We Aren't Saints

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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:15 pm

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter I: The Artifacts of Court

All of Court's royal princes were artifacts. Artifacts to a grander destiny, perhaps; but artifacts nevertheless. Some of them accepted their fate, but others limited themselves to aid their "kingdom" pursue its goals without much conviction. And to further distinguish this mention of artifacts into their royal philosophy, each of the princes were granted an artifact. Irony plus faith. Prince Johan disliked this. But his king's wishes were those, and he wouldn't take advice from any member of Court's court, no matter how noble the advice. And he wouldn't ask him for his advice, anyway. So Johan didn't question him. He would just let it be.

Johan himself had been the seventh prince popped under King Charles' reign. Now he was only the third one alive. He had two brothers and sisters, each of whom had different jobs and assignments, each one of them following their King's orders like automatrons. As if they were golems pursuing the path their maker wished. Sad, all of it.

His elder brother, crown prince Charles II, was the current Chief Warlord of the great kingdom of Court. Kingdom was the word for it, although Johan thought of it as a dictatorship. But hey, all kingdoms were dictatorships, weren't they? Crown Prince Charles II was in charge of all of the war duties and administration. A level 10, just like himself, and a master tactician. Or so they said. Johan knew some warlords far smarter in their ranks, but Father would never agree to have someone who isn't family in a position of such importance. Tradition, if you will. Useless tradition, if you will. Charles II would always follow King Charles' wishes, and agreed with most of his commands, too. They were identical, and perhaps that was the reason why King Charles had appointed him chief. Charles II held the Sword of the Kings, a powerful turnamancy artifact that would bend other commanders to his will. Only those with low loyalty, of course. Court had no need for Turnamancers, as the crown prince himself could convince their newly captured warlords to join their side. Cheap manipulation, and a nearly useless object, he thought it was. It couldn't compare the least to the lowest of turnamancers, though.

His elder sister, Princess Anna, was a smart and agreeable person. One of the people Johan liked the most. Her job was to administrate the capital and deal with the other warlords in times of peace. Those times were scarce, though. A level 6 warlord, but she disliked war and loved diplomacy. He often worked with her during wars to aid Court's allies. As she was the only one with enough tact to deal with others, her job was to ensure the happiness of both their allies and Court's three casters. And she was the perfect person, too, to make their jobs easier. Johan himself was almost never bothered with their caster's complains. She wore the Collar of the Kings, a date-a-mancy artifact that helped her bond with people. Useful in her job, but rather useless in battle. But she hated battle, so she didn't care too much to possess the weakest of the artifacts of the Kings.

His younger brother, prince Andrew, was the regent warlord of Court's capital city, Von Karma. And odd name for a city, but Johan liked it. He couldn't even blame Father for this, as the capital had been popped during his grandfather's reign. It would give it a sense of power and reach. Although they did have rather bad luck. Karma, it may be. And Andrew hated karma. Johan loved it, but pitied his brother's faith. He was the only one who had to deal with Father all day long. The others limited themselves to contact any important notices via thinkagram. Neither of them, no matter how much they agreed with him, could stand him for too long. Not even Charles. Andrew was a level 8, having seen much action and invasions at their capital, and during campaigns with his older brother when he wasn't the regent warlord. But when the regent warlord of Von karma, prince Adam croaked during a siege, his duty and his king forced him to stay back, something Andrew disliked. He was Johan's favorite brother. The most understanding and calmed one. The one he could talk all turn long. The only one he would miss if he croaked. Prince Andrew possessed the Belt of Kings, a shockamancy artifact that would stun any unit that tried to use any magical ability on him. A strong artifact it was, indeed. Although it required some time to charge up, it was strong. Perhaps the most powerful of them all.

And finally, his younger sister there was. Princess Joanna, Father's favorite, even before Charles himself. She was tiny level 2 warlord, and was studying war tactics under Charles' advice, training for her inevitable promotion to Chief Warlord once Charles croaked. He knew this and all of Court's court knew, too, for she was the perfect little psychopath Court needed to win wars. She loved battle, and she loved killing. She liked the taste of it, and she loved it. She would never be the crown princess, though. Even Father knew she was good for battle, and nothing else. If both Charles died, then the one who would become their ruler would be Anna. Not Johan, not Andrew, and much less Joanna. And if Charles II ever took the throne, their new Chief Warlord would be Joanna. That little freak would never agree to anything else anyway, as it was what she was popped for. Joanna held the Dagger of Kings with pride, a croakamancy artifact that would instantly croak any enemy it touched. It could only be used once in many turns, so she only used it for important and powerful targets. Johan had even witnessed her croak a battle bear with a single stab once. It was pure death, just like its user, and it was her favorite fighting tool.

After Charles II in hierarchy came Johan himself, the main tactical advisor to his older brother. Both Charles disliked him, he knew. He couldn't complain, though. He knew his tactics were unorthodox and not as noble as theirs, but they worked nevertheless. They always worked. Many times had he though he ressembled Joanna the most, because of their preference for propaganda and obscure tactics, but he didn't like it. Because of his military cleverness and unusual liberal thought regarding what is noble and unnoble, he was called the Djinn by his troops. Often he recommended the path of evil, and sometimes the path of good. But neither of them were noble to his King's eyes. He wore the Bracelet of the Kings, a healomancy artifact. He could heal those units within his stack, and sometimes even save their life or his own from a killing blow. Only once had he seen this happen, but the bracelet was so fragile that he feared he could ever push it too hard. His favorite job was to act as an advisor for allied kingdoms, and he would almost never spend turn on his own side's territory. He loved to be away from home, as he didn't have to deal with his family.

But not this turn.
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:19 am

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter II: An Unexpected Call

King Charles had ordered them to the capital for some unknown reason.

He didn't waste his time by giving them any details of this unexpected meeting, not even to Charles II. It had been troublesome, this last minute order, as Johan was that turn on their neighbor ally kingdom of Apple, giving councel to Overlord Steve. He had to fly on his big and fat gigawaven and his stack of wavens from iCapital, the capital city of Apple (those people didn't have much imagination) to their closest city of Godot. There, he had met with prince Anna and their Shockamancer Judge, and they took along a stack of elite reapers with them all the way to Von Karma. Johan didn't dislike to travel in gigawaven, but he hated to travel such long distances during a single turn. He killed time and prevented thinking about it by talking to his older sister.

Apparently, she had been planning some kind of strategic alliance via thinkagram with prince Thelma of the kingdom of The Mark when Father called her. The alliance meeting had to be postponed afterwards.

"Such an odd decision of Father to do this" she said. Johan nodded in agreement. The wind chaotically moved his long locks of curly black hair. He had to half-close his eyes to see well, as the wind slapping his face bothered him.

"Well, Father's thoughts and mind processes are beyond the comprehension of the mightiest of Thinkamancers" said Johan. The Shockamancer chuckles behind him, which annoyed his sister.

"You shouldn't talk about Father like that."

"Oh, shouldn't I?" Asked Johan with a grin, "if you taught me to speak always the truth, didn't you sister?"

"Which you seem to do only regarding to our King" she replied, emphasizing the word King, not Father, not Charles. Johan never called him King.

"Oh, sister. Perhaps it is Loyalty that compelts me to do so. Why would I speak truly with people such as those you hang around with all time. Those supposedly royals from The Mark, or those Mezon savages."

"And yet you adore to spend turns with the mercenaries of Apple" snapped Anna with quite some edge on her words. Johan was clearly getting to her, which he loved to do with his fellow warlords and brothers. Although Anna seemed quite scary on the rare occasions she did snap.

"Sister, you know our alliance with Apple is of vital importance to Court. Only because of them we managed to destroy those uber monsters of Phoenix and annex their cities to our kingdom. We owe them."

"Yes, and sometimes it feels your Loyalty lies somewhere elsewhere than to Father, King Charles" she said, as if giving Father's title made him more important.

"How lowly Loyal can I be, for being a royal prince, ma'am?" Asked Johan as if he were challenging her. Before she could answer, he added, "and my loyalty perhaps doesn't lie on Father, but it lies in my family" he finally said, effectively shutting her up. He turned his sight away from her, not wanting to talk for the rest of the trip. Indeed, he had presumably the lowest Loyalty between his brothers and sisters. Although he had his doubts.

They arrived to Von Karma faster than he had thought. A trumpet somewhere announced both the arrival of the royal princes and the end of their turn.

"Looks like they were just waiting for us to arrive" said Anna as they both dismounted before the gigantic doors that led to the garrison. Then she ordered the reapers to take the wavens and their two gigawavens to the courtyard and to report to any warlord available at the tower. The reapers nodded and flew away on their mounts.

"I also have orders to go meet King Charles, ma'am" said Judge once she ordered him to the war room. Anna nodded, confused. The casters were never called to see the king, unless something exceptional took place. Then the three of them headed for the king's throne room.

The King's throne room was a rather large one, and the most heavily guarded of them all. Max stacks of reapers walked around it like vultures waiting to feed themselves. And the most powerful reapers were those. Johan was used to see reapers, as all of the princes had a personal guard of elite reapers with them at all times—although Johan had left his guard at Von Karma to make a light and quick visit to Overlord Steve—, but all those reapers in the castle's halls always gave him a feeling of distress, as if they were about to be attacked. And perhaps they were, because the feeling was stronger than it always used to be.

"King Charles and his court are waiting for you, Lords" received them a warlord whose name Johan couldn't remember. Not even Anna replied, though, so the warlord just opened the doors and let them in.

"Oh, dear" said Anna once they both entered the throne room. It was filled with warlords and courtiers. Right next to the throne, he could see their two brothers chatting animously and gloomly with each other, while the King yelled something he couldn't hear to his warlords and his younger sister sat down next to him lookig at the floor. That was a bad omen.
Last edited by Lefish on Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:48 pm

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter III: The Wait

The King cleared his throat once they were all reunited. All of the 34 warlords, the three casters and the five princes looked at him. Johan gave a barely noticeable touch to Anna's arm to attract her attention. Then he pointed towards the place where their family was reunited. She nodded and they both walked among the people gathered there today until they took their place among their brothers and sister. Father gave them a small look of recognition, preventing eye contact with his middle son. Johan frowned at this barely familiar welcome, but he was used to it.

King Charles opened his mouth to speak, but then a warlord approached him and started whispering something to his ruler's ear, a secret only for himself. Father nodded and talked briefly with him.

"What in the Titan's name?" Asked a cute voice beside Johan. He turned around and saw his younger sister. He didn't even notice her approaching them, as he though she was still in the corner by herself. She was sneaky like that. He did notice the large dagger on her hand.

"You shouldn't wave that thing around. Might croak someone by accident" replied Johan without answering her question. Joanna took a glance at her toy and smiled, not with fun or innocence, but with mischief. Johan recognized that smile, because he himself had shown that smile every once in a while. It was an evil smile.

"You would welcome that, wouldn't you?"

"Might make this a little more interesting, actually. If the situation wasn't misterious and interesting to begin with. Do you know why Father recalled... what seems to be all of our commanders to the capital?"

"In case you didn't hear me the first time: What in the Titan's name?" She said. Johan nodded.

"Oh, so he didn't even tell his favorite nuisance of the events that lead to this warm meeting?" Said Johan with mischief. Joanna frowned her lips together, making a look that seemed like a weep just before it presented itself. A look that was all too common when Joanna was either confused or bothered by something.

"Beats me who you call his favorite" said Joanna. At first, Johan thought she was talking about their older brother, Charles II, who stood firmly next to Father, waiting patiently for him to speak to the crowd. King Charles was too busy still talking with that walord, though. It seemed as if Charles II didn't like to be ignored, which Johan knew to be true. But then, he rethought his sister's words. Ah, yes. The future prince, to be popped in 6 more turns. The decision came as a surprise to everyone, as King Charles had expressed in several occasions his apparent satisfaction with his current stock of princes. So she feared that other prince would take her position as the favorite.

"Don't worry, sister. I bet he is only curious to see what might pop. Perhaps another clone of himself, a peaceful diplomat, a despot son, the careful warrior, or the shady psycopath?" Joked Johan. Yes, they were a curious family.

"I've heard some rumors..." said Joanna in a soft tone of voice. Clearly her sweet and cute tone didn't match the real personality behind the mask. However, Johan stood at attention to her words, as they seemed more like news that bode bad for them, and not just any palace chitchat she may have heard, "I've heard... that he is planning on leaving the kingdom."

Johan oppened his mouth with shock and gave a look to the king, who seemed to be far more interested on what that stupid warlord had to say than on his sons.

"But how could he?"

"Don't talk about that" said a voice behind them. They both turned around and saw a muscular and tall young man, with green eyes and short black curly hair standing behind them, listening to their talk. "As Joanna said, those were only rumors."

"Oh, Andrew... "replied Johan with a smile of contempt, "let's keep an open mind, shall we? What if he was indeed thinking on leaving the kingdom?" He then turned to Joanna. Anna took a couple of steps toward them, also interested in their palace chitchat. "Then, for the sake of argument, how could he do that?"

Andrew stood silent, glaring momentarily at Father, who seemed not to care about them.

"Easy. By croaking himself" said Anna. Andrew them glared at his older sister, angry for her to be taking part on that conversation. "If he croaked himself... went on a suicide mission... or just walked past the border of the portal to the Magic Kingdom..."

The four princes didn't say a word, thinking about the implications.

"But, even then, those are merely rumors" said Andrew, uncomfortable to the direction the conversation was taking.

"And we have a heir" continued Anna, ignoring her brother's intrusion. Andrew shook his head and joined Charles II by waiting next to the King for his announcement, not wanting to listen to it any more.

"Why would he abandon us?" Asked Joanna sadly, as if those rumors were fact. No-one said anything for a few minutes, and the only thing they heard was the King's constant whispering.

