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We Aren't Saints
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Author:  Lefish [ Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:21 am ]
Post subject:  We Aren't Saints

Act II: The Story of a Martyr
Chapter XXI: The Child of Court

She was quiet, just looking at everyone run around the place. The whole thing looked very hurried. The kingdom, the soldiers, the princes. She just sat silent, without making much effort to be noticed. Why would they notice her, anyway. She wasn't much to them, just another princess.

She had a brief talk with her father. He told her about her brothers and sisters, about the kingdom, and about their current military situation. She couldn't make much of it. But what could she make of it all? That they were at war? Everyone was at war, at all times. That she should be careful? Of course she should. That she should be afraid?

She didn't know what to think about that last question. The King gave her reasons to be afraid. But the reasons he gave her were strange, most of them. He told her to beware of her brothers and sisters. Why? She had to admit, she didn't know most of them, but she didn't know why should she be afraid of them. The King gave her explanations, about their attitude, about their orders, and about their strengths. It seemed more that the King was the one afraid of them.

One of them had talked with her briefly. He seemed very curious about her. She looked at him in the eyes, and found... what had it been? Mischief and... what? Something hazardous about his personality. He seemed toxic, in some ways.

He was very buoyant, above everything else, but also had an inherent feeling of danger, as if he regarded war like a dangerous game of life and death. He looked like a puppeteer, moving his dolls around, making them dance around the stage. And he looked happy about the chaos and confusion.

He had asked her strange questions, and his attitude toward her was quite bizarre. He explained her his thoughts about the kingdom, the family, and the King. Father. He had a strange view of the world around them.

She somehow suspected he was the reason there was so much chaos and confusion. She asked him this, and he only laughed and crossed his arm with hers.

"Oh, Sister, you are too fun to just let it be!" He said, looking at the ceiling and admiring the colors and ornaments above. She stared at him blankly, waiting for him to answer. "Of course I'm the reason there's chaos and confusion! You are, too. Like a little playful baby tiger found among a pile of baby tiger dolls. The confusion? We are confusion. We just need to take a look inside."

"I don't understand." She said. Although he didn't seem very keen on giving her a straight answer.

He admired the soldiers running around, and he pointed at one of the weird fiends that stood quietly on the room.

"I've seen too many of them run around lately, you know." He said, looking at her, waiting for her response. But she didn't give any. "So it is a bit weird to see them so calmed right now. They look like statues, don't they?"

"What are they?" She asked, although she thought she knew exactly what they were.

"Reapers, dear Sister." Answered her older brother. Yeah, they were reapers. "Do you like them?"

She stared at them for a long time. Their shallow eyes were looking at them. Her brother had clearly attracted their atention. Their eyes looked more dead than alive, and she suspected there wasn't much pretty under those bandages. She shook her head and simply said "No."

"Well, you should." He answered, and looked at them as if they were his children. "They are the reason of Court's superiority above all other sides on the Half-Moon Creek."

"The Half-Moon Creek... Court is currently an active member of the Half-Moon Coalition, following the leadership of The Mark. We aren't part of the Half-Moon Creek, though..." Answered her, remembering what her father had told her before.

"Did Father tell you that? Well, we aren't technically part of the Half-Moon Creek. Our kingdom is right on the easter mountain border of the Creek. But we are affected in some degree by whatever happens in the Creek. Besides, we've been betrayed, Sister. Did you know this?" Asked the Prince. She nodded. "Well, then if someone, anyone, tries to betray us... do you know what we do?"

She shook her head this time.

"We make sure they don't make the same mistake twice. Do you understand now?" Asked the Prince. He didn't look as serious as the question. She nodded.

"Good. Now let me introduce you to a friend of mine. He's not quite himself right now... not as much as we'd like, but he will teach you one thing or two about the family. Judge!" Shouted her brother to a man in a golden robe. He had been staring blankly at them too, just like the reapers. He walked toward them, and Johan offered him his seat. "Judge, why don't you tell my dear sister a story?" Asked Johan before leaving for who-knows-where.

The caster looked at her for a few moments without saying a word. She decided to take the initiative. "Your name is Judge, isn't it?" She asked. He nodded once, and kept staring at her. "What kind of caster are you? Are you the Foolamancer?"

Judge the caster stared at her before answering. "I'm the... the S-Sh-Shockamancer, Princess..."

He talked weird, and his voice was cavernous. He seemed rather confused about something, but she didn't press the issue. Before she spoke, he talked again.

"What's... hhh... your name, Princess?" He asked.

"I'm Elizabeth, Judge. Pleased to meet you." She answered. The aster just nodded.

"Well... hhh... Princess Elizabeth... I'm confused." He said deeply.

"Confused? Everyone's confused, it seems." She replied. The caster shook his head twice.

"No, Princess... I'm more confused than... hhh... anybody else."

"Why, Judge?"

"Someo-one I cared for... croaked, Princess... hhh... and things have... changed."

"How have they changed?" Asked Elizabeth. This caster was very strange, like her brother.

"In many... hhh... little and... big ways. Let me tell y-you... a story..." He said. Elizabeth moved in her seat to a more comfortable position. Then she heard the caster's tale.

Author:  Lefish [ Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:49 am ]
Post subject:  We Aren't Saints

Act II: The Story of a Martyr
Chapter XXII: A Tale to Be Told

By Fate, King Joy of Court croaked one day. He suffered a magical illness that couldn't be healed. You should know, Princess, that Court had no Artifacts when it was young...

Artifacts? Oh, you mean like this one... what does it do? Why did Father give me this?

All in due time, Princess. Court was very young at that time, and didn't possess the very precious Artifacts of the Kings at that time. If they had the Bracelet of the Kings to heal King Joy, this story would've never happened, and nobody would be telling you this, because neither you or I would exist. Court had no Healomancer back then. And Court has not one, nowadays.

And King Joy was in the battlefield, croaking there. He was subject to some strange Croakamancy spell, that was croaking him from inside out. He could feel it, and he knew that his kingdom had no means to prevent his end. So he ordered his soldiers to let him croak peacefully. While he waited, he decided to send a thinkagram to his son Charles through their Thinkamancer and only caster at the time, a young novice called Mia.

"Son." The King told his heir. "I'm going to croak soon. Or maybe later. But this turn indeed. My demise is coming, and nothing can stop it. Not even the Titans. Not even your best wishes, Son. You will be King. And you will be a better King than me, because under your rule, Court will be prosper. Please remember this."

Then he croaked, and the thinkagram broke. It seemed as the Titans wished only that he gave this message to Prince Charles. And the King was right. Some say he went to the battlefield that day to croak, while others say that he went that day so he would be rightful to enter the City of Heroes. Some say... people speak... but none of them really talks. And that's the beauty.

How is that?

People say that King Joy wasn't a really good ruler. At all. Of course, that's what the warlords from that time say. They say he was more focused on keeping everybody happy than surviving. And they weren't happy. Because of his philosophy. Kind of ironic, huh?

You could say so, Judge.

Anyway, they weren't happy. Well, when the King croaked, they were. Although don't think that because of that they were disloyal. Far from that. Everyone was committed to keeping the kingdom running. And so they continued with their lives. The Now-King Charles immediately ordered popped a royal heir.

Sixty turns later, Crown Prince James, also called Jimmy, popped. And if everything with the kingdom had gone as smoothly as expected, you wouldn't be here now, Princess.

Why is that?

It's something similar to family tradition. For a very long time, Court has only had five princes alive at all times. Looks like that tradition croaked with your popping, though... You know, most people think that is because all of Court's princes are artifacts. I'm sure you know that legend.

I'm... aware of it.

