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Thread: Finals: Gum

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    Finals: Gum

    The finals will begin Monday April 24, 2017 at 3 PM EST. They will last 2 weeks. You may post at any pace, including a last minute post dump.

    In Akashima, Fordstein’s ploy was successful. Corone’s united army overwhelmed Akashima’s inferior force, and the former Senator was named Baron. In Gisela, Gum and Phyr failed in their mission to deliver the artifact, colloquially known as the ‘Thunderbox’, to Terrence Edim. The Thunderbox was lost to an agent of Fordstein, the assassin Cherub, and Gum and Phyr were captured by Fordstein following the betrayal of Ceidon Lore’s former shipmate, Saieda. With knowledge of a new world teeming with magic courtesy of Saieda and the ‘Thunderbox’ in tow thanks to the Cherub, Baron Fordstein took command of Corone’s navy and sailed on the new world with an invading force.

    You must write a solo, concluding your character’s role in the epoch. Somewhere in the body of your quest, you must:

    1) Name the new land and its people. Additional descriptions, such as city names, flora and fauna will become canon should you win, but only the first two are required.
    2) Baron Fordstein must die. The method is up to you.
    3) Decide the fate of the Tribe and the resistance (both of which can be renamed).

    Keep in mind, as indicated in the opening narrative, magic does not work like normal in the new land. Your ability to reflect this creatively will impact your score. Any NPCs adopted into the story may be used in your threads. Please avoid using other PCs.
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  2. #2
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    A splash of cool saltwater on his battered brow brought the shaman around. His eyes struggled to adjust, but his ears took in the cry of seagulls overhead and the slosh of ocean water below. There were whispers in his head, the spirits were speaking to him. "Four," it said. Gum groaned, trying to stand, but he bumped his head on something low. They were bars. He felt them with his hands, they were above, they were to the left, they were to the right.

    I am in a cage.

    "The senator gave me command of my own fucking ship! Isn't that just grand?!" While his eyes were still of little use, Gum's ears once again filled in the gaps; the foul language and to-the-point statement made the speaker's identity clear. He was loath to accept it, but it was Saieda again.

    Still hazy, the Xangu native ran the tips of his fingers across his head, searching for the wound that had caused him to lose consciousness back at Tosu's house. Tosu. He found the wound, and while it was serious, his concern for it faded beneath the shadow of the child's death.

    "We're heading back to Radasanth," she explained. "Old Fordstein wants to make a real stink about you; you're gonna stand trial for treason!"

    The pupils in his squinting eyes had almost adjusted to the clear day's light. Gum could make out a second cage next to his, they were both on the deck of the ship.

    Phyr must be in that cage. I hope he is unharmed.

    "I'm sorry it had to be this way, Xenga," she said unconvincingly as she watched Corone's ragged coastline.

    Gum continued to ignore her; instead, he waited patiently for his eyes to finish adjusting. Phyr's condition was foremost in his mind.

    Finally, his sight returned and he saw that the other cage was empty.
    【LƎVƎL.3】
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  3. #3
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    Two months later...

    Corone’s navy was attacking. At the head of the party was a frigate carrying a new flag. The red of Akashima’s eagle was surrounded by Fordstein’s black snake. A new baron had been named.

    Fire flapped through the flag in the wicked winds of Eihavum's bay. Lightning had sparked that blaze. More cracking bolts battered the Coronian Navy; yet, they surged into the harbour on the dreadful gusts of the this new world's deadly gales. While the eagle and snake of the armada's lead ship burned, the rest of the fleet started catching lightning strikes of their own. Creaking hulls contested the churn of the ocean, pushing defiantly towards the rigid stone of the port city's docklands.

    C L A N G ! ! !

    The alarm bell continued to sound.

    C L A N G ! ! !

    "Silence that!!!"

    C L A N G ! ! !

    "Aye aye!!!"

    C L A N—B-B-B-BOOOOMM!!!

    A round from the fleet's cannons crumbled the port city's bell tower. The tumble of the structure's blocks rumbled a warning louder than the bell itself. Roused by the surprise attack, the defence of Eihavum—the land's vital port city—began with ease and earnest; after all, the natives had been readying an assault of their own.

    Leaping from the decks of their transport ships, a small selection of Fordstein's forces felt their feet fall on the stone slabs of the dockside. Thick ropes were wrapped hurriedly around the moorings. Then gangplanks fell and rattled.

