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Found 67 results

  1. Previously... The Architect's Ascension: Part VII “Ilazio! Traitor!” Arama said in disbelief, reproach in her voice. She screamed as the guards dragged her and Luca, the former Rego, who showed no emotion towards his surroundings, lost in deep thought, further into the depths of the remote Varlyrian castello. Panic surged through her. “What are you going to do with us?” He could throw her from the top of the tallest peak in the west. They could both die with their bodies left in pieces at the base of the rocks. Ilazio didn’t answer. Luca stared at Arama in shock. For the first time he heard her speak to Ilazio as though she knew him, like she had an understanding with him. What had she done? “What do you mean ‘traitor?’” he said coolly. Was she even on his side? Tears welled into Arama’s eyes, and for the first time a burst of fury passed over her. She shook her arms and jerked herself out of the hands of the guards until at last her wrists were red with the chaffing of the hard rivets and she fell upon her face on the hard stone flags. She turned her face up and looked at Ilazio Moccenigo piteously. Arama cringing behind Luca. “You promised Luca and me amnesty,” she said and her voice broke. “What did it all mean to you then? Nothing?” Her lip trembled. “Che?” Luca looked at her curiously. “I did,” the new Rego replied calmly. “You and Luca are safe from the popolazione, who would have torn both of you into pieces, and they are safe from your deception.” “My deception?” Arama cried, turning herself over and pushing herself up with her hands. “Moccenigo, what about peace?” “Oh, there will be pace now.” Arama looked so hurt, Ilazio felt sorry for her again now. But he didn’t show it. He just slowly pushed open the heavy metal door overlooking the neighboring towers. Arama looking out over the desert wasteland. There from the tallest stone tower, hung from an over jutting beam of wood, sagged a rope, upon which swung a noble looking guard, with the epaulets of the Captain of the Rego’s Old Guard. It was Aluysio De Cioto. The pale blue sky behind him stretched out far over the desert, and a cold wind whipped through the stony chamber. Aluysio De Cioto, hanging between the desert and the sky. “What about no bloodshed,” Arama asked, terrified and trembling, kneeling in front of Ilazio, Luca’s hand keeping her up. Her eyelids quivered with tears for her brother. “There are other ways to kill,” Ilazio smiled and he looked at her with cold, hard eyes. “As far as I can see,” he said, “this is only fair.” Arama knew it was. She had used the same tactics when she had betrayed Råiden and Brabantio for Luca. She had begged her brother to swear allegiance to Ilazio, to support the new Rego—but he had refused. She looked at Ilazio Moccenigo mutely. Did she see remorse in the repentful man’s eyes, or just cold calculation, the same he had used to cut her down on the rooftops? She felt something pressed over her eyes. “Arrivederci, Luca di Carlo e Arama di Athena De Cioto,” Ilazio said in a calm voice. She felt a rope wrapped about her neck and then she heard the tramp of the guard filing towards the wall. “Pronto!” Arama cringed and a low cry of fear escaped her. She only knew one thing: she wasn’t ready to die! Ilazio put his hand on her shoulder and lifted her up to her feet. She leaned sickly against the wall as her blindfold fell from her eyes. “Take them below, and keep them there,” Ilazio said with a smile, “safe.” Arama opened her eyes with a bitter, painful feeling of relief and regret. She was breathing hard. Luca put his hand into her hair, and she twisted her head to look at Ilazio one last time. “Addio, Arama,” Ilazio said. And with that, the pair were dragged beyond the sight of Ilazio Moccenigo, deep within the vaults of the old desert castle of the west. Luca and Arama were thrown into the same cell, deep beneath the surface of the sand. The architect of their ruin had traded them blow for blow. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. Back in Illaryian, in the unfinished Palazzo Vincenzo, as the newly crowned Rego of Varlyrio, I wandered the halls that mio padre had prowled at night when he first discovered the secrets that had led me here, secrets now known across all of Varlyrio. The Chiaro boy had brought me my crown in good time, once it had been removed from Luca di Carlo’s brow, and I had personally conveyed the late Rego and Arama De Cioto far out into the west, together with several other dangerous traditori politici. It had been necessary to lock the pair up in the strongest, deepest castle in the realm, far away across the mountains in the wastelands, for even there, they could still cause caos if given the chance, and I was afraid that wouldn't take much. The rest of the traditori would never trouble Varlyrio again… that was certain. I gave a slight smile as I looked off into the sunset towards La Tigre di Illaryian. Although there still remained mia famiglia to restore, that could wait; for my vendetta had succeeded. I was satisfied! It was the same feeling I had received after my first commission, aided by my wise and shrewd father, that I won against the dastardly Edmondo Ziccardi, albeit narrowly and through un piccolo legal knothole. Even though those responsible for la morte di mio papà were still alive, I felt better this way! Perhaps it would do them good. Maybe, I had a thing or due to learn from mio nipote, Aurelia. I could never completely abstain from shedding blood, but rule with giustizia e il mio ingegno; my blade would only shine bright red when it was required to maintain the peace of the realm, and perhaps to construct a better Varlyrio. I laughed. No Rego could do that, even Sana Argenta herself hadn’t been able to quell the storms that bashed our guild… but one could hope. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.
  2. Rogue Angel

    Historican Settlements - HSS

    HISTORICAN SETTLEMENTS Historica is home to many towns, villages, hamlets, and even a few Cities. The Royal Cartographer's Guild of Albion and the Avalonia's foreign affairs minister wish to officially recognize the many settlements of Historica. As a prerequisite to official recognition and inclusion in the "Royal Registry of Historica's Locations of Note" and "Avalonian Sites and Monuments: a comprehensive guide" each settlement must prove that they contain the minimum facilities to provide for their residents. To establish your settlement, you must post MOCs from the following categories. These MOCs CAN be already completed, but they MUST not already be referenced to a different location. (if you try to alter a description of an existing MOC to fit this challenge, you will not be allowed to enter ANY settlements, so do not edit topics you already posted. you can add a post later on in your topic, but if I see that the topic was already posted before Feb 14th, but edited after Feb 13th, it will not be allowed as part of this challenge.) There are a couple of building types that can be counted for multiple types (a Fishery for example can be counted as a nautical AND agricultural). Here are the categories: REQ - Agriculture - Grains & Produce: Farm*, Mill, Granary, Orchard Agriculture - Livestock: Farm*, Cattle/Horse Ranch, Swineherd, Sheepfold, Fishery Nautical: Harbor, Shipwright, Quay, Fishery*, Ferryman REQ - Military: Keep, Barracks, Gatehouse, Tower, Castle, Fort Religious: Chapel, Monastery, Temple, Shrine Medical: Apothecary, Herbalist, Infirmary, Physician Hospitality: Food & Beverage: Bakery, Butcher, Winery, Brewery, Tavern REQ - Hospitality - Lodging: Inn, Stables, Coach House REQ - Laborers: Lumber Mill, Mine, Stone Cutter, Mason REQ - Craftsmen - General Goods: Cooper, Wainwright, Tannery, Dyer, Glass Blower Craftsmen/Merchant - Arms & Armor: Blacksmith, Bowyer, Fletcher, Armorer Craftsmen/Merchant - Clothing: Cobbler, Seamstress, Furrier, Woolen Mill Craftsmen/Merchant - Specialty: Candle Maker, Wood Carver, Bookbinder, Jeweler, Potter Services: Herald, Cartographer, Money Lender, Scribe, Courier, Shipping House Scholars: Observatory, Alchemist, Philosopher, Astrologer Entertainers: Minstrel, Fortune Teller, Performing Troupe, Theatre Administrative (Town or City only): Town Hall, Chancery, Forum, Courthouse Now, the examples provided are not the only things you can build in a category, they are just options. Also, the build must be substantial - showing an interior of one room, or throwing a bunch of bricks up on a plate will not be acceptable entries. Hamlet - There are 5 categories that are required for a Hamlet (the minimum recognized settlement) - Agricultural (either one), Military, Hospitality (either one), Laborer, and Craftsmen. Village - For a Village, you must meet the Hamlet requirements plus meet a total of 8 of the 16 categories. Town - For a Town, you must meet the Hamlet requirement, plus a minimum of 2 Craftsmen buildings, both Agricultural categories, and both Hospitality categories, plus meet a total of 10 of the 16 categories. City - For a City, you must meet the requirements for a Town, plus one administrative building, plus meet a total of 14 of the 16 categories. Port - For a Port, you must meet the Village requirements, including one Nautical building. For this task, there is no time limit, and again, is open to all Historicans. I will be starting a separate thread for this once I get home tonight where you can post a link to your topics. Each person should have only one reply in this topic, where they will post all of their entries. You can have more than one settlement recognized if you wish. You should only have one post per Settlement. Feel free to ask questions, but I will delete them once they have been answered, and compile the answers in the thread below. Do not post for a settlement unless you have a build to post. I will delete any topics that do not contain a link to an existing MOC (no MOCs in progress allowed either) Let me know if you have any questions. Some further ideas for the categories are in this list curated by @Grover. But again, even this extensive list is not exhaustive; if you think your build qualifies for a category, put it there. Creativity is always encouraged! Agriculture Grains and Produce Farm Garden Mill Granary Marketplace Vineyard Orchard Livestock Farm Cattle/Horse ranch Dairy Swineherd Sheepfold Marketplace Kennel Beekeeper Fishery Nautical Harbor Shipwright Quay Fishery Ferryman Port Dock Lighthouse Military Keep Barracks Gatehouse Tower Castle Fortified Bridge Wall Beacon Cavalry Stables Ballista Tower Fort Religious Chapel Church Monastery Tomb Cemetery Temple Mosque Shrine Medical Apothecary Herbalist Infirmary/Hospital Mortician/Necromancer Torture Chamber Barber/Physician Hospitality Food & Beverage Bakery Butcher Winery Kitchens Brewery Café/Street Food Tavern Lodging Inn Stables Coach house Celebrations Wedding Festival Laborers Lumber Mill Grain Mill Mine Stone Cutter Wood Cutter Mason/Adobe Maker Stable Hand Cleaning Workers Field Hands Foresters Carter Diggers Quarry Craftsmen/Merchants General goods Cooper Wainwright Tannery Carpenter Dyer Marketplace Fishing Rod Merchant Glassblower Arms & Armor Blacksmith Bowyer Fletcher Siege workshop Armorer Clothing Cobbler Seamstress Textiles Furrier Woolen Mill Specialty Candlemaker Wood carver Stone Carver/Sculptor Goldsmith Bookbinder Florist Jeweler Horse Tamer Merchant's Hall/Guild Coal Merchant Magic/Potion Vendor Tinker Potter Services Herald Cartographer Money lender General Store Scribe Courier Trading Post Shipping house/Warehouse Scholars Observatory Alchemist Philosopher Library University/Academy Astrologer Entertainment Minstrel Fortune Teller Street Musicians Performing Troupe Brothel Sports Arena Theatre Administrative (Town or City only) Town Hall Chancery Forum Council Building Administrative Building Meeting Hall Customs House Palace Embassy Courthouse
  3. Garmadon

    Al Rego!