Yeah, I bet you are, Princess. Anyway, the King has said that to reinforce that belief, every Court prince or princess should possess an Artifact of the Kings. Now, people... people think Court has always five princes because Court has only five artifacts. But they are wrong. It's Court's biggest secret.

So... our kingdom has more of these artifacts?

Princess, your tiara is proof of it. The Tiara of the Kings! And there is another one, too, hidden in a place only the King and the three older princes know.

The three older princes... Prince Charles II, Princess Anna and Prince Johan?

Indeed. Although... you know, those weren't the princes I used to know.

What do you mean?

Um... your older brother, which I believe you have met him already, Prince Johan, has explained it to me. Apparently, some things have happened in Court since my consciousness was last awake. I remember... I remember other princes. Of course, I remember Prince Charles and Princess Anna, but the rest of them... I can't. And I don't know why, Princess. Prince Johan said it was because in a great effort to free an ally side, the spell consumed not only my juice, but my mind as well. And that includes my memories.

Oh, that is terrible, Judge.

You could say so. But I remember being only an adept, Princess. It looks like now... I'm a master!

Shouldn't you... you know... go with the Thinkamancer? Or something? So she can fix you...

Prince Johan says she couldn't help me. Not in time, at least. He has an hypothesis. And I have talked with Princess Anna, our current heir to throne. She believes I must follow Prince Johan's orders, as they may end up in me recovering my memories.

And what did he order you to do, Judge?

Well, Princess. I believe you already know the answer. He ordered me to tell you a story. And I'm going to. I'm going to tell you the story of Crown Prince James, lady. And the story of his death.

Author:  Lefish [ Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:16 pm ]
Post subject:  We Aren't Saints

Act II: The Story of a Martyr
Chapter XXIII: Jimmy's Campaign

James looked through the only window in the tower. The view was magnificent. Plains and forests, rivers and snowy mountains. He could see the NBC's crap golems far away, being mustered by their Dirtamancer. They were just waiting for their turn to start to attack, but James didn't believe them to be so stupid. NBC should know by now that they wouldn't be able to pierce the defenses of their city of Tigre. Yes, it may only be a level 3, but it was filled with their troops. Gigawavens, wavens, reapers...

Heh. They had just received reports that NBC had only sent its Dirtamancer and a couple of low-level warlords to attack the city and retrieve their precious treasure. It almost seemed like a joke.

James turned around and saw the prince of the Nations of the Badlands Congress completely tied in ropes and chained to the ground. He looked rather pathetic, but more like sad. Ever since he had been captured, he had been asking James over and over again about why were they attacking the NBC, and that it wasn't fair. It wasn't fair? Well, it hadn't been fair when the NBC sacked Phoenix and Edgeworth. So Court had to retaliate.

And yet, Court hadn't realized the NBC's reason for attacking a neutral side, until they rebuilt the city. They found artifacts. And strong ones, indeed. They had found two in Phoenix, and one in Godot. Their infantry was already digging in Edgeworth and the mediums were inspecting Hazakurain top to bottom. Fate predicted they would find even more.

James raised his hand and looked at his ring. The Ring of the Kings. He hadn't yet figured out what it could do, but he wore it anyway. It was the one that looked more powerful of the set. His brothers and sister didn't mind it, though. Each one of them wore an artifact, except for Hawke, who didn't seem very happy about it.

James sighed at the thought of his younger brother Prince Hawke. He didn't like them very much, and ever since he had popped, he had been complaining that his greatness was being wasted by Father for not letting him be Chief Warlord or Heir. The rest of the royal family had never saw him with trusting eyes.

"Tell us, now." Said his brother Carlisle. He was talking to the prisoner, who had refused to talk since they asked him how did the NBC know about these artifacts.

"Oh Brother, I don't think he likes to be yelled at like that." Claimed his sister Vanessa. James looked at them, each standing on one side of the prisoner, who never let his gaze meet their eyes. "Why don't we try a different tactic?"

"I would welcome a suggestion, Sister." Answered Carlisle.

Vanessa rubbed her chin and looked up to the tower's ceiling with a frown as if she were thinking about something, although James knew she already had it in her mind. "Let's use an artifact."

"Sister..." started James tiredly. Only Carlisle turned toward him, as Vanessa kept looking at the ceiling, only with a more pronounced frown now. "How do you plan on using one of our artifacts for this?"

"Oh, Brother, get creative!" Jumped Vanessa, now looking at James straight to the eyes, and approaching him rather... enthusiastic about it. She grabbed him from the arm and dragged hm towards the prisoner. "We've got Healomancy, Shockmancy... and Titans know what." She exclaimed, suddenly grabbing James' hand and touching his Ring with her fingers. "Don't you want to find out what it does?"

James took his hand away from his sister's cold grasp and carefully caressed its ring.

Vanessa opened her eyes wide with excitement and grabbed the prisoner's shoulders, who never saw them to their eyes. "Prisoner, can you imagine how much could we do?"

"Vanessa, don't tease the prisoner... it's... degradating." Said Carlisle. Vanessa laughed and then shook the prince's shoulders, who didn't dare move an inch.

"Oh, prisoner... can you? I mean..." Vanessa let the prisoner's shoulders free and walked around the room with a wide smile. "You're probably in for a long and painful torture session."

The prince, for the first time since he had been captured, raised his sight. His eyes were watery and somehow teary. "Or what, Devil Princess?"

Vanessa turned around with a swift movement and clapped her hands together. "Or... you could answer our questions."

The prince didn't let his gaze leave hers, and James waited for the outcome in silence. "And if I don't..."

As a manner of response, Vanessa approached Carlisle and hit his Belt gently, which let out a spark. the electricity burned Vanessa's hand, who made a face of pain but didn't complain. Her Bracelet then glowed and the hand healed completely, along with her Hits.

"If you don't, prince... this is going to be a long night."

Somewhere, the trumpets and the sunset announced the end to their turn.

Author:  Lefish [ Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:37 am ]
Post subject:  We Aren't Saints

Act II: The Story of a Martyr
Chapter XXIV: A Midturn Night's Dream

"Do you like it, Brother?"

James frowned and spat at the ground next to his feet. Prince Carlisle looked at him surprised for that reaction.

"Vile artifact, Brother." Claimed Prince James. "I wouldn't want something like that as a weapon."

He saw Prince Hawke swing the Dagger through the Thinkagram, as if he were expecting it to pierce the illussion and stab James in the middle of the face. Yeah, he wished.

"Don't be jealous, Brother. The Dagger of the Kings. I couldn't find a weapon more suited for myself."

"Yeah, neither do I, Brother. A Croakamancy contraption." Said Prince James.

"Pfff. We don't have to worry about the enemy if we croak him. Why shock them, when we can dispose of them? Why heal ourselves, if blades are worth a thousand words? Why... keep one of these glorious gifts as an ornament in our hands, just to brag about our nobility?" Said Prince Hawke snappishly. James touched his Ring after listening to that comment, but didn't say anything. "Anyway. Where is my sister?"

"She's with the prisoner, healing his wounds." Said Carlisle behind James. Hawke nodded.

"Oh, is she? And why is she doing that?" James didn't answer, but his Brother needed no more words to be spoken. "Oh! Ohohohoho! Torture, huh? I never thought you would lower yourself to that level, Brother."

"It was an idea." Said James blandly, trying not to express any emotions. "And a useful one. He's singing like an orly."

"And? What has he said?"

"Nothing of your concern, Brother." James looked at the ground, partly ashamed of what they were doing to NBC's prince. "I report only to the King. Break."

