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Supporting the Council (Challenge IV Prelude, Chapter 17)

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Supporting the Council (Challenge IV Prelude, Chapter 17)

Chapters so far:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

(ALSO: War of the Brothers Part II Chapter 1 HERE for more on that)

16077022354_51d26e9ee8_c.jpgpetera by skaforhire, on Flickr

Supporting the Council

(Three Months after Chapter 16)

It was unusually cold in Eastgate today. Petera MacLean placed the seal on a letter. He hoped it was not too late.

The last two years had been hard for Eastgate, the constant siege and the jockeying of two brothers to take control of their birthright had left most of the old town thin to the bone in civilians. Dugal’s Army, backed by his strong ally Lord DaMaximus still sat outside the Old City walls, while most of the New city on the other side of the Red River thrived in this war economy. They had even constructed a makeshift port, and outsourced much of their shipbuilding to Carn, Eastgate’s little sister town on the inland sea. Petera was surprised that the siege still held. Most of Dugal’s mercenaries moved on now that Bishop Jamon was dead and not paying their wages. There was gold to be had in the conflict brewing, an mercenaries always went towards the scent of gold.

DaMaximus had siphoned off some of his own soldiers to go back to East Kaliphlin, where Both Ulandus and the Desert King were making strides at turning towns and villages to their command, so far no violence between the forces of the High Council and the other two had broken out, however, the peacekeeping troops, had mostly retreated towards Petraea to avoid conflict, as their orders from the Council were clear not to provoke a fight. Pretty much all of Dugal’s Army that were Kaliphlin troops had been stripped from him by the council and sent to be peacekeepers. This made it a much more even fight, if Dugal ever decided to storm Eastgate.

Petera’s forces were not in the best shape either. After a hard defeat at the Wither Woods, it was near impossible to build some of Eastgate’s armies that were loyal to him. Eastgate was one of the stronger cities when it came to military force, mostly because GEAR Co’s possessions stretched throughout the known world, and often times a show of force was necessary to protect them. However, with all of the armies recalled to Eastgate to fight out this civil war between brothers, many of Eastgate’s possessions had been seized by raiders, other Councilors, Ulandians, and even Mountain Mummies. Petera had just got a report this morning that some of the oilfields in East Kaliphlin had been taken by the Desert King. Eastgate had a good reserve in gold, but Petera was spending it quickly. The war between brothers had to end, but he was somewhat sure one of the two of them would have to die first.

His Fiancé, Avona the Storm Mistress came into his meeting quarters. She had been a powerful ally, especially after the Wither Woods, when many of his mages deserted him. Not that that mattered too much, since he was one of the most powerful sorcerers in the world himself. But most of his power went to fueling the giant magic dome over Eastgate that Kept Dugal’s forces from going over the walls. “You sent for me?” she said. She didn’t like to be bothered when she was studying the arcane.

16698344772_ea467ee738_c.jpgDSC_1693 by skaforhire, on Flickr

“Yes, you are the only one I can trust with this.” He said handing her the letter he had just sealed. “I need you to teleport to Knightsbridge, you know where that is?”

She nodded and said “ That will be a tricky teleport. There are a lot of mountains in the way. “

“Good thing you are an expert teleporter.” He said. “This needs to be delivered to Lord Folston immediately. Our spies have reported to us that there is Desert King army marching along the Peak Road, and headed for Knights bridge.”

“Why would he not take the Sultan’s road through the desert? It is much quicker than winding around in the Rakath Mountains, that is for sure.” She asked.

“I am not sure, but I worry that they may get to Mypa Stedor through the back door, or Berigoria.” He said and she looked at him funny.

“Your enemy’s town?” She asked. She had killed a few of DaMaximus’ men herself at the Wither Woods.

“Despite our squabble, I am still a High Councilor. We don’t want to see Ulandus or the Desert King take over Kaliphlin. That would make the Valkarian Order’s overall plan to stabilize Historica much less possible. “ He paused. “Before Dugal’s resurfacing, DaMaximus and I were on fairly good terms and supported each other’s initiatives in the council.”

“I am not sure this is the correct path, my love.” Avona said.