    The door to la Taverna Sommersa creaked open upon its rusty hinges and let in a gusty breath of sea air as one of its frequent customers ambled to a seat in the far corner and ordered a cup of his usual bevanda, leaning back with a comfortable sigh. His eyes were just starting to sag when the sound of a stir and the sight of a figure in a red cloak aroused him. "Peste! There are tables enough in this tavern for half of Varlyrio, can't one be left in peace?" he muttered looking up at the approaching form as it laid a gloved hand on the table. "Il cielo!" exclaimed the young man, setting down his cup with a bang, as he caught sight of the stranger's face. "Can it be you?" "Sure as it is you just where I left you two years past, mio nipote," returned the newcomer with a strong tinge of sarcasmo in his tone. "But where and how have you been all this time? We heard you were lost at sea?" "Infatti, and that I was. And as to how I have been, why, as well as is possible, I suppose, for having spent due anni aboard a filthy nave pirata. But I shan't complain - for here I am, am I not?" The stranger grimmaced, with a hint of subdued power in his eyes, and set down across from his nephew. "It was Xari Spadro then, was it?" inquired Aldacio Amancio. "You are shrewder since I left you," replied the other, "yes. And it was not a week past since he came up to me one day and said, 'Il mio Signore Superiore, how would you like to depart this brigantino bello?' and, thanking me for my stay, had me rowed out and left on the shore of the eastern coast with all the honor, subito! of my rank. Or of my previous rank, peste. Well, we shall see about that presently. And so I have told you how I am here - but now you tell me, for you are in better condition to say than I, mio nipote," said the stranger tossing back his hood - "why?" Aldacio Amancio's shrewd eyes - far shrewder and wiser since his cousin's death - narrowed, and he smiled knowingly as he looked over his revered Zio. "I cannot say, but I have my guess," and he lifted his glass to his uncle's. "Listen, and I will tell you. But first, Al Rego!" Supano Amancio took the toast and quaffed it with a quirk on his lips and set the glass back on the table. "Which?" -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- It's been too long! Here is the first of hopefully a series of Valyrian vignettes to come over the next few weeks Too much going on in Valyrio right now not to get in on it! And yes, things are getting complicated... Also an entry to the 12x12 category of the Summer Joust of course! Lit with Lightaling's custom lights which they were kind enough to send me a bunch of for various projects! Hope you all enjoy, and C&C are welcome as always!
  4. Previously... The Architect's Ascension: Part IV Arama sprinted through the windy passages, narrow alleys, and cobbled streets of vast Illaryian. Then she jumped onto a roof and caught sight of Ristoro hurrying through the thoroughfare far ahead. She rushed on across the roofs, leaping the gaps, landing with only a soft thud, her cloak floating out behind her. Arama rushed on across the roofs, leaping the gaps, landing with only a soft thud, her cloak floating out behind her. Suddenly Ristoro heard something above him. He looked up and he saw a shadow watching him coolly from the roofs far above. Now he was even more afraid of the ragazza who had followed him so quickly and found him without erring far in the depths of the greatest city in the realm. He looked up and he saw a shadow watching him coolly from the roofs far above. He couldn’t outrun her, and he knew he didn’t stand a chance in a fight—he didn’t want to kill her anyway! What could he do? There was a bridge. At least Ristoro knew how to swim! He threw off his sword and sprung over the side, landing in the canal below with a splash. Arama knew the canals like the back of her hand. With one deep breath she plunged off the rooftop, tucking her dagger in her sleeve. The canal here was deep and narrow. Arama landed on the other side of the bridge, pitching far below the depths of the water. She spread out her arms to slow her fall. In another second Arama had Ristoro’s doublet in her hand. She lifted him up against the wall on the side of the canal, but she had to let him go to get a breath of air. Ristoro scrambled up onto the cobblestones, but now he was in a cortile with only one entrance, where Arama De Cioto now stood. Ristoro Moccenigo shook in an almost unreasonable fear. Now he was in a cortile with only one entrance, where Arama De Cioto now stood. “Cieli! Just get it over with!” he screamed, petrified. "Just get it over with!" Ristoro screamed. “Stolto, does it look like I have a blade in my hand?” Arama answered with affected dryness, showing her outstretched and empty palms to him. “Così,” Ristoro started nervously. “You aren’t here to seppellire a blade in me?” “No,” she said sweetly. “I just want you to talk. Why didn’t you answer the question Luca asked you?” “You want to kill my fratello and not me?” Ristoro asked, unable to swallow his saliva. For reply, Arama’s eyes glittered. “It’s no use, there’s no point! Ilazio already told the De Fioris that–” “I know,” Arama said, a perturbed glimmer passing across her face. She hadn’t really known that. So it really was too late. She grit her teeth. They just had to ride it out. It sounded like a very dangerous storm. It was time to be brash and reckless. “Vedo, you probably know what Ilazio wants to do,” Ristoro said in a very low voice. “He’ll kill you and il nostro caro Rego!” he warned. “Let him do it,” Arama replied brazenly. “If he kills me it wouldn't matter. But he can’t prove anything he says.” “You, like Signore di Carlo, underestimate mio brother. I’ve seen his plans and correspondences, De Cioto!” “It doesn’t matter what he knows,” Arama smiled thoughtfully, “it matters what he can show, what he can get people to believe. It's not the first time he’s spread false rumors. He would never live another day if he assassinated the Rego.” Arama looked defiantly at the waters of the canal behind her. “Then, I believe,” Ristoro answered, “he will kill you.” A sharp hiss echoed throughout il cortile. Both Ristoro and Arama were caught off guard. They both paused, without further discussion, each searching the dim backstreet courtyard for signs of any intruder. Arama let her knife slip down into her palm again. Then all of a sudden, a shadowy figure, contrasted by a drawn sword with golden hilt engravings, leapt from a window in the stone building behind them, landing beside Ristoro who immediately began to back away. A shadowy figure, contrasted by a drawn sword with golden hilt engravings, leapt from a window in the stone building behind them. The shadowy figure pushed back his hood. Ilazio Moccenigo had heard every last word. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. “Buona serata,” I greeted gruffly, my sword pointed at the two traitors. One had succeeded before in obstructing my plans, but questa notte, I would ensure that they both failed. I began moving towards them, then stopped as I saw a flash of metal. Arama drew a hidden dagger from within her clothes. “Certo, buona serata!” Arama had drawn a hidden dagger from within her clothes, but she didn’t stand a chance against my long, sharp blade. Then, when Ristoro tossed her his sword from the bridge where he had left it, although she caught it deftly in the air with her other hand, I could tell that she was more accustomed to fighting come una assassina rather than a proper duelist. Ristoro tossed her his sword from the bridge where he had left it. Her arms seemed to be shaking slightly, and her footwork was like a tigress ready to pounce upon her foe from behind, not from ahead. But she was light and agile, and playing right into her strengths, Arama ran for it, quickly scaling the walls of il cortile until she reached the roof above. In return, I gave chase. She was light and agile. I could hear Arama’s breath from above me as she silenziosamente prepared to leap across to the nearest roof. She would never make it. “Don’t!” I yelled from the roof below her feet which I was quickly pulling myself up onto. “What do you care if I do?” Arama murmured in reply, but before she got a chance to, I grabbed one of her moving feet, rolling onto the roof beside her. Arama was about to jump to the other side of the street. Arama threw herself down beside me and I spun out of the way just in time. I felt her knife sound against the terracotta altana as it dug deep into the spot where my chest had been a moment before. Her dagger was stuck there now. Arama swept her feet at me as I leapt up and took a better stance upon the roof, but she was too far away. She had to hold up her sword to me. I had the advantage now, but I was still waiting for something unexpected. So far, only I have delivered soprese. Arama stood on the defensive, frustration written on her visage. But I wouldn’t commit. “You want me dead,” I smiled at her eagerly, “not the other way around.” “I wanted to get out of here,” Arama whispered sulkily, pulling her mask below her mouth to breathe, “you wouldn’t let me get away. So if you don’t want me dead, climb down, or let me jump.” “Letting you make that jump? Not if I don’t want you dead. But maybe I do, so go ahead.” Arama made a gesture. “But I’m not putting away my sword. Do you think I am some stolto like my brother, to just let you kill me?” Arama laughed. “Tell me again why you’re mad at me?” she asked. “You killed my father,” I hissed, “and your Rego will pay, just like you, stupida girl. You think life is nothing? You take your own and others pretty carelessly.” “Don’t become careless with yours,” the girl replied, sweeping at me at last with the edge of her sword. Our blades met with my parry and swift counterstrike. Before Arama could recover, I struck out again, the force behind my blade driving her back along the steep roofline. We drove quietly back and forth at each other, our swords ringing through the otherwise silent night. With efficiency, I contrived to drive her back with each of our moves, using forces similar to those which balanced a crane in my father’s constructions to turn everything to my advantage. Arama’s strikes became more wild and her defense mere seconds from la morte. She was still smiling though. Infine! There was a gap, a risky manovra with ricche ricompense. I lunged, hoping my feet would not slip on a loose tile, my glittering sword striking true. Time seemed to slow. A shuddered breath escaped the lips of mia avversaria. I did not wait to see my vittoria. Quickly, I retracted my blade and swung, using shear impact to dislodge the sword from her clammy hands. Then I mercilessly shoved her off the narrow roofline while she looked down at the ever growing blood stains on her fancy clothes. My sword had gone through the chainmail that she wore beneath her dress. Only one image clouded my thoughts, the image of her shocked, and forse scared, expression followed with ragged breaths and dripping blood, an image branded into me. Ristoro backed away from the crumpled, limp form that ended on the cobblestones below. “Ilazio?” he said, his voice filled with discomfort and uncertainty. He shuddered again as I dropped to the cobbled streets below, this time with my gold-inlaid sword sheathed. Mio fratello looked confused, his eyes going back and forth between my demented visage and the bleeding corpse that was Arama di Athena De Cioto. Finally making up his mind, he darted for l’ingresso del cortile. I simply turned and watched as he scurried away. My attention then shifted back to the velvet liquid running freely through the cracks in the cobbles. More blood would flow, abbastanza presto. I unsheathed my sword slowly, letting its ring echo, while I walked over to the shuddering figure, covered in her own blood. No, not quite a corpse yet. The fall had only been about a story, and she knew how to land, although she must have been very bruised. My sword had only pierced her side, not her heart. Not yet. “I'm not afraid of you,” Arama whispered, looking up at me kindly, her breath increasing in pace and raggedness as I descended upon her like a ravenous Mitgardian wolf. I stood over her, the tip of my blade less than a millimeter above her beating heart. The girl still struggled like wounded prey, trying to back away. Maybe she did have another dagger, but she couldn’t use it now. She was dizzy and sick. Arama could barely lift her head, she was so weak. My sword followed, forcing her to concede. Arama let herself drop onto the stones, looking around, to make sure that I was the only one with her. She saw through a black haze, my sword hanging above her. Her last knife dropped from her hand. “Tell Luca I love him,” she said, whispering, wincing and hiding her face behind her arm. I craved that! I was overjoyed to hear it, my entire case proven by its denier! In my mind her guilt was sealed now. But… still. My heart rate increased, breaths ragged as the maledetta below me. Soon, every rag of the vendetta I wanted would be mine! I roughly grasped Arama and bent my sword down to her throat, prepared to strike home. Suddenly her unusually neat hair, wandering in wisps below her half drawn hood, was the same hue as Aurelia’s. I shook my head, scowling fiercely—this was not the time for doubts. Did my padre look this way before di incontrare la morte? I must, I must kill her! As I looked down at her, the image flashed again, then images of mio papà coursed through me. “Go ahead, I guess it was always coming to this,” Arama shrugged, tears falling down upon her stomach and mixing with sangue. I lifted my sword arm up once again, this time to kill! I made a bloodthirsty roar—but then I immediately dropped my blade to the blood-stained pavement. “Bene! I can’t,” I said at last through ragged breath. I staggered away from Arama. “This isn’t what I wanted.” “Che cosa?” she asked meekly. Her arm lowered from her face, and she looked at me with a tired, scared and confused question in her eyes. “I saw him, mio padre in my mind. Revenge won’t bring him back from la morte. It’s only a path of destruction… per tutti!” I said, facing away from the girl who had almost become a corpse. My breath was still coming rapidly, my heartbeats deafening every other sound. I was on the verge of spinning round, of doing it, and of taking my own destruction too if I had to! But I forced myself to speak, and mio voce came from a different person, a body, not a mind. “Arama, I just realized… what you did was horrible, but if I killed you now, just for vengeance, to satisfy myself… that would be horrible too!” I cried. I faced Arama De Cioto again and walked over to her, leaning in close to her teary face, where she had placed her palm and left a stain of blood. Then I whispered into her ear, pleading with her even though she was completely in my power, “Just take my forgiveness and go!” “I’ll love you for this,” Arama replied with a sudden merry feeling waving over her body. She pushed me away from her with her arm and closed her eyes, taking in a rasping breath. That confused me. She loved Luca di Carli! Would she betray him this easily? Is that what she meant? Maybe she just used the word carelessly… or maybe Luca was just like Prince Råiden to her. Would she betray him because I let her live even though it was my deepest desire to slit her very throat, simply because I couldn’t, I really couldn’t, kill her? She pushed herself off the stonework, one hand stopping her blood from flowing too freely, supporting herself on the wall with her other hand. I could tell her whole body was jarred by her fall. Maybe she had some broken bones. She still might die—was it crueler to leave her here than to run my sword through her side again? “No, wait, Arama,” something inside of me twisted, “I… I can’t let you go like this. Non c’è modo…” She looked at me with confusion in her eyes. “Why not?” she asked doubtfully. “You might die before you found help. That would just be more cruelty,” I said, looking boldly at her, as frankly as I could, although something rebelled in my stomach. “I never wanted to be cruel or evil! I can’t bear death, Arama. I don’t really want to return murder for murder.” I hung my head, my fists clenching and unclenching convulsively. Arama looked at me blankly. “Che bene,” she murmured. “I thought you wanted to kill me.” “I did.” .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. Arama’s head throbbed profusely. She reached underneath the uncomfortable blankets placed on top of her and winced as she located the wound. So it had happened in verità, it wasn’t a dream. She hurt all over anyway, so it wasn’t like a surprise. Arama growled at the pain. He had told her, “You might die before you get help. That would just be but more cruelty,” before helping her to a farmacista. “You’re really thinking this through,” she had almost retorted. But she couldn’t understand what he was thinking. How could anyone change at such a moment? Maybe after you killed someone, then you might repent. But this was really weird. Although Ilazio had saved her life, and been very emotional about it too, now he seemed rather cold to her. She had made a few attempts at light conversazione to distract herself from her pain, pain that the brooding man sitting on the stool opposite her bed had caused and didn’t seem to care that she was suffering, and he had all but ignored her. How could he care for her all of the sudden? To help save her life, to give her food and water, and even do his best to make her comfortable. Arama tried to see through the man. She had met one or two pacifisti before, tame people, but she had never heard their stories. Was this how it happened? She didn't understand. These thoughts only made the throbbing worse. Arama’s head sagged back against the soft pillow, darkness enclosing her as her tired eyelids fluttered and then shut. Her breath came normally now. “Grazie,” she muttered in her sleep. “Molto grazie.” .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.
  5. Previously... The Architect's Ascension: Part V Never while she lies before me, crippled and at the death’s door, shall I strike down another soul with blood in vendetta. I knew not why I made this oath to myself. What did I owe her anyways? I hadn’t meant for it to be so brutal. Maybe I had gotten carried away a little. It had almost all gone wrong. I shook my head, vacating the chair that I had occupied the entire serata. I needed to clear my thoughts. “Ilazio?” a weak voice called out as I gently opened the door. I looked behind me at the pale figure sitting up in the infermeria bed, Arama. She seemed enervated, but at least she was alive. I gave a slight smile, closed the door, and walked across the room towards her. “Che cosa?” I whispered. “You saved me. Perché?” she asked. “E allora? That doesn’t mean that I particularly like you,” I responded gruffly. “That’s not the point,” Arama said, looking extra pale and even trembling a little. “Maybe you should be Rego. If you really mean to be like this.” I looked at her, shocked, shaking my head in denial. She had done it for me! This wasn’t the first time today that my weeks of planning had turned out pretty differently from what I expected. But it was all the same in the end. It had to be. I would play my cards all the way. “No,” I said coolly. “Then what is it you want from me? You’ve been sitting there, su quella sedia, all night!” Arama swallowed, frustrated. “I can’t give you anything, more than that.” “No? Non voglio niente. I don’t want that. Nothing, I’ve repented of my vendetta. Mio papà can rest now, riposare in pace. You should too,” I answered ruefully, exasperated. “I don’t offer it for you, and I certainly don’t offer it for myself,” Arama begged, looking even more fragile than before. “But you can’t do it without me,” Arama grinned. “Lo sai.” “Perhaps I could have. Perhaps I didn’t want to. Buona Notte.” I gave a twinge of a smile as I left for the night. It turned out it was even easier this way. This was one maniera to gain vengeance over the dastardly Rego without even shedding blood. My month of hard work, research, and desperate secrecy would pay off soon… and both promesse could be preserved. You didn’t need to shed blood to kill. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. Arama De Cioto was eating from a small bowl of porridge when Ilazio entered the following morning. She thought it was delicious even though she knew it tasted horrible. She looked less pale and more determined to Ilazio. He was surprised she hadn’t left. “Sicché?” she questioned indifferently as he closed the door. “Indeed,” he replied calmly despite the severity of his words. “Hai ragione. Luca has only, besides his peace with the Kolgari, caused turmoil and death per la nostra gilda. The last Rego was possibly killed off at sea and look where that got us. If I am to assume the Regoship, I want to do so with popular support. Nessuna violenza.” Arama sighed, bit her tongue, and stared at Ilazio. “You and me, we could do it,” she said. Ilazio shrugged. “At least we could try. If you really mean it. If you don’t mind what people think of you.” “I need you to swear,” Arama said through her teeth. “Swear what? I’ve already sworn in my heart. You think I could have stopped myself from killing you if I hadn’t barred myself with an oath under the moon last night? I will never shed blood again.” Ilazio closed his eyes. “I will become Rego because Varlyrio needs me. That’s never what I wanted. I just wanted to avenge my father! But you’re right. There’s something better for me to do. We need peace, justice, and friendship. I’ll give that, I swear!” Ilazio Moccenigo lifted up his hand and shook it at the roof. Then he sank back onto the sedia. “If we can, I mean. I swear I’ll never stop trying: by Sana Argenta!” Arama looked at him with her mouth ajar. “Bene… I,” she paused, not sure how to continue. This was betrayal, but it was for the best. Everything she had done with Luca, what had it gotten them? Now it hurt to think of the people who were gone—all gone forever, and it was her fault. Did she think it was all a game? What had she done? Whatever it was, she didn’t want to do it anymore. “I agree,” she said at last. She took a breath. Her headache vanished magically and even though she was in physical pain, she had never felt so light and happy before. And it would be fun to do Luca a favor he never imagined. She wondered if he’d appreciate this. But who cared? It didn’t really matter whether Luca understood it or not. It wasn’t up to him. She tried not to laugh. She knew it would hurt her stomach. “This costs me nothing, but everything for you,” Ilazio remarked. This arrangement only seemed to benefit him, ma forse she had some ragione occulto. “What do you want this for?” “Maybe I need to repent too,” Arama countered, both to herself and to Ilazio. “I found out something last night. There are two kinds of hearts. And I have both—at least I think I do.” She winked at Ilazio. Ilazio nodded as he gathered his cloak about himself, preparing to leave. “Then it’s settled. Due giorni and I will return here. If you’ve left, you must come too, at this hour. Then, we will present our case to le famiglie di importanza. Rest well, mia compagna ancora di nella conspirazione.” “This is treason,” Arama grinned. Ilazio grinned cautiously back at her. He would watch her carefully. “Al demone with treason or patriotism!” they both said together. Arama swallowed back her laugh. “Which one even is this?” Ilazio added thoughtfully. “Non lo so,” Arama murmured. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. Luca di Carli, Rego of Varlyrio, was writing a letter to be sent to the Queen Ylspeth who demanded tidings detailing the recent assassination attempt, and regarding the death of the famous Tiger Prince, Råiden Tígrisdýrið, when Arama di Athena De Cioto limped in without knocking di mattina presto. “Arama!” he said, curious and alarmed at seeing her bloodstained clothes and pale face. She hadn’t bothered to change. Luca knew she liked going around all bloody and dirty. “Cosa! What happened this time? You can’t dream how anxious I’ve been; I sent out your brother looking for you with a trusted band of guards.” Arama grunted, wincing as she collapsed into the nearest chair. She smiled at him coyly, looking out from under her eyelashes with a resigned but merry expression. Luca leaned over the desk, rolling his eyes as he spilled ink on the letter to the Queen—he would probably just leave it that way, it was kind of artistic—and helped Arama into a sitting position. “Stab wound,” she replied, somehow nonchalantly. He frowned trying to repress any amusement. “Posso vedere. Why don’t you explain, per favore?” “Ilazio ambushed me,” she replied, licking her lips thoughtfully before confiding more. She knew, for one thing, that Ilazio’s agent was watching her from the other room. Well, he was wasting his time. Apparently Ilazio’s pacifism didn’t stop him from worrying about getting killed by someone else. “And he didn’t murder you like he murdered me?” Luca questioned ironically. “Oh, sorry, of course,” he apologized when Arama laughed. But there was something strange about her laugh, a pensive air to her face. Luca guessed that it wasn’t very comfortable for her to laugh at the moment. “Dispiace, didn’t mean to make you laugh,” he said apologetically. “It’ll make me live longer—maybe,” she said. “But no, he’s not dead either.” She smiled at Luca’s astonished look. “You flatter me,” she remarked bashfully. “What? All he cares about is revenge.” “Maybe… not all,” she said slowly. “Do you know what he cares about?” Luca quizzed her, leaning back against the table and accidentally putting his hand on the wet ink. “Accidenti!” Arama didn’t make any remarks. She seemed a little sad, her eyes lazily gazing out the window instead of at Luca. “Arama, you seem… distracted?” he said, concerned. Before, when he had seen her injured, she just wanted to fight. Now, she seemed perfectly happy, or at least perfectly normal. “That’s strange,” Luca accidentally muttered out loud. Arama looked distracted, gazing out of the window instead of at Luca. Arama nodded in affirmation, flinching, but both of them knew that it was a lie. It was… actually, pretty normal… that was what Luca found strange. “Well, it seems the Moccenigos aren’t a threat to us anymore. They know how to kill us but they still can’t. His last attempt on la mia vita has discouraged him, bene?” he said triumphantly, expecting Arama to tease him in return, but instead he disappointingly received nothing. He laughed. “Get some rest. Servo, fetch un dottore, per favore, to attend to her wounds.” “Sì, mio Rego,” the servant replied, bowing in deference. “We don’t really need to worry if all the world sees us together now, ehi?” “I don’t know, Luca,” Arama said hesitantly, “better not to be so reckless.” Luca nodded and gave a slight smile to Arama as she was carried out of the office. He sighed and then began adding some more artistic blotches to the report for Queen Ylspeth. Later, when little Arama De Cioto was more herself, he would find out the details of her disastrous fight with Moccenigo. Everything happened the way she wanted it to happen, he knew that pretty well. He grinned and shook his head. “Sempre impresionante,” he muttered. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. Due giorni dopo, I went back to the farmacista to get Arama. We talked about the complicated details, safe exile, how she would get Luca to go with her, riservatezza delle informazioni, extenuating deals. The point was, I had to treat her fairly, and it was pretty tough to arrange it with the De Fioris and the Conzagas, but we did. She would be safe whatever happened, and Luca would be too. As for me, I made sure there was no way anybody else could take the spot I wanted. If things were going to change, I would be the next Rego. Arama was inflexible on that point… and so was I. And without us, nothing could happen. So we got what we wanted. And now it was all up to Arama di Athena De Cioto. I was shocked at the way she chose to do it. What was she thinking? I wasn’t ever going to kill another man, and she believed that. I think she became a little infatuated. She had some pretty terrible mood swings. One second she seemed to be drifting in the sky with joy, and the next hour she would be so sad and silent, I really started to worry for her. Would she do what she had agreed to do? I was committed to make sure that it happened peacefully, or it didn’t happen at all. Fortunately, la ragazza had an idea for how to accomplish that. All we needed was to get the most powerful famiglie of Illaryian on our side… That was what we were about to do, in the most brutal, inconceivable way possible. Arama was going to confess. I helped her limp to the sala conferenze, arranged with some of the most important famiglie of Varylrio, who all together would easily be able to sway the populace. If Arama told the truth… Would she really do it? Once we arrived, I left Arama on a couch in the antechamber. She asked me for a knife and I refused to give her one. “You don’t trust me?” she said, and she almost sounded hurt. “I’m trusting you.” “You don’t have to,” I said wistfully. “But knives aren’t for peaceful people.” Arama’s eyes fell on my one. I took off the belt and the knife and tossed it out the window. “There.” “I can get a knife if I want one,” Arama said. “You don’t want one,” I said, looking at her keenly. She smiled. Before I proceeded into the designated room, guarded all round by faithful De Fiori mercenaries, I tucked my father’s last written words into my pocket and I looked at the girl on the couch one last time. “Ilazio?” she asked weakly. I wondered at how she was planning on giving a speech in this state. “I need…” “Che cosa?” I replied “I need to know what we’re gonna do once I tell them. There are some things that I… I’m not proud of, segreti. I tell them to everyone, and we have to have a plan, how’m I gonna get out if they don’t keep their side of the deal? You bet they’ll want me dead,” she whispered. “They’ll want me dead very badly.” I smiled at her sadly. “I think they’ll know that you’ve changed now. Why else would you be telling them?” “That’s not good enough.” Ilazio sucked on his lip. “Then turn around and leave when you’re done. I’ll give you time to get away. You have to go get Luca, stay safe with the Royal Guards for now.” Arama nodded disconsolately. Those gathered nodded their heads towards me and many whispered greetings or condolences for my father as I entered the room. We began without any pointless delay. “You know what you’re here for. We made a deal. Anyone not know what it involves? Does anyone dissent?” “We’re waiting,” Alesio said, almost coldly. “It’s your turn, Moccenigo.” “Where’s the assassin?” a young man asked. He was a Lord of Baiamonte. I wasn’t scared of him. I nodded. “No one will touch her until she’s done. Then she leaves in peace.” “In pace? Why should she live? Shouldn’t you have killed the assassina the first time?” one of the younger nobles voiced mockingly. It was the same Baiamonte. “Do you think I am an assassin?” I asked calmly. The Lord of Baiamonte blinked at me. The Lord of Baiamonte blinked. “Leave her to me,” I said. “I broke her spirit, isn’t that enough? You know the deal. Violence is what characterized the last Rego’s reign, and the one before that. And the Baiamontes’... but it’s a foolish path. You’ll see that if you wait a moment. If we are to gain the support of the cittadini, we must use a different tact,” I replied coolly. The young noble laughed. He shook his head. “You’re weak, Moccenigo.” I smiled, and looked at the rest. Then I laughed. “Weak? What’s the use of power,” I said, “if you don’t know how to control it?” I advanced towards the insolent ragazzo. Even though I was shorter than him, he seemed to back away as I approached. I advanced towards the insolent ragazzo. “Mio padre aveva l'adagio, ‘Those who are weak give in to their impulses, but those who are strong resist.’ I could have easily killed her, Baiamonte. But we need her,” I said softly, mio voce cutting him like ice. “And everyone here will do as I say in this matter, until the crown of Varlyrio is on my brow, or until I myself am killed.” Silence filled the air of the sala conferenze. “Arama di Athena De Cioto,” I said quietly, “venire.” A gasp ran through the room, and I even felt a few hands stiffen around their swords. “This is your assissina?” Alesio said sharply. “What’s next, Ilazio Moccenigo?” I smiled at the cunning man with the patch. “Ascoltare.” .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. A servant walked in, helping Arama, who looked much paler and weaker than when we had arrived, to a nearby chair. I went to stand next to her, while De Fiori, Conzaga, and others stood motionless in their places. “Pronta?” I asked quietly. She nodded in affirmation. The same ragazzo who had made un pazzo of himself earlier, unwisely decided to speak up again. “Signori, I thought you said this was una assassina? Certamente, di Carlo couldn’t have any use for this weakling?” Arama bent over and whispered to me, “Perhaps you should have given me that knife.” She grinned at the young Baiamonte. “Perhaps, if you would let her speak, then you’d think differently,” Conzaga replied to him. The ragazzo frowned. Then, he nodded politely in the direction of Arama. “Signorina, per favore inizia.” Arama took a deep breath. Then she got up out of the chair, grabbed it by the top bar, and whirled it around an inch in front of Lord Baiamonte’s face, all in one smooth movement. She set it back down and leaned against it in the center of the room. Fire lit up her eyes. “Now maybe you’ll believe what I say,” she said, biting her lip harshly. I offered assistance but she picked up the chair in between me and her. I saw the pain in her eyes that her physical effort was making, but although her arms trembled, the chair never wavered until she set it back down beside her. Ilazio about to offer Arama assistance. “Arama, we know the part you played before the coronation, and afterwards,” Alesio said slowly. “None of us here bear you any goodwill. It’s about Luca di Carli, Rego régnant, that we need to know. Is it true? What did he care about Brabantio Moccenigo? About the Tiger of Illaryian?” Arama stood there shakily for a few moments, whether from fear or because of her wounds, I know not, but then she opened her mouth and the story came out in a quick torrent, like she didn’t want them to even understand her. But they did. “And about Cadgie De Fiori, Capri, Staffen Conzaga, other names I don’t need to say. The De Fiori backed Luca di Carli to replace old Supano Amancio, my cognato, by secretly murdering him at sea, or something like that. I backed Luca too, and I backstabbed some of you. But it wasn’t just me. Staffen Conzaga was killed by Luca soon afterwards by recommendation of Signore De Fiori.” Alesio gasped and glared at her. He hadn’t expected her to tell that. She knew too much. He looked at the Conzaga watching him bitterly and said pertly, “Staffen Conzaga was a traitor. He had plans that wouldn’t have left the realm in pace for another month. What do you say to that?” “Staffen Conzaga was a traitor. He had plans that wouldn’t have left the realm in pace for another month." Arama smiled and sighed, sitting backwards on the chair. “Of course it was justified to the Guardia Reale as tradimento on Staffen’s part. My brother was captain of the guard then. Each of you can believe it or not—I do, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t kill him. And because Alesio knew too much, we sent un assassino after him, but he failed; however, the ruffiani we sent after Cadgie succeeded. Maybe I should have gone myself. But we had Capri sequestrato in the confusion, and the Conzaga ragazza too. Then, to make Luca look favorable in the eyes of la popolazione and to the De Fiori, we made as though I was behind all of the murders and kidnappings.” Alesio stared at Arama with his one good eye. “Luca and Alesio stormed the Amancio Palazzo to find Capri, and I was injured. Then, Luca di Carli’s position was a sure one, but if anyone knew that the De Cioto’s were close to him, that could end it all. Your father, Moccenigo played the part of ricatto. That,” Arama said and she shook her head, “wasn’t very wise. But he almost got revenge… after he was dead. You know, Ilazio Moccenigo. The Tiger had to pay the price for peace with the Kolgari. It was his life for that of a thousand other Varlyrians and Elves. He was my friend, and I miss him, but it was a sacrifice he might have made himself, if he could have. He had a noble soul.” Arama confesses. I stopped Arama short. She was leaning against the back of the chair with her head now. “Luca didn’t know I had killed your father,” she murmured. I started and tears irrepressibly sprang into my eyes. “He didn’t know?” Arama just shook her head, crying into her sleeve which she viciously wiped across her eyes. “What does it matter now, hadn’t you forgiven him?” she said gently. “Of course,” I exhaled. Lord Baiamonte looked at me in confusion. “Well, the kidnapping of mio cugino Fiorello, which we orchestrated in the dead of night, was a tricky piece of work. Ilazio, we entrapped you in the trap that you had set for the Rego. But it wasn’t really a sequestro at all, it was just a scary serenata for my little cousin.” Arama took a deep breath. “I did most of this. I told Luca some things, and I didn’t tell him others. Then you almost killed him. You would have if it hadn’t been for me. And he actually pardoned you, Moccenigo. I had him pardon you.” Arama looked to her left to see me watching her intently. I helped her out of the chair and whispered, “Grazie.” Arama shot me one slow look. “I was joking,” she said, limping towards the door in a sudden hurry. “I was about to kill you.” “Lo so, I meant thank you for what you just did,” I said again. “It was brave, Arama,” I whispered into her ear. “Grazie.” Arama grabbed the door and pulled it open. “Arrivederci,” she said, holding onto it for one instant. Then she pushed off and ran down faster than I thought she could go, down the stairs, through the room, over the rail, and into the street. There was an awful silence in the sala di conferenze. I called the guards to close the doors. “So,” Conzaga said, “most of what you suspected was just so. It seemed like there was a surprise in there for you too, though, Ilazio Moccenigo. How do you know that what she said was true?” “The same way I know that what you all promised me was true,” I smiled cleverly. “You don’t have any other options.” Then, the great De Fiori stood forward. “We know your demands, Moccenigo. We are tired of the rule of this domineering di Carli. Let us hear the response of all present here. We all want peace, and we need to work together if there is to be no bloodshed. What about the Royal Guard?” “They’re taken care of,” I said, nodding. “If you bring the populace to our cause, gentiluomini, I will do all the rest.” I waited in suspense to hear their response. Alesio de Fiori went first. “As you all fully know, Ilazio Moccenigo, the son of the unfortunately deceased Signore Brabantio, possa riposare in pace, has offered us a plan to take down the Rego.” Those faithful made the signs of Sana Argenta; the bucket of water and the sword. Alesio looked at them with a wise and almost scornful look. “Signore Moccenigo,” he spoke again, giving a slight nod in my direction, “we had already prepared our course of action, seeing you have fulfilled your first part, we of the famiglie di Illaryian gathered here on this fine morning have all agreed to put all our influence and wealth behind you until you’re crowned. But we work together in this. We can’t do it without you… but you can’t do it without us.” “We will have our eyes on you,” Conzaga said slowly. “Your position as Rego will be dependent on us. Do what you will, but betray us…” Conzaga looked around at his fellow conspirators. “And there will be a civil war. Or perhaps only a dagger in your back. We here are not pacifisti.” Baiamonte laughed. “Viva la Gilda!” I said coolly. “Viva la Gilda!” several others muttered. Those with wine glasses, filled with red Conzaga wine, naturalmente, raised them and took a long sip. I waited until they had finished questo rituale. “In our correspondences Signore De Fiori, I did not explain all of i dettagli,” I said to the nobles gathering closer around me. “Listen. This is how it shall be done…” .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.
  6. Exetrius

