Author Topic: Age of Retribution Part IV: The Gauntlet of Izabran  (Read 3958 times)

Online Tyler294

  • Game Master
  • Epic Role Player
  • *****
  • Posts: 14310
  • The Default User



Genre = Fantasy
Setting = Age of Retribution
RP Type = Action/Comedy
How to join = Invite Only
Participants: Dead Jim, Shawnex, Tyler294
Discussion Thread




« Last Edit: Nov 01 2018, 04:24 PM by Tyler294 »

Online Tyler294

  • Game Master
  • Epic Role Player
  • *****
  • Posts: 14310
  • The Default User
The bodies of a ten-thousand soldiers littered the once pristine meadow. The men and women of more than five nations lie dead or dying atop the trampled grass. The rumble of horse hooves sounded in the distance, as the calvary of the victorious army chased down and captured or slew the stragglers of the defeated one. Yet, while the battle had ended, two men at the very center of the blood-soaked battlefield were about to end something greater, they were about to end a war.

On his feet stood the young general, in the prime of his life and the height of his career. His armor had been battered and his handsome face dirtied, yet here he stood noble and proud in victory. On his back lie the dying emperor, aged beyond his years from war and heartbreak. His left arm was severed at the elbow and his stomach pierced by steel, but still he clung to life as he gazed up into the eyes of his vanquisher. Over twenty years of near-constant conflict had brought these two here, to this defining moment in the history of their kingdoms, and their lives.

“So… it is done…” spoke the emperor, his voice weak and bitter, “The world has once again taken everything from me.”

The general did not respond, rather he allowed his defeated opponent the chance to speak what he willed in these last, fleeting moments of his life.

“My wife, my children, my friends…” the emperor wheezed, before gazing across the battlefield, which was littered with the youth of his country and those of his allies, “My empire…”

His gaze shifted to his own arm, still strapped into the gauntlet he had fashioned for himself so many years ago. It had seen many additions and decoration since those days, yet its function had remained ever the same, but it had not been enough. None of it had ever been enough.

“My nation’s honor…” he continued, his eyes remaining fixed on the gauntlet for a moment longer, before finally turning back upward toward the general, “...and now my life.”

“It didn’t have to be this way, emperor.” the general finally responded, “All this destruction could have been avoided had you only sought peace instead of war. But as you said, it is over now.”

He looked upon the defeated emperor with pity, almost pained to see the man he had campaigned against for almost three years reduced to such a state. A dozen Cerulean generals had lost their careers, and sometimes their lives, in their efforts to stop the Veridian conquests. Only Kyrus had managed to finally turn the tide of the war, though he would be first to admit that if not for the lessons learned from his failed predecessors, even he could not have accomplished it. An enemy such as this was one worthy of respect.

“It’s not too late, Tarek. Even now, God can forgive your transgressions and you will be welcomed into his eternal realm. I can summon my confessor to administer the cleansing ritual, should you be willing.” the general offered, hoping that perhaps the “Heathen Emperor” could be saved in his final moments.

But that was not to be.

“Ha! Eh-heh, heh.” the emperor sputtered with a pained smile, “If there… if there is one thing this world cannot take from me… it is… my conviction.”

Blood began to roll over his lip as he coughed and laughed, his head settling back into the dirt and his eyes looking up to the midday sky.

“I will never… bow… to a false god…”

Inhaling sharply, the emperor made one last garpled moan, before his last breath slowly finally left his chest. No further sound was made from the one named Tarek Izabran, for the emperor was dead.

“So be it.” the general sighed, bowing his head and leaning on his sword slightly in exhaustion.

There he stood for several minutes, alone among the bodies, silently uttering prayers of gratitude for his deliverance from the fate so many others had suffered. Once a royal knight sworn to the crown, he had always lived to serve God, King and Country, and he would gladly give his life for those things. Still, he was far happier to have avoided it.

“Kyrus!” a familiar voice finally cut through the silence, accompanied by the clanking sound of heavy armor.

The general looked up, seeing the face of a man he’d known since his earliest days, donning a bloodstained, but far less battered suit of armor similar to the one that he wore. The new arrival was a welcome sight amidst this vision of desolation.

