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Shadows of the Undying King IC Thread

Get of W'soran

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#51
Sigmund actually laughed at the counter-move, Johann was competent enough but no true fighter. He lacked originality and the vampire was honestly getting annoyed, this wasn't proper fencing.

The knight stepped off the centre line, moving to his left and twisting to keep himself facing Johann.

Sigmund's sword flashed up in a blur to crash heavily into the dagger with enough force shatter a mortal's wrist, for a vampire it would merely hurt.

Twisting his wrist Sigmund brought the blade back in a cut aimed for Johann's extended arm but the Templar turned his blade to the side at the last moment so if he hit then he would strike with the flat of the sword.
 

Count Vashra

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#52
Johann's wrist stung, but he ignored the pain. What was more concerning was the sword going for his arm. He withdrew his arm quickly and then stepped backwards for room He then used his unarmed hand to try to push away Sigmund's hand, then slashed downward to Sigmund's knee.
 

Get of W'soran

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#53
Sigmund was bored and a little disappointed that he had not gotten a swordsman to practice with like he had hoped.

As Johann stepped back for room the knight sighed, it was over, the knife-fighter had moved too far away. Sigmund stepped back himself, furthering the gap between the two fencers.

Sigmund, once more holding his weapon with two hands, brought it down into a low-guard and then cut up and to the side so that he once again parried the small dagger, to do so was effortless as such a short blade could not provide much force against the two-handed sword.

As soon as the two weapons met Sigmund's blade twirled through a complex disarming technique which was older than the Empire itself, the weapons moved too fast for the eye to properly follow.

For Johann it seemed that at one point the knight was parrying his blade and in the next the dagger was flipping through the air and Sigmund was grinning smugly with his sword point at Johann's throat.

"Finished?" he asked casually, clearly enjoying the moment.
 

Count Vashra

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#54
Johann nodded very slowly. 'Yes, cousin.' Slowly pushing the sword away he returned the knife to where he had put it. 'Now, that fight did not go well for me partially because I was underselling myself. I usually rely on my magic to help me in close quarters and I felt a sparring match did not call for use of magic.' He smiled. 'Not to say you were unskilled. far from it. So, do you want to come to my workshop now, or do you have something else planned?'
 

Get of W'soran

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#55
Sigmund chuckled as he put the sword away, he was pleased the other vampire wasn't being too sore a loser.

As he walked over to the wight who held his weapons and re-buckled on his sword-belt he grinned at Johann "Ah but magic is worthless up close. I could remove an arm or open a throat before a wizard could finishing invoking their magecraft."

The vampire gestured arrogantly, dismissing the though or perhaps dismissing the relevance of magic itself. "And a dagger is not a proper weapon for a Lord of the Night, especially one with blood so rich ad pure as yourself cousin."

"Although perhaps you were born on the streets or in some filthy hovel." he thought to himself distastefully.

"If you wish it I can teach you how to wield the weapon of nobility." Sigmund said tapping his sword's pommel "Whenever we have time that is."

The Templar grinned "But in the meantime please, lead on to this workshop of yours."
 

Count Vashra

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#56
'I would like some instruction. it is always good to increase one's skills. Now, My workshop.'m Johann turned and began walking towards the workshop. When he arrived, he checked the shadow over the Crown of Blood still concealed it. 'Of course, if you like I could teach you some magic, a repayment for your swordsmanship.' He bared his fangs in a smile. 'Or swordsvampireship, perhaps.' Johann concealed his fangs again.

He indicated the shelves on the right wall. 'Those shelve will contain completed orders. I put them there until they are completed. On the wall opposite us is the workbench, containing everything I need.' The bench had working tools, ingredients and one or two items which could be used as power sources. 'More equipment is on the shelves on the left.' He turned to Sigmund and smiled, proud of his little space. 'Any requests?'
 
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Get of W'soran

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#57
Sigmund nodded as he followed Johann "Some basic magic tuition for some fencing instruction. A fair bargin."

The knight raised an eyebrow.