    CDC2 CMF: Homecoming

    Guilds of Historica Collectible Minfigures: Homecoming Yes, I remember now... I don't know why, or if this is common, but I tend to forget where it all started. How I ended up doing what I do. But as I set out to write this topic, it came back to me. I think it was around 2014 that Guilds of Historica caught my eye. I'm sure it must have been one of the many awesome castle builds that guided me to this forum. I went over the New Member Guide, the Guild topics one by one, and saw the maps. And then I saw minifigures, unlike any I had seen before. Custom factions, armies, fantasy races, built from official lego pieces! Up to that point, my (teenage) creations were based on official LEGO themes, built to be populated by official LEGO minifigs. With Guilds of Historica, it all started to change. A new world opened up for me, a journey, and a place to belong. I started building custom figures myself, eventually a sigfig and his family, friends and foes, and joined the Guilds a year later. So looking back at it, the figures have always been there, sparking new builds and stories. Perhaps that's why I have this feeling of homecoming. Introduction by Exetrius Welcome to Historica, fellow adventurer! On my travels through this land, this mighty continent, I have seen many wonderful people, creatures and other beings. Of course I can't tell you about all of them, that would take days, weeks, months probably! But, don't worry: I have made a selection. Let me introduce you to some of those I have met, or heard about. From the cold North to the hot South, from the tumultuous East to the calm West, from the world above to the world below, and from places within to places outside the continent. Let's start with the four guilds on the continent, and Varlyrio. Mitgardia Magnus, Lord of Spróggefjell Keep "Staring at my armour isn't going to help you get through the winter, get to work!" Yffreya, wilderness hunter "A mercenary job? Sorry, but I don't hate humans that much. Do I look like I do?" Kaliphlin Madame Quarrat, mine owner "This deep pink sapphire came from the latest expansion. Work for me, and you might find one too..." Norri, badlands nomad "This is Bërtah, my favourite of the herd. She's a little shy around strangers, though." Avalonia Fiona, Mystic Isles messenger "It's mostly good news from Albion this time around, so I can afford to take the scenic route. You can join me for a while, if you like." Jerome, salvager-carpenter "You are leaving your old wagon in good hands, sir. And, on behalf of the trees in our forests, I thank you!" Nocturnus Pandemonium, 6th wizard of Zotharith "Yes I burned the town, got a problem with that? There wasn't a good soul in the whole rotten place anyway..." Umdurin, Vacunani scholar "If I'm not mistaken Volume 467 of the Recorin Orbi makes mention of such a tunnel exit. I'll check with the archives." Varlyrio Don Giullio, art dealer "100% genuine, for certain. This is a one-time offer: 13 silvers and it's yours." Rebecca, maid and assistant-chef "I'd love to chat, but the market will be closing soon. Later!" Outside of the Guilds, there is also plenty of interesting folk. Some of them I never met in person, for better or for worse... Ghost Islands of Yureishima Yoshintamaru Sasekageojima, Master swordsman "I see your spirit is fierce, but you lack technique. And away with those runes, they ruin the flow between you and the blade!" Miyuko of the Dawn, folk legend It is said that those who meet Miyuko die on the spot, and depending on her judgement either get sent straight to the realm of the dead, or are reborn from their former bodies. The Underworld Zugal defector and Demorian informant "The war really changed the Clan, you know. I tell you: flying up and down the Underworld is better than serving Raavage." K'sirtllhisqr, Drow mage "Where do you think you're going, surface critter? Trespassing this area is strictly forbidden, even for Drow..." Cedrica Sabrina, spoiled brat "Say hi to Marco, I got him for my half-year birthday! Hey, I'm not spoiled, you're just too poor to understand!" Lunarius the Formidable, archmage "A City of Magic, you say? Sounds like something I need to keep my eye on..." ---- And there you have it: 16 figures! I wasn't feeling very inspired from the beginning, but I had said I'd participate so I didn't go back on my word. I found a way to produce solid figures nonetheless. There are a number of little hints to previous builds or other references baked into the figs and their bios, tell which ones you like! I could do a breakdown later. Thanks for looking! Criticism welcome, hit me with all you got. @Henjin_Quilones I'm not going to keep this from you: Fiona with nougat skin and white elven hair looked glorious. For example as a Hesperian dragon rider. However, it just looked wrong next to the carpenter... Maybe a fleshie figbarf isn't all that unlikely anymore.
  7. Deep in the east Varlyrian countryside, far from the bustling canals and thriving cities, lies a wonder of Historica. This shining cathedral is one of several holy sites throughout Varlyrio maintained by an order of Priestesses dedicated to keeping these sacred sites in pristine condition. The temple is renowned for its beauty and craftmanship and intricate tilework, and when the bell tolls people come from far and wide to gather in prayer. Following Dan's trip in Kaliphlin, the next destination of his travels ended up being the beautiful land of Varlyrio. After a long, boring journey full of seasickness, drinking and dreary traveling he finally found himself in the countryside of Eastern Varlyrio, and after dealing with some business in a nearby town Dan found himself with a bit of spare time. So of course when a local mentioned a wonderous place nearby he decided to stop by and visit. However, when he finally arrived at the temple he found the doors barred and the bell silent, quite a difference from the open, welcoming atmosphere he had been told of. Fearing something was amiss, he traveled back into the nearby town and recruited some help in the form of some brave Avalonian soldiers currently vacationing in the area. With some hints from one of the locals they were able to find a secret entrance to the temple and made their way inside. Once inside they discovered that their suspicions had been right. The priestess was locked away in one of the long unused cells beneath the temple, and once they freed her she explained that bandits had come, stolen some provisions and valuables from the temple, and locked her away. Interior Pics:
  8. Previously... Hey guys, here's my second Guilds of Historica wonder, this time for the glory of Varlyrio! This is the first part of a huge collab series that we got together, so stay tuned for more . At the end I'll make one post with the whole story for easy reading, but for the meantime, here's the first instalment! Hope you like it! The Tiger of Illaryian: Part I On the outskirts of Illaryian, for countless thousands of centuries, there has stood a towering statue of a giant stone tiger. Perched atop the tall and elegant Royal Arabesque Mansion, this tiger’s claws scratch the very sky. More than one traveler has come to cringe beneath the looming giant in the dark and gloomy night, at least half convinced that it was some gigantic immortal tiger hound, coming to steal their souls. But not the pair of travelers that stood upon the Tiger of Illaryian this night. “Che bella notte!” murmured a wistful girlish voice. “Luca? Are you happy that you are Rego?” Arama looked into the young man’s bright green eyes as he leaned back against the foot of the giant stone statue. She took his hand in hers, caressing it lightly. Luca di Carli cast his eyes about the sandy outskirts of the city before replying. From the roofs of the old mansion they had a beautiful moonlit view of the entire city of Illaryian, all the way out to the boundless sea in the east. “Why do you want me to talk?” Luca answered in a detached way. “You have qualcosa to tell me.” “Può essere,” she hesitated demurely. He looked back at her at last, with keen interest. “Scommetto!” he said. “Let’s go up to the top!” Arama responded without answering directly, blushing beneath the black hood that was wrapped around her pretty face. She took a deep breath and looked at Luca expectantly. He smiled a dashing smile and put his hands together for her to step in. In just another second they were both crawling across the broad back of the statue, making their way further and further over the edge of the mansion. Now a light mist crept in and began to cover the city in its haze, so that the ground beneath them was lost in its swirling depths. Arama gasped and sat down on the brow of the tiger. “This is the perfect place for my story,” she breathed, looking at the buildings around her with a feeling of excitement and freedom pulsing through her veins. The entire world lay there beneath them! Beneath Luca di Carli and Arama di Athena de Cioto! “Accidenti!” Luca slowly stood up by her side and she gave him her hand again to steady him, looking up into his eyes with just a slight glimmer of fright in her own. Luca stood slowly up by her side, and she gave him her hand to steady him. “Don’t try to go up too high, signore,” she murmured, more to herself than to him. “No,” he answered, “no. Don’t push me to go too high, De Cioto.” She laughed and shook her head. “I went to the Sunken City,” she said abruptly. “I know,” frowned Luca, fingering his cloak. He clenched his fist. “I forbade you to go.” “I know. And what you predicted… happened…” Luca looked at her quickly, his eyes wide. “Quasi,” she gulped. “Well?” Luca looked down at his feet, and at the black fog beneath them. “I won’t bother you with all the dettagli. They wanted to kill me, signore.” “The Kolgari?” Arama nodded and swallowed. “Girl! How could you, Arama?” Luca flashed out angrily, dropping her hand and leaping a pace away. “Don’t you care if Varlyrio is torn apart? I warned you. Arama, it was the one thing I told you that you could not do!” “Attento!” the girl called out, leaning forward on her hands. Truly Luca was standing in a precarious position, on the tiger’s upper jaw, directly overlooking the dark abyss. “Come closer to me,” Arama begged. “That’s why I went to the Sunken City! Luca, the Kolgari Elves are wary. After the terrible fashion in which Supano Amancio treated them they are loath to commit to any allegiance beneath a new sovereign. But now, I have a way!” Her eyes shone and she gingerly rose to her feet too, stretching forth both hands towards di Carli. “What do you mean?” Luca asked mistrustfully. “Oh Luca, listen to what happened!” She snatched up his hands from his side to balance herself. “I was in the Sunken City,” she began. “No matter how I got there. Come ho detto, my life was in the gravest danger, for they had discovered that an infiltrator from the world above had come to the caves, and they scoured the forests and dens to hunt me down. But I was not all alone.” “Who was with you,” Luca asked sharply. “He said, ‘They call me The Tiger.’” Arama looked up into Luca’s eyes, a fiery look on her face. “His name is Prince Råiden Tígrisdýrið.” “Is it, ih! Why were you with this Råiden?” said Luca coldly. “He met us as we drew near to the city. His eyes danced when he saw me—Luca, he fell in love with me,” Arama’s eyes danced merrily too. Luca vouchsafed no reply. “But Luca,” Arama said eagerly, grabbing his cold cheeks, and making him sit down by her side, “this Kolgari is from high circles. Circles of elves. Don’t you see? He saved my life. Sì!” she stopped Luca’s mouth, “They poisoned me with their magic, they found me, and I was bleeding to death. Then The Tiger convinced them all, every one of them, to let me leave in the morning.” “But you were bleeding to death!” mocked Luca. Arama laughed and threw back her hood, tossing her hair over her back. “I was in the land of the Kolgari, the most famous magicians in the Guilds! I don’t think anyone else would have cared if I had died, but Råiden took me secretly to an ancient shrine, a beautiful enchanting place, Luca. There he put my hand upon an amulet with a muttered pronouncement, and bene signore, faint and dying one moment, in the next I promettere, I felt healthier and happier than I ever had before in my life, and all my blood came back into me, and my wound disappeared completely. See, here is the scar, all that is left of a deadly wound! That amulet, Rego, is worth more than all of the Kolgari.” “Now suddenly I do not understand why any Kolgari ever die,” commented the Rego ironically. Arama bent over and put her lips to his ear, “Po signore, the amulet can only save humans.” “But who is this Prince Råiden to you?” Luca asked coolly. “Certo, he is my dearest love… when I am with him,” Arama smiled coyly. “Don’t you see you grande idiota! He is the key to the Kolgari. Listen to my plan! I have never made a better one…” Arama hunkered down and cast her hood back over her head, for the night was cold, the mist had slowly vanished, and she would not have been seen by anyone else for all the world… But as for that, it was too late. Not so far off, in the Palazzo Vincenzo—a new mansion under construction on the outskirts of Illaryian, with a charming view of the ancient stone tiger monument—a lone architect still wandered the half built corridors and roofs. But for a while now he had ceased wandering. “Sana Argenta! Tis the Rego,” he murmured keenly, as he knelt down in the shadows behind an empty window and watched the pair of figures on the head of the Tiger of Illaryian. “And that… that is the figure of una signorina—puh! if she is a signorina.” Signore Brabantio Moccenigo, for it was he, put his hand to his forehead and squinted to catch a glimpse of the girl's face beneath her hood, but the moon was to her back, and with an exclamation of disappointment he grabbed the windowsill. “There is something here,” Brabantio muttered. “Qualcosa that is not right. And if only I could use this qualche cosa to my advantage!” Suddenly the girl upon the tiger’s brow laughed and threw back her hood with a gesture, shaking her hair in the wind. Signore Moccenigo gasped. “By Sana Argenta…” was all that he murmured, “It is Arama De Cioto!” .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. Brabantio Moccenigo followed the cloak-and-dagger pair to more than one of their secret reunions. From then on he was their shadow, a dark and sinister shadow, cunning and scrupulous, learning dark secrets and deadly proofs. Brabantio only failed to take into account one thing. If he was dead, none of it could possibly do him any good… One fateful evening as Signore Moccenigo’s plans at last began to fall into place, a little before the sun also fell into its place beneath the horizon, Arama di Athena De Cioto sat out in a wide field upon the grass with Luca di Carli’s arms around her waist. The field was an abandoned one, but even so she was wrapped up closely in a black mantle and hood, and the Rego also was cautiously disguised, so that none should recognize them. But Signore Moccenigo knew their faces and their names, without even seeing them, for he had dogged them there. As he lay hidden behind a small and ruined stone wall he pondered the measures he had taken to ensure success. Was everything completely ready? Had any little detail been overlooked? That very pomeriggio he had finished writing the letters. Already one was in the hands of no one less than Prince Råiden Tígrisdýrið, with directions to open it at once. Moccenigo thought himself very clever for having sought out such a delicate ally, and in the brief letter he promised to send more, which should be opened only if he himself by any chance died. In reality he knew that Råiden would never open the second letter. It was nothing but leverage. He would give it to him at the same time as he sent out the other letter to the Rego. Yes, that was an excellent plan. They would not dare to trouble him—for if any ill befell him they would only end up in worse problems, dalla padella alla brace. Brabantio leaned over the wall to cast a quick glance at the merrily chatting pair. Only he knew the horrible surprise which was in store for them soon. “As you sow you shall reap,” he murmured beneath his breath, forgetting how his adages might always cut two ways. What he fully expected to reap was nothing more nor less than a full king's ransom once they bought him off! He was made for life, and his family would share in the good fortune, although he was not so rash as to let them share in the obvious dangers. Yes, everything was working to perfection. Ricatto had never been so easy! Arama De Cioto was bored. Luca was still vacillating about her plan, and she was sure that he was wasting his time. She rolled over in the grass. “No, I don’t want to be Rego myself,” she grinned, rolling her eyes at Luca as he asked her for the hundredth time. “Then let me be,” admonished di Carli, running his hand through the girl's long hair beneath her hood. Suddenly Arama’s whole attitude changed. What was that? No, it was already gone, but she had seen it clearly. It was someone’s face, watching them from over the low wall to their left! She rolled over in the grass again, her heart in her throat, so that she could look up into the Rego’s face. “I… I have to go, Luca,” she said uneasily, scrambling to her feet and kissing the Rego’s hand. “Le mie scuse, sorry! Addio!” She walked slowly backwards, watching Luca’s baffled face, until she got around the corner of a wall. Then she turned and ran. She ran around in a half circle, as fast as she could, until she found herself watching the wall from which they had been watched. There was no one there! But to the left there was a man on his feet, walking swiftly towards the Northern Gate of Illaryian. He was the only person on the horizon. She crept after him. If he was going to go far she would need a horse… but then she didn’t really need to know where he was going, if she could only get close enough she would see the coat of arms upon the man's breast coat, perhaps even recognize his face. Arama clenched her fists and grasped the hilt of her knife. As the man entered a tavern stable to search for his horse she saw the sigil upon his sleeve. The house of Moccenigo! She would be there before the clocks struck midnight, and she guaranteed that whichever Moccenigo this was, his life would not be a long one. “Kiss your soul goodbye,” she murmured softly into the air, as she wheeled round and hurried off into the night. But after all the sun was high in the sky the next day when a dark figure rode up to a halt before the beautiful Villa Moccenigo in Porto Caglaveri. “I am here before him,” muttered the masked figure, slipping off the horse and leading it around to a picket. “Aspettami,” she whispered to the horse. Arama had been riding through the night here and there, following the mysterious Moccenigo wherever he went, until at last he left Illaryian completely behind, and divining that he was at last headed for La Villa Moccenigo, she put the spurs into her horse and reached her destination before him. All was prepared now. But she had to make sure that her move was a final one. There could be no loose ends, lest for lack of caution the house of di Carli come tumbling to the ground, and the house of De Cioto along with it. With a bound she was over the fence into the Moccenigo Villa grounds. Arama looked up at an open window on the second floor and a look of determination flitted across her face beneath the mask. All was dark within that room, although in others candlelight was visible behind the curtains. “That is where I must look, scommetto,” she said hoarsely. She sprang swiftly up onto the wall, climbing with agility from sill to sill and from corbel to corbel until she reached the window on the second storey. With one quick glance inside she pushed it open and slipped in. She closed the window after her. Arama stood in a darkened study filled with bookshelves and counters, with a beautiful desk right beside the large sash window through which she had entered. “Ehi!” she whistled beneath her breath, rushing over to the desk upon which lay certain opened papers and letters. “Brabantio Moccenigo,” she purred threateningly, reading his name from off a dozen papers. She paled as she hastily looked more closely over the first one that came to her hand. “Accidenti! he knows far too much! Meno male I am in time!” she cried in a fierce undertone. With a bound she reached the door. It was a private study. “Tis locked! Che fortuna! The secret is still safe, these letters prove themselves to be the only ones that he has written, and they could not have been perused by any other within the house. He would not have allowed them in. No, he would not have left the papers exposed were it not a safe room, where no one but himself ever entered.” With a rough hand the infiltrator spilled the other papers about upon the floor and searched the drawers carefully for more evidence—but besides the two letters upon the desk, one of which had been addressed to the Rego, and the other to an anonymous individual, there was nothing whatsoever to interest her. Still, for precautions sake Arama seized several important blueprints, documents relating to the construction of a Cattedrale in Caglaveri, and other architectural papers. She shoved them all into her bag and hid behind the broad and heavy curtains with a grim smile. Across her back was slung a light crossbow and a full quiver, and the crossbow was already loaded… “Signore Brabantio!” exclaimed the masked figure suddenly, hearing a horse gallop into the yard without. Arama spun swiftly round and looked down towards the entrance. A lacchè was opening the gate for a tall man upon a handsome white horse. Even in the distance Arama recognized him at once. She closed her eyes briefly and felt that she could still see that face peering over the low stone wall at Luca di Carli and at her. She grit her teeth and shifted uneasily behind the curtain. Then suddenly a calmness took over her frame, and she felt that she was no longer even Arama di Athena De Cioto: she was only a nameless assassin now. With a cool pert look upon her face she watched as Brabantio Moccenigo exited the building again with a hurried step and remounted his horse. Then she opened the window with a gentle movement, stepped out onto the roof again, and followed him. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.
  9. Previously... Here's my second build for the collaboration, along with the third part of the story. Huge thanks to my fellow collaborators for help with this build, especially @TalusMoonbreaker for the idea to use this backdrop. Enjoy! The Tiger of Illaryian: Part III It was the nineteenth of November. With winter coming on apace there was nothing better for the Marquis of Motu to do than build yet another brand new fancy manor in the heart of Illaryian, the famed capital of Varlyrio, and nothing better for Lady Motu to do than inaugurate the brand new manor with yet another of her famous balls. But this one was a little different. This time it was a mask ball. Un baile di mascherati… Råiden Tígrisdýrið snapped his mask over his face and thrust his hands into his pockets. He was leaning back against the balustrade, waiting for someone, chewing a popular Kolgari gum behind his mask. “‘This is the mask I’ll be wearing,’” he repeated to himself, “‘there will scarcely be two of these.’ No, davvero, there is not even one!” he muttered in dissatisfaction. But suddenly the mask he was thinking of appeared bobbing round the corner, tripping towards him through a throng of masked ball-goers. “There you are at last, Råiden!” whispered a low, girlish voice. “I, at last? Carina, you are the one who just arrived.” “No, no, on the contrary,” the girl looked hastily about, through the eyes of her mask, “I have been in the camerino all this time, just trying to get by all of the pretty girls who are so vain and throng the mirrors so. Prince Råiden, you want to dance with me, right?” “Hush, no! Well, yes, può essere after a moment,” he added shyly, “but I have something to tell you.” Råiden looked both ways and mysteriously turned his back on the interior palazzo, looking out over the city which lay before them. Arama, for the girl in the mask was she, leaned over the balustrade with him. “Che cos'è?” she asked curiously. “I was just told that Signore Moccenigo died, Arama,” Råiden whispered in a very low voice, so that the girl barely caught the words. A shiver went down Råiden’s spine. “Capire, see this, bambina.” Arama’s eyes opened wide and her face turned pale and she was glad that it was hid behind a mask. The paper that Prince Tígrisdýrið showed her had a few quickly scrawled words upon it, and the girl recognized that feverish handwriting at once. If I perish I hereby swear that Luca di Carli is the author of my death, beyond the shadow of a doubt in my own mind. Råiden, domani I will pass you another letter in the same way. You must open it only if some disgrazia happens to, tuo veramente, Signore Brabantio Moccenigo. Råiden crushed the letter in his hand again and shoved it down into one of his colorful pockets. “What?” faltered Arama, “Whatever would the Rego do that for?” She turned away and put her hand up under her mask to her face. She leaned against a pillar to steady herself, and bit her lip as she felt tears spring to her eyes. How much did Råiden know? What if… what if he knew too much? She took a deep breath and realized that Råiden was speaking to her. No, it was not Råiden. Behind them a barely articulate voice murmured, “That is what we have to trovare—to find out,” as a masked person brushed past them. Arama started again, staring at Råiden with fright in her eyes. “I thought we were alone,” she murmured, her voice trembling. Råiden rapped his fingers on the railing. He looked at the man in the dark red cloak and the black mask as he walked on out of sight, and then he pulled up his own mask and put his mouth to Arama’s ear, whispering through the feathers of her mask. “His father was murdered,” he whispered softly. “I think that the Rego debba stare attento…” Arama opened her mouth but words wouldn’t come out. She raised her hand to the Kolgari’s forehead and gently combed back his wild, matted hair, too frightened to speak. He little knew that she used the very same hand that had pulled the trigger of a crossbow on Brabantio Moccenigo just days before. Suddenly a fellow in an extravagant and costly gold mask strolled carelessly around the corner of the wall and set his eyes on her with an expressive look, visible even through the eyeholes of his mask. Arama’s heart beat faster, and she tried to suppress it, for she feared that at any second Råiden at her side might hear it. But Prince Råiden stepped aside for just a moment, hurrying after Ilazio Moccenigo to bring him back. The man in the gold mask stepped up to Arama with a gallant bow. “Mi faresti l'onore di un ballo?” “No, Luca, you must not!” Arama urged, blushes covering her face as she pulled her hand away from him. She suddenly felt very hot under her mask. “No!” she pushed the Rego away from her. The music was starting. Arama caught Råiden looking back at them out of the corner of her eye. Luca di Carli abruptly grabbed both her hands and pulled her up off the balustrade against which she was shrinking. “Oh, su coraggio, what is the matter with you?” he asked gaily. “Signore,” Arama mumbled reluctantly, in protest. She looked directly at Råiden with a stare of hopeless helplessness in her eyes as the Rego whisked her away. “Does Råiden know who Luca is?” she thought uneasily. Råiden did not, but he stared after them in dismay and astonishment. “The first dance was to be mine,” he said to himself, “what is that sciocco doing, dragging her away like that?” He sprinted suddenly forward, hurrying round the corner into the ballroom. “Who is that fellow?” Prince Råiden demanded in an undertone, watching the pair as the man in the gold mask led the ball with his arms around Arama’s waist. He addressed a person in a simple dark green mask and costume, who was also watching how the pair in the feathered headdress and the regal golden mask danced. “Accidenti,” answered the other eagerly, “that I can tell you, for I happened to see him in the camerino for a moment with his mask off.” “Parla amico, what did you see?” asked Råiden in the same eager, urgent tone. He noticed that Arama was dancing distractedly, unevenly, and unwillingly, while to his eye her companion seemed utterly taken up with the dance, not a care in all the world troubling his head, not even the evident displeasure and distress of his dancing partner. Råiden frowned and took a deep breath while he shoved his hands in his pockets. The gentiluomo in the green mask lowered his voice to no more than a whisper as he answered Råiden’s query in a confidential way, “Signore, you may believe me or not, but the compagno dancing there is no other than the Rego of Varlyrio himself. Che ragazza molto fortunata!” “Lucky girl?” Råiden gritted his teeth and clenched his fists in his pockets. Arama was completely overwhelmed with feelings and thoughts and ideas as the Rego led her around the room, twirling her about and holding her close to him. Each time she struggled in his grasp, and Luca grinned at her inexplicable behaviour with a jolly unrelentingness that further exasperated the poor girl in her dangerous position. Her cheeks glowed beneath her mask and she spoke to him in a breathless, barely discernible voice. “Did anyone see you, Signore? Does anyone know who you are?” She looked at him demurely as he spun her around his arm, and he thought he caught a glint of angry reproach in her eyes. “No, it’s scarcely likely,” Luca smiled, “while even if anyone had, you don’t really suppose they would know you also? Sst, anyway, better to dance in silenzio. Who can say that I even know you?” “Avventato,” was all that Arama murmured through her teeth, looking down at the ground, spinning round and round until she was dizzy. When she looked up through the spinning walls and floors of the room she thought she saw Råiden’s mask watching her from a corner, while she saw a man next to him turn to him with a confident remark. They were both watching her. Her heart beat wildly in her chest. She couldn’t dance anymore, she was faint and sick and afraid. “Fermare! Stop!” she cried, tearing herself out of Luca’s arms in the middle of the dance. “What, che cosa? Where are you going?” Luca grabbed her wrist, but she jerked away and threw herself towards the doorway, stumbling through the other dancers. Suddenly she slipped on the marble floor as Luca sprinted after her. Her mask had been half torn off her face as the Rego tried to stop her, and her head was swimming. She was afraid that she really was going to fall headlong to the floor, when she suddenly felt a pair of strong arms around her and looked up into Råiden Tígrisdýrið’s face. He crashed back into the corner of the doorpost with the momentum of her rush. “Arama, stai bene?” “Sì, no,” she faltered, looking up with relief into his eyes, “he forced me to dance, the cattivo in incognito!” “Ah, do you know who he was?” “Né mi interessa.” Arama looked about and saw that Luca was leaning against a pillar in the far corner watching her contemplatively. “L'insolente…” Arama didn’t finish, freeing herself from Råiden’s arms and kicking the wall. Råiden put his hand up to her flushed cheek and she gently removed it to rearrange her hair about her face, and to put her mask back in its place. Råiden watched her, observing that her eyes were bright like fire, and that indignation was written all over those pretty cheeks. “Non importa, it was only the Rego, Luca di Carli,” Råiden commented glumly. The instant that he had said it he regretted it. Arama looked at him with a question in her eyes, and then looked quickly back over at the Rego leaning against his pillar. “Davvero?” she said sceptically. “Penso,” Prince Råiden shrugged, cursing inside. Suddenly the fire in Arama’s eyes seemed to double and her face was covered with a pretty blush. “But it is nothing,” she said affectedly, “the Ciotos have always been close to the throne.” “Lui pagherà,” muttered Råiden in an undertone, looking with cold fury over at the Rego, who pushed off of the wall and meandered slowly out of the room. Suddenly Arama leapt up onto the balustrade which overlooked the city, for they had wandered back out into the portico. “Why don’t we make him pay?” she said eagerly, flushing and looking about furtively, her fingers wrapping around the knife she concealed beneath her clothes. At the same moment she felt a paper being thrust into her other hand, and she looked up to find her eyes locked with those of Ilazio Moccenigo, the son of the man that she had murdered. She looked up to find her eyes locked with those of Ilazio Moccenigo. She smiled with a masterful effort and glanced down at the note after looking at Råiden for approval. Hush, read the note, let us meet domani, at the balcone delle Scale. I will be beneath it in a small gondola. Come alone. Råiden read the note upside down and then Ilazio whispered, “Eat it.” The Kolgari stared after him as he melted into the crowd of merry party-goers. “Domani,” Råiden murmured, and by the time he looked back Arama had already swallowed the note. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.
  10. Hired Hands of Historica Queens rule and warriors battle, but workers propel Historica forward. These are the hired hands of Historica. I created these minifigures for the Guilds of Historica 2nd count down challenge. There are members from all five guilds as well as Cedrica. Kaliphlin Jaffar the Monkey Trainer The aristocracy of Kaliphlin likes their monkeys trained, might as well collect extra profit while I’m at it Pouri the Attendant Fanning the king is exhausting Sesur-hat the Scribe Drawing one map is fun, a dozen copies is not Varlyrio Drad the Deck Hand After two months at sea, I long for the harsh Wastelands Sofia the Back Stabber If the poisoned apple doesn’t work, the direct approach will Elias the Net Maker Mending nets is better on my back than reeling them in full of fish Mitgardia Thodil the Ice Cutter I don’t know why humans don’t get their own ice, mining it is much easier than mining rock Aðalgeir the Furrier Harsh winters create the best business Gjertrud the Snow Shoveler I’d give half my wage for a sunny day Avalonia Ailmer the Lumberjack 𝅘𝅥𝅮 I’m a lumberjack and I’m ok… Fanes the Farrier My work is all the separates you from the ground Neddi the Gardener If you step on my flowers once, you won’t do it again Nocturnus Mudgul the Miner At least there is no ghastly sunlight down here Ruak the Bone Craftsman I’m the best in the over and underworld Koglodzar the Slave Driver I can’t believe I get paid to do this! Cedrica Esther the Chambermaid You wouldn’t believe what the Queen did last night!
  11. Grover