“Dimitrius.” Kyrus smiled weakly, turning and embracing the man, “It is good to see you, brother.”

“It seems my army and I arrived in time to pull your arse from the fire yet again.” Dimitrius laughed, before retracting from his brother’s arms and turning to observe the lifeless emperor at their feet, “So, that bastard is finally dead, is he? It is a glorious day, indeed.”

Kyrus did not respond, instead he stiffly bent-over and plucked the severed arm from the mud, promptly unstrapping the gauntlet from the dismembered limb. Dimitirus’s eyes widened in awe, as there were few men left in Acrylia who did not know about Tarek’s gauntlet and the Shards of Losh.

“The Shards are ours now! With these weapons at our disposal, retaking Veridia, properly this time, will be effortless! And after that, we can finally seize control of the coastal states!” Dimitrius grinned, “The king will grant us lordship for this, if not even more!”

But Kyrus shook his head somberly, not daring to place the gauntlet upon his own hand.

“These are powers not meant for mankind, little brother.” he rebuked his sibling, “The gauntlet shall be turned over to the Church; they will know what to do with it.”

He turned to leave, but Dimitrius grabbed him and held him where he stood.

“You and I did this together, Kyrus. Together. You may have been the one to inflict the final blow, but remember it was I who cut his legs out from under him! I bore all the dishonor so that could remain pure in your beliefs. This is not a decision you can make without me.”

“It was never my decision to make.” Kyrus retorted, “I have orders from the Inquisition to turn the Shards over to the Patriarch himself. Or would you have me defy a direct order from the Church?”

Dimitrius bit back an angry response, but quickly thought better of it. After a moment of contemplation, he reluctantly nodded in submission.

“You are right. Forgive me, brother.” he said in a more subdued tone, though he managed to force a smile after a moment, “I’m sure we’ll still be granted lordship.”

“And I’m sure you’d make a fine lord. Hell, the king might even make you a governor.” Kyrus chuckled, before looking away, “As for me though, I have little interest in politics. As soon as I deliver this gauntlet to the Patriarch, I’m going home…”

Dimitrius could tell by the distant look on his brother’s face that the man was sorely missing his home and family. Though the younger brother did not mind the campaigns himself, the elder was a far different story.

“How long has it been since you’ve seen them?” Dimitrius asked.

“Over two years…” Kyrus looked off into the distance, “Two years too long. I’ve missed so much…”

The general chuckled slightly, certain things coming mind as he dwelt on time he’d been away.

“I gave Lydianna a wooden sword last time I saw them. According the latest letter I received, she hasn’t put it down since. Ha! Isabelle is beside herself! Her daughter wants to be too much like daddy.”

Dimitrius laughed heartily at that.

“How old is she now?”

“She just turned five a couple months ago.” Kyrus shook his head, mood turning somber again, “As I said, I’ve missed too much. I won’t miss the next one.”

Holding the gauntlet up in his hand, the Cerulean general closed his eyes and imagined he was home, his wife in his arms and daughter on his lap. They were so far away, yet the knowledge that his time away from them was ending soon helped to sooth his spirits. All he had to do with deliver this blasphemous artifact and he’d be free.

“Can I trust you to handle things here?” he opened his eyes and looked up at Dimitrius.

“Of course.” Dimitrius put a hand on his brother’s shoulder, “Say hello to the womenfolk for me.”

“I shall.”

Kyrus embraced his brother once again, before pulling away and trudging across the gore-soaked battlefield back to the distant warcamp. He would gather a group of horsemen to ride with him, then he’d immediately depart for northernmost pass through the barrier mountains and into Cerulea. The war was over, so there was no longer a need for the kingdom’s greatest general. No longer would he be Royal General Kyrus of Cerulea, instead he would be Sir Kyrus of Leers once more. But most importantly, he would once more be the father and husband he had been unable to be during these years of war. Finally he was going home.