The thinkagram faded out and James let out a large breath. He then looked at Carlisle and with a hand movement ordered him back inside the interrogation room. They would shock the prince until they weren't satisfied with the result. And then, they would croak him. Or capture him. It all depended on the answers he would give them.

Without not much else to do, James went to his quarters to have a good night's sleep.

"Bad boy." Laughed Vanessa. Carlisle stood in the corner, with his sword up. The prince fell once again to the ground and convulsed violently because of the many shocks he had received that night. The dark blue sky was starting to turn crimson, and she knew they didn't have much time left. "Don't try anything funny, I've said. Or have you forgotten?"

She touched the prince's head and she let the warmth travel to his body. He stopped moving and opened his eyes. They were red.

"So... why don't you continue your story? I mean... it was getting very interesting, until you tried to escape."

The prince looked at her with hatred, and took quick breaths to regain his wind.

"So, where were we? Oh, right. Something about Apple." Said Vanessa, as if she were thinking it over.

"I'm not saying anything, witch." Whispered the prisoner. Carlisle took a step forth, but Vanessa stopped him with his hand.

"You know, we have found five artifacts so far, dear prince. One of them looks like a crown. A tiara, I would guess. We've ordered some of our knights to bring it to us, next turn. And you know what will happen if you don't tell us what we need to know before they bring it?" The prince blinked twice and shook his head with resignation. "We will use it to extract your thoughts, prince. Your memories. Everything. You will be nothing but a lifeless husk, and we'll have no further reason to keep you alive. Do you understand?"

The prince kept looking at her, then he opened his mouth. Yeah, he did understand.

Author:  Lefish [ Wed Nov 03, 2010 12:27 pm ]
Post subject:  We Aren't Saints

Act II: The Story of a Martyr
Chapter XXV: Family Issues

The drums of war sounded the end of their turn. Fireworks cast by the reapers in the courtyard and in the inner walls illuminated the crimson sky, where the sun was setting. The Shockmancer looked to the window with a sad look on his face, and sighed.

"Turn's end." He said, looking rather gloom about it.

"Judge?" Asked Elizabeth. The caster looked up and stood up with a little bit of difficulty. "Are you okay?"

"I'm sorry, Princess..." answered the caster, taking his rod topped with an orb of light. "These... hhh... amaranth feelings..."

"Judge?" Asked Elizabeth once again. The caster didn't look at her.

"Just a cognitive... s-state... there's no need to object... hhh... to..." Said the caster. He looked rather tired. "Reciprocate..."

"Should I call the Thinkamancer?" Asked Elizabeth worried. Judge shook his head slowly, and touched his belly.

"No, ma'am... I believe... I'm... hhh... overpowered. I think." Answered the caster. He turned around. There were two men talking in the hallway. One of them was slender and ominous Prince Johan. The other one, Elizabeth didn't recognize. "I must go." Said the caster, and without saying goodbye, he lwalked through the corridor, bowing as he passed next to Prince Johan and the muscular man talking with him. He was waving his arms furiously, as if something had go wrong. Elizabeth was unsure to go and join their talk or leave for her quarters. The bad thing was... she didn't know which were her quarters yet. She sighed.

The tall muscular and serious-looking man looked at her, and Prince Johan stopped talking. He looked at her as well, and said a few couple of words to the man before walking toward her. Great.

"Princess Elizabeth, Sister." Said Prince Johan, who was playing with his Bracelet, although he looked as tired and gloom as the Shockmancer. "Wearer of the Tiara of the Kings. King Charles has requested you come to the ballroom to dine with the rest of the family."

"With... the rest of the family?" Asked Elizabeth.

"Oh, indeed, Sister!" Said Johan with a wide smile. "Our brother Andrew and sister Anna have arrived just before the turn's end. So glad to..." Then Johan looked at the hallway, in the direction where the man he had been talking to had left. "To have them here with us tonight."

Elizabeth inspected her older brother carefully, trying to find out what was troubling him. Her Tiara heated up, but she didn't pay much attention to it.

"Come, Sister. I'll take you to the ballroom." Said Prince Johan, jumping happily through the halls of the palace. Elizabeth followed him quietly, without commenting anything. It had been unfortunate that Judge hadn't been able to finish the story.

They came to a couple of onix gates after walking for a few minutes, and with a clapping of Johan's hands, the reapers standing to attention opened them. He then took Elizabeth's hand and led her into the wide room, filled with ornaments of Court's livery, a silver fist holding a hammer. Even her raiment, a black dress with golden striped in the shoulders, had that livery in many places.

"Oh, Father! Dear Ruler, I have brought our youngest sister, Princess Elizabeth, by your command!" Claimed Johan the moment he stepped into the room, spinning joyously like a dancer. Then Elizabeth noticed he wasn't wearing the same livery that the rest of Court did. And yet, it was the same, only a different version. His livery was a white fist coming out of a black hole in clear blue sky. And then she remembered, the reapers wore the same livery as he did. What did that mean?

"Good, Son." Said King Charles loudly. He was sitting at a large crystal table, between the man Elizabeth saw talking to Johan before, and a woman Elizabeth assumed was Crown Princess Anna. Neither of them looked very happy, unlike the King, who was all smiles.

"May I be excused now, Father? You know... I need to meet with Mia." Said Prince Johan, bowing once and twice at Father. Oh, so he wasn't going to join them for dinner? And who was Mia? Was she... the Thinkamancer?

"Yes, Johan." Answered simply the King. Johan bowed once again and then left the room, clapping again. The reapers closed the gates behind him. "Take a seat, Daughter." Said the King. An elite reaper put a chair and set up the silverware for her to eat. Elizabeth took the seat next to Crown Princess Anna, who didn't look at her even for a second.

"I believe you haven't met your other brothers and sisters yet." Said the King. Princess Elizabeth shook her head. "Well, let me introduce you to Crown Princess Anna, our head diplomat and of course, heir to the throne," Princess Anna nodded, but didn't make eye contact. She looked very angry, for some reason. "And Prince Andrew, the regent warlord of our great capital, Von Karma." Andrew did look at her, but he seemed rather... abrasive. As if he wanted to croak someone for something.

"Let us eat" said Prince Andrew as the reapers brought their food. They ate in silence, before Princess Anna broke the silence.

"Father, why isn't Brother accompanying us for dinner tonight?" She asked. The King let his silverware in the table, and cleaned his mouth with a silk napkin.

"He is working with Mia and the elite reapers on fixing our Shockmancer." Said the King. Prince Andrew crossed hsi arms and looked at him surprised.

"On... fixing Judge? Why? What happened to Judge Murphy?" Asked Andrew clearly alarmed. The King waved a hand in Andrew's personal air space, trying to calm the tempers.

It was Princess Anna who answered the question, though. "As you can notice, Brother, our brother Johan the Djinn succeeded in releasing the Mezons from their slavery. They are now our allies."

"So?" Asked Prince Andrew, slapping his father's arm away and piercing both Anna and Elizabeth with his green eyes. "That doesn't explain anything."

"Apparently, his attack was partly successful because of a spell Judge Roisin Murphy used to croak many enemy units. Sadly..." Princess Anna looked at Elizabeth as if she were the one to blame for the caster's illness. "The spell was cast at a great cost. The caster is incapacitated... somehow."

"What do you mean, incapacitated?" Asked Andrew, also glaring at Elizabeth violently. Why did everybody look as if they wanted to croak her?!

"He has forgotten, Son." Said the King, gently caressing the hand that had been slapped by his son. "He has forgotten about everybody. He thinks Princess Vanessa is still alive."