"Not right now...I have my armour and my blade afterall, one of which was enchanted from a time before I was born and the other by a rather powerful ally."

Sigmund looked around the room. "But I will remember the offer..."

The vampire give a yawn although he, of course, could not be physically tired. "How long do you think the Count will leave us wandering around before he gives us something to do?"
 

Sanai

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#58
Sanai stood atop the lone tower of Castle Callistaire, surveying the smoldering ruin of the surrounding city. A few fires still burned, glowing starkly against the pall of darkness, but most had died out. He watched the antlike figures of swarms of zombie laborers that were even now picking their way through the city in search of corpses and raw materials to salvage.

He had hoped to attract more of the undead, but he sensed that time was growing short. It was time for him to gather his lieutenants, new and old, and to discuss his plans. Closing his eyes, he pressed his will upon those he had gathered in the city. "Gather within the graveyard outside the castle, and we shall discuss my purpose for the coming months." he spoke, his words carried magically into the minds of the others.

Then, he stepped off the edge of the towers crumbling battlements, his cloak fanning about him as he fell. Drawing upon the vast amounts of dark energy permeating the area, he called upon a gaggle of spirits, using them to slow his descent and angle himself towards the cluster of crypts and burial mounds that served as the cities graveyard.
 

Get of W'soran

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#60
A look of surprise flitted across Sigmund's face at the magical method of communciation.

"Time to get going." he said.

Turning the knight strode out to the stables and mounting his nightmare he, and 5 of his wight knights, rode towards the Graveyard.
 

Count Vashra

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#61
'I look forward to it,' Johann said, referring to the training. Then he felt Sanai's call. Finally, time to see what he had been called for. What Sanai had called him for, which may be entirely different to what he had come to do. He followed Sigmund from the workshop to the graveyard and stood waiting for instructions.
 

Get of W'soran

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#62
Sigmund dismounted at the edge of the Graveyard and orderd his wights to stay behind and look after his mount.

Nodding to Johann he strode into the graveyard with the other vampire.

Once at the gathering point he stood silently, one hand resting on the pommel of his sword and expression serious as he waited for Sanai to tell them why they'd been summoned.
 

The Archivist

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#63
With clicking and thunking, The Archivist walked into the graveyard. He stood over one of the graves, his glass eye glowing as it ran over the rest.
 

Sanai

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#64
Sanai alighted in front of a large Crypt in the center of the graveyard, his cloak billowing around him as he landed. Seeing that the Wight and the two vampires had arrived, he smiled coldly. He could sense that the wraith and... something else? Were somewhere nearby.

A moment after Sanai had landed, two additional vampires entered the meeting place. One was a lean, muscular Strigoi, naked except for a ragged loincloth, which perched on a gravestone near Sanai. The other was a beautiful woman of noble bearing, armored in elegant plate and wearing an elaborate hairstyle that was a few decades out of fashion, who affected an air of indifference while covertly glaring at the various guests. Arriving after the two vampires were a pair of Wight Kings and nine mortals wearing ragged robes of varying styles. Once he was confident that everyone... well, almost everyone.... had arrived, Sanai spoke.

"Now that most of you are here, it is time for us to speak of why I have called this gathering. But first, I think some introductions are in order. My esteemed guests, these are my most trusted lieutenants, who have served me well for many years. The ravishing beauty you see before you is Lady Katrina Cruelheart, who is a capable wizard and almost as good a general as I am. The other is my own progeny, Raksha Ripclaw. He doesn't make for very good company, but he saves me from having to interact directly with the ghouls. Lady, Raksha, these distinguished gentlemen in front of you are Johann von Carstein and Sigmund Von Muller, a pair of exceptional individuals who have just joined us from Sylvania. The Wight you see before you is called the Archivist, and is a most unusual, but interesting creature with some interesting magical abilities."

Sanai paused for a moment, before continuing.

