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Tales of the Court

Discussion in 'Tales from the Crypt' started by Get of W'soran, Sep 25, 2014.

  1. Get of W'soran

    Get of W'soran CN's Lord of Masks True Blood TVC II GM

    Joined:
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    The Bats and the Dragon

    The End of the World was coming, it might be next month or in a century but it was coming and Sigmund von Müller knew that his destiny was to do his small part in helping usher it in. Not that he minded, the rising darkness was a time for the ambitious and powerful, besides if worst came to worst then it was better to see the end of time rather than die before it.

    Indeed Sigmund's very reason for being in the old ruin of a keep was on the rumour of an artefact that might help his Lord in the coming days. Sadly he was not the only one the Count had sent.

    This place is utterly abandoned Sigmund!” Markus von Carstein hissed angrily.

    Sigmund turned to glare at Markus, his “superior” was a tall and heavily muscled man who wore the same black armour of serrated plates and swooping sharp curves as Sigmund. Next to Markus, similarly attired, was a cadaverously slim man called Eikean von Drak.

    Perhaps we should go back?” the thin vampire asked.

    Sigmund sighed softly, the brute and the bookworm but still they had been raised above him.

    So that you can tell Lord Mannfred how you failed?” Sigmund asked calmly knowing what the response would be.

    Markus stepped threateningly forward threateningly towards the speaker. I failed? I was not the one who said this where he tracked the son of Abhorash! I was not the one who assured us that this is where he would be and marched us to the middle of nowhere to do it!”

    Eikean smirked at the slab of muscle that masqueraded as a man. “Oh but the Count said you're in charge Cousin, you're responsible...sir.”

    Markus snarled angrily but even his small mind realised the futility of attacking the other two Drakenhof Templars. Instead he remained silent for a moment longer before turning to stride down the hall, Eikean shot Sigmund an amused grin before following suit.

    As Sigmund followed he considered his situation. Under orders from Mannfred the Grandmaster had originally sent five of the knights, four considered too “unimportant” to be given the family name and then Markus, a member of the Inner Circle of the Templars of the Order of Drakenhof. That had been a year ago. Since then poor young Pieter had been killed when they'd stumbled into an Imperial ambush and then ill-tempered Luther had attempted an moronic mutiny against Markus. Even Sigmund who considered himself superior in every conceivable fashion wasn't foolish enough to attack their commander head on...Sigmund never attacked someone he wasn't sure he could kill, he was too intelligent for that.

    And so that left the three of them. Eikean was ambitious, cunning and subtle, all respectable traits. He also was a skilled and powerful Necromancer in ways that made Sigmund envious, the vampire was sure he had the talent but had only ever had the opportunity to study scraps of knowledge that remained in the Drakenhof Libraries, never with a true tutor. Any time Sigmund found some arcane knowledge of worth or a willing tutor then his most gracious sire would show up to send her get away on some foreign mission or to do the bidding of an imbecile from the Templar Order.

    Luckily for Sigmund Eikean's ambition and wish for an ally outweighed his respect for Lisette von Carstein's wishes, the sorcerer had taught Sigmund some lessons when they could get away from Markus's watchful eye although he was clearly holding out. Still he had taught Sigmund what he cared about most, helping improve his ability to raise the dead, other forms of sorcery where not an immediate concern for the knight. In return Eikean got one of the Order's foremost Swordsmen who stood low enough in the hierarchy that he didn't have to bow and scrape.

    And doesn't Fear.” Sigmund thought ruefully, he knew his lack of open ambition meant that many others saw him as weak.

    But if this goes well I shall have at last have the name I so dearly covet.” he thought remembering Mannfred's promise, he had turned down the chance to carry the von Carstein name once before for he was not ready. He would not do so again.

    So...how do we know this descendant of the great Aberash doesn't know we're already here?” Markus muttered, his hand clutching at his sword whilst he glanced around at the empty hallways.

    Abhorash.” Sigmund sighed.

    What?”

    Abhorash, the Great Captain of Lahmia. First of his line and probably the greatest warrior to ever walk this planet, at the very least the greatest warrior of our kind.” Eikean interjected with a shake of his head “You always boast about how Vlad favoured you and told you all sorts of ancient things. In one ear and out the other, eh?”

    Markus roared and spun around, his blade was a blur as it darted from his side to slash towards the other vampire.

    Steel rang against steel as Sigmund intercepted his strike with the blade of his own.

    Sir Markus! Please! The man we've come here to rob is old beyond our imaging, even with the three of us we're going to struggle, we can't do this without Eikean!”

    Markus growled like a beast, not for the first time Sigmund wondered how long it would be before the von Carstein began to shed his guise of humanity completely.
    Stepping back the leader of their little group turned and strode away, keeping his blade free from it's scabbard.
    Sigmund shot a warning glare at Eikean before following, the sorcerer chuckled to himself as he copied the others and unsheathed his own sword and walking after them.

    After a few moments Eikean muttered under his breath “Well he knows we're here now anyway.”

    Sigmund could have sworn he could hear Markus gritting his teeth, the lead vampire practically shivered with barely suppressed rage.

    The undead trio continued down the hallway until the found a staircase and then climbed. They searched the ruins for another fifteen minutes before they found the correct entrance to the Keep's Tower and then they climbed once more. When they eventually reached the top Markus, without a moments thought as usual, he kicked the door open.

    Whatever hope of surprise the dull minded von Carstein had hoped to achieve was wasted.

    The circular room was almost empty, a few bookcases and cabinets. In the back of the room sat a large wooden throne upon which lounged a giant in crimson armour but where Markus just looked huge and clumsy this man seemed a perfect warrior.

    Welcome at last, children of Sylvania.” The ancient warrior stood smoothly in a single fluid motion that made the other immortals feel clumsy and slow.

    We're here for you head old man.” Markus snarled.

    The disciple of Abhorash raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

    The huge vampire was incredibly handsome with a shaved head and bright red eyes, he smiled and leant back to lift a long blade that leant next to his throne. Lazily holding the sword at his side he walked over to a closed cabinet.

    And here I thought you were after my prize...”

    Eikean took a step forward but the warrior raised his blade to point it at the sorcerer, despite being at the other side of the room it was a incredibly intimidating sight.

    I had thought to perhaps give you the item...I have no further need of it really and yet...I will not, or can not, part with it.” the Keep's owner continued.

    Sigmund put a hand on Eikean's shoulder and stepped past his ally. “Please Zaerkon, son of Abhorash, the Great Captain of Lahmia, there is no need for a confrontation between us. We only wish for the artefact, Lord Mannfred will be happy to compensate you for it, if you wish it he would even be happy to welcome you into his service.”

    Zaerkon laughed, it wasn't a mocking sound, he was just incredibly amused. “Serve that boy? I think not...although I am surprised that he knows my name.”

    He didn't, I found it out...just like I found out where you live. All the Count could give us was the vaguest of clues.” Sigmund thought to himself.

    My Lord is wise and learned.” he said instead, sheathing his sword.

    Zaerkon laughed again and he shook his head. “Your Lord is mad, it's in his blood.”

    Enough of this mockery!” Markus snarled starting forward but Sigmund through his arm out to bar his way. “Wait!” he hissed.

    Turning back to their target he stepped forward a few steps more. “You know what power rises...”

    Zaerkon's smile vanished swiftly as Sigmund continued.

    My Lord readies himself for this rising power. We can not stand idly by...it is at last the time for our race...for...”

    Sigmund paused, he was going to say for power but if what he had heard was true then Abhorash's children didn't care for power for power's sake, at least not in the way of Vlad's bloodline.

    ...for a true challenge of our Immortal prowess.”

    That got Zaerkon's attention, Sigmund didn't let up.

