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TVC - Chapter 36 - The Blood Keep

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Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
Staff member
#1
The Council had traveled for hours after they had found the body of Victarias. Even though they had defeated the forces of the Lichemaster, a cloud of gloom seemed to hang over them.

It seemed the unknown saurus that had assisted them against Krell had decided to follow them for its own reasons. The Duke could sense the creature had the taints of Abhorash's line within in, and it was for that reason alone he had allowed him to follow them unchallenged. Though it did not seem capable of speech as they knew it, the lizard had a surprising intelligence, and senses to rival that of any of the other vampires.

Suddenly the Duke raised his hand, drawing the group to a halt.

"We are here," he announced to the Council, who looked round in puzzlement at the surrounding rock.

"Around the next bend lies the Blood Keep. However we must approach carefully. Ever since it was first taken, Walach has been extremely paranoid and will attack if given the slightest inkling of a threat. Seeing such a force as ours, he would not doubt attack first and ask questions later. I would suggest one of us proceeds alone first to parley, and reassure him of our intentions. For reasons you do not need to know, it should not be me." Pausing for a moment he regarded the others,

"Any volunteers?"
 

MasterSpark

Nostalgian
Staff member
True Blood
#2
-"I could do it!" said Ashlotte as her hand shot up into the air, eager to finally get a glimpse of the hallowed Blood Keep.
 

Arion

Vampire Lord
True Blood
#3
"Would not you yourself be best qualified for the role? You are afterall the only talking blood dragon in our party. Do you have some quarrel with Walach, and are afraid it will damage negotiations?" Draithon replied in a faraway voice, eyes tracking the receeding sun and coming snowclouds.

OOC: I would assume it is late evening, since we arrived at Athel Loren in the morning, spent some time in the forest, fought a battle and trecked alot.
 

Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
Staff member
#4
"Me and my brother have......unsettled business," The Duke replied to Draithon, "once we are inside I can clear matters up, however it will do us no good to risk his anger beforehand."

Turning to Ashlotte, the Duke shook his head,

"The offer whilst appreciated would perhaps not be the best course of action. Walach will not respect you, for he will see you no more than contraption. It may even insult him. Perhaps you could accompany another, as he would not be concerned with you. Does no one else have the courage to volunteer?"
 

Arion

Vampire Lord
True Blood
#5
"This is hardly a question of courage. It is simply who would be best qualified to least provoke the self important sword wielder further up the path. I am obviously not so, and if I used magic to decieve him and revealed myself further on, he would turn on us more angrily than before. Todd perhaps, or if we wait for Victarias to recover enough, they would be better accepted."
 

Sweeney Todd

Master Vampire
True Blood
#6
The pepetual sullen look on his face became even more pronounced as Todd replied

"I will do it, if our esteemed Duke and Lady Victarias won't."
 

Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
Staff member
#8
Noticing that there was very little choice, The Duke nodded at Todd's offer,

"Yes, it would seem you would be the logical choice. I must warn you that Walach can be brash and insulting, but he is also honourable. Do not slight his honour or insult him and you should do fine."
 

Ghouly

Liche
True Blood
#9
“How about I go, would it not be more fitting that one of your own blood go to speak to the…… Grand Master?” Mouse asked from were she stood leaning against the rock face. “From what I understand most Strigori are killed on sight by all the other bloodlines, and therefore you would be Sending Herr Todd to his death” she stated a cruel smile on her face. as if the idea amused her.
 

Sweeney Todd

Master Vampire
True Blood
#10
Todd shrugged as he turned to face Mouse with a reciprocal smile on his face

"Not always true, and it applies mostly to my less civilised brethren. You, lass, have only just been born into unlife, and Walach having his sensitivities, he might not take too well to an insolent young childe being sent to parley. Despite your bloodline you will probably prove as offensive as Mircea thanks to your mouth."

"If there are no further objections I shall go now. Ashlotte, you are welcome to accompany me if you wish." And with that he began to slowly set off around the bend.
 

Arion

Vampire Lord
True Blood
#12
Draithons eyes flashed with contempt over Mouse. Noting the smile after Todd. He looked down and began whittling away at a stone with his pracitcal belt knife. Slowly the shape of a tiny miniature crown appeared, to those who know it, it was the Crown of Black Iron. Yet it was not perfect, Draithon fashioned small cracks and fracture lines into it, spreading across the entire model like poison.

"You need to learn the difference between your allies and those who are obstacles to a goal. Very, very quickly."
 