"Because he's a coward" said finally Johan. His older sister took her palm to her even wide open mouth, as if he had spoken ill of the Titans. "Think about it. This whole reunion is... mysterious. Nobody knows why we're even here. I'm willing to bet my Bracelet that it's some bad business with one of our bordering enemies."

"No." Simply said Anna.

"Titan's Teats!" Shouted Johan for all the room to listen. And he indeed managed to get the attention of the whole crowd. "Father, this is beyond rudeness! How much longer will you keep us waiting?"

The warlord that had been talking with the King looked at him angrily, contrasting with the rest of shocking looks on the room. He walked swiftly towards Johan and said only:

"The King is on a thinkagram. It won't take too long."

Then Johan looked at his Father once again, and noticed Mia the Thinkamancer standing next to him with a deep face of concentration, touching the King's temple with her hand.

"Oh, crap" yelled Johan with frustration, shaking his hands in the air, and sat on the corner, where his lovely sister was sitting before he himself was.
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A Tale of Destruction by zilfallon
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:20 pm

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter IV: The King's Announcement

Father quickly finished with the thinkagram and after whispering some stuff to Mia the Thinkamancer, she quickly walked out of the room, probably to do some errand. The King just remained seated on his throne, thinking. After a few minutes, he stood up.

"I have been king for more than ten thousand turns" Father said. Johan could feel his sisters getting closer instinctibely, reaching for human warmth, "and in all those ten thousand turns, I have never been so proud of our kingdom."

Several warlords nodded with a smile on their faces. Father nodded once, then looked at the floor thoughtfully, unconsciously touching his crown.

"But I must also say, that in ten thousand turns, I have never felt so much shame."

The smiles and the nodding stopped. Johan crossed his arms, finally interested in that meeting.

"Once, we had nine princes in this kingdom! But now look at our royal family."

The warlords all turned and looked at the princes, as if the King had commanded them to. Johan and his four brothers and sisters all shivered.

"When prince Adam died and I was left without my Chief, my son and my best companion in those times, I thought of things. Royal things. Some of them, most of you wouldn't understand. Things beyond the best administration of the kingdom and the decisions that now seem mundane."

Pompous windbag, Johan couldn't help himself think.

"Does he have a point, or he's just rambling?" Whispered Joanna desperate. Johan smiled and turned toward his sister.

"Shush. He's getting to the good part."

"Oh, you've heard this before?" Asked Joanna. Johan nodded. He had heard this speech before twice already. But it always had a different meaning.

"So, I made a decision some of you... those of you who were alive back then, didn't understand. I popped a my fourth daughter, princess Joanna" said Father, pointing at his favorite daughter. She blushed, and King Charles gave her a brief and warm smile before continuing. "She has been a blessing, to say the least." DEFINITELY the least, Johan thought, but didn't comment.

"And fifty-four turns ago, when our side finally achieved peace with the kingdom of Apple, thanks to my other daughter, princess Anna; I decided to pop another royal warlord. Our future prince... or princess. Why?" The King made a pause, and scanned the room for a few seconds. "Now I know most of you dislike that decision."

Johan looked at his younger sister, who was piercing Father with her eyes. Perhaps she would get her answers to doubts she had desperately tried to keep secret.

"But here is why" continued the King, "someday... not now. Not tomorrow, I hope; I will not be here. And this kingdom will need the most competent warlords at its disposal. Including the princes. It will be a time when leadership will be needed, and not the type that can be measured. I need to keep my kingdom intact, even if it means sacrificing my own body to do so. That is why another prince will pop soon. 'Cause I will not be here forever. And when that time comes, I expect my... my heir to step up."

The warlords didn't say a word. Some of them stopped making eye contact with their ruler, either out of shame or disgust, Johan didn't know.

"That was a big bunch of nothing" said Joanna.

"Yeah, that's a pretty stupid reason to pop a prince."

"So you think he has a hidden reason?"

"Don't we all?"

"And today" kept talking the King, with a louder tone of voice now. As if he were younger and a fire burnt inside him, "something else has changed, too. Some of you may have noticed. Some of you may have not. Today... princess Anna has become the heir of Court's throne."

The room was filled with the sound of whispers.

Anna opened her mouth wide. Johan and Joanna turned around and faced her, with shock. When he saw the look on her face, he then noticed she didn't know about this, either. Until now, at least. Andrew joined them and asked a few scandalized questions to her, but she didn't know the answers. 'How did it happen' and 'why didn't you tell us' were some of the questions Andrew had asked her. Johan turned away from them instead, and looked at Charles II. He was still in the same position as before standing livid next to the throne, looking directly at Father, with a look that could only mean "danger".

Johan took Andrew by the shoudler and shook it, then pointed at his other brother.

"There's someone who can answer those questions" he said loud enough for his brother to listen.

Charles turned around, giving his back to the King, and walked towards the exit. As he walked, however, he noticed the four pair of green eyes looking at him, and doubted for a second, unsure whether he should go with them or not. Finally, he stepped towards them. His teeth showed, his eyebrows tilted down, and all of his muscles were tense. His brother was angry.

"Joanna, come with me. The rest of you will stay here in your quarters. Tomorrow, at dawn, you'll eat with..."

For some unknown reason, Charles couldn't finish his sentence. All of them looked at him, waiting for him to do so.

"... with Father?" Asked Anna cautiously. Charles glared at her with hate, and nodded.

"With our... King."

With those last words, Charles turned around and left the room quickly, before anyone else could bother him with comments or questions he surely didn't want to deal with.
Last edited by Lefish on Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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A Tale of Destruction by zilfallon
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:56 pm

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter V: Breaking Fast

Johan opened his eyes and half expected a courtier to be there already, hurrying him to wake up and get dressed so he could arrive in time for his meeting with his father. Just like old times.

But there were no courtiers nor warlords nor any kind of servant to scold him. Unlike old times. But he didn't expect many things to be the same. He couldn't even remember how were things back then. More than two thousand turns had passed since he had slept in the bedroom of the palace for the last time. He couldn't even remember how were things back then.

He stood up and left his royal bed behind. Most of the walls in Johan's bedroom were filled with bookcases, in which laid tomes of ancient battles, and about some other stuff most warlords thought was useless: about magic, philosophy and Duty. He even had a book that explained Loyalty and is implications in modern warfare and improvised tactics. Damn. And they were all useful, too, one way or another. By reading a book about biology Johan discovered how to make more frequent critical hits. After his brothers and sisters found out, they started borrowing books from Johan's shelves.

He loved his books, and he had popped with the desire of reading and knowing more and more. He couldn't help notice a gap between his books in the magic section.

By elimination he discovered the missing tome from his archive: Erfworld's Bestiawy. It was, by appearance only, the oldest book of all of his possessions, growing every day each time Court or one of its allies encountered a new unit. He couldn't think why it was missing, as he himself hadn't read it in at least a hundred turns. Every other turn he would ask a member of his personal reaper guard to bring him a book from his room, so he could spend a good night reading good literature. This ritual had remained unchanged during Johan's lifetime. Even during war time he would spend some time reading. And yet, he hadn't read them all in his more than seven thousand turns of living. Each time he finished reading a book and returned it to its place in its bookcase, another one would pop in its place. That was, of course, if Johan didn't think it was worth keeping. Some of the books, like the Bestiawy, had been in his room since his time of popping, as he considered them too useful or interesting to be depopped.

A knocking sound coming from the door startled him. Johan turned around and opened the door completely.

"Oh, Brother! That's not the proper raiment for a meeting with the King."

Johan looked confused at Anna, who was standing next to Andrew, both of them wearing their royal suits, looking at him. Then he understood, that he was still in in his sleeping clothes. He sighed and with a sign told them to wait.

Once he had changed into the clothes he normally used to dealing with diplomatic situations with Father, he walked with them to the King's throne room, which brought up some interesting memories about last night. They didn't talk about it, though, and avoided anything even remotely related to his father's shocking announcement. Instead, they talked about the weather, the status of their current jobs, and their assessment on Court's military.

"Wavens? WAVENS?" Cried Johan after hearing his brother speak about probably spending the next few turns popping nothing more than wavens in their cities of Godot and Fey. "Why don't you pop some bloody crows or courtiers, while you're at it?"

A couple of courtiers in their gowns passing by overheard it and glared at him with hatred, but he didn't give a piece of Titan's mucus about their opinion.

"Brother, please" said Andrew, noting the sarcasm on Johan's voice, "wavens are strong and steady flyers. We'll need them in the upcoming battles with NBC if we want to keep them from taking those cities."

"Sure, the Nation of the Badlands Congress lacks in flying units, but our current stock of gigawavens in those cities can take care of them with ease. Popping some reapers might as well prove more useful" commented Anna, "and I hope Charles II is thinking like that. It would be by far a better investment."

"May I remind you, Sister, that a single reaper takes 9 turns to pop. If Godot, for example, popped wavens, we would already have 3 of them in that amount of time."

"But they wouldn't be such an effective assault unit" said Johan. Andrew nodded thoughtfully, considering their opinion on the matter. After all, both of them were older than him, and supposedly wiser.

"Although we already have a good amount of reapers around" added Andrew.

"It's still better than wavens. And much more than crows. Titans know we don't need more scouts, and our gigawaven fleet is large as it is" pointed out Johan.

"Besides, they get a better bonus from our artifacts" added Anna. Indeed, their reapers got double the bonus from the Artifacts of the Kings, unlike their other units.

"Looks like we should leave our discussion for later" said Andrew. They had arrived at the throne room, where two reapers were stationed. One of them saluted them and opened the door.

The room was completely empty, with the exception of King Charles and Mia the Mastermind sitting in a large rectangular table. The King welcomed them and invited them to join him. Someone (probably a couple of reapers) had placed the dinner table in from of the King's throne and five chairs around it.

They took their place in the table along with the King. Johan sat on the side of the table opposite from where his father was sitting, while Anna seated to his right. This seemed odd, for some reason. Then Johan understood that it was the Chief Warlord's seat. Anna looked uncomfortable sitting there.

The King was talking with the King of the Mark via thinkagram, from what Johan could hear from the conversation. His brother and sister waited silently until their rations popped. An they did, as stunning as they always were.

*Pop*

Johan looked at his plate: a large silk worm on goatee sauce. He made a disgust face.

"What does it remind you of?" Asked Andrew in a low voice.

Johan smiled, but did not answer him. He knew that Signamancers thought every look, every word in this world had a meaning. Johan had the luck to meet a Signamancer once, thanks to Court's Foolamancer, Franziska. That Signamancer said that even rations' appearance had a meaning. Ever since that turn, Johan's food reminded him of something. Most of the time, on croaked people he once knew. Some other times, on some... intangible stuff.

"Do you remember that battle bear Joanna croaked once?" Asked Johan. Andrew nodded. "Well, it reminds me of what was left of that warlord when the big corpse fell on him."

Anna laughed at this, and Andrew simply frowned. Johan shrugged and waited for his King to finish the thinkagram. Their food didn't look so bad. Why did Johan always get the crappy rations? Well, they were delicious, but rather bad looking. Just that.

"I'm glad you're in high spirits today."

They all turned around and saw the King, who had just finished his call. He had this fake smile on his face. A crappy smile, too.

"Good" continued King Charles, "we'll need you in high spirits today."

"You've been nothing but smiles and happiness these past few turns, Father" commented sarcastically Johan. The King then frowned and looked at him with contempt. There. Now they all saw his real face.

"Son, the weight on my shoulders is far more than what you can understand. Of course, I hope Anna won't have as much trouble when she steps up and becomes... Queen."

Anna didn't say anything at all, and started stirring her soup with her spoon.

"Don't play with your food" ordered the King, and she obeyed.

The five of them ate quietly for a few moments, before Andrew unexpectedly broke the silence.

"Father, why did you call us here today?" The King stopped eating, but didn't answer back.

"Oh, why do we need a reason to eat in company of our family, Andrew? It may be just the pleasure of having us all in the capital" answered Johan.

"I hope it wasn't the main reason, though. Father, you know we have more important stuff to do in the kingdom. Please, if you are going to speak, do so now."

The King frowned and looked at his half-eaten plate. Then, he put it aside and joined his fists together.

"I'm sure you remember my announcement last night" said the King, looking at Anna. She nodded, while Mia just looked at them all with the same worried face she always had.

"Well, then you must be wondering why did I appoint Anna as the crown princess instead of keeping that weight on my homonimous son."

"Yes, we all do. Could you care to explain, Father?" Asked Andrew in the most polite manner he could. He was still shocked by that, Johan noticed. "And where are Charles II and Joanna, by the way?"

"What do you mean?" Asked both Anna and Johan at the same time. Johan thought they were still at Von Karma.

"Well, our brother and sister left early this turn. First thing I saw through the window in my room when I woke up was a flight of gigawavens taking to the skies, with both princes leading them, and a couple of warlords, too. Care to explain, Father?"

Now Johan understood why he hadn't seen the gigawavens take off. His and Anna's rooms were on the northern side of the castle, while Andrew's and Charles II's rooms were on the southern side of it. That would also explain...

"The crown" talked the King. Johan wasn't sure if he took notice on Andrew's claim, "is a very serious weight. And it requires a... special touch to handle. Not all of us could handle the pressure. Anna, my third daughter, possesses that innate quality. You can't teach that to every prince. You have to pop with it."

"But Father, what do I know about battle and kingdoms?" Asked Anna.

"You know about administration. That should do."

"But Father!"

"Don't whine and yell like a little girl, Anna. You will soon rule this kingdom. And you have the aid of your brothers and sister. I think you could make this an even greater side with your abilities."

"May I remind you that Charles II was the perfect heir? An even then... I'm sure there are other princes more knowlodgeable and capable of doing the job" said Anna, touching Johan's shoulder while doing so.