    There shall be a gathering of the dead that has no been seen in an age, we shall rise up against the nations of this world and the forces of Chaos. There shall be battles like never before, the Wars of the past will seem paltry in comparison. We shall be tested and pushed to our limits...and we shall at last see just how powerful our age, our training and our blood has made us.”

    Zaerkon began to smile slowly. “Yes...most tempting...but...you are just a little too grandiose for my tastes.”

    He had only just finished speaking when he moved, the ancient warrior was simply at one side of the room and then right in front of Sigmund who realised now the foolishness of steeping in front of the others.

    With all the speed he could summon Sigmund threw himself back onto his back as Zaerkon's blade flashed across the space where his neck had once been. The knight tried to rise to his feet but black fire flashed above him forcing him back down to the ground.

    Watch it Eikean!” he snapped.

    The sorcerer ignored him and summoned a bolt of power and hurled it at the warrior. Sigmund pushed himself to his feet, unsheathing his sword.

    He watched Markus for a few moments as the von Carstein traded lightning quick blows with the warrior but for all his strength and speed it was clear that Zaerkon was easily keeping up to him whilst still managing to duck and dodge Eikean's magic.

    Sigmund growled angrily, he felt his muscles swell with unholy power, and he leapt forward and bringing his blade whistling down in a overhead blow. Zaerkon twisted and parried the below just as he side-stepped a thrust from Markus, then his blade slashed out swiftly to block a dark bolt of magic from Eikean, confirming it's enchanted nature.

    For the briefest second Sigmund sensed great power in the blade and irresistible greed overwhelmed him, he would have it. Snarling the vampiric knight slashed with all his strength and was awarded by a palpable hit...but his sword merely slid harmlessly across the crimson plate.

    Markus parried a blow meant for Sigmund and for his trouble received a powerful backhanded strike from the Blood Dragon, a blow so powerful that the huge man was lifted physically of his feet and smashed into the wall. Sigmund barely recovered from his failure to wound the man in time to block the downward cut from their opponent, but it drove him to his knees and forced the blade back towards him.

    That may have been the end of him except that was when Eikean had finally decided that enough was enough. Furiously he lunged at the Blood Dragon, who twisted slightly to allow the blade to simply slide along his armour. Unluckily for Zaerkon he underestimated his attacker. Eikean did not wield a Templar blade like his brethren, he had been a Necromancer in life and carried the same weapon from then. A dead man's blade. A barrow-blade. And it was this blade that tore straight through the ancient blood coloured armour and left a magically inflicted wound across Zaerkon's side.

    Eikean dived away from the ancient immortal as he roared in pain and tried to attack the one who had wounded him, but his strike missed partially because of the sorcerer's desperate dodge and partially because of the warrior's wound.

    Sigmund and Markus leapt forward to take advantage of the man's injury. Despite being wounded he still managed to dodge, duck and parry the attacks of the two knights. Zaerkon threw his elbow into Markus's face sending the Inner Circle member stumbling back, Sigmund capitalising on the Blood Dragon's loss of agility he attacked.

    Sigmund had always been a skilled swordsman, he leapt forward from, his blade slashed from an upper-right guard to flash down diagonally and as suspected the attack was blocked but the von Carstein simply twisted his wrists around to allow the weapon to scythe around for a cut at Zaerkon's unprotected head. When Zaerkon ducked Sigmund slammed his armoured knee into the man's nose. Zaerkon recovered swiftly and stepped forward into a lunge but Sigmund swayed to the side and trapped the sword under his arm and twisted at the waist whilst bringing the pommel of his own blade into the side of the Blood Dragon's temple.

    Zaerkon stumbled back seemingly dazed and lost his hold on his sword to a triumphant Sigmund.

    A perfect disarm!” he thought to himself proudly.

    As Zaerkon straightened up, looking utterly unfazed, Sigmund realised his mistake.

    Sigmund had relaxed too swiftly, and at this close range with the Blood Dragon disarmed, that left the Blood Dragon only one alternative...unarmed combat.

    Sigmund cursed as he threw his own sword aside and attempted to bring the stolen enchanted blade to bear but Zaerkon was too close and to quick, he delivered two swift punches and then clutched Sigmund by the arm and threw him away.

    All this happened in the short time before Markus could recover and pick himself off the ground, where as Eikean was unable to deliver a magical strike without wounding his ally.

    Now with Sigmund free Eikean managed to unleash his black fire which enveloped their enemy and for a moment Sigmund hoped that they had won but the disciple of Abhorash leapt from the fire, his skin blackened and burnt, holding Sigmund's Templar blade. Markus engaged him once more but this time he was able to keep up even with the ancient.

    Eikean held out a hand, muttering under his breath, dark power gathered around him but he made no move. Sigmund, enchanted blade in hand, leapt forward to help his cousin.

    Then Eikean attacked, a bolt of darkness was unleashed that struck Zaerkon in the same spot that the barrow-blade had tore open his armour. Zaerkon screamed in pain and yet still somehow managed to block Markus's sword-swing.

    He could not, however, stop his own magical sword now in Sigmund's hands that was stabbed right through his back. Unbelievably Zaerkon still struggled on, holding onto the point protruding from his stomach with both hands so that Sigmund could not withdraw it, he turned with impossible strength wrenching the blade from Sigmund's hands.

    Whatever plan he had hatched in those pain filled moments went unfulfilled as Markus brought his blade down hard onto his skull, caving the warrior's head in. Zaerkon, so ancient that his corpse could not remain in once piece, turned to dust as the weight of time finally caught up with him.

    And so passes Zaerkon the Great.” Eikean said with a smirk, stepping forward.

    Shut up!” Markus snapped putting a hand to his bleeding nose.

    The huge Templar looked around for a moment before relaxing, for the first time he grinned at his brethren. “But it is over at least.”

    Sigmund leant down to lift his Templar's blade from the pile of ash, he looked down at the two swords he held before looking up at Markus. He glanced over his cousin's shoulder and smiled coldly “Not yet.”

    Markus half-turned when Eikean stabbed his barrow-blade into the back of the huge man's head.

    Now it is done.” Eikean chuckled.

    Sigmund leant over to use Markus's cloak to clean the blood of his old sword. Straightening up he sheathed his old Templar sword and rested the enchanted one against his shoulder.

    Get the damned thing so we can go home.” Sigmund said roughly still feeling sore from the fight.

    Eikean, who had been completely untouched, strode over and tore the doors from the cabinet and pulled out the ancient book.

    Why did the Blood Dragon even want a mage's tome?” Eikean muttered and then shrugged He turned to face his ally.“I've got the bo-”

    Which was as far as he got when Sigmund rammed his enchanted blade through the sorcerer's heart, the magical blade piercing his armour as if it was cloth.

    As Eikean hit the ground the surviving von Carstein knelt down to grab the book. He stopped short as he heard insidious whispers in his head. Sigmund frowned at the tome, he doubted it was one of the fabled Books of Nagash, or at least not the famous nine, but there was some dark presence inhabiting the object. Sigmund cursed angrily, he couldn't read the runes on the cover.

    Standing he tore at Eikean's cloak, taking the ripped piece for fabric he wrapped it around the sword. As the vampire had guessed the whispers where dulled by the physical covering of the book, instead it was just a dull hum in his mind.

    Much better.” he thought.

    Turning Sigmund glanced at his dead family and smiled.

    Goodbye brothers.” he mocked with a bow.

    Striding towards the stairs Sigmund began his long trip back to Sylvania.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2014
  2. Count Vashra

    Count Vashra Lord of Shadows True Blood

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    Good title, and von Carstein backstabbing. Great as usual.
     
    Get of W'soran likes this.
  3. Get of W'soran

    Get of W'soran CN's Lord of Masks True Blood TVC II GM

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    Thanks Vasha! I might do more of these, they will be bits and pieces of my various von Carstein characters interacting alone or together throughout different time periods since Vlad's arrival in Sylvania.
     
