GLOBAL STORYLINE UPDATE: Part 8 - The Prince of Loreos Feb 5, 2018 22:57:19 GMT -8 Sir Caedric Moore, ludzik, and 3 more like this
Post by Kingdomviewbricks on Feb 5, 2018 22:57:19 GMT -8
NEW GLOBAL STORYLINE UPDATE, continued from Part 6: The Battle of Fýrdraca
———— ~ A Path We Were Destined to Follow, Part 8: The Prince of Loreos ~ ————
Story by Sir Caelan Munro and Kingdomviewbricks .
Jarius Lorean stood before the palace at Dalmanutha, surveying the expectant crowd. The people were oddly hushed, dark rumors passing from ear to ear.
Jarius, by Kingdomviewbricks
“Lords and Ladies, people of Loreos,” said Jarius, “I come before you today bearing heavy tidings. As you may know, your Prince, Mark Lorean, has been absent on a crucial mission to the Great Western Isles. There he was ambushed by a massive force of traitorous Lenfels and vile Outlaws. He fought valiantly with his loyal men, repelling wave after wave of attackers, but the enemy kept coming, and the Loreesi fell one by one. Last of all stood Mark alone, bleeding from many wounds. He was facing down the brutish warrior Hans Zarkan in single combat when he was stabbed in the back by a villainous Lenfel. With his dying strength, Mark grappled the man, plunging them both into the river as he breathed his last breath.
Prince Mark Lorean is dead.”
Jarius paused, the crowd in stunned silence. “All of Loreos grieves for one of the best man she ever produced, perhaps the greatest hero in the history of Roawia. And I say this unto you: He shall be avenged!”
The crowd murmured at this, a sound rising in intensity. Jarius began again, “Thus it is with a heavy heart, but unflagging resolve, that as the heir of the house of Lorean, I must take up again the mantle of your Prince. For the Glory of Loreos!”
“For the Glory of Loreos!” the people returned, “Long live Jarius!
Long live Jarius, Prince of Loreos!”
* * * * * *
Nightmares… Violence. Suffocation. Gold, melting from some unseen heat source. Whispers…
"We share the same goals."
Friendship…a burning flower…death…falling and flailing…
Falling. A dragon. Water rush and roar…jungle… Heat. Darkness.
"…and with the good news I bring — "
Wooden beams…running the length of his vision. They were over him…he was lying…down…in a bed. More nightmares?
He raised a hand to his face and felt it numbly. It was drenched in water —no, sweat.
He was incredibly hot. This made no sense. He was in the cold ocean…more dreams? He was drowning…
Noise from across the cabin — apparently he was not drowning. He was in a cabin. How?
"Prince? Can you hear me?"
"…We share the same goals…."
“Sire, I will be right back!— " an unrecognized voice in the distance called to him. Footsteps, running on a deck.
He breathed deeper and his eyes came to focus. Light was pouring in from a window somewhere. He could smell the sea, and now could tell there was gentle rocking in the structure he was in. Definitely a vessel of some kind.
A very dignified man in his late twenties wearing nobles' clothing of dark blue came into the cabin, along with an attendant, and the man in blue declared joyfully, “Bless my soul, you may hate cats my friend, but even you cannot deny that you have nine lives.” The bearded fellow came to his side and stared down at him with both relief and respect. "Do you finally know who I am?" the man asked, which seemed strange to him.
This question took a few seconds to determine but then the answer was incredibly obvious to him. "Goði Joran Holmstrom. You are alive."
"We are alive my friend." He grew a little pensive and then declared, "Again, we have survived. But many did not."
Mark of Falworth, Prince of Loreos, struggled to sit up, and with help from both the attendant and the Goði he was able to manage it. He looked around in wonder, "Where are we, Joran?"
"The Great Western Isles, of course. Sitting in port, at Grimfell. The Captain of the Golden Vanguard has been exceptionally kind in giving you his cabin. You Loreesi are a strange lot, to be sure," he stated without explanation and handed Mark a bottle. “Good wine. You need it. Drink it slowly to keep it down.”
"Who was talking just now?" Seeing that the Goði was confused, Mark added, “Someone was saying something about goals."
The big Garhim gave a short chuckle, “That would be you, Prince. Or rather, the fever talking. You have been saying some very odd things, but one of them, more than once. We share the same goals, or some such thing. Jungle fever does that to people, I am told.”
Mark sat and drank a little while lost in thought. “How did I survive, Joran? I was drowning…”
Holmstrom shook his head, marveling. "How did you indeed, my friend. If your luck was not the stuff of legend before, it is now. The men are beginning to think you are immortal."
