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Old August 18, 2019, 09:47 PM   #331
Faust Kitrye'veresi
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Metal gears turned, the locking bolt slid aside, and the door swung open.

For all of his sharpened senses, the High Lord of Har’oloth nearly jumped backward in astonishment when several shadowy forms appeared on the opposite side of the doorway. Da’nael was already reaching for the hilt of the great sword that poked over his right shoulder. Ka’ris, having sensed the strangers already, was less surprised, but her crimson eyes were wary.

Faust?

The Vysstichi Lord blinked. “Ardanon? Is that you?” Pure shock lined the dark elf’s voice as the old Kitrye’veresi mage stepped forward, his wizened visage wearier than ever. “Ardanon. I can’t believe it. I thought-” Faust’s words faltered when his gaze dropped to the familiar form of his brother, who was carried on a stretcher and looked like he was on the brink of death. His heart nearly stopped beating.

I’ll explain later,” Ardanon quickly said. “Kalannar needs a healer, now. He was gravely wounded in the battle. He’s still alive, but I don’t know for how much longer . . .

Da’nael shifted to the side and motioned for the others to enter the laboratory. “The infirmary. Hurry. There was a man there who saved Ka’ris and me.” The huge warrior nodded, and then, without any further bidding, looped his arm around Ka’ris’ and prepared to guide the others back the way they had come and towards the infirmary.

Faust could only stare helplessly at his unconscious sibling before he fell into stride behind the others, praying that they were not too late. As they hurriedly backtracked, he met Ardanon’s gaze long enough to understand that Kalannar’s situation was grave. All of a sudden, his mind was no longer preoccupied with the army of orcs that might or might not be about to storm the gates of Castle Nocturna.

How bad is it?” Faust asked his ancient friend.

Ardanon sighed, but his frown spoke volumes of his thoughts. “It sounds like there’s internal bleeding, a lot of it. He’s breathing on his own, but someone with abilities far beyond our own are needed if he’s going to survive.” The wizard had always been blunt, and his message was clearer than ever.

They had to hurry.
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Old August 20, 2019, 07:29 PM   #332
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With the family reunited and an assorted party of locals and Har'olothian scouts what was left was now to save a life and maybe after save a few more.

The dwarf paid the most attention to the alchemical lab while the others looked about mostly to make sure the shadows weren't enemies about to leap out. Faust could see the exhaustion on the faces of those there except the dwarf who remained bright eyed in the moment with eyes that seemed very dilated. Given the darkness this was not unexpected but they were certainly more dilated than the rest.

Travelling through the castle led by Da'nael and Ka'ris down the fastest path they knew they were able to get to the healer. It was a path that occasioned blood but the scouts were quick to explain what they say

"no one fought here." one of the Har'olothian scouts mentioned "See this? Foot prints in the blood. Someone carried a wounded person to the healer. We will have company there "

When they arrived this was where they could some of the remaining guard. Some had been wounded. Badly and for the most part vampiric blood was being employed on them while the healer worked with surgical tools at the same time. It was reminiscent not what Da'nael saw when Ka'ris was being worked on.

The healer looked up only briefly before directing Kalannar to an available bed slab

"Place him there!" the healer said "Someone administered first aid? Status?"

The combat medic spoke up at being referenced and gave a gruff informative assessment

"The commander had multiple wounds across the body and arms, most of them shallow and these have been sealed and stitched where possible." the middle aged man said in exactly the expected style of a combat medic "Emergency stitching work has been done and pressure bandages applied to the abdomen to stem and slow bleeding but there is a suspected internal bleed due to the swelling around the abdomen underneath the chest cavity. Possibly a punctured lung but no signs of breathing difficulty to suggest this at present. Vitals have been steady but weakening. Blood loss is suspected to be severe"

The healer was not making any notes but that was because his arms were still halfway in a person trying to stitch up a half-missing chest cavity to heal. Amazingly the bone regeneration was occuring visibly as vampiric blood aided the natural process by some magnitudes. It wasn't enough in itself to save the man but maybe with the healer's help?

"A blood transfusion will be necessary so find a volunteer." the healer explained "and get them to drink this green transmutagenic vial. Well turn the blood to that of a universal donor for the next few candlemarks. Get some vampiric blood ready too just in vase."

The healer remembered well that the group had not wanted vampiric blood in Kalannar as well as the fact that he had used it on Ka'ris.

"and somebody watch that woman and make sure she contains herself" the healer added in blunt fashion.

He hadn't the time to bother with diplomatic pleasantries as he had multiple bodies to heal and little assistance.

"since you are here" the healer mentioned to the combat medic "your skills would be appreciate if you could assist?"

Without a further word the combat medic went to a basin and began to scrub his arms and hands using a tank fed tap to do so and joined the healer at his side.

