GLOBAL STORYLINE UPDATE: Part 9 - Wheels Within Wheels Mar 25, 2018 20:04:26 GMT -8 AK_Brickster, Sir Caedric Moore, and 3 more like this
Post by Kingdomviewbricks on Mar 25, 2018 20:04:26 GMT -8
NEW GLOBAL STORYLINE UPDATE, continued from Part 8 - The Prince of Loreos
———— ~ A Path We Were Destined to Follow, Part 9: Wheels Within Wheels ~ ————
Story by Kingdomviewbricks , based on a storyline by Sir Caelan Munro
Seven Months Earlier - High Council Chamber of the Areani
“Falworth must die.”
High Council of the Areani, by Kingdomviewbricks
“I have always been opposed to this plan. Falworth is still one of our most effective warriors, and the people love him.”
“He is unmanageable. We cannot control him.”
“That's not the worst of it. Lenfald must be crushed, and Falworth has grown soft. Before he became Prince, he was burning to attack Lenfald. Now he hesitates.”
“A dose of responsibility has sobered him considerably. He seems to be becoming a statesman.”
“This is no time for statesmanship. Lenfald must be brought to heel, and it must be done now. Before, aggression against either of the factions was opposed by the other fraction and king, as well. With Lenfald’s rebellion though, our invasion can be justified as reuniting the kingdom, and our control there will seem justified. However, Lenfel independence is fast becoming the accepted state of affairs by everyone, including the king. We must strike now before the issue becomes cold, and it is clear that Mark is too weak to do so.”
“Falworth must die then. That is no simple task: the man is nearly indestructible and he was trained by our best weapons masters. How is it to be accomplished? An assassin disguised as a Lenfel?”
“That would look too suspicious. No one would believe that Mark of Falworth could be slain by a Lenfel.”
“It would reflect reflect rather badly on our guards, as well.
“An accident then? That could be arranged.”
“It would be preferable if it could be made to seem to be Lenfel’s doing. An outrage that would fire the Loreesi people against them.”
“We must think on this more. A solution will present itself.”
* * * * * *
Septimius Tarquin, alias Gant Warden, erstwhile botanist, stood before the massive double doors of the High Council of the Areani, deep within the Order’s subterranean fastness. He shivered, despite the mild temperature. As a spy, saboteur, and nearly unstoppable killer, nothing much fazed him anymore, but meeting the council… well, that was something else.
The doors opened, silently and without any visible means of propulsion.
Tarquin strode forward and bowed at the center of the chamber, where the stone pathways branched out to five sets of stairs. The five Council members loomed across from him, lit by torches in the chasm bellow, with their faces wrapped and hooded.
Before the Council, by Kingdomviewbricks
Tarquin glanced covertly from figure to figure. He was never quite sure which one spoke at any time.
“Lords of the Areani, I have returned from my mission to infiltrate the Lenfel expeditionary force.”
“Why did you abandon your cover? Did you find something of interest?”
“Yes, indeed I did. Deep in the Southern Peninsula of Fyrdraca we found a temple filled with treasure,” Tarquin said, and drew forth the dragon statue that he had brought from the temple, the gold glinting in the torchlight.
* * * * * *
“Lords, I believe we have found the solution.”
“What do you mean?”
“Falworth must be sent to Fyrdraca to recover the gold, and to slay the dragon. That will appeal to him.”
“Yes, what of it?”
“There he will meet an overwhelming Lenfel force, prepared to destroy him, and enraged by the elimination of the explorers.”
“I see. How will the Lenfels find out about this expedition?”
“We can feed it to the Outlaws. They are under the unfortunate impression that they have an informant in our ranks. They will sell the information to the Lenfels in short order.”
“And you trust the Lenfels to destroy Mark?”
“I wouldn't trust them to destroy your grandmother, personally.”
“Of course not. The Lenfel scout snipers will be gaining some new recruits of unusual quality before their departure. Then Mark will depart on a heroic expedition, and he will be tragically slain by the traitorous Lenfels, with Outlaw mercenaries as well, no doubt. Then we shall finally crush Lenfald, and all Roawia will follow."
* * * * * *
One Month Later - Ainesford Catacombs
“Is this really necessary?” asked High Lord Albrecht von Falkenborg. He glanced around uneasily at the ancient catacomb walls deep beneath the city of Ainesford. He had faced the worst horrors of the battlefield courageously in his long career as a soldier and general, but something about this place still made his flesh crawl.
“When one deals with Outlaws,” said his companion, Grand Duke Sorley Meyrick, “one learns to acquire a certain flair for the theatrical. Besides, this is one of the best hidden meeting places I know. It would not do for news to get out that the High Lord of Lenfald is meeting with representatives of Baron Locklear.”