Dark Lord Nihilus

Vampire Count
True Blood
#13
The great god Ptra irradiated the listless earth in his fury, parching the sands and searing the accursed remains of the once blessed lands. No water, brimming with the vigor of life, snaked its way through the aged earth and blighted sands. Neither glorious structures nor verdant plains nor bustling crowds adorned the horizon. A single figure trudged through the godforsaken lands. The sun god spared no mercy, his benevolence long lost to the dune crouched lands, and struck the garbed being with gleaming spears of radiant light. As if relenting he collapsed to his knees, his sand colored cloak sprawling about him like the wings of the holy carrion come to reap the souls of the dying and ferry them unto the underworld. He bowed his head before the bleached statue of Djaf, the god of the dead, his forehead singing as it pressed against the burning sands. A prayer played across his cracked lips before with an extraordinary effort, he pushed himself to his feet, cloak swirling about him like a vicious desert asp. Driven by an insurmountable will he continued resumed his travel.

The vista exploded into shimmering shards of light and fell away as if brushed aside.

Bright pinpricks of light punctuated the darkness, refusing to relent to the utter darkness which encroached upon them. Their audacity further compounded by their sheer reluctance to coalesce into a single form, ebbing and flowing as if on whim driven by neither rhyme nor reason. The rustle of age old parchment echoed through shadow slicked corridors, consumed by the blackness which seemed to stem from the very bowls of hell. Only by virtue of the staunch, unbowed torches which bedecked the ancient halls was the pall of shadow held out bay. With great reverence, scrolls were unfurled, and with a delicate touch tomes were opened. The musings and observations of venerable scholars and wise men of long lost land were read and their secrets plied. They did not discuss mastery of magic, although the arcane was referenced frequently, nor the arts of war and battle, although their blood soaked realms were at time traversed. Rather it was dissertations of the mind and soul which were devoured ferociously by the intruder. He gleaned their hidden truths and contemplated the mysteries they espoused.

The hungry maw of darkness consumed the scene once more.

The screams of madmen clawed reality into a decisive form, etching unholy ravings into its rational form. One such lunatic was strapped to a wooden chair, his eyes vibrating and rolling as if he were possessed. The tortured scream of the damned wrenched its way past his lips and rent the air asunder. A middle aged man sat cross legged in front of the howling maniac, an island of calm in a raging tempest. He was at peace, a single hand held languidly out in front of him, his index finger pressed against the center of the lunatic’s forehead. His breathing was controlled as he mustered his being to exude an aura of sheer calm and equipoise, willing his pheromones and the unseen energies which riddled the human body to work in concert with his design. Slowly the man began to calm, his scream dying on his lips, his once erratic breathing leveling out, his pupils contracted until they were of a normal size. Releasing his body from the stricture of utter self control, the middle aged man sagged with exhaustion born of mental labors, yet a smile danced upon his lips. He had succeeded.

The panorama seemed to warble before reasserting itself.

An elderly sage sat in the lotus position, the air seeming to waver about his, contorted by dreadful energies. A heavy stone door before him seemed o bend inward under the baleful forces of some malign source. Shouted commands and curse slipped through the doorway, but the sage paid them no mind. He seemed to visibly relax, and with a great inrush of air he exploded into withering flames.
-------

The door imploded with the grating stone and a figure stepped gracefully through the dust. She was bedecked in the regal finery befitting a noblewoman, a tight fitting gown clinging to her undead flesh. The Lahmian glared in barely repressed rage at the empty chamber before her, there was not doubt in her mind that her quarry had vanished. With a very unlady like snarl she twirled in her heel. Her two sisters stepped gingerly over the debris, their eyes sharing the same anger.

“Search the remainder of this repugnant…” she slid a finger languidly over the smooth stone wall, her finger came away slick with dirt and dust “excuse for a hovel,” she hissed whilst contemptuously flicking away the grime.

“There is no time to waste; we ride in an hour’s time.”

Bowing their heads respectfully, the two Lahmians slipped back through the doorway, soundlessly relaying orders to their mindless servants.

The elder sister was about to storm out of the chamber in their wake but was halted by the soft sound of meowing. A tiny jet black kitten gazed into her eyes fearlessly crouched before a desk atop of which lay a single leather bound tome. Striding forward she gingerly retrieved the tome and smiled.

Perhaps this venture has not all been for naught.

Glancing down at the hapless kitten she bent smoothly and scooped it up, before quickly exiting the chamber.
---------------

He blinked slowly. His vision cleared, his surrounding solidifying around him. He felt the touch of a familiar feline presence before a foreign intelligence pressured his mind. Memories which were not his flooded his mind and the nature of his environment became clear. They were close to the infamous Blood Keep, Todd having been sent forth to parlay with the keep’s dreadful commander.