"Can you prep the donor for straight blood transfusion?" the healer said plainly as he snipped a piece of pig intestine used to repair the person's damaged guts "I am nearly finished here."

In the background one may notice that a slab was set aside for a still warm slaughtered pig from whom parts of body had been taken.
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Old August 20, 2019, 09:38 PM   #333
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The Vysstichi Lord practically hovered over his wounded brother as they backtracked towards the infirmary. Whether there were enemies inside Castle Nocturna already, he did not know, but he would be damned before he allowed someone to delay them any longer. Kalannar’s life teetered on the River Umblat, and it was no small secret that the Reaper was eagerly calling his name.

Hold on, brother, Faust pleaded in his mind, although he could not find the strength to give voice to his thoughts.

Even though they were moving swiftly through the castle’s corridors, it felt like they were traveling at an ant’s pace. When they finally reached the infirmary, the dark elven prince released his breath for the first time since the Kitrye’veresi family had been reunited. Inside the facility, a healer was frantically moving from person to person, applying his skills to those in need and doing his best to resuscitate and restore the injured.

Could this man save Kalannar?

Give it to me,” Faust said when the healer ordered someone to imbibe the green vial. Apprehensive looks from Da’nael and Ardanon were quick to reach him, but the High Lord simply shook his head to dismiss their concerns.

The Colossus of Har’oloth was even so bold as to stretch his hand between Faust and the designated vial. “Faust, please. You can’t. Let me do it . . .” he begged.

Beside Da’nael, Ardanon nodded, albeit solemnly. “He’s right. We don’t know if this human even knows what he’s doing.

Faust sighed, obviously appreciative of his brethren’s words, then rested his hands on his companions’ shoulders. “My brother would rather have died than partaken in the blood. I must honor his wishes. Da’nael, watch over Ka’ris.” Without another word, Faust accepted the vial, drank it, and then prepared for his blood to be drawn for the upcoming procedure.

He was not a medic, nor did he understand all of the terminology that was being used inside the infirmary, but he understood the gist of what was about to happen. They would use his blood in an attempt to bolster Kalannar’s own.

As he joined the healer and the medic, the Vysstichi Lord glanced at the pig and the rope of intestines that they were about to use for the procedure. It was a nauseating scene to behold, but he knew that everything that was about to transpire was necessary if Kalannar had any hope of surviving.

And in the back of his mind, he could only hope that his old friend, Ardanon, was absolutely wrong about the possibility of the healer not knowing what he was doing.

Phedos be with me, Faust thought.

It was time to begin.
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Old August 21, 2019, 07:27 PM   #334
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The green vial was not sweet. It was not delicious. It was bitter to the taste and felt icy to the tongue and throat as it went down leaving behind it a strange taste of ash and metals. For a moment there was no discernable effect but that icy feeling that had started on his tongue and throat started to spread from the gut throughout his body crawling over his legs then up his side's and throughout his other extremities as the blood flows.

The company medic leaned in initially uncertain of what it was he was supposed to be doing but as Faust began to shake involuntarily it became clear that he was to treat the initial shock of imbibing the liquid.

"fetch a pale of water in a pot, heat it up by that fire over there and warm a cloth for his head." he ordered Da'nael with the kind of certainty that was difficult to ignore "get the blankets over there and bring them here. We need to cover him while this process completes."

Pulling out a hilt of a knife that had been detached he presented it to Faust to bite down on

"In case your jaws and tongue have any foolish ideas" the medic explained to the high lord

The sensation continued. The rooms of the castle had been cold until they reached the infirmary but this was a feel as if he had been thrown into the extreme icefields of Telath that very few had seen and fewer had survived. Visibly the dark vyssticci high lord's blood vessels became visibly like tree branches and spider web across a pale skin and looked briefly to glow a pale pink. His muscles spasmed and the precaution taken by the medic turned out to be wise as he clenched his teeth down into the hilt. It was a stressful few minutes but the healer reassured everyone there as best he could.

"transmutation of essential fluids is never easy" he explained "his the thankful it isn't a full transmutation of body parts as there lies the greatest risk. He will recover but it will take a few more moments."

Finishing up on the current patient the blood did the rest patching up the skin without a scar. It appeared as though he and the late baron may have saved a life.

Turning his attention to Kalannar. He does tmade his way and scrubbed himself clean again and then started the assessment

"Yes, there is internal bleeding" the healer said as he probed about the chest and abdomen.."Possibly a ruptured long, artery or spleen inside the chest. Surgery is urgent"

The healer cleaned and sterilised the equipment with the help of the medic as quickly as possibly as Faust began to quickly recover as if the last few mental of agony were absolutely nothing. What was left was a distinct feeling of not quite being oneself. The tongue also remained numb and speech was an impedimentlike heating a lot of ice quickly so that the tongue is cold and not responsive. Afterall roughly 7 litres of blood was no longer the same. With the tools cleared the work to save Kalannar had begun.