"Now, you are all no doubt wondering why I have gathered so many of the undead in one place. The truth is, these are interesting times. The winds of Shyish has been waxing stronger than I have ever seen it across the world, and all of the great powers of the world seem to be on the move. The orc horde that despoiled my fair city was the largest I had ever seen, and my scouts tell me that there are many such gatherings on the move throughout the badlands. Clearly, the rumors that the End Times have come have some merit. Unfortunately, I will have to part ways with my faithful lieutenants, who I need to remain here to marshal my armies of the dead in preparation for when they will be needed. Myself, there are certain objects that I need to gather, which is where my esteemed guests come in. I will need your aid in gathering three objects of power from across the world. Time is growing short, so we will need to travel light and fast."

Sanai paused again, letting the information sink in, and waiting for the inevitable questions to arise.
 

Count Vashra

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#66
Johann was qute certain his target was Sigmund, but Katrina could be another option if necessary.

Orders? Good. Finally he knew why he had been called here. or, rather, what Sanai wanted of him. Those preliminary words were very vague.
'Greetings, mylady,' bowing to Katrina. 'Greetings, my Lord,' bowing to Rakshai. Sanai was the real master here, but the Strigoi were not ones to insult...before you were ready.
'Count, if I may ask, what would the nature of these objects be?'
 
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Get of W'soran

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#67
Sigmund eyed the two Lieutenants with interest, the son of Sanai was little more than a beast and the knight had no interest in him however the woman reminded him of his own sire...she would have to be watched, indeed she may even need removed depending on her temperament although von Muller was willing to try and make alliances first. He had all the time in the world after all.

Ignoring Sanai's cronies for now the von Carstien turned his attention back to his new master as Sanai explained his goals.

As he stood listening and watching Sigmund rested his hand on the pommel of his sword trying to ignore the blade's hunger as it whispered in his mind, it had not been fed in some time and the runeblade was restless. Pushing aside the invasive feeling the vampire frowned as he listened to the others responding to the Count. Sigmund almost rolled his eyes at the Wights mindless confirmation but he listed to Johann's question with some interest before contributing.

"I wonder about this also my Lord, I have often been sent on such retrieval missions by the Count Mannfred and some information about the target can be useful." Sigmund stated respectfully, whilst all true Sigmund was also indulging his curiosity a little.

"Also in the meantime I have forty Knights Sepulchral with me, they would be unsuited to a stealth orientated quest. If you wish it I can bring a small number of them, otherwise I will leave them with orders to protect your Tower and your...lieutenants." Sigmund said with a slight bow of his head, he had no fears about leaving the knights behind, Mannfred had assured him that the spells tying the undead to him were practically unbreakable and Sigmund wasn't arrogant enough to question the elder vampire's arcane skill. He also had the vague, but amusing notion that Bright-Eyes would react rather violently if one of Sanai's servants attempted to take command of them.

Sigmund overtly looked around at the other "guests" before speaking once more "Other than that my Lord I just wonder...is there more than just the three of us who have come to serve?"
 

Sanai

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#68
Sanai smiled at the vampires coldly.

"The objects in question are three magical artifacts, created or at least wielded by the wizard Kadon during his time. They are the Amber Shard, the Ring of Storms and the Master Scroll of Binding. I have managed to narrow down the locations of some of these items over the years, though it will still take some searching to find their exact locations. The location of the first object, the Amber Shard, I believe to be in the ruins of the city mortals know as Morgheim, but those of my bloodline remember as Mourkain. It is the Amber Shard that we will seek out first, as I believe it to be the closest of the objects. Once it is in our possession, I believe we can use its magical signature to help track the other two artifacts."

Pausing a moment, Sanai considered the other questions at hand. "There is the wraith, and I can sense another presence nearby. I had hoped to attract a few more allies, though even if it is just the four of us, I believe we have a good chance of suceeding. I do not recall a time when the winds of magic have blown this strongly for such a sustained period of time, furthermore, with all of the strife and war going on, there will be no shortage of corpses to raise wherever we travel. I do hope to avoid getting into open battle however- speed and stealth will serve us far better than violence. I would recommend that each of you only bring a small number of your minions, and only those who can ride or move at great speed. If any of you do not have a mount, one can be provided for you. We will likely encounter greenskins, monsters and other undead on our way to Mourkain, so we will all need to be prepared to defend ourselves if the need arises."
 

