Realms of Nymserine: Main Thread [[CLOSED]]


Rests Chin In Hands
Through the halls of the Circle’s headquarters chimed a melody plucked on the strings of a dulcimer. There were no lyrics to accompany the tune, it’s undulating chords calmly carrying just under the chatter about Artifacts and curiosities into the newest recruits for the Circle. There had been those who had passed their trials just the other night, after all.

In the dining hall just past the tables of fruits and cheeses was the source of the music: a satyr by the name of Jastyr Demorian. His eyes focused on the floor, ears trained to eavesdrop on anything worthwhile as he awaited the ceremony, just as all the others. What better place to take a gander at the new recruits beforehand than the location of all the nourishment?

With the crescendo into the bridge of his tune, Jastyr looked up to the tables of food to find unfamiliar faces just across the way. A halfling and a centaur shared in conversation quietly and just out of clear earshot with the progression of his tune so close. But it did not deter his song, and he respectfully gave them their privacy for now. It was well enough to know so much representation was being included within the Circle, showing unity in the face of adversity. Perhaps it would be these folk he would come to know in the days ahead.
The assassin smirked at his response and waited for him to clear his throat. She nibbled on her pile of grapes. When he asked about her trials, she slowed and carefully observed a plump green grape. "Well... the first was a fork in the road with a pair of twins. One lied, one was honest. The second was... frustrating." Azaria sipped at a glass of red juice. "A stronger, faster version of myself in a death match." She rolled her eyes. Setting down the glass, she continued quietly, eyeing the musician in the room, "The third... I was.. a prisoner, and I was made to choose between taking one life over another. Love versus loyalty, I suppose."


Elder Member
She did not remember much about the previous night. Just barely recalled glimpses of doggedly following everyone else (in actuality, everyone else probably only referred to Verity as most of the others had declined onsite accommodation) to their sleeping quarters. Other recollections included falling asleep on the floor of the room with her door wide open, walking headlong into the door, turning the doorknob open, waking up sometime in the night to a terrible backache, doffing her clothing when she found some clean shirts long enough to be sleeping gowns and then oblivion; though perhaps her memories werent in that particular order.

She awoke when a shaft of morning sun slowly crept across her face, eventually falling upon her eyes. They slowly winked open as Fernwe brought up an aching hand to shield her face from the harsh light. Though it was perhaps of modest size for a full grown adult, the bed was a vast plateau in comparison to the small framed halfling. Notwithstanding that, a quick glance around revealed that she still managed to kick everything to the floor, including a curled up Finwinne. Fernwe dragged herself across the bed like an overweight slug and picked the sleeping tikitooth up from the floor to place it on her chest. The halfling burried her face in the soft fur and let out a deep sigh. She had not expected to be faced with the things that she saw during the test. But regardless, she had felt different from the moment it was all over. It was a peculiar feeling. As if something had been taken out from her heart, but instead of feeling empty, she felt more sure of herself. A question she had not known was within her had been answered.

, ; . ' ` ~ * ~ ` ' . ; , ; . ' ` ~ * ~ ` ' . ; , ; . ' ` ~ * ~ ` ' . ; ,
"Mornin- uaaahhh!" A sleepy voice called out from behind the halfelf and centaur as Fernwe made her way to stand beside Azaria, still dressed in her makeshift nightgown and with Finwinne perched on her head. She rubbed sleep from her eyes as the tikitooth batted a paw at the air infront of Azaria's plump grape.

"Is all that breakfast?!" Fernwe came up to the lavish table, her head barely cresting the top of the food laden surface. Despite her height disadvantage, she could still see the huge piles of fruit, pastry and other saliva-inducing munchers.

@Zazz @SilverFlight


Tende altum, volare altius
Pyrrhus frowned at the answer, already drawing the parallels betwee Azaria's experience and his own.
"That is awful...It seems these tests are designed to sniff out what choices will wound you most, making sure you are resolute in dedication to others over your own personal desires...My final trial was...similar."
He considered his plate for a moment, then, as if coming to a decision he looked at the elf and spoke again:
"That friend I told you of, the one who betrayed me...I had always wished that...he'd be more one day."
The strong feeling of shame rose up again to snap at the growing knot in his chest. He had been stupid. The thought of how easily he had been manipulated still stung, but if he was honest with himself, truly honest...
"The thing is, I'm not entirely sure I could be wiser, if there was a next time."
What turned him away from Aeolus during the trial was the fact that his tribe was in danger, but...if it was only him...
"I suppose I still care about him...I know its ridiculous, I shouldn't give him a second thought..but..."
Fernwe's timely arrival gave a welcome distraction.
"Hullo Fernwe. Sleep well?" He asked cheerfully.
Pyrrhus chuckled as she caught sight of the feast. "As much breakfast as you could get into you!"

Just then Pyrrhus caught sight of the pair of horns jutting up a ways behind Fernwe's head and traced them down to their owner's face. The smile brightened on his own, glad to see he wasn't the only rarity present in the room.
"You play beautifully," he remarked, "will you join us?"

@Zazz @Lekiel
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Rests Chin In Hands
With an inclination of his head, Jastyr rose, fingers still plucking the final chords as he meandered over to the gathering group that presented invitation. The song came to a close with a flourish and retard, a grin spreading his lips as he greeted the unfamiliar faces warmly. “Thank you,” he said to Pyrrhus. “Both for the compliment and for the invite. I heard there were new recruits among the Circle and I’ve yet to meet either of you.”