"Everyone not injured, not giving blood and not medical personnel must leave!" the healer demanded "this kind of work is deeply distressing and I cannot have distractions"

The healer waited only momentarily for the 'operating room' to clear and to give Faust a chance to settle his family if needed.

[B]
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Old August 21, 2019, 08:35 PM   #335
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The green liquid tasted like burnt copper. A grimace unfolded across the Vysstichi Lord’s visage as he swallowed the last drop in the vial. He was uncertain what to expect, but when a sudden cold engulfed his entire body, he clutched his chest on instinct with one hand and braced himself on a nearby table with the other.

Faust had experienced his share of pain over the decades, but this sensation was more akin to being frozen to death. He was reminded of his journey to the Cold South, when he and others had inadvertently stumbled across an eldritch being deep within a labyrinth of icy caverns. This time, however, he was without the many layers of clothing that he had worn then, although he doubted that they would have done anything to ward him from the chill that the green liquid had induced.

Before he knew it, Da’nael was scrambling to gather some warm water, a moist cloth, and some blankets for him. He was barely aware of the huge warrior hurrying across the room as he eagerly accepted the hilt of the knife that was passed to him. Ebon fingers that he was accustomed to performing miraculous feats with trembled as he snatched the hilt and bit down upon it.

Gods, he had to do this.

Over the next several seconds, minutes, or hours, his body began to freeze. It was a terrible feeling, and more than once did he fear that death would finally claim him. He forced himself to remember that he was doing this for Kalannar, for the brother that he had failed to save those many decades ago. Whether his body was transforming before his very eyes or whether his vision was simply playing tricks on him, Faust did not know, but he grunted and grimaced the entire time.

He heard the healer in the background mention that he would ultimately be fine, but those words did nothing to alleviate him from the immediate torment. By his sides, he clenched his fists as if doing so would help him endure through the pain.

By the time the process ended, the Vysstichi Lord was layered in sweat. To his immense relief, his body returned to normal, although his tongue felt so swollen that he could neither speak nor murmur. At the healer’s command, he shooed the others out of the room with the wave of his hand, then slowly sat on the table that he had been laying on and turned his eyes to the healer as he hovered over Kalannar.

The surgery was about to begin.

He did not know which gods Kalannar had prayed to during his time at Castle Nocturna, but Faust hoped that they were listening now. His brother had always been a good man, and he deserved a second chance at a new life, a real life. Castle Nocturna might have been his home for the past fifty eras or so, but it was nothing compared to the vastness of the world.

Moving back and away from the healer as he began to operate, Faust held his breath.
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Old August 22, 2019, 07:19 PM   #336
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So it begins with the rest of the family and crew earnestly waiting on the sidelines in a creepy cold castle recently devoid of its lord and his master.

The healer took out some tubing with two alchemically enhanced sharp and thing needle points and instructed the medic to tie a knot of fabric on Faust's arm tightly. Faust could feel the build up of blood and the loosening of his arm in the process.

The healer then worked near his elbow and flicked about looking for veins in the dark skinned elf before inserting the needy quickly and cleanly. There was barely even the faintest feeling of having something inserted.

Kalannar had already lost so much blood that there was no means to repeat the same trick with him so the healer worked his way around the arm and asked the combat medic to unity the knot.

This sent blood through the tubing to the other need point which the healer squeezed to prevent the blood from coming out too soon.

"it is important to not let air into the bloodstream" the healer explained "imbalances the humours and the heart fails"

When the healer was certain the air had been dealt with he inserted the tube into the other arm and made sure it was fastened tightly to both patients.

"You will also bleed out if I am not fast" the healer explained as he got to his tools and begun his work making an incision quickly below the ribcage on the left where the heart lay. Immediately as he did so blood oozed out of the opened wound quickly and poured out the side.

The combat medic quickly wiped the blood away and applied forceps to open up the incision further. The healer made further cuts and pealed away a layer of flesh to expose the muscle and organs below. Spleen, stsch, gall bladder, intestines... All manner.of things Faust may have seen in passing during gruesome battles but not necessarily stopped to fully appreciate.

In any case the healer appeared fastidiously concentrated upon what he saw and made a commentary that was very clinical and appraising like Faust might an unfamiliar sword.

"A blunt trauma wound ruptured the spleen as expected, deep tissue would and torn length of small intestine, ruptured stomach" the healer announced the damage report "The spleen and stomach can be repaired with surgery with no replacements necessary but the length of intestine cannot be repaired and requires a replacement length"

The fresh pig on the side lay waiting as the healer walked over to it and began applying a new set of surgical tools to the pig quickly cutting away what later was revealed to be intestine.