    Troops, with hearts still drunk on the victory in Akashima, rushed into the fray. The Tribal Guard, the defending city's peacekeepers, ran from their posts to meet their invaders with the fervour of patriots. One side's confidence, coming as a wave, frothed and crashed on the stout shields of the other side's resolute pride.

    Using the docklands as a choking point, the comparatively small number of peacekeepers were able to hold back the invading force; they were buying time for the island nation's military forces to enter the battle.

    ~ ~ ~

    "They've saved us the journey soldiers! Isn't that nice of them?!" The words of General Festerslash growled over the tinny percussion of armour and weapons; each warrior picked up a blade as he or she left the security of their barracks behind.

    "Go to the docks!" His tail swished with the anger in his words. "We're under cannon fire, do not let that shake your resolve. We must relieve our brothers and sisters in the Tribal Guard!" Not a single soldier stood taller than the general, he stared down his grizzled snout as the last of the regiment left the dormitory and headed out into the field.

    Brushing back his thick mane with his broad paw, Festerslash offered the soldiers some hope, "We've sent out the call for the navy to return to port to help in the defence of the city."

    ~ ~ ~

    Meanwhile, at the docks, the Tribal Guard had fallen back and conceded the docklands to the invaders. Fordstein's forces were spilling into the city with the same dominance they had experienced in Akashima. The combined military of Radasanth, Gisela, Serenti, and now Akashima, was by far the largest fighting force in the known world. The few defenders that were left had taken up positions in homes and businesses along Eihavum's cultured promenade.

    Families fled, stumbling away and dragging their children with them. They daren't look back at the bloodshed behind them. One man, sweating and blinded by the glare of the sun, bumped into something large and metallic while he was trying to escape. "Don't run too far," boomed a gravely voice. It was General Festerslash's armoured torso he had bumped into. "Find cover for you and your children, but be sure we won't be handing over Reijhaam to these monkey invaders!" The general dragged the commoner to his feet and eased him along the way.

    Festerslash, the focal point of his army's attack formation, powered into the invaders. He swung his thick arms, claws out, in broad swings; each swipe opened several throats and clattered several skulls. Reijhaam's warrior caste were sandy coloured cats, twice the size of their normal folk, they were faster, more powerful and the males wore thick manes that stretched from their brows around their faces and along their backs.

    "Don't ease up," came the snarling command from Festerslash. His troops obliged, killing at a ratio of two to one versus the united armies of Corone. Coupling size with a home advantage, the defenders were turning the tide. Festerslash waded into the enemy line again, knocking back the grunts and heading for the opposition's commanding officer. With a breakaway team joining to flank him, the general was able to reach his counterpart. He picked the human off the ground with one hand, before tugging the man's helmet off. "No, please," whimpered the human commander while his legs flailed. Festerslash opened his jaws and brought them to a crunching close, munching the commander's skull between his molars.


    ~ ~ ~

    Fire was rampant out in the bay. Almost every sailor in Fordstein's fleet was tossing buckets of seawater on fires. Each ship's captain was struggling to stop their crew from jumping overboard, scores of sailors had already been struck by lightning.

    It was in this chaos that the blue sails of Reijhaam's navy could be seen rounding Horror's Cape, the western tip enclosing the bay. Quickly, the defending navy had boxed in the burning remnants of the opposing armada.

    The native's crafts didn't suffer from the lightning in the same way the invader's ships did. As well as a conventional wooden mast, every Reijhaaman ship was equipped with an even taller metal prong. The prong ran through the ship and direcly into the water below. These lightning rods allowed their ships to travel through the dreadful storms surrounding their homeland mostly unscathed.

    ~ ~ ~

    "Force them back!"

    Festerslash smashed back an assailant.

    "Bring me the remaining officers!"

    The general stepped over the corpses.

    "I want to find somebody whose surrender I can accept!"

    Without warning, Festerslash felt a sudden rip at the back of his thigh. In that moment of triumph, pain was the last thing he expected. He looked back, puzzled at how a human could have gotten so close to him when they were in the ascendancy.

    Then he saw the source of the injury. "A'lia!" A'lia was a prominent figure in the resistance.

    "Festerslash," she snapped back. She was wearing the same armour as his own team.

    "I find your fatalism disgusting!" Festerslash gripped A'lia by the neck after falling to his knees.

    "It's over Festerslash," she smirked. "There won't be any more destruction because of the Tribal Government."

    The wounded general spat in her face. "So you want to leave our homeland to these invaders?"