“Even if it isn’t, I made Lord Folston. He was my friend, and I submitted his name to the Council for Lordship at that god-forsaken place. I can’t leave him with no help.” He said.

She just nodded, took the letter, and vanished.

16511806978_a0dccaa9e4_c.jpgDSC_1694 by skaforhire, on Flickr

Almost immediately Mikeo and his enslaved Efrite, Donjini , entered the room. “Brother, we have a visitor!” But he stopped that line of thought. “I smell Avona’s perfume, is she here?”

“I sent her with a message for Lord Folston. The Desert King moves on him.” Petera said.

“But Folston is heeding Council Orders, why would you help him.” Mikeo asked.

Petera explained the situation basically the same as he had just done for Avona.

“Interesting. Do you want me to take my knights there? I am sure Donjini can teleport us there safely.”

16511987270_87b50913da_c.jpgDSC_1698 by skaforhire, on Flickr

“I would not be so sure of that master. I sense that there are numerous mana weaves throughout Kaliphlin, designed to catch teleporting groups.” The Efrite said. Petera knew this. He had webs up within Eastgate to protect them from teleporting intruders, but three very powerful mages were also weaving at that moment in Kaliphlin. He assumed there was a mage for each of the factions in Kaliphlin trying to prevent anyone from moving massive amounts of troops through magic. Luckily for Avona, these weaves were designed to catch large groups and not individuals.

Mikeo, despite his fast study of magic since Petera pulled him from the underworld, was a bit confused. Petera did not have time to explain it, for in walked a man in Ulandian armor.

16511985910_6476c354f7_c.jpgDSC_1699 by skaforhire, on Flickr

“I thought you were announcing me?” he looked accusingly at Mikeo, but did not wait for a reply. “I am General Royce Ponce of the Thousand Suns, First Centurion’s First Legion, and I have come to secure your friendship for the future of Kaliphlin.” He directed towards Petera. How did he get into the city? As if answering his thoughts, Ponce said: “pardon me for sneaking into your city, I took a small craft into your harbor, however, it is urgent.”

Petera cut to the chase. “Why should we join Ulandus?”

“You would be joining Kaliplhin, Ulandus only seeks…” but Ponce was cut off by Petera.

“…to rejoin Kaliphlin, yes I have heard the spiel. That was months ago, your armies are all over Kaliphlin now. You have fought some battles against Kaliphlinites, you cannot say you come in peace!” In truth these battles were against the Desert King…

“We only attack the Pharaoh’s men!” Ponce said. “We seek to be equals in Kaliphlin. Nothing more.”

“I think that the equals thing is a cover.” Petera said. “You know that the council will mull over allowing Ulandus to join the guild, it would upset the balance some would say. But your emperor knows this. He also knew the Desert King was on the rise, and found his excuse to force the Kaliphlinites to decide.” Petera smiled. “It is clever indeed, “ he admitted. “ Letting the citizens choose sides in this war while their leaders talk. You will use your armies to defeat the Desert King, and when that is done, you will have a large enough foothold to force your interests to the Council. But… the demand won’t be to add five councilors, it will be to submit to the emperor. When the refusal comes, you will march your armies against your new enemies.”

16511797528_94961ef6a8_c.jpgDSC_1700 by skaforhire, on Flickr

Ponce sighed, seemingly unfazed. “Your war with Dugal has left you with little trust, I should expect this from someone who murdered their own brother.”

“How dare you.” Mikeo said. “You are a guest here, a guest we could easily get rid of.”

“You know not what you speak of, manchild.” Ponce said.

16511983170_bbf463a53c_c.jpgDSC_1701 by skaforhire, on Flickr

Petera butted in. “The Council had declined your offer. I being part of the Council must decline.”

“Dugal rules Eastgate from beyond these walls. You are not on the High Council any longer.” Ponce said, and Petera was well aware that he had few supporters at the moment. “We can change that. You will be put onto the council when our negotiations come to fruition. Dugal, who has defied us, and has sent troops to keep us from going where we desire, is not a friend of First Centurion. We will see him deposed. Unless, of course you want to kill him again.” Ponce smirked. Petera had not killed Dugal during the war, although he didn’t stop Revolword from doing so, he also didn’t join the expedition to retrieve his soul from the underworld – but he used their portal to get Mikeo back.