"A substitute item applied with the right formulae and medicines may suffice. First we must stop the bleeding from the spleen"

Faust couldn't see the operation fully as the healer's body obscured some of the view but needle, thread, scissors and scalpel were all involved as well as a cloth of ether that had been applied to Kalannar's face the moment he nearly stirred.

"and with the bleeding stopped we can attend to the patient's longer term wellbeing" the healer announced again with a lack of emotion.

Looking over at the pig that had been turned over Faust might be able to see that one of the legs had been replaced with that or a large dog. He had never seen the pig alive so had no clue whether that leg was functional or some kind of sick experiment. In either case it was now revealed.

The healer went about to work cutting away at the damaged intestine and sewing together carefully the intestine that had been obtained from the pig and then being satisfied with that closed up the patient.

Faust felt faint slightly but overall the was already. The swelling in the tongue had gone down during the operation and the combat medic had been controlling how much blood flowed through the tubing.

"I have seen this done once" the veteran said to the high lord "no surgeon will ever admit to knowing how to graft being illegal but the techniques save lives. Still we cannot have you bleeding out to save your brother"

The healer chimed in at the end of the operation "we still need to keep you attached for a candle mark or so with a slow flow of blood." the healer explained "after that we can check on the patient. He will need to take medicine daily for a month to prevent rejection from the new parts but nothing is ever guaranteed. I recommend you and the combat medic rest. I will continue to work around here looking after my patients"

Kalannar's breathing was visible to Faust from his seat next to him but even the untrained eye could see the shallow breaths were replaced with deeper ones. He appeared to be mending but now his brother probably needed to rest as much as he did. It was the early hours of the morning afterall.

For the crowd outside the healer eventually opened the doors and gave a quick explanation

"The surgery was a success but the Commander and the High Lord needs rest." the healer explained "Family may visit but the rest of you can make use of the guest rooms. It's no longer as hospitable as yesterday but you should be able to Stoke the fireplaces in those rooms. I never understood why the baron maintained a fuel supply in each room when we have central heater. Perhaps the old vampire had foreseen his demise"

The healer left the rest to consider that glum note as family did as they willed.
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Old August 22, 2019, 08:09 PM   #337
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Had he been in Har’oloth, hundreds of guards would have been upon the medic and the healer before the needle had even traveled a few inches within his arm. The dark elven prince sighed. Perhaps it was a good thing that the healer had ordered every one of his family members outside. His family tended to be very protective, and there were not a lot of people in the world that they would have permitted to lay a finger upon him let alone draw his blood. Still, the two humans had earned a level of trust that the Vysstichi Lord now paid them. They were Kalannar’s only hope.

With a firm nod, the dark elf invited the healer to begin the procedure. He was mindful of the instructions that the healer passed along to the medic, but his eyes were never far from the tube that connected him to his brother, where his blood flowed through. He probably would have laid a little easier had the healer not mentioned the possibility of him bleeding out, but he supposed that the healer had thought that he was being considerate by being informative.

Gods, he hoped this worked.

The healer clearly knew what he was doing. Much of the terminology was lost upon the Vysstichi Lord, but it was evident that the healer had addressed similar wounds like Kalannar's in the past. Maybe that was the reason why he had become so valuable to the Baron of Castle Nocturna. Har’oloth had its share of competent healers, although most were thaumaturgists that did not require the same set of skills to replicate such magnificent feats of healing. He would have done anything to have Eryndyl or Saridar be here right now so that they could apply their holy magic upon Kalannar. Alas, the healer was the best that they had right now, and fortunately, he seemed up to the task.

Sort of.

The dark elf swallowed uneasily when the healer mentioned that he had only conducted his current procedure once before. And what’s more, he was using the pig’s intestines and grafting them into his brother. It was a disgusting notion to consider, but Kalannar had never mentioned anything about pigs and surgery. Faust felt a faint wave of nausea, and he was uncertain if it was due to his blood loss or the fact that Kalannar would possibly awaken with the parts of a pig inside of him.

At least he would be alive though.

His tongue was beginning to return to normal, but he still only issued a nod when the healer mentioned that he would have to be connected to Kalannar for another candlemark or so. There was no point in wasting his energy or asking any questions. The most important thing was that it appeared that Kalannar was breathing regularly again, his shallow breaths no longer seeming to be on the brink of ending.

Still, the eye contact that he made with the healer conveyed a single message: gratitude.

When the healer announced the surgery’s success, Ardanon alone entered as it had been decided that it would be best to keep Ka’ris outside with Da’nael just in case the effects of the vampire blood had not waned completely yet. The sight of blood might only rile her, after all.

The wizard was by Faust’s side a moment later, offering him a relieved smile, which only widened when he, too, noticed that Kalannar seemed to be doing better.

