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ArkhathBeltaine
02-05-2005, 22:30
So here's the first of the new stuff. In this one, we meet one of the other Beltaine brothers, of which there are seven. Also, from this point on, I'll be posting new stuff in the same thread, rather than littering the forum with a thread for each chapter. Onward!

***

All was not well in Perdition’s Cost. The cold ones were unusually intractable and the graceful dark steeds were even skittish. It was not only the animals that were disturbed. Even the corsairs were on edge, though they were far less sensitive to unseen and subtle influences than the animals. As Tarnath Beltaine paced to and fro through the stable-hold of the black ark, he carefully considered what could possibly be going on.

Abovedecks, his brothers were probably unaware that something was amiss. Sure they were all calculatingly respectful of Zhakhara’s affliction. They had to be. And even the rawest green deckhand quickly learned to recognize and fear Arkhath’s moods. But Lord Beltaine’s fury could only account for so much disruption, and the crew were all well accustomed to the effects of their commander’s prevailing psychological state.

No, it couldn’t be the aftereffects of the costly battle. It couldn’t be anything to do with Arkhath. None of that would affect the beasts as well as the crew. No, this went deeper, which only made it harder to figure out. Tarnath stopped in front of his favorite steed’s stall. Tholruth-uraiin, knight-killer in the coarse tongue of the mon-keigh, stood and looked back at his master. Tarnath stared deep into the dark orbs of his closest companion, as if searching for an answer there.

“What do you think is wrong, my friend?” he asked. “What has everyone unsettled?”

The steed only stared back and kicked the gate of the stall ferociously.

“I understand, Thol-ur. I don’t like being cooped up in here any more than you. I’d rather we were both pounding across the battlefield, taking heads.” Tarnath wistfully looked back on his first battle astride his steed, where Tholruth-uraiin gained his deed-name. In a battle against the gaudily-dressed mon-keigh of the Old World’s western coast, the steed had reared up high in the first charge and kicked one of the mon-keigh knights in the head so hard that the pathetic creature’s helm flew clean off... with the head still contained within.

He shook away the pleasant memory and focused back on the matter at hand. His brothers mainly considered him uncouth and dense. Unlike Arkhath and the others, his mother was common born, though their late father openly acknowledged him. That, and the fact that he spent more time with the steeds than he did in court, led them to believe that he was unsophisticated. That he understood druchii far less than he did beasts. And, for the most part, they were right. That, however was his greatest personal asset. He was indispensable to the House because of his mastery over the beasts. Not only that, but a druchii could do worse than to apply the reasoning and logic of savage beasts to the actions of his peers.

Whatever was wrong, and Tarnath was certain that something was indeed fundamentally wrong, he had to get to the bottom of it. He had to root out the source of this disturbance and solve it.

For the beasts’ sake.

anarchistica
05-05-2005, 03:23
*approved*

Post more you bastard, don't tease us with these tiny snippets. :p

ArkhathBeltaine
09-05-2005, 06:30
Hot off the presses, chapter five. Wherin we meet another of the many brothers Beltaine.

***

“Arkhath, you cannot be serious!” he cried in shock.

“Varleth, watch your tongue,” Arkhath replied icily. “And take care in how you address me. I will think nothing of handing you over to the Witches for their ceremonies to our lord Khaine if you continue so speak to me in such a disrespectful manner. You may be my brother, but one less would be of no lasting discommodation to me.”

Varleth paused, taken aback at Arkhath’s unsubtle threat. Acheron’s return had quite a profound effect on the lord of the Beltaine House. Before, Arkhath would have been far more subtle in his rebukes. An open threat would never have passed his lips. It spoke volumes about how disconcerted Arkhath was by his twin brother’s presence and by Zhakhara’s state. The battle which ended the threat of the vampire warlord continued to have ramifications which affected the entire House.

Those ramifications were becoming quite clear to the Beltaines.

“Yes, my lord,” Varleth conceded. “But without Zhakhara to lead the circle, we will be unable to free the Perdition’s Cost if it is beached on these barbaric shores.”

“I am well aware of that, my brother.” he replied. “I am also well aware of the Witch King’s orders to me.” Arkhath stood up from his throne in the grand chamber of the black ark. His sea dragon cloak streamed out behind him as he turned a purposeful stride towards the balcony off the the left of his throne. Beckoning for Varleth to follow him, he continued to explain.