Mikeo felt a strong loyalty to Petera because of this, and for that reason a blade of ice quickly appeared in his hand and he began to threaten Ponce. “ That is one lie to many, Fork-tongue! “

16077049734_c3fde804d6_c.jpgDSC_1704 by skaforhire, on Flickr

Ponce laughed. LAUGHED! “ You know not what you step into.” He smiled. “You can’t hurt me here.” Now Petera was interested, what made this guy think he could get out of here alive if Petera thought it prudent to end him?

Mikeo moved forward but Ponce turned to the Efrite. “Alka’dar Baelos Moritt’guf, al’gernen de’coli pillianar.”

Donjini’s eyes widened and he immediately bowed to Ponce and then turned to Mikeo. “He is right master Mikeo, I cannot let you hurt him.”

16511977050_b1efd4356c_c.jpgDSC_1705 by skaforhire, on Flickr

Petera remembered the incantation, he would have to figure out what just had happened, but it was most likely Old Olinor’s Tongue that he spoke it. It was said that Olinor was the location where the Djin and the Efrite parted ways, and forever Efrite were forbidden to use the old language. Something Ponce said, in that language, had turned Donjini into his guardian. Petera had a feeling that if he was to try to call his magic, he would be unable to do so. Although Donjini was not powerful enough to stop Petera in full sorcerer state, he could easily keep him from reaching that state if he had the drop on him, like he did at the present. A bit of panic hit him… Ponce could kill him now.

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Lord Folston was preparing for the Worst. Knightsbridge was to be attacked from the South soon. His scouts had reported that the Ulandians were making their way up the Peak Road – in his mind, more of a trail than a road—and they had high numbers.

16673418986_e7a31c250c_c.jpgDSC_1712 by skaforhire, on Flickr

Folston had only a few dozen men left. The council had not sent gold in months, and his soldiers were now deserting. He had taken out all the loans he could from villages up to thirty miles away. There just was no more Gold left from Needletop to Southpass.

16671296066_a841c4d285_c.jpgKaliphlin-north-east-0 by skaforhire, on Flickr

The council said that Knightsbridge must be held, as it would keep the Ulandians from reaching the territory claimed by the Desert King. The council feared that if major blood was spilled over a bit of land, then the winner would be less likely to negotiate or relinquish control of said land. Folston agreed. Even if his benefactor was no longer on the council. He thought of Petera, cooped up in Eastgate. He had been a good liege to serve, and Folston was happy to be placed on the high council with Petera’s support. But in reality, NOBODY wanted Knightsbridge.

That is why there was a seat open, the last family abandoned its lordship. Knightsbridge was the crucial link on the Peak road. A small trail that went North to South, but also led to the northern Kaliphlin coast, a valuable trade route for spices and other small loads that one can bring by pack animal. Wagons could not travel on the road because of its grade and width at times. The town itself protected a bridge over the Al’Weri River, or Weary River in the common tongue. IT was the only passable place for the length of the whole river within the Rakath Mountains . Therefore its strategic importance was paramount, which was also why the Council subsidized the small town. The town itself sat mostly underground in an old dwarf den – or perhaps it was one of the outposts of the old Rat King’s people? Folston didn’t care, he hated it. It was damp, ugly, smelly, and he relied on the mountain villages to provide food. It was a terrible place to be Lord of.

“Alright, we need to work quicker men!” he shouted as a few of his boys pushed barrels towards the secret door to get within the Trifort, The fortification of the south side (technically East side because of the way the river bent at this location) of the river.

16673405266_bcabc2e8a3_c.jpgpreparing for defense by skaforhire, on Flickr

Just then, Lady Avona appeared next to him and he nearly jumped out of his skin. Damn teleporters!

“Greetings Lord Folston, Petera sends is regards and well wishes. He has a message for you.” Avona said, and handed him a letter.

16511769298_4916250177_c.jpgDSC_1716 by skaforhire, on Flickr

“Hello, Lady Avona, what a pleasant surprise” he said as his heart calmed down. In honesty, he had always been terrified of storm mistress.