Count Vashra

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#69
So, back to uncomfortably hiding it under my clothes, then. His shadowmancy could conceal the shape of the Crown of Blood under his clothes, but it would still be uncomfortable. Now, at least, he knew where they were going. Mourkain...Kadon...that had been Ushoran's city, hadn't it?
He would need a mount, but fortunately due to how he worked did not require minions. 'Count, I require a mount, but am confident I will find any minions I need where I need them.'
Perhaps he could use this Amber Shard to further his own, or his sire's, ambitions.
 

Get of W'soran

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#70
A startled expression flashed across Sigmund's face so swiftly that it any who noticed may wonder if it had happened at all.

"The old home of the Strigoi?" he thought to himself, it was a cursed place and not somewhere the von Carstein would particularly want to go. The names of the items themselves meant nothing to the Templar which actually surprised him a little, this sort of fetch and gather quest was something he had a lot of experience with, often being sent on them, a by-product of these assignments was that he had heard and read the names of a great many artefacts but not these ones.

"So either these items are so insignificant that no story has arose around them or so potent they have been closely guarded so that jealous rivals may not steal them...or they've simply been lost to the annals of time."

The Templar then considered what allies they had for such a dangerous journey, firstly there was the Count who may indeed be quite powerful although his intellect or wisdom was yet to be judged. Then there was the other of Sigmund's own blood who, as a knife fighter, Sigmund had decided would be worthless in a fight although his claimed arcane ability could possibly be very useful. Then there was a Wight and apparently a Wraith...lesser undead but they might be useful and there was also the banshee he had seen earlier although the knight had no idea if it was joining them.

"A small party so evading threats would be our best bet...still two, possibly three, vampires of considerable power when a few relatively strong lesser dead could do the trick."

Sigmund nodded to the Count "Very good my lord." he said respectfully "I will consider and perhaps bring a small number of my knights if it seems necessary...unless of course you command otherwise."
 

The Dread King

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#71
The soft clinking of bones could be heard in the graveyard, at first faintly, then louder.

Gah, I'm late, Arachnius noted to himself as he saw a group of undead already in discussion. Well, it's a long and unpredictable way from the Land of the Dead. At least I have some sort of excuse.

The spider-like wizard emerged out of the gloom, a rictus grin plastered across his pallid face. Purple flames of Dhar burned in the eye sockets of the liche's skull, and the half-arachnid, half-humanoid hybrid scuttled over to where Sanai stood, before bending its back and lowering its stance in a small yet respectful bow. "Lord Sanai Morden," a sibilant voice rasped, dry as the grave, "My master and I have been made aware of your existence and believe that if I were to join your cause, we might be able to provide mutual aid for one another. Behold, I bear the seal of Lord Virion the Grim."

The liche removed a piece of tattered parchment from a pocket in his robes and held the fluttering thing up in the air. A signature scrawled upon it was as much proof as was the green tinge the paper carried that was no doubt caused by Virion's near-constant work with poisons.

"I apologise for my lateness," Hallsteinn continued. "I did not fully apprehend the bands of travellers, creatures of chaos and other dangers lurking by my route from Nagashizzar to this unholy place. It will not happen again."

Hallsteinn Locke paused for a moment. A fractional tilt of the head that was barely noticeable allowed him to briefly observe the denizens of the dark surrounding him. They seemed...diverse, to say the least. And to think that I assumed myself to be the maverick here! Hallsteinn speculated. He then posed a simple question to the count: "I trust that, in consideration of whom I serve - and in turn, who he serves - I will have access to some...resources and spoils of war? By that I mean artefacts, reagents, body parts and the occasional test subject." If he still had any flesh, the wizard would have licked his lips in relish at the thought of another experiment. But now is not the time for that, Hallsteinn reminded himself. Now is the time for negotiation and its eternal compliment - machination.
 