“Our House is to establish and maintain a strong presence here in this benighted land. I will not set up in one of the base, miserable hovels these mon-keigh deign to call castles,” he snorted in derision. He gripped the rail of the balcony and gazed across the waters to the coastline of the so-called Border Princes. Varleth joined him at the rail and scowled at the sight.

“But is it absolutely necessary to run the black ark aground, my lord?” he asked.

“Varleth, did I not make you Commander of the House Cavalry after our father’s death?” Akhath asked in reply.

“Why, yes. Yes you did,” he answered, confused.

“Of course I did. I did so because I am aware of your great skill and prowess in conducting mounted combat,” Arkhath went on. “Not only are you skilled in such combat, but you have a personal prediliction towards it, I have recognized. There is nothing you like better than scattering a troop of pitiful enemies with a charge of heavy cold one cavalry, is there?”

“No, my lord Arkhath,” he replied, still uncertain of where his brother was going with this shift in conversation. “There is nothing I enjoy more. If I may ask, what has this to do with the Perdition’s Cost, my lord?”

Arkhath chuckled humorlessly, and turned to face his younger brother.

“It is well that I did not task you with anything mentally taxing, my brother,” he belittled. “Were I to rely upon you to handle the logistics and preparations for any tactical activities we undertake, our House would no doubt have fallen in to disrepute long ago.”

Varleth merely withstood his brother’s derision. He inclined his head respectfully and waited for Arkhath to continue. That Arkhath was insulting him with such care and precision was a good sign. Better that than screaming and hurling insults common soldiers would use. Perhaps this was a sign that Arkhath was finally collecting himself.

“This land is now open to us and ripe for conquest,” Arkhath continued, turning once more to gaze out over the water. “Our infantry and cavalry will soon begin spreading my rule across this miserable place. We will march, and we will ride. We shall spill blood for Khaine, and we shall take slaves for our own pleasure. Oh, there is much cruelty to inflict upon this place for our master, Malekith.”

Varleth’s blood began to race with his brothers words. He imagined the delightful persecution of the wretches who dwelled here. A smile began to creep across his face with the pleasant thoughts.

“And how much will you enjoy it, Varleth,” he went on. “If you have to suffer a ride on a shuttle with the foul-tempered cold ones every time you sally forth from the black ark? Will the inconvenience of ferrying to the coast from off shore every single time not wear upon you? Are you so patient that this would not tax your nerves?”

The reason behind Arkhath’s command to beach the ark finally dawned upon Varleth.

“This land, be it as it may, is ours. And through us, the Witch King’s. We will rule it at his command and we will not be driven from it.” Arkhath proclaimed. “And besides, Zhakhara will not remain as she is forever.”

Arkhath turned and reentered the grand chamber.

"However," he said. "there is something I need you to do for me first."

"What might that be, my lord?"

"In order to march with ease from the ark, once it is beached, we mush constuct a causeway from the main gate. For this," he turned to face Varleth once more. "We need more slaves."

The smile returned to Varleth's lips. "I understand, my brother. As you command..."

"Indeed."

anarchistica
09-05-2005, 21:49
Teh cool. I like the idea of DE trying to set up a colony somewhere in the Old World, the Border Princes are indeed a good place for this. It opens up a nearly unlimited amount of possible storylines, from simple conquest to deceiving humans to alliances with or recruiting of any other nasty people around there. Huzzah!

Maybe do a character synopsis? It helps if you know the people behind the story a bit beyond that their name has an a in it and ends with th. ;)

ArkhathBeltaine
09-05-2005, 22:06
Synopsis... hmm, not a bad Idea. I'll have one up shortly for the story thusfar. Maybe I'll also go further into the Beltaine family tree, as well... what do you think? Should I reveal all of the Beltaine siblings at once, or continue to introduce them as the story goes on?

anarchistica
09-05-2005, 22:09
Characters work best if at least some of them have been introduced before others. You could simply go from here and at one point have them all meet up, or introduce them one by one or in groups.

ArkhathBeltaine
10-05-2005, 09:02
The story thusfar...