"Charles... has other things in mind. Yes, he was looking forward to it, but I know you better than anyone. And not too long ago I realized he would never do a good King. As for what you're claiming of your brother..." answered the King as he looked violently to Johan. "He is smart, yes. Perhaps the smartest and wisest of all the people sitting in this table right now. And of war and kingdoms he knows, too. But I have never heard him speak of wanting the crown himself."

"And I do not want it. Too much responsibility, Father" said Johan when all the eyes looked at him. "And you know I fully support my older sister. She would make the perfect Queen of us all."

"What about Andrew, then?" Asked not Anna, but the King. He was clearly challenging them all.

"No, Father. I'm not experienced enough for that, and I bet you thought your decision well."

King Charles nodded. Something was bothering Johan, though...

"Father, why do you claim Anna will be ruling this side... soon? Do you expect to croak so quickly?"

Now it was the King's turn to feel all the gazes upon him. He laughed vigorously before replying.

"Johan, it isn't something I'm looking forward to, but you know it will be inevitable. I don't know the exact moment for sure, but my demise will arrive."

"How organized you sound, Father" said Andrew.

"Indeed. And that is why I took the other decision."

"Pop another prince?" Asked Anna.

"Or princess" clarified Andrew.

"Indeed. Five more turns remain, but soon you will all meet your new brother... or sister."

"What do you have in mind for this new member of the family, Father?"

"All in due time, Anna. You'll see very soon."

"Ah, we should party for a whole turn when he pops! To welcome this new... brother or sister" said Johan with fake joy. The King smiled.

"I'm afraid not, Johan. For a matter I've tried to keep hidden until now" all of the princes exchanged looks. What was the King talking about? "And it's the same reason why your elder brother and younger sister have left. We are at war."

"What?! With who?" Asked Andrew. Anna and Johan exchanged looks. Johan had a clear guess on who it might be.

"The Mezons?" Asked Johan nervously. The King nodded.

"Not. Possible" said Anna. "Why? They're our allies."

"Not any more. A couple of turns ago they broke alliance and took Phoenix by force. Wright, the warlord taking care of the city, croaked after telling me of their treason."

"We must take our city back!" Said Andrew, standing up with determination. Johan and Anna, along with the King, stared at him. Without any response, the prince sat back down.

"Johan, I belive you know more about tactics than your brothers. Can you tell me what our move should be next?" Asked the King. Johan thought about it for a second, and then spoke.

"Phoeniz is lost. It's easily our most unguarded city. Although being a level 4. It's loss shouldn't represent such a big strike to our forces, still. And I believe... there were only a dozen archers guarding it, along with a couple of wavens and some reapers? No, it's an easy catch. If they know our battle tactics--and they do, because we've fought many wars with them--they will gather most of their ground forces and flyers there, awaiting for our attack. If we strike to recapture the city, we may win... but it will cripple our military. No, we must do something unexpected... like... massing a small army at White and wait for them to attack. Don't forget we also know their battle tactics. A small group of reapers and a fleet of..." then it hit him. "A fleet of gigawavens should do. So THAT's where you sent our Chief Warlord!"

"Indeed" said the King, nodding with pleasure. Johan's tactical assessment never failed to provide the best councel available. And he was proud when he saw the King's smile. "Your brother wanted to take Phoenix back by rushing there, just like Andrew here. But I thought... what would Johan do?"

Johan smiled at the compliment, but it didn't make the matter easier.

"Father. As much as I'm... pleased with your compliment, you have failed to see one thing."

"And what would that be?"

"The Mezons don't rely on luck. They know we are a strong side. If they are truly keen on invading us, they will do more than just attack one city at a time. They might as well go on a full-scale attack. Maybe hit Galactica as well. If they haven't done that yet, of course."

"No, that's not possible. I talked with Max this morning, once our turn began" said Anna, finally speaking. "He didn't mention any changes in the turn order. And we all know that Court's turn comes very late. Later than most other sides nearby."

"So the Mezon's haven't entered Galactica's battlespace yet. Very well, then" said the King, standing up as he spoke. Mia stood up as well. "I have made a decision."

"Will we fight, Father?" Asked Andrew with excitement. The King nodded, and a smile crossed his face.

"Yes. Anna..." Johan's sister stood up. Johan and Andrew did so as well. "Take a group of flyers. wavens and gigawavens as well. And some reapers, too. You'll need the magic."

"What for?" Asked Anna, although she already knew the answer.

"You'll lead the defense of Galactica. I want you to leave right away."

"...Father?"

"Father!"

"FATHER!"

The three princes were confused as hell. What was going on with King Charles?

"Father, I'm not a warrior! I don't know about military! Well... definitely not as much as any of my brothers here. And they're higher level, too. I'm a diplomat! How can you ask me to command this battle?" Yelled Anna, losing her grip on the situation. She was afraid, Johan could see.

"But you are a warlord! And it is your Duty! Although I... I understand. That's why Johan is going with you."

"Me?" Asked Johan, partly confused, partly excited. He hadn't seen action in a long time.

"Yes. You're our tactical advisor. Remember? I want your sister to talk to these traitors and find some sense into this war. And I want you to help her with the troops. You're familiar with reapers, aren't you? You use them on all your campaigns."

"Well, yes..."

"Then start movilizing our top reapers. You'll depart immediately."

"And me, Father? What is my Duty?" Asked Andrew, the only one that the King hadn't taken into consideration.

"You stay here. You're the regent warlord, son. And here is your place. Not in the front lines."

"Father, Andrew's bonus is quite--"

"I'm sorry, Anna. But no. Only the two of you will leave for battle" interrupted the King. Anna closed her mouth and sighed. The King was stubborn like this.

"Okay, Father. But I have one condition" said Johan finally. It was something that might cheer up his sister a little.

"You're in no condition to negotiate, Johan, as my orders are your will. But speak, and I'll see."

"The top reapers are quite competent, yes. But if the Mezons are attacking us in a full-scale conflict, I expect a lot of enemies. And we'll need some help."

"I already told you Andrew cannot leave."

"Yes, I know. That's why I want Judge to come with us."

The King thought about it for a few seconds, and then shook his head.

"No. Judge left with your brothers earlier this turn. They'll need him to defend White. However..." thought the King. Hah. Johan already knew the Shockmancer had left, as they hadn't seen him at the library on the way to the throne room, where he would always hang out. Now he was manipulating him. They don't teach you that in Royal Etiquette 101. "You can take Franziska."

"Good enough" answered Johan with a smile. He knew his sister realized what he just did there, and she smiled as well. Heck, maybe Father knew that, too, and just wanted to please his son. Who knew?

"Fine. Now leave. I have matters to attend" said the King, kicking them out of the room. Yeah, King Charles could be like that. Pretty much like a kick in the groin.
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A Tale of Destruction by zilfallon
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:31 am

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter VI: A Look Into the Bestiawy

The morning before the last one had been very enjoyable for Prince Charles II, former Crown Prince of Court. His father had told him he had very good news for him, that would take some heavy weight off his shoulders. Then, Prince Charles heard that all of Court's warlords had been recalled to Von Karma for ome unknown reason. Charles had thought that the good news would be very good indeed. However, a few moments before the King gave his announcement in the throne room where all the warlords would gather, he insisted on seeing his son on the war room.

Then the good news didn't turn out to be so good. Turned out, the "weight" the King wanted to take off of his shoulders was the weight of being heir. How could his father do that to him? Titans forbid! It felt... antinatural. Now he was just "Prince". The title seemed to lack the sense of Duty and nobility the other had, Charles thought.

Then, the King told him another bad news. The Mezons seemed to have broken their alliance and were attacking their southernmost cities. Phoenix had already been taken by those savages. Althought the Mezon forces were strong, Charles had no doubt that they would retake Phoenix easily with the King's unusual plan.

But it wasn't that easy. This turn, he got even more news. Edgeworth had been taken, too. A level 3 by the coast. The Mezons were moving in quickly. Edgeworth was the one that would prove to be a tad difficult to turn around. But they could and would, because he was a prince of Court. An artifact of a greater destiny. Still, the King wanted him to wait for what he called 'assistance'.

And what was this assistance the King was offering him? Crown Princess Anna and Johan the Djinn. It would be funny if it weren't so pathetic. Prince Charles hated them. Especially him. He always had. It intensified the morning before the last one, though. And now he also hated the King. His brother and sister were headed to White. The King sent them to defend that city. Probably on that scoundrel's council. Why would the Mezons attack White, any way? Oh, but as much as all of Court's court hated the Djinn, the King would always respect his tactical assessment. Although he hated him as well.

The sun hadn't come out yet, as it was still early. By direct orders from his father, last turn at the strike of dawn Charles II had taken Joanna to Fey to begin war preparations. They would soon march to Phoenix and retake the city. And perhaps, then they would march to Edgeworth and reclaim it as well. According to his information, most of the enemy heavy flyers were there. And those flyers were the greatest threat.

He moved his buttock to find a more comfortable position on the wooden chair he was sitting on, admiring the sunrise. He tapped a few times the book that lied on top of his legs, and looked at the title: Erfworld's Bestiawy. He had taken it from his brother's private collection. He may get mad once he found out, but Prince Charles didn't care.

He opened the book and looked for a specific page. Once he found it, he looked at the large image on the top of the page. It was a drawing of a large snake covered in feathers, with a couple of wings on the side, flying next to a castle. The image had no color, but Charles knew the feathers could be either white, green, blue or red; and that the eyes were of an evil yellow color. Prince Charles knew these, as he had seen them before. They were the Mezon's heavy flyers: Bevoras. Smart flying snakes, capable of thinking wicked ways of raining hell. They were immune to some kinds of lesser magic, including that of Court's Artifacts of the Kings. There was some information below the image, regarding the creature's stats and abilities, along with some short narrations of old battles with bevoras. Nothing Charles II didn't already know.

He turned a few pages and found another entry. It was the image of a large flyer, that looked like a black and slender megalogwiffon with two pairs of wings and three pairs of eyes which he knew were red, although this image was also colorless. Charles also knew that the creature was a natural predator of gwiffons and megalos, with an enhanced bonus against other flyers and another bonus helping it survive magical attacks. This time, he didn't need to read the name of the creature, because he knew them too well. He had just traveled on one. It was a gigawaven.

The gigawaven was a member of the waven family. The crows, small and quick black bird-fiends with two pairs of eyes were part of the waven family as well; along with the traditional waven, which was much like a pretty much smaller gigawaven, of the size of a gwiffon. Charles' predecessor used to pop many wavens just to upgrade them (spending a considerable amount of schmuckers) into gigawavens, although these versions were a bit weaker than their purebreed counterparts. This was the reason why Court had many gigawavens around in the present. Once Charles became Chief Warlord, though, he decided to drop this strategy and pop gigawavens the traditional way. He didn't like the upgrade idea too much.

He continued scanning the contents of the Bestiawy, and found yet another entry he was very familiar with. This time, it was the reaper. A humanoid creature, with its face covered completely in bandages like a mummy, wearing a large black coat over a turtleneck sweater was the image on the page Prince Charles was looking at. A pair of white eyes glared at him from under the bandages. It was a speaking knight-class unit. It couldn't fly, although it popped with leadership and a random special from the set of rock dance-fight, natural thinkamancy, natural shockamancy, natural foolamancy or natural croakamancy. Every time it leveled, it could gain another special from that list.

There were roughly 50 elite reapers in the kingdom, all high-level and possessing all of those specials. Those elite reapers, though, were under the command of the Djinn, under the King's orders. And no-one else could command them. The King had said that Johan was an expert using those hideous things, and it was under his command that they leveled that high, anyway. So Prince Johan was, in some way, the leader of the reapers, and he was the only one, besides the King, who could allow the use of elite reapers to the other warlords.

Meh. Prince Charles didn't like those damn things anyway. He preferred to use gigawavens. Reapers looked too... unnoble, for his tastes.

And then he remembered. He was Crown Prince no more. Maybe he should drop the royal and noble thing already, just like his brothers and sisters.
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A Tale of Destruction by zilfallon
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:13 am

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter VII: Dungeon Etiquette

"Are you serious!?"

Prince Charles II nodded. His younger sister, Princess Joanna, looked at him both confused and amused. It was a strange expression, which he hadn't seen before. Well, he didn't even looked people at their faces that much, really.

"Why don't we just behead her? You know, like we did to her friends." Suggested Joanna. Charles sighed and shook his head. "C'mon! I wanna level already!"

"And again. No, Sister. You know Father wants to know these savages' reasons for betrayal."

"Oh, Brother! You're no fun!" Weeped Joanna. Still, Charles' position wouldn't change. And he told his sister so. She had already levelled conce that turn, but was craving to feel that sensation once more. And now they had captured an enemy warlord. King Charles would be very pleased with their progress. But not so much with their losses.

Right now, they were standing in the recently-recaptured city of Phoenix's dungeon.

It had been a rough and fierce battle. It had been tougher than Prince Charles had expected. He had arrived with his whole fleet of flyers, some reapers and most of the ground forces under his command. It was a large column. Now, barely half of it survived. Most of his gigawavens had survived, but he had lost all of his reapers and the foot soldiers.

He had seen the city from afar, and set up his strategy according to it. They had rebuilt a level 2 city where Phoenix once was. His plan had been to first send the flyers under his sister's command to eradicate the units protecting the walls, as he suspected the Mezons would keep the flyers they had stationed in the city in the courtyard. Then, he would march along with the foot soldiers and crush the rest of the ground opposition in the courtyard before taking the garrison with his reapers and Judge the Shockamancer.

Man, did they get into a surprise.

Apparently, the Mezons were hiring a master-class Foolamancer from the Magic Kingdom. This Foolamancer, whoever she was, had veiled the city. It turned out to be a very well defended level 4. And the tower was strong. He had sent a crow to overview the city defenses, and the tower vanished it from existance. So the Prince didn't dare use the gigawavens to raid the walls, and he advanced and spent most of the Shockamancer's juice to take down the wall defenses.