  4. Get of W'soran

    Get of W'soran CN's Lord of Masks True Blood TVC II GM

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    Sibling Rivalry


    Do not insult me thin-blood!” Konrad snarled “Your father isn't here to protect you now!”


    Damek swallowed his fear and continued to stare up at the giant that was the Count's executioner. His eyes flickering around the entrance hall, to the double doors that led outside, then to the staircase and then the various doors. He would never make it to any of them in time so instead he focused his attention back up on Konrad.


    I don't need Mannfred to protect me you thug!” the younger vampire snapped.


    Konrad smiled broadly, his razor sharp teeth disturbing even by vampire standards, as he advanced on Damek.


    Damek took an involuntary step backwards before steeling himself.

    What do you want with me Konrad?”


    Konrad grinned. “I am Vlad's executioner, I come to execution.”


    Execution is not a verb you damned moron! And you've no good reason to kill me!”


    Konrad paused as if he was pondering the question, the vampire turned to look to the empty space to his right and frowned before nodding slightly. “Yes...yes quite right.” he mumbled


    Konard turned to face Damek again, his mad grin having returned, he laughed coldly. “I don't need a reason!” he roared backhanding the other vampire so hard that he was sent flying backwards.


    I am Konrad von Carstein!” he laughed unsheathing his sword and leaping at the other vampire.


    Damek rolled out of the way so that Konrad's blade struck the wall instead of his head. Rolling back to his feet he unsheathed his own sword and swung it at the executioner. Steel rang against steel as they exchanged blows but it became too obvious too soon that Damek wasn't going to win this one.


    Konrad was a master swordsman, he cackled insanely as he parried and dodged blows without even trying and returning strikes of his own which Mannfred's get could barely block. Damek was a competent swordsman but in this situation he was woefully inadequate.


    But he was the eldest son of Mannfred von Carstein and he still had one trick up his sleeve.


    Konrad was growing bored with the confrontation, with a sigh he lazily used a complex technique that Damek couldn't even follow to parry a strike, step closer and with a twist of his wrist he disarmed his victim.


    Damek's sword clattered across the floor and he flinched in fear, cowered before Konrad's obvious strength.


    Konrad leant in, savouring the fear in target's eyes. “Time to die.” he hissed.


    Damek smiled coldly, the fear vanishing from his expression “Yes, your time!”

    Damek released the power he had been gathering this whole time, the power he knew that magically-inept Konrad would never sense, and released it through his eyes.


    Two dark bolts of Necromantic power leapt from one vampire's eyes to the others.


    Konrad screamed in pain, dropping his sword in the process as his eyes flew to cover his face.

    You've blinded me!” he screeched falling to his knees.


    Damek frowned, he had hoped they would fry his brain but then again perhaps Konrad's brain was too small for the magic to find. With a sigh Damek leant down to lift Konrad's blade, he give it a practice swing and smiled, it would be poetic justice to execute the executioner with the executioners blade.


    However Damek give in to the weakness of his blood line, the weakness that had been the end of many von Carsteins over the years. He monologued.


    You underestimated me Konrad. It doesn't matter how pure your blood, that your daddy is the Count. You are flawed beyond correction you brute, your only worth is in the swinging of a piece of metal. The true arts of our kind are beyond your petty low-born grasp.” he snarled “I will do the family and you a favour by removing your mad head, everyone will be happier that way”.


    Damek raised the blade overhead and brought it sweeping down towards Konrad's neck.


    He moved too fast to follow, his hands came up and grasped onto him like vices, on on his wrist and another on his throat. Damek gasped trying to beg but Konard's grip was too tight to break free. Konrad stood back up, staring through bloodshot eyes at Mannfred's son, his mad grin returned as he let go of Damek's wrist and plucked the blade from his hand.


    He squeezed on the other vampire's throat, slowly crushing the unlife out of him.


    Konrad stop!”


    Konrad rolled his eyes and, still holding Damek aloft, he turned to face the newcomer who had just strode in through the main doors.


    What do you want Karl?” he asked sounding bored.


    Karl von Carstein stepped forward, he was wearing serrated heavy armour of black and gold, from his back hung a cloak that appeared to be made of stitched together flesh. In his hand the vampire held his sword at his side.


    I said let him go.” he growled.


    Konrad shook his head and hurled Damek into a nearby wall where the vampire slid down unmoving although he did emit a low groan.


    You do not command me brother!” the executioner growled.


    I am your senior Konrad, you will obey me.”


    You do not scare me Baron!” Konrad pulled the second of his swords free from it's sheath, now holding one in each hand.


    Karl snarled, a feral and fearful sound which Konrad reacted with by roaring and leaping towards his sibling. “I am also your superior in every conceivable fashion!”


    Karl's blade met with Konrad's and the two vampires strained against each other, pitching equal strength against equal strength.


    Why don't you use some of that Kislevite Ice Witchery of yours!” he hissed.


    Karl give a forced grin “I don't need magic to deal with you dear brother!”


    As the two fought Damek pulled himself to his feet and stared in awe, he had never seen two of the 2nd generation fight each other. The two vampire's exchanged blows at a speed at Damek could barely follow but he saw that Konrad was, amazingly, on the back-foot.


    For a moment he was shocked to see Karl was the better swordsman and then he realised that he wasn't. Konrad was covered in small cuts but he only wore normal clothing where as Karl wore full armour and Konrad's blade managed to score hits that simply skid uselessly off the older vampire's protective gear.


    Karl made a sound of disgust and threw his hand out, the temperature plummeted unnaturally and Karl spat out an incantation in ancient Kislevite.


    Small shards of ice leapt from the Baron's fingers to smash into Konrad's chest, blood ran down his chest and he crouched ready to launch himself forward once more.


    ENOUGH!”


    The two vampires stopped. Karl simply lowered his blade and relaxed where as Konrad seemed to momentarily strain against invisible bonds before straightening up to glare at the staircase.


    Count Vlad von Carstien stood atop the staircase.


    What happened here?” he asked coldly.


    Konrad gritted his teeth and opened his mouth, no doubt to say something insulting or moronic when Karl spoke first “Fencing practice father, Konrad was kind enough to show me some new tricks he'd learned and in return I give him a demonstration in the magic of my ancestors.”


    Vlad raised an eyebrow “Really?” he asked drily in a voice that made it clear that he was no fool.


    The Count shook his head with a sigh before speaking again “And how did your outing go?”


    Karl smiled “The Greenskins were completely annihilated, I'll take out some knights next week to go over the area and if everything seems find I'll take the army further into the mountains.”


    Vlad look pleased at the news “Good it's going much faster than I had anticipated, come I want you and Konrad to accompany me, Isabella and I are going hunting and she would like some company for her handmaidens.”


    Konrad muttered under his breath and stamped up the stairs when Vlad caught him by the arm “Get cleaned up first.” he said calmly looking at his son's blood covered shirt.


    Konrad wrenched his arm free and stormed away to get ready.


    Vlad sighed and turned his gaze back to his other son. “Come on then.”


    I will be with you soon father, I would like to get cleaned up first.”


    Vlad's gaze shifted to Damek before a knowing look appeared on his face. “Very well, I shall let your brother Mannfred and the others know that you are held up.”


    Turning the Count strode back up the staircase and out of sight.


    Karl waited until his father was gone before he walked over to Damek who still leant against the wall, on his way he stopped to pick up a sword to carry over to the other vampire. Silently he held the blade out to Damek who took it and mumbled his thanks as he sheathed it.


    After a few moments of silence Karl spoke “What happened Damek?”


    Damek shook his head and looked up at Karl who saw the remnants of fear on his face and knew that the young vampire realised just how much he had missed death. “He was muttering and I asked him who he was speaking to?” he said in disbelief “It was an empty minded comment and I intended to just keep walking. Konrad started saying that I'd insulted him and things just...escalated.”