    Bianca Family

    The Bianca family was a dirt-poor, unranked family from the backwater canals of Illyrian. Unranked with no political power, following the death of their parents, the orphaned siblings turned to a life of crime. Now, years later, the family is still unranked but the siblings and their half brother run a growing criminal enterprise. Gualtiero Bianca, head of family Constant beatings from his drunken parents made Gualtiero a very sullen child, but an elderly local pharmacist took pity on him and mentored him in his craft, securing Gualtiero a position in a school of herbalism and pharmacy in the city of Illyrian. His third year in school, the pharmacist passed away from old age and his parents died only months later in a drunken gondola accident. Penniless and without support, he turned his skills to producing illicit pharmaceuticals and found he had quite a talent for it. With the help of a fellow pharmacy student (who had failed out the previous year and began dealing drugs), he slowly began to grow his criminal enterprise. Now, years later, Gualtiero and his assistant, Jesse Uomorosa, produce illicit pharmaceuticals in their caravan, the Nave di Krystallo. This product is then smuggled into Illyrian by Gualtiero's brother-in-law, Cletus, and distributed by their sister the madame and their half-brother nightclub bouncer. Gualtiero is a ruthless, brutal head of the Bianca crime family. Serifina Bianca Serafina is the second oldest of the siblings behind Gualtiero, and felt obligated to take care of the family after her parents' death. While Gualtiero was off starting up his business, she turned to the oldest profession to make money. Through traditional Varlyrian methods, Serafina quickly gained power in the working house, becoming the Madame. She revamped the business with a high-end clientele and began making more money. She renamed the house to "The Golden Banana" and now provides services to the rich and powerful in Varlyrio. Having reconciled with Gualtiero largely for a substantial cut of his profits, she now distributes wholesale 'product' to upper scale clients and provides law enforcement protection through bribes and blackmail. Niccolo Bianca Third eldest of the siblings, Niccolo Bianca was cared for by his oldest sister Serifina as a child. He learned the value of a dollar and how to prey upon the desires of others, distributing some of Gualtiero's pharmaceutical on the street as a teen. He saved his money and started to run his own gambling rackets in back alleys where he sold drugs. This grew, and he eventually took over a run down casino, renovating it and bringing in new clientele. He now runs a moderately successful casino in Illyrian that launders Gualtiero's money, sells drugs to clients, and provides cover for nefarious meetings of multiple Varlyrian underworld members. He is hard-nosed, has strict rules of his employees not using their product, and will eliminate anyone who breaks the rules or crosses him. His business is close to Serifina's, and they regularly refer clients to one another. Abriana Bianca, her husband Cletus Thurbrush, and her four sons 'Carlo' Youngest of the siblings, Gualtiero's disaster of a sister Abriana ran all over town with every man she could find after her parents died. Never the brightest, Abriana named all of her four sons Carlo after her father, telling them apart by their last names. She seems to have settled on the alligator farmer Cletus Thurbrush and she lives with him on the murky, fetid backwater lower class canals of Illyrian in a ramshackle house with her children and their numerous dogs. Cletus smuggles Gualtiero's bulk product around the city inside of alligator corpses, smelly, disgusting vehicles for transport that rarely are searched by authorities. Thag, half-orc half-brother The unusual product of their father's dalliance with an orc woman, the siblings' half-brother Thag works as a bouncer at a nightclub. He is a low-level dealer of Gualtiero's product and helps with enforcing and extortion operations in their drug territory.
  12. Garmadon

    The Falls of Melancholy

    On the edge of the eastern side of Varlyrio, brushing up against the mountains where the dwarves and gnomes have their dwellings, there is a great waterfall formed by the great, rocky wall of stone that leapt up in the midst of the river when the two islands collided together in the legendary past. The mists hung low over this waterfall when Dialto de Fiori rode up to it, wounded and heartsore after the great tragedy of his would-be-wedding, with a broken lance-end from his challenge to Sir Baiamonte embeded in his side... Hey y'all! It's been too long since I've posted here, but I hope this makes up for the delay! Built for the SJ Ambiance category (though I don't expect to win anything - there are way too many fantastic entries!), but it's was an awesomely inspirational category and I'm really happy with how it turned out! Inspired by an illustration of Sir Pellias from an old book on King Arthur and his knights, and this part in particular of the awesome history of Varlyrio (which I wrote ) is something I've always wanted to flesh out in the brick! Also (in a slightly different version - but gotta admit I prefer the medieval one, haha! ) I made it to finalist in the Ideas contest! Would love any votes y'all want to send my way! Thanks for viewing, y'all's C&C is always more than welcome!
  13. W Navarre

    La Cospirazione (Story)