Arkhath Beltaine, highborn noble and Lord of House Beltaine, has been sent by the Witch King to create a Druchii holding in the Old World. (Rumor in the court of the Witch King shows rampant speculation about the nature of these orders. Some belive it is a punishment, others belive it will prove to be a great honor. Only time will tell, because neither Arkhath nor Malekith have discussed the reasoning for this mission with anyone.)

Leaving his brother Varkhin to act as steward over the House's holdings in Klarond Kar, Arkhath took the black ark Perdition's Cost and a sizeable force to the realm of the Old World known as the Border Princes.

Accompanying him were his brothers Varleth, Boreath, and Tarneth; as well as a circle of sorceresses led by Zhakhara. (Though not unprecedented, the relationship between Zhakhara and House Beltaine is unusual. While individual sorceresses may forge loose political ties with one house or another, Zhakhara seems to have a strong alliance with House Beltaine and with Arkhath in particular. Rumor has it that they are, in fact, lovers. Again, not unprecedented, but highly unusual. Especially in light of Arkhath's open affiliation with the Cult of Khaine.)

After arriving in the Old World, Arkhath immediately ran up against a strong obstacle in the form of the Blood Dragon vampire Count Messier. Many battles were fought between the forces of these two generals. Time and time again Arkhath was defeated, either by true losses on the field of battle or by inconclusive battles. Regardless, this vampire consistently prevented Arkhath from gaining a foothold in the Border Princes.

That is, until another of Arkhath's brothers, Acheron, arrived to join him.

More to come later. As much as I hate to admit human weakness, I am tired and require sleep.

ArkhathBeltaine
10-05-2005, 21:49
Okay, now where was I? Oh, yes...

When Arkhath outmanuevered Acheron to ascend to Lordship over House Beltaine, Acheron left Klarond Kar to seek power through victories on the battlefield. He gained much renown in raids on the Old World, Ulthuan, Lustria, and even the Chaos Wastes. Meanwhile, Arkhath was gaining power and making enemies in the Court of the Witch King. When Arkhath left for the Border Princes, Acheron was on his way to join the force assaulting Albion.

Fresh from the fighting on the Isle of Albion, Acheron Beltaine received word of his twin brother's mission in the Old World. Eager to continue his rivalry with Akhath, Acheron and Seiza, his sorceress ally, diverted from their course back to Naggaroth to proceed to the Border Princes.

Upon hearing of Arkhath's difficulties in dealing with the vampire threat, Acheron took to the field with a considerable portion of Arkhath's forces. With the aid of magical items found on Albion, Acheron was able to defeat the Count Messier and kill him in single combat. However, both armies were utterly destroyed, and Zhakhara, who had accompanied the force as Arkhath's representative was rendered comatose due to a catastrophic miscast. A miscast caused by Seiza interfering with the casting.

Arkhath's displeasure increased immensely.

Acheron now seeks to acheive his goals of unseating Arkhath from the position of Lord of the House. Having removed Zhakhara from the picture, Arkhath is without his closest advisor and confidant. Acheron is now simply waiting for the best moment to put his plan into action.

However, Arkhath is not completely without his devices and, in his time at the Court, has become much more adept at scheming and plotting than Acheron. Not only that, but assistance may come to Arkhath from some unexpected places.

Characters introduced thusfar:
Arkhath Beltaine, Lord of House Beltaine, and eldest (along with his twin brother) of the seven Beltaine brothers.
Acheron Beltaine, twin brother of Arkhath and a skilled general
Varkhin Beltaine, Bearer of the House Battle Standard and House Steward in Arkhath's absence
Varleth Beltaine, Commander of the Heavy Cavalry
Boreath Beltaine, Commander of the Infantry
Tarnath Beltaine, Commander of the Scout Forces and Light Cavalry, half-brother and youngest of the seven brothers

Zhakhara, High Sorceress of the Convents, chief advisor to Lord Beltaine and his rumored lover

Seiza, High Sorceress of the Convents (standing revoked), currently allied with Acheron Beltaine

ArkhathBeltaine
17-05-2005, 13:57
I would have posted this almost a week ago now, but for some reason I couldn't connect to the site. Nevertheless, here is the latest installment. I'm starting to see a structure to the plot beginning to emerge. Before now, I've pretty much been writing what comes to me through inspiration, letting the story tell me what it's going to do. But now, I've actually got plans for stuff that's going to happen way down the line. The setup is well in place and now I can start having some real fun developing the plot.

