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Restoring Glory

By Osiris

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OsirisPrince Remias III   1y ago

A loud repetitive thunder and something shaking him in his bed woke the prince up, once his blue eyes opened he saw a trusted servant shaking him awake. The wrinkled old face was distorted with worry, a traumatic fear reflecting in his old eyes as the servant was desperate to get the prince up and out of bed. Before Remias could say anything to the disturbance the older man placed a finger to his own lips, hushing the young royal, as off in the distance Remias heard another rumbling bang that sounded like angry thunder. It was strange, he could have sworn the night was blanketed with a peaceful starry sky when he had retired to sleep but the storm seemed to have come out of nowhere. The prince rose up in bed when he heard the shouts out in the corridor, the servant whispered through shaking breath that the castle was under siege and his mother had sent the old servant to get Remias out of danger. He refused to answer questions as they hurried to get the prince dressed from his nightclothes, his mind panicked with confusion, Remias was trying to piece everything together as the man spoke; he heard more clattering and shouts from outside his bedchamber.

[#009cff "Where is my mother and father, Brahm?"] The older man finally wrapped the confused royal with a cloak before responding and heading to the door. Remias could tell they had no time for him to protest, he [i knew] fear when he saw it in another man's eyes, and Brahm showed a lot of fear. The prince dressed as hurriedly and hid under the guise of the cloak as best as his tired body would let him, outside the lavish bedchamber there were more hollering shouts from the castle corridors and the thudding of dozens of footsteps echoed down the halls.

[i [#00b23a "Your mother is awaiting you in the kitchens, sire, it is the only place safe for you both, near the servants' entrance to the castle. Your father went out with the third wave... he hasn't returned."]] Brahm had hesitated before ushering Remias forward, Remias had such difficulty grasping everything from the grogginess of deep slumber. They were under siege, his father was missing and his mother was hiding in the kitchens... They had to dodge and weave around several dozen soldiers running through the halls, trying to evacuate the civilian families and the servant caste from the castle. From a few of the soldiers faces Remias could glimpse their sheer will was held together by a thread, yet every one of them lit up with a fiery determination when they saw his face. If the castle was truly lost, and his father was gone, the fact that the heir still lived gave the brave soldiers a second wind, bolstering their morale to keep on fighting. How Remias wished he could draw sword to stand beside them-if he was to die in a siege, should he not die among his kinsmen?

Remias paused in one hall, looking out the carven window and seeing the villages below the castle consumed in fire. He thought he heard people screaming and would believe he had seen bodies running down in the streets, their black silhouettes surrounded in roaring flames that twisting like dragon fire to the clear skies above. [i 'There was no thunder, those were siege catapults...'] The prince leaned further, he could see banners of war waving among the throngs of distant armies but before he could make out the insignia Remias was pulled at his arm by the servant, trying to keep him on the move. He was not allowed to stop until they reached the large kitchens, as soon as the door opened he saw his mother, Queen Rowena, running towards him with her arms outstretched.

[+blue "Oh, darling! Thank the heavens you're alright. Brahm was taking so long I feared the worst..."] She wrapped him in a tight hug before he could get any questions out, the servant apologized but his mother waved him off, still clutching her son as if she could hold him forever. Pulling Remias further in as she hurried over to a few bags being packed with a bunch of provisions by the remaining maids, he could see she was holding a brave face yet the tears that welled in her eyes could never be ignored.

[#009cff "W-what is happening? Who is attacking us? What is going on?"] Remias stuttered at first but once he started asking questions he could not stop, they came tumbling out of him, he had barraged his mother with ten or more before she finally made him sit in one of the chairs brought from the dining hall and held up her hand to stop the flood. Guards were posted on either side of the door, his mother's ladies-in-waiting were busy filling satchels for what seemed to be a long trip and no one was giving him any answers it was starting to terrify him. [i 'Why will no one answer me?']

[+blue "You and Brahm are to leave the castle, immediately; Captain Cheval here has graciously stayed close to shore to take you away."] Remias turned to look to the named captain, a grizzled old man covered in war scars and missing his left arm at the shoulder; the Queen bowed her head in gratitude of such a dangerous endeavor. As Remias listened to his mother talk her voice wavered more than once, she was trying desperately to keep her body physically occupied packing bags to stop herself from collapsing. [+blue "The rest of the armada has gone out to sea to fight off the next wave of armies-if they can break off reinforcements at sea, we shall keep the rest of our lands safe. Cheval is risking more than a ship by staying behind for your safe passage under the confusion of the armada's interference. A debt to me I will never be able to repay..."]

[b "I'd give me life for the crown, your Majesty."] Cheval bowed reverently at such recognition, Remias nodded his gratitude in silence, he was following everything for the most part. Everything was still a haze, as if this was some terrible dream, but it felt far too real. He was frightened to see so many in terror, to see a literal army besieging their castle walls with no warning of impending doom. [i 'How could they have gotten so close with no one spotting them?'] He would not believe that their guards could miss a battalion of marching troops or the flood of enemy sails blacking out the horizon in the falling dusk.

[#009cff "Who is attacking us, mother? How could no one have seen them before they were at our gates?"] Remias thought he saw his mother's eyes dart to Brahm who stood at the prince's side ever vigilant but he was too confused to be sure. What was going on?

[+blue "They came from the icy Northern waters, slipping through ice and deep trenches-Northmen who crave violence. They seek not to conquer, only to destroy..."] Remias gulped, it meant they took no prisoners and captives were killed. When the bags were all filled Brahm helped Remias stand, as if his own legs would give out beneath him. He looked at his mother, their blue eyes matching-communicating his fear and her hope. [+blue "You must live, Remias."] He shook his head slowly, no... Do not ask this of him, he knew the sting of painful tears, the ones of heartache. His mother embraced him, reiterating her last sentence with more determination to push him away, towards the servant's entrance-towards safety.

[#009cff "You ask too much. I cannot leave, not without you, mother!"] Brahm shouldered the bags, slinging them over his shoulders as if he was shouldering a farmer's yoke; the good Captain tried to take a bag with his one arm to help the servant out but Brahm muttered something about leaving an old man his pride and refused to share the burden. Remias looked between the servants' door and his mother; desperately pleading to her with his eyes, his emotionally cracking voice barely a whisper. [#009cff "Come with me..."]

[+blue "My place is here, with our people. I have given Brahm a letter to send to my brother, Rhakim-you remember him, don't you? He is a King in Kalrisan, my homeland before I married your father-he will look after you."] She embraced him like he had never been hugged before, a heart-breaking embrace that said more than words could ever describe. A hug that said goodbye. Their last hug would be interrupted by a guard bursting through the kitchen door proclaiming that the Eastern wall has fallen to the siege and soldiers were pouring into the lower courtyards. [+blue "I have lost my husband this day, do not make me lose my son too!"] Her voice snapped as she shoved him towards the door, telling him to go and making Cheval practically drag the prince out of his castle home. Remias resisted only for a short while, wanting his mother to come with them-to not leave him alone. He called out for her repeatedly but she dutifully ignored him, knowing that if she responded again Remias would never leave and thus, never survive. His last glimpse of his mother was her waving to him as her tears finally fell, holding on just long enough to not cry in front of him.

Through a winding servant tunnel that led beyond the external high walls and down to the small docks they ran, Remias moved on his own now wiping away his sorrowed tears ashamed of his forced cowardice. His black hair was matted with sweat by the time they arrived to the docks, surprisingly Brahm kept up, hunched with the bags that would be their provisions from the castle storage. Captain Cheval quickly helped load the small rowboat that would take them further out to sea where his ship sat anchored near would-be treacherous shoals, hidden by the castle itself from the enemies' line of sight. Again Brahm refused aid as he took the center seat, taking the oars in his calloused hands his old face was rigid but his eyes fearfully kept glancing around him with each large stroke of the oars.

Cheval made Remias sit in the smaller boat without ceremony, none of them spoke a single word as they slipped over darkened waters, rocking forcefully with the tide's aggressive pull. It was here that Remias broke down, in the silence of the night his heart flooded over with sadness and both men let him release his grief over his father and mother. He sobbed silently, tears hardly seen with the spray of the ocean that chilled them to the bone with the sharp wind that sliced at them the further out they rowed. Brahm was a powerhouse of strength, his aged body refusing to stop, refused him to rest and only when they pulled up beside the galleon and climbed to its deck, with it's three large masts had sails tightly rolled as it loomed before them in the dark did the old man's legs give out. The sailors gently carried the faithful servant below deck, to rest and recuperate himself; Captain Cheval did not waste time in giving orders for them to shove off from their resting place.

Remias refused to be ushered below deck, instead he recklessly climbed the rigging, to get higher in the air and even as their sails were unfurled he could not stop staring at the villages surrounding the castle were razed to the ground. The fires burned in the reflection of his eyes, his face already cold from the row over felt not the harsh sting of the ocean or the night wind's somber bite as he watched his home burn and light up the sky with its blaze...
OsirisPrince Remias III   1y ago

The morning broke especially grave this dawn, the horizon's sun was hidden by rain clouds that deepened the further they sailed; Remias had woken up somehow in a hammock swinging below deck-he was so exhausted after he could no longer see his home in the distance he did not even remember climbing down from the ropes to collapse below in a random hammock swaying beside many others. The prince was solemn, his eyes were reddened and irritated by his constant tears over what had happen, no one said a word knowing what the young royal had lost-what they had all lost...

He had wished that when he woke he'd be back in his bed, only rising to the soft call of the servants coming to wake him for sleeping in past his morning lessons. Yet the sleeping quarters of the ship's interior greeted him when he opened his eyes, the faint smell of smoke still lingered in the air yet he could not place its source-a phantom that haunted him beyond the siege. The ship was operating in full swing even as Remias came aboard the deck, shielding his eyes from the brighter-yet still bleak-light of the morning. At first he was unnoticed but when a few sailors did notice him everyone stopped what they were doing, every man on board set down things quietly or tied off ropes without a word. Conversations stopped and chores were halted as they all looked to their prince, the young man who would have been their king.

At first Remias could not even meet their gaze, he averted his own eyes, bloodshot against sky blue, he could not bring himself to face so many who stayed behind just for him. They lost so many of their families because of him... He knew his eyes were going to start crying again if he was not careful and he desperately tried to keep that from happening. However instead of berating him or venting their own grief and anger against him everyone on the ship, sailors and officers alike, [b bowed] to him. He was not worthy of it, he was a coward who ran in the dark of night instead of going out to fight like his father.

Quietly Remias tried to shy away from their recognition feeling he was a disgrace, he nodded awkwardly to a few of them as he passed and it was only when he came face to face with Brahm did he manage to look someone in the eyes. The old servant looked even worse than the prince, his eyes were darkened beneath, sagged with the sorrow and his shoulders were hunched over with his continued exhaustion that no doubt plagued him into the morning. Remias' brows furrowed as he tried to open his mouth to speak, to offer something-anything as words to the older man for his continued help in safely escorting the prince in all the confusion. Nothing would come, no words of encouragement, or condolences, not even reassurance could be uttered.

Remias wanted so desperately to at least thank Brahm for his continued devotion and sacrifice, to show how much he wanted to thank them all for what they did not only for him, but his mother-and their continued, renewed valor to the crown. Even though no words could come out-what could he even say, how would he begin? Brahm placed a gentle hand on the young man's shoulder, and gave a quiet and reassuring smile, murmuring that everything would be alright. The captain ordered everyone to go back to their posts and jobs, restarting the flow as men went about the ship and Cheval motioned for Remias to come up to the helm to speak together.

[b "Your Highness, please accept me most humblest condolences,"] the gravelly voice of the captain began, even though everyone lost someone close to them in the siege, the death of the King, Remias II, hit extremely hard. He was a good and honest ruler, a man worthy to wear the crown, beloved by his people and cherished by his family; the fact that he went out with the waves of troops showed how much he cared for his fellow man and in his final moments he'd be hailed a paragon Cheval told him softly. [b "It will take us a few days to sail to Kalrisan, with good wind we shall make landfall at the port city of Dragastyr within a fortnight. The most we have to fear now would be summer storms, an' the enemy armada we left behind, yet to 'ave them show upon these waters would give us a fightin' chance to get our revenge."]