    Karl sighed and ran a hand over his hair. “It's not your fault, I'm afraid you've gotten caught up in a fight between brothers.” he said sadly “Mannfred and Konrad especially have been at each others throats although all my siblings are engaging in it.”


    Damek looked up at Karl, he wondered if perhaps that infighting was why the Kislevite vampire tended to go on “military excursions” so frequently.


    Karl contemplated something before continuing “Tell Mannfred that I said he should teach you to use a sword better, he pretends he can't use it but push him on it and he'll understand you require it. It's far too dangerous to rely on magic, in close quarters or unexpected attacks like this you simply don't have time to properly bring it to bear.”


    Damek nodded without speaking, he was too angry, to ashamed and too bitter at his defeat to respond.


    Karl turned to walk away before pausing. “Don't feel bad Damek. None of it was your fault and Konrad's blood is too old and too pure for you to have any chance about, no matter how powerful a mage you are. It was all I could do to keep his sword away from my face.”


    Damek blinked in surprise at the admission from the Regent, vampires nearly admitted weakness and so he said the only thing he could think of “Right.”


    Karl chuckled and strode away leaving the sorcerer vampire to his thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2014
    Dragonet likes this.
  5. Count Vashra

    Count Vashra Lord of Shadows True Blood

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    Ah, yes. Those distracting monologues. They really need to stop doing them, because they take up too much time and distract from the point of what they were going to do. They can gloat afterwards as long as they stay on the task at hand.

    Wait a minute...

    Ah yes, sibling rivalry. Always good between Vampires. And Konrad...one bat short of a belfry indeed.
     
  6. Get of W'soran

    Get of W'soran CN's Lord of Masks True Blood TVC II GM

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    Thanks Vash! I got the idea from one of the new black library novels where Mannfred mentions the need to gloat and voice your superiority over your opponent was a massive weakness in Vlad's line.
     
  7. Count Vashra

    Count Vashra Lord of Shadows True Blood

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    I agree with him totally.
     
  8. Get of W'soran

    Get of W'soran CN's Lord of Masks True Blood TVC II GM

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    The Contest of Blades
    Part 1



    Drakenhof Castle – Great Hall

    Winter – 1962 IC


    Baron Karl von Teuf sat with the rest of the Count's direct progeny at a long table, behind them on a raised platform sat two thrones and resting upon them was the Count and Countess, Vlad and Isabella von Carstein.


    Around the halls the lesser members of the family, the thin-blooded third and fourth generation of their blood, sat or stood watching the main events.


    In the centre two men hacked and slashed at each other with broadswords, the Baron grew bored swiftly at the lack of skill the two men held. It was to be expected though, their entry into the contest of arms had been sponsored by some young nobodies of the court.


    Karl glanced to his side to see that his brother Mannfred was also barely paying attention to the duel, instead he was looking over the crowds of onlookers, no doubt hatching some plot. Beyond him the butcher Konrad sat with a ridiculous grin at the sight of the violence although Karl was shocked that anything less than bloodshed could hold his mad brother's attention.

    The others where also more or less interested in the going ons, Fritz the Fop laughed gaily like an idiot at the sound of the swords clashing, Pieter the runt sat hunched over his glass which had long since been drained of blood and frowned at the combatants and Hans the Failure brooded as he watched the events which was no surprise since the joyless man rarely smiled.


    Amused at his silent mockery of his siblings Karl was about to continue his private commentary when he heard a cry of pain.


    Turning back to look at the two so called “swordsmen” Karl saw that one of the two vampires had drove his sword into the gut of the other, the contest rules stated that all contestants were to go unarmoured and so his blade had slid straight through the other immortal.


    As he pulled back his blade there was some clapping from the audience.


    Vlad sighed softly, probably in relief if he had been as impressed as Karl at the display. The Count raised a hand and waved slightly to a man at his side.


    Thomas von Carstein, armoured in the serrated black armour of the Drakenhof Templars, stepped forward and raised his hand. The Templar had been given the responsibility to organise the event and for some reason had decided that it would be fun to act as judge and announcer too.


    Soren, Templar of the Order of Drakenhof is the winner!”


    The taller of the two men bowed deeply to the Count who smiled thinly in response. Meanwhile the wounded vampire was dragged off by two other armoured Templars who were assisting Thomas with the running of the event.


    The next round shall begin in five minutes!”


    At this announcement from Thomas the Baron remembered the match line up and smiled into his glass of fresh blood, the next pair of fighters promised to be much more interesting.


    --------------------------------------


    Nicoletto paced back and forth in the side chamber that had been given to him to rest and preparation before the competition, there had been two others but they had long since left. This would only be his first round in this competition of Vlad's and not for the first time he cursed Karl for dragging him into it.


    Now Nicoletto was far from a shy man, indeed he considered himself to be one of the most charming men in all of existence. Neither was he concerned that his sword skills wouldn't be up to the test...well that wasn't entirely true but he was relatively sure he wouldn't completely embarrass himself.


    Maybe...


    I'm going to be sick” he thought to himself gloomily, although of course he couldn't but if he was alive...oh yes there would be so much of the being sick.


    There was a soft knock on the door and an elderly mortal man stepped through.


    They're ready for you now sir.”


    Nicoletto took a deep breath that he no longer required and steeled himself, forcing himself to act casual he jammed his hat onto his head and strode out of the room to the competition.


    -------------------------------


    The next match will be the Tilean Fencing Master to the Barony of Teufhof, Nicoletto Viggiani de Remas!” Thomas roared.


    The immediate clapping became uncertain and some snickering could be heard throughout the halls, Karl smirked as he heard Konrad break into laughter at the sight of the tall man.


    Nicoletto strode into the hall like the dandy he appeared to be, arms held up and tilted out slightly with his wrists at shoulder height and hands hanging loose. He swayed slightly as he walked with an overly happy smile on his lips.

    The Tilean was dressed in bright blue clothing with the usual ruffles and frills. He wore a feathered cap and over one shoulder hung a Tilean cape with a soaring falcon embossed on it.

    The only weapons the vampire wore was a rapier on his left side and a parrying dagger on his right, both weapons had the complex and ornate swept hilts of Nicoletto's homeland.

    All of this was perfectly natural for the wealthy courtiers from Tilea but in the Empire it appeared exceedingly effeminate, it didn't help that he wore a jewelled amulet although thankfully it appeared that he had ditched his usual rings and wore only one plain signet ring.


    Karl chuckled softly as he heard the others laughing, even cunning Mannfred and grumpy Hans were snickering to themselves, only two people at the top of the hall weren't laughing.


    Vlad was wearing a look of amusement and Isabella was whispering loudly at how how handsome the foreigner was and how pretty his garb was. But neither laughed.


    And his opponent!” shouted Thomas above the whispering and laughter of the Court “Karek von Carstein, Champion of the Handmaiden Lisette von Carstein and member of the Inner Circle of Order of the Drakenhof!”


    The massive man strode into the hall, even without his armour he was huge, Karek had the looks of old Imperial aristocracy and was a walking slab of muscle, easily half a foot taller than Nicoletto who was already of considerable height.

    In his hand was his unsheathed Longsword.


    The contestants will salute each other.” Thomas commanded.


    With a sneer Karek raised his sword in front of his face and slashed it down. Nicoletto unsheathed his rapier and held it before him as he turned and saluted Vlad with a flourish and a deep bow before turning to give his opponent the same over the top formal gesture.


    Begin!”


    --------------------------------



    Nicoletto, with some effort, managed to keep the smile on his face as he saluted his opponent. This von Carstein Templar was huge and he walked with the confidence of a veteran warrior.


    My confidence has taken a blow anyway” he thought to himself wondering once more if perhaps he would vomit from nervousness despite the physical impossibility of such an act.