Demian

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#72
The summonings had ceased a few hours ago. Maybe he was out of turn rushing to the origins of such a powerful calling, yet he had to attend his Master's will.

His superior officer had relayed instructions after too long a consideration to Demian, and that was the reason he was not dispatched at the very moment of hearing the summonings upon the Winds. It was always thus. The Blood Knight was usually given the lowest of tasks, not as consequence of poor skill or lacking proper manners, but simply as a remainder that, while promising as a Knight, he was relatively new to the Order, but more importantly, not sired within their ranks.

Yet for all the trouble he went to further his station, Demian did not care to be the one sent to execute the survivors of an assault, or bathe his blade in the blood of the meek that could do nothing to escape the horrors of whatever battle they cowered from. He gladly took their lives with honor, giving voice to the higher fate they would now share, for they would leave this world as warriors; the young vampire carrying their souls with him intimately, until the end of times.

Given his disposition, however, this was the first time Demian was set loose upon the world after joining the Brotherhood. A strange but well earned task, to act as an emissary of the Blood Keep, to a being powerful enough to voice a summoning that even the Brotherhood would consider attending. Gaining the honor of carrying a banner of his own, a flag to recognize him as a trusted member of the Blood Dragons, Demian rode with haste to meet his commanded duty.

His Barded Nightmare strode relentlessly throughout the wilderness, needing neither sustenance nor respite, the young Blood Knight made effort to reach his intended destination, but the summonings grew weaker and weaker still, and it was hard for him to keep proper track of their origin. He was burdened with both banner and lance, those which he usually did not travel with, for he favored his swords and ground fighting than atop a steed, with a shield. Yet he acted as emissary now, and his reflection that of his knightly order.

He rode with haste, and was rewarded for his perseverance...

...

The landscape was of that of a great battle! Many lay dead upon entering the great city, where the fire yet burned as testament of a great invasion. Demian saw the toll of what such venture had caused and, for a moment, was stricken with a hint of grief, for many of the fallen were not warriors, but civilians, and their blood staining the streets with red meant their hearts once beat with ease, contrary to what he was expecting meeting with a fellow undead.

His orders were to present himself to Lord Sanai Morden, Lord of the Night, but the young Demian did not expect him to rule over such a peaceful mortal city. The Blood Knight strode amongst the ruins, catching glimpse of horror and death, his cold heart moved to give voice to respectful prayer, not to a god but to the fallen. A good thing his brothers were not there to frown upon such lowly act of kindess.

But he could not linger in the aftermath of a battle he himself was not into. He had to do as commanded. Demian first thought to head towards the Tower, the only building apparently unscathed by calamity of war, yet his senses swiftly alerted him of the presence of a gathering, nearby. The summonings were gone, but the flow from which they spawned came from such a place, and thus, with little time to waste, the Blood Knight rode to his destination.

The flag of the Blood Keep high upon his standard, the crimson Knight appeared at the distance, allowing everyone present to lay eyes upon the newcomer, as a sign of respect. When he neared the gathering, the Knight dismounted and removed his helmet, allowing everyone to see the face of the undead monster. His dark-brown eyes, trained in the ways of diplomacy and proper maners gave a salute before the vampire himself gave voice, a true reverence to the figure he sensed was the one in command.

- Greetings, Lord Sanai Morden of Callistaire, I am Demian Ruthven, Knight of the Blood Dragons. The Blood Keep sends its assistance in the form of myself, to answer the summonings. - then, the young vampire offered a parchment to the Count, containing his orders, written perhaps, by Wallach Harkon himself. The Blood Knight did not know. But the phrasing of his introduction was not his, as he was commanded by his Master to be spoken with exact tone, with emphasys in "answering the summonings". Again, Demian did not know the meaning of the gesture, but it was thusly given, as commanded.