    Without wiping the saliva from her cheek she answered confidently. "What would anybody want with this wasteland?"
    【LƎVƎL.3】
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  4. #4
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    Gum was languishing aboard one of the ships in the Eihavum's bay. The old shaman had been brought to this new world against his will, he was a prisoner on a boat. He watched, incapable of anything else, while the naval battle developed around him. The sight of Eihavum shocked him, they were born from cats and humans were born from monkeys, but their cities looked remarkably similar. The buildings, the businesses, the people, the streets; Corone and Reijhaam were different sides of the same coin.

    In a cage again...

    From the moment Tosu died, he had remained a captive of the newly united Corone. He was branded an enemy of Fordstein's government, vilified with propaganda and portrayed as a famous terrorist. While its conclusion was foregone at the moment of conception, the trial's theatrics had proved the only break from the monotony of incarceration.

    With that excitement behind him, the wayward shaman was back to basking in saltwater splashes and whispering to his companions the seagulls.

    Weeks out on the open ocean gave him an opportunity for reflection; his stomach and his thoughts rose and sank with the waters. Nobody in the crew spoke to him, the order to ignore him came from on high. He surmised it was the vastness of the ocean to blame, but even the spirits of his ancestors became distorted. Quiet thought had always brought them to him in the past, but since the death of the boy, Gum had only heard broken whispers in his head. In truth, he believed they abandoned him because of the damage he had done his people. He felt responsible for everything: Tosu, Akashima, Phyr, and most of all, the fate of his own people.
    "A grateful benefactor of my bountiful mercy!" It was the slippery charm of the newly crowned Baron of Akashima. Grinning, he winked at the caged shaman. The elaborately dressed man stood on the open deck of the ship, showing no fear of the storms all around them. Fordstein, after all, held the Thunderbox in his hands; it was protecting him from the brutal weather. "Gentlemen, please oblige me and load this cage into the catapult, won't you?"

    Burly sailors, four in number, surrounded the wooden cage Gum was inside of. They lifted it and loaded it onto a catapult positioned near the bow of the ship.

    Fordstein followed behind them, smiling. "As per our agreement, old friend, it's time you joined the battle!" Fordstein reached into the cage and handed the shaman his primitive weapon. Tentatively, Gum retrieved his obsidian bladed axe from his corrupt adversary.

    "Release!"

    And with the command, Gum's cage was launched into the air and flew awkwardly towards the docklands, towards the heart of the battle.

    A'lia leapt back, the makeshift projectile landed directly on the kneeling body of General Festerslash. The box shattered on the ground and Gum rolled onto his back.
    【LƎVƎL.3】
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  5. #5
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    A bald-headed woman climbed the ladder from the hold below and took her place next to Fordstein. "Listen," she said, jutting her jagged elbow into the aging man's ribs. "You must be fucking stupid if you think that's a death sentence for the fucking Xenga Xinga witch doctor. Ya know?" It was the jewelry-laden Saieda.

    Fordstein twirled the tips of his moustache. "The situation is hardly pellucid." His bitter eyes resisted a wink. "I'm counting on that fact for my entertainment. Especially since our victory in the battle itself is all but guaranteed." The baron shooed Saieda out of his personal space and finished his thought. "If he survives," he said while rubbing the leather elbow patches on his jacket, "I want you to take care of him."

    She huffed, failing to stifle her trepidation. "I can do that, I can take him out."

    "Quite." The baron favoured the shaman versus the pirate all things being equal, but the scales were far from balanced. He knew Gum was battered and beaten, starved and dehydrated; after all, he had insisted on that treatment while the shaman was in his custody. "I wonder," he mused, "how will our own cat man with fare against a whole country of cat people?"
    【LƎVƎL.3】
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  6. #6
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    Gum's gaunt body stirred in the wreckage of the cage. Before getting to his feet, he looked amongst the broken lumber for his own piece of wood. "Hm," he grunted with satisfaction as he pulled the handle of his axe from the rest of the wood; it stood out from the rest as it hadn't been milled or treated. It couldn't be clearer he thought, there was the contrast before him: his wild wood studded with rocks for blades, a primitive, but artful weapon, and a cage made from trees cut and shaped beyond recognition.

    They can keep their civilisation.

    The shaman, breathless and exhausted, squared up to A'lia with his axe in hand. A'lia squinted at him, wondering why this human was so different to the rest of them. The never-ending storm soaked them both.