The two exchanged a serious look. “We both know that is not true. How then?”
“I was left with the landing craft, as you’ll remember. When we heard the sound of battle and saw that your forces were cut off from the boats, we brought them up the shore, to either lend aid or try to get our troops back aboard.
But as we passed the waterfall below the battlefield, I saw something flashing golden in the water. It was you, Prince, swimming, in a steel breastplate!” Holmstrom chuckled.
"Psh, in Loreos we swim in full plate armor! I could have kept it up for hours!"
“Well, it didn't look too effective to me, but it was a valiant effort. I dove in and managed to swim down to you with a rope, and the boys on the boat hauled us out. You’d swallowed some water, and were in no shape to be fighting.
Mark scowled at this, and Holmstrom gave him a look.
“You were in no shape to be fighting, so I sent you back to the Golden Vanguard.” The Goði shook his head mournfully. “Not that I was able to do much fighting either. The battle was a disaster. We managed to get some troops off, but many were trapped against those cliffs, and some refused to retreat. We were overmatched at sea as well… the Lenfels and Outlaws had many more ships, and they even had some kind of nicor… a sea serpent that was destroying only our ships. One after another…” He looked haunted. “I had to order the ships out to sea, and save the men I could. The men wanted to fight, but it would have been a slaughter to no purpose. I had to.”
Mark looked out the window, solemn, thinking of the rage he had felt as he plunged over the fall. “You’re a better man than I, Joran. Perhaps it was a good thing you were in charge, at the end.”
The men were silent for a few moments, listening to the waves lap against the hull.
Holmstrom began to turn, and said, “It cheers my heart greatly to see you up again. This ship will return to Ad Undas, and you must go with it while you heal, but I must remain here at Grimfell. We have unfinished business on Fyrdraca.”
Mark gripped the Goði's forearms. “Thank you, my friend. You saved my life. It will not be forgotten.”
“It was truly the least I could do, Prince,” said Holmstrom.
“One more thing before you go. Don’t spread the news of my survival.” Mark hesitated. “There's something wrong behind all this.”
Holmstrom looked puzzled. “As you wish, sir. Farewell.”
* * * * * *
"We share the same goals…”
Sir Thomas, bleeding, pierced by an arrow meant for Mark… Water… Pain… A tanned, dark haired man with a black dagger… A sniper in hand-to-hand combat… A killer… unstoppable.. relentless…
Mark snapped awake, still aching all over from his wounds and the fever. He rolled over and sat up, his mind spinning.
Awakening, by Kingdomviewbricks
How had this happened? It was the worst defeat of his military career, and there shouldn’t have even been a battle. He had brought troops, yes, but that had only been against the remote possibility that they might encounter a Lenfel expeditionary force at the temple. But… the Lenfels shouldn't have even known about it, unless somehow the female marine had survived and managed to bring news back.
But that doesn't make sense. What they had encountered on Fyrdraca was no surprised force of explorers, it was an army prepared specifically to fight him. Yes, he was increasingly certain of that now. The Lenfel and Outlaw force was of a calculated size, sufficient to defeat even his superior but small number of Loreesi troops. They had been waiting for him, hidden in the jungle along his route, where their archers could let fly without warning. They had waited until the Loreesi and Garheim were deep in the jungle and cut off from their boats, then they had swept in from both sides and pushed them back against the cliffs by the temple. It was obvious to Mark: they knew we were coming.
But how? The expedition had been prepared in the utmost secrecy. A spy could have reported the sailing of the allied fleet, but that would have been too late to organize and send an enemy fleet from the mainland to arrive at Fydraca first. More than that though, the actual destination had been kept to as few as possible. The only man who had known the target before they sailed had been Mark himself, Goði Joran Holmstrom, Jarius, King Chartres, and Queen Emmaline. Who would have wished an allied defeat? What would it have gained?
I was not meant to survive this battle, Mark realized. It been carefully planned as a battle of annihilation. Then there had been the scout sniper, hell-bent on killing Mark at any cost. A tanned, dark haired man of incredible fighting skill, fanatical and relentless. That was no scout sniper.
Mark's blood ran cold at the implication. An Areani, sent to kill him. Mark saw it all. Mark of Falworth, the glorious hero, slain at the hand of the treacherous Lenfels and Outlaws, with all his most loyal men. Who would benefit? Someone Mark had long distrusted. Someone who threatened a civil war to keep the throne for his son, then relented strangely. A man Mark himself had left in charge of Loreos…