The satyr bowed, hands outward and hair brushing past his shoulders in the motion as he dipped and rose fluidly. “Jastyr Demorian,” he said. “Congratulations are in order. The gauntlet is no pleasant or easy feat.”

He plucked a nectarine from the table, biting into the fruit and savoring it a moment before continuing. “There’s always been a debate on the trials. What would happen should someone abandon wisdom for chance and still make it through? Do you think they would be just as deserving given the unlikelihood of achievement? One may never know, though it would be a fun thing to boast.”

@SilverFlight @Zazz @Lekiel


Suave Swashbuckler
Roland's eyes ached with the rest of his body as he began to regain consciousness. With a yawn and a quick face rub session, Roland rose from the silk sheets that he was too tired to notice were silk, and he fumbled around the dark room for some sort of light. His hands brushed over many things, and he occasionally knocked over an item or two, but instead of clattering to the floor, they made a kind of splashing sound. Weird, but he was too tired to do anything more than acknowledge the noise.

After several more moments of struggling and more splashes, Roland found a draw string and pulled back the curtains, letting the light blast its way into the once dark room. He shielded his eyes for a moment and looked away, now able to identify the room. What in Adamine's green spirit was going on? Water covered the floor, barely covering some of the objects he had knocked over. All of the sheets, once lavish, were utterly soaked through and through, now draping deeply into the small pond on the wooded floor. No doubt that would not do well for preserving it. all of the furniture, no doubt grand at one point or another, seemed soaked. What had happened in this place? Where even was he? His memory flooded back, of the incidents from the day before, and he remembered.... joining the circle.. He was a member now. It was oddly anti climactic.

That answered the question of where he was. A quick look at the ceiling was enough to answer his second question: A dark storm cloud had formed over head, blocking out the ceiling, and it was furiously pouring down rain in the room. Roland looked at his own hands, cursing loudly. He must have been sleep casting again. He batted at the cloud a few times, before sending out a powerful sweep of his hand, dispelling the storm and ceasing the rain. With a sigh, Roland opened the window and held out his arms, making pulling motions, as if he were sending the chi from one end of his body and releasing it out the other side. The water bent to his will, and began draining out the window in a steady stream, pouring out into the streets below. As the water emptied out of his room, he heard several cries of indignation, and a quick peek out the frame revealed several nobles soaked and agitated, looking up to see who was responsible for the nonsense. With his room now dry, Roland gently pulled the windows closed and hoped they had not seen him. His own magic had prevented him from getting wet, so his clothes were still in good condition, despite being a little... grungy. Roland dug through the now dry drawers and pulled out a new white cotton shirt with laces up the middle. He quickly changed into it, along with a black pair of pantaloons with golden trim, a new set of leather boots and his usual black jacket and leather weapon and equipment bindings. He ran a quick hair through his messy hair, and grabbed his swords, sheathing them. At the floor of his room was a small letter, with instructions to meet in the main dinning hall when he was finished with his sleep. With a quick step, he darted out the door, and through several corridors until he found the main dinning hall.

The room was filled with people, coming and going, all of whom looked dangerous but yet chivalrous. Roland waved to a few and offered a smile to the others, and then saw the very easy to spot Pyrrhus, sitting several tables away. He waved at him, and Azaria who was sitting nearby, and began in that direction, only making it several paces before his nose was assaulted by the inescapable aromas of the breakfast buffet. Roland immidiatly changed course, already drooling, and grabbed a plat, filling it with every bit of food on that table: until both he and his 20 pound mountain of breakfast were on their way's over to sit with his friends.

As he sat down, a sausage link half hanging out of his mouth, he tried to smile at them. "Hey guys. Sleep well?"

He only then noticed the horned goat man sitting at the table with them. "Oh WOW! You must be a satyr! I have never met one of your kind before! I am Roland! Roland stormblade." He finally swallowed his mouth full of food and grinned at the goat man. Truly, his travels had already yielded many new and exciting experiences.


Tende altum, volare altius
"Pyrrhus Elantus, of the Eastern Kali-Sharri centaur tribe." Pyrrhus introduced himself to Jastyr formally.
"You've posed an interesting question. from my experience as a sell sword, the people that gambled with their own lives often gambled with others. That isn't the type of person you want, however, we are all forced to take chances eventually, knowing how is a valuable asset..." he suddenly realized he had been rambling and brushed a hand through his wiry mane in a self-conscious manner.
"But the logic behind the tests is probably much too complicated for someone like me to understand..."

Roland appeared next and Pyrrhus returned his wave enthusiatically. He waited for the ex-pirate to sit down, pushing his own heaped plate over to make room.
"This is Jastyr." He informed Roland happily.
"He...hmm, are you an older member?"
The satyr didn't look much older than Pyrrhus himself, but he carried himself in a way that belied experience and a casual comfort with his surroundings.
@Effervescent @BugDozer73


Princess of Pudding
Thread starter #633
Sleep hadn't come easily. When light started to filter through the lacy windows, Verity sighed, sitting up in the bed. She couldn't remember sleeping at all, in fact, but her lack of memory for the passage of time hinted at the fact that she certainly drifted in and out of consciousness at some point. Begrudgingly she threw off the covers and stuck her feet into her boots at the side of the bed. Was that mud? Her shoes certainly had seen better days, namely the first week she'd had them. After that, muddy backroads tend to not do much for one's sense of fashion... not that her boots were particularly grand.