Jeremiah’s fingers instinctively curled about the spine of the leather bound tome which he carried for as long as he cared to remember. Where once he had shouldered it out of habit, as if unconsciously slaved to the book, it now seemed very familiar, like a long lost friend.
 

Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
Staff member
#14
Shifting slightly the Blood Dragon tensed his muscles before relaxing them again. Kreugar had stood at his post now for three days and nights, eyes constantly focused on the approach to the Blood Keep. Unlike weak mortals, the strict discipline of his line meant his concentration was still has sharp as it was when his shift started, and would still be when it ended in two days time. It was unthinkable that he would fail in this duty, and he knew it was the same for the rest of his brethren who stood watch atop the battlements with him.
The Blood Keep was a dominating structure, nestled at the end of a valley. It was built into the mountain itself, it's impressive walls coming out of the rock face as if they had grown out. The main keep was actually part of the mountain itself, only the main entrance jutting out of its sheer slopes. From either side of this, two walls ran parallel forwards before joining with the outer wall which was the keeps first and main line of defence. Ten paces wide it was nigh on indestructible by normal means, one of the reasons why the Grand Master of the Blood Keep had instructed it to be built so thick. Walach had not forgotten the Keeps first defeat, and when he had finally returned and rebuilt the it, he had planned carefully. Captured dwarves had been forced to labour on its creation, producing something that no man could ever hope to match. The space between the outer wall and the inner keep had been carefully designed, to allow the massed ranks of knights to mount up in the event of an attack.
Likewise the valley in which the Blood Keep was situated had been carefully prepared. Every piece of cover, whether it was foliage or rocks had been removed or destroyed. This left the valley a killing plain, with only one entrance at one end and the Blood Keep at the other. Now any attack foolish enough to attack would have to march over a ground, that was designed to allow the fabled Blood Knights charge with devastating force. Most armies would be destroyed before they even reached the Blood Keeps walls.

Suddenly movement caught Kreugar's sharp eyes. The Blood Keeps had been aware of the battle between Kemmler and an unknown faction, but had decided to refrain from intervening. Now it seemed they had come to them. Vampiric vision allowed him to see the two that had entered the valley cautiously, arms held wide to show they came peacefully.
Turning to one of his comrades he nodded at him, a message conveyed in the simple gesture. As the other vampire swiftly strode off, he knew he would report this to Walach. Ever since the Empire had first destroyed the Blood Keep, he had insisted being made aware straight away of any intruders.
Satisfied that it would be done, Kruegar walked over to a mouthpiece set into the battlement. It was part of an ornate curved tube, that when spoke into magnified the speakers voice a hundred fold.

"Halt!" The word boomed out over the valley, echoing off the mountains. Immediately the newcomers stopped, even at this distance he could see one of them tensing, though the other appeared strangely calm. A rattle below marked the opening of the walls main portcullis, before the pounding of hooves could be heard as ten knights stormed out of the Keep. Their massive armoured forms kicked up clouds of dirt as they sped towards the two strangers, though what would happen when they got there would tell of what was to come.

Todd and Ashlotte had stopped at he bellowed command, waiting uncertainly. Seconds seemed to stretch into hours before a unit of knights had exited the Keep, heading straight towards them. For a moment it seemed as if they intended to ride them down, and both Todd and Ashlotte looked at each other, unsure of what to do. As the knights drew nearer they slowed to a canter and finally a trot, before finally stopped in front of the pair.

"State why you have approached this hallowed place," the obvious leader of the vampires demanded, lance held at the ready.
 

Gree

Master Vampire
True Blood
#15
''My lord'' a knight approached Walach as he sat, cleaning his weapons, he had chosen the Heartblade, a long, heavy broadsword that the Grand Master has used to kill a giant with once.

Walach look up from his work. ''Yes?'''' he was a tall handsome man with short close-cropped black hair, cut short for combat, several faint black scars where visible on his skin, all of them from his mortal days.

''We have intruders my lord, that have arrived in the frontal plains'' the knight said, kneeling. The room that they where in was covered with a vast collection of weapons, ranging from swords to axes to lances they where of a variety of different makes and origins.

Walach rose. He was very tall and well built, covered in a black habit. ''Armor me, I shall meet them'' he said simply.
 