    Previously... I had the same idea as Louis of Nutwood apparently! To make the reading easier, for those who hadn't read the story yet, or for those who want to find it all in order, I'll post the whole story here, with each main scene and a few of the best illustrations. I hope you enjoy it! I'd be glad to hear your thoughts. P.S. I would recommend listening to this piece of music from Assassin's Creed while reading, it really flows with the story! And so without further ado: La Cospirazione: Part I It was a calm, quiet evening, and the only noise stirring the silent streets of Tergiversa was the resounding trod of heavy boots on the rough streets again and again as Alesio de Fiori hurriedly made his way to the outskirts of the city. As he approached a small gateway he heard voices and paused, warily peering into the shadows: all was safe. There was a man on horseback, another sitting on a small part of the wall, and two others figures outlined a little further back, one a tall Minotaur and the other a slim girl. As Alesio arrived the man on the horse jumped down and grasped his hand in excitement. “Tomorrow!” exclaimed Staffan Conzaga, stamping the ground. “All is arranged! Tomorrow we will meet in the palace of Illaryian: there will be none to stop us! Di Carlo will be crowned Rego and by Sana Argenta, the people will be wildly pleased with it!” Di Carlo nodded, and Alesio stroked his beard. “All seems to be going well. Supano should have known his days were numbered. Are there any final matters to arrange, Luca?” Luca skipped off the wall and there followed a short talk, all in hushed whispers. Finally everything was settled, just as the sky began to darken. “Addio, gentlemen,” Staffan remarked, climbing onto his horse with a short glance at the sky. “Tomorrow then, at dawn, I will meet you in Illaryian.” “Godspeed!” Luca waved him off. Then he leaned back casually on the wall as the man and his bodyguard the Minotaur galloped off. “An ambitious man,” Alesio remarked. “Aye,” di Carlo assented carelessly. “He will stop at nothing,” Alesio flipped a knife in the air. Luca looked up thoughtfully. “None of us will?” he ventured with a sharp look. “What I mean is ... ” Alesio de Fiori fingered his knife suggestively. After a short silence he added, “I don’t think you should let him escape out of your hands.” Di Carlo stepped back in affected horror and ventured no remark. The girl leaning on the wall watched out of the corner of her eyes. “This will be the last time Staffan Conzaga ever plays himself into your hands,” Alesio leapt forward and spoke with animation. “If he once gets away he will grow all too powerful. He is cautious and scrupulous: we will never be able to get him in his fortress at Laryian, and he will stop at nothing. I promise you he will not be satisfied with the gains tomorrow’s work will get him. He has played himself into your hands this once, but it will be the last time. Finish him now or it will soon be too late.” Alesio frowned and let the knife slip into his belt. “And you will live to regret it.” The girl inclining against the wall leaned closer, moving her fingers nervously. Alesio saluted her and shook Luca’s hand. Not another word was exchanged, only De Fiori mouthed silently, “Assassinate the man.” Then Alesio De Fiori pulled his cloak about him and walked quickly away, back into the city, and Luca watched him out of sight with his hand held pensively to his chin. “Assassinate him?” he mused, eyeing the girl with a slight grin. “I suppose we just might be able to do so.” .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. The beautiful blue water of the canals of Illaryian calmly reflected the stately arches of the Rego’s munificent palazzo, but all else in the city was far from calm, and inside the luxurious palace halls there hung a thrilling atmosphere of victory and success. Soldiers and guards marched hurriedly to and fro through the palace’s otherwise empty halls, and, besides that, throughout the courtyards and rooms barely a whisper could be heard; save the whisper of the wind as the fresh air seeped in through the open windows. But in one corridor a calm and even voice broke the stillness with measured tones, as Luca di Carlo, the Rego now of the twin lands, conversed thoughtfully with Staffan Conzaga about the affairs of the Realm. As they finished the talk Alesio De Fiori walked in and bid them adieu. “Sirs, I have matters to attend to,” he bowed, “and will make my way to my house now.” “Aye, sir,” Luca di Carlo nodded. Alesio thought that he seemed to be looking past him, and looked briefly around. There was only a distracting shadow moving behind the pillars. He bowed again to Staffan. Bowing shortly in return Staffan cried vehemently, “Well met, sir! Without your aid, I swear by Sana Argenta, we would have never seen a day this glorious!” He chewed vigorously on an old herb popularly used by the farmers of Northern Varlyrio. “Who would have thought that it would be so simple? Such a show as at the coronation today I have never seen. Far too much shouting. Ah, yes, addio, sir!” Alesio walked smartly out, just tipping his hat as he passed out of sight through the archway. “I as well will now leave, with your permission, Rego,” Staffan grinned conceitedly. “There are pressing matters to attend to at Laryian, and I expect we shall not see each other again, for some time.” The olive merchant merely grinned good-naturedly in return, and waved his hand casually. “But au revoir, di Carlo,” Staffan smirked, lowering his eyebrows in a clever way. “When we do meet again, remember the ones who put you into your position.” “I will remember you,” Luca commented with boyish insouciance, “very kindly for your aid and support. No better man could I have by my side, sir.” A sound flowed through the room as of the barring of a door. Staffan turned, startled for a brief second. “Farewell,” he said, dismissing it quickly, and walking a few paces. “Minos!” he loudly shouted through the passageway.  "Minos!" he shouted loudly. “Oh, Minos is already gone sir, I dismissed him,” Luca smugly remarked, pushing a loose tile around on the decorated floor. Staffan looked at him keenly, a puzzled look in his eyes. The sound of footsteps in the corridors increased. “I do not need to say, my dear Staffan, that he has been well payed,” Luca genially observed. Suddenly from every direction the Royal Guard poured into the room and Staffan stepped quickly back. “What does this mean, Luca?” he bellowed. “What are the guards here for?” Luca di Carlo waved them up with nonchalance, and Staffan turned pale.  Luca motioned the guard to close in. “What … what is this, man?” “It was not my idea, sir,” Luca grinned, stepping up till his face was within a few inches of Staffan’s. The soldiers clamped into a square about them, leaving no room for escape. “And I am sorry for the fate that befalls traitors, Staffan Conzaga. But the only place for traitors in our Realm lies below the dirt; and I do not mean the Sunken City.” “Traitors? What do you speak of?” Staffan cowered, his trembling hand clutching something behind his back. “What do I speak of, sir?” Luca’s voice rose now. “Matters to attend to at Laryion? Your proud domineering air? A dagger in your hand?” Luca grasped Staffan’s hand and dashed the dagger he held in it to the ground. It slid across the room, and Staffan fell to his knees, powerless in Luca’s grasp. “Oh, consider my family!” he cried. “Your family? You are very close to them,” Luca mocked, “while they are all leagues and leagues away, where you sent them, far away from you! Except the girl Poppa. Ah, but she is in a dungeon somewhere now. Non importa, I will take care of her and assure her an honorable husband in due time.” The Captain of the Royal Guard bent over and retrieved Staffan’s gilded dagger. “No!” Staffan cried, violently seeking to shake himself from Luca’s fierce hold as the Captain of the Guard approached. Luca Di Carlo only soberly remarked, “Such be the fate of all traitors in our Realm.” Then he threw Staffan to the floor, and at his signal the Captain of the Guard bent down and buried Staffan’s own knife into his heart. Staffan's death. It was over, and silence reigned once more in the vast halls of the Palazzo of Illaryian. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. La Cospirazione: Part II Alesio de Fiori was deep in thought as the little gondola floated calmly down the canal. Darkness was falling, and by the gleaming evening light he surveyed the beauty of Illaryian with a keen eye. Supano Amancio had been dealt with, but there was much left to arrange. Cadgie had gotten himself into another mess. The Rego, Luca di Carlo, had informed him that Staffan was sewing mischief in the North. But it was mischief in the palazzo that Alesio mostly feared. Was Luca to be trusted with the elimination of the most powerful and influential Varlyrian noble? The Rego had sworn that he would resolve it all today, and Alesio expected that Staffan Conzaga would never leave the palace again. But doubts troubled him. And then there was Capri, that troublesome little creature. More mischief was to be expected in the De Fiori castle than anywhere else while she was around. Something caught Alesio’s eye in the water. He swore something had moved, and he silently touched the shoulder of the gondolier. “Assassin?” he whispered, pointing to the shadow fliting across the water. “Ašišī!” cried the gondolier in a terrible fright. With one quick motion he dropped the oar and dived off into the water, rocking the gondola, so that as Alesio spun round he stumbled to one side. There on the bridge, under which they had just passed, crouched a dark, masked assassin with a dagger in his belt and another in his teeth. He had already leapt into the air, and Alesio just had a moment to grasp the oar when the assassin landed beside him, dashing the dagger into his side: but for the sway of the rocking boat it would have gone to his heart. The assassin leapt into the air! Alesio struck the man who with his other hand sought his second dagger. There was a fierce struggle, until Alesio managed with a quick move to draw his knife and bury it deep into the man’s breast. “Who sent you?” Alesio furiously seized his coat with his free hand. “It is the Cioto, signore!” gasped the man. “The Cioto?” Alesio grit his teeth and closed his eyes. Everything was spinning! He dropped the man who tumbled into the blue canal waters, and grasped the prow of the gondola. The blue water of the canal turned red with the assassin's blood. “The Cioto?” he repeated faintly. So then! There was more mischief afoot than he had expected! “Intrigante!” He sighed as another thought came to him. “Which Cioto?” .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. La Cospirazione: Part III Cadgie De Fiori had indeed gotten himself into another mess. And if the mess he made was not enough he had Capri De Fiori to handle for the day, and that may have dwarfed all the other problems he had in life. It’s not quite certain in fact how much of a hand she had in all of his problems. But problems he had, and of a sobering nature. “Dawn. At dawn Alesio arrives. At dawn Capri should be off my hands. At dawn I must see those brothers. And I don’t think they have good intentions. It was certainly not wise to accept their tryst after that affair with those people the other day. And certainly Alesio must arrive. And most certainly I must not take Capri tomorrow.” But Alesio did not arrive, and Capri did accompany him: much more due to her willful nagging than to his own wishes; perhaps it also had something to do with her remark, “You can’t leave me here alone in this bleak old castle! I’ll follow you on foot!” To which Cadgie had pertly answered, “I go by gondola, signorina!” “Then I’ll follow you swimming, signore!” was her impudent retort. Well, that would have been worse. Since Capri did not know how to swim. But Cadgie knew she would keep her word, and he did not wish to spend part of his busy dawn fishing the girl out of the water, so that is how they both found themselves disembarking in the busy little piazza near the southern end of Tergiversa. “Sit here,” whispered Cadgie, motioning to a wooden bench by the waterside. He sighed deeply. “Please, Capri, don’t move unless I tell you to.” “Are you going to fight?” Capri cried impatiently, looking over Cadgie’s shoulder at the man pacing up and down near the statuette in the center of the piazza and the small crowd that was gathered near him. Cadgie smirked very good-naturedly at her. “Now, Uncle, you know it’s not good to go fighting other people, what is none of your business.” She stood on the bench and looked down on him. “If you kill somebody I am going to tell my father!” Capri imperiously avowed. “And I mean it, sir, and my Uncle!” “Unfortunately,” Cadgie remarked with a sarcastic smile, “it is my business.” He tapped his fine sword proudly. “I am Captain of the Guard, Capri De Fiori, and if these trouble makers want trouble, it is my task to give it to them!” He put his hand to her lips to stop her from talking anymore and sweeping round marched to the center of the small piazza. An alley led away to the left, and a man leaning against the wall there leapt off it and moved forward, backing up the fellow who had been pacing up and down. “Look here, De Fiori, you gentlemen are too proud,” began one. “Is it true,” took up his companion, who wore a heavy black jerkin, “that Susto and Falco de Fiori, and the guard of Tergiversa, were the chief conspirators and collaborators who overthrew Supano Amancio?” “Explain this, Cadgie De Fiori, or bring the murderers here and have them answer.” Cadgie grasped the hilt of his weapon and snapped, “What murderers?” “Susto and Falco De Fiori!” cried both men vehemently. “Who dares to insult the name of Fiori?” answered Cadgie, enraged. “Quelli in incognito,” they retorted fiercely. “We’re here to settle a debt, De Fiori, and you must pay it if your sons will not!” continued the man in the black jerkin. A pair of swords flashed out and glittered in the sun. Cadgie threw himself at them at once. “The De Fiori’s have no innocent blood on their hands, Gentiluomini!” he thundered. “He who says otherwise may answer to my blade!” A cloud of dust rose into the air as the two men stepped forward and lashed out with their blades. Cadgie De Fiori, a skilled swordsman, defended himself with skill, poise, and tact, but the supposed brothers who were matched up against him were incredible warriors. Blood was spilt on both sides, as they marched up and down the streets dashing about with their swords, playing with the point and the edge of their weapons, and taking advantage of every aspect of the environment around them. Twice Cadgie had one of them trapped against the walls, and once he cut deep into the arm of the foremost of them. But the unequal combat left only one possible outcome, and at last one of the attackers dashed Cadgie De Fiori against the statuette in the center of the piazza and put his sword against his throat. “It is the end of the power of the De Fiori’s,” the man whispered coldly. He forced open Cadgie hand and his sword clattered to the ground. “At least the De Fiori’s are no murderers or cowards!” Cadgie hurled back at him, striking him across the face with his heavy metal gauntlet. “You will pay for that blow, Fiori!” the man brandished his sword wildly as he recovered his balance. Cadgie gasped, dashing for his weapon. But with fire in their eyes both men leapt forward and plunged their swords through Cadgie De Fiori’s mail breastplate. Then with a final blow the one struck him to the floor. Capri De Fiori had watched the whole fight on her tippy toes, restlessly hanging on the edge of the crowd, and with a frightened cry she jumped forward as the man dealt the final blow. She threw herself at her uncle’s side, crying, as the assassins sprinted quickly away. Cadgie De Fiori’s eyes lit as he saw her face bending over him, and he whispered fiercely, “Capri!–” “Poor Uncle, what did they do to you?” She passionately gritted her teeth. “Listen Capri,” the Captain of the Guard said briefly, holding on to life for only a moment more, “they have plotted the end of the De Fiori: girl, run!” Capri whirled round with wide eyes and saw at once what Cadgie De Fiori meant. A troop of soldiers were rushing at her! She quickly kissed her dying Uncle on the forehead and then leapt up and sprinted for the alley, but she could not beat the soldiers, who with cries and shouts intercepted the girl, seizing her by the hands. “Don’t struggle, little girl,” one of them whispered kindly in her ear. “Va bene,” Capri answered in resignation. She let herself hang limply in the hands of the soldiers as they dragged her away. Then as the fateful piazza square slowly passed out of sight she said softly, “Addio, Uncle!” "Addio Uncle!" She knew she would never see her Uncle, Cadgie De Fiori, Captain of the Guard of Tergiversa, again: for he was dead. The abandoned Piazza. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. La Cospirazione: Part IV Alesio arrived late to the De Fiori castle in Tergiversa. He was weak, weary, and haggard, and as soon as he entered he felt in his heart that something was wrong. “Capri!” he cried loudly, and the echoes of his shout reverberated off all the walls, down the long halls, and throughout the castle. But there was no answer. Alesio dashed forward, slamming through all the doors of all the rooms, wildly calling Capri, and Cadgie, and the servants! Not a soul was there! The servants had all gone out deeply frightened, some of them searching with the royal guard for Capri and others burying Alesio’s brother. It took the wounded man only a few hours to learn all this, and in spite of his wounded side, with gritted teeth and burning eyes he leapt on his horse and rode madly back to Illaryian. Later that day the doors of the Palazzo of Illaryian burst wide open with a resounding clang. “Where is Capri!” roared Alesio with all of his might. “Luca di Carlo, son of an olive merchant, I demand your presence!” Alesio flung a heavy gauntlet onto the ground, and the tiled floor cracked. It was Cadgie De Fiori’s gauntlet. Footsteps then sounded in the corridor, and Luca appeared all out of breath, running up to Alesio and grasping his hand. “What is it man? Why, you are pale! Accidenti! Alesio, you frighten me!” Luca cried, startled. “Capri has been kidnapped,” Alesio flung out the words. “My brother is dead!” Luca gasped and gnashed his teeth. “Impossibile!” Luca dropped Alesio’s hand and spinning round paced the length of the room. Alesio sunk back against the wall. “The only clue left was this, sir,” he said, holding out a small slip of paper. Luca leapt up and grasped it eagerly. “Signore, Ercilia has given me the word. Capri is to be taken, and the Captain of the Guard sla–” The paper was torn, but Luca grasped at the ray of hope it offered. “Ercilia De Cioto!” he cried eagerly, marching to the edge of the hall and crying, “Man!” As a footman approached Luca looked briefly at Alesio, and then he spoke rapidly. “To the stables! Fit out the horses, order the Royal Guard to arms! We march for the De Cioto palace!” “The palace of the Amancios, signore?” the footman gasped. “The Amancios,” he warned, trembling, “still are very powerful, although the Rego is dead, and Ercilia is a popular and influential friend of the people.” “Go, man! Il demone take the Ciotos and their influence,” he cried excitedly, “if they dare go about murdering the Fioris in secret, besides the very throne! Come Alesio! Peste, man, you do not even mention your own wound,” Luca sprang to Alesio’s side to offer his hand. Alesio pushed himself off the wall and bowed, refusing the hand but saying, “It is a trifle, sir. Do you think there is hope, Luca?” he added with a slight tremor. Luca di Carlo’s eyes glinted. “They will pay,” he averred. “And we will find Capricia! Even if every Cioto has to be interrogated and each of their mansions ransacked! To horse!” And without another word they sped out of the room. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. Very early the next morning, just after dawn, the doors of Amancio Palace were crashed through with a deafening noise. Luca leapt off his horse and shouted with a powerful voice, “Smash every piece of furniture, search every wall, and do not let a man escape! Find the girl!” “Capri De Fiori!” cried Alesio. “Where is she?” He sprinted up the stairs as the soldiers marched through the archways and doors, crushing and searching everything, everywhere, and seizing the weapons from the startled guards. Meanwhile Arama De Cioto, a thin girl with a long flowing black cape around her neck, snatched a narrow rapier from the wall and leapt down the stairs at the head of a group of retainers. Alesio met her midway and dashed aside one of her men. “De Cioto!” he snapped, adjusting the sword in his hand. “Do not cross swords with me, girl: tell me, where is Capri, my daughter?!” “Signore De Fiori!” she cried astonished in response. “I see there is blood on your mail,” she breathed sharply, dashing up with her sword and trapping Alesio against a corner of the balustrade. She raised her hand and her retainers passed them both quickly. Descending the stairs they threw themselves upon the Royal Guard with fury and loud cries and shouting broke out. Luca watched nervously, pacing up and down and shouting commands to his men. Then he saw Alesio with Arama De Cioto on the parapet of the staircase and with a start he rushed towards them. As there were soldiers on the ground floor, blocking off the stairs, Luca jumped up and grasped the top of the balustrades. As he pulled himself up he saw Alesio fling the slim girl back and heard him say, “What do you have against us Fiori, you Ciotos? Hand me back my girl and we will leave you in all the peace your mind can achieve!” The girl shook her head and laughed. “Capri is dead, signore!” Before Luca could leap down and grab Alesio’s hand he sprang forward and struck Arama a fierce blow at her side. Her thin rapier shattered in two and she shrank back as the sword cut through her leather coat and blood seeped through it, turning it from blue to red. “How dare you,” breathed Alesio with fury. Luca put his hand on De Fiori’s shoulder. But just then a shout rang out. “Capri! Capri è vivo!” cried the soldiers of the Royal Guard. “Out, now out of here!” Luca exclaimed, grasping Alesio’s cape and dragging him towards the lower stairs. Luca let him go, looking back as he sprang down the stairs. The sound of shouting and approaching men could be heard from the floor above. Alesio waited no longer and muttered, “You will pay dearly, De Ciotos.” Arama clinched her firsts and watched them leave as her men rushed past her. Then she leapt vivaciously up the stairs holding her side tightly. Just as she reached the window the troops had forced their way out, with Capri De Fiori, and were hurrying to their gondolas and horses. “Goodbye, Luca,” she murmured with laughing eyes and a quick smile. “Ci vediamo domani!” .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. The palazzo grounds of Illaryian once more: “It is quite difficult, girl,” Luca said with a sigh. “You can’t imagine it. If only you were Rego.” “I don’t want to be Rego, capretto.” “Well what happened. Don’t leave out a single detail.” “Very well, signore. The assassin failed to kill Alesio.” “I noticed,” Luca remarked dryly. “And my guard took Capri as your men dueled the Captain of the Guard. The paper slipped out of my hand. Touché, you know that, signore, it was your suggestion. When Alesio came to the De Fiori castle in Tergiversa he found it empty, and he came here. You managed it all nicely from there. Il fastidio, my side hurts. Well, what would he have said had he known that Luca Di Carlo had hired the assassin who slipped my name to him, and the men who killed Cadgie? And them all?” She laughed merrily. “They are certainly unsuspecting.” “Accidenti! It is over at least,” Luca rejoined, flinging a gold coin into a pool in the courtyard. “Over?” laughed the girl. She blinked her eyes. “I doubt that! It will be over when you find a knife in your back,” she added. “That is so, Arama di Athena De Cioto,” Luca wryly frowned, with a cheerful look at the girl by his side. “Thank you for pointing it out, De Cioto. That is just so.” .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.