With a sigh, she looked around the room, not needing the reminder that they were in the upper ring of the country's capital. She needed nicer clothing and there was no doubt in her mind that the clothes in her travel bag were stained with muck and river water from her nice swim a few days ago. She kicked off her shoes and crossed the room to a matching dresser and mahogany wardrobe. She rifled through the drawers, not really knowing what to expect. Much to her surprise it was actually stocked with women's clothing. She opened the wardrobe and eventually settled for a white blouse with frills on the front and sleeves that were long and loose. Unfortunately, there wasn't much in the realm of selection for pants... so she settled for her own pair that sustained the least amount of damage from the flood.

Then, after cleaning her shoes as best she could in the wash basin, she turned to the mirror. Oh.. dammit... She watched herself flinch and turned away. Maybe she wasn't quite ready to deal with mirrors yet. Nevertheless, with her sword strapped across her back and her travel back slung over her shoulder, she looked like an adventurer again.... albeit a less grungy one. Oh how far she'd fallen from being a princess... this time, the thought actually made her smile.


The halls clamored with activity and circle members who bantered casually with one another. It was a community unlike any other guild she had ever seen before, and it was rather refreshing. There was so much diversity and talent mixed together under one roof. These people looked like they actually bonded with one another and had a sort of camaraderie that only came with fighting and traveling together. On her way to the dining hall she saw every sort of warrior imaginable with weapons of all types. There were bows, maces, battle axes, staves, chakrams and even morning stars. Some part of Verity knew that she should be intimidated and maybe even conscious, but really she was just trying to keep her child-like excitement from exploding onto her face.

The trails were rough... but maybe it was worth it after all.

She mad it to the main hall and banquet tables were lined up and towered high with glittering platers of food. Verity glanced at the shimmering, plump piles of fruit with longing... the cranberries calling her name, but she was way too keyed up to stomach anything right now. Her eyes searched the room until she found friendly, familiar faces. She smiled at the group as she came over to them, her excitement sizzled away a little at the sight of Pyrrhus and Azaria. They looked better... but still tired. That sort of haunted look you get in your eyes sometimes never fades, even with the brightest of smiles. She sat among them, greeting each of them before realizing the satyr's presence. "Good morning everyone. Big day today, eh?" She nodded towards the new face with a polite smile. "Hello, I suppose you've already met my friends. I'm Verity."
@SilverFlight @Zazz @BugDozer73 @Effervescent @Lekiel
Azaria's bright eyes observed the centaur's face as he told him of his trial, and of his old friend. There was a sadness in the pull of his brow, and self-doubt lined his words. She reached over and gently touched his arm supportively, just as Fernwe and Finwinne came along. The half-elf smiled at the furry creature and scratched behind its ear. "Mm, I don't think these grapes are good for you." Azaria went back to her breakfast, eyeing the musician as he took Pyrrhus's invitation. Jastyr Demorian.

Soon, Roland came in, waving like a foolish princeling. Azaria rolled her eyes to herself. "All rise..." she muttered with a smirk. And finally, when Verity entered the room and sat close by, Azaria tensed and focussed n her breakfast. Well, she appeared to be focussed on it. Truly, she was reliving the final trial.
Jastyr already found himself content in his company, a smirk of amusement curling the end of his lips as inquiries were posed and observations stated. Roland introduced himself with strange enthusiasm for the morning after enduring a gauntlet which elicited an airy chuckle. “A pleasure,” he said in return. “And I’ve never seen a man eat so much in one sitting. Perhaps this is the true trial.”

Pyrrhus, just as he, was once a sellsword before joining the Circle, and took to the centaur’s ramblings with genuine interest. His head nodded in agreement to the reflection within the answer presented only to find himself momentarily disappointed by the interruption. A smile still shown on his features, head bowing in return.

“Older?” he repeated. “Hm, no not in age. But I’ve been with the Circle for some time now. Experienced would be a more proper term, I suppose.”

It seemed fortune favored his curiosity, rewarding him with all the unfamiliar faces so easily at the morning feast. The new recruits all had a familiarity with each other, their bond pulling them from their beds to each other’s sides before the ceremony, and Jastyr found himself right in the fray. An elf with silvery hair approached and politely introduced herself, and respectfully he inclined his head once again.

“A pleasure,” he said. “I’m Jastyr. Join us! Your friends have been quite enjoyable company. It’s fantastic to see new faces among the Circle. We’re all here for good reason, as I’m sure you all know. All walks of life have graced these halls. Though I dare say, none quite know how to play a tune like myself.”

@BugDozer73 @SilverFlight @Purize @Zazz
Roland focused on his food as people spoke, making quick work of his stack of pancakes and polishing off several more sausages, before turning his attention to a whole chicken, with which he bit into with gusto. Roland felt famished, as he normally did after a big fight, but the food here was wonderful: almost as good as Mr. Brooks... Roland smiled giddily as he remembered meals of fish battered with lemon and served with a fresh cream sauce, or venison slow roasted with assorted vegetables. He had been a fantastic defense against the scurvy.