    "I just want the general," she begged, pointing at the ailing Lion Warrior that Gum's cage had crashed into. She grabbed the hulking warrior by the paw and attempted to drag him. Gum helped her, and together they pulled General Festerslash off the battlefield and into the open door of a recently relinquished abode. The warrior's injury had left a pink trail in the puddles, and when Gum looked at the colour he once again heard the faint voice of ghosts in his mind. "Give," said the voice.

    Give what?

    "You're different to the rest of them," A'lia said, bluntly.

    The Xangu native's thoughts were interrupted. "Yes." Gum was just as blunt, and twice as sullen. "You just want this general," he said bowing his head at the weakened warrior. "And I just want Baron Fordstein."

    "That's the second time I've heard that name," she said, remembering her recent encounter with Ceidon Lore.

    "His death is the key to ending this carnage." The Xangu shaman's narrow eyes swelled with regret. "He is behind this invasion of your lands." Speaking of the invasion around them, he couldn't help but dwell on the sorrow of his own people. On the other side of the world, they too were being ruined by the burden of greed's consequence.

    "Reijhaam isn't our homeland anymore." A'lia whipped her furry finger out to point at Festerslash. "Them. The Tribal Council and their awful Lion Warriors... everything about the Tribal authority." She grunted. "They destroyed it with their lust for power." The general, awake but woozy, snorted his discontent.

    "I implore you, Baron Fordstein is worse than anything you have experienced." The shaman wore the dread of Fordstein's rule in the sorrowful lines in his face. "He came here seeking this land's power. He is in possession of an item, one that your people were in search of, that can be used to restrict and redirect the power of this place."

    "I..." A'lia's convictions wavered as she couldn't hide from the truth, the truth that foreigners could be just as corrupt as her oppressors at home. "M-m-maybe," she stuttered. "Maybe I was wrong." She turned away from the fading form of General Festerslash.

    "You were wrong." The grit in the Lion Warrior's voice had weakened to a rasp. "Sabotaging our invasion of Corone is something I can forgive." He propped his broad shoulders against the wall of the room. "But, handing our home over to this villain Fordstein I cannot forgive." His yellow eyes bore a rage his broken body could not act upon.
    【LƎVƎL.3】
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  7. #7
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    Something fizzed outside. "The storms..." Festerslash's voice faded, he was losing consciousness. A'lia jumped up to peak out of the window of the home they were using for cover. "The atmosphere is flaring up," she explained. Gum positioned himself next to her to observe what was happening outside for himself.

    Another proud Lion Warrior had taken command of the Tribe's forces in the absence of Festerslash. The new leader corralled the last of the Lion Warriors to face off against a grouped of robed humans, their light attire on the field of battle betrayed their discipline: mages.

    "No..." A'lia's fright was palpable, the sight of magic uses filled her with dread.

    The squad of mages muttered in unison, whispering the kind of incantations that had long since been banned in Reijhaam. They engaged in synchronised gestures, sweeping their arms aesthetically, while bending their fingers unnaturally. The mages were casting a powerful spell collectively.

    "Stop them!"

    Reijhaam's Lion Warriors charged the conjurers, their voices roared and their armour rattled.

    Sparks of fire began to form on the tips of human fingers. Thunder cracked overhead.

    A blade hacked the leading mage in two. Another human fell to a cat's might hammer blow. The wizards and witches were falling fast, the prowess of the Lion Warriors was a stark mismatch.

    "Get down!" A'lia dragged Gum to the floor nevertheless.

    The decision was wise.

    A fireball was cast to completion by a lone mage at the rear of the action.

    The island continent's revenge was instantaneous; a thunderous explosion shot down from the sky. Brick and stone flew into the air and bodies were tossed across the docklands. The sea rushed into the freshly made hole in the ground.

    The trio of Gum, Alia, and General Festerslash had been a safe distance from the explosion. The resistance fighter, A'lia, looked down at the unconscious body of her lifelong foe. "Is it too late now?" she whispered.

    "No." The shaman wasn't prone to lying, but the conviction in his tone was intended to comfort and mislead. While they did have a chance of getting to Fordstein, he knew that, should he fail, Reijhaam would be the third nation to fall because of his heinous decisions. First Akashima, now Reijhaam, and his own nation was sure to end.

    A'lia looked at Gum, paused for a moment and then spoke. "What now?"