    As soon as the armoured man shouted for the match to begin Karek moved in a single smooth gesture and stepped into a cut with masterful skill.

    Despite this the Tilean simply stepped aside from the blow, moving out of the way with speed that apparently shocked the audience if their gasps were anything to go by.


    The vampiric fencing master didn't know much about his kind but from what little he had listened to Karl's repeated explanations it appeared that there where multiple “Bloodlines”, whatever that meant. It appeared however that Nicolleto's “Lahmian” line was blessed with great speed and he used this to his advantage. As Karek swung his blade around in an arc for another blow the Tilean fencer swiftly unsheathed his dagger with his free left hand and brought it up to parry the other man's longsword. The power of the blow made Nicoletto grimace slightly but he still managed to stop the heavier blade before stepping in with a lighting quick thrust which he pulled short at the last moment before it entered the Templar's throat. Karek stared down in shock at the slim blade.


    Halt!” shouted Thomas after a moment of silence, a quietness that filled the room.


    Nicoletto is the winner!” Thomas half-snarled sounding greatly displeased at how quickly and easily this foreigner had dealt with one of the Order's inner circle.


    With a grin Nicoletto sheathed his weapons and swept his arms out to the side in an elaborate bow to the Count.


    STOP!” Thomas roared.


    The shout and a quiet growl behind him was Nicoletto's only warning.


    The Lahmian ducked and stepped to the side whilst turning, a moment later the Templar's blade slashed inches past the Tilean's face, as he turned Nicoletto tore his rapier from it's scabbard and brought it down for a heavy cut on Karek's wrist which nearly severed his hand causing him to drop his longsword.

    With a twist of his wrist the Tilean slashed his blade across the back of the warrior's leg so that the huge man fell to one knee.

    With a hiss of fury Nicoletto punched his rapier's hilt into Karek's jaw repeatedly until he collapsed and was lying on the ground, his teeth shattered. The Tilean then rammed his rapier into the fallen vampire's chest, purposely missing the heart.


    Someone was shouting for him to stop but fury was gripping the swordsman's mind as he brought his blade up and touched the rapier point at the other man's eye.


    Nicoletto!”


    Nicoletto blinked and glanced over to see Karl had stood up from his seat, the Baron shook his head and the fencing master slowly pulled his blade away to sheath it.


    He went to step away from the downed vampire who was lying in a puddle of his own blood when a woman came running out of the crowd to fall to her knees beside the wounded knight. She whispered to him before looking up at Nicoletto with a look of utter fury.


    She was quite beautiful he realised as she glared at him, he guessed it was the Handmaiden Lisette who had been mentioned earlier.


    Watch your step exile!” she spat.


    Nicoletto raised an eyebrow, it seemed the court knew about his own status amongst the Lahmian bloodline. With a smile, much colder than the one he wore on his entry, he leant down to look at the noblewoman.


    Oh I will nobildonna but if your mongrel hound comes near me again I shall cut out his heart and feed it to you.” he said pleasantly in heavily accented Reikspeil.


    The woman stared in shock as Nicoletto straightened up and stomped out of the room, his hands clenched into fists at his side.


    This time instead of looks of contempt and mockery there was only fear and curiosity on the faces of the von Carstein court.
     
  9. Count Vashra

    Count Vashra Lord of Shadows True Blood

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    Nice duel scene there, Get. I have no idea why Nicoletto would be so...unsure?
     
  10. Get of W'soran

    Get of W'soran CN's Lord of Masks True Blood TVC II GM

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    I might post more stories about him later (this is one of the issues with the format of posting my random von Carstein related tales, it doesn't give enough background since there's no real order to them).

    Nicoletto was sired by a Lahmian and spent 30 years in Remas as a tool for the Sisterhood to use, then he was suppose to be disposed off but instead his sire let him live. He then drifted until he was drawn to Sylvania and wandered into Teuthof (Karl's Barony). After certain events he became the Baron's personal fencing master and then was sent to this tournament.

    Most of Nicoletto's uncertainty comes from a lack of experience with vampires and their society, he feels out of sorts being plunged into the von Carstein court and basically fakes confidence as much as possible.

    Does that help?
     
  11. Count Vashra

    Count Vashra Lord of Shadows True Blood

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    Yes, that answers my question. One more question. Judging by Karl's appearance (a TVCII character), I'm guessing this is in the same timeline as TVCII (unless it's a coincidence). Is there any chance of any of these characters joining the Vampire Council at some point?
     
  12. Get of W'soran

    Get of W'soran CN's Lord of Masks True Blood TVC II GM

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    They are all the same characters up until the timeline "Divergence" (The start of TVC).

    Damek was killed in the first TVC, he attempted to join the Council after Mannfred's death but he was executed by Simon who hated him and wanted to demonstrate his power/authority.

    Currently Nicoletto is serving in the Drakenhof Court but often travels to Simon's holdings whilst Sigmund is a ranking member of the Drakenhof Templars so he's off on the front lines serving under Micrea von Carstein.


    Thanks for taking an interest in my characters :) All these characters exist in the same universe as the Simon and Micrea as well as other TVC characters. (This is why in my old stories I have TVC characters belonging to other people show up, it's usually a request made by the players :D )
     
  13. Atrophus

    Atrophus Grave Guard

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    Excellent stories Get of W'soran, very enjoyable reading :)
     
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  14. Count Vashra

    Count Vashra Lord of Shadows True Blood

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    You're welcome! I love reading of any kind, but Vampires is just the best kind.
     
  15. Get of W'soran

    Get of W'soran CN's Lord of Masks True Blood TVC II GM

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    Thank you both :) I'll try and get the next part of the story up as soon as I can.
     
  16. Get of W'soran

    Get of W'soran CN's Lord of Masks True Blood TVC II GM

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    The Contest of Blades
    Part 2



    Drakenhof Castle – Great Hall

    Winter – 1962 IC

    Nicoletto sat with his face buried in his hands as he sat in the empty antechamber. As he heard footsteps the Lahmian sighed, having expected this.

    I'm sorry Baron.” he muttered without looking up.

    Oh no, it is I who is sorry Lord Viggiani.” said an unfamiliar voice.

    Nicoletto looked up with a frown at the tall, powerfully built and well dressed man who stood in the doorway. It was with a start that the swordsman recognised the new arrival, he leapt to his feet to etch a swift bow.

    Count! I apologise! I thought you were the Baron von Teuf.” he stammered.

    Vlad chuckled as he stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. “Yes Karl did wish to come speak to you after the incident but I assured him that I could handle this conversation.”

    The Count waved Nicoletto to sit back down before taking a seat opposite him.

    Now about young Karek.” Vlad began.

    I do apologise your Grace! I do not normally loose control like that but when he attacked and I was already nervous from the competition and...” the Tilean dragged off as Vlad held a hand up to silence the other vampire.

    I already said that it is I who should apologise.”

    But my Lord I...I don't understand.”

    Vlad smiled and shook his head. “I am the head of this noble house and all the subsequent children of it are my subjects. Then there is the fact that the Templars from the Order of Drakenhof are knights directly in my service. Karek is both of these things. I am responsible.”

    Nicoletto suddenly chuckled causing the Count to look displeased until the Tilean spoke “Forgive me my Lord but I had not thought to see...honour in one of us.

    Vlad look of disapproval vanished as he smirked slightly “A dark and twisted version perhaps...anyway I came to offer you an apology and I have. I also have a warning and some news, the latter and then the former I think.”

    Nicoletto started to feel nervous again, with that “want to be sick but can't be sick because I'm dead” feeling.

    Ah...news?”

    Standing Vlad walked over to the glowing fire that was the only source of light in the room, he stared into the hearth for a few moments before turning back to the Lahmian. “There is too much chaff in this contest, too many weaklings defeating fools that managed to progress past the first round. So there will be an extra preliminary round.”