Remias nodded silently, the captain motioned for the prince to follow as he descended to the deck and entered the captain's cabin located at the back of the vessel. It was surprisingly immaculate, everything tidy and put in place with books lining shelves and rolled maps stacked and tied neatly on a large carved table. The captain poured the two of them some drinks of some strong Geldaron stout, pushing the glass to the prince's side of the table as he casually un-shouldered his coat.

[b "I s'ppose it goes without sayin' that once we reach Kalrisan my ship an' crew will have to go through processin'. Dragastyr loves their paperwork, though it has kept them safe from unwanted dockin' in the past. You however, need not worry yourself with that, m'lord, the royal letter the Queen handed to your manservant will bypass any legalities they try to throw at you."] Remias once again nodded, swallowing some of the strong drink with a couple coughs. The two men seemed to take a moment to really unwind and passed several minutes in silence, Remias tried to keep his mind busy yet he found himself rather rudely staring at the spot the captain's arm should have been. Was it a war wound? The older man caught him staring, motioning to it unperturbed with his glass. [b "Lost it during the sinkin' o' the Elyradon b'fore you were born, a pirate's cannon took it clean off. Hardly felt a thin' I was so drunk, we all had downed the keg reserves to lessen the load, prolong the ship from sinkin' beneath the waves. Ah, but we sunk the bastards first... some days I still think I feel it at my side-a ghost limb they call it."]

[#009cff "I had to read lessons on the Elyradon, you were attacked by three ships, were you not?"] The captain proudly nodded, lightly thumping the bottom of his drink against the table between them a few times.

[b "Aye, proudest moment o' me life winnin' that fight. They had us encircled, each barin' their starboard cannons, blasting chains shots at our masts an' fillin' our hull with 'oles. Elyradon was a beast on the seas, boy, the way she could cut through water-she 'ad sides strong as rampart stone, I tell you."] The prince leaned forward, motioning for the captain to go on; if he had Captain Cheval for a tutor his lessons certainly would have been far more exciting than the monotone teacher he was given. [b "We exhausted our cannons on both sides, pepperin' the bastards with each circlin' pass while still tryin' to break through their encasin' trap. We took one down with our own ball-and-chain, topplin' their masts with jagged splinters an' settin' their sails ablaze."]

[b "'Twas between the second an' last ship a-sinkin' that I lost me arm, every man downed as much drink as they were able as we was takin' on water fast. It not only kept us light enough to float but the alcohol kept us numb to our pain, exhaustion an' sickness bein' soaked to the bone. I saw a mate still loadin' cannons with a wooden shard from the deck through his own eye. Men lost limbs yet still climbed the riggin', swung swords hangin' from the ladders as pirates attempted to board whilst bleedin' out. Good men died that day but we ne'er backed down."] The retelling of the fateful fight was a nice reprieve from his thoughts, the prince letting his mind envision it all as if he was there.

[b "We managed to break free from the pirates when they collided with their third ship, the encirclin' trap broken we unfurled sails an' barreled towards the horizon. The two remaining ships gave chase, they barraged us with everythin' they had, our sails filled with holes, takin' on water faster than we could bail it. We began dumpin' things o'erboard, still tryin' to pull ahead of our tailin' enemies..."] Suddenly the door to the cabin burst open, making Remias jump in his skin, a sailor cried out there were sails on the horizon-heading directly for them! Both men set down their drinks and hurriedly went to the deck, the good captain pulling his spyglass out to determine the ship's trajectory and their allegiances. Remias leaned on the railing trying to strain his blue eyes to make out any flag or marking among the small speck of white sails along the horizon's edge.

[#009cff "Is it the Northmen? Have they turned for us?"] Captain Cheval didn't answer, as if he was still trying to discern whether the ship was an enemy or not.

[b "Blasted bleak sun's in me eyes... I can't make out the flag from here."] Cheval handed off his spyglass to the First Mate, climbing the stairs to the helm he bellowed out his orders. [b "Give me full sails, unfurl the foresail, release the jib-I want full wind glidin' us o'er these waters! Man the lazy jacks, get your hides to the riggin', an' give me the mizzen as well."] Everyone jumped at the orders, moving faster than Remias knew was possible, like a well-oiled machine they all had their parts to play, working off of each other and opening the large sails with the wind at their backs, pushing them with a strong leap forward.

[#009cff "Are we to fight them, Cheval?"] Remias almost had his hand at the ready, on the hilt of his sword but the captain gravely shook his head, they knew how eager the prince would be to fight but it was far too great a risk.

[b "Not with the sole 'eir on board, m'lord. Your want for vengeance must come at another time, I gave the Queen me word to deliver you safely to your uncle-though it pains me old heart to turn from a fight, I am nothin' if not a man o' me word."] Remias' heart dropped, and he felt defeated again, shot down like a child before he could even defend himself. Turning away from the captain the prince felt unwanted, everyone had a role on the ship except for him, their 'precious cargo'. Clenching his teeth, he moved to a line of sailors tugging on one of the main halyards to the sails above; without a word he took up the slack behind a few of them. They looked back at him, some in mild shock that he would sully royal hands at the menial task but others nodded their silent approval. He would earn his place on this ship, no matter what the cost, he would pay it to belong...

[center [b ~*~*~]]
Remias winced as he tenderly tried to wrap his blistered and bleeding hands with strips of cloth, working the ropes was a lot tougher on inexperienced hands than he realized. Yet they managed to pull away from the incoming vessel and leave it long behind in the void of the large ocean. He took a sharp inhale as he tended another ripped open part of his hand, the prince would build callouses by the time they reached Dragastyr in Kalrisan-a journey that would take two weeks to complete, providing they had fair winds at their backs.

A few of the sailors patted the young man on his back when they went to rest below deck, already the barriers between royal and commoner were breaking down. A dark-skinned cabin boy came to Remias with a small bucket and some type of fruit, the boy could hardly have been ten years old and from what the others told him didn't speak a single word of common tongue. The boy set the bucket down, handed Remias a strangely wrinkled fruit and motioned with his hand to put it in his mouth. Was he to eat it? Remias gingerly tried to take a bite out of it and promptly leaned to the side to spit out the rancid tasting fruit. This brought the boy and the other sailors to laughter, however the cabin boy then took the now bitten-open fruit and softly applied its gushing juices to the prince's bleeding hands.

Remias was expecting it to burn or sting but the foul-tasting fruit was rather soothing to open wounds, like cool water on a scorching day, it felt rather nice on his aching hands. With the bucket the boy took the previous bandages and lightly soaked them in the pail's contents, dampening them with the liquid before tenderly wrapping the wounds. The water added to the strange fruit's mixture, spreading it along the blisters and rope-burns that seemed to help ease the residual ache and stabbing pain. After the wet bandages were secured the boy then re-wrapped the royal's hands with a second layer of dry, firmer bandages, encasing the palms of Remias' hands with a protective layer to help them heal quickly.

Once that was done the boy stood up and nodded his head that he was finished and took his bucket around the lower deck tending to any who may have needed the strange balm treatment, Brahm came to the prince then, with a mug of grog that the prince was extremely grateful for. It would allow him to rinse out the rotten fruit's taste from his mouth and sooth the tensing muscles that would no doubt set to agony tomorrow. Everyone then seemed to mill about at their own pace, some sailors talked with each other as the night would cover the sky, the soft smell of pipe smoke filtering along the waves. Remias and Brahm went out onto the deck and leaned at the side railing, they were quiet for what seemed like a long time, drinking their respective mugs and letting the violet sky deepen to blue and black, the clouds disappearing as the cool winds of darkness came to greet the world revealing the blanket of stars that sparkled over the seas.

[#009cff "Brahm? Do you think my mother is...?"] After a long while Remias spoke softly to the servant at his side, the old man knew what the prince was asking even if he could not bring himself to complete the question. The old man rubbed the back of his neck with his knobby and gnarled hand, fingers bent with arthritis and covered in callouses.

[i [#00b23a "The Queen is a very strong woman, your Highness, she would not go down without a fight."]] Remias looked up at the stars wondering if, against all odds, his mother was looking up at them too-hoping he was safe. She told him the Northmen took no prisoners, kept no captives, they slaughtered women and children-but surely... Surely a Queen would... The prince felt his eyes starting to burn, he did not want to cry but he couldn't stop them again, failing to hold it in he felt like such a failure and a coward; he was trying [i so hard] to be strong, and the long heavy tears of grief overwhelmed him once more. Everyone let him cry in peace for that he was thankful, he did not need to feel weaker than he already did; he was an orphan and like the rest stranded on the ship, now a refugee.

Brahm gently placed his arm around the prince's shoulders, to which Remias could not stop himself from leaning onto the offered shoulder and the great wave of sorrow crashed over him, threatening to drown himself in his own tears. At last being supported to give in to his sadness the young man truly sobbed, having to mourn again the loss of his father and mother-whom he was certain was dead. Remias felt so rotten having to run, to flee his own home when his father died valiantly to defend it-turned tail like a disgraced dog and forced miles from home into a country he did not know, would not know for weeks to come. Yet Remias still had family left, he reminded himself through his tears, that he still had an uncle that would be there for him and help him. His mother's brother, Rhakim, ascended the throne from Remias' grandfather in Kalrisan and forged an alliance with Geldaron by marrying off Rowena to Remias II. Rhakim was always a good man whenever he visited, he was courteous and held a martial personality befitting on one raised to rule. Certainly there was still love held between siblings, and that love would extend to Remias-surely Remias would not be turned away, not after all he's lost...
OsirisPrince Remias III   1y ago

Remias formed a routine on the ship over the next coming days, it helped keep his grief at bay and allowed him to continue living without wallowing in his own self-pity. He rose with the morning shift, relieving the sailors who tended the ship overnight-the prince tried the night shift the first few nights when he couldn't sleep but his mind could not stop wandering in the quiet night with only the sound of the waves lapping against the ship. It made him sink deeper into depression in the quiet hours of darkness, the shadows crowding around him threatening to swallow him whole. The dark sea waters looked so inviting, an end to his pain that the depressive thoughts began to consume him, Remias refused and changed shifts-he would not allow Death to claim another royal.

The mornings and day were much more agreeable, with the brisk morning wind brightening his day, the sun warming his back as he continued to work alongside sailors and further cement himself as a valued member of the crew. Everyone seemed to like him, they talked and joked with him as much as the next man and after a few days they rarely bothered to bow or bend their head at his arrival. Their company helped bolster his spirits, binding their sorrows together in a continued effort to sail towards Kalrisan, and their new homes. He became like a common man, kneeling upon his hands and knees to scrub the deck, toughened his hands and his back with the pulling of ropes, and took orders from the captain and first mate like everyone else.

Even the little cabin boy came to him with smiles and waves, still not understanding a word spoken but his bright smile and mimed sign language told Remias that he was welcomed among the crew. He had a place again, he was not solely bearing the weight of the lost Kingdom, he was not responsible for what everyone lost, their families and homes stolen from them was not his burden to bear. His people still lived on with the blood in their veins, and soon they would reunite with familial ancestors across the dark blue oceans. Yet Remias could not stop his mind from wondering how their forces could be so unprepared, that not even a single word or red flag was raised. How could an army so vast make their way to the capital without someone finding out?

He mulled on it as he sweated to pull up the large sail or thought about it during the mundane of peeling potatoes and tending fishing nets or lines. He never found an answer and it gnawed at him profusely. It was not to say that Remias did not still have a touch of royal privilege on board, he had the provisions from the castle to remind him of home. He tried to save them at first, ration it little by little to cling on to the memories but eventually he just shared it all with the captain and crew, he knew how cherished the memories were and soon the bags were empty. He was served meals first and no one made a fuss if he ever slept late, not like the regular sailors who would be berated for missing a task. They sailed for miles without a single glimpse of land, it was an ocean that spanned on endlessly.