"I bet you have a lot of stories!" He offered Jastyr through another mouthful of food. Roland was smooth when he wanted to be, but if he had a weakness, it was a well cooked meal. It almost left him weak in the knees. Verity joined them quickly, wearing some new clothes, and Roland swallowed quickly and offered a "Hey Verity" as she joined them. She looked extra cute this morning, her silver hair still a little messy. not to mention that blouse looked great, and left her skin.... oh god he was spacing out again. Roland pinched himself under the table and smiled at her.

He lifted a hand to his mouth quickly to stifle a belch and downed his glass of water. Afterwards he wiped his face with a napkin and looked to the others. Pyrrhus, Azaria, Verity and fernwe, all present after the trials. The girl he had met earlier was not present, and neither was Kezine, although most anyone could have seen that coming. To him, the trials were a test of spirit, and Kezine seemed to not take to heart the aspects of a respectable warrior.

It was weird listen to himself make judgments about people when he himself had not even known of the circle before Verity came along. And not to mention he had stolen from other ships when he was little, and killed people in cold blood: not that the people he killed didn't deserve it. And yet, despite it all, here he was, sitting in the circle with his new friends. He did miss the sea though. And the ship...

With a bit of an unwanted wistful sigh, Roland turned to Jastyr. "So, you are a member of the circle? What happens after the gauntlet?"


Tende altum, volare altius
"Right, 'exeperienced'," Pyrrhus corrected himself, figeting slightly under the Satyr's gaze. "That's what I meant. You don't look older at all."
Roland at that point saved him from saying something stupid.
"Yes, stories! You must have loads."
Verity appeared soon after and Pyrrhus greeted her warmly, though also catching Azaria's tightened posture and the intent way she stared at her plate. He subtly leaned to one side, brushing his soft-furred flank against her arm in a gesture of sympathy.
Upon hearing Jastyr's musical boast he brightened.
"Oh hoho, you think so?" He leaned toward the satyr with a playful, taunting smile. "Is that an official challenge?"
Pyrrhus had loved playing any stringed instrument he could get his hands on, though the mercenary life had offered little enough competition. Pyrrhus relished the thought of testing himself against another.

@Effervescent @Zazz @BugDozer73 @Purize


Princess of Pudding
Thread starter #638
Verity giggled lightly at Jastyr, pleased to meet another circle member. Social interaction had always been something that had been guarded and avoided if possible in the past... but at some point between meeting Roland and finally getting into the Circle, Verity had found herself opening up. The realization was a little stunning and she found herself smiling stupidly at Roland like he was the one who made it all possible.

In a way... she supposed he was. She had several chances to go to Aeredale and march up to the circle by herself, but she never felt like the time was right. There was always some part of her that wanted to wait and train more, experience more. But now... she was here.

She beamed at all of her new acquaintances for a brief moment before something like a fog horn echoed throughout the main hall. The room fell quiet as heads turned expectantly. The two large front doors were pushed open by some guards and in the morning light stood a man in lavish robes. "Ladies & gentlemen, please rise for his majesty High King James Drakenskin." A man bellowed into the room. Verity, almost mechanically, rose swiftly to her feet. wearing pants rather than a dress suddenly felt wrong, but she reminded herself that she wasn't in Shylanora. Plenty of women wore pants here... right? Her snapped, eyes searching for another woman in the crowd aside from Azaria, who she was sure never wore a dress a day in her life.

With quite the entourage, the king stepped into the room. People swept to the sides to create a wide isle as he walked through. He was young for a King, barely in his mid-twenties. His eyes were bright as he looked over the crowd of warriors around him. He nodded to several as he passed until he made his way to the opposite end of the room. There was another set of big doors that they'd kept closed for the preparation for the ceremony, but now the doors opened and the king stepped inside. One by one, some of the older circle members formed a line behind him, filing neatly into the spacious room.

There were rows of seats elevated on either side and the king sat in a larger, slightly separate section that looked as though it was meant for occasions of his arrival. At the end of the room were two men and a woman dressed in long golden robes with the white emblem of the circle embroidered on the front. The woman in the middle held a sword while one of the men held a staff... the other man was Maximus.

He strode toward our group, his robes sweeping around him like silk in the wind and gestured them forward. "New recruits, this way." He smiled at them and lead them into the room. As Verity walked down the isle of the ceremony room, she kept her head high and looking forward, doing everything in her power to not goggle at her surroundings with wide eyes and an open mouth. Maximus had them all form a line in front of the robed circle elders and he stepped behind them onto an elevated platform on which the other robed man and woman stood and began to speak.

"Today we celebrate the ascendancy of five brave new warriors who completed the Trails of the Gauntlet. Since our founding days of the Dark War we have grown in both numbers and diversity. Since those days we have built up Nymserine and protected her lands. And since those days we have seen the rise and fall of many great heros. Even when some of us fall, more rise and even in the dark we fight or light. We are one infinite loop of protection for this country. May the Circle that binds us, keep us."

"May the Circle that binds us, keep us." The people around them repeated. Maximus nodded, "Let the ceremony begin."

The robed woman in the middle looked down at Verity, who regrettably was the one closest to her. She had steel grey eyes and hair to match, but with out the metallic luster of Verity's own hair. "Step forward, Verity Ophelia." The world froze for a moment, her blood turning cold. Why did everyone have to keep saying her name outloud? A few people whispered among themselves and she stiffly stepped forward. "Do you vow to always uphold the laws of Nymserine and her people and do what you must to protect them?" She asked. Verity nodded. "I do."