Or, so he thought…

« Last Edit: Oct 30 2018, 08:25 AM by Tyler294 »

Online Tyler294

  • Game Master
  • Epic Role Player
  • *****
  • Posts: 14310
  • The Default User
Starlight Bay, fifty miles from the city of Eastport...

“DROP CANVAS!”

The cry rang out from the aftcastle as wind and rain belted relentlessly against the brigantine’s sails. Crewmen scurried and slid across the deck, grabbing ropes left and right. Amidst the gale, the sails threatened to blow away completely, taking any men trying to hold them down along with.

“Put your backs into it, men!” the captain roared from the railing above.

“SIR!” a panicked cry came from the bow of the ship, barely audible over the wind and thunder, “WE’RE HEADING STRAIGHT FOR THE LANCES!”

The captain’s head snapped upward, his weathered, bearded face illuminated by flashes of lightning. Rain made a continual pattering sound against his silver helmet as he shouted back to the man ahead.

“WHICH WAY TO GO AROUND THEM?!”

“THERE IS NO WAY AROUND THEM!”

The captain moved to starboard side of the bridge, leaning over the railing to see past the sails, ropes and men that were blocking his forward vision. Straight before them, silhouetted by the continual flashes of lightning, were hundreds of tall, thin rock formations jutting out of the thrashing sea. The Lances were notorious for being the doom of any ship foolhardy enough to stray into their midst, and it was nearly too late to veer-off already.

“BELAY MY ORDERS! HOLD CANVAS! HELM, HARD TO PORT!” he bellowed at the helmsman.

The helmsman tried to turn the make the turn, but the resistance from the sea slowed his progress. The captain impatiently shoved him aside, taking the wheel himself.

“I'll handle it, myself! Get down there and help them with the ropes!” the captain barked.

The man nodded, then went to descend to the lower deck, before the captain suddenly called him back.

“Ah, sailor? Get me my stool first, will ya?”

“Aye, Cap’n Jeff.” the man nodded, chasing down the stool that was sliding from one side of the bridge to the other, placing it beside the helm, then helping the short-statured Dwarven captain onto it.

“Thank ya, mate. Off ya go then.” the captain waved the man away, then turned to face forward again, clenching his jaw, and tightly gripping the helm, “Now then, let’s see what ya got, ya stupid rocks!”

Offline DeadJim

  • Role Player
  • ***
  • Posts: 1165
  • Plausibly Deniable Assassin of the Operation
One of the crew members finished securing a rope, before smiling at the danger before them. "This is where the fun begins!"

"Ya like staring death in the face, Eamon!"  Replied the exasperated first mate as he frantically tried to maintain order, "Ya freaky! Ya downright freaky!"

"Whaa?" Another crewman gasped as he looked at the first mate. His face dropped as he let go of his rope. The one named Eamon, a handsome man in his late twenties, ran after and jumped for the rope, just before it went flying out of reach.

"I weren't talkin' to ya, Luetenberger!" the first mate snapped. "Eamon's freaky! And he almost jumped over the edge of the ship just to catch a rope!"

"Oh," Luetenberger sighed in relief. He was a tall man, taller than most anyone on the ship, and large enough that he could easily lift the first mate with one arm. His relief was shortlived though, as his eyes widened in alarm. "Uh oh... Barry? I... I lost my rope."

"I kner that Luetenberger! And ya not supposed to call me Barry! I'm yer superior now!"

"But, my rope Barry?" the man said nervously as he began wobbling around the deck looking for his lost rope. As he passed by, Eamon held the rope out to him, but he just shook his head and moved on, as he knew that wasn't his rope.

The first mate sighed as he ran up the steps and up to the captain.

"If we live through this, ya might want to examine the sanity of ya crew!" he yelled over the storm.


Online Tyler294

  • Game Master
  • Epic Role Player
  • *****
  • Posts: 14310
  • The Default User
"What? I can't afford healthcare for this crew!" Captain Jeff roared in response, "Ya know how much them psychopatheropologists people cost?"

Just then, the entire ship jolted violently as it skimmed across the top of one of the shorter lances that was submerged below the surface.

"BAH! Look what ya made me do? Stop distractin' me, Finnbarr!" the dwarf snapped, "I just made the last payment on this ship too!"