    Gum watched out the window while the victorious Coronians set about the remnants of the docklands, securing one position after another. "If you want to save your people then we must kill Fordstein."

    "I'm a known resistance fighter," she explained. "I have not killed any humans yet," she mused, her plan blossomed in her mind ahead of her mouth. "I can use that to my advantage. I can feed them information. They will surely want to know how to reach Krettnakt, the capital."

    The Xangu native's notions dovetailed with hers. "I am in a complicated position," he said, his rough baritone came across as unaffected. "But, I was brought here to fight along side Fordstein's forces." It was true, Gum was supposed to help the baron's conquest, but whether the shaman had any remaining sway with the former senator was unlikely.

    "Let's get out of here," said the resistance fighter. "We'll use the general as proof of our alignment."

    Dragging Festerslash behind them, they stepped back onto the streets of Eihavum. They were out in the rain again, the fallen Tribe commander lay on the ground between them. Gum looked ahead, he was waiting contently for an officer in the Coronian invasion force to notice them. A'lia, contrastingly, pressed her hands into her hips and groaned impatiently.

    "What do we have here?" The speaker's uniform marked him as more than a private, but less than important.

    "This is..." Gum realised he did not know the resistance fighter's name.

    "A'lia," she said, intervening to rescue her new friend from his ignorance.

    "You have A'lia to thank for incapacitating the opposition's general." Gum pressed his wrinkled digits on the unconscious head of General Festerslash.

    "I'm a member of the resistance, we fight against Tribal tyranny and destruction of our homeland." When she spoke, she swept the silver tuft of fur on her head back, smiling with pride.

    "Hmm," the soldier attending to them took his helmet off and wiped the sweat and rain from his face with frustration. "Well, let me get my..."

    "Perhaps you should take us to Baron Fordstein?" The shaman took advantage of the battlefield middleman's incompetence to guide the situation in his own favour.

    "Right," the soldier conceded.
    Last edited by Gum; 05-08-17 at 06:15 PM.
    【LƎVƎL.3】
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  8. #8
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    Gum
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    Once again, Gum found himself back in a cell waiting on Fordstein's decree. The Coronians wasted little time in requisitioning the Tribal Guard's city jail. He was unsure what had become of A'lia. An army officer was smart enough to separate them so as to prevent any further collusion. She was probably in a nearby cell, but out of sight, he thought.

    Anxiety set in, the Xangu native wondered if his captivity was going to stretch from minutes into hours, hours into days and days into weeks–just as it had every time before.

    "The baron is ready to see you." It was only his second night behind bars. In a rare show of emotion, he smiled at the guard bringing him the good news. The shaman gripped the solid bars of the cell and pulled himself up from the concrete. That sound, a key turning in a lock, brought him great joy.

    Gum was hurried into a room where his attention was first drawn to General Festerslash. The general was alive, his leg wound must have been stitched and dressed. The hulking Lion Warrior was strapped into a chair and gasping. Next to take the Xangu native's attention was A'lia. She had tears in her eyes.

    A human man with an ugly array of hand tools set out on a tray in front of him stood next to the distressed general. Festerslash's paws were missing some claws, his ears were ripped and he was bleeding from a plethora of tiny cuts. They'd tended to one wound, only to inflict him with many others.

    There were soldiers guarding the door Gum had just come through, and soldiers guarding a second door to the room.

    "Haven't I told you enough?" demanded A'lia angrily, hoping to save her compatriot further suffering.

    "It's always good to corroborate intelligence," sneered the handyman.

    Gum cut them both off. "Where is Baron Fordstein?"

    The soldiers blocking the second door parted, and the former senator entered the room. Gum's narrow eyes widened with shock when he saw the baron. "Fordstein...?"

    "You don't recognise me?" the baron asked, mockingly. He had a bloody wound in his chest, into which the Thunderbox had been artificially inserted. "I've elevated myself," he said with a whimsical giggle, glancing down at his feet. The baron wasn't walking, instead he was floating on discs of whirling air.

    Gum's heartbeat quickened. A feeling of dread overcame him, that emotion had become an easy friend. In recent months, Gum had become accustomed to the swift descent of his hopes and dreams. Surely, Fordstein's latest atrocity would provide the ultimate answer to the shaman's suffering.

    Lightning coursed and crackled along his electrified limbs. "You'll have a cracking time with the new me." The baron's lungs billowed with laughter.