    Seeing the look of utter distraught on the fencing master's face caused the Count to laugh loudly before adding “But you will not have to take part in such a match. You and a few others will be except due to excellent performance in the first round.”

    Vlad strode to the door and stopped with his hand on the handle “Ah yes...the warning. Lisette will not forgive you for the mockery you made of her...Champion and the strongest of my progeny rarely have the ability to forget such insults. Be careful, it would be disappointing if you missed your next match.”

    Opening the door Vlad strode out of the room leaving a somewhat demoralised swordsman behind.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Nicoletto strode through the city's outer wall into the nearby forestry, it was of course night but that didn't affect the vampire in the slightest in fact he was reading from a small book as he walked despite the utter darkness. The Lahmian had felt uncomfortable at the celebrations the court decided to hold shortly after the day's competition and his talk with Vlad had only made him feel less at ease amongst the von Carstein family, aside from Karl he had yet to make any true acquaintances amongst the Sylvanian vampires. In the end he had simply decided that some fresh air would do him good, of course Nicoletto didn't need air...fresh or otherwise but he still liked to go for walks away from others.

    Nicoletto flicked to the next page of “La scienza della spada”, a book of his own creation although he wondered if he'd ever finish it, as he read over the next page he heard the soft crack of breaking twig. The Lahmian spun around and raised his book slightly, which was lucky as the movement allowed his treatise to intercept the blade which was thrust at him.

    Nicoletto saw his own shock reflected in the face of Karek, the two vampires glanced down at the longsword which had been driven into the leather bound book, recovering first the fencing master leapt back and tore his rapier and dagger from their sheaths only having enough time because the Templar was cursing and standing on the pierced book to rip his blade free.

    Nicoletto moved into third with his blade held out in an engaging guard and his weight mostly on his back leg, he forced a grin on his face to give of a look of confidence that he did not feel.

    I flattened you only hours ago Karek, do you really think you can go toe-to-toe with me when there's no one to save your skin?” he bluffed, last time had been a tournament duel but this time the other vampire wore armour and he likely had a whole repertoire of moves that he didn't use beforehand.

    Also something else was disturbing him, he had pretty badly hurt the other vampire but he seemed uninjured. “Actually Karek...you're more durable than I thought, I'm surprised you can even hold a sword...or walk for that matter.”

    The Templar laughed coldly “You ignorant barbarian! Have you not even heard of Necromancy and how it can heal almost any wound for our kind?” he sneered in a manner that showed that many of his teeth had indeed been shattered, Nicoletto had actually heard of “necromancy” but was unsure how it could be applied, regardless it seemed that there where limits to what it could fix. Nicoletto drew some pleasure in knowing that at least the bastard would have an ugly smile for the rest of his life. Still this was perhaps something he should look into upon his return...if he returned.

    As usual thinking got the Tilean in trouble for as he considered this apparent vampire-related magic his attacker lunged and Nicoletto barely blocked a powerful overhead stroke, he managed to stop the blow by bracing his rapier's blade with the parrying dagger. Nicoletto drove his foot into the side of Karek's leg sending him stumbling, there was a perfect opportunity for a lunge but he was unwilling to take it, his rapier simply could not penetrate his opponent's armour.

    Instead he again effected an air of self-confidence “You can't win Karek but for the respect I hold towards your Liege Lord I will let you live if you leave now.”

    Karek regained his balance but didn't attack instead he just laughed “Oh I may not be able to win Lahmian, well not alone but then I am not alone am I?”

    The soft sound of footsteps on grass was the first he noticed the others, looking to the side slightly he saw another armoured man carrying a longsword stride over with a grin, this one was equally as large as Karak although he lacked the noble features of his ally with his shaved head and scarred face making him look like a thug.
    The last figure was the handmaiden Lisette although she had traded her courtly attire for armour, unlike the heavy plate of her two companions hers was much more elegant and sleek in a fashion that Nicoletto had never seen before as if it had been sculpted to fit her perfectly in ways that normal mortal smiths could not accomplish.

    I told you to watch your back you peacock.” she spat.

    Nicoletto angled himself whilst taking a few steps back so that he could watch all three of the vampires at once, all the while still grinning cockily but in truth he was really quite afraid, one on one or even one against two possibly but all three? They could be worthless fighters but the numbers still made it a terrifying prospect.

    Come on, think of something!”

    Finish this!” Lisette spat at the others proving to Nicoletto that the hateful bitch was indeed the one in charge.

    Karak shuffled forward and then raising his blade into a high stance he stepped forward into a cut whilst at the same time the bald newcomer ran into range and immediately threw himself into a lunge.

    Crap too late!”

    Moving into fourth he blocked the newcomer's lunge so it slide along his blade and missed the vampire, at the same time he used his dagger to redirect Karak's slash but he couldn't arrest the motion completely so instead of getting his head split open the blade struck his shoulder although it was slowed enough that the cut was fairly minor. Painful but minor.

    With a swift circular motion of his sword Nicoletto disengaged and used his dagger to shove Karak's blade away, he then swiftly lunged, cutting open the side of the bald man's face who cried out in pain. As swiftly as possible he retreated, narrowly avoiding another cut from Karak.

    With a roar of anger the bald vampire leapt at him, his blade coming forward in another lunge.

    NO SIRUS!” Karak roared whilst Lisette scream “You damn fool!”

    But it was both too late and nor did the second Templar wish to stop.

    Nicoletto moved his back foot to the right, and he twisted as he did so, focusing on the tip of the other vampire's blade. As he moved of the centre line the vampire thrust and watched as his sword ran straight through Sirus's ear and out the other side of his head.

    A perfect demi-volte, his favourite move.

    Of course Nicoletto had never actually killed someone with the demi-volte before, he much preferring to fence with foils and masks. As such he spent a little too long staring in sick fascination at the dead vampire's head which was transfixed by his blade. It looked just like the pictures in some of the fencing manuals but the reality was much more gruesome.

    Through the ear? Where's the dignity in that? Also I thought vampire's disintegrated on death...”

    From the corner of his eye the Tilean saw the remaining Templar leap forward with a high thrust. With a silent curse Nicoletto tore his blade free but the movement was much slower that he had hoped, the vampire half turned with his dagger and sword half-raised but it was too slow. The first few inches of Karak's blade ran straight into Nicoletto's left shoulder, his dagger slipped from his fingers and clattered to the ground.

    Karak slammed his armoured foot into the slimmer vampire's chest pushing him off the sword and causing him to fly backwards before slamming heavily into the ground. Nicoletto climbed slowly to his feet, again too slowly, but this time his enemies weren't pushing for an advantage.

    Savouring your victory then?” he thought bitterly as he attempted to flex his left hand but the movement was painful and too weak to be useful. “Damn it.”

    Not so arrogant now, are you Lahmian?” Lisette mocked as she strode over to join her Champion.

    Nicoletto smirked “Big talk from a coward who found three to one odds still too dangerous to actually get involved herself.”

    Lisette smiled faintly “Much like your line then?”

    Nicoletto spat at her feet “Yes...just like the sisterhood, all the more reason to despise you.” he snarled raising his blade into first with blade held high and angled towards the handmaiden's face while his left arm hung limply. “And I only need one arm to run you both through.”

    Lisette frowned “Yes...that might actually be true so we won't come near you.” she said pointing at his chest with one finger and she whispered hissing words that made the Tilean's head hurt. Nicoletto felt some sort of energy in the air causing his hair to stand on end when suddenly a flash of something black leapt from the woman's hand into the fencer's chest.

    The spell sent Nicoletto back onto the ground, twisted as he was thrown from his feet he fell onto his wounded shoulder causing him to hiss in pain.

    That was Necromancy.” Karak mocked sounding amused.

    The wounded vampire groaned, arm and chest aching, he had never learnt spellcraft himself and it wasn't anything he'd seen very often or ever had to defend against.