After breaching the walls, Prince Charles had to scrap the Shockamancer and the gigawavens from the main attack, so he had to struggle their way to the garrison with the reapers and the rest of the ground forces. So they could use the gigawavens in the attack, Prince Charles didn't even bother to eliminate all enemy units in the garrison. His sister, along with some of the reapers, breached the garrison and took down the air defenses. Then, he ordered the gigawavens in; but not before the Mezon ground troops eliminated most of his troops.

One good had come from that battle, though. His sister had captured an enemy warlord. Charles didn't really expect her to do that, and he thought the Titans had finally put some sense in her perversed mind. But no, he soon realized that she had captured him only to torture the unarmed prisoner. That little freak...

"Look, we'll call Father. Then, he'll decide what shall we do with the prisoner." Said Charles. His sister booed and sat on the corner.

"Oh, fine. Interrogate her already. We both know Father would never let me have fun..."

Prince Charles sighed and let out the air slowly. His sister was always too much for him. He then turned to the prisoner, who had his eyes closed, but Charles knew was listening them.

"Prisoner is alert?"

The Mezon warlord opened her eyes and made eye contact with Charles. A chill traveled through his spine.

"Prisoner, tell me your name."

The Mezon was scared of Joanna, he could notice. She kept looking at him, avoiding eye contact with her before mulbing something. "... Frida..." Charles tilted his head in confusion, but his sister stepped up quickly and approached the prisoner threatingly.

"What did you say?" She asked. The prisoner looked up and stared at her for a long time.

"Frida. Warlord Frida."

"Yeah, right. Warlord." Joanna replied.

"What are you talking about, Sister?" Charles asked. He did not like to be left out of the loop.

"Brother, this is Frida!" She yelled, but Charles kept looking at her with a confused look. So what? "Brother!" She cried, as she saw he didn't understand.

Prince Charles tried to think what could this imply. He tried to think quickly, as he didn't like his sister to know more than him. Then, it hit him.

"Frida!" He yelled, too. The prisoner was just looking at them as if they were crazy, or just plain stupid. "Princess Frida!" Joanna nodded with a broad smile of victory.

"Now we should talk to Father. This one's too important to be beheaded."
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Re: We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:11 am

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter VIII: In the Midst of Friendship

Anna looked at the elite reapers that filled the garrison, running around, making defensive preparations on the command of her younger brother. Many things had happened in such a short amount of time. Her eldest brother Prince Charles II had just captured the Mezon heir. This was a great turn of events. It would perhaps give them some leverage to negotiate with the Mezon Queen. And then, Prince Thelma from the Mark had summoned them to parley at the city-fortress and diplomatic meeting point of Hazakurain. Just what was going on?

She was currently supervising a large group of reaper who were setting up the air defenses on the tower. She were glowing in a faint crimson light, and emanated the scent of magic upon the whole room. Franziska, the Foolamancer standing next to her, giggled playfully at the reapers' attempts.

"What are you laughing about now?" Asked Anna. She looked at Franziska, who never let her gaze leave the reapers. She was slender and attractive, with short blue hair and even factions. Anna would be attracted to her if she were a man, but she doubted she was this beautiful in reality. Foolamancy it may be.

"It's fun, you know?"

"What? War?"

"Oh, no, Princess. I'm talking about these foul fiends, running around and casting magic far beyond their comprehension."

Anna looked at the reapers. They looked anything but something to laugh at.

"They could croak you with a thought, you know. They are elites."

Franziska laughed once more.

"SO? If you ordered some of them to attack, they might fire. But they would shoot at the point where they think I'm standing. What if... I wasn't really here, but on the other side of the room? Then you would waste their juice. What if I weren't here but in the middle of their congregation? Then I would croak them all before they knew what happened."

"Foolamancy tricks aside. They could croak you."

"Not before I croak some of them. And they wouldn't. Attack, I mean. I'm on your side."

"On my command, they could."

"Again." Franziska looked at Anna with her blue eyes. "Do you know where I really am?"

Now Anna grinned. She liked talking with Franziska. "You spend far too many turns around Johan."

Franziska laughed and covered Anna with one of her arms. A display such as this would merit the disband of any commander. But Franziska was her friend.

"Not enough, I believe. Everybody should, though."

"Spend more time around my brother?"

Franziska nodded. "We could all learn from him, you know."

"Such as?"

Franziska medited the answer for a moment before speaking. "Such as... peace."

Anna frowned and took two steps away from the Foolamancer.

"Don't you think so, Princess?"

"How many turns are left for the new prince to pop?" Asked Anna, crossing her arms. Franziska did some calculations.

"I believe... three. Yes, three. Counting this one, of course."

"And what does the Djinn think about it?" Franziska frowned at the mention of Johan's infamous nickname.

"I... I don't know."

"Well, I do. And do you know what he says?" Franziska shook her head, looking carefully at the Crown Princess. "He says it's okay. He says it's fine that Father wants to pop a new child. As if Joanna wasn't enough of a devil to reconsider the decision."

"Anna, but the new child won't be as childish as our current child."

"How do you know?"

"I don't. And that's the beauty of it. Attitude, behavior, and personality are three completely different things. But all of them a form of Natural Foolamancy. We mask our true selves so we don't become vulnerable."

"Yeah, and it looks like Johan has spent too many turns with you as well. He believes that, too. But he sees it from a different angle. He says we do that because deep inside, we're all as foul and horrible as the reapers we command. But he says so with joy. I call that reflection."

Franziska turned away from Anna and looked at the reapers, who had just finished setting up the defenses and were now headed to the war room for new orders from her commander.

"You are free to disagree, Princess."

"Oh, I am. But you? You're letting his Foolamancy disrupt your view. On the world. On attitude, behavior and personality. And maybe on... feelings, as well. Can you disagree with him? Yes. Would you? I... I don't know."

Franziska said nothing. Anna stood there, waiting for an answer, but that answer never came.

"On love?"

"Preposterous, Princess. Love--"

"Is an absurd feeling, that should be ommitted from all people. Love blinds us and prevents us from seeing. Yeah, yeah, I know that opinion. But are you going to quote my brother forever?"

Again, Franziska didn't answer back.

"Or would you rather talk about feelings, but not about love? Has he blinded you so much?" Anna approached the Foolamancer and touched her gently in the shoulder. "He doesn't love. Anyone."

"You're wrong." Franziska sad furiously. She hated when anyone talked bad about Johan. Anna sighed, but she kept talking. "He saved me."

"Because of his Duty, and his sense of strategy. He knows you're important to Court. And as such, important to him."

"And why isn't it possible? Are you telling me you don't love anyone? Not even your brothers and sister? Are you telling me you don't love peace? You don't love your King? You don't love Court?"

"I do. But that's my position. Those are my feelings. Not his. He can't be turned around that easily. And you know that. Are you going to keep trying to make him love you? Are you still going to spend your nights and evenings with him, knowing that you'll never actually sleep by his side, feeling his warmth?"

"I can hope, Crown Princess. And you can't make my hope leave. He's masking himself, trying not to make himself vulnerable, but I know--"

Anna nodded, but she didn't let Franziska talk right now. "It hurts to know when someone loves you back. But understand. Love is possible in the world, Foolamancer. But not on his world. Nothing but pain awaits you on that path."

"Friendship is possible. And he knows that. And what is friendship, but a feeling of brotherhood with shades of love? If he believes in friendship, then he must believe in love."

"WRONG!"

Anna turned around quickly and saw Johan standing behind them. She hoped he hadn't overheard most of the conversation.

"P-Prince!" Franziska said, with her cheeks blushing. She hoped, too, that his secret love interest hadn't heard what she had said.

"Brotherhood IS friendship with shades of love. Friendship is nothing but empathy and brotherhood combined. Nothing else. Not love, not hate. Do you understand?"

The women nodded, but said nothing.

"Love isn't a feeling. Love isn't natural. What is love? Can you tell me? Hey, you! Reaper! Come!" Johan called one of the elites in the room. He approached them with silence, obeying the command. "What is love, reaper?"

The reaper looked at the Djinn confused, but said nothing.

"Well?" Asked once again the Prince.

"I don't know, Prince."

"That's right! We don't know. Do you feel love, reaper?" Said Johan victorious, with a grin.

"No, sir."

"Indeed. You may leave." The reaper returned to whatever he was doing. "You see? You SEE? He doesn't feel love. Because it doesn't exist. Because it's an illusion. Understand? You should know, Foolamancer."

Franziska's cheeks turned a bright red color, but Johan didn't notice. Not even the most powerful of all Foolamancers could hide Franziska's nervousness.

"Now stop talking nonsense. We have to go to Hazakurain, to parley with the Prince of The Mark. And a great timing it is, too. I hate this city. Too bright and shiny for my tastes."

He dismissed the Foolamancer, and Anna followed her. She hoped Franziska would stop blinding herself like that after the Prince's display.

"And who were you girls talking about?" Asked the Prince a little cheerfully. Franziska walked faster to avoid answering this, and Anna couldn't help herself laugh. Maybe the Prince was happy to leave the city already, but perhaps it was because he had heard... a bit too much.

Oh, she hoped the Titans forced them to fly together. It would be far too amusing.
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A Tale of Destruction by zilfallon
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:52 am

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter IX: The Short and Ominous Story of the Titansmacks

"Prince, may I ask you something?" Asked Franziska. Johan played with a comb of his curly black hair before turning back. The air cut through his face painfully, but he wanted to look at Franziska. She looked even more beautiful than she usually did. His sister had ordered Franziska to stay with Johan on the whole trip. It was a good tactical decision, as Court had suffered many betrayals recently, and they didn't know The Mark's Prince's reasons for the urgent parley. Besides, they weren't bringing any of the reapers on the trip. Only a stack of gigawavens and a bunch of wavens.

"Of course, Franziska."

"Sir... can you tell me a story?" Johan frowned. He didn't want to speak that moment, as he had many things on his mind, but he nodded. It wasn't a peculiar request from the Foolamancer, as many nights she had sent a thinkagram to his personal reaper guard only to talk with him. Although it seemed odd, she was odd like this.

"Any story in particular?" Asked Johan nicely. He felt the Foolamancer's grip shake.

"What about... a love story?"

"Oh, Franziska... you've been too interested in love today. But fine. I know some."

"You do?!" The grip tightened. Johan let out a soft sigh and turned away from Franziska.

"Well, don't react like that. And let me tell you the story."

"Once upon a time, there was a great kingdom called... let's call it Universal Republic. Yeah, that'll do. It was a prosperous kingdom, ruled by the Titansmack family."

"Titansmack?"

"Yes, Titansmack was their surname. Don't interrupt. Anyway... Oh, yeah. Titansmack. The Titansmack family had seven princes at the time. Their father was Lawrence. King Lawrence. None of the Titansmacks, though, liked their father, Lawrence Titansmack. He was not evil, but just full of crap. Like King Charles."

The Foolamancer let Johan's shoulders loose, which he hoped she would do in reaction to that comment. However, a few seconds later she hugged him from behind.

"Um, Franziska?"

"Yes, Prince?"

"Can you please... let go?"

"Oh, yes!"

She released Johan and grabbed him by his shoulders again. Johan decided to ignore her.

"Whatever. Lawrence Titansmack had been on a long fight for many years with the kingdom of Genre-Terror. Genre-Terror's king, Stephen, didn't like this war. But King Lawrence Titansmack wanted it to continue. Mostly to make its side of Universal Republic stronger and wealthier. One day, Genre-Terror attacked Universal Republic with great force, and advanced through the Titansmack's kingdom all the way to the capital. The king Lawrence then retreated to a nearby city for protection and left the defense of the capital city to his sons and daughters: Sully, Tony, Robbie, Shannon, Tommy, Lee and Joe. Sully was the Chief Warlord at the time, and Tony used to be the regent warlord of the capital."

"Were they seven brothers?"

"Are you going to keep interrupting?"

"No, sir! I'm sorry, Prince."

"Don't be. Yes, they were seven brothers. What they did to defend the city was the following: Sully, Tony and Robbie remained at the capital with most of the flyers and the casters to halt the enemy advance as much as possible, while the remaining four -Tommy, Shannon, Lee and Joe- led a massive column of kights and infantry units, along with the few remaining flyers, to the mountain region at the north of the capital. When Genre-Terror's column arrived at the city gates, on Universal Republic's turn the three older princes would hold the walls and destroy Genre-Terror's siege units while the four younger brothers flanked the enemy column."

"Did it work?"

"What did I say about interrupting me, Franziska? Well, everything was working as planned. The enemy had arrived at the city walls, and initiated the attack on the walls. Universal Republic managed to destroy their siege units successfully, and Genre had to hold the attack until the rest of their siege arrived at the walls. So they waited. Then, on Universal Republic's turn, everything went upside-down.

The massive column advanced and engaged the back of Genre's column. While Genre's soldiers were in disarray, Universal Republic sent all the flyers to eliminate the resistance. Something unexpected happened, though. Prince Robbie, who wanted to be heir, attacked Sully the Chief Warlord and Universal Republic's current heir. She croaked by her brother's hand, and some of Universal Republic's troops turned against their own. The defenses at the capital were badly damaged before Tony could finally croak Prince Robbie the Grand Traitor and put an end to the rebellion. So, Tony was promoted to Chief Warlord."

"I think I have heard that story before, sir."

"I bet. Moving on! Robbie ordered his four younger brothers to retreat and enter through the main gate by all means necessary. So they could reinforce their position. He sent out Universal Republic's casters on their heavy flyers to provide support for the incoming reinforcements. The four brothers had no other choice but to pass through the hex full of Genre-Terror units and enter the capital. Only half of the column survived. But that's not all.

One of Universal Republic's casters, while attempting to return to the garrison, got shot down from her mount by enemy archers. By the Titans' wishes she did not croak. One of the princes, Joe, saw this and returned to the battle field with the flyers to save the caster. His younger brother, Prince Lee, ran to his aid and even took arrows for his brother. Seeing his brother's sacrifice, Joe took the caster and returned to the capital, but not before utilizing a bit of Healomancy on his brother to save his life and bring him back to the garrison.