Once Remias was able to distract himself from his sorrow and self-loathing he was surprisingly happy on the waves, the ocean was a beautiful blue that sometimes held a splash of green. The sky was often blue with white puffy clouds dotting above, moved by the invisible wind that carried the salt spray to his face and filled his lungs with the scent of the ocean. There would be moments where Remias actually found himself resting in the rigging, propped up by the crossing yards of the mast as he looked out over the expanse, and was filled with wonder at how much of it there was. He developed a tan in a matter of days, his once pale face now goldened by the sun, and his upper body followed suit the longer he spent on deck. The prince's black hair grew a touch longer as the days continued and he now had hair upon his face from being unable to shave, and the salty air created waves among his normally straight locks.

He couldn't call his attitude 'happy' but he was somehow [i content], he had succeeded in integrating himself as a member of the crew, he had their respect and they honored him with their acceptance. Remias had a role to partake in again and the jobs gave him a purpose to pursue, instead of just wallowing in the sea that was his self-pity. His hands calloused over and became stronger by pulling the ropes, he gained more muscle by the intense labor of the ship and in his free time Captain Cheval helped train him further in one-handed combat; the clanging of their swords echoed to the wind as they sparred on the rocking ship, its sway honed his footing as he practiced his balance. Remias always had martial training throughout his life, his father insisted even when he was a young boy, sparring and mock fighting was a major part of his upbringing.

He was expected to know martial training to one day be able to lead his armies in their charges, his father also paid many a tutor to teach Remias the ways of war, the strategies of battle between formations and taught the intricacies bestowed upon a veteran's mind. These lessons Remias devoured like a starving wastrel, he could never get enough when he was finally allowed to go outside to the training yard instead of being cooped up in the castle, learning about treaties and diplomacy. Strong skills to know as a future monarch but they were utterly boring to listen to... There were other studies that were equally important but Remias no longer thought of them, choosing instead to learn from the present lessons life threw at him.

They were about a full week into their journey when Remias finally got a taste of action, a warning call from the lookout in the crow's nest alerted the ship's crew to the danger on the horizon. An enemy ship was spotted among the waves and it did not look like they would be able to outrun this one. Their sails were made of black canvas, a swath of dark squares approaching from their port side, and the captain ordered gunpowder and ammunition brought to the each cannon in preparation. Cheval didn't want to fight if he could get away with it but Remias was practically pacing with excitement, his thirst for any form of vengeance couldn't keep him still. He went up to the helm looking over the side of the ship, trying to see the other vessel's ensign.

[b "I knew our luck wouldn't last long. Pirates, deserters an' thieves the lot o' them."] The captain handed Remias his spyglass and the prince looked closer at the approaching target. Remias spotted the pennant, flying above the crow's nest, a rectangle of red with a black skull printed in the middle. As if reading his mind, Cheval explained the flag's significance to the ensign he saw, [b "The red flag indicates that there will be no mercy. Among pirates flyin' a red flag oft'n means that no quarter will be given, not even to those that surrender. The skull means death, they'll kill us all if they 'ave the chance."] Remias swallowed hard as he handed the looking glass back to the good captain, signaling that he would take his place to prepare for an assault.

Captain Cheval attempted to outrun the other vessel as best as he could but they caught up to them with the wind's favor, and the ship was ordered to load and fire the cannons when they had the opportunity. Remias tried with the others to prep the cannons for battle, the powder monkeys-young boys around ten to fourteen years old-went back and forth between the deck and the lower levels. They brought up several barrels of gunpowder to the guns from the stored magazine below, alongside each group of men loading the cannons were gun captains who oversaw the procedures and made sure all were operating in tandem with each other. A well-oiled naval crew did every task without fail and Remias quickly learned how to maintain their pace.

One sailor would load a cartridge of gunpowder into the barrel of the cannon, followed by a wad of cloth canvas, while a second man shoved it down to the base of the cannon using a wooden beam that served as a rammer. After some finicking with the gun captain and some wire, Remias would then load a round-shot into the cannon along with the others in line, and packed it again with the same type of wad as before, ensuring that the cannon ball did not roll out of the cannon accidentally. The men on standby would then 'run out' the cannon by grabbing the gun tackles and pulling until the loaded weapon was aligned with the gun ports and the top railing ready to fire.

Other things happened that Remias couldn't see and didn't want to interrupt the gun captain who was doing more advanced things with the weapon, but he saw them all aiming the cannons until they were all ready for the fire command. Captain Cheval was turning their vessel to the right as the enemy ship was approaching to their front left, as if they were wanting to batter the bow of the galleon. Cheval gave the command and every gun captain called out to fire when they had a closer opening, the thunderous clash of cannon fire was utterly deafening, men closer to the weapons had to fully cover their ears to protect themselves from the blast. The smell of burning gunpowder irritated his nose and the prince covered his face in response, he watched the rest of the procedure on cleaning up and reconfiguring the rest of the cannon until it was pulled back to loading position and he could contribute to the fight again.

His position was lackluster but extremely useful, loading the round-shot every time he could, hefting over twenty pounds with each ball in rhythm with everyone else's speed. As each ship was constantly in motion and the smoke from the black powder clouded the air, not many shots would actually land. The shaking of the ship due to the waves caused some difficulty as well, forcing the gun captains to constantly reposition and try again. The good part of this meant that the enemy ship also missed several of their shots, and Cheval maneuvered accordingly to cost them more ammunition. Remias still heard the splintering crash as their hull took a hit from a well-placed aim, he heard a few men yell out in pain, as the shattered pieces from the broadside blew into their faces. The prince wanted to run to their aid but knew it wouldn't help any, so he kept loading and waited for the cannon to jolt back to his position on the ship.

A few ports down he saw another shot bust through the side and felt the shockwave of wind that whistled in his ears, he tried to keep his head down and ignore the sounds of battle. While he had envisioned sword-fighting on the deck, he realized that fighting at sea was a whole different beast he was not prepared for. It terrified him, the thought that at any moment his port window could take a cannon shot and he could be blasted to bits by a round-shot. The splatter of blood marked spots along the deck where a man use to stand, his body crumpled in a heap on board if he was lucky; if he was unlucky the shot would carry his broken corpse clear through the other side of the vessel and they'd never find his body to give it a proper funeral. Then a call from above gave him the opportunities he was looking for and he eagerly swapped places with another sailor to go fight, his sword in hand.

[b [i "All available hands on deck-we're being boarded!"]]
OsirisPrince Remias III   1y ago

For [i this], Remias was ready and willing, he desperately wanted to lock swords with an enemy, to gain some sort of satisfaction at striking down someone if only to project his revenge onto them. The waterlogged pirates came up the side ladders, clinging to rope as sailors above cut down their chances by severing their tethers. As interesting as the new technology of cannons was, he did not believe he liked how gunpowder changed the way fights were made and won. It was still a new invention, a Geldaron staple, which raised their armadas to one of the best in the world. It brought about the question of whether they would have lost their homeland at all had their armada been aware of the invading fleet. With that kind of power on every ship, Geldaron would have no problem in destroying the mass of ships, but the alarms were never raised. Their enemies just slipped right inside their territory and unbelievably no one ever noticed, how was that even possible? Remias questioned again, and such power also meant that deserting pirates from Geldaron would also have this firepower for their own vessels. These pirates were obviously vagrants from Geldaron themselves, having stolen their technology for their own illegal gains.

He did not like it. It took away from the honor and fury of battle with one's skill, and to destroy a man from several yards away without much chance of repercussion. The prince understood the need for such armaments but as soon as he reached Kalrisan he'd hope to never see a cannon again. They were loud and the plume of smoke that rose from the ignited gunpowder was horrible to his senses, as far as Remias knew only Geldaron possessed this current power in such large quantity. A naval achievement for his father and those that created the black ground powder but the dark-haired prince vowed to never outfit a vessel with the infernal contraptions if he could help it. A few vagabonds made it to the deck so the prince and others rushed to engage them, his sword clashed with one of their cutlasses and adrenaline flooded his already high-wired veins. A lifetime of training one-handed combat easily gave him the upper hand, his skill with a sword quickly outclassed the pirates who hacked with their blades and allowed him to expertly exploit their weaknesses. Within moments he disarmed and dispatched his enemy, feeling the rush of projected vengeance be fulfilled as he knew they would not show any mercy if the tables were turned, so he was unable to show leniency. There was a part of him inside that did not [i want] to give mercy, the angry side of his soul wanting to soak his steel in crimson.

He achieved his goal with each stab or slash that went against his enemies, slashing a river of red onto the wet deck, mixing with the water pooling at their feet. While he would probably wipe the deck with all the pirates who boarded he could not account for the problems fighting with cannon fire created. They all had to constantly be aware of the cannons' kickback, the clouding smoke obscured their vision and made it difficult to maintain focus, the loud breaking of both vessels under barrage added a level of danger Remias was untrained in, whereas the pirates became accustomed to it. Once his opponents realized this they began lashing out only when the whistling of cannon fire sped through the air, hoping to catch the prince off-guard in the chaos. It forced him to get through their defenses during the lull moments, but the pirates just defended against his strikes, blocking until another blast of round-shots would break through the ship's exterior.

Remias cried out as a pirate's sword bit deep against his side, a mistake from their current situation as his arm raised slightly to shield his face from the flying wood debris and shards of railing. The opportunity would cost him his footing and he withdrew long enough for a more experienced sailor to fight the oppressive vagrants. Remias held his right side gingerly with his free arm, draping his left arm over his chest and applying pressure to the grievous wound. He couldn't know how bad it was until he was safer below deck, except he couldn't get there easily, repeatedly the ship was swarmed with scrambling waves of pirates. He had to fight his way to the stairs leading to the lower levels, yet his side hurt greatly when he raised his sword arm, like his chest cavity was splitting in half with every movement.

Being wounded in battle caused him to lose a lot of focus and open himself up to more opportunities for attacks, the pirates were merciless and relentless. He plunged his sword into the chest of one and another came out of nowhere to take their place before Remias could remove his sword from the slumping corpse. A deep laceration tore into the back of his leg from a flanking strike, and he was filled with an angry perseverance-ripping his sword upward, free from the carcass he brought it around with a spinning slash, twisting agilely in a whirl whilst cutting the assailant behind him in a diagonal downward arc. Using enough force to cause the man to be flung away from him as the prince's blade cut down the enemy's chest in a wide cut. With a flurry that the prince hardly recognized as his own he twisted his sword by the handle until the blade was pointing behind him, under his arm utilizing the downward momentum of his previous blow. He then embedded its point with an exerted thrust with his free hand at the pommel, hearing the sick yet satisfying plunge and weakened cry as he shoved his sword into the belly of the first 'replacement' pirate, once again at his back.

The motions seemed to come from somewhere in his subconsciousness as the young man could not remember being taught such an fluid motion, driven by his complete will for survival. Remias stabilized his footing, gingerly trying to keep most of his weight on his uninjured leg before dragging the tip of his sword from the other man's ribs to navel and sliced downward the rest of the way. The entrails of his latest kill quickly spilled out from the vertical gash in a steaming pile at the man's feet, the dirty pirate tried to hold his innards up but the motions were too quick for him to react accordingly. Even still, every strike from the cannons threatened to be the death of him, when they found their marks the entire section was upended in the destruction. Remias fought his way through to the stairs leading down to the lower levels, taking a brief moment to lean against its doorframe for a breath.

His skin felt on fire, his adrenaline was surging through his body doing all it could to keep him standing and continuing to fight. He had sustained more injuries than his brain could currently understand, there was just so much havoc all around them, he could hardly feel the blood dripping and staining his clothes. Remias' body started failing as he got to the lower levels of the ship, clutching his wounds he attempted to sheathe his sword but his shaking hands missed. The blade instead clattered to his feet and he staggered several paces, tripping over his own feet a few times caused him to fall and curse loudly. On bloody hands and knees he crawled, still hearing the disarray and confusion above, the men's shouts melding together in muffled cacophony. He did not know which side was winning but he [i felt] like he took on an entire fleet of pirates on his own, now that his adrenaline was fading and the pain started to set in. The prince crawled as far as he physically could before he finally blacked out.

[center [b ~*~*~]]
Remias had horrible nightmares while unconscious, such vivid imagery of agony, horrendous visions of suffering. His flesh felt like he was submerged in a river of lava, while his outside body battled a raging fever from his unconscious mind. The prince was surrounded by demons who stabbed, ripped and flayed his body as he writhed against unknown restraints. They forced their clawed hands into his chest, pulling from him a cascade of blood, digging in their blades with malicious intent and twisting into the side of his chest; they flayed his legs, he screamed as they continued to tear from him, continued to take whatever they wanted and he was unable to break the invisible restraints. Remias couldn't move although he tried to pull at his arms or legs, to push away his demonic assailants, even trying to swipe at their faces.