There was little that they could do now except to wait and see if their efforts had been worth it. By the looks of it, it seemed so.

We are indebted to you,” Ardanon said to the healer and the medic, and whether the humans realized it or not, that was no small thing.
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Old August 25, 2019, 07:22 PM   #338
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The operation appeared to be a success. Kalannar had survived the night. It meant now that the group could, if they chose, rest and regain strength for any attempt to get back to the village now would still take many hours to do so and the group generally had between them no magical reserves or physical to rely upon if they were forced to fight.

As Ardanon would recall the panic room was well fortified and the siege weaponry of the orcs had been destroyed or was entirely out of place even if it could be repaired.

In the end the healer spoke up

"None of you are of any use returning as you are to whatever is happening below." the healer said making as honest an appraisal as he could "Rest up, Marshall whatever forces you can find and then make your move. If you really must check on what is happening the window over there can peer out below but all I have seen in the night is blackness and smoke. That should settle by the morning. Do you still have that eyepiece milady?"

If anyone were to check out the window even with Vyssticci eyes they would see an impenetrable later of smoke trapped within the valley.

As they thought about whatever pressing matters they had Kalannar looked incredibly peaceful and slept soundly. He was stitched up and bandaged with seemingly all bleeding stopped. Things were now looking up for the group. Perhaps Faust would be able to return with the family restored? Such promising things were being offered as if the Gods shown favourably this night. Faust of anyone could feel forgiven for feeling that the Gods' may care about his wellbeing given that he had been utilised as often as he had in their errands.
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Old August 25, 2019, 08:25 PM   #339
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No one questioned the wisdom of the healer’s suggestion. They were exhausted, battered, and weary. Not only were their magical reservoirs depleted, but they were fatigued in every imaginable way. “Agreed. We won’t accomplish anything meaningful tonight,” Ardanon said when everyone regrouped. “Not like this anyway.” He had served the High Lord of Har’oloth long enough to speak on the younger Kitrye’veresi’s behalf. Besides, he would have scolded his liege without a second thought had he ordered otherwise.

Instructions were quickly circulated among the men to find any quarters nearby, and a watch order was also assigned for the duration of the night. The odds of the orcs finding a way to the top of the mountain were slim now that the lift had been destroyed, which meant that they finally had time to rest. Still, one could never be too cautious.

For all they knew, the Everqueen’s death had resulted in the scattering of the orcish army already, but none of them dared to hold their breath. Unfortunately, looking through the spyglass yielded no meaningful results, so they would have to wait until the morning to truly understand what the situation was in the community below.

Fortunately, the villagers had found sanctuary in Kalannar’s secret hideout.

Faust sighed as he laid atop the table. It had been a nightmare of a brightening, but at least they had found a way to survive. They were in dire need of rest, and come morning, their magic reserves would be restored. Every part of him hoped that the battle was finally over, but Faust could not escape the nagging feeling in the back of his mind that it was not.

In any case, it took little convincing for him to eventually close his eyes and allow sleep to steal him away, but not before casting one final glance at Kalannar. He smiled. His brother, lost but finally found, was alive.

That was enough for him.
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Old August 27, 2019, 04:43 AM   #340
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With the group as well rested as circumstances allowed they were able to self assess that they were fit and ready to fight or fast magic again as the needs arose.

The morning, as promised, would clear some of the smoke that settled back down upon the settlement below covering it with the very ash that it had plumed into the air to begin with.

Unassisted there was evidence of activity below. The orcs.had not left the village and it was not entirely easy to make out any individuals or what they were doing but the fact there was still a sizeable presence there was able to be seen.

With the spyglass it was evident that the orcs were no longer anywhere near as disciplined as they previously had been and their focus appeared to be entirely on eating whatever source of food, namely corpses, that they could readily find.

Perhaps the most bizarre discovery was at the centre of the settlement there was a flat unfurled. A flag of pure white. The universally accepted colours of truce.

There was no sign that the community which they had left below had resurfaced and the fate of those left behind remained unknown.

As per the night before the issues of travelling down to the surface remained save they had another route to travel: back from whence Ardanon and the villages had come.

If Faust had worried about leaving Kalannar behind in his current state it was Kalannar that inadvertently awoke Faust prior to anyone else taking any actions.

"Are you awake brother?" Kalannar asked as it being mortally wounded by orcs wasn't a big deal "is everyone alright?"

It seemed Kalannar's mind had not taken the same beating that his body had and he was cognoscenti and aware of the goings on. Unfortunately when he tried to sit upright he whined in pain


"seems I will he laying down then" Kalannar grimaced readily frustrated at not being fighting fit himself as opposed to the rest

"No" said the voice of the combat medic that had taken over duties from the healer "Even after the work done your body is going to need time to heal. I don't suggest you go anywhere today and likely for a great number of brightenings. Let the others set to task today. We will keep you informed Commander".