I bet you know how the story unfolds. Tony got promoted from regent warlord and because of King Lawrence's paranoia, Prince Lee stayed at the capital forever to become the new regent warlord. As for Joe, the King refused to ever let him command a battle again, and they limited themselves to use his strategic genius as a tactical advisor only. Prince Joe has never seen direct combat since then. As for Tony's fate, you know it. He got croaked on one mission, and Tommy became both the new Chief Warlord and Heir. Later, King Lawrence popped a daughter, a little psychopath."

He felt the Foolamancer's loose get softer and softer, until he felt no more her contact with his shoulders.

"Oh, and you know the real names. Now, that King Lawrence ordered popped a new son or daughter, to be popped in three more turns; and made is daughter Shannon heir. That sound familiar?"

"Prince, is that... is that my story?"

"Your story?"

"The story. You were Prince Joe. You saved me."

"Ah, that part. Yes."

"Sir... why is it a love story?"

Johan opened his mouth but said nothing. Yeah, why was it a love story?

"Um... did I say that? Oh, I'm sorry, Franziska. I suppose I meant a story about brotherhood and betrayal."

Yeah, right. The Foolamancer once again hugged him from behind, and didn't let loose for the rest of the trip. Johan couldn't do nothing but complain. Nearby, he could hear his sister laughing...
Last edited by Lefish on Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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A Tale of Destruction by zilfallon
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:01 pm

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter X: The Meeting in Hazakurain

Johan entered the stateroom. Prince Thelma was already there, standing in the middle of his knights, his personal guard. He looked rather grim, but he always looked like this. The thing was, he looked even more like that than he normally did. Bad news? Perhaps.

The mediums, Court's Natural Allies, bowed as he entered the room. They were mountain-capable units, and could use natural Croakamancy and Shockmancy. Inhabitants of the western mountain formations of the Half-Moon Creek, who were tribal and savage, but not because of that ignorant. They were rather smart. Most of the princes preferred these units more than reapers, and the mediums were in fact the only reason why Hazakurain didn't pop reapers. They were the perfect mountain replacement. The bad thing was, the mediums refused to leave the mountains, and so there were only mediums in Hazakurain. But there were hundreds of mediums there. Most of the city's defenders were mediums. And they were cheap. They used to give big trouble to the kingdom of Dior at the north of the Creek, but since most of them allied with Court, they had given no more problems. Because of the large group of mediums defending Hazakurain, the city had never fallen to an enemy attack.

Still, Johan liked reapers more.

"Prince Johan. And Princess Anna, too. We didn't expect you to come." Said Prince Thelma when they entered the stateroom. Johan nodded, and Princess Anna approached Thelma at the moment, kissing him in both cheeks. It was a standard welcome from The Mark. Johan did the same, too. It was a sign of friendship and loyalty, a sign which The Mark had very much in mind when dealing with allies.

"Our King though our greatest allies deserved the best of welcomes. Even if it meant sending two of his princes to meet you." Answered Anna, asking the mediums in the room to leave. Prince Thelma gave the same order to his knights. That only left the princes and Franziska the Foolamancer on the room.

"Thank you, Princess. I would love to say my... King sent me for the same reason, but perhaps he hoped you would break your alliance, too, and croak me the moment I entered Hazakurain."

Ah, yes. There had been some strange rumors surrounding The Mark's King Claudius. They had said he croaked his brother German, the heir at that time, before Prince Thelma popped; forcing his father to promote him to Crown Prince. Then, for some strange reason, his father had croaked, making Claudius King. Regicide was all around the globe this time. And Johan knew Prince Thelma indeed suspected his uncle had killed German the rightful heir.

"You shouldn't talk like that about your Ruler, Prince." Said Anna. But Johan had noticed something else, perhaps even more important.

"Wait. Prince Thelma, why would we break our alliance... as well? One of your allies has broken their alliance, too?"

Princess Anna looked at Johan confused, for she hadn't noticed the weird phrasing of Prince Thelma's words.

"Yeah. That's the reason why I have come in this diplomatic mission. Our, and your allies as well, the kingdom of Apple, has broken their alliance and attacked all of the sides within the Half-Moon Creek."

"Well, we have heard none of that stuff from King Steve." Replied Anna. "But I don't know why does it matter to us. We're not responsible for our allies' actions."

"Well, my uncle thought you could, as they're your greatest ally. Perhaps even more than us." Said Prince Thelma. Princess Anna had failed to comment that it had been Johan who had make the alliance agreement with King Steve.

And now Johan remembered King Steve saying something about a war in the Half-Moon Creek during their latest meeting. "The King said something about a war. I was at their capital just a few turns ago. He asked me for Court's support during the war, but we never gave him an answer."

Princess Anna looked at him with contempt, as he hadn't told her about this yet.

"Well, more reason for King Claudius to doubt about our alliance with you." Replied Prince Thelma, crossing his arms.

"Don't fall into any assumptions, Prince. We will never betray our alliance with The Mark. King Steve had never mentioned anything about attacking you." Said Princess Anna before Thelma could keep talking.

"Well, I bet he never mentioned anything about attacking you as well." Said Prince Thelma.

"What do you mean, Prince? Apple is no traitor to Court..." Said Johan. Prince Thelma shook his head slowly, and waited for a few moments before speaking again.

"We have heard news from Queen Abba of the Mezons. They were your allies until recently, weren't they?"

"Yes. They have recently betrayed us and attacked our southernmost cities. We are currently trying to repel their attacks." Answered Anna. Johan thought she had said too much, as those things shouldn't matter to The Mark. "We have captured Princess Frida, though, but she has refused to reveal any information yet."

"Well, that wasn't a mistake from the Mezons. Queen Abba hoped you would capture her daughter, as it was the only was to keep her safe. She sent us a thinkagram before she was attacked. She revealed she had been nothing but a figureheard during her whole reign."

"A figurehead?"

"Do you know why the Mezons attacked you, princes?" Asked Prince Thelma.

Anna shook her head, but Johan answered.

"I don't know their reasons, but I assumed it was them who broke their alliance because they had made some strange troop movements near our border recently."

"Well, I know the reason." Said the Prince of The Mark, with a victorious smile. "King Steve strongarmed Queen Abba to break their alliance with you. It's Apple who's behind this."

"How can that be?" Asked Johan, but he really wanted to yell 'Preposterous!'.

"I told you. King Steve's mind is set on global domination. Within the Half-Moon Creek, he controls the strongest of all kingdoms. But he knew that if you ever found out about this, you would oppose him and battle against him. So, he made the Mezons attack you."

"This is..." Started saying Princess Anna, but she couldn't finish her phrase, either because of disbelief or contempt.

"Treason." said Prince Thelma. "And we want you to help us. Join The Mark, Dior and Gabbana fight Apple and its followers. King Steve has Dolce under his grip, and we could never be victorious against them both."

Both of Court's princes thought about it for a moment, and a dark silence filled the room. It was Princess Anna who broke the silence.

"We have our own problems in our kingdom, Prince Thelma. As much as we would like to help you, we still have to deal with the Mezon attacks. Don't make that face, Prince. We will break alliance with Apple, as it seems they are the mastermind behind this. But we must first... free the Mezons if we wish to counter Apple."

"And The Mark is asking nothing more but that." Replied Prince Thelma. "We will hold Apple and Dolce's forces while you deal with the Mezons. Once you free them, I bet they would gladly join the Half-Moon Coalition."

Anna said nothing, as they had to first consult it with Father. But Johan answered before her.

"We will ally with you and your allies, Prince Thelma. But don't think that at the sign of anything suspicious, we'll doubt to break our alliance with you. There is definitely some double-dealing in here, and Court must think about it before making any movements that might affect its diplomatic links."

Prince Thelma nodded and they all ordered their units back into the room. The Prince kissed them goodbye and left the room.

Before he could close the door behind him, Johan yelled: "And don't you think we trust your uncle, either!"

Prince Thelma smiled and turned around, clearly amused by Johan's joke. "No-one does, Prince."
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A Tale of Destruction by zilfallon
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:56 am

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter XI: March of Meditation

King Charles' rage was without precedents. He nearly disbanded his guards when Crown Princess Anna told him through thinkagram about Prince Thelma's revelation. He immediately agreed to break their alliance with Apple and begin the Mezon Liberation.

King Steve immediately sent a thinkagram to the King when he realized Court had broken their alliance. On Johan's council, though, the King Charles shamelessly lied to Steve and told them that they were doing for security reasons. King Steve agreed because of the Mezon betrayal, but Johan knew he would be suspicious. They had to move their column without Apple realizing what they would do.

Johan then sent a thinkagram to Queen Abba, and informed them about their proposal of joining the Half-Moon Coalition with The Mark, Dior and Gabbana once they freed them from Apple. The Queen immediately accepted, as it was most likely that The Mark had informed them about their diplomatic meeting in Hazakurain. Although the Queen had requested Court to release her daughter, Johan refused, claiming they would keep her as insurance in case of backstabbing. Queen Abba agreed, although she didn't have much of a choice.

How to free the Mezons was a whole different business, though. Anna had remained at Hazakurain to deal with Dior's diplomats, and Prince Charles II and Joanna were on their way to defend Nero, the capital city of The Mark. They had to move cautiously, because they didn't want to raise King Steve's suspisions any higher.

According to Queen Abba, Apple had taken a level 5 Mezon city, at the southern coast of the continent, a land Johan had never explored before. His late sister Vanessa, who used to be Chief Warlord before Carlisle and Charles II, had once told him she had explored that far off portion of the continent. They had to travel many hexes to reach that place. It wouldn't make it any easier that the city was in the mountains. Vanessa had told him the whole southern portion of the continent, where the Mezon kingdom ended, was full of mountains. So movement wouldn't be easy. There was a lone road that took to the place Apple had captured, but if they chose to travel through there, they would need to fool the constant Apple scouts.

So, Johan had asked Franziska to go with him, a request she accepted at the very second he had asked. By his father's command, he had also taken Judge the Shockamancer. Prince Charles wasn't very happy to let go of his caster, but orders were orders. Johan would've loved to take Mia, too. She was the only caster who would shut up enough time for him to think. Franziska talked all the time, and Judge giggled. A lot. Hey, what're you going to do? If the caster's happy, let him be happy.

And the King had allowed the deployment of whichever troops Johan wanted. His brother had complained about this via thinkagram, but Johan gave him little reasons to complain later. He had only 63 units under his command. All of the 48 elite reapers, 13 gigawavens and the two casters. King Charles had asked him to take at least some infantry, but Johan refused, much to his older brother's pleasure.

"The larger the force, the harder it is to manage the troops." Johan had told Father. Prince Charles approved this, but because it would mean Johan could croak more easily while trying to take the level 5 city he was headed to, not because he really agreed with him. Father then quit bothering him, realizing Johan wouldn't change his mind.

And no matter what his brother thought, Johan definitely could take a level 5 city with his current force. It only needed a good commander to do so. And he was a good commander.

They were currently traveling under veil through the thickest woods of the forest. They had already entered the Mezon kingdom, so they split their troops. Johan, and 26 of the elites were travelling on the backs of the gigawavens, with a couple of mounted reapers scouting ahead; while the casters marched unver veil through the forest with the rest of the small column. It would normally be a two-turn journey, but because they needed to avoid engagements at all costs, they would take an extra turn. They would arrive at their destination the exact turn his new brother or sister would pop. Ominous? Perhaps.

He decided to keep his forces split to end the turn. He made the casters mount his gigawaven and he remained with the ground forces for the night. He had ordered the flyers to head to a nearby lake to rest. That way, they wouldn't have to worry about enemy units, except for bevoras.

At dawn, Mia told him via thinkagram that Prince Charles and Princess Joanna had arrived at Nero, where the enemy was yet to arrive. He also got news that Dolce troops had attacked Hazakurain, and Anna was currently defending it. Johan ordered Mia to try to talk Father into sending Andrew to help his sister, but he knew that battle was lost. King Charles would never let Andrew leave the capital after Hawke's betrayal. That event had scarred Father for life.

Jimmy, Vanessa, Hawke, Carlisle, Charles II, Anna, Johan, Andrew and Joanna. The Children of Court. A martir, a tactician, a traitor, a manager, a warrior, a diplomat, a scholar, a prisoner and a psychopath. What would the new prince or princess be? Hopefully not another Hawke, Johan wished.

He communicated the latest news to his casters via thinkagram with one of the reapers, and when their turn finally came a couple of hours before twilight, he kept going. That's the only thing he could do.
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A Tale of Destruction by zilfallon
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:16 pm

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter XII: Battle for the Unwilling

"I want to ask you a small question." Princess Anna asked Dior's Healomancer. "You're a Clevermancer. So by trade you must be clever, shouldn't you?"

"Indeed, Princess."

"Do you know about war?"

The Healomancer looked at her rather confused. "No, ma'am."

"And do you trust me enough to let me command you?"

"Yes, ma'am." Answered the Healomancer instantly.

"Well, you shouldn't. So, when I ask you to do something, you're free to disobey me and do the best course of action you can think of. Understood?"

"Yes, ma'am." The Healomancer was still confused. Anna headed to the edge of the tower parapet and looked at the troops marching to her city. Her beautiful and peaceful city.

"What do you know about Date-a-mancy, Healomancer?"

"It's the Hippiemancy of Numbers, ma'am. That's as far as I know on the matter."

"Well, then I am going to teach you about Hippiemancy. Date-a-mancy is the magical discipline of relationships. Relationships between people. Between commanders, or allies. Whatever two people it may be. Bounded as I am to a Date-a-mancy artifact, it is my job to know about it." The Healomancer nodded. Anna couldn't remember his name at all. "Do you know about Croakamancy?"