“Open it right away there is much we must discu…” Suddenly her eyes widened. “I have to go, Petera is in trouble!” with that she vanished.

He opened the letter and his heart sank. The Desert King was attacking from the North. He had maybe two days. Petera urged him to keep the bridge at all costs, and to keep the two armies apart. Even if it meant fighting back, something the council had yet to do.

16513221659_bf0d321248_c.jpgDSC_1717 by skaforhire, on Flickr

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Mikeo was still upset. The meeting with Ponce, then his unexpected departure with Mikeo’s Efrite, and finally Petera telling him to just let it go, was wearing on his twin brother.

“I will make this right.” Petera said. “I don’t think his power will last over Donjini for long, and I think, if I know my Efrite lore correctly, he will return to you, still your slave.”

“Fine. But I want to kill that guy personally.” Mikeo said.

Petera ignored that last bit. “Get a message to the Yukar, we need more reports about the Desert King’s whereabouts. “ Petera concluded.

16699361775_cb8e13a856_c.jpgDSC_1710 by skaforhire, on Flickr

With that, Mikeo left. Almost immediately Avona reappeared, ready to fry anything in her path.

16513265899_0cf0cd55e4_c.jpgDSC_1691 by skaforhire, on Flickr

“Are you alright?!” she demanded.

“Fine.” He said. They embraced. He then told her about the meeting, and how the Ulandians wanted him to continue to distract Dugal’s forces, and in return, he would be placed on the council. Avona seemed to agree this was wise. But then again, what could he do when he had a Genie’s blade to his throat? Now… was he to keep his bargain?

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some really nice Moc's and a very intruiging story!!

As Petera pointed out, he and Lord Damaximus were indeed on very good terms and despite being enemies, Damaximus has a lot of respect for the intellect and the skills of Petera. As Stedor is surrounded by Ulandus and Everlast is surrounded by the Desert King, both cities can't move troops fast enough to Knight's Bridge without being spotted.

Luckily our reinforcements can land closely to Knights Bridge so hopefully they will be on time!

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Ah, the plot thickens! I'm guessing Petera will have no problem at all playing the three sides off of each other for his own gain!

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I'm just loving this story. 20 mini-stories to introduce the challenge, you are too generous Sir.

The writing is brilliant too, I really feel like I'm getting to know the characters. Hopefully Kaliphlin will come out stronger after these sad events.

One thing: teleportation seems rather overpowered if whole armies can be transported! :wacko:

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Another great continuation of the story! Can't wait to learn more of the Valkarian Order's plans...

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I'm just loving this story. 20 mini-stories to introduce the challenge, you are too generous Sir.

The writing is brilliant too, I really feel like I'm getting to know the characters. Hopefully Kaliphlin will come out stronger after these sad events.

One thing: teleportation seems rather overpowered if whole armies can be transported! :wacko:

Yes, I agree here. The hard thing is, since there are no limitations in GOH, except the most extreme, I thought perhaps the "weaves" that catch teleporting armies could explain why a army, like the Aleenridders couldn't just teleport into the middle of Xersia and wreak havoc. It was the best I could come up with. When referring to teleporting and portals in earlier stories, for my characters at least, the ability has always been limited... single person teleports, or short duration portals. Also, distance was always a factor. But, I don't control others' stories, and can only hope they adopt similar guidelines.

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Another great part of the story! I really like how Petera is fleshed out as a more complex character here and that there are not really "good guys" vs "bad guys" in this war, please continue that :classic:

I agree that GoH should generally limit how powerful magic can be, so for example that individual magic users can teleport is fine but whole armies should generally be impossible imho.

The same goes for very destructive magic, which I think should be almost not existing with some exceptions for extremely rare arcane magic like the spells which caused the elemental attacks in book I. The power of the magic used in the battles of Queenscross and the Wither Woods is quite reasonable however.

All of this is because I think that regular medieval/fantasy warfare is much more fun than overpowered magic battles :wink:

Edited by Gideon

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Whoa, the Yukar are being tapped! And Hataman was so enjoying the beginning of his quieter days...

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