Torment seemed never ending and yet somehow his consciousness shifted, slowly coming to as he periodically opened his eyes the demons vanished to be men standing over him in a huddle. He looked around sluggishly with only his eyes, upon seeing Brahm near his head his blue eyes widened and tried to speak. Except the only thing that came from his lips was a strained groan of pain; he was lying on his back on a table, the men surrounding him were covered in blood and some of them seemed to have their own minor injuries to tend to. Others restrained his limbs as a toughened, gray-bearded sailor was doing something at his side. Remias couldn't understand at first that the grayed sailor at his right side was performing surgery on him, the digging of his fingers and hands in his wounds was translated to the young man's subconsciousness as being afflicted with demonic torture.

[i [#00b23a "You have to stop, give him a minute, he's conscious. Someone bring me some wine or rum quickly!"]]

[#f07d0f "I can't stop now, I've my hand in the lad's chest! I have to stop the bleeding with as much packing as I can."] Remias attempted to raise his head and his eyes widened when he looked down and saw all the blood, his shirt was torn open and there were blood-soaked rags resting along his abdomen. He yelled in pain when he saw that the surgeon did in fact have one of his hands in the large laceration at his side from the pirates earlier. Brahm quickly put a gnarled hand on the prince's forehead, pushing him to lay back down as the faithful servant was brought strong alcohol in a murky bottle.

[i [#00b23a "Lie still, your Highness. Here, drink this-for the pain. Please, sire."]] Brahm pleaded and lessened the pressure so the young man could take a drink from the proffered bottle, immediately Remias groaned at its contents' flavor. He didn't stop drinking however, blissfully thankful for any means to dull the agony and numb his brain. He cried out in pain as the surgeon tried to continue mending his injuries, his body spasming trying to get away from the affliction. Then Brahm actually raised his voice, the old servant's tone rising with anger that surprised Remias immensely; he had always known Brahm to be quiet and a soft-spoken man and yet Remias never thought to consider that this loyal man had helped take care of him for all of his life. Brahm felt like a second father to Remias, as his eyes watered slightly from the thought and the additional pain, he wanted so desperately to tell Brahm how much he meant to him in case the prince didn't recover. He couldn't get the words to come out. [i [#00b23a "I said to give him a minute, damn you! He needs but a [b moment]... to drink."]]

Remias felt the surgeon sigh and retract his hands, allowing the pressure and pain at his side to significantly decrease, he could see they filled the gushing wound with some cloth and herbal remedies to stop him from bleeding out. He drank a little bit of the alcohol at a time, feeling the other men relax their hold on his ankles, they had to hold him down during his unconscious struggle. The prince tried to hand the bottle back to Brahm but the servant pushed it back towards him, telling him to drink it all to help with what they had to do next. Despite not wanting anymore Remias complied, while he was drinking he was given a rest and was able to breathe easier, which was most likely what Brahm truly wanted-finishing the bottle was just the excuse. When it was finally empty Brahm took it and put a thick strip of leather into the young man's hand, instructing him to bite down on it and because he really had no other choice he did, looking down to the surgeon once it was secure and he gravely nodded for the old sailor to continue.

Remias grit his teeth while he endured through muffled screams as the older surgeon removed the bloodied cloth, he had to stifle his cries as he was forcibly sewn shut and bit down on the leather strip as hard as he could. The stabbing and winding of the surgical thread had to seal the inside part of the wound first, to keep him from opening up his chest cavity to future injuries. Then he'd have to suffer through the outer layers of skin being closed back up, thankfully after the inner layers were sewn the alcohol kicked in and his brain no longer felt the inflicted pain. The rest of the surgery proved easier and he even slipped a few times into unconsciousness because of his exhaustive ordeal. Every wound he sustained was sealed and treated with a generous smear of honey, which held strong antibiotic properties to counter any infection. The prince didn't notice the end of the procedure for he drunkenly went in and out of sleep, and would end up sleeping for a few days, constantly being monitored and cared for by the attentive Brahm.
OsirisPrince Remias III   1y ago

It took the three days of unconsciousness to beat his fever and he was bedridden for hours at a time as his wounds healed sufficiently. Overall, he sustained eight major injuries that would take several days to fully heal, having to constantly cover the patched up wounds with healing balms to speed up the process. Brahm helped apply any medicine Remias could not get to, dutifully remaining at the prince's side and helped feed him while he was immobile. Remias repeatedly professed his gratitude and by the time he was able to stand on his own two feet again he had a long, heart-felt conversation with Brahm and gave him the loving recognition he deserved. Somehow, before he knew it the two weeks of travel were practically over, the Gods granted them decent weather the majority of the voyage, decent wind and warm days even though they had many obstacles along the way. During his downtime the rest of the crew went about and made necessary repairs to the damaged hull and he heard from them how they fought off the pirates until they backed off and ran away, taking far more damage to their vessel due to the sharp aim of their gun captains.

They were closer to Kalrisan now than they had ever been and it seemed like they were to be tested once more, before they were able to reach the desired shores their luck for good weather ran out. It came after days of warning, the arrival of dark clouds simply took their time before emptying out in a long drizzle that kept pouring for days. The rain brought torrents of water, the oceans became angry and battered the sides of the wounded ship with each passing downpour. Men were drenched to the bone in mere minutes, coughing and choking against the large waves that broke over the railings, slicking the deck and tossing many off their feet. Remias could barely see through the rain, each wave that hit him threatened to carry him over the side as they slammed into his injured chest with an icy vengeance. The cold waves were forcing him to cling for dear life on the ropes, the railings or mast, anything he could wrap his arms around and anchor himself to.

Every wave seemed to hit him as hard as the last, as if the ocean was trying to beat the very breath from his lungs, he was certain any pressure would cause the stitching along his side to rip open but luckily no blood came to his shirt. Through spitting salt water he prayed harder than ever before to appease the God of the Seas, wondering what slight caused the deity to become irate with them. Did a sailor curse the oceans under their breath, did one of them insult the God and therefore bring his ire? Or did He no longer care for the ship or crew aboard, growing tired of giving them decent waters to travel? Some Gods were a fickle bunch. Remias did not know so he simply prayed for deliverance from the angry ocean's battery, as sailors worked to pull the running rigging, tugging the sails tightly furled and tried to tie down anything they could to keep their resources from being tossed overboard.

The wet rope was hard on his hands as the tension from the sails tore the rope from his grip, causing wounds to open on the prince's hands. Even though men protested against him helping, fearing him to be too weak-he resisted and joined the lines raising the sails. The constant flood of salt water aggravated his grip but still he helped the others elevate the heavy canvas until they were secured at the top. The storm seemed endless, refusing to cease as the dark clouds kept rumbling overhead; rain and sea water kept everyone drenched, even the young cabin boy would travel from the kitchens to the deck and be soaked in seconds. They could only cling onto the ship's sides and be at the ocean's mercy, any shouting was drowned out with the wind and waves leaving them to suffer in silence.

Remias could not believe how much water there was and how often he found himself coughing it up after a wave crashed over the deck. The captain ordered everyone to tie together with long yards of rope, in case anyone accidentally was pulled over the side they could reel them back by the twined tether. Remias tied his section of rope to the rest, making sure the cordage was secured at his waist below any of his wounds and then the good captain came over and secured the prince two more times with separate sections of rope.

[b "Can't be too cautious with you, m'lord."] Remias acknowledged with a nod, hearing only a portion about caution over the roaring wind and slapping waves. He didn't even object finding the extra attachments most comforting, they stayed that way for hours unable to see beyond the rain, every man being beat into the deck, slipping and falling over with each sweep across it. A few times a couple men were pulled over the side of the galleon, picked up by a rogue wave and tossed about like a ragdoll. Thankfully the rough strands held strong and the crew was able to pull them back to safety when the waves ebbed before another strike.

Each tug of rope hurt, by the time several hours passed Remias could barely lift his arms; back aching, knees buckling with rope burns across his hands and forearms, feeling too cold to move smoothly. Every gust of wind ripped their skin like jagged ice scraping across their flesh, it bit into their faces, and devoured every feeling from their frozen fingertips. By the fifth hour Remias couldn't even feel his hands or feet, developing a numbness due to the cold and even though the captain and cabin boy both asked him to retire below deck he refused. He'd certainly be warmer, wrapped in blankets and sitting by the kitchens for warmth but that was not how Remias was.

He could not consciously let others suffer above him while he was getting some reprieve, maybe he would have been happier but his pride would not let him hide from the storm. So he gritted his teeth, spat out salt and rain water while hunkered down with the rest of the crew who had to stay on deck. A few sailors would swap out positions over time as running the ship was a never-ending job, each taking turns out of the rain and it was only after everyone had a chance to rest below deck that the prince removed himself from the rope line and went inside. Below deck men had strewn rope nets above their heads and began hanging wrung out clothes to dry intermittently between shifts. Most of the sailors walked about in their breeches or hosen, taking the time out of the storm to have meals or imbibe hot liquid to fight off the cold. The galleon's kitchen was filled with boots and flat shoes, attempting to dry them out quicker being near the lined fire-bricks used for cooking.

Since cooking with fire on a wooden ship was obviously hazardous the kitchen was laid out with special bricks, keeping the fires away from the wooden siding and floorboards and raised on the slabs of rock. Some ships had barrels of sand that they would light fires on top to keep the smaller flames contained, but the galleon hosted too many mouths to feed for a tiny cooking flame. Remias was given food and drinks in the kitchen, the cook giving him a mug of warm grog to help fight away getting sick. He didn't even mind the taste, even though it seemed watered down and he ate his meal without actually tasting any of it. Everything seemed to hurt, as the feeling came back to his hands Remias was hit with the pain from the constant rope burn and opened blisters, his fingertips felt like a knife was being stabbed into them. His chest was tight and his legs were stiff from the strain, every one of his injuries were screaming at him for being so prideful and ignorant.

Outside the ship the storm still raged, the dark clouds a giant blanket covering overhead without a single patch of light or sky above. They rumbled loudly, rising tall overhead and emptied more rain than Remias thought was possible, luckily there was no lightning to throw at them but the grumbling thunder was still loud enough to notice and keep them warily staring at the skies. The men were dismayed that the storm kept going and the rain refused to ease up or stop, the churning waves tossed their vessel about like a toy in a bath. The waves were also tall enough to crash over the ship multiple times and continued to add cold pressure to an already miserable situation.

Remias decided to retire to his hammock, he stripped himself of the soaked clothes until he was down to his linen undergarments, hanging the wrung-out clothes along rope suspended over the living quarters. He didn't want to get too comfortable, thinking he'd go back out once he dried a bit more but when he climbed into his hammock and under the blankets sleep was too inviting. He fell asleep without even realizing it and luckily no one bothered to wake him, he spent the rest of the evening asleep so deeply that not even the waves could keep his eyes open.

[center [b ~*~*~]]
The next day the waves were calmer but the heavy rain persisted, the clouds showing no signs of lessening or stopping any time soon. As predicted when he woke Remias ached when he moved, having stiffened in the night and he felt like his very bones were bruised and battered. The prince redressed gingerly, checking how his wounds were still closed and healing before he went out onto the deck looking over the waves. They rose halfway up the sides of the ship but thankfully they did not breach the railing, now the only problem was the rain that was pelting like little ice shards from the heavens and the cold wind was still being a nuisance. Remias chose to relieve a sailor to go warm up taking his place along the rigging, many of the netting needed mended and repairs, some of the supplies on the deck were ruined by the salty exposure and needed drying out but with the drizzle it wasn't possible. The ship always seemed to have something to do, even as meaningless as wrapping up coils of rope or moving around supplies kept men busy.