  14. <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> Three years of peace. I, Raxus Waythe, Judge of the Wastelands, had grown relaxed on the food and ale of my newfound position and the incredible peace relatively small acts of brutality had brought me. I admit I was beginning to wonder about starting to wander farther afield if for no other reason than to let my name roll off the tongues of increasing royal speakers. I stood, drinking fine local Varlyrian ale, watching small transactions happen in a sleepy, eastern town. I didnt even recall the name, only that one of my men had invited me thus. The sun was setting, the landscape warm and calm. It was as a poet would tell it, and yet all true. "Judge Waythe" It was a statement, not a question. I turned to see a tall, fair haired man staring at me with sharp eyes boring into my skull. I almost took a step back "Yes?" "its a long way from the Wastelands." "I am a Varlyrian of Noble Stock. I can go where I come and please." "Do not imagine, just because you set some heads on pikes and the governor fears for his own safety, that you are anything other than a wolf, on a leash." It had been dormant so long the wolf reawakening within me took me by surprise. "That may well be, sir, but I would guard your tongue more carefully if you wish to remain you village, let alone your family" For the first time he seemed to back off. "I mean no ill will. I bring a message, from Leifric's Hollow." "Go on" "We should take it inside" We sat at a table, not too far from a roaring fire. I had finished with my ale, and so had the mysterious messenger "You have grown wealthy these last few years, and well. You have had ample time." Once again unease crawled into my mind. "Time for what" The stranger shifted, not with unease I was sure, but something else. Yet I could not figure out what. His eyes twinkled. "You shall see. Arrive in Leifric's Hollow in one fortnight's time." I had little mind to ride so far north, even if it was closer to my outposts than the place I was presently sitting. Leifric's Hollow was practically in the mountains, green though it still was most of the year. Yet I could not help but be intrigued. "And what awaits me at Leifric's Hollow?" "Your fate, of course"
  15. The Guilds of Historica Book III Challenge I: A Time to Rebuild Challenge II: Bread and Circuses Challenge III: What Will Tomorrow Bring? Challenge IV: The Turning Point Challenge V: Intrigue On The Island Guild The Guilds at Rest? Queen Ylspeth’s victory has firmly established her reign in Historica and re-kindled the enthusiasm for their young monarch in the hearts of all true guildsmen and women on the continent; but in Varlyrio, where only recently the bonds have been growing with the rest of the Historica, the air is still tense and shrouded in mystery. The Rego’s suspicious attitude toward the queen and the difficulty with which the island’s trade was opened to the other guilds points to possibly dangerous waters ahead between the guild leaders and the crown, and the intrigue between the leading families is heard in a rumbling unrest just below the surface. And to cap it all off, the non-appearance of any Varlyians from the east at the battle which proved the turning point of Ylspeth’s reign has the Queen determined to find out what is going on and to turn her undivided attention to the islands of Varlyrio. Category A: The Varlyrian Troops The foremost question about the condition of Varlyrio is, Why did the Rego not send troops? Does he resent the curb on his authority that the queen poses, or was he too busy securing his own position and interests and quelling opposition in the guild? Or did he send them? Was there treachery involved and were the troops massacred, or did he try to send reinforcements and was defied by the other houses? Your job is to build a scene that explains the situation, showing either what happened with the troops or why they were not sent or did not make their appearance. This scene does not necessarily have to occur in Varlyrio proper, but it must relate to the Rego and his actions or lack of action on behalf of the queen. Size limit: a maximum of 28x28, in any orientation. Prize: 70658 Oni Titan Category B: The Eastern Families While the last few years of Rego Amancio’s reign have been relatively tranquil, there is little love lost between the principle families of the realm, and turmoil has been lurking just under the surface. The Rego’s hold on the realm is tenuous at best, and the question of his standing with the queen has not served to put him in a more enviable position. On one hand there are those who criticize the opening of the guild to the rest of Historica in his reign, and on the other there are some who fear that the Rego’s lack of cooperation might result in an open rupture or even war with the queen. And, only waiting for the moment to spring into action or come to the light, lies all the backstabbing, family warfare, assassinations, blackmailing, alliances made and broken, and, in a word, all the intrigue and scheming that Varlyrio is famous for. For this category, 3 to 4 builds are required per collaborative team, showing the intrigue and developments of Varlyian politics, especially with reference to the current Rego and the families’ view of his relation with the queen. Each team must consist of 2-4 members of the guilds (they can join up with other members from any guild they choose), and they must together tell a convincing story of at least one Varlyian family and its involvement with the Rego or with any other family in the guild that is either supportive or against the Rego, resulting in some change in the current ranking levels of the Varlyian power-scheme. Note that, while most of the families vying for power are based in eastern Varlyrio, builds and stories do not need to be confined solely to that side of the island - teams are even encouraged to bring in other aspects of Varlyrio to tell their story and to involve badland bandits/pirates on the high seas/mountain Dwarves/etc. in their intrigue if/as much as they wish. If your team does not include a member of Varlyrio, you may either (a) choose an unclaimed family to play around with, (b) contact any member of Varlyrio for permission to use their family (@Garmadon's family is available for anyone who would like to use it, though if you are the second or third to ask some characters may already be tied up), or (c), if there are no other families available or the family you contacted has not responded, you may make up a family/backstory of your own to add to the roster. In the latter case, contact Garmadon to place your family in the Varlyrian ranking system, which he will do in accordance with your backstory. Feel free to contact @Garmadon with any questions about Varlyrian families or the Varlyrian ranking system. The usual Varlyrian rules apply about using other member’s characters (namely, ask one of the guild-leaders if you would like to engage in a life-threatening act against someone who has not already given permission for their characters to be assassinated - otherwise you may do very much as you please), and, while you are encouraged to tie your story in with the other Varlyrian intrigue and any previous entries to this challenge as much as possible, the only real requirement is that your team’s collaborative story should be cohesive in itself. Team entries will be judged on both their story and build quality (not quantity), and the winning team will win the challenge and its story will outplace any other result that may contradict it (though all entries will be “canon” as far as possible). Additionally, one winner will independently be chosen for the highest scoring build of all. Size limit: One unlimited build, and an average of no more than 32x32 for the other 2/3. Looking for a team or another member or two to add to your current one? Check out the team building thread here! Prize for highest scoring build: 70679 Ultra Dragon Winning team prize (to be divided among the members of the team as they choose - one minifigure each if there are four on the team, of course): From left to right: Zusto Finollo, Lord of Baiamonte, Bjarke de Fiori, Giusta Chiaro, and the Rego of Varlyrio, Supano Amancio. General Rules Scoring: Builds will be scored on a criteria of quality, presentation, and story. As mentioned, in Category B there are prizes both for the overall best build and for the team with the highest group score of all. Rules: Only one entry per category is allowed, though obviously Category B may involve a number of builds. Borders can exceed the maximum size restriction, within reasonable limits. As usual, the orientation of the build may vary as long as the build does not exceed the footprint of the given size restriction (e.g.: 32x64 instead of 48x48 is permissible). No clone brands (Megablocks, KREO, etc) allowed, but 3rd party fig parts and accessories (Brickarms, Citizen Brick, etc.) are acceptable. All entries should be posted in their own topic, with the title of: "CHALLENGE V: Category X: Name of your build". Please also post a link to your topic here. For Category B, each team may decide whether they would rather post all their builds in the same topic or in separate posts, but the entire team entry (3 to 4 builds) should be posted in one post in this thread. Note that, in the case that a member of two of a team fall through and the team is only able to get 2 or less builds finished for Category B, those who finish in time will still be able to enter and be eligible for the highest scoring build prize, but not for winning team's. Deadline: End of day on May 31st, anywhere in the world. Check out the list of Varlyrian families and their current rankings in this thread. Quick-list of family permissions: As mentioned before, in order to use a family for your team, you may either (a) choose an unclaimed family to play around with, (b) contact any member of Varlyrio for permission to use their family, or (c), if there are no other families available or the family you contacted has not responded, you may make up a family/backstory of your own. These permissions above relate to what you may do to members of other families in your intrigue/story collab. Of course, if those family members are involved in other ways than getting themselves assassinated or the like, they ought to be used in accordance with their character in as much as it is already written, and if your team wants to make an alliance/marriage/etc with another family the procedure would be exactly like it would be at any other time in Varlyrio. Feel free to ask here or PM @Garmadon with any questions.
  16. Part I by @W Navarre Part II by @KevinyWu Part III by @ZlatanXVIGustaf La Cospirazione: Part IV Alesio arrived late to the De Fiori castle in Tergiversa. He was weak, weary, and haggard, and as soon as he entered he felt in his heart that something was wrong. “Capri!” he cried loudly, and the echoes of his shout reverberated off all the walls, down the long halls, and throughout the castle. But there was no answer. Alesio dashed forward, slamming through all the doors of all the rooms, wildly calling Capri, and Cadgie, and the servants! Not a soul was there! The servants had all gone out deeply frightened, some of them searching with the royal guard for Capri and others burying Alesio’s brother. It took the wounded man only a few hours to learn all this, and in spite of his wounded side, with gritted teeth and burning eyes he leapt on his horse and rode madly back to Illaryian. Later that day the doors of the Palazzo of Illaryian burst wide open with a resounding clang. “Where is Capri!” roared Alesio with all of his might. “Luca di Carlo, son of an olive merchant, I demand your presence!” Alesio flung a heavy gauntlet onto the ground, and the tiled floor cracked. It was Cadgie De Fiori’s gauntlet. Footsteps then sounded in the corridor, and Luca appeared all out of breath, running up to Alesio and grasping his hand. “What is it man? Why, you are pale! Accidenti! Alesio, you frighten me!” Luca cried, startled. “Capri has been kidnapped,” Alesio flung out the words. “My brother is dead!” Luca gasped and gnashed his teeth. “Impossibile!” Luca dropped Alesio’s hand and spinning round paced the length of the room. Alesio sunk back against the wall. “The only clue left was this, sir,” he said, holding out a small slip of paper. Luca leapt up and grasped it eagerly. “Signore, Ercilia has given me the word. Capri is to be taken, and the Captain of the Guard sla–” The paper was torn, but Luca grasped at the ray of hope it offered. “Ercilia De Cioto!” he cried eagerly, marching to the edge of the hall and crying, “Man!” As a footman approached Luca looked briefly at Alesio, and then he spoke rapidly. “To the stables! Fit out the horses, order the Royal Guard to arms! We march for the De Cioto palace!” “The palace of the Amancios, signore?” the footman gasped. “The Amancios,” he warned, trembling, “still are very powerful, although the Rego is dead, and Ercilia is a popular and influential friend of the people.” “Go, man! Il demone take the Ciotos and their influence,” he cried excitedly, “if they dare go about murdering the Fioris in secret, besides the very throne! Come Alesio! Peste, man, you do not even mention your own wound,” Luca sprang to Alesio’s side to offer his hand. Alesio pushed himself off the wall and bowed, refusing the hand but saying, “It is a trifle, sir. Do you think there is hope, Luca?” he added with a slight tremor. Luca di Carlo’s eyes glinted. “They will pay,” he averred. “And we will find Capricia! Even if every Cioto has to be interrogated and each of their mansions ransacked! To horse!” And without another word they sped out of the room. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. Very early the next morning, just after dawn, the doors of Amancio Palace were crashed through with a deafening noise. Luca leapt off his horse and shouted with a powerful voice, “Smash every piece of furniture, search every wall, and do not let a man escape! Find the girl!” “Capri De Fiori!” cried Alesio. “Where is she?” He sprinted up the stairs as the soldiers marched through the archways and doors, crushing and searching everything, everywhere, and seizing the weapons from the startled guards. Meanwhile Arama De Cioto, a thin girl with a long flowing black cape around her neck, snatched a narrow rapier from the wall and leapt down the stairs at the head of a group of retainers. Alesio met her midway and dashed aside one of her men. “De Cioto!” he snapped, adjusting the sword in his hand. “Do not cross swords with me, girl: tell me, where is Capri, my daughter?!” “Signore De Fiori!” she cried astonished in response. “I see there is blood on your mail,” she breathed sharply, dashing up with her sword and trapping Alesio against a corner of the balustrade. She raised her hand and her retainers passed them both quickly. Descending the stairs they threw themselves upon the Royal Guard with fury and loud cries and shouting broke out. Luca watched nervously, pacing up and down and shouting commands to his men. Then he saw Alesio with Arama De Cioto on the parapet of the staircase and with a start he rushed towards them. As there were soldiers on the ground floor, blocking off the stairs, Luca jumped up and grasped the top of the balustrades. As he pulled himself up he saw Alesio fling the slim girl back and heard him say, “What do you have against us Fiori, you Ciotos? Hand me back my girl and we will leave you in all the peace your mind can achieve!” The girl shook her head and laughed. “Capri is dead, signore!” Before Luca could leap down and grab Alesio’s hand he sprang forward and struck Arama a fierce blow at her side. Her thin rapier shattered in two and she shrank back as the sword cut through her leather coat and blood seeped through it, turning it from blue to red. “How dare you,” breathed Alesio with fury. Luca put his hand on De Fiori’s shoulder. But just then a shout rang out. “Capri! Capri è vivo!” cried the soldiers of the Royal Guard. “Out, now out of here!” Luca exclaimed, grasping Alesio’s cape and dragging him towards the lower stairs. Luca let him go, looking back as he sprang down the stairs. The sound of shouting and approaching men could be heard from the floor above. Alesio waited no longer and muttered, “You will pay dearly, De Ciotos.” Arama clinched her firsts and watched them leave as her men rushed past her. Then she leapt vivaciously up the stairs holding her side tightly. Just as she reached the window the troops had forced their way out, with Capri De Fiori, and were hurrying to their gondolas and horses. “Goodbye, Luca,” she murmured with laughing eyes and a quick smile. “Ci vediamo domani!” .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. The palazzo grounds of Illaryian once more: “It is quite difficult, girl,” Luca said with a sigh. “You can’t imagine it. If only you were Rego.” “I don’t want to be Rego, capretto.” “Well what happened. Don’t leave out a single detail.” “Very well, signore. The assassin failed to kill Alesio.” “I noticed,” Luca remarked dryly. “And my guard took Capri as your men dueled the Captain of the Guard. The paper slipped out of my hand. Touché, you know that, signore, it was your suggestion. When Alesio came to the De Fiori castle in Tergiversa he found it empty, and he came here. You managed it all nicely from there. Il fastidio, my side hurts. Well, what would he have said had he known that Luca Di Carlo had hired the assassin who slipped my name to him, and the men who killed Cadgie? And them all?” She laughed merrily. “They are certainly unsuspecting.” “Accidenti! It is over at least,” Luca rejoined, flinging a gold coin into a pool in the courtyard. “Over?” laughed the girl. She blinked her eyes. “I doubt that! It will be over when you find a knife in your back,” she added. “That is so, Arama di Athena De Cioto,” Luca wryly frowned, with a cheerful look at the girl by his side. “Thank you for pointing it out, De Cioto. That is just so.” .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.