Only after the Lord of that land had given permission would Demian relent his salute and allow himself to gaze upon the ones gathered there, their forms and impressions. He was somewhat stranger to vampiric aristocracy, for his labor only carried him into the fields of battle, but not as much as into courts. As a final thing for all to notice, the young vampire pronounced his last name differently than his own name, adding no title save for that of a Knight.

He awaited reply...
 

Sanai

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#73
Sanai gave a welcoming smile to the two newcomers. One of them was a very strange looking creature, while the other appeared to be arrayed in the traditional fashion for a blood knight. Sanai felt a startling flash of recognition when he laid eyes upon the banner the knight carried. It seemed he had attracted the attention of more than one infamous vampire lord.

"Welcome to Callistaire, such as it is" Sanai nodded at the vampire as he said so, giving unspoken permission for the knight to stand at ease.

"It is heartening to have two more exceptional individuals to join us upon our quest. In case you did not overhear, we seek three powerful artifacts."

Turning his full attention to the strange spidery creature, Sanai considered the question of spoils. "All of you will be handsomely rewarded for your service. In addition to an invitation to remain in my service at the end of this venture as trusted lieutenants with the opportunity to have titles, lands and servants of your own, each of you will be free to keep any spoils you may find along the way, barring of course the three artifacts I seek, so long as the taking of such spoils does not endanger our mission. Any who do not wish to remain at the end of our venture will be free to negotiate another more suitable reward. What I require in return is that you all obey my commands for the duration of our quest and do your utmost to ensure our missions completion."

Sanai paused for a moment, to consider the matter of resources. "Each of you will be supplied with whatever you require while within my service, within reason of course. All you need to do is to ask and it will be provided for you if possible. Now, the first leg of our journey will take place on horseback. We will be traveling into the badlands to seek out the Amber Shard in the ruins of Morgheim. We will be departing at nightfall, which is in 8 hours. If there are any further questions or concerns, feel free to seek me out after I have finished consulting with Lady Cruelheart and my progeny."

With that, Sanai turned and walked into the crypt behind him, followed by his two vampire lieutenants, to begin instructing them in what to do in his absence.
 

Count Vashra

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#74
Johann looked the Blood Dragon over. Could he be a potential recipient for the Crown? No. He was a knight, nothing more. He doubted the Blood Dragon would care for the position of power he could offer. And the spider-arachnid-thing...unfortunately he looked bloodless, ruling him out as well. 'As you wish, Count,' Johann said before turning to the newcomers.
'As our Count said, welcome to Calistaire,' he said.
He turned to Sigmund. 'Sigmund, it seems we have our orders, or near enough, now.' He smiled.
 

Get of W'soran

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#75
Sigmund looked at the newcomer, hiding his contempt behind a blank expression..

"Blood Knight...probably not a speck of nobility in his blood." he thought with disgust, the Drakenhof Templar had little time for the Blood Dragons, they were nothing in comparison to his own Sylvanian order...still another vampiric warrior could be very useful and the Blood Knights were usually devoid of ambition, clinging to their archaic sensibilities of honour...this would could make a reasonable ally, although he would be better placed as an underling.

Transferring his gaze to the Liche the von Carstein frowned, he had only met one of the bonebags once before and it was not an encounter he cared to repeat.

"Wonderful." he thought to himself, a Liche was obviously a lesser being than one of his own kind but they were devious, intelligent and ruthlessly ambitious which, he supposed, was to be expected of a sorcerer who went out of his way to cheat death. They where also annoyingly skilled with the Dark Arts which could lead to problems down the line.

Hearing Johann speaking pulled the vampire from his musings.

"Yes of course how incredibly impolite of me...Welcome to Calistaire." Sigmund said to both Demian and Arachnius with the practised grace and politeness he had learnt long ago from the Sylvanian Courts and tempered with his natural aristocratic grace.

Glancing at Johann the Templar's bearing became more relaxed, as if the two were truly close family "So we do Cousin."

Smiling slightly he added "Ah but what do we do to quench our boredom in the meantime?"
 
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