"It's the opposite of Healomancy, ma'am. That's as far as I know on the matter."

"And I agree with you, Healomancer. To some extent. But what are uncroaked? They move. They fight. They follow orders. Aren't they living beings?"

"No, ma'am. Far from that. They are shadows of their past selves. They have no will. And they have no freedom. So they aren't living."

"But soldiers follow orders. No matter what. And in that line of reasoning, they have no freedom. Therefore, they are not living beings?"

"There is a difference, ma'am."

"And is it justified to croak an uncroaked?"

"Croaked once, croaked twice. It doesn't matter. But I wouldn't know. I know of healing, of mending wounds. Not of causing them."

"And those soldiers down there are living beings, too. Is it justified to slay them like they were uncroaked?"

The Healomancer thought about it for a few seconds, without answering. He then spoke back.

"We must live, Princess. That's what I know."

"What did the Titans make us for, Healomancer? You know of Fate. So you should have a good answer.

The Healomancer meditated, and then said softly: "To live, and let croak."

Anna turned around and headed to the staircase. The Healomancer followed her. They walked silently to the courtyard, were most of the forces had assembled. The mediums were ready for battle. And they were all women. What was that? She thought about the Mezon soldiers, too. They were all women. It was weird; but not as weird as croaking men.

The mediums and infantry bowed as she walked past them. She had no battle plan. She wasn't that good a tactician. Those were her brothers. She would just let the mediums attack at will, prioritizing leadership above regular infantry. Let croak as many as needed for them to win. Let the Healomancer take care of keeping them alive.

"Ok, let's go." She said as she took out her sword. The infantry opened the gates and swarmed the enemy.
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A Tale of Destruction by zilfallon
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:26 pm

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter XIII: The Call Before the Slaughter

The southern mountain formations of the continent were before them. Indeed, there was a single, unguarded road that led into the darkness of the mountains. If both Prince Thelma and Queen Abba had been lying to them, an ambush would be waiting for them. It they were speaking the truth, they would soon stand before the mighty level 5 city of Outpost occupied by Apple units.

Queen Abba had warned them she would have some scouts on the mountains, and she would have to inform King Steve if her troops ever spotted them. So they kept travelling under veil. If any scout had passed above them, it wouldn't have noticed them.

Most of the mountains to their sides were forested, so Johan feared from an ambush of ents coming from those places. Ents, heavies larger than gumps, that were mountain and forest-capable was the biggest threat from the Mezon forces at the moment. Johan didn't care about bevoras at this point, as Queen Abba had told him they hadn't any of those units in that zone of the continent, because they would be too noticeable. But exactly how much could he trust her?

For now, he had to trust her. He was stupid in that way. Now he regretted not bringing more troops for the attack. It all hinged on whether Queen Abba had been telling them the truth or not.

They advanced slowly, on Johan's command. He didn't want to rush anything. Anything and anyone could screw up the operation right now.

Then he felt a weird feeling. A quirky sense of connection. The King's face materialized in front of him, visible only to him.

"Father." Johan said. He could see his father shrug and talk to someone else. After a few seconds, he focused on Johan again.

"Son. We have a problem."

Johan smiled and contempt filled his heart. "What is it that disturbs you so, Father of Mine, Ruler of All? Oh Mighty One, Son of the Titan's Will, Lord of the--"

"Cut it out, Prince. This is serious."

"Fine, fine. What is it? I'm trying to attack a city, you know. These thinkagrams you send don't arrive at the best of times."

"Prince!"

"So you're not going to let me have some fun? Is it so bad? Can't you just ignore me?"

The King took a deep breath and held it for a long time. He crossed his arms and glared at Johan while letting out the air from his mouth. "We got a thinkagram coming from Hazakurain earlier this turn. It seems..."

"Or maybe I'll ignore you. You think that'll work?" Kept talking Johan, not paying much attention to Father.

"... Crown Princess Anna has faced some inconvenients during the battle."

Johan made an exaggerated a surprise look and took a loud breath, faking amazeness. "Oh, my! REALLY?! PRINCESS ANNA, having trouble during WAR?! Oh, Titans, you clearly love irony! How is it possible that our Warrior Princess Anna--"

"Yeah, I get it... son." Interrupted the King, clearly angry at Johan's display. Johan only raised an eyebrow. "I don't want your jokes right now. I want advice."

"Advice? From me? Unheard of!"

"JOHAN!"

"Oh, c'mon, Father! The first time you let me lead a battle in... how long has it been? Hundreds of turns, and you bother me with your whining!"

"And you don't make my job easier with your childish attitude! Behave like a Prince!"

"How, like a spoiled brat?"

"Prince Johan!"

"Oh, Father. You can't manage a little teasing? We both know Joanna, our little princess, is everything but a lady."

The King let the rage fade from his face and then the seriousness came like a tidal wave. "Johan, please."

"Fine. Tell me what happened."

"She is losing, Prince."

"What? Hazakurain? That fortress won't fall either now nor in a thousand turns."

The King was about to speak, but Johan kept talking. "Oh, wait! That would be, of course, with a good commander. But you left Anna there."

The King closed his mouth and stared at his middle son.

"Tell me exactly what happened, King. And maybe I'll start taking it seriously."

"Your sister could croak this turn, Prince."

Johan now frowned and opened his mouth, half surprised. "Now that's no joking matter."
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:44 am

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter XIV: A Good Brother

Von Karma had been left unattended by the regent warlord. Besides Andrew's surprise and disbelief, his father had actually let him leave the capital. He gave him no reason other than 'your sister needs your help.' What mighty force could have made Father do that? Was it the Titans? Or something else? Andrew surely owed someone something. Big time.

He saw the large city-fortress of Hazakurain from far away. One more hex to go. Then, they would aid his sister. Apparently, Dolce had forced Anna's troops to retreat back into the city, and the siege would begin on Dolce's turn. This was both fortunate and unfortunate. This meant Prince Andrew could arrive in time to save his sister. The bad news was, Dolce's turn would come after them. And it was very bad. They would retaliate strongly, if their whole column wasn't destroyed on Court's turn. Andrew cursed the Titans for making Dolce one of the few sides whose turn came after Court. The Mark had offered assistance, but their heavy flyers, the peblets, wouldn't arrive until next turn.

And Hazakurain didn't have that much time left.

"Warlord!" Andrew yelled at one of the three warlords coming with him. The warlord turned to Andrew, as his gigawaven flew beside him. "I want you leading one stack of wavens. Let's take advantage of the meatshields."

The warlord nodded and stacked up with the 24 wavens coming with them. And Andrew had only 6 gigawavens, too. Court currently had a little more than a hundred gigawavens at the moment, but they couldn't use all of them for battle and leave their cities undefended. Father had told Andrew that Hazakurain had the troops needed to repel the assault, though. Yeah, he said there would be enough mediums to defend the city waiting for them in the city. Andrew just hoped half of them hadn't croaked by then.

"... Prince. Thinkagram." Said a reaper flying next to him. Andrew frowned, but ordered the reaper to get closer. Their two mounts clashed, and the reaper put his index and middle fingers on Andrew's temple. "Prince Johan is waiting."

"Brother, why don't you call me directly?" Asked Andrew when his brother's face materialized in front of him.

"I don't know much about Thinkamancy, Andrew, but if Mia is able to listen to direct thinkagrams, I'd rather use a reaper as the medium... no pun intended." Said Johan. If reapers had emotions, this one would've smiled.

Andrew blinked his couple of green eyes twice and asked "Why?"

"Because I don't want Father to find out about this." Answered Johan, shrugging something off of his shoulder. Was it a hand?

"Um... Brother? What was that?"

"Hold on a sec." Johan turned around and yelled. "Dammit, Franziska, no! I don't want you to cast the veil off! And no, Judge! Dammit! No fireworks! Can't you guys hold still for a minute?" An unheard reply came, and Johan shook his head. Then, he turned back to Andrew. "It was nothing."

"It didn't sound like nothing."

"These casters are very... jolly, for some reason."

"And is that bad?"

"If they don't SHUT UP!" Said Johan, yelling the last two words at someone behind him, presumably the casters. "Then it is a nuisance. Dammit."

"Brother..." Andrew called him to attention. Johan then nodded.

"Oh, yes. Right. The thinkagram. Yeah, I don't want Father listening to this."

"And why is that?"

"I'm going to give you some advice, Brother. Tactical advice."

"And why wouldn't you want Father to hear the advice?"

"Because he wouldn't like it." Said Johan, suddenly looking all serious.

"Ok, then. I'm all ears."

Johan looked around, carefully watching no-one could overhear. "Don't save Princess Anna."

"What?" Yelled Andrew. He was approaching the hex boundary, and then they would enter Hazakurain battlespace.

"Don't save Princess Anna. Go to Godot, and stay there until she croaks. Then, report her decease to Father and return to the capital."

"Why?" And he was serious. Johan was not joking, and neither was him. He wanted to know his brother's reasons.

"Now, don't think I'm another Hawke. But that will make Father pull himself together."

"I don't understand."

"Predictamancy, Brother. I heard from a Predictamancer. Whenever Court has more than five princes, our side will fall."

"You're crazy."

"No, you're crazy! I'm going to preserve this kingdom. Once we were seven, and our kingdom nearly fell... until three of them croaked. It makes sense. And if you don't help me, I'm going to do it by my own means."

"Brother?"

"Break." Said Johan to someone next to him.

Fuck. Johan's image disappeared. What was he talking about? Would he... croak himself? Why was his brother saying so? What did that mean?

It couldn't be true.

"Prince... hhh... we have arrived" said the half-living reaper next to him. Andrew shook off those thoughts from his mind and looked at the horizon. It was going to be a bloody day, and his sister needed him.

"Okay, max stack of top units! With me! Warlord!" He yelled at the warlord to his right. "You and the other one dismount before we cross the hex and lead the ground infantry. Remain on stand-by in this hex until I order you otherwise. I'll head for the city." The Warlord nodded and he went down. Damn, this was war, and Andrew fell a feeling he hadn't felt in a very long time.

But still, his brother's words echoed on his mind.
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A Tale of Destruction by zilfallon
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:26 am

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter XV: Johan's Distraction

As his older sister had told him many times before, Johan wasn't loyal to Court. He wasn't loyal to anything, now that he thought of it. He was loyal to his family. Not to the King; but to his brothers and sisters. And specially not to the new despot that was about to pop soon. He would never hurt them... but he had to be careful. By telling Andrew not to save Anna, he had just made his brother do everything at his disposal to protect her. And his brother would never tell Johan's words to Anna, not to mention Charles II. He just hoped Andrew believed his lie.

A noise distracted Johan from his thoughts.

"For the Titans' sake! Could you two stop giggling?!" Yelled Johan. The casters looked at him, rather amused both of them. Judge tried to hide his stupid smile with his hand, and Franziska was just barely keeping a laugh inside. Johan shook his head.

He knew King Charles had ordered one of the reapers to record everything Johan did. The King was yet to trust Johan entirely. And it was the kind of thing King Charles would do. So he spent most of the trip trying to find out which reaper was it. When he realized it, though, the rest was too easy. He entered his private tent and ordered all the reapers on gigawavens to scout the nearby hexes, including the spy. Then, he had a reaper cast on himself a veil to make it look like a caster... a Predictamancer, to be more specific. When the reapers returned, he let the spy record his 'meeting' with the 'Predictamancer.' The reaper under veil, following his orders, told him that Court would fall if there were ever more than five princes alive. Once the reaper told him that, they waited for the spy to leave, then the reaper dispelled the veil.

Knowing his brother Andrew, he would want to see some evidence that the Predictamancer lie was true, so he would contact the spy to see if this was indeed true. And... Bam! There's the recording. Johan smiled at the success of his lie. He just hoped this made Andrew try to protect his sister even more.

And there was another reason, too.

His Father was blind. More blind than any vermin. And as such, Father was more than vermin. Or less? He couldn't remember well. And he should know, more than anybody else, that this new prince or princess was bad news. So... he would croak his new brother or princess. And Andrew would help him, too, because he would believe his Predictamancer story.

That's what worried Johan. He said he was loyal to his family. But what was that? Wanting to croak one of his brothers? He wasn't even sure how the new prince or princess would be once popped. How could he be making these decisions?

Giggling. Ah. Coming from the casters.

"AGAIN?! Why are you so happy anyway?!"

The casters shook their heads, and Franziska tried to vocalize a response, but a laugh escaped her mouth. Damn. They were even more of a pain in the keister than they used to be... but he noticed something strange.

He could see the casters.

But he shouldn't be able to see them. Weren´t they travelling under veil? And Johan's thoughts...

"STOP!!!"

All of the mounts halted their advance abruptly.

"L-L-Lord?" Asked Judge with a smile, trying to keep himself from laughing like a moron again.

"LAND. Now."

The gigawavens landed, and all of the reapers marching in the ground made space for them to land safely.

"Prince?" Asked Franziska between laughs.

"You, reaper!" He told the highest-level elite in the hex. He walked towards Johan, and looked at him confused.

"Yeah, you see it, don't you?" Asked Johan a bit alarmed. The reaper nodded. "ALL OF THE REAPERS! Dispel the entire hex. NOW!"

A faint grey glow covered their surroundings. Johan could feel a warm and bizarre sensation, like a tangly feeling of uncomfortable intrusion. Suddenly, it stopped.

"Done, Prince." Said the reaper. Johan nodded. He could feel his head clearing out.

"Prince?" Asked Judge. He had stopped laughing. Thankfully. "What was that? My head..."

Johan ignored him and ordered the reapers to gather around him. Once they were all within earshot, he spoke. "I want two stacks of elite reapers scouting a hex ahead of us, dispelling the terrain. Once their juice runs out, return to the group and switch with fresh reapers. Understood?"

The reapers nodded.