The family was then left to visit Kalannar and from there as they pleased discover what they wished to know about the community below for themselves or via their scoutsyou may decided whosoever you please for the discovery of the information above
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Old August 27, 2019, 12:21 PM   #341
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It was a restless night.

When he was not agonizing over his brother’s fate, he was recuperating from his blood loss. The hours passed by slowly, and it was not until many candlemarks later that the High Lord of Har’oloth finally fell asleep. Tired, weary, and mentally exhausted, he relished every moment of rest that he received.

He jolted awake when Kalannar stirred him, the sight of his brother alone immediately eliciting shock, which then turned to gradual relief as the implications dawned upon him. Sitting up on the table, the younger brother sighed deeply. “I am now,” he replied. He ran a hand down his scalp and through his shock of silver hair. He could feel the sweat, grime, and dirt that was woven in between his long tresses.

None of that mattered though.

There were many losses, but your people are safe in the secret chamber that you built into the mountain. You saved them in every possible way,” he continued, though a flicker of light shone in his eyes as he assessed his brother’s condition. “We were worried about you. For a moment, we weren’t sure if you’d make it back.” The dark elf’s face suddenly turned grave. “It was as you said. The Everqueen was behind everything. I managed to slay her, but the Baron fell in battle as well . . .

He could only imagine the sorrow that Kalannar would probably experience at the news as he had been close to the vampire lord. Still, perhaps the ancient human would finally find peace in death at last.

Sliding from the table, the Vysstichi Lord landed on his feet and buckled on his weapons belt. He frowned when Kalannar winced, and he was glad that the medic was present to advise his sibling against any further movements.

I’ll let the others know that you’re awake. They’ll be excited to see you.” He smiled and moved to the doorway to do exactly that.

Once the reunion was over, there was still the matter of ascertaining the current status of the community below. News of the white flag in the center of the village was somewhat surprising. An orcish trick? Faust did not know, but quite frankly, the battle had raged on long enough that it was possible that even the green skins wanted no further bloodshed.

Faust waved over two of the Har’olothian scouts. “Return to the villagers and find out how they are faring. With any bit of luck, they are still safe behind the rubble.

Next, he waved Da’nael and Ka’ris over to him. “Let’s go and see what these orcs want. Ardanon, now that you know the layout of the land, can you teleport us below? I’d have words with their leader.” He nodded firmly as his two companions moved to his side in preparation to relocate to the base of the mountain.

But to peace or bloodshed, he did not know. He could only hope it was the former.
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Old August 27, 2019, 07:17 PM   #342
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Kalannar tried once more to move upon hearing of the baron's death and once more was reminded by his own body that he was not fit to go anywhere.

"With the baron gone... The link? " Kalannar asked almost rhetorically "the empathy probably fails? Is it enough that they lived peacefully side by side? Is there trust?"

He didn't know if Faust or anyone could properly answer but somehow everyone managed to get to the castle and Kalannar noted some of the community were loitering in the background. He bade his family and the healer to send them in.

The group of villagers, the scout, the runic man and dwarf were each respectively glad to see him. Vampiric blood had not played any direct part of his forging of their trust even if the influence of the baron's mood may have played a part.

The runic man was the first to respond

"You survived." the man said "Good. We can beat each other half to death in the fields"

The sound of hideous words masked in plain respectful speech.

"not if you fight like you did that day you tried to bring down the baron" Kalannar said smiling and speaking softly if only to prevent his body from being in more pain.

"and you, Icici?" Kalannar asked noting a somewhat more prideful stance "I notice the dwarf is still alive. I know how you felt about dwarves.."

ICICI flashed her blade up quickly and down again in a quick motion and dextrous feat faster than anyone could really do much to respond. Whether she could follow up with deadly force was another question unanswered but the former Hon'legg refugee certainly carried herself with confidence

"I could put him out of his misery at any time" ICICI said calmly in such a way that resulted in a grunt of indignation from the dwarf "but he got us here and helped save your life so he met yet be worth keeping around"

A hint of respect had crept into an otherwise icy voice. It brought a tiny smile to Kalannar's mouth as Faust and the rest were able to watch on before they moved to their own marching orders.

"You should rest" Kalannar said to the dwarf clearly meaning it more as an order "I know what ways you kept yourself up... And the cost. Rest. Now"

The dwarf looked halfway up to protest but dismissed his own thoughts and laughed.

"Ever authoritive!" the dwarf said to Kalannar between chuckles "Even while crawling halfway up from the jaws of death. Very well commander"

The dwarf left to rest and the other two stayed by his side.