Just then, the doors to the lower deck popped open and the skinny, dark-haired cabin boy scurried out and over to the captain's side.

"Cap'n Jeff, sir! The cook be wantin' to know if ye mind tonight's supper havin' a little extra paprika in it? Like say, the whole jar?" he asked breathlessly.

"DAMN IT, BOY! NOT NOW!" Jeff bellowed, "Can't ya see I'm busy!"

"Actually, the name be "Roy", not "boy", sir." the lad responded.

"Shut up and get back below deck! Tie-off the cannons so they don't shift! Move it!"

"Aye-aye, sir!" the lad responded with an enthusiastic salute, before vanishing below deck again.

Jeff's head shot to his left, his brown eyes boring into the first mate.

"Why are ya still just standin' there, Finnbarr!?"

 

« Last Edit: Nov 01 2018, 03:03 PM by Tyler294 »

Offline DeadJim

  • Role Player
  • ***
  • Posts: 1165
  • Plausibly Deniable Assassin of the Operation
"I'm..." Finnbarr began to respond, before a wave sent him crashing to the deck, "..Not any more! Ya stupid water!"

Offline Shawnex

  • Redshirt
  • *
  • Posts: 396
"What are we supposed ter do, Captain?!" shouted a pirate on the crows nest, "We're supposed to have a smooth sailing than ruff sailing! Get your mind-UAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP!"

The strong wind blew the pirate off the crows nest and crashed on top of another pirate.

"OAF!"

"AY!" snapped the crushed pirate who had a scruffier beard than the other, "How many times do I have to tell ye of crashing on TOP OF ME, Deve?!"

"Excuse me for living, Broose!" toddled Deve and got off of Broose, "Besides, how was me supposed to know that we would run into this storm? Heh?"

"You should've thought of it before hand!"

"Me should've thought? Well, if that's thee case, prepare ye self ye scaly-WAH!"

A heavy swoosh of water from the waves pushed Deve across the boat to the other end.

"Prepare...what?" Broose chuckled.

« Last Edit: Nov 01 2018, 07:53 PM by Shawnex »

Online Tyler294

  • Game Master
  • Epic Role Player
  • *****
  • Posts: 14310
  • The Default User
"Prepare tuh be keelhauled if ya don't get back to work!" Jeff shouted from above.

Just then, the entire ship was rocked again as it struck another rock, though this time the collision was accompanied by the sound of cracking wood.

"Oh, blast it all!" the captain spat.

Muscling the helm as hard as he could, the ship finally began to veer away from the center of the Lances, but they still had to escape the ones they had already entered.

"You two!" he shouted down at Deve and Broose, "Get those sails up again! We need all the wind we can carry!"

« Last Edit: Nov 01 2018, 04:46 PM by Tyler294 »

Offline Shawnex

  • Redshirt
  • *
  • Posts: 396
"Aye Captain!" replied Broose as he hurried to climb up to the sail to release, "Come on Deve! Help me with that sail!"

Deve got up after he heard Broose's order and hurried to climb up as well. They got to the front sail and struggled to untie all the ropes to release the sail. And with little luck, the sail was released.

"Give it all ye got Captain!" called out Deve, "And hurry!"

Online Tyler294

  • Game Master
  • Epic Role Player
  • *****
  • Posts: 14310
  • The Default User
Jeff gave it all he had. The ship was tossed and turned, nearly crashing into a couple of mountainous formations, but always being maneuvered to safety by the skilled captain. Soon they began to pull out of the Lances again and into open sea. The storm, though still significant, had begun to slow slightly at last.

"We're out, lads!" the captain roared, "We'll take the long way home, but by golly we're make 'ere there!"

A cheer went out from the crew, now that the danger had passed.

"..."

"Now haul up those sails again! We don't want them rippin' off in this wind! Hop to!"

Offline DeadJim

  • Role Player
  • ***
  • Posts: 1165
  • Plausibly Deniable Assassin of the Operation
"They cheer as if that was difficult," Eamon chuckled as he began to climb the mast.