Prince Andrew shook his head violently and hit the table with a big and heavy fist. "What?! So he has forgotten... thousands worth of turns? How did that happen?"

"Yeah. Well, as Father has said, Prince Johan and Thinkamancer Mia are working on getting him fixed." Said Anna, who continued eating her food with a high dignity. "Although..." Anna left the food alone again and sighed. Then she looked at the ceiling and tapped her Collar. "I believe progress would be going smoother if someone hadn't been tiring the caster with constant questioning." Anna then looked at Elizabeth. So that was it.

"What? Princess... Elizabeth... have you been spending the poor Shockmancer's energy in mere gossiping?" Asked Prince Andrew furiously.

"What? Brother... I did not!" Yelled Elizabeth. Oh, this family was crap.

"I saw you talking to him in the war room. Don't lie, Princess." Said Andrew again.

"Look, it was him who was talking to me. And he was following orders from our brother, Prince Johan!" Said Elizabeth loudly. Anna shrugged and kept eating, while the King just looked at their exchange of words with a mouth wide open in surprise. Prince Andrew didn't seem happy by this answer, but kept eating.

"Oh, that's it." Said Andrew after watching Elizabeth keep on eating while he looked at her angrily. What was his problem? "You know what? I'll be in my quarters. I'll see you tomorrow, Father. Sister." He said, standing up and heading to the gates. He slammed them hard, and a scared reaper opened them slowly. Andrew slipped through the small space and left without looking back.

"Oh, dear..." muttered Anna, who kept eating calmly.

"My Son..." muttered the King. He kept looking at the gates that had just closed. "I've never seen him so angry before... what has happened?" He asked the Crown Princess, who didn't answer. She stood up as well and quietly cleaned her mouth with her napkin.

"Rumors, Father. And Predictamancy as well. Good night." She said before leaving the room as well, knocking the door and slipping through the tight space that the reaper opened up for her to exit. King Charles kept looking at his full plate, without wanting to eat anymore. Elizabeth had also lost her appetite.

Now she started to see that Johan wasn't the worst one in that family. And she was yet to meet the other two.

Author:  Lefish [ Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:08 am ]
Post subject:  We Aren't Saints

Act II: The Story of a Martyr
Chapter XXVI: The Malady of Court's Judge

Johan sat on the only chair available in the room and sighed. He took his Bracelet and threw it to the floor. Mia looked at him alarmed, as she had never seen him as tired as he were that night.

"Prince?" Asked Mia, touching Johan in the shoulder. He shook his head and looked at the Shockmancer, who was as tired as he was.

"Judge Roisin Murphy... you have no malady and neither Thinkamancy nor Healomancy can fix you." Announced Johan. Both casters looked at him surprised.

"Lord, what do you--"

A knock interrupted the Thinkamancer. Johan looked at the door as it opened slowly and Prince Andrew showed his head through the small opening.

"Keep working, Thinkamancer. I'll be right back." Said Johan as he picked up his Bracelet from the floor and exited the room.

He closed the door as he entered the hallway and Prince Andrew gave him a conspiracy look. "SO?" Asked his younger brother. Johan sighed and shook his head.

"He's decaying, Brother." Said Johan.

"Decaying? Like... an uncroaked?" Asked Andrew surprised. Johan nodded.

"I've never seen something like this. Ever." Said Johan. "We've tried to locate the origin of the problem, be it cognitive or biological in nature. We've already spent the juice of three elite reapers, and my Bracelet..." He touched his artifact, which was still warm. "Can't do much at this point. I have already saved him from death once, but I don't think I'll be able to do it again."

"Our... Shockmancer will croak, then?" Asked Andrew, throwing glances to boh sides of the hall, making sure no-one was overhearing their conversation.

"Oh, no. I'll try to heal him. Somehow. He won't croak under my watch. And... not by my fault." Said Johan sadly.

"Brother, it's not your fault." Answered Andrew, touching Johan's shoulder before quickly removing his hand from his body. Man, he was hot. Had he pushed the Bracelet so hard? "You warned us. Six princes... and Court is already decaying, much like our caster."

Johan shook his head and gently slapped his brother's cheek. "No, Brother. Forget that. Forget that Predictamancy. I was... wrong. Don't pay any more attention to it. I think I know what the problem is with our caster. And I'll fix it."

"You do?" Asked Andrew surprised.

"He's... sad. He's dying from loneliness." Answered Johan, looking at the door that led to the caster's room.

"Sad? Can someone croak from that?" Asked Andrew.

"A natural magic, Brother. One far more powerful and greater than our understanding."

The door to the caster's room opened and Mia looked at the princes.

"Prince Andrew, I'm sorry. Prince Johan, we need to keep working." She said in a soft voice. Johan nodded and gave his good nights to his brother. Then, he returned to the room.

"Ok, this is serious." Said Prince Johan. Mia nodded in agreement and Johan readied his artifact. "It can be fixed... but not by a Thinkamancer, or a Healomancer."

Mia looked at him even more confused. "Lord, then what?"

"We need a Hippiemancer." Said Johan. "Someone to help us unveil this mystery. Although if I'm correct... you'll be just fine." He pointed at the Shockmancer while saying those words, who was as confused as Mia. "How much did you love my croaked sister, Judge Murphy?"

The Shockmancer said nothing, and just looked at the Prince alarmed, as if he were going to punish him.

"I'm starting to wonder if all of our casters are obsolete." Said Johan. Mia the Thinkamancer blushed, and Johan shook his head. "Because you guys fall in love all too easily. And now one of you is going to croak from it!"

Author:  Lefish [ Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:44 pm ]
Post subject:  We Aren't Saints

Act II: The Story of a Martyr
Chapter XXVII: Time for Diplomacy

NBC's prince had finally revealed the truth. Apple's Predictamancer, Lord Damus, had predicted that seven artifacts would be found inside the great kingdom of Court, and would bring prosperity to the side that possessed them. Having found out about this, NBC decided to attack Court's cities and take the artifacts. The plan seemed to have backfired for them, though, as Court was already in possession of five of those seven artifacts: The Ring, the Bracelet, the Tiara, the Dagger, and the Belt. Two more left to go, although they were quickly exhausting their options. The only places left to look at were Ayame and the dungeons of Von Karma.

And now, the NBC was begging them to end the war and return the rightful prince to them. Yeah, right. Vanessa started yelling at him when she found out James was actually considering to return the prince back to NBC. James heard his sister's tactical assesment, and agreed with her quickly. No, they would show the Nations of Badlands Congress that Court was no kingdom they could pick a fight against without suffering some casualties.

So now NBC had started recurring to threats. That they would capture Court's peripherial cities, that they would destroy their capital, that they would conquer the whole Half-Moon Creek. Empty threats. That Dirtamancer was the only nearby threat they would face, although Vanessa used to disagree loudly. She claimed there must be some kind of trap in their war efforts. But James had long learnt to let his sister ramble and let her be. She used to think too much, in times where the easiest answer was the one standing right in front of their eyes.

She said the parley was a trap, too. Prince James had spoken to King Steve of Apple on one risky trip to their capital, after NBC's prince revealed it was Apple's Predictamancer that revealed the information about the artifacts. He had talked with King Steve for over three hours, being shredded by questions from their Mathamancer Peter, their Dollamancer Papermaster and their Chief Warlord Wayne. The room was also filled with members of the Alpha Gamma Rho knights, the caster's personal guard.

And for three hours, it was just questions and questions, over and over again. They wanted to know Court's thoughts on what they called Apple's apparent "treason" by telling NBC of the artifacts, their own strategic neutrality, and the issues at the Half-Moon Creek. It was all gossiping and useless talk. And talking about some things, such as Court's disposition of units in their kingdom, went against his Duty. And so, Apple's court was little more than displeaced about James' lack of cooperation.

