as an alternate chapter once the main fic is done.
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Mon 15 Nov 2010, 3:41 am

Sometimes sentimental attacks is more thrilling and exciting than real attacks chu
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Mon 15 Nov 2010, 10:25 am

evilReiko wrote:
Sometimes sentimental attacks is more thrilling and exciting than real attacks chu

Well, perhaps. Smile

Anyhow, this is all on hold until you've caught up= seeing as you're the only one who cares to comment on things at the moment.
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Mon 15 Nov 2010, 2:08 pm

RyIII wrote:
Anyhow, this is all on hold until you've caught up= seeing as you're the only one who cares to comment on things at the moment.

Aaahhhh, just because I haven't been commenting, doesn't mean I haven't been following Cool

The only thing I haven't found convincing so far is how Lena defeated Milegius in Part 9. I feel it was kind of arbitrary. Otherwise, yesterday I think I read about five chapters straight? There are too many surprises in this story right now to get bored with it. Chapter 11 is brilliant... Merogius has almost godlike foresight to be able to manipulate events that way over such a long period of time (with Reiko's sword and all). He's certainly a frightening opponent Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Mon 15 Nov 2010, 2:57 pm

SuperSailor7 wrote:


Aaahhhh, just because I haven't been commenting, doesn't mean I haven't been following Cool

Ah, I see. Do remember, though, that it wasn't that long ago that I was in graduate school, where getting feedback on your writing is as much a part of one's natural life cycle as eating, sleeping, and breathing. Smile

Quote :
The only thing I haven't found convincing so far is how Lena defeated Milegius in Part 9. I feel it was kind of arbitrary. Otherwise, yesterday I think I read about five chapters straight? There are too many surprises in this story right now to get bored with it. Chapter 11 is brilliant... Merogius has almost godlike foresight to be able to manipulate events that way over such a long period of time (with Reiko's sword and all). He's certainly a frightening opponent Shocked

I can't say I'm especially happy with it myself, but I was in one of those moments where I felt that I had to finish it now or I wouldn't finish it for another month. I probably would have set it up better if I felt I could put it off for a bit longer, but, there it is. Besides, this is my first fanfic ever, so something like that was bound to slip through at some point.

As for the rest, well, did you think that Kaevoras was lying? Smile
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Mon 15 Nov 2010, 6:05 pm

RyIII wrote:
Besides, this is my first fanfic ever, so something like that was bound to slip through at some point.

First fanfic!!?!?!?!? but... but.. the way you twist events, the ideas, the creativity.... you're a pro writer Shocked Chu (I doubt either you read alot of novels or watch lots of films/series, don't you? Suspect )

I suggest that after you complete writing the fanfic, you should re-write it in a smaller version, it's worth re-reading over and over happy eyes happy eyes happy eyes I don't want to forget about these Vascani knights chu chu chu
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PostSubject: Re: [Fanfic] Brotherhood of the Sword   Tue 16 Nov 2010, 10:00 pm

evilReiko wrote:

First fanfic!!?!?!?!? but... but.. the way you twist events, the ideas, the creativity.... you're a pro writer Shocked Chu (I doubt either you read alot of novels or watch lots of films/series, don't you? Suspect )

Alternately, I'm just decent at hiding how tremendously uncreative I am. Smile
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