Sweeney Todd

Master Vampire
True Blood
#16
Sweeney Todd silently surveyed the landscape for a moment before turning his gaze back to the knight before him and replying. In the centuries since he last came here the valley itself had been transformed almost completely, no doubt to avoid a repeat of their order's first defeat.

"The two of us represent a council of vampires. We come in peace, and seek an audience with the Grand Master of your order."
 

MasterSpark

Nostalgian
Staff member
True Blood
#17
Wary of the Duke's prior warning, Ashlotte had decided to let Sweeney Todd do the talking and was instead eyeing both the group of impressively armour knights along with the even more impressive fortress that they had rode out from. It was breathtaking and almost chilling in it's majestic grandness.

As Sweeney presented their cause, Ashlotte simply nodded to second what he had said, awaiting the knights' answer.
 

Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
Staff member
#18
Silence stretched before the knight finally responded.
"I will submit your request to the Grand Master. You will wait here. Do not move, do not draw any weapons. To do so will be taken as an act of hostility. What are your names?" As the two responded he nodded his head, before turning the unit back towards the keep. In minutes they had reached the now open portcullis, before they were lost to sight.

*********************

"Report." Respectfully bowing his head the knight relayed the information to the captain of the guard, who had stood waiting upon their return. As he spoke one of their names, the captain looked up sharply.
"He said Sweeney Todd?" he demanded, his tone surprised.
"Yes sir. He was one of our kind, his scent stank of the Strigoi line."As if confirming his suspicions the Captain nodded his head, before calling up to the battlements.
"Watch the male carefully. He is........highly skilled." At his words the atmosphere changed, as the knights became tense. For the captain to call someone else skilled was rare indeed. Satisfied that at the response the Captain span round on his heel, stalking swiftly into the keep to find Walach.

******************************************

Hours had seemed to pass since Todd and Ashlotte had walked on towards the Blood Keep. Still Victarias had not awakened, and as time passed the Duke became more concerned. He would have expected her to wake by now, yet she did not appear wounded. Just asleep.
As he heard a slight moan, he shifted in his saddle to see Jeremiah's eyes fluttering,
"Well it seems as if he has finally awoken," he commented to the other vampires, "though it astounds me how he managed sleep through the last battle. Perhaps it would be best to lower him to the ground?" The man was still draped across Draithon's dragon, were he had been now for over twelve hours.

Suddenly a growl behind him drew him back to the massive saurus that stood there, reminding him of another problem they had,
"Does any one have any ideas how to communicate with this beast?"
 

Dark Lord Nihilus

Vampire Count
True Blood
#19
Jeremiah slowly lowered himself to the ground, landing with a soft thud. He had no recollection of the battle which the Duke had mentioned, nor did he have much of a desire to know, as his mind was enraptured by other thoughts.

"The druchii has expressed telepathic abilities in the past, perhaps he can elicit some communication with the creature," he said as he lowered himself into a seated position upon the earth, drawing the tome upon his lap and gazing at with a mixture of curiosity and repugnance.
 

Arion

Vampire Lord
True Blood
#20
Draithon minuetely tossed his head towards the Saurus.
"I do not believe he would take kindly to that, look at the way he eyes me."
"We may be able to fabricate a device that allows him to sufficiently control his thoughts into words, and focus them into our minds. But the resources here are, inadequate, to say the least. It is a Blood dragon keep. Icekeel has the necessary requirements."
 

Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
Staff member
#21
"Be that as it may, " the Duke replied, " we need someway to communicate now. Without words, actions maybe misconstrued, and we cannot afford that in front of Walach."

Looking down at the dazed Jeremiah, the Blood Dragon regarded him with a cold look,
"What of you?" he demanded, "you meddle with the arcane. Is there nought you could do?"

***********************************************

It seemed hours had passed before Captain Leon found Walach, but he finally found him as he strode from the armoury.
"My liege," he said, head bowed in respect, " outriders have confirmed who the strangers are. They say the are emissaries from a Council of Vampires. I know one of them, if he gave his true name." The Captain paused for a moment as if thinking on something before continuing.
"Sweeney Todd. I trained him like he was my own son. I feel his words can be trusted......." the Blood Dragon trailed off, unsure of how his lord would react by his next words.
"Speak." The command was softly spoken, yet the undertone of thread was clear. Steeling himself Leon carried on.
"The rest of his part awaits our response. Your brother.......the Red Duke, is amongst them."
 

Gree

Master Vampire
True Blood
#22
Walach's fist slammed into the stone wall, the superhuman strength of the vampire lord pulverising a hanging metal fixture and tearing a hole into the wall. ''That bastard'' he hissed with anger.