But King Steve didn't let them jump into any conclusions. He just sent a Thinkagram to NBC's royalty and set up a parley between the three sides' Chief Warlords in a neutral zone called Red Fox. Although Vanessa disliked the idea about parleying with them, Hawke encouraged him to do so, in order to finally stop the conflict.

James touched the finger where his Ring normally used to be as he flew above the gigawaven to the neutral zone. He didn't know which one he should have listened to.

Author:  Lefish [ Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:49 am ]
Post subject:  We Aren't Saints

Act II: The Story of a Martyr
Chapter XXVIII: War Games

Prince Charles II had been ordered back to the capital by his father, who needed to review their battle plan. He was considering sending Johan to the frontlines to help Charles II and Joanna. Why couldn't he tell him that by thinkagram? Then, Charles got a thinkagram from his brother Andrew, asking him to return urgently to the capital. He looked angry, and worried altogether. Which was strange to see in Andrew, who never exposed his emotions. So then Charles left Joanna in charge of aiding the Mark and left immediately to Von Karma.

No Courtiers nor reapers welcomed him this time. He had worried at first, seeing almost no archers guarding the outer walls, but then recalled that they had just popped a new princess. Most of the units in the city would probably in the situation room, cheering for their favorite prince. Charles shook his head and entered the garrison.

It was a tradition of Court, as were most of their strange events. Every couple hundred turns in times of peace (or at least, in times of not-so-much-war-as-there-was-right-now), Court invited warlords from their allied sides and the friendly kingdoms to the north to their War Games. Using their Foolamancer, they projected a fake battle in the situation room, and the warlords competing in the War Games would command unexistant armies to see who was the best strategist in the eastern continent. The warlords loved these games, and some kingdoms had even sent their princes to participate in these contests. Prince Charles saw these as foolish games, but he didn't say much. Only once had he participated in these tournaments, only to be shamely defeated during a team battle along with Hawke by Vanessa and Johan.

And every time a new prince or princess of Court popped, a small war game was held to see the new prince's battle skills. When Prince Charles had popped, he won one of these fake War Games against his older brother Prince Carlisle. That was, of course, before he was also defeated in another War Game by his older sister Vanessa. Since then, he hadn't given much thought on joining the War Game tournaments that Court held. Prince Johan and Princess Joanna loved those games, though.

As he expected, everybody was gathered in the situation room, watching how Prince Johan defended his simulated level 3 city against an attack by Princess Elizabeth's troops. It seemed as if she were winning the battle.

Charles spotted Andrew among the knights, who waved at him quickly and opened himself a path through the excited mass of people, who were cheering for their favorite prince. Crown Princess Anna watched the match next to King Charles, in complete silence.

"Brother." Said Charles. Andrew didn't answer back, and only took him to a solitary corner devoid of any company, making sure they were out of earshot of any courtier.

"Charles. I guess you've heard about what happened to Judge Murphy." Said Prince Andrew. Charles nodded. "Yeah. Tough luck. The good thing is, our brother is working on fixing him."

The cheers of the soldiers gathered interrupted them. Princess Elizabeth was wiping out Johan's field units, and was advancing to the level 3 city, ready to bring down the gate and pour all her forces in, effectively defeating Johan. And for good reason, too. Johan had been recklessly sending his reapers against Elizabeth's flyers, leaving nothing but corpses in her way.

"Well, he does seem far more worried on his War Game than on fixing Judge." Said Charles. Andrew smiled, but it went crooked quickly.

"Yeah. But I don't want to talk about Johan. I want to talk about Elizabeth." Said Andrew a bit angry on the mention of his youngest sister.

"What about her? She seems to be a good tactician." Said Charles, who kept paying attention to the War Game. It seemed far more entertaining than he remembered.

"Yeah. I think she's perhaps a bit... too good of a tactician." Said Andrew. Charles looked at his brother and frowned. The wrinkles in his forehead appeared soon.

"What do you mean?" The cheers of the soldiers didn't let them talk completely comfortably. Apparently, Princess Elizabeth was opening herself some way to the city gates, the weakest part of the outer walls. She ended turn a couple of hexes away from the city, surrounded by mountains to protect herself from Johan's attacks.

"I think we are going to have a problem with her..." said Andrew ominously.

Then the cheers of victory filled the room, as the War Game ended and Andrew told Charles II what he needed to tell him.

Johan had just unveiled his units. Turned out those weren't mountains, but veiled gigawavens. Johan had defeated Princess Elizabeth, adding one more victory to his perfect record.

"Cheers" said Prince James, taking a cup of wine and raising it high, as if to offer it to the Titans.

Author:  Lefish [ Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:19 am ]
Post subject:  We Aren't Saints

Act II: The Story of a Martyr
Chapter XXIX: Apple's Big Fat Ambush

Something to listen while reading (or if you prefer rock, read the story. There's another link further down there):
Eye Candy by The Apples

Joanna was a rocker. And a good one, too. Perhaps not as well as her middle brother, but a young and powerful rocker she was, indeed. Prince Charles and Andrew could dance-fight as well, but she was different. She was the champion. She was Titanic.

Apple had planned an ambush to the Mark's capital through the mountains, but Gabbana's Lookamancer had spotten their column in the mountains, led by Apple's dance-fighters. And King Claudius had warned Joanna that Apple had conquered most of the Half-Moon territory by their dancers alone. She laughed at this. There was no-one who could beat Court at dance-fighting. Much less if a rocker such as her was leading the troops. And in Court, only the strongest Warlords could dance-fight. But one funny thing, was that Court possessed the Artifacts of the Kings. Of the Titans. And they could make their soldiers Rock Out as strong as a lightning bolt. As hard as thunder. And Joanna knew her soldiers would rock out to the end.

The plan was simple. Apple's hidden column would take as much as two more turns to reach the capital. And when they ended turn, they would welcome them with a big rocking show. The best ensemble the Titan's had ever heard. And so she went.

Joanna traveled on foot along with her column, taking only a few wavens for air support and as many soldiers, both Court and Mark, that she could muster. Then, overwhelming Apple by numbers, they would rock them out of the face of Erfworld. The thing was, the column would see them coming. So they had to hurry.

Joanna quickly assembled the troops. "We've got no time for losers, boys." She yelled at the soldiers, who all roared and readied their swords and axes. The archers looked at her silently, and the reapers were just ready to rock. Joanna raised her Dagger, and her troops yelled again. They stepped on the ground as hard as they could twice, then clashed their swords with their shields. And again. Step, step, clash. Step, step, clash. And again. Her Dagger glowed in a dark and mysterious light. She loved it. They would keep on fighting, till the end.

And so they rushed towards the enemy column standing in front of them. They were already dancing, prepared for them. But they were just readying themselves to taste the dirt.

"Hey yeah yeah!" Yelled Apple's dancing warlords.

"Oh, Titan's sake..." Joanna muttered as she saw them dancing. This? Apple's chance to capture Nero and they did... this? She let a laugh escape her mouth and smiled grimly. "Let's rock 'em, boys!" She yelled.

"Buddy you're low level, make a big noise!" Sang Joanna's troops. "Fighting gonna get you level 10 some turn!"

Joanna ran to the dancing warlords, who kept waiting for them. The soldiers rushed toward Apple's column. Her Dagger glowed harder, faster and stronger, but she absorbed the warmth. She wasn't going to use it's magic this battle. Not for now, at least. She reached the warlord leading the dance in the column, and grabbed her black hair and threw her to the ground head first.