"This place is filled with Thinkamancy traps." Said Johan to nobody in particular, but it made Judge and Franziska understand. The moment they were in the air again, Franziska set up the veil again.

Suggestions were for the weak-minded. And Johan was not one of those.
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A Tale of Destruction by zilfallon
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:14 pm

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter XVI: The Destiny of Hazakurain

"You're wrong, reaper." Said Prince Andrew. The reaper shrugged and pierced Andrew with his demonic eyes, glowing through the bandages.

"Sir. I'm... hhh... but a slave... to your demands. You see what I see. I see... hhh... what you want me to see..." Answered the reaper with his cavernous voice. Andrew looked away from the thinkagram. He had seen it already. He had seen Prince Johan and the Predictamancer. And it was true, of all things.

He shook his head. "Fine. Break." The thinkagram disappeared. The mediums stared at the prince for a long time. The walls behind him crumbled and whispered, as if they were crying for mercy. Much like the reaper's voice.

Andrew turned away from the walls and looked at the mediums and what few gigawavens were left. Dolce had attacked them at full strength when they entered the hex, giving them no time to retaliate. Andrew barely reached the city unharmed. He looked at his sister Anna instead. She was confused by the thinkagram, as were most of the units gathered there. He ignored her questioning look and sighed.

"We're going out. To battle Dolce. The mediums come with me. There is a column of infantry in the woods just outside the hex boundary. We'll screen for them, and they'll attack the leadership targets."

The mediums nodded, but Anna remained quiet.

"If you encounter a commander, attack. And we'll call reinforcements. Low-level mediums will stay back. And I want a high-level medium on each gigawaven. The rest will command the other medium stacks. Save your juice, unless you may croak a high-level unit or a commander. Understood?"

All of the units nodded.

"Let's go then, before the walls fall. Remember, mediums: We need to preserve the city at all costs. You three." He said to the highest level reapers in the courtyard. They waited for his orders. "You'll stay in the city and protect the Crown Princess. Head to the tower."

The mediums nodded and along with Anna, they entred the tower. Andrew didn't look at his sister as she left. Instead, he mounted the gigawaven and waited for the mediums to do so.

"Attack." He ordered.

Like a quick blade, the gigawavens took off and the ground troops opened the gates. The noise... he had forgotten the sound of battle. And the smell of blood. The adrenaline rushed through his bloodstream. His first battle in many, many turns. He smiled unconsciously and waved his sword, waving it around. He touched his Belt, just to make sure it was in its place. He felt a little shock, but was used to it. Well, he used to be used to it. It only shocked during battle. And the Belt knew this was a battle. And it was excited, as well.

A hurried to scan the battlefield and saw the first of the leadership targets. With a swift hand movement, he ordered his whole stack to descend and engage only the warlord, who looked up at the instant. He hurried before the rest of the gigawavens, and slashed the warlord's flesh with his blade. The smell... The warlord quickly tried to counterattack while Andrew was distracted, but the gigawaven bit the warlord's head, which fell down and started rolling through the battlefield.

"Up! High! Scan the battlefield!"

His stack returned to the skies, away from the battle. The mediums flew around the hex, looking for more targets.

A large screech then stunned Andrew. "B-B-" He tried to speak, but his mouth couldn't vocalize the commands. "J-Join!" He finally muttered.

His stack followed the order and surrounded Andrew, providing him protection. He was sure he had heard that noise somewhere, but wasn't sure-

"The Prince! Attack the Prince!"

Andrew looked around, and saw a big shadow on the sky. Something cut him once, then twice. His mount roared in pain, flapping its wings. He felt his Belt counterattack before he could. The mediums shouted, and one of them fell from the mount.

"Prince!" Yelled one of the mediums. Andrew couldn't look at her, as he started falling after a swift air current hit him. His stack flew quickly behind him and Andrew landed on the back of one of the gigawavens, behind the medium who had shouted before. "Bevoras."She said. Andrew looked up, and saw two gigantic snakes with wings circling above them.

"I didn't know they had brought bevoras."

"They have, Prince. Orders?" Said the medium. Andrew touched the slashes on his skin. It hurt. He hadn't felt that in a long time. And he saw the whole stack was now on the ground. Man, he barely croaked.

"Shock them." Said Andrew angry. The medium nodded and called the rest of the stack. Their eyes started to glow and they shot beams of light at the bevoras. Andrew knew they hit their target, because the bevoras fell to the ground, unable to act.

"Dismount. Find them. Croak them. Animate the warlords." Ordered Andrew as he dismounted his gigawaven. "Gigawavens, up. Wait for your orders."

The flyers looked at him and took off, circling their position. Now Andrew was by himself, in the warmth of battle. He quickly found the column of infantry and joined them. The warlord saluted him.

"We have surrounded the enemy, sir. We are still taking heavy casualties, Prince. They have bevoras, and we weren't prepared to attack flyers."

"No, they don't. Not anymore. Just croaked them." Said Andrew, pointing to his stack of mediums and the two uncroaked warlords. "And I think we just eliminated their leadership bonuses."

"Your orders, Prince?" Asked the warlord and the mediums.

"Mediums, gather the rest of your people. Join forces and uncroak all of the fallen warriors. Warlord... let's eliminate them."
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A Tale of Destruction by zilfallon
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:50 am

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter XVII: Mac & Tosh

Tosh was a caster. He had popped in the city of Woz, deep inside the kingdom of Apple. He was a Healomancer, and a good one, too. Apple had four casters. Tosh was the youngest of them all. He had just popped on King Steve's reign. And he didn't know anything about Steve's predecessor. It was as if he had never existed.

But King Steve? He did exist. And his presence was powerful. He was maybe the most powerful King that existes. Jetstone claimed greatness and nobility, ever since they found that Arkentool. But they were nothing. Pompous wannabes, King Steve said. But that was the western continent.

Tosh had once bought a scroll just to send a thinkagram to their Healomancer. He found out that his kingdom, and their kingdom had very different... ideologies. King Steve couldn't care less about nobility. He didn't even have a royal heir. He had promoted Warlord Ive to heir designate, just to prove he wasn't like other royals. Because he believed in Fate. And according to him, Fate wanted them to rule. And to rule them all.

Mac, his comrade warlord, kept talking and talking. About Outpost's defenses, about their vassals of Mezon, about their greatness. Mac wasn't really listening. He just watched Mac's mouth open and close as he spoke. It was gibberish. Just words. And words about war, too. He didn't know much about ending other people's lives. He was just a caster. And even more than that, just a Healomancer. His job was to keep them alive.

And to keep alive only the greatest kingdom of all. The kingdom of Apple.

And King Steve claimed their victorious campaign on the Half-Moon Creek was a sign of their greatness and Fate.

... Until the siege on Hazakurain failed. All of Dolce's troops perished. Heir Designate Ive had told King Steve that it was a bad idea. The Mezons were already attacking Court, and Ive said that having Dolce attack Hazakurain would further increase their suspicions. But King Steve didn't listen.

Mac had told Tosh that King Steve was so angry that he disbanded the soldiers int he throne room when he heard the news. Tosh was no Signamancer, but was this a sign? Perhaps a sign that they should have never betrayed Court, the kingdom of Karma.

What goes around...

Then King Steve ordered Mac to watch out for any suspicious behavior among the Mezon soldiers. Only a handful of Apple units were there, and the rest were all Mezon units. Apple had just enough soldiers to stop a rebellion. They had kept Queen Abba nearby, though. So if she decided to betray them, Mac would croak her quickly.

He shouldn't care about it, he knew. He should just focus on following commands. But he couldn't help himself worry about his life and his Fate. Was he fated to croak soon? By Court's hand?

His answer came that turn.

"This is bad" said Warlord Mac. Tosh raised his sight.

"What is bad?" Asked Tosh.

"Court." Simply answered Mac.

"What? Attacking them? You don't trust the King?"

"Yeah. It was a bad call." Said Mac, looking a bit regretful.

"But you seemed rather eager to attack them. I thought your commitment was beyond questioning." Said Tosh. Had Mac freaked out? "Don't tell me you're going to turn your back on the plan."

"No, of course not, caster. But... now it seems like a bad choice."

"Because of the business at Hazakurain?" Asked Tosh. The warlord looked nervously at the level 5 city gates.

"No. Because our scouts have spotted a small Court force heading here." Answered Mac softly. "And they are led by the Djinn."

Tosh opened his eyes wide with disbelief, and panicked as he felt the fear running through his loins.
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A Tale of Destruction by zilfallon
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:40 pm

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter XVIII: Shadow Tactics

That morning, they talked.

"Our Great King Steve contacted their Ruler, Charles." Had said Warlord Mac.

"What answer did he get?"

"Court's King said they found out we had occuppied one of Mezon's cities to the south, and that the Djinn's forces were just going to join us in hopes of ambushing Mezon."

"Pfff. A surprise diplomatic meeting? After breaking their alliance? That's crap."

"Yeah. And of course, King Steve didn't fall for it. We're taking measures."

"What kind of measures?"

"Right now, it is obvious they are attacking us. The Djinn has split his forces in two groups. He split his force into reapers and fliers. The Shockamancer is with the Prince's stack of fliers, and the other one remained with the reapers."

"What about infantry?"

"He hasn't brought any."

"He's crazy, it's a fact now. But what about the fliers? Gigawavens are tough."

"Yeah. But he only has about ten of those."

"So... what's the plan?"

"Gather all of the Mezon archers. It's not our turn, so our troops will have to stay here. You're going to lead the Mezons through a tough road through the mountains. Attack the Djinn's stack. Then return to the city."

"Are you sure about this, Mac?"

"You don't trust my tactics?"

"I would if they were only gigawavens. But he has casters, Mac."

"Make the Shockamancer your priority target, then. Before he can use any of his witchcraft on you."

"And the other one?"

"Won't be a problem, after we croak the Prince and the Shockamancer. He brought no commanders, Lisa. So it's only him and the casters. Trust me."

"I do, Mac. I do. But he's the Djinn..."

"A lunatic, a madman, as you have said. Do it. Now."

And she did. Now, Lisa the Warlord was leading their sixty archers to fight Court's genius. She did trust Mac, but she didn't like the idea of splitting the leadership like that. Apple had sent only three warlords to protect Outpost, plus the Healomancer. Every bit of leadership counted.

Court was only waiting for the beginning of their turn to attack. Then she striked. She came in first, and pointed at the Prince as she shouted the command. "Engage! The Caster's mount first, then the Prince's!"

The archers ran and nodded. A barrage of arrows cut throught the air before Court's units could react. One of the arrows hit the caster, and he fell from the mount. The gigawavens roared as they were hit and circled the air. The Prince waved his hand and they all came to the ground, prepared to counterattack.

"Restack! Hit only the closest flyers! And someone capture that caster! Find out if he's croaked or incapacitated." A couple of archers grabbed their nets and ran to where the body of the Shockamancer had fallen. Then one of them looked at the caster with surprise and shouted something.

"What?" Yelled Lisa. She was focusing all of her attention on the gigawavens, who were approaching dangerously.

Then the veil came off. There was nothing. Lisa looked around at first, and then a beam of light hit her on the back.

"Croak the warlord and the rest of the archers. Then animate them." Said not the Djinn's voice, but the voice of a woman. Lisa couldn't see anything. The world was nothing but a blur.

"Yes... mistress Franziska..." Said a cavernous voice.

Then the world became pitch black.
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A Tale of Destruction by zilfallon
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Sun Oct 24, 2010 2:14 pm

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter XIX: Boom

"What the hell, Queen Abba!" Yelled Mac. The Queen opened her eyes wide, and almost fell off the chair she was sitting on.

"Warlord, control yourself! Please! What do you mean?" Asked the Queen, who looked very surprised and scared.

"Why did you do that?!" Yelled Mac once again. Tosh the Healomancer shook his head quietly, looking at the floor.

"Warlord, you told me you had just croaked their Shockamancer, and that my archers would dispose of the rest of the stack easily. I had my reasons to believe the battle's outcome was already decided."

"That was before we found out they were veiled units!" Kept shouting Mac. He spat on the floor and looked angrily at the Queen.

"And I have no other units but the archers in the city. Remember? You didn't want any more units here, fearing I might betray you."

The warlord paced through the war room quickly, thinking what to do to stop Court.

-----

The Mezons had ended the turn immediately.

Prince Johan looked at him with a wide smile. Everything was going according to the plan. The enemy had fell for the veil trick, and Queen Abba followed Johan's orders. She was supposed to let her turn end right before they croaked their archers, so Court could strike right away.

"They ended turn. And our turn begins"

"Yes, Prince. Let's be thankful Apple's turn comes before the Mezon's"

"Don't worry, Judge. I got everything planned out. So I guess we have croaked all of their archers. Queen Abba said the only archers in the city of Outpost were hers. And I assume they sent all of them on that mission. Which means they don't have any air defenses any more."

Judge nodded. His Royal Highness Prince Johan always made the right plans for the right enemies. And this enemy was foolish. Or at least thought he was foolish. That's why Prince Johan had said it was supposed to work.

"Except for the tower, Prince." Said Judge after thinking it thoroughly. Prince Johan nodded through the thinkagram. The Prince's stack was flying on circles, still veiled by the reaper's magic. Franziska was supposed to join them soon with the reapers and the uncroaked archers.

"Yes. Those Lookamancy scrolls Franziska brought proved to be quite handy. But we still don't know what kind of caster that is. And we can't risk our gigawavens."

"Yes, Prince. I understand they are our greatest asset if we wish to attack the city now."

"Indeed. And that's why we need to eliminate the caster." Said Prince Johan.

"How do you plan on doing so, Prince? The caster's inside the city." Replied Judge.

Johan laughed and shook his head. "Well, the displacement is still working, isn't it?"

"Yeah, it is." Judge raised an eyebrow. "Prince, are you thinking..."

"Yeah. You know what to do, Judge. I know you've been saving a scroll for this occasion." Said Johan with a nod. "Break."