"Will you uphold the virtues loyalty, bravery and honesty in which you have used to complete the trials?"

"I will," Verity said.

"Then I hereby grant you with our emblem and deem you an official member of the Aeredian Circle of Nymserine." There was a round of clapping and cheering. "Kneel." She said softly. Verity did and bowed her head, feeling like a knight. Is this really how they did their inductions? The woman lowered the blade to one shoulder and then arched over her head to the other. The man with the staff asked her where she would like her emblem, and Verity lifted her wrist towards him, palm facing up. Magic glowed through the air and embedded into her skin, the ink swirling and dancing under its surface until it took shape of the emblem.

She bowed to them and stepped neatly back into the line, admiring the new mark on her body. It wasn't like the other things that marked her skin, like the long, pale scar on her left side, hidden away beneath clothing. This mark didn't carry the same pain. It envisioned the future, the promise that she had achieved something impossible and would continue to find ways to grow and succeed. This was the beginning of the real adventure.

@BugDozer73 @SilverFlight @Zazz @Effervescent @Lekiel

((You guys can autoplay sword lady and staff guy kinda like how we did for the trials.))
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Azaria smirked to herself, listening to Pyrrhus get a little flustered before the musician. She relaxed just a little at the touch of his soft fur. She had grown, over the past few days, to really appreciate his presence. To appreciate his friendship.

Soon, the king arrived. He looked young; he couldn't be much older than herself. Azaria stood with the rest, taking note of each person in his entourage, along with their weapons, both open and concealed. She knew the telltale stiffness of a boot that should otherwise be looser. Azaria and the others followed Maximus forward and stood in what was more or less a line. Verity was inducted first, her name called out to the audience of Circle members. The half-elf wondered stiffly how many knew the name of the assassin who murdered one of their own.

Her own turn came along after. "Step forward, Azaria Eldrvarya."

As she did so, there were both whispers and abrupt objections from some in the audience. The assassin froze, very aware of the eyes on her back.

"She murdered Döthrangus!"

The rogue whipped around to snarl back, "Before he poisoned your king!"

"Never! He would not have done such a thing. You disgrace his name."

Azaria rolled her eyes and turned back to the king and Maximus. "I found the poison on his person. Perhaps this bloke thinks himself too high and mighty for the vine of the underground."


Princess of Pudding
Thread starter #640
Maximus rose an eyebrow. A strange expression passed over his face for only a moment before it faded back into smoothness. Whether he was unhappy about the outburst or the murder of the circle member, Verity couldn't tell.... but by the tension in his shoulders and the vein in his neck, Maximus was clearly upset. He looked to the King, who had leaned forward, looking straight at Azaria.

"Döthrangus..." The king said. He seemed to remember the name, but his expression didn't give anything away. "I remember his untimely death 2 years ago... Are you, in fact responsible for this, Miss Azaria Eldrvarya?" He asked her, his eyes never leaving her face.
The half-elf assassin raised her chin and looked Maximus in the eye. He towered over her, but she stood her ground. Her fingers itched to hold a blade amongst these people, but she refrained. "I am." There was no fear in her voice. In her mind, she had already been punished for her crime in the trials.


Princess of Pudding
Thread starter #642
"And you did this because Döthrangus planned to poison me?" The King asked calmly, like he wasn't discussing his own attempted assassination. Verity looked between the two of them worriedly, wondering if this would end badly.

"Other than the poison on his person, how did you know? What could have been his motivation." He continued without an answer. He tilted his head in genuine curiosity. He wasn't a demi-god, Verity knew. But his ancestor was. James came from a long line of Kings that originated from Aeredaius, the demi-God of law and justice itself. Looking at him now, Verity could tell traces of that heritage remained. This man was intent on finding the truth, the balance, in everything, even in the most unlikely of places.
The halfling shifted to her other foot, flitting her gaze over what she could see if the audience before returning her sharp eyes to the bushy browed man in front of her. "Rumours. I was skeptical, but after placing myself in a better position to... well, spy, I watched him confer with your royal healer quite a bit. His Highness was ill at the time. It became clear what was going on."

Azaria glanced over her shoulder at the man who had interrupted. "His motives were unknown to me. Perhaps one should ask the same of... others."


Princess of Pudding
Thread starter #644
Aeredaius sat back in his seat, contemplating. "Interesting," the king said finally. "The Trails of the Gauntlet are supposed to be able to weed out people with the ill intent to abuse their position within the circle..." He swept his eyes over the room. "So Döthrangus would have to have had a change of heart after the trials.... or you would have, Miss Eldrvarya."

Maximus stepped forward, holding a hand out to the crowd that steadily got louder, some getting to their feet. "Your highness.... I think it's fair to assume that this recruit wouldn't admit to murder, here of all places, without telling the truth about Döthrangus." His voice was strained, like he didn't want to admit that one of his former members could have attempted assassination. "And, as you said, your majesty, if she had dishonorable intentions, she wouldn't have been able to complete the trials."

The king nodded in agreement, watching Maximus's tensed reaction. "Indeed. In the end, Lord Maximus, these are your recruits. You can choose to induct her or not. However, until further investigation is done, Miss Eldrvarya very well may be another hero among heros."