After the prince finished a full task he went to see Cheval in the captain's quarters where he was charting with the navigator and discussing docking routes to Kalrisan's port city. As Remias entered their conversation quieted down, the navigator was a scrawny man with circular spectacles placed halfway down his narrow nose. He bowed to Remias and gathered several parchments from the table to clear off space, he cleared his throat and excused himself leaving the chambers just to the captain and the prince. Remias moved further inside the captain's cabin, slicking his black hair back with a hand and the grizzled older man motioned an open chair for him to which he sank into it gratefully.

[b "Somethin' on your mind, m'lord?"]

[#009cff "Yes, captain, I am worried the storm may have thrown us off course, it also concerns me that we have not seen any signs to Kalrisan on the horizon. Surely we must have come near it by now."] Remias saw a strange expression briefly come over Cheval's face but it quickly vanished into a soft smile, causing the prince to furrow his brows in suspicion. [i 'What is he hiding from me?']

[b "Aye, m'lord, generally we'd be seein' gulls o'erhead by now. We've been shifted by a large margin from the storm, an' the rains have us blind in the wa'er."]

[#009cff "So what can we do?"]

[b "For now, we maintain course, hopin' to catch sight o' the ridgeline shore for our destination; until the rain stops our navigation is non-existent."] The captain poured a glass of brandy for Remias and his own a small portion, seeming to have a personal stock kept in his cabin, Remias took the glass but didn't drink it, his fingertips toying around its crystal rim. [b "There be somethin' else, eh?"]

[#009cff "Since we are finally nearing Kalrisan, I was hoping you could tell me about Dragastyr. What are we expecting to find once we reach it?"] The captain nodded softly, taking a light swig of the auburn liquid, the brandy reflecting like warm caramel in the cup.

[b "Dragastyr was established b'fore I was e'en born, a hub for tradin' an' ship contracts, all naval imports an' exports to Kalrisan are passed through their gates. It's heavily defended both by land an' sea, we're expectin' to be flagged down an' boarded with an inspection to pass before we can even approach their docks. We give them the tour, prove we're not sneakin' explosives in an' tell them what happened back home."] Cheval gave another pause and drank, draining his glass in a gulp before casually pouring him another. [b "Once we 'ave clearance to dock, we'll make landfall an' probably be escorted to the King's court, where we'll meet an' talk with your uncle. Then we pray. Pray your uncle grants us asylum, where we can integrate into Kalrisan society an' hope the gen'ral population are kind to refugees..."]
OsirisPrince Remias III   1y ago

"Land ho!" They had finally crossed the fortnight mark of two weeks' travel when the call came abruptly, splitting through the silence. The last day of travel was clear and bright, the sun sparkled in a cerulean sky with not a single cloud in sight. The lookout in the nest repeated the call as Remias and the other sailors clamored to the galleon's rails to look toward their new home; above their heads the prince heard the distinct call of seagulls calling to each other and everyone cheered in response. Their ordeal was almost over! A few men happily pointed out the white winged gulls flying up ahead, others climbed the rigging to get better views of the approaching dot of land at the edges of their vision.

[i 'We made it! We actually made it all the way across the ocean.'] Remias gave joyous hugs to those around him as the shouting cries of happiness erupted, he never knew how desperate he was to reach land again until it was right on the horizon. He was definitely not the same young man as he was before their journey, not only had his physical appearance been altered by the consistent exposure to the sun and salt water but his mentality changed as well. He was tougher, his mettle had been tested and he came out of all the trials thrown at him stronger than before. His wounds were mere bruised scratches now, the medicine on board and the dedication of the surgeon allowed him to make a full recovery.

As the first mate ordered everyone back to their posts the quiet excitement could be felt like jolting electricity coursing over the entire ship. All eyes seemed trained on the little speck of land growing larger the closer they sailed to it, Remias could hardly keep his hands still and took to impatiently pacing at the prow. It seemed to take far longer than possible to get into Kalrisan waters, the galleon gliding over the water with their sails full of wind, ushering the remnants of Geldaron to their new home. By the time they could see the stone walls and ramparts of Dragastyr, its harbor guarded by several ships of varying shapes and sizes, one could cut the tension onboard with a knife.

According to Cheval they'd be stopped by another vessel before they could reach the docks, another delay that they'd have to deal with. As if on cue one of the larger ships set sail, coming out to meet the new arrival, until the two galleons halted facing each other, sizing each other up and considering their firepower. While Remias and the others had to raise their sails as a peaceful exchange, the galleon from Dragastyr inched closer until they were within shouting range. Captain Cheval did most of the talking and Remias chose to keep his head down, feeling far better to simply observe, the other captain conversed over a large gap between each ship. When Cheval gave the agreement to the inspection a few gentlemen came from the other vessel and the first mate started showing them around, luckily no one required Remias to present himself and he got the feeling from the captain that it would be best if he kept his face as scarce as possible.

The investigation took over a full hour to complete, since they had nothing to hide they got permission to approach the harbor and dock themselves for processing. The inspecting officers wished them a good day and crossed back over to their respective ship, waving to Remias' galleon as they unfurled their sails and entered Dragastyr Harbor. Anchoring at the port never felt so relieving, and for some reason, so freeing; the sailors could hardly contain themselves from sprinting down the ramp to the docks below. Everyone couldn't get off the ship fast enough and Remias was no exception, he bounced on his feet as he waited for the throng of crewmates to move out of his way.

His servant Brahm stuck at his side as he finally stepped on dry land once more, Remias felt like he wanted to sink to his knees and kiss the docks he was so elated. Captain Cheval was pulled aside by a large plump man in a finely decorated satin outfit, Brahm explained that they were the processing official and the captain would be stuck filling out the appropriate paperwork for several hours. The first mate stood talking to a group of armored knights and Remias notice the man point at him, the knights nodded and came to halt in front of the prince. All of them gave him bows from the waist, the leader raising his visor to speak to the royal.

"Forgive our intrusion, my lord, but if you will follow us we would like to escort you to the hall of King Rhakim. As you are no doubt tired from your long journey, we would appreciate getting you all settled in as quickly as possible." Remias nodded silently, motioning for Brahm to follow, the pair followed the guards through the winding streets of Dragastyr. As much as he tried Remias could not keep track of their route to the palace, which rested at the highest peak of the city, forcing them to climb stairway after stairway. The guards kept rather close to them all the way, Remias found them walking around the two of them in an encircling formation, typically being surrounded would have made him paranoid-but for now he forced himself to relax.

The palace was largely made of white stone, chiseled by careful hands and decorated with large ornamentations decorating giant swaths of marble. The archways were fringed and inlaid with valuable gold, they glinted in the sunlight as the marble floors were covered with mosaics. The heavy wooden doors were strapped with iron, when they were opened for him to enter they echoed into the great hall, and all the patrons inside turned to look at the newcomers where King Rhakim sat at the far end, holding his court in session. Remias gulped and his hands started sweating as the guards led them to the throne, they bypassed several people waiting their turns to be seen by the king, seeming to consist of both commoner and nobleman alike.

The guards bowed to the king, introducing Remias and Brahm only as individuals from Geldaron, which the prince thought was odd however upon seeing how swamped the monarch was with people wanting his attention it was probably for the best. Rhakim was a man in his mid-fifties, his shoulder length black hair holding several strands of gray and plaited with silver ribbons. He had a full beard that reached his chest that was equally decorated in entwined ribbons and ornate, silver beads; his facial hair sported the same graying effect and his face showed visible stress marks along his skin. Aging but still strong, Rhakim sat on his throne next to a table that was stacked high with several scrolls and parchments, and was currently busy going over one of the papers. Brahm pulled the queen's letter out of his tunic, having held onto it and kept it out of the rain and storms, with its wax seal unbroken he handed it over to the prince. Remias stepped up to the raised throne with his mother's last letter in hand, his thumb running over her seal insignia as he moved closer to his uncle expecting him to look up from his parchment but Rhakim didn't.

[#009cff "King Rhakim, I have a letter here from Queen Rowena of Geldaron, for your hands only."] Remias spoke after another gulp, trying to keep his voice unwavering and held the folded paper outstretched. Still, Rhakim didn't even look up from reading, he couldn't see the pained expression on Remias' face, wanting his uncle to look up and see him, to see him and know who he was.

[#b300d6 "Just place it on the table, courier, I'll get to it... eventually."]

[#009cff "U-Uncle Rhakim, please, this letter is the last thing my mother gave me."] Rhakim's familial blue eyes shot up from his document with a confused expression, he looked at Remias' face for the longest time before he reached out and took the letter from the young man. Rhakim looked at the wax seal and broke it as he opened it, he looked from the paper to the prince a few times before he started reading. He didn't talk as he read the letter of desperation, his sister's last correspondence and the expression of confusion turned into sadness and it grew deeper on his face the more he read. The king had to stifle himself and clear his throat to keep from losing his composure, ordering the entire court to be dismissed, those that were still waiting would have to come back later to have the monarch's audience. Soon the only people left in the great hall was Rhakim, Remias, Brahm, the king's advisor and a retinue of guards standing at their posts. His uncle then allowed himself to break down, clutching the letter to his chest as he sobbed with the horrible news. Remias and Brahm both averted their eyes, letting the king have his moment of emotion without feeling any strain or judgment. They stayed that way for several minutes until Rhakim was able to re-compose himself, wiping the tears from his face with fabric handed over by the tall and lanky advisor whom Remias was not introduced to.

[#b300d6 "I apologize, Remias, I mistook you for a common courier. I had no idea any of this happened, Rowena was always such a stalwart heart, I... I can hardly believe it to be true that she's... gone."] Remias furrowed his eyebrows and solemnly nodded, a lump rising in his throat. [#b300d6 "It is good that she sent you to me, here you are among family and you are safe under my protection. Was the voyage arduous?"]

[#009cff "It was a lot more difficult than many would have hoped, we had plenty of opposition over the two weeks' time. Speaking of, uncle, the captain and crew that escorted me are also in need of protection and any asylum you could give them. They are also homeless and lost much to the siege, we are hoping everyone might find clemency and integrate with your country."]

[#b300d6 "Of course, they are all welcome to make homes here and start anew, though they will have to learn of Kalrisan customs and laws. I want no trouble."] Rhakim carefully refolded the letter and tucked it in his brocaded vest closest to his heart. He rose from the throne then, outstretching his arms towards his nephew who immediately rushed into them, allowing the two of them to embrace tightly. Rhakim held onto Remias for quite a while before he released his hold and he was able to get a good look at the young royal. [#b300d6 "You look good, for being stuck on a ship for two weeks. You must tell me of the adventure when things calm down, for now let us talk about your own home arrangement. No son of Rowena is going to be left to the wolves and homeless in a foreign country."]

[#009cff "I would be grateful for any assistance you can provide, uncle."]

[#b300d6 "Konin, what was that newest castle we took over, the latest acquisition-what was it again?"] The royal advisor stepped forward at the mention of the name Konin, the tall man was balding but still showing fine blond hair swept along the sides and back of his head, giving him a ring around the lack of hair on top.

"It was Avolire Castle, your Majesty, alongside the village Dornam."

[#b300d6 "Grant them both to Remias for his own personal use, write up the deeds for keep and village, he will be the sole owner and be in charge of all their rents and revenue."] Rhakim's advisor seemed to pale at the request, clearing his throat as he countered the King's command. Remias' jaw dropped when he heard he was getting not only a full village but a castle on top of it. He would have thought he'd have to stay in Dragastyr for the rest of his life, not own his very own castle.

"I cannot, sire, only vassals of Kalrisan may be awarded fiefs and your nephew is not under your service."

[#b300d6 "Ah, yes, so it would seem. Well, Remias, what do you say? Will you bend a knee and swear fealty to me as your King to become a vassal and knight of the realm?"] At first Remias was speechless, struggling to have words come out as he opened and closed his mouth like a fish out of water. From his perspective he didn't see any downside with the newest development, swearing fealty just meant that he would enter Rhakim's service as a nobleman, given land as fiefs and would be tasked with defending Kalrisan and its people-which he planned to do anyways.

[#009cff "Uh, yes! I mean, of course I will."] The king smiled brightly and clapped the prince on his shoulder.