Judge looked around. He signaled a reaper to get closer and he obeyed quietly. He rarely spoke to those creatures, but he saw their usefulness. Most Princes and warlords, especially former heir Prince Charles II, regarded them as too unnoble to use them effectively. But his Royal Highness Johan the Djinn saw their true potential. And Judge, being not a warlord, but a Shockamancer, saw their usefulness, too. They were very strong, and could handle a wide number of mancies. Shockamancy was one of them. And the reapers were extremelly strong with it, especially elites. Which they were.

"Drop the veil. Gather all the reapers into a single stack, and blast the walls."

"Yes, sir." Said the reaper, who was breathing heavily. Judge didn't like the reaper's voice. Or their heavy breathing.

The almost fifty elites gathered and shot beams of light to the highest-level reaper among them. That reaper then channeled that energy and shot a gigantic ball of energy to the walls.

The walls cracked, and for a few seconds, it looked as if that was about it. But then, the cracks on the walls became bigger and expanded throughout the whole hex. A large blast of lightning came from inside the fissures and the walls fell. It had been that easy.

"How's your juice?" Asked Judge after they broke the stack.

"Depleted, sir. All... hhh... of our juice... drained." Answered the reaper. Judge nodded. Fortunately, cast spells wasn't the only thing reapers could do.

"Okay. Draw your weapons, reapers. We're going to flank these Apple traitors." The reapers nodded and slowly raised their scythes. Judge had never seen them use those sharp weapons before, and he had thought he would never do. But this was the time for it. "Charge. Look for the enemy caster and croak him. If he's too strong, retreat and lead me to him."

The reapers nodded once again and ran through the gap in the walls. Judge took his time before entering the fray, as he was no combatant. He took out from under his beard a pulsating scroll. It glowed ominously, and Judge felt the heaviness, not of the object, but of the magic kept within. He held it on his hand as he entered the hex.

The reapers were fighting all over the place. Normally, reapers weren't as good with their scythes than they were with their magic, but elite reapers were as strong as heavies. Enemy stacks fell on the strike of the blades.

Some elites were wounded, but unlike more... alive creatures, reapers didn't slow down nor flinch upon being hit by enemy weapons. They just kept going, dripping drops of black and toxic-looking blood on the ground.

They would have to retreat soon, though. There weren't many Apple soldiers in there, but the reapers he had under his command couldn't take them all. He should look for his target, shock him, and leave quickly so Prince Johan could mop up any surviving leadership targets with the flyers.

The enemy didn't give Judge time to think, though. Soon he heard a command to attack him, and he raised his look and shrugged off his thoughts. Enemy infantry was coming at him from all sides. He had attracted too much attention to himself.

"Time to croak some traitors." Whispered Judge. He put his scroll back inside his beard and then stretched his arms to the sides and faced his palms up. "Mushroom!"

Boom

The air around him got hotter and heavier. But there were no more enemies running towards him. Their corpses filled the courtyard. Judge was pleased with himself.

They weren't gaining much ground, though. There were still many enemies around. And they hadn't found the caster yet. It was the time to try a new tactic.

"Reapers, leave the city! Now!" Judge shouted. The reapers stopped fighting for a moment, and ignoring their injuries, they ran towards the hole on the wall. Judge remained in the same place, though, and let the reapers leave without him.

The inevitable stampede of Apple soldiers ran toward him, with their swords aboive their heads, ready to strike. A voice stopped them, though. "Don't croak. He's defenseless. Bring him to me." Ordered a controlled voice.

The soldiers took Judge by his arms and dragged him to someone that looked like warlord. A warlord of Apple. And behind him, a caster. Heh. A Healomancer. And they were worried about him? Prince Johan would surely have a laugh once he found that out.

"Don't croak me, please." Said Judge in a very soft voice, but looking rather quite fun about the fact that he had just been captured.

"You betrayed us. Why should we not croak you?" Said the warlord. The Healomancer kept his mouth shut.

"Because I know something. Something you need to know." Replied Judge. The warlord raised an eyebrow and scanned Judge with his eyes.

"What?"

Judge looked at the warlord straight in the eyes and then let his body fall to the ground. The warlord quickly got on one knee andturned Judge around. Judge was smiling.

"What was that, caster?! Some kind of trick?" Yelled Apple's warlord. Judge shook his head.

"Manhattan..." whispered Judge.

"What?" Asked the warlord confused. But the Healomancer had understood it. He ran to his warlord and put one of his hands on the warlord's right shoulder, who turned at him rather angry.

"Mac, it's--"

"... Little Boy Fat Man!" Said Judge with the last of his strengths. His beard, where the scroll had remained hidden, started to glow in a ghostly manner. The light filled the courtyard, destroying their sight, destroying their hearing, and destroying everything.
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A Tale of Destruction by zilfallon
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We Aren't Saints

Postby Lefish » Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:39 am

Act I: Court's Five Devils
Chapter XX: The End of Tirany

Johan admired the explosion silently, and didn't move an inch during the whole show of colors. Colors of Death. Franziska flinched when she heard the big explosion, but the reapers and the uncroaked remained calm. The gigawavens were uneasy. The ground was shaking.

Johan kept looking at the city of Outpost until the lights faded and the earthquake ended. Any units within range of the blast would be surely croaked. Except for the Shockamancer. Johan had ordered one of the reapers with him to inspect the status of the units under Judge's command. Only three elite reapers had croaked. The rest was waiting to enter the city through the breach in the walls. Perfect.

He mounted his gigawaven quietly. Franziska and the reapers did so as well. They had to hurry, as Judge would surely be incapacitated by the effort of the casting, and there were surely more enemy units waiting to be destroyed.

He ordered the gigawavens to stack and advance to the city, while the uncroaked would march below them, led by Lisa the uncroaked warlord.

The city was quiet. But he knew it wasn't defenseless. No matter how weak the enemies in there would be, they would still be enemies. Live enemies. And because of that, they were dangerous.

Johan and his stack of gigawavens flew above the walls while the ground troops circled the city so they could enter through the breach in the wall. The airspace was still. Johan couldn't even feel the breeze. Judge was master-class, but even this was quite a bit of destruction. A linked Shockamancer could've destroyed the entire city, but that wouldn't send the right message. Johan wanted to send something more than just a war statement.

And his message was clear: Apple, be afraid. Court is coming to get you. And we don't even need many units to do so.

He soon destacked and looked at the ground for the Shockamancer. He soon found his body surrounded by dust. Man, he didn't even leave any corpses to be uncroaked. He dismounted and touched the Shockamancer's shoulder. It was cold, drained from all energy.

He took his bracelet off, leaving his left hand nude, and channeled his energy on it. He then touched the Shockamancer's face with it, imbuing him with warmth.

Judge opened his eyes wide, and took a deep and noisy breath, as if he had been holding it for years. He looked empty. Void. Of sense. Damn. Maybe the spell had required him too much.

"W-What?" Said the Shockamancer. He didn't seem to recognize Johan.

"What's your name?" Asked Johan. His first question.

"W-W-... hhh... Whyyy...?" Said Judge. He looked around, confused. He sounded like a reaper.

"What's your name?" Said Johan once again.

"Am I... in trouble?" Asked the Shockamancer. Johan shook his head and asked once more.

"What's your NAME, Shockamancer? If you know something about Healomancy, then you should know I'm not really interested in knowing your name. I'm just checking you're not... broken." Said Johan in the most cruel manner he could think of.

"I'm... Judge. The Shockamancer. Court's Shockamancer." Said Judge. The reapers ran all around them. Soon, the far sound of swords clashing began.

"Don't pay attention to that. Focus on me. Listen to my voice. Who's your ruler?" Said Johan, ignoring the sound of battle.

"My... ruler? It's... hhh... King Charles. King Charles... hhh... of Court. The Kingdom of Court." Said Judge the Shockamancer. Johan nodded.

"Good. How many live princes does Court have?" Asked Johan.

The Shockamancer blinked twice. It seemed as if he didn't understand the question.

"Shockamancer! Judge. How many princes does Court have?" Asked Johan again. Now, the Shockamancer blinked only once.

"Five. Five live... hhh... princes." Answered Judge. "Sir... breathing... hhh... hard. Please..."

"One more question, Shockamancer. Then you'll be free to leave this horrible place." Said Johan, trying to be reassuring.

"Yes, sir."

"How many princes and how many princesses does Court have?" Asked Johan again. The caster looked to the sky, as if the answer would fall from it.

"Court's princes... Three princes and two princesses. An older brother, then an... an older sister. Two men come after them, and the youngest princess tails them off." Answered the Shockamancer.

"Good, Judge. Find the Foolamancer and have a couple of gigawavens take you out of this place." Said Johan with relief. Everything was fine. His caster was sound and sane.

Some reapers approached him after the caster walked away.

"Lord, we have secured the place. Queen Abba is safe, and all that remained of Apple's forces have been routed. There was only one warlord left. He croaked."

"Good." Said Johan. Then, he felt something he hadn't felt in many turns, but knew that would happen very soon. Ah, the new prince had popped. Had it been a prince, or a princess? He would ask Father later, because he had many things on his mind at the moment.

The battle here was over, but many things were left to be solved. And right now, one of them was knocking right on his door. "Wait, reaper. Thinkagram." Johan added and took his index and middle fingers to his temple.

An old man was looking at him very mad. He could see it. And he knew the expression.

"King Steve. Sadly, I'm a bit preoccupied at the moment, so I don't think I'll be able to take this call. Please contact our Thinkamancer for any further--"

"Save it, Prince Johan. What did you do to my soldiers?" Snapped the King. Johan smiled and ignored his question.

"Such matters must be consulted with his Royal Highness, King Charles of Court, dear King. As I've said before, I'm a tad busy."

"I know what you have done, Prince." Said King Steve. "Of course I know. So don't attempt to fool me, because I am no fool. Of course I know you just attacked my city in the southern mountains of the continent. Why did you do that?"

"I might feel tempted to quote you, myself, King. Why would you force the Mezons to attack us?"

King Steve didn't answer, and frowned in his anger.

"But hey, some good came from it all, you know? Now we know you're a traitor and a spineless coward, King."

"Coward? A coward, me?! You attacked us, veiling your truthful intentions! Why did you do this instead of facing us like just and noble men?!"

"Don't play with fire King, because you might burn. We just used the same tactics you did. Although a bit more satisfactorily, I must add. We got your level 5 out of it." Said Johan, opening his arms wide, as if he were shoving in his face the ruins of what once was Apple's city. King Steve sighed and waited. "And what have you gained? The loss of an ally. And now we have the Mezons on our side. And soon, we'll kick your royal ass, King."

"Don't provoke me, Prince. I don't know what I might do if I got angry."

"Looks to me you're already angry, King. If you're so noble, why don't we duel? Right here, right now. Like noble men. Me against you. No tricks. I won't use my artifact, if you don't use yours."

"It's not the moment to make foolish proposals, Prince. I will crush you and your entire--"

"And yet, you're still inside the safety of your castle." Interrupted Johan. "Why, King? Because you know we'll soon liberate Dolce from your grasp and then you'll have all the might of the Half-Moon Coalition on your keister?"

"Again, prince. Not the time to make idle threats."

"Oh, but it isn't an idle threat, King. We will conquer you. You'll feel the wrath of those you have played with."

"Oh, Prince. Try that. I dare you. You try that... and I will take it as a personal challenge to croak all the people you love. I'll save you for last, so you see how the anger you've made me feel will destroy all of you. First, your King. Then, your brothers and sisters. After that... your Kingdom. And when you're a barbarian, I'll croak you last, so you know what demon have you provoked."

Johan frowned for the first time that turn wished that meeting had been face-to-face. So he could show King Steve who was he talking to.

"King Steve..." Started Johan. But how could he finish that sentence? "You have marked your end. You don't know who you're messing with." Answered Johan with real anger. King Steve only smiled, and Johan ended the thinkagram. The reapers around him were looking at him quietly.

"What are you looking at? Let's go. Leave Queen Abba to do whatever she wishes with this place. We're leaving back to the capital." Ordered Johan. The reapers took a long moment to follow his orders, but they did so. They were impressed. They had never seen him angry before.

He knew Queen Abba would want to talk with him, probably to thank him. But he hadn't the time for it. Not after talking with King Steve.

He mounted his gigawaven and flew to meet his casters with the rest of his force. They were flying atop the mountains, waiting for them. The moment Johan entered the hex, Franziska rushed to him along with Judge, who still looked a bit confused.

"Prince Johan, we have a problem." Said Franziska. Johan frowned. He didn't need more problems. "With Judge."

Johan raised an eyebrow. "What kind of problem?"

Franziska didn't answer but took Judge by the arm and pulled him to her. "Judge, who's the Chief Warlord?"

Judge looked at her as if she were crazy, and then told Johan: "Sir, I don't... know if..."

"Answer it, Shockamancer." Said Johan. What was this all about?

"Well... the Chief Warlord... hhh... is Crown Princess Vanessa." Answered Judge as if it were the stupidest question in Erfworld. Johan opened his eyes wide.

"What the... Shockamancer. Tell me the names of Court's princes." Asked Johan. There was no way...

"The princes of Court... hhh... are Prince Hawke, Crown Princess Vanessa... Prince Carlisle, Charles II... and... hhh... Princess Anna." Answered Judge.

Johan looked panicked at Franziska, before looking at the Shockamancer again.

"Sir... why are you asking... hhh... these questions?" Asked Judge, who didn't know what was going on. "And... who are you... hhh... by the way?"

"I need to talk to Father." Said Johan quickly, ignoring a confused Judge and a troubled Franziska. They had to return to Von Karma at once.

End of Act I: Court's Five Devils
Bored? Do you want more... ERF?! Check my fanfic story We Aren't Saints. C'mon, do it! You know you want to.

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A Tale of Destruction by zilfallon
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