"You got mud on yo' face you big disgrace!" Joanna sang as she raised her dagger and pointed its tip to the warlord's neck. "Kicking your can all over the place..." She jumped on top of the warlord's body and immobilized it with her legs. Court's soldiers rushed the column beside her. "Singin'!" She screamed a battle cry as she pierced the dagger into the warlord's spine.

Critical hit.

"We will, we will rock you." Sang her troops. "We will, we will ROCK YOU!"

"That's how I like it..." whispered Joanna as she jumped off the corpse and looked for her next target. Two more warlords stood in front of her, looking at how she easily took down their leader. "Buddy you're a-- Augh!" Joanna fell to the ground as an arrow hit her in the ribcage. Dammit. She looked at the place where the archers stood, reloading. She pointed her weapon at the one who had hit her, and the reapers shot beams of light at them.

She turned to the warlords. One of them was running to her, sword on hand. Joanna pulled the arrow from inside her chest and threw it back to the enemy column. She didn't hit anyone, of course. Or at least she didn't harm anyone too important. "Pleadin' with your eyes gonna make you some peace some day!" She sang, trying to keep on with the rock. The enemy warlord took a stab at her, but she dodged. "You got mud on your face. You big disgrace." Then she grabbed his arm and twisted it violently, breaking it. The warlord screamed in pain. "Somebody gonna put you back in yo' place!" Then she stabbed him in the temple. It was a hard spot, but effective. Critical hit number two. And she had leveled.

Joanna turned around as the troops around her sang again. "We will, we will rock you!" She then jumped to the last warlord and pushed her knife in his chest, this time using the weapon's magic. He croaked immediately, and the dagger turned as cold as the warlord's body. Apple's leadership was done for. There was no more need to sing.

But she kept on singing. Because she was a Queen of Rock. The ground trembled below her feet.

Author:  Lefish [ Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:36 am ]
Post subject:  We Aren't Saints

Act II: The Story of a Martyr
Chapter XXX: Jimmy's Gone

"So... Jimmy's gone." Said Vanessa, barely keeping her rage in place. She mustn't explode. Not tonight. King Steve nodded quietly. He had a deep frown, a thoughtful look. And his eyes were watery. "And you know this... why?"

The King looked at Mia the Thinkamancer, who didn't return the look. She, too, was also very thoughtful, looking at the floor, avoiding the King's sad look and ignoring Vanessa's angry tone. "We cannot locate him. And..."

"We lost our Chief Warlord bonus." Muttered Carlisle. The King nodded again. Vanessa's lower lip was shaking, and her fists where tightly shut. She had to calm herself, she knew that... and yet, she couldn't. Her brother was gone. One way or another.

"And his artifact?" Asked a grave voice behind her. Hawke's voice.

The King raised his sight, and passed a silk sleeve through his eyes to clean them. "He left his Ring before he departed. In Edgeworth. The warlord there just found it, soon after he felt... his bonus disappear."

"Just like our Brother." Said Carlisle. No-one answered.

"Yeah, about that..." Vanessa started. She touched her Bracelet with a tender finger, almost protective. Her Brother had left his artifact behind? Strange. "What about Brother's Fate? Do we...really know what happened?"

"As I have told you," said the King looking away from Hawke, who seemed too interested in that question. "His bonus is gone. And we cannot locate him."

"So?" Asked Vanessa angrily. "Shall we assume he was croaked?"

"Maybe... he got captured?" Suggested Carlisle, but the King shook his head.

"By whom?" The King asked. No-one had an answer to that question. Yeah, Jimmy had said he would go parley with Apple and NBC's Chiefs... but neither of them went. And right after Jimmy's disappearance happened, they had contacted them. They were both at their respective capitals. Their brother had gone parley... with no-one?

"So what should we do now?" Asked Carlisle, trying to hide his grief, but his broken voice revealed too much about his feelings. "The Nations of Badlands Congress have retreated. They aren't interested in the artifacts anymore."

"Because they know our rage is now stronger than anything they've faced before," said Vanessa, remembering their war. They had found two more artifacts. A sword and a necklace. A collar, actually. "They won't dare test our rage... at least for a few more turns."

"Then we should appoint a new Chief Warlord." Said Hawke too joyously. Carlisle opened his eyes wide in surprise.

Vanessa turned angrily at her brother. "HAWKE! How can you be thinking on those things when our brother just--"


Then the three of them turned at the King. He had stood up from his throne. "He is right. We should appoint a new Chief Warlord. And heir."

"But our brother is probably being held prisoner--" started Carlisle.

"By who, brother?" Asked Vanessa. She couldn't keep herself form using her logic. Hawke was right, on some level. They still had a kingdom to manage.

"Indeed. It is far more probable that he has..." said the King, although he couldn't bring himself to saying the word 'croaked'.

"Then, Father? What are you waiting?" Hurried him Hawke. That bastard. "Appoint the new Chief Warlord and heir."

The King nodded. For a long time, no-one talked. And it felt like an eternity, although Vanessa knew only a few seconds passed. Then they all felt their bonus change. "Vanessa, you're our new Chief Warlord. And Crown Princess."

Vanessa looked at the King surprised, and Hawke did so as well, although he was looking at them with anger. "WHAT?" He yelled. "Why are you--"

"Begone. All of you." Said the King, ignoring his now elder son. Hawke shut up, fortunately, and left the throne room quickly. Vanessa and Carlisle bowed at the King, who gave them a dismissing hand wave. Only the Thinkamancer stayed with him.

"That was... unexpected." Said Carlisle as soon as they left the room. But Vanessa wasn't paying any attention to him.

"Brother, go to your quarters. I have to talk to someone." She said, looking at Hawke stand in a corner of the hallway alone with his thoughts. Carlisle looked at him and nodded, walking to the opposite way. Vanessa approached her older brother and touched his shoulder. Her Bracelet got warm. "You seem disappointed, Brother."

Hawke looked at her, and then shook his head, regaining his composture. "I'm not... Sister. I'm glad for you. Although these circumstances..."

"Are pretty grim, aren't they?" Completed the sentence Vanessa, giving him a warm smile. A fake smile. Hawke nodded, as Judge Murphy the Shockmancer walked past them. "Yeah. After all that planning you did to croak Jimmy and take the throne, Father didn't trust you enough to appoint you heir."

Hawke nodded for a fragment of a second, before realizing what she had said. "What--"

"Oh, save it." Said Vanessa, losing her smile. "I'll see you tomorrow, bloody traitor." Then she walked away. "Hey, Judge!" She said with a smile as she saw the Shockmancer. Judge Murphy stopped and turned to her. "Is my brother still looking at us?"

The caster took a glance at Hawke, and then nodded quietly.

"Ok..." said Vanessa thoughtfully. "Walk with me. I need to talk to you in private."

Author:  Lefish [ Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:59 am ]
Post subject:  We Aren't Saints

Act II: The Story of a Martyr
Chapter XXXI: Casters in the Halls

Elizabeth stood quiet in her chair. It seemed as if Judge had finished his story. "So what happened to Prince Jimmy?"

The Shockmancer jumped startled, as if he had came out of a deep trance, then stood up. "No-one knows... hhh... Princess."

"Oh, do you need to go?" Asked Elizabeth. Judge nodded quietly. He seemed to be remembering something. "And did... did telling the story work?"

"No, ma'am. I cannot... remember these past turns... hhh... yet." Said Judge. He then looked over his shoulder and nodded again in response to a quiet answer that was never asked. "I'm sorry, Princess. I have to... go to my... recovery session. Your b-brother thinks he can help me somehow."