[#b300d6 "Alright, go ahead and kneel. Now, you must recite an oath to make things official, I would be pleased to accept your sword into my service and bestow vassalage upon you."] As Remias nodded his agreement, dropping to one knee in front of the throne and the king Rhakim continued, [#b300d6 "Then repeat after me..."]
OsirisPrince Remias III   1y ago

They talked for hours, Remias and his uncle, as they went over everything that happened and the voyage between the two countries. So much was covered that night had fallen and they were still spending time together, Rhakim was an honest man who was valiant and courageous as he provided Remias with enough counsel to see that he was not a coward who ran in the night as he once thought, but a survivor who faced insurmountable odds and still came out standing. While his uncle gave him a tour of the palace he went over many of the customs between royal and nobles, Kalrisan was similar to Geldaron in the ways of conduct and chivalry noting that currently the entire continent was split into six kingdoms all vying for solitary control.

Danger seemed to follow Remias like a cloud of darkness, for he left the wreckage of one war and jumped into another-Kalrisan was currently at odds with the kingdom of Sarran to the east whose borders controlled much of the mountainous North. At one time the entire continent was controlled by an old empire called Calradisan who was torn asunder by local lords bucking at the emperor's demands, each monarch of the six countries claimed they were the rightful owners, the descendants of the late Emperor's line-but no direct successor had been named resulting in chaos. Kalrisan was one of the few kingdoms who still held onto most of the principles of the empire and throughout centuries the name was altered into what it was now.

The Calradisan Empire had been the most profitable ally Geldaron could ask for, but when the major split happened after the old Emperor's death relationships were strained. In an effort to still maintain good relations Remias' grandfather betrothed Rowena to his father, the heir apparent to Geldaron, uniting both allies through matrimony and strengthening old ties. So far, the remaining four kingdoms were at peace with Kalrisan but fought each other constantly, shifting the borders by ways of conquest and sieging castles. Remias, as a new vassal, would be tasked with defending Kalrisan and protecting the innocent from being raided by war parties-something he was already prepared to do on his own terms. However should the country's marshal-the official entrusted by the King to command vast armies under his banner-could call Remias to arms to either defend or attack other castles.

Rhakim consulted a map of the land, its fractured borders outlined in red for Remias to see, pointing out their own lines of defense. Kalrisan, Sarran, Geroa, Jameira, Zigoh and Ridelas; Kalrisan was lucky enough to have most of their borders protected by large walls but they held three points of entry to and from their country, these were protected and barricaded by solitary castles-one of which was the newest acquisition of Avolire Castle taken previously from Jameira during a time of conflict, to date Kalrisan maintained a truce with Jameira to focus on their fight with Sarran. Remias was unaware of the land's importance but he swore to his uncle that he would protect it at any cost. Kalrisan was bordered by two kingdoms, one to the east being Sarran and one to their south being Jameira, Kalrisan was positioned at the Northwest part of the continent where most of their top borders met the ocean. From the map Remias could see the other borders as well, Geroa shared borders with Sarran and Zigoh at their north and south borders respectively, while Jameira was bordered between Kalrisan and Ridelas.

Kalrisan was a grassland of plains, meadows and light sprinkling of forests allowing for their villages to plow fields and raise livestock in abundance; their people were mostly farmers or ranchers and trade caravans were constantly on the move between villages and towns. Sarran was heavy hills and rocky mountains, making traversing with any cavalry troops difficult from the rocky and elevated terrain; creating a life here was tough for farming and agriculture but their people were strong and resilient. Jameira was mostly forested woodlands thick with trees and underbrush becoming colder closer to the southern hemisphere; their people were accomplished hunters and used their sheltering terrain for ambushes.

Geroa was consumed in a vast desert filled with golden sand dunes, the heat causing all vegetation to be scarce or adapt to survive; their people were mostly nomadic traveling between settlements raised up around oases, camels and horses becoming vital commodities. Ridelas at the southwest corner of the continent was the coldest region, a taiga covered in cold forests dense with evergreen and constantly blanketed with snow; their people were hardy and fierce covered in furs and hide, and possessed no need for cavalry troops. Zigoh was the southeast kingdom, bordering the cold taiga and the hot desert as steppes and savannahs, lacking in practically all trees save for the scrawny ones devoid of leaves or shade; battling two polar climates enforced their people to adapt to the arid flatlands and their over-abundance of wild horses allow them to be considered the greatest horsemen on the continent.

Considering the variety of terrain it was clear that Remias would be forced to adapt to who he was fighting should he be called to war, noting that some areas and opponents would specialize against him. Kalrisan trained in all forms of attack from archers to infantry foot-soldiers and boasted heavy plate knights for cavalry capable of charging through most spear and shield walls, overall they were well rounded in offense and defense. Sarran, who they currently were at war with held no cavalry to speak of, but trained in spearmen and held strong vantage points with crossbowmen capable of sniping with exceeding accuracy making cavalry charges nearly impossible with the hill inclines and heavy fortress defenses. Jameira was hailed the best longbow archers on the continent and most of their armies had more ranged than melee fighters, their infantry were decent fighters with large tower shields in front to protect their long-ranged snipers from attacks but the overgrowth of trees made horsemen inviable.

Geroa's armies consisted mainly of mounted soldiers, rivaling the prowess of Kalrisan save for the differences in armor, clad in laminated leather and lighter cloth than heavy plate; their infantry and archers were viable but clearly not the main focus when the terrain was mostly dunes of sand making travel on foot difficult. Ridelas troops once more held no cavalry but they had sturdy shielded footmen considered to be the best infantry the continent ever produced fiercely proud of their accomplishments, their ranged troops consisted of axemen doubling as secondary infantry when they would run out of thrown ammunition. Zigoh lastly was the only kingdom that was made out of all horsemen, training all their troops to fight from horseback since they were young children; they had swift horse archers that would encircle their enemies picking them off from a distance while they used many forms of lancers, to charge into the fray repeatedly impaling their enemies who couldn't keep up.

It was a lot to take in but Remias absorbed it like a dried sponge in water, making sure to ask as many questions to his uncle as possible to be completely prepared for anything in the coming days. Rhakim was patient and kind, giving as much detailed information on the lay of the land as well as anything that could be used later. They hardly noticed the dark hour and probably would have kept talking well into the morning had Brahm and other servants mentioned getting rest for the next day, Remias would have ignored the sagely servant but Rhakim nodded in agreement to retiring. The good king then offered spare rooms to both Remias and Brahm so that they wouldn't have to try traveling in the dead of night, his uncle assured him they would talk more the next day so Remias and his servant were escorted to their rooms and given clean nightclothes to wear.

[#009cff "Can you believe it, Brahm? We've hardly been here a full day and already we're shoved into more conflict. I was hoping to escape the effects of war..."] The old servant was helping Remias get dressed to sleep, like he had for most of the young man's life, the routine was almost a comfort like a reminder of home. Brahm gave a light chuckle as he moved to help tuck in the prince under the large, heavy blankets of the canopy bed.

[#00b23a [i "War is an unfortunate inevitability, your Highness-too many warlords in the world and not enough soldiers."]] Remias let the older man tuck him under the soft blankets and he felt like he was a small child again, staring up into the wrinkled face smiling down at him reassuringly. [#00b23a [i "Do not worry about war so much, my lord, it comes and goes like the changing of seasons. Focus on what we can do now with our contributions to those around us, we will go tomorrow to your new castle and see what the attached village has to offer."]]

[#009cff "Yes, you are right. Goodnight, Brahm."]

[#00b23a [i "Sleep well, my Lord."]]

[center [b ~*~*~]]
Morning came with a bright sun and blooming clouds, the warmth of summer filtering into the prince's bedroom with the scent of wildflowers and cotton. Remias woke before the servants came to get him and found a new pair of clothes were already laid out for him. As he was putting them on the servants entered, quickly rushing to help him dress, to his resisting protests that he [i could] dress himself accordingly. The clothes had to be tailored and altered to fit him but they worked well enough for the short notice, and even Brahm got fresh new garments to wear by courtesy of the King. Once appropriately dressed the two of them were ushered to meet again with Rhakim before his court was opened for audience with the public, entering one of the side parlors the servants bowed and withdrew leaving them alone. King Rhakim entered shortly after, followed by his thin advisor who carried several stacks of papers in his arms awaiting the monarch's attention.

[#b300d6 "Ah, they look good on you, I wasn't quite sure if they were your size..."] He smiled and motioned to their attire before waving them over to sit with him and talk. [#b300d6 "I hope the beds were comfortable enough, I know I slept soundly as soon as my head hit the pillows."]

[#009cff "Yes they were, thank you so much for all your kindness, uncle."] Rhakim waved off the praise, stating it was the least he could do; Remias sat down beside him and the king then took a leather pouch from his side and plopped it on the small end table between them, causing it to jingle with the large quantity of coins within.

[#b300d6 "That's a gift from me to you, Remias, and I don't want to hear any protests against it-I am your King now and I [b order] you to take the coin pouch. You are my blood, my nephew and I never got to spoil you growing up due to the distance-I want you to take this gold and shop around Dragastyr for anything you need before setting out for Avolire. Weapons, armor, horses-you are my vassal now and I need you prepared for war should you be called."] Remias' face burned red but he took the pouch without a word, he wasn't expecting such generosity from his uncle and it made him embarrassed to take charity. He countered his self-consciousness by reasoning that his uncle just needed everyone to be outfitted for their best, and because they arrived with practically nothing but the clothes on their back the gold was a practical loan.

[#009cff "Thank you, uncle, do not worry I will one day repay you for all your help."] Remias tied the pouch to his waist as his uncle gave out a loud, audible sigh.

[#b300d6 "You not hearing me, boy? What part of [i gift] do you not understand? I want nothing back, just your loyalty and dedication."] Remias' face was hot with embarrassment again, and he sputtered unintelligibly at Rhakim's reprimanding tone. The King waved him off again before continuing to speak, [#b300d6 "I know we were to talk more of things but my day's schedule is tight and Konin keeps pestering me to hurry things along with his eyes. You may come talk to me again once you've gathered all the supplies you need and you can set off for your castle then if you so choose."]

[#009cff "Thank you... my King."]
OsirisPrince Remias III   1y ago

Remias left the palace with Brahm in tow and re-entered the expansive city below, for the first time in weeks he finally felt like he could breathe a sigh of relief. He was the safest he'd ever been since they had to run from Geldaron, despite the looming threat of war. Remias and Brahm wandered the stone cobbled streets for a short while to get familiar with the available shops, the weather was nice and breezy, the warm wind tussling his hair like a fond hand, welcoming him home. He stopped to look around at a few vendors along the marketplace square, their stalls stocked with their produce and the talents of their labor. Briefly he dug out a single gold coin from the pouch he was given, studying its stamped design and it had an unknown man's face molded onto it with the words [i 'Emperor'] underneath. Remias tapped one of the guards on the shoulder and explained he was new to the region, asking how much such a coin was worth; after a bit of small conversion between old Calradisan and Geldaron currencies he found that his uncle gave him quite the considerable amount of money. It would allow Remias to buy essentially whatever he wanted in terms of quality equipment and a decently bred horse trained for conflict.

So he did, the prince outfitted himself with new weapons and armor, while he still kept a hold of his personal sword-the one from Geldaron-he gathered a few more weapons to use. He bought a two-handed great sword, its length and weight allowing him to deal with enemies from a greater distance and cleave them in twain, he got a smaller less-important dagger to wear at his side as well. Remias also got one spiked mace, its hefty spiked top would allow him to swiftly bludgeon foes and effectively knock them unconscious whilst still keeping them alive. This he bought preemptively knowing that he'd rather ransom noble lords back to their families or sell rabble troops as prisoners of war to slavers-while it was a necessary evil, that slavery ran most of war's profits, he didn't really care for it. Lastly, he bought a thick heater shield to be used in unison with his one-handed sword or the new mace.

Remias also commissioned new armor to be made, known as thick Heraldic Mail with Surcoat, it was linked chainmail that reached his knees, providing a strong, flexible form of defense for his torso and his legs. The heraldic surcoat would be made to mirror his banner, as he was a vassal now he would be able to design and carry standards of his noble making. It would be something that would take time to complete but he gave the tailor and armorer his specifications. He couldn't afford the plate or metal armors as they were priced a lot more than he currently possessed, but he made mental notes of those select items to work towards. He did purchase a decent pauldron and vambrace to cover his sword arm, while the new shield would protect his left side. Studded leather boots were then purchased from the nearby cobbler, Remias was lucky to have such items be fitted for him but some of it would take time to craft to his measurements which meant he'd have to return to Dragastyr at a later date to pick them up.