Verity gritted her teeth, her fists clenching into balls at her side. Azaria had gone through the trials and completed them like everyone else, they couldn't just decide to throw her out now. The king seemed to be on their side, seeing no foul intention in her actions... while Azaria had murdered a circle member, and undeniably left the body, it looked suspicious, but she had saved the king. Verity believed she told the truth.

The room was silent, the pressure in the air almost tangible. "Very well," Maximus said. "Then I propose we continue with the ceremony and begin searching into Döthrangus and the circumstances of his death later on. If Miss Eldrvarya is found guilty of murder then she will be stripped of her position and treated accordingly with the law." His steely gaze sliced over the room and the warriors in the stands. "There will be no further interruptions." Maximus said, stepping back into line with the two other robed members. "Azaria Eldrvarya, please step forward."
Azaria looked between the two men of power, listening to the whispers of distrust and surprise. She rolled her eyes with a sigh; it was like walking through Shylanora all over again with petty classmates and raised noses of snobbish parents. The half-elf stepped forward and went through her ceremony, choosing to wear her emblem just behind her half-pointed ear. She held her hair out of the way for the man with the staff and waited as the magic slithered and settled into her skin. With a bow of her head to the human king, Azaria, too, stepped back to stand by her princess.
To describe it lightly, she was tremendously pleased with the wide array of edibles on display. She muttered her 'hi's' and 'mornings' to her companions in between mouthfuls of fruit and pastry, not even sparing them a glance as her gaze was completely distracted with seeking out the next delicious looking treat. It was a wonder where all the food went, or if she actually possessed cheek pouches akin to her furry rodent friends back in the forests. Even the appearance of a new face within the midst of familiar company did nothing to slow her down; the halffairy labouriously stretching her short hands somewhat rudely between the chinwagging pirate and satyr just to grab a cinnamon roll off Roland's plate.

Then the bloody foghorn blew. The surprised halfling spat out her food, spraying the back of Roland's head with crumbs and jam.

"Uhh, Ro-".

Fernwe's brown eyes widened in alarm, but before she could brush it off or alert Roland to his mistake (for sitting infront of her), they were all ushered to stand before the king and the elder circle members.

"Buggerino... that's the High King!" Fernwe picked up the protesting tikitooth and firmly smoothed and combed the feline's hair before setting her on her shoulders. The fact that she herself had a half eaten cinnamon roll in her shirt pocket and was dressed in what was essentially a sleeping gown was of course, besides the point. I mean, what could she do? She didn't get the memo about the ceremony happening so soon during breakfast (I mean, Fernwe actually saw the memo, but it was so neatly folded and carefully placed on her table she daren't open it out of fear of angering the Goddess of DecorationsyesImadethisup). She brushed down her tunic as best she could, and grabbed the tablecloth to wipe her face, essentially smearing her lips with berry jam in the process. Satisfied she had made things worse done her best, Ferwen stepped into line with her companions.

She watched the ceremony proceed with barely contained awe. Ever since old Lysander had regaled her the tale of the Legend of the Circle, she'd fantasized about being inducted into their prestigious ranks in some top-secret underground dungeon, with blazing torches ensconced on dilapidated brick walls, robed dark figures and masked faces. An ancient altar of bones of the Circle's vanquished enemies would be set in the center, wherein the Circle leader held up a skull goblet. She'd offer her wrist to be slit by an ornate- waitttt! :o *ahem* It was everything she imagined it would be and more! As she looked to the gathered crowds in the large great hall, her eyes glistened with excitement, gleaming with such intensity that sparks exploded from her brown orbs, A multicoloured rainbow complete with cosmic stardust- alright! alright! I'll stop! But you get my point, it was all just a tad too much for the little village halfling. SHE WAS FREAKING SURROUNDED BY ALL THE BEST WARRIORS IN THE LAND COME ON!!

So it was that as she stood there drooling, having glazed over the first two annointings, she totally missed her name being called. The woman-with-the-big-sword cleared her throat another time and called her name once more, her voice calm and a hint of amusement on her lips.

"Fernwe Anne Finwinne daughter of Lysander Briarbark The Sage of Songgrove, step forward please."

She felt someone nudge her in the back, breaking her reverie. Her cheeks flushed as she stuttered forwards.

"T-That's me... wait what-?"

"Do you vow to always uphold the laws of Nymserine and her people and do what you must to protect them?" Big-sword-lady asked. Fernwe's frown at her misspelled name quickly broke into a broad grin as the lady began her vows.

"With all my heart!" She was giddy with excitement, beaming so broadly her eyes disappeared into slits.

"Will you uphold the virtues loyalty, bravery and honesty in which you have used to complete the trials?"

"Even should the blessed Elcrys fall... I shall still stand, with my face against the winds, and with my blood coursing through my veins, and the-" There was a cough somewhere in the crowd, causing Fernwe to falter midsentence. Her eyes grew wide as she began to panic, forgetting what she was supposed to say. She looked to the big-sword-lady whom gracefully and helpfully mouthed the words.

"I do- I MEAN! I will!"

"Then I hereby grant you with our emblem and deem you an official member of the Aeredian Circle of Nymserine." Queue the crowd cheering, as per usual SOP.