"And is that working?" Asked Elizabeth. She couldn't imagine Johan helping anyone. In actual fact, she couldn't imagine any of her brothers or sisters helping anyone.

"May-be." Said Judge. Without saying goodbye, he turned around and walked away. Vanessa stared at him until he took a right turn deep in the hall and left her gaze.

She then turned around and hit someone. "Oh, I'm sorry..."

"No, I'm sorry, your Highness." Answered the woman. She wasn't her sister. And she was very beautiful. "Oh, I'm terribly sorry!" She said with a gentle smile and a bow after seeing Elizabeth's confused look. "I'm Franziska, Princess. The Foolamancer."

"Oh." Said Elizabeth, quietly thinking how much of a coward she was, by letting herself startle like a scaredy cat for not knowing her. "Nice to meet you, Franziska."

"Have you been talking to Shockmancer Judge Murphy?" Asked Franziska, stretching her perfect neck to see the way Judge had just walked away. Elizabeth nodded. "I'll walk with you to your chambers, ma'am."

"Oh, thank you." Said Elizabeth. The Foolamancer turned around and pointed the way to the hall that took them to Elizabeth's chambers. The Princess nodded and started walking.

"He's quite broken, isn't he?" Said Franziska. Elizabeth assumed she was talking about the Shockmancer.

"Judge? He's... sick. Isn't he? Or else why would my brother be trying to help him?" Said Elizabeth, who was the one actually leading the way to her quarters. She wasn't even sure the Foolamancer knew where her chambers were.

"Because he feels he is responsible. But yes, he also thinks he's sick."

"Of what?" Asked Elizabeth. "A malady that isn't fixed by turn's start? That's something... dangerous."

"Oh, love is that dangerous, Princess." Answered Franziska.

"What? Love?" Asked Elizabeth. The Foolamancer nodded.

"Yes. Prince Johan believes Judge Murphy is badly sick of love."

"But love isn't a sickness... is it?" Asked Elizabeth. Love?

"It is a power strong enough to leave someone incapacitated." Answered Franziska with a sad voice.

"Who," started asking Elizabeth. She cleared her throat. "Who was Shockmancer Judge in love with?"

Franziska looked at the floor, thinking her answer. For a couple of minutes, they walked in silence. After turning twice through the mazy halls, she replied. "Princess Vanessa."

"My... deceased sister?"

"Yes. And as you can see, finding out she is croaked is enough to make the Shockmancer sick."

"I don't know what to say." Answered Elizabeth. Franziska shook her head.

"You don't need to say anything, Princess." Said Franziska with a smile. It was a... a bad smile. Elizabeth could see that. The Foolamancer apparently knew something Elizabeth didn't. "You need only to listen."

"What?" Asked Elizabeth, confused. The Foolamancer smiled agin, even wider this time, and opened a door.

"Your quarters, Princess." She said. Just then Elizabeth noticed they had arrived to her room. "Hmm... just next to the Chief Warlord's room. You may hear something interesting."

Before Elizabeth could ask her anything else, Franziska bowed and disappeared. What the hell? Why did everybody in that kingdom seem to have hidden intentions as ugly as a twoll's nipple?

Elizabeth shook those thoughts off her mind and then changed into her night gown and threw herself to her bed. She was tired, after that day's war simulation. She covered herself in her warm blankets and closed her eyes.

"The Predictamancer said what?!" Yelled an astonished voice at the other side of the wall, in Prince Charles II's bedroom. Elizabeth opened her eyes.

"Shush." Said another voice. And they kept mumbling. Elizabeth couldn't hear what they were talking about. But it was definitely something about a Predictamancer.

Strange. She closed her eyes again.

Author:  Lefish [ Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:04 pm ]
Post subject:  We Aren't Saints

Act II: The Story of a Martyr
Chapter XXXII: The Bad News from the Creek

"So... telling the story didn't work." Muttered Johan. Anna let herself fall onto the last unoccupied cushioned seat. Johan kept thinking, with his arms crossed. His mind was struggling. Andrew and Charles II were looking at him. Mia the Thinkamancer stood by the King's side, her hand on her temple and her eyes closed. The Hippiemancer nodded.

"Thank you. You may leave." Said Johan. The Hippiemancer they had hired just walked across the portal. Johan himself walked in circles, thinking.

"So, Brother? What is the plan now?" Asked Prince Charles with his legs crossed, sitting uncomfortably on a wooden chair.

"I... I believe I don't know." Answered Johan.

"But son! Our Shockmancer is decaying! You've said as much!" Said the King alarmed. Johan held out a hand, his fingers together and his palm facing the King. It had only one meaning: Stop.

"Yes, Father. I've managed to slow the decay, although it won't be forever. I have pushed my Bracelet too much the last few days. And I'm very weakened too much myself, as well. We have like... five turns. Before he croaks, that is."

"We've got to do something!" Said Prince Charles, standing very hurried. Johan let a smile escape through a corner of his mouth. Heh. He reminded him too much of Andrew.

"How can we do anything..." started Crown Princess Anna, "if we don't know what causes the problem?"

"Oh, we do, Sister." Replied Johan, still his arms crossed. "It is love. I'm sure of it."

"And yet, the Hippiemancer could do absolutely nothing to heal him." Said Prince Charles, heavily frustrated. "What are we going to do without a Shockmancer?"

"Looks like we'll have to deal with it." Joked Johan. "You know... adapt. Make your strategies evolve. Never depend so much on someone..."

"Yeah, right. Says the one who always uses Foolery." Said Charles II. Johan's smile went even wider. "We cannot lose the Shockmancer!"

"Wait." Said the King. Oh. Had Father thought something that might work? "Where is Elizabeth?"

Johan looked around the room. Oh, right. He had forgotten about her.

"Is she... asleep?" Asked Johan to Franziska the Foolamancer, who was standing in a corner of the portal room, very quiet. She nodded. "Hmp. Why did no-one tell her about this meeting?"

"Because she wouldn't be of any help." Said Andrew, participating for the first time in the conversation. He looked rather mad. Was it because of the Shockmancer, or... because of Elizabeth the newpopped?

"Still, this is a very important matter. She must listen to--"

"Thinkagram." Said Mia quickly. All of the princes turned toward her. Prince Charles II stood up and walked to the Thinkamancer's side, touching her shoulder gently. Hm... perhaps a bit too gently. He looked at his other brother and sister, to see if they noticed as well. Anna did notice it. Hm. Oh, my...

The Thinkamancer shrugged the Prince's hand off of her shoulder and set up her fingers in camera mode. Apparently, it was one of those thinkagrams that everybody could see. A face materialized. Not King Steve's, not King Claudius', not even Queen Abba's. It was someone else.

"This is Gabbana's Lookamancer. I've got urgent news for Court." Said the man in the thinkagram. King Charles nodded. "We've spotten a large column of Apple's infantry, headed to--"

"Yeah, yeah, to Nero, the Mark's capital. We've already heard that one." Said Johan without much patience. They were talking about much more serious stuff than that. The Lookamancer smiled.

"No, Prince. A huge column of infantry, some of them knights, five hexes long."

"Five... five hexes long?" Asked Anna alarmed. Hoo, boy.

"Yes. And it is headed to Court's capital. It's only three turns away from Von Karma. We just found out right now." Said the Lookamancer. He was smiling, and yet he looked very alarmed.

Chief Charles II talked first. "How? If Apple had sent a column that big, our scouts at Hazakurain would've--"

"No. Apparently, Apple used a long, alternate route. They circled the western mountain formations of the Half-Moon Creek, and traveled through the desolated eastern part of the Mezon kingdom. It seems they've been travelling subtly, but quickly, through the Mezon forest, making sure they were travelling undetected."