Also, I've been a bit jealous of Xhalax for all the positive accolades she gets. No hate, just professional jealousy. I think this has something to do with the cookies she gives to people who respond to her story. In that respect, I shall begin doing the same. However, it's not going to be cookies, that's Xhalax's gig. I'm not sure what it's going to be yet. I'm thinking either beer or pizza, maybe both for really good feedback. Let me know what you all would like. For now, I'll assume beer... and I think I have a twelve-pack around here somewhere for anarchistica...


***

Beyond the physical plane, reality is much different. On the physical plane, existence is measured in three dimensions. Up and down, forward and back, side to side. Height, width, and depth define physical existence. On the metaphysical planes; the astral plane, the nine hells, the countless demiplanes, and the realm of Chaos that fills the space between them all; these dimensions mean nothing. Form is defined by will. Reality is at the beck and call of those with the strength of will to bend it to their purposes, and the understanding of the myriad and countless metaphysical laws which govern existence in these protean realms.

Zhakhara once had the power to shape the stuff of the Nine Hells themselves to suit her. The winds of magic which flow through, within, and around all the planes of existence was hers to command.

No longer.

Having found her consciousness trapped in the realm of Lamehk, the Slavemaster, she found her willpower had fled her. Her command over the forces of reality had gone. She was well and truly in the Slavemaster’s clutches, and a thousand torments were visited upon her every moment of her imprisonment.

How long had it been? Days, weeks . . . months? Hours? Not only is existence mutable in the metaphysical planes, but so is time. Zhakhara felt like she had spent centuries in slavery to Lamehk, but it very well could only have been a few minutes. The only way to describe a period of time which seems interminable but cannot accurately be measured, is eternity.

Only one thing was keeping Zhakhara sane. One thing, and one thing only, was keeping her will strong enough to resist giving in to the oblivion of mindless servitude to the Slavemaster. There was but one saving grace to her situation that kept her from being lost entirely.

Thoughts of vengeance.

The upside to the seeming eternity spent in pain was that Zhakhara had virtually an eternity to think about the events that had sent her to this torture. Rolling the events over and over in her mind, she had come to a few conclusions. First, her spell should not have failed. Outside interference had caused her to lose control over the skeins of magical energy she was wielding. Second, only one as skilled as she was in the dark arts could have caused it to happen. It could not possibly have been the vampire with his weak necromancy. That left only Seiza.

Seiza would pay for this. She would pay dearly for her treachery. No, not for her treachery . . . that was a trait to be admired. No, she would pay for failing in her plot. Seiza had made one terrible mistake which would prove to be her fatal flaw. Seiza left her alive.

That was another thing Zhakhara realized. While Lamehk had her strongly bound in his clutches, he didn’t have ALL of her. Her consciousness and most of her soul were trapped here, but her body was not. And while her body still lived, her soul would not belong entirely to Lamehk. True, this separation of her being left her weakened and without much of her power. But it would also be the thing that would allow her to escape and unleash her vengeance on the scheming little wench. Her AND the brother.

That was the last conclusion she reached, and the most important one. If Seiza was plotting, it wasn’t just for her own benefit. The outcast would be plotting for her lover’s benefit as well. That could only mean danger to Arkhath. One more reason to escape from this hell.

The irony was completely lost on Zhakhara that in the same circumstances, she and Arkhath would be doing the exact same thing.

anarchistica
17-05-2005, 16:37
I would have posted this almost a week ago now, but for some reason I couldn't connect to the site.
It was down for a couple of days.


Also, I've been a bit jealous of Xhalax for all the positive accolades she gets. No hate, just professional jealousy. I think this has something to do with the cookies she gives to people who respond to her story. In that respect, I shall begin doing the same. However, it's not going to be cookies, that's Xhalax's gig. I'm not sure what it's going to be yet. I'm thinking either beer or pizza, maybe both for really good feedback. Let me know what you all would like. For now, I'll assume beer... and I think I have a twelve-pack around here somewhere for anarchistica...
I'll have some Bugman's L, please. ^_^

Again, interesting stuff, i never even saw the center tag.

...

Oh, the story? Yes, that was nice too, i never even thought about the names attached to the spells and what the relevant entities could do. Now write more, or else there will be no whipping for you today. :D