    Lisette unsheathed her own sword, similar in design to her minions, and stepped forward with a self-satisfied smile, she raised it only to freeze before spinning at the last moment to deflect an attack from a new arrival.

    Who dares?” she demanded angrily of the newcomer.

    The tall cloaked figure threw back his hood to reveal a handsome man with short blonde hair wearing a huge grin, in his hand was a rapier although the blade was both shorter and more robust than Nicoletto's Tilean sword. “Hello sister.”

    Lisette narrowed her gaze with annoyance. “Simon.”
     
  17. Count Vashra

    Count Vashra Lord of Shadows True Blood

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    Ah...yes that's how Lahmian fights...I notice how you're really focusing on his lack of knowledge of Vampirism.:thumbsup: And now enter Simon. "bows"
     
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  18. Get of W'soran

    Get of W'soran CN's Lord of Masks True Blood TVC II GM

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    The Contest of Blades
    Part 3


    Outside Drakenhof Castle – Forest

    Winter – 1962 IC


    What are you doing here poet? And how do you attack your betters!” Lisette snarled.

    The blonde newcomer frowned slightly and lowered his blade “You're right, I'm sorry...” the slightest of hesitations “sister!” he lunged before he finished that last work, his sword thrusting at the handmaiden's unprotected face.

    Nicoletto saw Karek take a step forward even as Lisette smoothly parried the blow but the big man had allowed himself to get distracted and would pay for it.

    The Tilean leapt forward in a lunge of his own, slowed though he was by his wound the vampire was still swifter than the von Carstein swordsman. Only Karek's experience and training saved him, he jerked aside so that instead of receiving a blade through the side of his head he merely had his cheek torn open.

    The Templar snarled and leapt forward, slashing ferociously at Nicoletto but the Lahmian danced back, frustrating the man, when at last his patience was at an end Karek roared and charged forward in a poorly disciplined attack, giving up range in fury. Nicoletto grinned and with another leap back he landed and lunged again, his blade a blur as the tip soared straight at the Templar's eye.

    Karek grinned and Nicoletto knew it was too late to stop his attack, the von Carstein's armoured hand flashed up to grab the rapier blade and pulled.

    The Lahmian lost his balance and crashed into the huge man before regaining his balance.

    Still grinning Karek slammed the pommel of his sword into Nicoletto's wounded shoulder with all his strength. The Lahmian screamed in pain and lost his grip on his blade which Karek now held triumphantly as he watched the fencing master place a hand over his bleeding wound and stumble away.

    Slowly, making sure the other vampire was watching, Karek rested the tip of the rapier on the ground before stamping on the blade, snapping the weapon.

    So...who can't win?” he sneered arrogantly as he cast away the remains of the broken Tilean sword.

    The other vampire didn't respond, he had been over-confident in his surety that the knight could not oppose him but he had been foolish...why had he not simply went for a killing blow whilst still able?

    Was it mercy? Or was it weakness? Oh you fool.” he thought to himself miserably, he should have struck swift...he should have went for the killing blow.


    Hearing a cry he saw Simon darting away, the blonde vampire was bleeding from half a dozen minor wounds inflicted by Lisette, his sister-in-darkness was simply too skilled a swordswoman. The poet chanted a swift incantation and bolts of darkness leapt from his eyes but the handmaiden hissed her own arcane and swept her hand through the air dismissing her opponents spellcraft before leaping back onto the offensive, her blade slashing towards Simon's throat.


    Nicoletto threw himself back as Karak attacked once more, narrowly avoiding the weapon, he stared at the grinning Templar and knew he felt such poisonous hate that for a moment he contemplated simply leaping on the bigger man but it would be pointless, the von Carstein was too physically powerful for such a brutish tactic.

    As he stepped back once more the vampire felt something under his foot and suppressed a smile, he didn't need to look down to identify the object.

    Come Sir Thug! It's taking you some time to defeat a one-armed and defenceless man, don't you think?” grinning the vampire threw out his one functioning arm to the side “Come! Finish me!”

    And he did just that.

    Karak leapt forward with his blade moving through a dangerous arc towards the Lahmian's neck and in that moment Nicoletto used the one great blessing of his blood. His line might not be strong or durable but they were incredibly agile.

    Nicoletto dropped as the blade cut the air where his head had just been.

    Shifting his foot he swept up the parrying dagger that had been dropped earlier and straightening back up, now standing too close for Karak to properly bring his weapon to bare. With a snarl he rammed the short blade into Karek's throat.

    The huge vampire stumbled back crying in pain but Nicoletto was not about to let up, staying close he withdrew the knife and then plunged it into Karek's eye. The Templar fell grasping at his bleeding throat and destroyed eye while still howling in pain.

    Nicoletto turned to his rescuer and attacker, for a moment he serious considered running and leaving the two of them to sort it out but the stranger had come to help him...even Nicoletto wasn't so low as to abandon him now.

    With a sigh he strode towards the duel.


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Simon barely ducked the blow from his sister, he had smiled when the battle started but he didn't any longer, this wasn't going well.

    Not well at all.

    Even with Animessor in his hand, the bane of the dead, he couldn't overpower the bitch.

    Lisette always had been a prodigy in the arts of violence.

    He slashed the rapier at his sister once more but she simply stepped under the blow and swept her longsword out for another lazy one handed cut, opening up another cut on her brother's leg.

    Gods you're bad at this Simon, I thought you were suppose to be a decent fighter?” she mocked.

    Now that was unfair! Lisette was a founding member of the Vampiric reincarnation of the Order of Drakenhof, she was a bloody member of the inner circle trained in combat by Vlad and a number of Blood Dragons.

    Maybe we could talk about this?” he asked with his most charming grin.

    Lisette's swift lunge only missed his neck by a hair. She looked annoyed.

    Ok then...take this a little more seriously.

    Simon blocked an undercut and returned with a lightning counter Lisette parried with surprising ease but she didn't follow up with a counter.

    Again.

    She's toying with me!” he thought furiously and then reconsidered it “No...that wasn't Lisette's style, that's not why she's wounding me little by little.”

    He looked at the arrogant expression on Lisette's face and then he saw it, a flicker of worry as her eyes flicked towards Animessor.

    Of course...she was a skilled mage, she could sense the power of the blade's enchantment and it scared her.

    Simon grinned and threw himself at her, his blade lashed out in short swift strikes, nothing that could really hurt with a normal blade but the magical weapon would do more than hurt a vampire.

    Lisette back peddled, finally on the defensive, desperately dodging and parrying the attacks.

    Simon hissed an incantation again he used the spell known as Gaze of Nagash, the dark bolts of power shot out towards the female warrior.

    Lisette grinned and lifted a hand with a soft counter-spell.

    The bolts reversed direction.

    Right back into Simon's eyes.

    He screamed, he could see nothing, he lost his grasp on his sword but he didn't care...he was blind.

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    Nicoletto saw the young looking man fall and cursed, he was still too far away. Lisette lifted her blade to finish off Simon but hesitated and give the Lahmian his opening. The parrying dagger soared straight for the side of her head. She spun and plucked the weapon from the air before it could reach her, as she did so Nicoletto threw himself forward, struck the ground near Simon, and rolled as he plucked the poet's sword from the ground.

    Then the pain struck, fire shot up his sword-arm and he nearly dropped the arcane weapon from shock. The blade, whatever power it contained, hated what he was and Nicoletto was suddenly very glad for his gloves, without them he was sure even the rapier's handle would burn his flesh.

    Lisette had recovered from her surprise at the intervention, she was momentarily distracted as she saw her weeping and injured champion. Hate consumed her beautiful features.

    She turned to face the Tilean...
    And barely managed to parry the unbelievably quick thrust aimed at her face.