The prince burned through the available funds fairly quickly, the last thing he bought was two horses for himself and Brahm. He couldn't get the fastest or the toughest breeds but he managed to procure a courser stallion for himself as his warhorse, having a well-rounded stature and build it was a warm red color with a single white blaze down its nose. He didn't have enough money to get a stronger horse for Brahm, instead he settled on a calm and humble sumpter horse. It was mostly black with a little diamond of white on the front of its chest; he paid for both their saddles and bridles and then the pouch was completely empty. It wasn't the greatest haul of goods, but it was the most important items he could have asked for considering they were bought with gifted currency. On their way back to the castle Remias and Brahm were unexpectantly cut off from their walk by a contingent of soldiers led by a noble man decked from head-to-toe in expensive fabrics and shining pieces of armor. Clearly they were another vassal headed to the castle but instead of politely asking them to move Brahm was shoved out of their way and one of the guards put his hands on Remias to forcibly move him to the side. Remias grabbed the guard's wrist and flung his hand from his person, resulting in the entire group to halt and confront the prince and servant.

[#009cff "Put a hand to me again, [i sir], and I will be forced to remove it."] The leader that was dressed finely was a bit older than Remias but still young in appearance, having brown hair swept from his face and a light beard neatly trimmed close. His eyes could hardly be distinguished by the way he narrowed them with disgust, scoffing at Remias' warning like he was a peasant to be cowed.

[#fdad02 "Worthless dog. You are both beneath me and will show me the proper respect! I am Sir Delchaud, son of Lord Claise, and further insolence will be punished. Now step aside you scruff-faced buffoon, before I give you a beating; I've business with the King and will not be late."] Although Brahm was ready to keep his head down and tried to hold Remias' arm from doing anything drastic, Remias ignored his mild-mannered servant and stepped right up to the pompous noble, ready to strike him across the face for his insults.

[#009cff "I am Remias III, son of Remias II of Geldaron, I am [i also] a vassal under King Rhakim, newly sworn-I am not some lowborn farmer you can scrape your boots over. [b You] will show [i me] respect, or you can continue and lose a few teeth."]

[#fdad02 "Are you trying to provoke me? Vassal or not, I am not above dueling varlots. Are you ready for a [i lesson] in deference to your betters?"] The guards shifted and got out of the noble's way as he drew his sword, causing Remias to follow suit and brought out his blade.

[#009cff "I'm ready to teach you one."] Remias was not new to dueling and had his fair share of conflict with nobles back in Geldaron, constantly attempting to get the upper hand over the prince prepared him for people like this Delchaud. One could say the prince excelled at single combat and not even Brahm could keep the two from clashing swords; Delchaud also seemed to know his way around a sword, making short and precise lunges consistent with a duelist's training. The sounds of striking metal echoed to either side of the stairway, clanging and ringing loud enough to alert the guards at the palace, a few of them even came around to watch the fight.

Yet Remias was not allowed to get the upper hand, as he probably would have disarmed Delchaud quickly were they to duel fairly. A few times he even managed to close in on Delchaud and tatter the noble's rich garments, but he kept being shoved and tripped by the noble's retinue of lackeys. The interference got so bad at one point that Brahm even hauled off and struck one the soldiers in the face, resulting in them being knocked out cold, falling to the street unconscious. -Never mess with a man who did hard labor for a living, his hands carried immense strength in their swings. As the two vassals locked swords and struggled against each other, Delchaud drew a dagger from his side with his other hand, Remias managed to see it glint in the sunlight and broke away from the lock before he got stabbed.

This man may have been of noble birth but nobility he greatly lacked, it was a coward's tactic to fight dirty and Remias punched him square on the jaw for his attempt. Delchaud was dropped to a knee as Remias pointed his sword toward the other's throat, telling him to yield the fight in favor of the prince. Sir Delchaud spat at him and motioned to his soldiers, resulting in the prince being seized by multiple hands. They restrained his arms to his back, even grabbed a hold of the old servant to prevent him from helping, Delchaud got to his feet with a haughty smirk practically laughing in Remias' face who struggled against the restraints. Delchaud drew back a fist to return the blow but thankfully the watchful guards from the castle came and stopped the rest of the fight, the duel was already over and they forced the group to release both Remias and Brahm.

[#fdad02 "You are lucky the guards came to save you. I have other things to do, but the next time we meet there will be no one to come and stop us."] Delchaud boasted an already bruising jaw and a busted lip, both of their clothes were cut by the sharpness of their blades but neither seemed to actually wound the other. A pity.

[#009cff "The next time [b we] fight, Delchaud-you will lose your tongue for how you talk to me, I swear it."] The smirking noble shoved Remias aside with his group of guards behind him, even the one Brahm knocked out was carried by his brethren, ascending the winding stairs to the palace. Remias looked over to Brahm as he re-sheathed his sword, shaking his head over the ordeal, giving his loyal friend an appreciative smile. [#009cff "That was a good punch, old man, remind me never to get on your bad side."]

[#00b23a [i "Thank you, your Highness. Should we wait to reconvene with the king?"]] Remias nodded, and decided they would ride out to Avolire Castle instead, as he was not particularly fond of going to the same place the other noble went. His spare weapons were tied along his horse's saddle as he and Brahm trotted out of Dragastyr, into the unknown domain of Kalrisan. Silently Remias wondered what became of Captain Cheval and his crew, hoping that perhaps with their armed galleon and experienced sailors aboard that they would also be accepted into Rhakim's service and join with Kalrisan's naval fleet; it would give them purpose and find their own ways in the country without having to completely abandon what they knew. Remias consulted briefly with a passing guard for the best route to his destined keep before they went on their way into the bright morning, he wondered what his new castle would be like and if it would ever feel like home without the harrowing reminder of what he lost.
OsirisPrince Remias III   1y ago

Remias and Brahm talked lightly as their horses carried them through green plains, a few wide leaved trees popping up along the trails with the grass swaying with the warm wind. The land here was flat, a light green sea of knee high strands of vegetation, bushes and flowers dotting with added flourishes of colors as the summer wildflowers bloomed and greeted the golden sun. The light made it almost a yellow-green at times, deepened only by the calming shade thrown by the wide variety of oaks, cottonwood, sweet maple, hackberry trees and other deciduous trees surrounded by hugging shrubs. A few times the pair passed by a few woodlands bunched in the distance, the huddling trees beckoning one to enter the abundant hunting grounds, what mystical trails could be carved through the emerald groves only the curious could define.

More often the only trees they would see in the expanse of meadows would be the lone standing ones, the guardians watching over the open fields and protecting a thicket of brush and shrubs beneath its embracing canopy. Remias kept a relaxed gait, allowing them to amble about and appreciate the beautiful serenity Kalrisan afforded. While the prince was certain if they attempted to search they'd find a wide variety of wild life hiding in plain sight-however they were more than delighted to see the strange flourish of colors from the birds flying overhead, the delicate brushing of butterflies and bumble bees flickering to and from the dainty flowers. The sounds of songbirds, the loud resounding hum of cicadas swarming along the lonely trees all carried upon the whisper of the wind, alongside the quiet [i shushing] of their horses' legs pushing through the grass.

They passed by a few villages along the way but they were off to the sides, wooden structured houses with thatched roofs had smoke rising from their chimneys. Remias was too far away to hear anything from the little hamlets but he could just imagine all the calls from farmers, the livestock bleating and the happy cries of children as they ran around their parents at work. It almost made his heart ache, to know that the paradise he once had was snatched away from him, it was stolen and so were his parents. Each village had all their farms surrounded by stick fences, their livestock were grazing freely on the outskirts under the careful eye of their shepherds, passing by all manners of sheep, goats, chickens and cattle their little communities were bustling with the bright day.

Remias and Brahm rode for a few hours in silence, nodding to travelers along the roadside as they smiled and waved, everyone seemed friendly and happy to see others on the dirt roads. A few times they crossed paths with herding ranchers, taking their large groups of livestock between villages or grazing pastures before the prince and servant were forced to abandon the well-worn pathways for the grassy meadows once more. They were told to keep heading in one direction until they came upon the protective walls that stood tall against the Kalrisan borders, then they'd have to trot alongside the giant structure until they came upon Avolire Castle. From what Remias was told by his uncle they had previously captured the keep and its adjacent village during their last war with Jameira and it had remained vacant without a lord to govern it until it was awarded to him.

The trip was uneventful and they finally came to the large keep, surrounded by high stone walls and a large heavy gate sealed the entrance. As they approached closer Remias could see the soldiers posted at the walls and protective towers around it, patrolling until he came to the portcullis. After he hollered up to the guards they raised the gate for the two of them to enter, its heavy chains dragging the latticed grille of iron up into a locked position. Apparently his uncle had already sent a courier after proclaiming the lands to Remias, with the written deed and a description for both the prince and the servant. As their two horses carried them into the castle's courtyard, the portcullis closed behind them sealing them inside surrounded by crossbowmen and soldiers tasked with defending the place. A young stable lad came to take control of their mounts as Remias dismounted, nodding his thanks to the boy as a small group of guards came to greet them.

[i "Lord Remias? The King has sent word ahead of your arrival, I am captain of the guards stationed here, it is an honor to serve you, sire."] Remias raised his eyebrows, due to his previous interactions he wasn't quite expecting a warm welcome, yet the guard seemed an honest man and they were escorted into the castle without any trouble. Upon entry the first thing Remias noticed was the heavy wooden banquet table centered in the middle of the high-arched great hall, there was a large fireplace carved into the left of the hall-it's mantelpiece held an ornate decoration lavishly describing a victory from conflict, inlaid with gold. To the right was several places to sit as wooden stools and chairs, alongside barrels, bags, shelves and racks full of supplies; a few racks held weapons nearest the door these Remias could see being used in castle defense if not just for looks. The banquet table was made of oak, lined with high-backed chairs with the far seat being larger and decorated with wooden carvings at the head of the table. There were servants and pages milling about, cleaning and making sure everything was in order throughout their daily tasks, they bowed to Remias as he passed them. The captain of the guards led them to a portly official, who held several papers and documents in a sitting room who waddled over to the pair with a jovial smile on his face.

[b "Good morn, sire, my name is Beasley and I am the current governor for Avolire and village elder for Dornam, I am just so pleased to finally make your acquaintance."] With a bustle of parchment the man enthusiastically shook Remias' hand, motioning for him to come closer to the table where several documents were laid out. [b "Now, as per custom, I have several papers here that require your lovely signature, if you'd be so kind. Just the simple passing of castle ownership from me to you, sire, nothin' too fancy I assure you."]

[#009cff "So how long have you been in charge, Beasley?"] Remias asked as he saw to sign the required information, reading over them very carefully before adding his own signature to the bottoms.

[b "Oh, I've been village elder of Dornam since my grandpappy passed away, my father was killed in a raid on our village several years back you see, so the elder position naturally passed to me. For Avolire I was appointed its official esteemed position when Kalrisan became the presidin' monarchy, may the Gods bless King Rhakim's soul-such a good man."] Beasley had a cozy way of talking, a very pleasant and welcoming drawl that accompanied his plump form rather nicely. He handed over more papers from his arms, each of them Remias had to sign and the prince took care in reading them as well. [b "Truth be told, sire, governin' a castle isn't really my strength, too many people in line with the military for my homely tastes but when the fine king asks something of you, by Gods you say yes."]

[#009cff "What can you tell me of Dornam? As I am to be the new lord I would appreciate any information to make life easier for all during this transition."]