Meanwhile, Luetenberger had found a rope! He climbed up to the bridge and was about to present it to the first mate, who he found sprawled on the deck.

"Barry!" He smiled as he dropped his rope and easily lifted the man to his feet.

"Put me down!" Finnbarr yelled as he broke free from the man and brushed off his clothes. (Though since they were soaked, it made no difference.) "What are you doing up here!"

"I found my rope!" Luetenberger replied proudly as he closed his eyes and extended his hands. His empty hands.

"What rope?!"

He opened his eyes and examined his hands closely. After finding that in fact there was no rope, he started to again search the ship.

Offline Shawnex

  • Redshirt
  • *
  • Posts: 396
"Captain? We just released it!" protested Deve.

"You heard him!" snorted Broose as he began to the sail back up, "Haul up the sails!"

"Errrgh! Wish there's a way to make these sails go up and down on their own." he grumbled to himself.

Online Tyler294

  • Game Master
  • Epic Role Player
  • *****
  • Posts: 14310
  • The Default User
With his ship and crew safe, Jeff stepped down from his stool and leaned against the railing.

"Twas a close one there, but nothin' is gonna stop us this time, Finnbarr." he said to his first mate, "Once we get that haul of fish to ol' Clarence Corbaine, we'll finally be free to start making a profit again. Too think, all we had to do was catch a bunch of fish..."



Eastport, the next morning...

"WHERE'D ALL THE FISH GO!?!" Jeff roared.

When the crew opened the massive tank that had been retrofitted into the cargo bay to store the caught fish, they found it completely empty, save for a couple of dead floaters. It was also filled with water, and one could see all the way to the bottom of the bay through a crack in the bilge.

"Looks like one of the rocks penetrated..." one of the crewman remarked, "And all the fish slipped out through the crack. Suppose we're lucky, if the breach had been anywhere but the tank, we'd have sunk."

"LUCKY!? We've lost everything!" Jeff grabbed the man and threw him into the tank, "The Corbaines are gonna be here any minute to collect! What I am supposed to tell them!?"

Offline DeadJim

  • Role Player
  • ***
  • Posts: 1165
  • Plausibly Deniable Assassin of the Operation
"But... Now he can't answer you," Luetenberger explained, "you threw him in the tank."

Online Tyler294

  • Game Master
  • Epic Role Player
  • *****
  • Posts: 14310
  • The Default User
"Then by all means, go down there and fish him out so he can answer me!" Jeff snapped.

Offline DeadJim

  • Role Player
  • ***
  • Posts: 1165
  • Plausibly Deniable Assassin of the Operation
Luetenberger nodded, grabbed a nearby fishing net, and climbed down into the tank. He then threw the net around the man and attempted to haul him out.

"Well this is interesting." Eamon commented, as he walked up behind the captain, "You're not going to try to convince the Corbaines he's a jobblehanger, I hope."

Online Tyler294

  • Game Master
  • Epic Role Player
  • *****
  • Posts: 14310
  • The Default User
"He's got the brains of one!" Jeff threw his hands in the air.

"Ya know, captain, I'm not so sure I wanna hang around to meet the Corbaines if we don't have no fish." one of the crewman stated.

"Aye, they be known to be hard on contractors that fail them." another added.

"I dunno about you lot, but I'm bailing! Captain ain't gonna have the dough to pay us anyway!" a third growled, before moving toward the gangplank to debark from the ship.

Some of the other crewmen nodded and began to leave as well.

"Oi! Get back here ya lily-livered bilge rats!" Jeff shrieked after them.

Offline Shawnex

  • Redshirt
  • *
  • Posts: 396
"Look at the Brightside Captain," Deve pated Jeff's back, "At least we home."

"That's not the point, stupid." whispered Broose and facepalmed.

Online Tyler294

  • Game Master
  • Epic Role Player
  • *****
  • Posts: 14310
  • The Default User
"Home is my ship, DEVE!" Jeff snapped.

"Aye, a mighty fine ship it is." a voice spoke-up from behind them.