    The two vampires danced around each other, their blades ringing as steel met steel.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Simon groaned and blinked once more...yes this time the blurs where a little sharper.

    He could hear the sounds of fighting and guessed Lord Viggiani had managed to intervene in time.

    He blinked again. Yes he could see better now.

    It took only a few more seconds for the von Carstein's regenerative abilities to fix the damage enough that he could see clearly enough.

    And what a sight!”

    He watched the two sword-masters duel with increased ferocity and speed. He stared in shock as he saw that Nicoletto, as beaten and damaged as he appeared, had Lisette on the back-foot, his blows raining in too swiftly for her to raise a proper defence or any hope of striking back.

    A grin formed on his face...he had chosen correctly afterall!

    His grin faded slowly to a frown as he saw something that was bothering him...then he realised it.

    Hey! That's my sword!”

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Simon shouted something but she was too busy to pay attention. Lisette gritted her teeth, the accursed man was so damned quick, it was all she could to defend herself!

    What is he?”

    She glanced at his cold expression and felt something...not fear, no Lisette von Carstein felt not fear but she felt something. When he had thought Karek, poor dying Karek, he had seemed frightened and unsure. Now he was completely different. It only took her a moment to realise what the difference was.

    He has decided to kill.”

    Nicoletto dropped to one knee and lashed out with his other leg in a sweeping kick.

    Lisette let out a short cry of shock as she fell on her back, rolling out of the way only just in time as Animessor was thrust into the ground where she had only just been. Flipping back onto her feet she leapt forward in a crouch, angled her blade upwards and stabbed up aiming for the top of his neck.

    Nicoletto calmly stepped back and parried the attacked, stepped to the side and then returned the thrust.

    The blade nicked her face and she screamed. It felt like her face was on fire.

    Nicoletto stopped another thrust before he was half-finished executing the move, staring in shock at the vampiress's reaction.

    She didn't see him, she felt herself fall but it didn't matter, her hands clasped at her face as she cried to herself.


    ----------------------------------------------------


    Nicoletto lower his weapon and frowned.

    It was but a glancing blow...a shallow cut at best.”

    She's done for.”

    Nicoletto saw Simon walking over, his eyes were red-rimmed, his clothing was torn and stained with blood.

    What?” the Tilean asked, a little more shortly than he intended.

    Simon smiled faintly and held out his hand, also gloved the fencer noticed. “My sword please.”

    Nicoletto frowned but with a shrug he handed the other vampire his weapon back, glad to be rid of the loathsome thing. His arm still pounded from the liquid fire it had injected him with as he had wielded it.

    Simon sheathed it with a smile and then nodded back to the prone form of Lisette “Look at her face.”

    Nicoletto looked back and if he'd had a heart it would stopped in horror.

    Gods.” he whispered seeing Lisette's face, her entire cheek was blackened and cracked as if it had been put through a great furnace and the burns where spreading.

    The handmaiden whimpered.

    Can anything be done?” Nicoletto asked in a shaking voice.

    A simple application of Necromancy but she's too pained to focus on casting any spell.”

    The Tilean looked back to the dying lady “You do it.”

    Excuse me?” Simon asked sounding both surprised and annoyed.

    Nicoletto stared into Simon's eyes, seeing the confusion there but no malice

    Save her, she's your sister yes?”

    Simon shook his head “No! She'll kill us both when she gets the chance!”

    Looking back the fencer shook his head as he saw the burns spreading and looked back at Simon trying to hide how desperate he felt, instead he infused his voice with confidence. “You want something from me.”

    Worry, surprise, uncertainty. Good, he did want something then.

    I'll give it to you.”

    Oh Gods I can smell her flesh burning.”

    Whatever you want.”

    She screamed again and this time Nicoletto openly flinched.

    Please...”

    Simon frowned and then with a muttered curse he stepped over to Lisette and knelt next to her and began chanting.

    Nicoletto heard Karek groan in the distance and, partially to get away from the horrendously wounded woman, he strode over to the Templar.

    His throat was slit and his left eye gone but he was still alive, Nicoletto prodded him with his foot and he groaned again.

    Karek looked up at the Tilean with his one good eye “Fuck you.” he hissed.

    He's not going to die.”

    Turning away Nicoletto walked back over to where Simon was doing his magical work and he dropped down, exhausted, lying back on the grass he closed his eyes and waited for the von Carstein to finish.

    I wonder what the price was that I have just paid.” he wondered to himself. Then with a smile he realised he just didn't care right now.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  19. Count Vashra

    Count Vashra Lord of Shadows True Blood

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    Animessor unleashed...devastating. Well, I would have left her to die, but your story. And a nice display of Lahmian speed and agility again.
     
    Get of W'soran likes this.
  20. Get of W'soran

    Get of W'soran CN's Lord of Masks True Blood TVC II GM

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    Nicoletto is a disgusting nice guy at times :tongue:
     
  21. Count Vashra

    Count Vashra Lord of Shadows True Blood

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    Ha, I suppose so. And, are there any more Lahmian Archives coming?
     
  22. Get of W'soran

    Get of W'soran CN's Lord of Masks True Blood TVC II GM

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    There should be at some point, I might already have the next one written actually.
     
  23. Count Vashra

    Count Vashra Lord of Shadows True Blood

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    Excellent!
     
  24. Get of W'soran

    Get of W'soran CN's Lord of Masks True Blood TVC II GM

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    The Contest of Blades
    Part 4


    Drakenhof Castle – Antechamber


    Winter – 1962 IC


    “You haven’t told me what you want yet.”


    “No I haven’t. Now please calm down, don’t you have some ritual you want to go through before the next match?”


    Nicoletto give Simon a few muttered words in Tilean for that reminder, the von Carstein didn’t need to understand Tilean to recognise the foul language.


    Smirking the blonde vampire shook his head. “What’re you so worried about? I replaced your broken sword.”


    Nicoletto unsheathed his new rapier with a frown, it was an older fashion that his original and the hilt was more primitive giving the wielder less hand protection “I suppose it’ll do.” he said in a rather ungrateful tone.


    Simon forced a grin on his face “Cheer up would you? I healed you and the charming Lisette as requested, even fixed up her thug’s throat for no extra charge! Good grief man! I even managed to find you a bloody half-decent rapier which, by the way, took some doing on short notice…they aren’t exactly popular around here.”


    “Yes and in return you wanted me to…” Nicoletto trailed of obviously wanting his new companion to finish the sentence.


    Simon chuckled softly. “Haven’t told you that yet.”


    Giving the other vampire a frustrated look Nicoletto resumed his pacing.


    Simon shook his head “Why are you so worried?” he asked again sounding exasperated “I saw how good you are with a sword and you were brave enough the other night.”


    “Wrong.”


    The ageless poet frowned at the fencer “You showed plentiful skill with the bla-“


    “I’m not talking about my competency with a blade.”


    Simon said nothing in return, so the man meant he was afraid. That was not how Simon remembered it, he remembered seeing a man bravely face down three attackers…disable two and then swiftly come to the aid of someone he barely knew despite somewhat serious wounds.


    “And when exactly do you feel lacking in backbone?” he asked flippantly “When are you afraid?”


    “All the time.”


    Before Simon could follow up on that the door opened and a smiling man dressed in black silks stepped in.


    Simon frowned as he recognised the newcomer and opened his mouth to ask why he had come but again was too slow.


    “Your match is about to begin Nicoletto.” Akarin said.


    Nodding, too distracted to see Simon’s concerned expression, the Tilean strode out of the room.


    Simon quickly got to his feet to follow but Akarin grabbed him by the arm before he could pass. “We have to speak poet.”


    Simon frowned. “What is it Assassin?”


    “Your new friend is in trouble…and so are you.”
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
  25. Get of W'soran

    Get of W'soran CN's Lord of Masks True Blood TVC II GM

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    Just a short interlude connecting the next part of the story.
     

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