"Father, we need--" Started yelling Charles II again. This time, Johan was the one who interrupted him.

"Not to rush ourselves into a fight, Brother. Thank you, Lookamancer." The caster nodded and the thinkagram ended. Princess Anna stood up as well, while Andrew remained seated on his chair.

"A smart move." Said Anna. "They evaded the mediums. That much is something to brag about. And then they travelled undetected through the Mezon forest... avoiding their archer scouts as well? Impressive. And then they travelled through our very own kingdom without us knowing a thing..."

"And entering through our southern border was very wise, as well." Continued Andrew, who seemed to start taking interest in the situation. "Only two cities had to be avoided, Phoenix and Gellesworth... And if they came through the southeastern part of the kingdom... across the River Styx... they could have advanced rather quickly, as that whole area is completely undefended, given our alliance with the Mezons."

"Indeed. And now we face a five hex long column, three turns away from our capital, which is probably going to attack us from our southeastern side." Said Johan more to himself than to his family.

"Have you an idea, Brother?" Asked Prince Charles II.

"Oh, yes, Chief." Said Johan, smiling with true joy for quite some time already. "And it is totally kickass."

End of Act II: The Story of a Martyr

Author:  Lefish [ Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:17 am ]
Post subject:  We Aren't Saints

Act III: Chewing on Apple
Chapter XXXIII: Apple's Little Prince

Prince Ive was happy with the recent turn of events. His Father was great, as he claimed. And Ive had no longer reasons to doubt his wit. The fake ambush on Nero had worked. Indeed, they had hoped it worked. Gabbana's Lookamancer was supposed to notice the great ambush on Nero, in order to keep him from noticing Ive's massive column advancing through the Mezon forest towards Court.

And it had worked! Court even sent their little psychopath to deal with the column. And well... if they hadn't found out about their 'fake' ambush and engaged them in the mountains, where Court would have the advantage, then the coulm would've simply advanced to Nero and have taken it. So it was a win-win situation. No matter what had happened, they would either take the Mark's capital, or Court's capital. Now it seemed that they were going for the biggest fish in the pond.

They were now one turn away from Von Karma. Those fools. And even if they had found out about their column before now, they would still be helpless. The Mezons were too far away to provide help, and the young Princess' forces were back in Nero. They had nothing but their garrison units there. And of course, elite reapers. But Apple's column was big. And Ive had taken Apple's only five rockers. They would kick Court's ass. Definitely. And nothing they could come up with would stop them.

Five hexes long... Prince Ive had had his doubts at first, but when he saw the length of his forces... he knew this was going to be the biggest flippin' battle in his entire life. And he would win. For his Father's glory. He wouldn't fail as Mac did back in Outpost.

Of course, they could have attacked the Mezons instead. That Queen Ass had confronted them, so who said she didn't deserve to be shown a small lesson? But King Steve said, and Ive agreed with him on this, that once they took down Apple, the rest of the Half-Moon Creek, as well as the Mezons, would be too weak to stand up to them. Even with their combined efforts, without Court they were nothing but a small nuisance.

But King Steve was too afraid of this battle. This would be a turning point on the whole Half-Moon Conflict. This siege would determine the future of the war. And as Father said: First, the Half-Moon Creek. Tomorrow, the world!

Everybody had to be too careful with King Steve lately. He had become very explosive since the whole Outpost incident. Ever since he talked to Court's Prince after their defeat. The warlords were afraid to encounter him on the halls of the palace, as King Steve was recently disbanding anyone he thought was slacking. Even if they were doing their jobs. He had already disbanded one warlord and several pikers and archers. Poor commoners. Heh.

And King Steve had told him at dawn that he had sent a large overflight of BEE-TLS to his aid last turn. To help him with the air battle. Looks like they were putting all of their chips in this game. Ive had also taken the Dollamancer Bob, Papermaster's substitute. Actually, Papermaster had been victim of King Steve's rage a couple hundred turns ago. And everybody freaked out because their Dollamancer had been disbanded. But then, pop! Bob popped in Woz. Marvelous, marvelous. And he made some great Battle Bears. And that was what Ive was bringing to breach down Von Karma's walls: Bob's magnificent Battle Bears. They had fifteen of them, twelve of them in the frontal hex of the column. The other three were the weakest, barely capable of bringing down a gate by themselves, and Ive had them on the middle of the column. But they wouldn't need them; only in case of a contingency. But those twelve Bears in the frontlines, ready to bring down Von Karma's walls? Woof. They were powerful. Ive never stopped marvelling Bob's creations. And Bob could make some awesome above-average dolls, too. But those were used mostly as city defenders. Ive had taken only a handful of those for the siege.

Their Predictamancer Damus had just used a thinkagram scroll to contact him. The BEE-TLS had arrived early, and were waiting him a hex further to the north. Good day so far.

Author:  Lefish [ Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: We Aren't Saints

Act III: Chewing on Apple
Chapter XXXIV: Ive's Fate

Ive had taken twenty knights and all of his dolls to make contact with their large BEE-TLS force. They were waiting for him, being led by a warlord he didn't even know. Some blond guy. Pseh. Warlords. Even noble warlords weren't worthy of being recognized by him. Tools, merely tools.

He ended turn with the BEE-TLS. First of all, because in the case Court decided to attack them, with his massive leadership they could easily defend themselves against anything that they threw at his flyers. And second of all, because being with the forty-plus BEE-TLS was far safer than staying with their numerous column. And the units at the column had no move left, anyway. They had been forced to march at the slow pace of the Battle Bears, as they were their biggest asset, and had to protect them.

And what would Court do, really? That was something Ive started to put some serious thought into. Knowing Prince Charles' battle tactics, he would first try to strike his Battle Bears with his heavy flyers, the gigawavens. But that's why King Steve sent BEE-TLS. They would fill the city's airspace with them, and croak any waven or gigawaven of Court that took off. They would have their flyers bottled up, and without move, on Apple's turn they would breach their gate, the easiest part of the outer wall for them to attack. It was a straight up advance, breach, then capture of the garrison. Simple tactic. He needn't overthink it.

Of course, they could try to blast their BEE-TLS with that huge tower they had. But... BEE-TLS were strong. They could take many magical attacks. And with Court's Shockmancer incapacitated... well, the air battle was already won.

"What do you think, Warlord?" Asked Prince Ive as he sat near the campfire the warlord had set up. The BEE-TLS were sleeping around the fire. They were just waiting for Court to end their turn.

"It will be hard, Prince." Said the warlord. "They have five princes in there. Plus their casters."

"Don't be a fool, Warlord." Answered Prince Ive as he ate a chicken leg with a beastly roar. One of the BEE-TLS moved in its sleep. "We have many forces at our disposal. And Court seems to have remained holed up for this turn."

"They haven't ended turn yet, though." Said the warlord. Prince Ive laughed.

"So what? It's close to ending, and they've done nothing. They haven't even tried to take out our Battle Bears. They must've gone crazy. Or maybe they think they can beat us after what they pulled in Outpost."

The warlord nodded quietly. He took a glance behind him, looking at the BEE-TLS rest.

"What's your name, warlord?" Asked Prince Ive. Yeah, make him feel important. Make him think you really care about his name.

"... John." Said the warlord in a soft voice.

"What?" Asked Ive, chewing on his chicken leg.

"I said Johan." Said the warlord. The veil came off. Those weren't BEE-TLS, and that wasn't a warlord of Apple. It was Prince Johan, and a max damn stack of gigawavens and reapers.

"Oh, shit..." Said Prince Ive. Those were his last words.

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