  17. La Cospirazione: Part I It was a calm, quiet evening, and the only noise stirring the silent streets of Tergiversa was the resounding trod of heavy boots on the rough streets again and again as Alesio de Fiori hurriedly made his way to the outskirts of the city. As he approached a small gateway he heard voices and paused, warily peering into the shadows: all was safe. There was a man on horseback, another sitting on a small part of the wall, and two others figures outlined a little further back, one a tall Minotaur and the other a slim girl. As Alesio arrived the man on the horse jumped down and grasped his hand in excitement. “Tomorrow!” exclaimed Staffan Conzaga, stamping the ground. “All is arranged! Tomorrow we will meet in the palace of Illaryian: there will be none to stop us! Di Carlo will be crowned Rego and by Sana Argenta, the people will be wildly pleased with it!” Di Carlo nodded, and Alesio stroked his beard. “All seems to be going well. Supano should have known his days were numbered. Are there any final matters to arrange, Luca?” Luka skipped off the wall and there followed a short talk, all in hushed whispers. Finally everything was settled, just as the sky began to darken. “Addio, gentlemen,” Staffan remarked, climbing onto his horse with a short glance at the sky. “Tomorrow then, at dawn, I will meet you in Illaryian.” “Godspeed!” Luca waved him off. Then he leaned back casually on the wall as the man and his bodyguard the Minotaur galloped off. “An ambitious man,” Alesio remarked. “Aye,” di Carlo assented carelessly. “He will stop at nothing,” Alesio flipped a knife in the air. Luca looked up thoughtfully. “None of us will?” he ventured with a sharp look. “What I mean is ... ” Alesio de Fiori fingered his knife suggestively. After a short silence he added, “I don’t think you should let him escape out of your hands.” Di Carlo stepped back in affected horror and ventured no remark. The girl leaning on the wall watched out of the corner of her eyes. “This will be the last time Staffan Conzaga ever plays himself into your hands,” Alesio leapt forward and spoke with animation. “If he once gets away he will grow all too powerful. He is cautious and scrupulous: we will never be able to get him in his fortress at Laryian, and he will stop at nothing. I promise you he will not be satisfied with the gains tomorrow’s work will get him. He has played himself into your hands this once, but it will be the last time. Finish him now or it will soon be too late.” Alesio frowned and let the knife slip into his belt. “And you will live to regret it.” The girl inclining against the wall leaned closer, moving her fingers nervously. Alesio saluted her and shook Luca’s hand. Not another word was exchanged, only De Fiori mouthed silently, “Assassinate the man.” Then Alesio De Fiori pulled his cloak about him and walked quickly away, back into the city, and Luca watched him out of sight with his hand held pensively to his chin. “Assassinate him?” he mused, eyeing the girl with a slight grin. “I suppose we just might be able to do so.” .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. The Palazzo by General 尓àvarre The beautiful blue water of the canals of Illaryian calmly reflected the stately arches of the Rego’s munificent palazzo, but all else in the city was far from calm, and inside the luxurious palace halls there hung a thrilling atmosphere of victory and success. Soldiers and guards marched hurriedly to and fro through the palace’s otherwise empty halls, and, besides that, throughout the courtyards and rooms barely a whisper could be heard; save the whisper of the wind as the fresh air seeped in through the open windows. But in one corridor a calm and even voice broke the stillness with measured tones, as Luca di Carlo, the Rego now of the twin lands, conversed thoughtfully with Staffan Conzaga about the affairs of the Realm. As they finished the talk Alesio De Fiori walked in and bid them adieu. “Sirs, I have matters to attend to,” he bowed, “and will make my way to my house now.” “Aye, sir,” Luca di Carlo nodded. Alesio thought that he seemed to be looking past him, and looked briefly around. There was only a distracting shadow moving behind the pillars. He bowed again to Staffan. Bowing shortly in return Staffan cried vehemently, “Well met, sir! Without your aid, I swear by Sana Argenta, we would have never seen a day this glorious!” He chewed vigorously on an old herb popularly used by the farmers of Northern Varlyrio. “Who would have thought that it would be so simple? Such a show as at the coronation today I have never seen. Far too much shouting. Ah, yes, addio, sir!” Alesio walked smartly out, just tipping his hat as he passed out of sight through the archway. “I as well will now leave, with your permission, Rego,” Staffan grinned conceitedly. “There are pressing matters to attend to at Laryian, and I expect we shall not see each other again, for some time.” The olive merchant merely grinned good-naturedly in return, and waved his hand casually. “But au revoir, di Carlo,” Staffan smirked, lowering his eyebrows in a clever way. “When we do meet again, remember the ones who put you into your position.” “I will remember you,” Luca commented with boyish insouciance, “very kindly for your aid and support. No better man could I have by my side, sir.” A sound flowed through the room as of the barring of a door. The barring of the door. Staffan turned, startled for a brief second. “Farewell,” he said, dismissing it quickly, and walking a few paces. “Minos!” he loudly shouted through the passageway. "Minos!" he shouted loudly. “Oh, Minos is already gone sir, I dismissed him,” Luca smugly remarked, pushing a loose tile around on the decorated floor. Staffan looked at him keenly, a puzzled look in his eyes. The sound of footsteps in the corridors increased. “I do not need to say, my dear Staffan, that he has been well payed,” Luca genially observed. Suddenly from every direction the Royal Guard poured into the room and Staffan stepped quickly back. From every direction the Royal Guard poured in! “What does this mean, Luca?” he bellowed. “What are the guards here for?” Luca di Carlo waved them up with nonchalance, and Staffan turned pale. Luca motioned the guard to close in. “What … what is this, man?” "What is this, man?" cried Staffan. “It was not my idea, sir,” Luca grinned, stepping up till his face was within a few inches of Staffan’s. The soldiers clamped into a square about them, leaving no room for escape. “And I am sorry for the fate that befalls traitors, Staffan Conzaga. But the only place for traitors in our Realm lies below the dirt; and I do not mean the Sunken City.” The soldiers formed a square around them. “Traitors? What do you speak of?” Staffan cowered, his trembling hand clutching something behind his back. “What do I speak of, sir?” Luca’s voice rose now. “Matters to attend to at Laryion? Your proud domineering air? A dagger in your hand?” Luca grasped Staffan’s hand and dashed the dagger he held in it to the ground. It slid across the room, and Staffan fell to his knees, powerless in Luca’s grasp. “Oh, consider my family!” he cried. “Your family? You are very close to them,” Luca mocked, “while they are all leagues and leagues away, where you sent them, far away from you! And as for the girl Poppa, she is in a dungeon somewhere now. Non importa, I will take care of her and assure her an honorable husband in due time.” The Captain of the Royal Guard bent over and retrieved Staffan’s gilded dagger. “No!” Staffan cried, violently seeking to shake himself from Luca’s fierce hold as the Captain of the Guard approached. The Captain of the Guard approached. Luca Di Carlo only soberly remarked, “Such be the fate of all traitors in our Realm.” Then he threw Staffan to the floor, and at his signal the Captain of the Guard bent down and buried Staffan’s own knife into his heart. It was over, and silence reigned once more in the vast halls of the Palazzo of Illaryian. It was over. Staffan was dead. And the vast halls were left in silence once more. .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. La Cospirazione by General 尓àvarre To be continued! Stay tuned for the next three parts over the weekend. This is my build and story for category B of Challenge V. Expect more intrigue to come! Hope you enjoyed the story and the build, I think I went a little colorblind with all those crazy colors I tried to use . More pictures including some special effects in the spoiler.
  18. Entry to Book III, Challenge V: Category A - The Varlyrian Troops. Howling in the mountain. The chilling cold pierced through my leather jerkin as if there was nothing but my bare hands to cover me. Rigid with the frost, my cloak flapped nervously behind my back and pulled me south, alerting me – no, begging me to turn back and run. But after a handful of days travel, I reached too far into the mountains to return, and was too committed to find the truth, even if it meant never to reveal it. It had been months, since these strange events have been occurring outside our once calm and monotonous village. It did not happen once or twice, but numerous, countless times, every so often – and I remember the day it started. It was late in the night when I woke to the sound of Bartosz, our grey-skinned hound, barking frantically at the kitchen window – it was unusual for him, as for the past 7 winters, he’d slept curled and tucked in his own fur under the wooden structure of my bed until sunrise. That night, tough, he’d made a fuss. Wheat grains covered the timbered floor, the oak-chair my pa built was split around the cottage and he’d scratched the whole wooden door from waist height to bottom so vigorously that the fur around his paws was tainted burgundy with his raw blood. For the first time in years, he glanced at me, ears pointed to the ceiling, his white teeth as large as my fingers glowing in the moonlight and liquid dribbling from his mouth to the floor, the muscles in his shoulders swollen, spasming at me, and he growled. A sound born from the core of a threatened, fearful beast. It made me tremble, for I was not staring into my dog’s eyes, but into the soul of a monster dragged only by its primal senses. I realized it was not only Bartosz who was acting strange, but in the distance, I heard the howl of another dog, and then another. It was rather a chant, as possibly all the dogs on the village were now howling to the moon, as if calling their animal companions to a feast, or worse: issuing an alarm – a pack behavior to become alert of what’s to come. It happened again and again, and it drove us insane. Not only the howling, but the growing cold that rushed through the village every time harder and harder. You see, we live in a village – the last human village before reaching the mountains - that’s not that far from the sea, filled with arable land, soft ground, perfect for planting fruits and vegetables – it rains when the sun is hotter, and the climate is rather friendly apart from occasional winter winds that come from the mountains. But it got so cold, so unexpectedly... Nothing grows from under thick layers of frost, week after week. So, it drove us... insane. Particularly Frignevr, the blacksmith – that poor bastard. He was as short-tempered as he was big, and you would mistake him for a giant if he wouldn’t assure us his mother and father were as human as they could be. That one night, I felt the chill stretching through the holes between the planks that held my house together, Bartosz woke and ran, and the howling started. Amidst the whistling chants, a desperate roar, not from any dog or beast, but from what could only be a giant man, echoed on the stoned streets of our frost covered village. That horrific gutted scream smashed our doors, hammered our ears, and settled within our dreams, and just as it started, the unnerving, desperate cry ceased, giving way to a perpetual dead silence that endured ‘til morning. From between the ice-covered mountains, the first light of the day painted over the white mantel a red trail to a land uncharted, for this was marked only by the spilled droplets of blood of one of our own. That day, attending for the realms request, an expedition of ten men was sent to investigate. That night, not only the hounds and wolves howled a constant, tenuous melody, but a raw smell, a stale, moldy whiff, a stench of putrid decay took the streets, and uninvitedly entered our homes. The smell was eventually dissipated into the mountains, from where the expedition never returned, and the trail faded over the layers of unwanted and unexpected snow. Under pressure, the realm gathered another fifty men – swordsmen, archers, bannermen, carrying the white and gold markings on their shields – for a second expedition, along with hounds and eagles trained to detect hidden trails and follow camouflaged scents. Sixty men short, the army supposed to protect our sons and wives started to look faint and incomplete, specially when four days past their departure, the group that left to the sound of our prayers, vanished and buried our hopes under the falling snow. At night I did not sleep, but jumped aside when the dogs started barking, the nauseating odor invaded my house, and a deafening roar that combined a thousand lions sounded across the cobblestone paths, and made my chest tremble with a shiver running through my spine. I wanted to move but couldn’t – and I prayed for the souls of those poor men that would never return to our lives. I woke to the unnerving sound of a fist pounding at my front door, and as sudden as the cold took our village, and our blacksmith and our army, I knew my time had come. “Ready your shield and sword. Beg your family farewells. We part on the morrow”, signed the High-King, the Rego, over his waxed seal. Carpenters, fishermen, merchants, old and young, experienced or – most likely – not, with sword in hand. The few remaining that populated our village reunited where the first light of day shone: between the mountains where a trail of blood leaded the way to our uncertain destiny. We camped by night if we were lucky enough to find a rathole or a cave, or under the starts and the moon, and the rocks and the cold, and marched by day, following whatever was left of the expedition before us – pikes, helmets, messages left on walls and trees, pieces of cloth, footprints... Until there was nothing left to follow, but a dim and distant rotten and burnt smell that refused to cease. Every morning, our group turned smaller and weaker, as the members of our crew perished to the fierce conditions and reckless paths we were thrown into. By night, we heard the scuttling screams and roars coming from above us and echoing through the scars carved over centuries on the rocks. Looking ahead to the unknown, the vagueness to put reason to the sounds, the smell, the unhuman thirst to kill and its psychological defiance, drove one by one to an abyss of despair. That night, we took shelter on a cave, and shared its roof with a family of skeletons that made this gap on the mountain their home for centuries. Despite the blowing wind and the drenching humidity, we were able to light a fire and roast the last of our game. While sucking the lean meat from the fragile bones of an overcooked squirrel, I glanced towards the bottom of the cave where the carcasses of our hosts lay, and looking into their empty sockets, I saw my destiny. On the wall, black markings made of coal caught my attention. The drawings depicted a group of men being followed by a larger silhouette with pointy ears. It could be a wolf if it were not for its height. A demon, perhaps, or a vision from people long forgotten. On the first light, I left the cave and my companions behind, for during the night, they have all joined our hosts in an eternal sleep. As I approached the summit, that putrid smell turned sour, stronger than ever, as if a thousand bodies were left in the open to disintegrate over time. The snow turned thicker, and the paths became steeper as I pushed myself against the blowing wind, depriving me from seeing ahead. My hand lifted and covered my eyes, and from between my purple fingers, I saw a narrow path that pushed the snow aside and left its markings on the ground – a fresh trail, I realized. I followed the trail as it took me to the summit of the mountain. Two pillars emerged from the ground like snow-white banners, showing the world the peak was claimed – not by men – but by nature itself. Molded into the rock, was the inner part of a dome protecting its center from the what looked like a shire devoted to – if not built by – the gods themselves. In its center lay huddle made of what appeared to be a tangled amount of... what is that? I approached it and identified the maze being made from bones stripped from flesh, broken, smashed, and crushed into a bed that smelled of mold and rotten flesh. Big and small, long, and thin. I saw the fabric scratched along the way, and the splinters of weapons left throughout the mountain. These were the remains of the expeditions, the leftovers of our friends, the pieces of our royal guard. I lifted my cloak to retain the nauseating smell, while struggling not to vomit as I moved closer to the basket. Inside were the remains of animals and men, piled at each other through time. Cornering a rock, I followed the trail of bones, and then I heard. The visceral sound of a meal being eaten, meat being pulled from the bone, blood dripping, and a constant snort of desperation. Over a large pile of bones, a dark creature full of fur leaned and feasted. Its dangled black hair dripped with blood, and the stench was more than I could bare. It looks like... a wolf. And I remembered the drawings on the interior of the cave. Three, maybe four times my size, thick and muscular, its arms stretched wide could reach me in a heartbeat. I tried to sneak away, but the mere sound of my pounding heart must have alerted the beast. It turned and stared with fearsome yellow eyes, and as I pointed my spear to its chest, one swing of its long and hairy arm was enough to blind my sight and numb my senses. Laying on the snow, my sight turned darker and I heard the bark of my best friend Bartosz. …The councilor knocked at the Rego’s chamber door. “Your Highness, we are being called to position in the war of the continent. They ask for men and weapons. Our presence is demanded at once”. The Rego took the parchment and tossed it in the hearth. “How can I take part, when all my men were sent to the mountains and failed to return?” ________ Louis of Nutwood. Hope you like it. Would love to hear thoughts and comments.
  19. It has been three days since we were run off the road into the Wither Woods. I can see why our Rego was apprehensive on getting involved on the continent. What should have been a simple trip to the Avalonian capital has turned into a slaughter in the dark inside these woods. Death lurks in these trees. My contingent of solders has all but vanished and I know it is not cowardice or desertion. I fear if I fall asleep, I may never wake, but I have not slept since we were attacked on that first night; I can fight it back no longer. We’ve situated camp on this crag over a stream; we will be safe on two sides, at least. Hirbod has the first watch. May his eyes, and ears, not fail us tonight. -Sicuro Off-Course in the Wither Woods After weeks of no word from Sicuro or the contingent of men he led to Avalonia, rumor made its way to the Rego of Varlyrio. This whisper was enough to convince his minster of War and himself that isolation from the continent was prudent. Varlyrio would not send troops to the Battle of Historica. ------------------- This is my entry into the Guilds of Historica Book III Challenge V: Category A (which takes place in Book II). This lost diary entry explains what happened to the contingent of troops sent by the Rego of Varlyrio. Their disappearance solidifies his view that Varlyrio should stay out of the distant war. A bonus image of the MOC can be seen below. It features full lighting and and an aerial view. Aerial View I’m also submitting this MOC for review in the University of Petraeas Doctorate of Historica Program under the following two categories: Landscape Design → trees #1 Geography → forests The coniferous trees follow Katie Walker’s design while the odd-angled branched ones are based on Legopard’s Design. I found both by following this Brickbuilt Tutorial. Website | Flickr | YouTube
  20. Looking to get together a team of others for Challenge V? Trying to find another member or two to fill up your team? Or are you looking to enter the collaboration category and at a loss how to get started? Here's the place for you! Any and all team building discussion can take place in this thread, and, since there's really no need to keep them secret, I'll also ask complete groups to post here with a list of their team and to mention which Varlyrian family they're planning on building for. Any questions relating to the challenge but not directly to team building can continue in the Challenge thread, and as before, if you have any questions about story or intrigue, feel free to shoot a PM to @Rogue Angel or myself!
  21. Illaryian, Varlyrio Even in times of peace, it is sometimes necessary to maintain the practices of war. Supano Amancio and his advisors considered ways to fulfill the Queen's decree and eventually had the idea of reviving the old sport of Calcio as a way to not only promote cohesion between the Guilds, especially newly welcomed Varlyrio, but also as a way to keep the warriors of the Guilds doing something where their skills are useful off the battlefield. An exhibition game between teams made up of Kaliphlini and Mitgardian warriors was hastily planned. The warriors, of course, very much enjoyed a chance to meet on any field of honor. It's important to remember that Calcio is a rough game, however, The ball is heavy and must be maneuvered with the full strength of the body. Between the ball and the martial prowess of the players, Calcio often leads to injuries. The Mitgardian and Kaliphlin onlookers react with horror or elation as a Mitgardian player goes down in a spray of blood across the sand. The Varlyrians in the crowd are mostly bemused at the peoples of other Guilds playing their ancient sport. Queen Ylspeth herself has turned up for the exhibition. Though a part of her would rather be walking among the people, taking in their reactions and the general pulse of her subjects, she can't argue with the superior view of the game from the rooftop. She is flanked by Cedrican guards and N'ri, her friend from Mwamba, as well as a young woman from Mitgardia. Alva Tyrnsdottir has walked a long road from Arnarvhall, but she is proud to be in the Queen's service. As trade and travel open between the Guilds, plenty of people from Kaliphlin are able to show up for their team's big game. On the other side of the sand, the Mitgardians have also turned up in numbers. Unused to the heat of Varlyrio, many have shed their furs and leathers in favor of the lighter clothing of their southern territories. Varlyrians move about the plaza where the game has been set. A Knight of Sana Argenta offers water to a thirsty minotaur sailor. Warriors, sailors, and people from all around Varlyrio move about on their business or stop to watch. Crown Knights of Cedrica mix with Varlyrian orders, prominently patrolling in parade armor to show that they are there to keep the peace and promote the mix of cultures. The game also provides a good cover for meetings of import between important Guild Leaders... Supano Amancio and Elon Chorian make no effort to hide who they are, nor what they discuss. For now, this is a chance meeting (or meant to seem like one) which, for anyone who doesn't know Chorian, might explain why he has no guards. Amancio is flanked by two members of other Varlyrian Houses, periodically drafted as ceremonial guards to promote cooperation among the Houses and giving a Rego a chance to get to know rising stars. It seems obvious that these two may meet again. Perhaps with the High Queen. Perhaps not. What might come out of that meeting, however, is anyone's guess... -- Thanks for looking! Builder's Notes:
  22. Basiliscus