“And why not?” said von Falkenborg. “They’re an independent nation now, and they were not outlawed from Lenfald. We are not meeting with sorcerers or former servants of the Queen, are we?”
“No… of course not. We've been over this before, the time is not right. There is still a stigma attached to the name of Outlaw.”
“But you trust these men whom we are meeting with?”
“Trust… is not exactly the right word for these kind of dealings,” said Meyrick. “I am quite certain they will give us important and valuable information.”
“And they're not going to try to assassinate us down here?”
“I wouldn't put it past them. But they won't succeed. I've sent men ahead to search these tunnels thoroughly, and they will be concealed in side tunnels in case of trouble.”
Von Falkenborg furrowed his brow. “I thought the invitation was for us to come alone.”
“Ha. I have faith in your fighting ability High Lord, but not that much faith. Here we are.”
The two emerged into another tunnel, this one brightly lit by torches. Two figures stood across from them: a goblin and a man, both well dressed, in black.
“Greetingsss, High Lord,” the goblin said, “I am Grishflax and this is Boris, emissaries of his excellency Baron Locklear.”
“Greetings,” said von Falkenborg, “Welcome to Lenfald. I trust your stay so far has been enjoyable?”
“Quite so, quite so,” said Grishflax. “Some members of your people have become quite friendly even with a goblin, seeing as it will annoy the Loreesi.”
“Can we cut through the banter?” said Boris. “We all know why we're really here.”
“Actually, I don't entirely know why I'm here,” said von Falkenborg. “Why don't we start there?”
“We have come into certain information that we think would be most interesting to yourselvesss,” said Grishflax. “Did you receive any news of a Lenfel expeditionary party to the Southern Peninsula of Fyrdraca Island?”
“Yes,” said von Falkenborg, “all but one of them was killed by a Wingless Dragon. A terrible tragedy.”
“And did they find anything of interessst?”
“No, the lone survivor said it was nothing but swamp.”
“And what happened to the survivor?”
“He left the service… returned to his family I think. Poor man, only a botanist. He was dreadfully shaken up.”
Grishflax nodded. “What if I told you that they did in fact find something of interest? In fact, they found an ancient temple, full of fabulousss treasure.”
“How do you know this?”
Grishflax continued. “What if I told you that that botanist was, in fact, an Areani agent sent by Mark of Falworth to spy on the parties findingsss?”
“What!” exclaimed von Falkenborg.
“When they found the treasure, the Areani slew the explorers in cold blood, then returned and lied about their fate.”
“He slipped away, and brought news to the Loreesi leadership.”
“This is outrageous!”
“Indeed it is, but there is more. Now Mark is assembling a force in sssecret to sail to Fyrdraca and steal the treasure.”
“He must be stopped. We must get an army out there.”
“That will be difficult to assemble in time to arrive first,” said Meyrick.
“Yes, and we cannot weaken our regular defenses on the mainland,” said von Falkenborg. “We will need to use the Emerald Wolves.”
“With all due ressspect,” said Grishflax, “the Emerald Wolves and even your colonial forces will not be enough to stop Mark. He is bringing a sizable army, including war elephantsss. However, if you need more troops quickly, I may be able to offer a deal…”
“What do you want for your cooperation?” asked Meyrick.
“Well,” said Grishflax, “this is a superb chance to strengthen the bonds between our two nations and fight the tyranny-”
“We want the gold. All of it,” Boris broke in.
“Half,” said von Falkenborg. “We need to pay for our soldiers and ships too.”
“Three-quartersss,” said Grishflax.
“Done,” said von Falkenborg, “on the condition that the mission is approved by the High Council, and that you send me quality troops in time.”
“So it will be,” said Grishflax. He produced a heavy envelope and held it out. “This is a copy of Mark’s expedition plan, including troop numbers, dates, and sailing route.”
Dark for Dark Business, by Kingdomviewbricks
Meyrick took it. “Where did you get this?”
“We have our sourcesss.”
“And how do we know that all this is as you say?”
“Have you not already received reports of a Loreesi fleet preparing to sail?” Grishflax looked at Meyrick, who nodded. Grishflax continued, “Soon that fleet will depart, with Mark of Falworth himself aboard, supposedly for a ‘hunting trip,’ but no one will know where they are really going. When your ships reach the spot indicated in those documents, you will find the temple, and you may even find the bones of the murdered explorers, if they have not been gnawed away by wild beastsss. Yes, you will have proof soon enough, but you must act now.”
“Very well,” said von Falkenborg. “Regardless, if the treasure is not there, your troops won't get paid. Have them ready as soon as possible, and we will stop these murderers and thieves, together.”