"Kneel." She said softly. Fernwe stepped forward and sank to her knees, bringing her already short stature even lower to the ground. The woman lowered the sword first to one shoulder, then to the other-

A furry paw batted at the blade's tip followed by a long drawn out mew. Some from among the crowd burst into amused laughter. Credits to her strong biceps, sword-lady held the blade mid height, just out of reach of the tikitooth's clutches.

"Finwinne!" Fernwe hissed at her friend, who promptly hissed back. "Staph! Stopit! Hold still Finny!" Fernwe scrunched her face in annoyance at her cat, earning herself a furry boop on the noseperhaps that was her plan all along. Revenge for some time immemorial offense against her mistress. You never really know how cats work, y'know? The tikitooth let out another mew of annoyance but otherwise settled down, albeit a little stiffly.

No other untoward incidents cropped up, as finally, Fernwe stepped back in line. A tingling sensation at the nape of her neck (to mark her acceptance) and a stupid grin inked on her face.

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Light glittered in Jastyr’s dark gaze as he sat up at Pyrrhus’s proposition, and just as he opened his mouth to agree, his action was interrupted by the heralding low tone of a horn. All hailed the king as he entered, standing and bowing in reverence and respect as he passed and took his place for the ceremony. Even in his youthful appearance he looked wisened, astute, and commanding presenting resounding favor and unquestionable loyalty even among the newest recruits to the Circle.

“Perhaps another time,” Jastyr whispered over to Pyrrhus from the corner of his mouth just before the recruits were called forward.

Just after the acceptance of Verity, of the Ophelia name no less, came another reveal most scandalous: murder. Azaria, the half-elf with the piercing green gaze, was deemed the murderer of Döthrangus. Curious, Jastyr thought as he turned his attention to the man that presented the accusations without evidence. But the half-elf bit back in defense, exposing it to be a true action forcing a trial to take place at some point after the ceremony.

She was still allowed to join the ranks of the Circle eliciting whispers, speculations, and remarks around the satyr. It was a rather peculiar decision, but one he dared not question. Instead, he remained quiet as he watched the ceremony continue, inducting a half-fairy with her vow. But his thoughts pulled his focus to debate in regards to the induction of a murderer with claims that needed investigation.


Tende altum, volare altius
Pyrrhus had his mouth full when the doors opened and the horns blared. Catching sight of who had come through he swallowed quickly. He had never seen the king before, but the gold circlet on his head was indication enough.
He followed in Verity's wake, trying his best to be somber and serious, but he couldn't help stealing glances at the members of the circle that stepped behind the youthful monarch. They all looked amazingly experienced, the confidence in their strides and postures was unmistakable. Suddenly Pyrrhus found excitement rising in his chest. He would have a chance to learn from them!
One of the last figures was the most striking and the centaur startled slightly when he caught sight of her: a large, black gryphon prowled behind the last mage, stalking quietly to the back of the chamber into which they were brought. She loomed like a twilight shadow over the heads of the others, her jewel-bright gaze fixed on the initiates.

Pyrrhus watched Verity take the oath first. When he heard her last name something tickled the back of his mind. Had he heard that name before? But the thought vanished as quickly as it had appeared, Pyrrhus none the wiser of the answer.
He cheered louder than the rest and offered the elf his brightest smile when she returned, leaning in to admire her new circle mark.

Azaria was next and Pyrrhus puffed out his chest with pride as she stepped forward.
The moment of pride however was plunged into confusion as some of the members began to shout.
Pyrrhus looked at Azaria in complete bafflement at first, wondering if the accusations were true. As more was revealed however his lips tightened to a thin line. He took a few paces forward, backing his friend in silent solidarity.
At the threat of expelling her from the circle Pyrrhus could stay silent no longer:
"In the little time I have come to know Azaria she has proven a loyal ally. Her judgement and her resolve are unquestionable." He glaced at her with a smile. "She has earned my friendship."
He turned back to Maximus and the other members, though not quite brave enough to stare down the king. "So if you decide to strip her of the title, then I shall relinquish mine as well."

Whatever impact his words might have had he would have to find out after the ceremony, Fernwe was next and Pyrrhus tried to keep a straight face as the tikitooth did her best to embarass the halfling.

With a commanding voice the robed woman called upon him next and he straightened visibly.
"Pyrrhus Elantus. Step forward."

The few steps seemed like a mile as he felt the weight of a room full of eyes upon him. It was not at all like being gawked at in the street, this was much worse. Pyrrhus felt like an insect being examined under a shaped lense. The sound of his hooves on the stone floor was suddenly deafening.

He stopped before the woman, towering over her and becoming uncomfortably aware of just how much he stood out.

"Pyrrhus, do you vow to always uphold the laws of Nymserine and her people and do what you must to protect them?"

Pyrrhus considered the words carefully.
"I do." He nearly choked on his nerves, his voice soft and quiet.

"Will you uphold the virtues loyalty, bravery and honesty in which you have used to complete the trials?"

He drew a breath and replied, this time with decisive conviction.
"I will."
"Then I hereby grant you with our emblem and deem you an official member of the Aeredian Circle of Nymserine."