"we will keep our commander company, and keep guard" Icici said which a gentle nod from the runic human "Go sort out those filthy greenskins below"

***

Ardanon assessed the way below. It was far. Much farther than the standard 300ft used by the lesser sorcerer's as their most distant point but Ardanon was an accomplished sorcerer and having come older he found himself honing some of the less vicious aspects of sorcery.
"I could do it in 3 jumps and still have a fair reserve of magic" Ardanon said "Or in one with amplification. There is an inefficiency in pushing distances beyond one's skill"

Faust noted Ardanon had inevitably taken the tone of a lecturer. Perhaps inevitable because of the amount of students instructed over the eras but without further adieu Ardanon waited for the simple nod of understanding from the High lord and put them down each of the 3 steps safely.

Ardanon had landed them at the flagpole. Near the flag pole was a tent that looked ardorned with orcish patterns and colours. It didn't take an expert to tell it was a warlord's battle headquarters. When a nearby heavily armoured orc noticed him he had immediately clenched his axe, hesitated, then went to the tent.

Luckily one of the less savage ones noticed them as nearby orcs had started to cook corpses and were eating meat a mix of raw and cooked without fear or favour of who they ate.

As before.it was clear that from what Faust and the rest could spy many seemed near starving. Despite the many dead a sizeable number of orcs remained. That the orcs possibly lost over half their.number was something Faust's natural and supernatural gifts in command allowed him to estimate. They still had an advantage if it came to concluding the fight so there was no apparent reason to call this truce.

From out of the tent came 3 orcs. One was clearly the chieftain. Another a shaman and the third the most 'decorated' warrior. All 3 looked on the old side for orcs as much as orcs could ever look anything other than hideous to the Kitrye'Veresi clan.

The decorations of the warrior were mainly of bones and blood. Trophies of kills. He was clearly a skilled warrior and there were enough scars running across the warpainted skin beneath to indicate a formidable warrior.

The shaman looked formidable in his own way with perceptive eyes that appeared to look beyond the obvious. Though Faust detected no sphere he held himself as a mage would confident in unseen powers.

The chieftain however looked a little more pale than the rest in the skin and his front portruding teeth had chips missing that.may have been smashed in combat. He was the first to speak in a harsh and crude common

"Truce!" the orc yelled for all to hear "go feast on ya flesh! There he no more fight here!"

The orcs looked at the leaves having been revealed and then to their leaders. Relatively quickly all returned to their meals.

"we must speak. Urgent" the chieftain bid Faust "Orckind tricked. Not our way"
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Old August 27, 2019, 09:37 PM   #343
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It was touching to witness the affection that the community members displayed to Kalannar. Indeed, as Faust watched from the edges of the infirmary, he could only smile. That his brother had somehow managed to maintain his identity despite having lost his memory was nothing short of a miracle. Furthermore, it was a testament to the heart and soul of the man that Faust had admired ever since he had been a boy.

Comradery was not easy to find in the Aelyrian Empire. It was as fleeting as the wind, and it changed directions just as swiftly. Like Kalannar, Faust had been fortunate to find genuine companions in his life, and he knew that they could be as close if not closer than family. With a final glance at the warm exchange, the Vysstichi Lord departed to join his Kitrye’veresi brethren outside.

Kalannar had fought this ancient war long enough. It was time for someone else to finish what he had started. And judging from the immense relief that bathed the features of the dwarf, the rune-covered man, and the Hon’elgg woman, Kalannar deserved it.

Outside the infirmary, the High Lord of Har’oloth closed his eyes, and an instant later, he and his companions were teleported several times until they reached the base of the mountainside. They reappeared in the heart of the war camp, surrounded on all sides by the filthy green skins, many of which feasted on the bones and carcasses of those that they had slain. It was a disgusting sight to behold, one that nearly caused the dark elf to reach into the reservoirs of his power and destroy every single pig-faced abomination in sight.

Beside him, he sensed Da’nael tense and Ka’ris scanning the perimeter for any threats.

There was no shortage of them.

Faust did not reach for his swords when some of the orcs lunged for their weapons, the sudden appearance of the three dark elves enough to jolt them to their feet. Fortunately, some of them were wise enough to scramble and relay the news of the Vysstichi arrival to their leaders.

Three older orcs.

The dark elf wore a stoic visage as the chieftain, a fearsome-looking warrior, and a mage emerged from a nearby tent. Their accoutrements told him everything that he needed to know about the trio, and they were undoubtedly sizing the three Har’olothians up themselves. Faust briefly considered killing all three of them in front of their remaining force simply because they were orcs and deserved no better, but he reminded himself that peace was the ultimate objective this brightening.

For Kalannar and the community’s sake.

To his surprise, the chieftain was the first to explain.

The orc’s acknowledgment that his people had been deceived caught the Vysstichi Lord off guard, and he nodded slowly to signal that he understood the plain meaning of the chieftain’s words just in case the chieftain was wondering if the dark elves spoke Common.