[b "Certainly, sire. Oh, Dornam is the most prettiest little village one ever did see, filled to the brim with caring farmers and kind serfs workin' the fields and tending livestock. Dornam farms up melons, cabbages, wheat, grapes an' plenty of the sweetest berries the fields can produce. The farmlands are plentiful with gardens and fields full of harvest, the men are currently in the process of digging a few irrigation ditches to expand the western border for a few more fields and most of the women are takin' care of the livestock and the babes, you know."] Remias liked the way Beasley talked, he may have overindulged a bit on the details but the village sounded like a little slice of heaven right around the corner. The man continued rambling on as Remias went through several sheets with quilled pen and ink, giving each a stamp of approval. [b "We have a wonderful stream, you see, that splits between Dornam giving the sweet life-nurturing water to the surrounding lands where the farms are plentiful, every stable and barn is chock-full of the finest livestock I have ever seen. We raise cattle, sheep, goats and chickens, we often sell milk, wool and eggs to the local caravans and take plenty of livestock out to markets with any surplus left over."]

[#009cff "-And have you seen any war parties recently, any threats I should be aware of?"] This caused Beasley to stop and think, his pudgy hand at his chin in contemplation.

[b "Well, not that I can think of, sire. We've seen a few deserters and bandits on the horizons but not many soldiers or armies. Nothin' that would be of interest to you, I'm sure."] Remias finished up with the papers to which Beasley gathered hurriedly with a smile, [b "That'd be all I had for you, Lord, I'm sure you're jus' dying to get settled in, so I'll take care of the rest from the governor's end of things don't you worry none."] Then Remias was left to his own devices, Brahm even excused himself to talk with some of the staff heads to find out how things were done and the prince was left to explore at his own pace. He wandered through the kitchens and pantry; the castle held several varieties of sitting rooms alongside a rather bulky library, there were guard barracks and servant quarters, and a second dining hall less grandeur than the great hall's banquet capacities.

He found Avolire held three regular guest bedrooms and one master bedroom, which was already furnished and ready for him, conjoined with its own master bathroom; there were four smaller bathrooms, two on each floor for the rest of the castle residents to use at each end of the western and eastern wings. It held its own chapel, decked out with statues and altars for all the Gods lining the walls for individual prayers and offerings. Finally near the garrison's barracks he found the armory at one end of the outer courtyard-where they had entered previously-and the stables were at the opposite end of the large courtyard near the servants' quarters. Beside the barracks Remias found the castle dungeons, guarded and secured by dozens of armed guards at all times regardless of anyone kept imprisoned there. Overall he explored practically everywhere, feasting his eyes and searching his surroundings to the very last room, and before he knew it he was called for dinner by a young servant. Perhaps life would not be so bad here after all...
OsirisPrince Remias III   1y ago

Once more Remias took time to get use to things in his new environment but castle life was something familiar for him and he relied on it as a way to ground himself from spiraling with his emotions. He was able to finally bathe himself and have the local barber give him a hair cut, even shaving his face to be more presentable to the local populace. His clothes were laundered and all of his equipment was well looked after by the attentive pages about the castle, their horses pampered by the stable hands and even Brahm was treated as an esteemed guest rather than part of the servant caste. Although the loyal servant kept trying to do things himself, or trying to clean to keep busy the rest of the servants would quickly take over whatever chore he was attempting, and would constantly take away whatever tool the old man was using.

Exasperated Brahm threw his hands up in the air after the seventh time he tried to clean or polish something and a younger servant snatched the task from him. He complained to Remias over morning breakfast as he stood behind the prince while he ate, this position he fought with another servant to have and refused to budge from presiding over the prince's meal. Remias had to wave off the others to let the old man have his spot and admonished them to let the loyal servant attend to some tasks, as long as they were not too heavy for him to complete. They bowed and ceded to his decision, prompting a grateful smile from Brahm to also have something familiar to fall back on. After breakfast Remias decided to take a ride out to the village Dornam, being a stone's toss from the castle grounds he felt safe to explore the village unattended.

So Remias fetched his steed from the stables and as the portcullis was raised he took off in the direction of his estate's village, almost feeling a sense of excitement to see more of what Kalrisan could show him. Down a small, winding hill path-worn barren by the thousands of ancient footprints and wagon trails-Dornam was nestled at the base of the hill's gradual descent. The settlement was surrounded by waist-high stone walls, encircling a handful of wood and stone buildings of all shapes and sizes, the light sway of smoke lazily rose from chimney columns made of rock. As Remias entered the village, passing through one wooden gate the people were instantly attracted to his presence, people came out of their houses and the children flocked around his horse pointing and smiling up at him. He gave them a few waves and a smile as he moved further in, halfway through the village was the wonderful stream Beasley had mentioned.

The waterway was wide enough to warrant a wooden bridge to be built over it and deep enough to allow fishing nets and lines to be tended for food. The stream gave life-nurturing water to the surrounding lands where the farms were plentiful with harvest, the gardens outside the houses were filled with striped melons, green cabbages, and white flowered berry bushes. Further outside the village walls were the large fields ripe with wheat and barley, the orchards seemed plump with apples and had large clusters of grape vines entwining the apple trees in rows. The prince could hear the clucking of chickens and a goat somewhere in the hamlet but he assumed most of the livestock would be shepherded to the vast pastures to take advantage of Kalrisan's great meadowland.

The more Remias witnessed, the bright-eyed faces of excited children, the hardy smiles worn by the adults that came to greet him drove home his desire to help these people, knowing that it would be his duty to protect these beautiful lands and those that lived within. The village elder Beasley noticed him from across the bridge and motioned for Remias to trot over and join him at a table for drinks, the prince complied and dismounted his horse, allowing the following band of dirt-faced children to paw and prod at his steed in awe. Remias sat opposite the rotund governor as a young woman poured them some amber colored ale made from grains, Beasley took a giant swig from his tankard and started to speak with his light-hearted jolly accent.

[b "I am so pleased to see you visit our sweet, little village, sire, so very pleased. I hope you won't mind indulgin' me with a drink or two for the time taken out of your busy schedule to be among us common folk for a while."] Remias agreed and they toasted their cups to peace and camaraderie. After drinking a bit more between the two of them the man continued, wiping his chin of the excess ale that drizzled from his mouth. [b "-However, I'm sure you didn't come here just for the ale, what can I do for you?"]

[#009cff "Actually that's what I came to see you about, as I was exploring the lands given to me I wanted to come and see if there was anything your village needed. If you've need for supplies or any manner of assistance, I would be more than willing to offer a hand to make life easier for everyone here."] Beasley's smile grew even wider and a hearty laugh had him jiggling in his seat, his hand failing to keep his belly from bouncing with his joy.

[b "Forgive my laughter, it's just so amusin' that a noble lord would ever give a thought to poor old Dornam. Don't you mind us none, sire, life in this world is always hard on folks-we don't need to add any stress to your life."] At the prince's bewildered expression Beasley became more serious, placing a hand to his chin. [b "You're in earnest? Well... A few months back bandits came to occupy our village, we're farmers-not fighters, so we played host to their raucous band up until they left and when they decided to move on they took most of our cattle herd with them. It might be a touch too much to ask but if you could bring us four heads of dairy cattle you'd save our town's herd, it would get us back on track to survive the next few months and well into winter."]

[#009cff "Four cattle, I can venture to a nearby village to procure enough for you."]

[b "Cattle are a mite expensive, sire, what with the war an' raiding parties making off with most livestock, not to mention the constant recruitments for armies stealin' away all the able-bodied young men ready to fight. Speakin' of young fighters, my lord, you're probably lookin' for some soldiers to take with you under your banner, aren't you?"] Remias hesitated with his mouth open, prompting another good-natured laugh from the governor. [b "I forget Kalrisan is foreign to you, my apologies, every lord in all the kingdoms make their rounds to the villages and recruits any willing participants into their company, forming their own large army eventually. You'll want to gather as many as you can afford to compete with the large war parties the enemies have. I know of a few boys itchin' to fight so before you leave I'll gather them to follow you out, we'll get you started sire, don't you worry."] Beasley proved to be a Godsend, he explained more local customs and helped further cement Remias as a reputable lord within the local villages. After they talked for a few hours Remias decided to depart, the young men who volunteered to follow the prince's banner and fight for him accompanied him away from their homes all with brave faces and happy smiles, some were young but there were still war-tested veterans who came along.

They stopped briefly back at the castle, Remias didn't feel right setting off into the wide expanse of the new kingdom without at least having Brahm by his side. The older man readily agreed to follow and joined the group with his own horse, he even commended the forward thinking of Beasley as they were bound to run across all manner of ill will in the unknown. It was only a group of twenty, including the prince and servant, but they were enough to give many a bandit or deserter hesitation. Remias knew how desperation and starvation twisted honest men into thieves, and with war tearing apart families and households there were a lot of desperate men in the countryside. Remias and Brahm rode up front as the troops walked on foot behind them, for now Remias had a few goals in mind, he was intent on gathering enough money to uphold his word to Beasley and help save Dornam's herd.

Yet in order to do so he had to either succumb to the travesties of war-pillaging enemy towns, raiding castles and selling any poor soul he came across into bondage; take down bandits and deserters, those vagrants preying on the wreckages of war's aftermath and oppressing honest peasant folk... Or he would have to ask around towns, local nobles and guild masters throughout Kalrisan for any available work, completing tasks for coin and putting his small band of soldiers to use escorting caravans or helping out other villages for money. As he was just starting out with only a small group of fighters, he knew to attempt the former would be suicide and instead decided to return to Dragastyr to find what help he could provide within.

The travel back to the capital was a lot slower than the first time out, having a group of footsoldiers behind them made the trip more of a leisurely stroll along the meadows. Yet no one was relaxed, even though the pace was light and sustainable, everyone had their eyes constantly on the move and on the lookout for any hostile movements. Remias scanned the horizon for the glinting of spear heads, or the clustering of horses waiting in ambush along the caravan trails. Yet no ambush came and they arrived back with the sanctuary of the port city walls, the guards at the gate would only allow them to enter with a small portion of soldiers instead of the full company. It made sense why Delchaud was accompanied by only a handful the day prior, while the rest of his company would wait outside the walls for his return Remias reentered Dragastyr.

He was consciously trying to keep his mind busy, like he had on Cheval's galleon, having something to preoccupy himself made it easier to move forward with his life, yet the phantoms of the siege still plagued him. It was always in the back of his mind, the want for revenge, the need to see justice served against the assailants who took his family from him and cast him out. Remias tried to pile up tasks or jobs to keep himself from focusing on things he could not immediately change, he needed to get stronger here in Kalrisan before he could ever attempt going back home. Ultimately his goal would be to assemble an armada filled with his army and remake the voyage to Geldaron, then he would besiege his family home and retake it from the thieves from the North. Still, even now he could not shake the feeling that there were things everyone was not telling him, he kept remembering the look his mother gave Brahm when he inquired about their mysterious assailants, and the strange expression Rhakim gave him when he mentioned their enemies.

Both looks that suggested they were all being dishonest with him and telling him only half the truth, if he had any chance in righting the grievous wrong he had to find out what really happened the night of the siege. [i 'What were they hiding?'] Remias shook his head to ignore the intrusive thoughts, redirecting himself to focus on finding work for some coin and dealing with what he could handle currently. His first stop was finding the local guild-master for the artisans and merchants located in Dragastyr, they were bound to have some form of work for him to complete in exchange for gold. Dragastyr was a large daunting city and he had to ask for directions repeatedly with the denizens before he finally found the guild hall, a wide longhouse made of stone with a sloping arch roof that was adorned with carven decorations and silver ornate calligraphy designating the specific artisans within. The prince and his entourage entered the building and discovered the inside was split into sections for the city's master craftsmen, both sides of the longhouse had separate tables, workbenches and shelves full of unique rolled documents neatly piled in stacks.

Each artisan's personal section was divided by wooden panels and room dividers, but most of the building was widely open and boasted a singular large firepit dug down into the center of the building, it's burning flame consumed tall trunks of local trees and heated up the entirety of the guild hall by itself. The building was bustling with several members of each craft, young apprentices were busy running scrolls from one end of the longhouse to the other as the masters were constantly pouring over ledgers, various caravan logs and full array of mercantile documents Remias could not possibly understand by himself. As they took a moment to look around they walked slowly to the far end of the longhouse, where a group of three men stood around a wood table in a heated argument over several papers laid on top of the surface. He knew one of these men were the guild master, and hopefully they would have things he could do to boost his reputation with the merchant caste and artisan masters while simultaneously helping him secure enough money to return to Beasley as quickly as possible.

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