    The Road West

    Previously The regular squeak of the cart's axle had plagued them the entire way, and yet the driver seemed entirely oblivious. Meiyo thought it would be wise to stop off and get some fat to lubricate it before they got to the harder part of their journey, but she knew that'd be unlikely. Even though they were in friendly territory on the east side of the high ridge mountains the further west they went the less populated the land became. Her mind wandered back over the events of the past few days. After his father's orders to head west a few days ago, Mychel had wanted to take a strong force of 20 men with him to ensure their safety but Staffen would have none of it. Meiyo listened as Staffen told Mychel that he needed the men of the Conzaga private militia with him in case his enemies struck again, and he offhandedly remarked that "the bird" would keep him safe. Meiyo would miss the safety and comfort of the eastern lands, but getting some respite from Staffen's sharp tongue would be welcome. In the end Meiyo had gone to the barracks and asked for volunteers. There had been few hands raised, but when an old veteran came forward and declared he would accompany them some of the younger soldiers wanted to come along too. "What is your name soldier?" "It's Gineto. I served with Nestur in the wars against Ravaage." Meiyo examined him closely - he had a neatly trimmed goatee in the Varlyrian style and a well kept but well used chain mail shirt. But his eyes were dark and hard, just the kind of man they would need in the wastelands. "Very well Gineto, you are coming of your own free will mind." Meiyo didn't want anyone to abandon them when the going got tough. Gineto nodded. Meiyo continued, "Pick two of those who have volunteered and meet us at dusk." Travelling with a smaller escort had a number of advantages. For one, the cart and driver that Staffen had supplied his son was not large, and food would be hard to come by once they'd crossed the mountains. Carts would slow them down and become a liability if they were attacked. Additionally, the fewer men in their group meant easier access through the dwarven lands who, being wary of the humans inhabiting the eastern side of Varlyrio, might refuse them passage if they felt threatened. Once the soldiers were gathered and the cart loaded with ale, bread and a few of Mychel's essentials (he expected to travel in a certain manner) the group set off west. They travelled through the rolling green fields and since bandits were rare here the mood was light and conversation flowed. Gineto had an attentive audience for his war stories. The cart's squeak began to slow meaning the convoy was coming to a stop, and Meiyo's thoughts drifted back to the present. A small group of peasants were out picking grapes near the road side. They were using a small storage barn to store their produce before it was transported for sale. Mychel began to veer off the road to engage them in conversation and Meiyo stuck close by, just in case. After a brief chat, the group returned to the road and continued on their way. Meiyo realised she had forgotten to ask for fat for the cart axle, and it's renewed squeak reminded her of how far they still had to go.
  23. Previously Even for Varlyrio it was an unseasonably warm winter's day, and it seemed as if half of Illaryian was in the stands to watch the races. With the queen's call for entertainment, the Supano Amancio had asked all of the finest horse breeders in Varlyrio to prepare their steeds to compete in the largest horse racing event in a generation. Outside the capital in an area of flat land the nobles had put up stands from which to watch the entertainment, which had turned into a competition to show of their wealth and status. Staffen had paid for a grand timber frame to be made in a style celebrating Varlyrian's ancient past, and once the labourers had made the structure safe he arranged for plasterers to come and cover it in stucco and paint it white. Finally, a few artists had come and added some detail to it to help make it stand out. It hadn't been cheap, but there was no mistaking that the Conzaga's had arrived. Staffen knew that he had to. After the recent attempt to poison his son Bernaldo he had to show his enemies that the Conzaga's would not be bowed by the threats. Bernaldo was his son and, at least nominally, his heir. Staffen had situated him pride of place in the front row of the stand guarded by his own minotaur bodyguard. "But father, no-one would dare attack us in public like you think! Minos can take the day off and enjoy the races.", said Bernaldo when he was told of the plan. This was typical of his naivety - he had underestimated the ruthlessness of his family's enemies - a mistake Staffen would not make twice. Staffen insisted it was Minos or he stayed inside the manor and Bernaldo reluctantly agreed. After being cooped up for weeks for his own safety Staffen knew his son would leap at the opportunity to get his freedom for the day. Around the grandiose Conzaga display was simpler timber stands for the ordinary folks. The crowds chattered loudly enjoying the day away from their trades. At the opening ceremony, they cheered for the riders; when they thundered passed they whooped and groaned and money changed hands and back again. But Staffen was not even listening, he had more important matters on his mind. As part of the queen's push to impress her subjects the Conzaga's had been approached to freely give out their wine to the common folks. When Staffen had objected to this, the envoy had opened a chest and the sparkling contents made him reconsider. There was a queen's ransom in diamonds inside! It was easily enough to pay for every man, woman and child in Historica to forget their woes for the day. While the diamonds were a welcome boost to the Conzaga treasury Staffen's head spun at what to use it for. He could raise an army to muscle out his competitors, bribe spies to find Bernaldo's attacker or build an impressive architectural feat to make him remembered down the ages. Whatever he decided Staffen knew - this was a good day for the Conzagas.
  24. narbilu

    Whispers [CH2 - C]

    Note: Didn't have much time, but I just wanted to start this storyline with the build for challenge 2C Bran was summoned by his dad, Narbilu lord of Avalonia, to meet him in the alley of the far east corner of Kashgar... nothing is known what the two talked about, but it will have consequences for the loosing party.
  25. W Navarre

    The Ilesole Saga

    "Long ago, far to the southwest of all of Historica... "There lay, and there lies still, a tall and lonely city, which is called, Ilesole." "Forgive me! Please!" "It is not for me to forgive..." "But if the skies above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath... "If the sea into which he was cast is washed away with time, "If the sun dries up that sea so that the water no longer parts us, if he can walk from there to here! "Oh, then will the child be forgiven; then will he also be pardoned… "For what he hath done…" “Water… is merciful…” “Not like fire.” “My name is Ásgeir Di Cioto... I come from Ilesole.”