''How dare he show his face again? I can't believe a coward like hom would dare come here after last time'' he said darkly. He was now clad in his ornate plate armor, crimson-colored with a winged dragon-helmet tucked under one arm, Heartblade was sheated at his waist. A torrent of emotions raged throught him, he had not expected the Duke.

''Captain, I beleive it is time I met my guests'' he said after a few minuties, standing straight up, how he face was more perfectly composed, exactly how a warrior of the Blood Dragons should look.

''Let's go''
 

Dark Lord Nihilus

Vampire Count
True Blood
#23
Jeremiah returned the Duke's cold gaze, the wanderings of his mind during the last 12 hours had seemed to leech a measure of his humanity from him.

"My skill lies with daemon and specter, not translation and baser magic. To conscript such beings to the task of translator would be foolish if even possible, for many such beings would twist the words of our erstwhile ally."

The pressure within his mind expanded as if sensing the inevitability of its release.

With a sigh Jeremiah continued, "but there is one who may be quite capable...and willing to assist."

It did not require much effort to allow the pest to haunt the realms of mortals once more, the creature's essence sliding easily through the conduit he provided with his mere existence and coalesced in a suitable form.

"It seems you have need of me after all...Duke.", Beleeara's voice lacked the inherent jest and jibe, humor and sarcasm which had proliferated his every mannerism in his former appearances.

"Although, I see little reason for why I should assist you. I was cast from this world by one amongst your number and I am tethered to this miserable existence by another. There is naught of mine which hinges upon your success...quite the opposite, if I am to be avenged you must fail. Your accursed council spurned my benevolence once, why should I offer it again?"
 

Gree

Master Vampire
True Blood
#24
Walach entered, flanked by two Blood Knights, he looked over the newcomers one was a man with razors, one of the undead, but a strigoi, however he was not bestial and deformed like the others Walach had killed over the centuries, unusual enough but his companion was an odd-looking girl, his superhuman hearing could detect the faint whirling of metal.

Odd? Was she some sort of construct? He decided it did not matter. ''You two should have a very, very good reason for disturbing me and my warriors so suddenly after we have awakened, speak quickly or forfiet your lives'' he commanded.
 

Arion

Vampire Lord
True Blood
#25
Draithon spoke aloud, in his usual mocking voice when speaking to the cat.
"You hardly offer benevolence. Beleera. "

Draithon concentrated for a moment, before a flash of irritation passed over his eyes and he decided to slip his way past the Saurus' rudimentary defenses.

Now, Saurus, Oldblood I would assume? Judging by the impressive paraphranalia of trophies. Communicating this way is simple, but it requires mental discipline, which you should have as an experienced warrior. Concentrate on a great empty expanse, with sufficient magical skill or mudane training, it is possible to 'sense' the web of life around you, gaining an instincitve idea of where they are and gaining the ability to 'see' unguarded thoughts. A useful metaphor is a snowy plain in which you see people walking about, but as spirits more than corpeareal shapes.On a side note, it is useful in ambushes, however you run the risk of being sensed by a similar magic user. If you have reached this step you must focus on one individual, some may need to speak others names aloud to reach sufficient focus. You may if you wish concentrate on multiple recipients or simply fling your thoughts into the world, however this is more difficult. Important to note is concentrate not on the plain, despite the fact that it is addicitively alluring, as those are the daemons of chaos, beguiling you to lose your mind. Concentrate only on your recipient. However, not overly much, or you may break the connection through force, only concentrate fully in the 'reaching' stage. Now to communicating. Once the link is established you need but think a word, thought, emotion or image and they will experience it as well.



Your minds are linked. It is therefore important that you only think on the subject, or of a blank expanse, to prevent the recipeient from gaining access to your deepest desires and secrets. All with mental discipline can communicate, however it takes more training to establish a link as I have done. You will be unable of that at the moment. But remember, beware of the addictive lure of chaos, If you give in, your emotions and thoughts will begin flowing away, I have 'surrounded' your alter presence so you are at no risk, they will simply be blocked by me, however that carries a different kind of risk. Others may attempt to attack you with this magic, it can take the form of a mind breaking 'push' or even mere distraction to cause you to lose your mind. Some can even simulate pain, pure, unphysical, unaldurated pain.

Amethyst magic is a lethal yet effective tool. It is the magic of the mind, and its exploitations.

Now, talk back, think of the words you wish to give in response. I've lifted the mute, lifted the force forcing you to concentrate only on these words. Don't try to physically attack me, I could break your mind in an instant.
 
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