Looking up, the captain and crew found a group of Corbaine enforcers standing upon their deck, led by one Clarence Corbaine, nephew of the family patriarch himself. Red-haired, dark-eyed and as ruthless as any Eastport crime boss, he was not a man to be trifled with.

"I'm hopin' ye put it to good use, Jeffy, 'cause I'd hate to have to take it away from ye." Clarence continued, approaching the open bay door with his men.

"Ah, yes... of course! When have I every disappointed ya?" Jeff stuttered, before leaning over to Finnbarr and whispering of the corner of his mouth, "Close the tank."

Offline DeadJim

  • Role Player
  • ***
  • Posts: 1165
  • Plausibly Deniable Assassin of the Operation
Finnbarr nodded and began to nodded to a some of the remaining crew members, and they began to close the hatch to the tank.

"Barry, whatcha doin?" Luetenberger yelled up, "I almost got'em!"

Finnbarr then started to whistle loudly, hoping to cover up the sound coming from the tank.

Online Tyler294

  • Game Master
  • Epic Role Player
  • *****
  • Posts: 14310
  • The Default User
"And what do ya think ya doin'?" the crime boss inquired, raising an eyebrow.

"Oh, nothin' at all! It's just standard procedure to keep everything closed up below decks." Jeff smiled innocently.

"Stand aside." Clarence pushed the diminutive dwarf out of the way and forced the crewman to stop what they were doing so he could get a look down into the tank.

Offline DeadJim

  • Role Player
  • ***
  • Posts: 1165
  • Plausibly Deniable Assassin of the Operation
...where he saw Luetenberger carrying a fellow crew member in a fishing net.

"Hey Mr. Corbaine!" He yelled up as he waved. "Duncan has to tell the captain what to tell you, so I'm bringing him up!"

Online Tyler294

  • Game Master
  • Epic Role Player
  • *****
  • Posts: 14310
  • The Default User
"Ya do that, sailor. Ya do that." Clarence scrunched his lower lip and nodded, before turning toward Jeff, "I must say, Captain Jeff, I know ya would one day disappoint me, but ne'er did I think ya'd do it so..."

He glanced back down the tank at the dumb giant and the netted crewman.

"...hilariously..."

He turned back toward the captain, crossing his arms he shifted his weight to one side and shook his head.

"Unfortunately, no one is laughing, meh' dear captain." he said, "Ya see, I told the buyer I'd have his jobblehangers by a certain deadline, and being late on a deadline is very bad for the reputation. Bad reputation costs money, Captain Jeffy, and what I have told ya before about money?"

"Money is blood, sir..." Jeff responded weakly.

"Aye, money is blood. And when money is lost, blood is lost too... ya get what I mean?" Clarence continued.

As he spoke, the enforcers began to reach for their swords.

Offline Shawnex

  • Redshirt
  • *
  • Posts: 396
"Now see here Bucko!" protested Deve with an angry look to Clarence, "He accepted your deal to catch fish! But we ran into a storm and crashed into thee lances and got zee hole! If you're so smart to deal with anyone, THEN WHY DON"T YOU COME WITH US SEE NEXT TIME HOW IT"S LIKE TO GO FISHING AND CRASH INTO ROCKS! HAH?!"

"Careful Deve." whispered Broose, "That makes things worse!"

"Not as worse as me-uh...um...me...Haircuts!" Deve spoke out.

"You don't get haircuts." Broose frowned.

"Exactly the point!" agreed Deve, "Everything gets worse than making a mad pirate !"

Online Tyler294

  • Game Master
  • Epic Role Player
  • *****
  • Posts: 14310
  • The Default User
"Insolent ruffians." Clarence muttered, "But I won't hold ya responsible for the failure of yar captain. Mr. Centos, please kill Captain Jeff. Try not to make too much of a mess though, please."

The lead enforcer grinned as he drew his cutlass and approached Jeff. The captain drew out his own short sword in response.

"This is unnecessary! We can still make the catch by ya deadline!" the Dwarf pleaded.

"I'm afraid 'tis already too late for that, my friend." Clarence shook his head, then gestured for the benefit of his minion, "Kill him!"