I agree. This conversation is long overdue,” Faust said. His tone was purposely calm and diplomatic. “You and your people were not the only ones who were tricked. Does your charlatan go by the name of the ‘Everqueen?’
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Old August 28, 2019, 07:31 PM   #344
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The orcs looked around nearby at the mention of the name Everqueen but it appeared no one else had heard the jist of their conversation.

The trio bade the group to join them in the tent where there was three chairs. There were none for the guests and the chairs themselves appeared to be akin to the furniture that the community could reside. It was most likely the spoils of war.

"Big war not our way" the chieftain explained once inside "Starving orcs not our way. Desperate people not our way. Daaar'Kaaagh will explain"

The chieftain indicated the shaman to Faust and the trio when introducing him. The common language of the shaman was better but not that much better than the chieftain's

"The Everqueen tricked us. Promised our own land. This land. Bred us, many of us. Bred us until the forest had no food. Fed our young on stories of the promised land. They still believe. We don't. We free from the blood drink. Free. Only the old drank of the blood. The young, they were fed on our stories. The Everqueen is the god of the young, not us who have lived too long"

The shaman looked Faust in the eye as he said the last bit.

"we feed here on the dead, what then?" the Shaman said showing signs of forethought "Humans, dwarves, elves all breed too slow. Too many orcs. No food. Orcs suffer and die. Forest depleted. No food there, orcs die again. Solution? Orcs move out and find food elsewhere"

Was it a threat? A statement of fact? The mannerisms of the orc, as naturally warlike as their bodies leant themselves to be, was not being thrust forward and weapons were not being brandished. The voice was as soft as Faust had ever heard an orc speak.

"Orc must flow with nature, the old go out of community. The young remain. The young fight and only the strongest remain. That is the orc way. Now all orc allowed to live and breed again. Too many orc. All vicious and hungry outside. Only docile because food is plentiful. Today? Yes Tomorrow? Maybe, not more days. They follow Everqueen still. Will seek out more glory and food elsewhere. Must be stopped but orc must live."

Faust was presented with the problem. The was enough orc around that they could hurt many citizens of the empire before Faust could Marshall the forces to stop them. Their motivation was hunger and the Everqueen and they showed signs of relative combat ability. Even the army would suffer losses fighting them.

They hadn't made demands yet. The chieftain sat and merely appraised the trio carefully as they spoke. The older warrior did as well but none made any attempt or effort to show force. The orcs outside did that already by being themselves.
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Old August 28, 2019, 08:17 PM   #345
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The Vysstichi Lord nodded and followed the trio of orcs inside the tent. He caught Da’nael’s warning glance along the way, but the calm expression that he wore conveyed that he was fully aware of the potential trap inside. Still, he doubted that one would come considering that the orcs could easily have attacked them outside as well. The fact that they had not spoke true of their intentions.

Perhaps a peace accord was not out of reach after all.

When the chieftain motioned towards the shaman, Faust set his crimson eyes upon him. He wondered if this was the same orc that he had indirectly battled earlier on during the siege. Of course, now that the elven spellbreaker was no longer at the greenskins’ disposal, his magic, he suspected, was not in jeopardy of being sabotaged again.

I see,” Faust said when the shaman finished explaining that even though the older orcs were no longer under the Everqueen’s control, the younger orcs had been fed her tales since birth and thus continued to seek her end. It was quite a dilemma. In many ways, the Everqueen had achieved much of what she had sought. Adoration. Worship. Followers. Perhaps the orcs truly had been the pathway to godhood for the vampire.

What do you propose then?” Faust asked, dispensing with the need for idle banter. “The way I see it, if this battle continues, only one of us will walk away alive. The community that I represent will fight until its final breath, much like I would imagine your own people will do. And even if they do not survive, your battle will only have just begun.

These lands belong to Arium, the Empire,” he continued, “and as the Governor of Arium, its safety is my responsibility.” He did not know how far removed the orcs were from the Empire considering that they had probably lived in the Great Mountains for a long time, but if there was ever a time to flex a semblance of political muscle, it was now.

That being said,” he quickly added, then met the stares of each of the three orcs that sat before him, “I would rather see if we can resolve this matter peacefully instead of marching the Black Legion and the West Wardens here, which, I’m sure, you would prefer as well.” The dark elf was no stranger to resolving matters with force. He and his family, for instance, had toppled one the mightiest noble families in Aelyria in less than an era.

The younger members of your clan seek expansion and glory while your older kin wish to return to your former ways, yet you want your people to continue in their way of life. For that to happen, the young must live. That’s quite a predicament considering that they’re the problem.” the dark elven lord bluntly said.

He held his open hands out to either side of him if is uncertain. “Would it change anything for the younger orcs to learn that the Everqueen is dead?
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