Pyrrhus felt giddy as the crowd burst into a cascade of applause. He knelt when he was bid, tucking a forefoot beneath his body and extending the other out before him. The mark was woven onto his equine shoulder and gleamed for a moment before going dull.
Pyrrhus was smiling ear to ear as he went to rejoin his friends. He had never realized, not on the journey, nor through the trials how much he had actually wanted this. Not until the circle's sign was branded onto his skin.
The centaur continued to beam throughout the rest of the ceremony, his smile only faultering when he remembered the oath he made for Azaria, because of course, friendship came first.

@Zazz @Purize @ everyone else
The robed woman's gaze passed over another recruit. His bright red hair stood out almost as much as the overly large sword strapped to his back. However, the feature that stood out most was his short stature, one that was clearly of a human teenager.

"Step forward, Soliel Regnus."

Soliel walked forward. As he moved, another round of murmurs swept across the room. The murmurs echoed his surname, recognizing it as one of the more respectable mage families in Akron. Perhaps that was why the young man before them was such a prodigious one, joining the Circle at least 7 years earlier than most.

Sol rubbed the back of his head. His face blushed lightly as he bathed in the attention of so many experienced warriors. He wasn't used to receiving so much praise in one moment, and he was slightly embarrassed to stand out so much.

However, his minor anxieties were trumped by his excitement to finally join the Circle. Finally, he earned his place with the best of the best, the most honorable warriors in all of Nymserine. They were the ones who spread balance and order across the land in the name of their righteous king. Through all of his hard work, Sol finally realized his goal of becoming one of those amazing people. He would finally be able to explore the world and befriend more people than he's ever known.

"Do you vow to always uphold the laws of Nymserine and her people and do what you must to protect them?"

Sol thought back to his family at home. They were the only people he knew, and though they tried keeping him within Akron despite his passion for travel, they did it out of fear for his safety. If anything, Sol swore to keep the people he loved safe from the dangers in these perilous realms. To do that, he needed to get stronger.

"I do."

"Will you uphold the virtues loyalty, bravery and honesty in which you have used to complete the trials?"

The demi-god remembered how much cruelty he's seen already. Even this early into his adventure, Sol discovered the cold cruelty that life sometimes brought. He would be the flames to warm this harsh reality, a fiery hearth of solace and rejuvenation.

"I will!"

"Then I hereby grant you with our emblem and deem you an official member of the Aeredian Circle of Nymserine." The clapping and cheering around him inflamed his determination, and he could barely contain his excitement as he kneeled in front of her. The suppressed grin on Sol's face burst out as he stood. He held his left fist up in front of the staff-holding man, indicating where he wanted his crest. The magic warmed the skin on the back of his hand. Soon, the warmth faded, and he was branded as a member of the Circle.

Sol was awestruck by his new mark. Finally! He would prove that he could befriend any righteous person in Nymserine, even if they happened to be a fair folk or an elf. After all, the sins of his ancestor did not reflect his own future. They couldn't.
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Roland wiped the food out of the back of his hair with a menacing look at Fernwe. She was a sweet little girl, but he did NOT like it when people messed with his hair. Before he could say anything, the King entered, so Roland stuffed as much food into his mouth as he could, nodding his stuffed face as the king passed, followed by men and women with golden robes, who all lined up, signaling the start of the Ceremony.

Verity was first, followed by Az. After the murder scandal broke, people began to shout. Roland heard one man behind him whisper about what he would do to her if he ever got her alone. Roland stepped back, letting his boot crush his toes. The man cried out, lifting his foot into his hands and glaring at Roland.

"Sorry about that!" Roland turned and apologized. "I lost my balance. Gods I can be so clumsy sometimes."

The ceremony continued, inducting Fernwe, then Pyrrhus, then a boy with flaming red hair he had seen before the trials but never really noticed until now. There was a blazing mana coming from him, one that sent Rolands pulse racing. Maybe he was being paranoid: He was after all in a room with some of the most powerful warriors and mages in the realm.

Before he could think on it further, he heard his name echo through the room.

"Roland Stormblade, step forward."

Roland smiled at his other friends, and moved forward before the three cloaked in gold. The woman spoke to him with a smile on her face.

"Do you vow to always uphold the laws of Nymserine and her people, and do what you must to protect them?"

Roland thought quickly. He didn't even know all of the laws. How could he uphold them? This was stupid why was he here? He should just say no and walk right out of that room.

"I do."

"Will you uphold the virtues loyalty, bravery and honesty in which you have used to complete the trials?"

Had he used any of those in the trials? Good gods man, he didn't belong here. Thasia had guided him through the first test, and they probably all knew it. He could feel them looking straight through him, and into his fraud.

"I will."

"Then I hereby grant you with our emblem and deem you an official member of the Aeredian Circle of Nymserine." There was clapping, and Roland kneeled to feel the steel of the blade grace both of his shoulders. When he stood, the man with the scepter approached, asking where he would like his mark. Roland thought it over for a moment, knowing full well that he had tattoos up and down both his arms to about his elbows. He could do his wrist or hand, but someone else had already done that...

Roland removed his shirt and pointed to his left chest. His bare back held numerous scars, each one as much a mark in his past as it was on his skin. No doubt they had all seen scars before.

The man held out his hand and let his magic flow into Roland, and he felt his skin sear as the mark formed, and then cooled as it finished. People clapped once more, but then the mark tingled and began to glow a cool ocean blue-green, like the color of his magic. People's clapping fell a little in confusion, but Roland quickly threw his shirt back on and fell back in line. That was weird- he had not seen anyone else's mark do that.

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