    It was all Gum could do to resist calling the baron an abomination, but a slither of hope curbed his desire. Rather than lashing out, he kowtowed and engaged in Fordstein's odious theatre. "A'lia and I were able to remove their commander from the field of battle."

    Fordstein nodded. "Yes, I've heard of your heroics from my new best friend here." He pointed at A'lia. "But this one," he placed a hand on Festerslash's shoulder, jolting him with his newfound powers, "has been less forthcoming." Festerslash grunted, slumped and bit his lip, but he did not cry out.

    "Have we earned your trust?" Gum was still exhausted, had he not been then maybe the question would have been better disguised. "I will not play games with you, Fordstein." His sorrowful eyes looked away from the baron. "I know my only way to succeed in saving my people is to support you."

    "I'll get to that in a moment, Gum. Let me just deal with this." He waved his crackling hands at the guards. "He won't give us any information. Just send him back to Corone."

    "Yessir!"

    "Put him in the Radasanth Zoo with the rest of the lions." The guards unshackled the Lion Warrior. They tossed him out of the torture chair and watched him slump onto the floor. Even when they dragged him out by the fur of his mane, the proud general remained silent. He kept his aura of strength and dignity.

    "Anyway, so where were we?" asked the baron as the handyman followed the guards out of the room.

    "What is to become of us?" Again, Gum focused the conversation. His patience for all of life was hanging by a thread.

    "Ah, yes," said Baron Fordstein, rubbing his electrified hands together. "A'lia here has given us some information on the location of the capital and how best to compromise it."

    A'lia shuffled on the spot, she held the long whiskers of her face as steady as she could. Twitching them, she thought, might be a tell for their deception.

    "We have scouts out confirming the location as we speak." Fordstein stroked the Thunderbox in his chest while he spoke. "So, I suppose I'll use the pair of you for the assault."

    Gum glanced at A'lia, she was beating back a smile.

    "We march at dawn, we'll reach Krettnakt by dusk!"
    【LƎVƎL.3】
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    xangunationalist
    fordsteinoperative

  9. #9
    Member
    EXP: 8,120, Level: 3
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    Level completed: 78%,
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    Gum's Avatar

    Name
    Gum
    Age
    41
    Race
    Dheathain Human
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Black
    Eye Color
    Brown
    Build
    5'11'' / 165lbs
    Job
    Xangu Shaman

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    The journey there took them through the shade of Grettfut Forest, a soulful and reflective place. With her mood shaped by her surroundings, A'lia felt the time was right to find out a little more about what was going on with Gum. "So, what's so complicated about your connection with that Fordstein guy?" Krettnakt was at least another four hour's march away when she began the conversation, the feline fighter knew there was time for conversation.

    "I once believed his lies." The shaman's expression was glum, he looked away from his travel partner and at the old trees lining the road. "I believed he could help save my people." He wondered how many trees had been cleared by the Drakari back home.

    Puzzled, the resistance member pressed further. "Why are you still working with him if you don't believe that any more?"

    "I made mistakes on top of mistakes." He gave her a short answer, a simple sentence with its meaning obscured was all he could muster. Though he refused to speak of the past, he couldn't help but think of it. The sun was dipping ahead, the tangerine haze encouraged a thick rush of sentiment.

    Gum remembered it all very well...

    It was a week after the events in Gisela. Tosu's death was still fresh in Gum's mind; and the shaman was locked up in a Radasanth jail cell. Just moment's earlier, the judge presiding over his trial had flippantly passed his sentence. The Xangu native was to be put to death.

    Through devoted eavesdropping, Gum had learned from the guards that it was likely he would be hanged at noon the next day. A big crowd was expected, many were excited to watch a foreign terrorist die. Radasanth had seen a rash of political assassinations. Most of the killings had been perpetrated by Storm Veritas and his resurgent Castigars. Pinning them on Gum was a nice bookend to that revolutionary subterfuge.

    On the morning before his trial, Gum received a special visitor.

    "Ahh, my honoured guest!"

    Gum recogised the voice immediately, it was serpentine Senator Fordstein.

    "I trust you've been well catered to, old bean?"

    The shaman flared his nostrils, inhaling audibly but without responding.

    "I appreciate your acute anguish, Gum. I truly do."

    The senator's sarcasm failed to rile the stoic prisoner. Again, the shaman sat silent in his cell.

    "Forgive me," smirked the senator. "But, you and that elf did plot to assassinate me. I think under the circumstances my coming here to visit you is quite generous."

    Gum still didn't respond.

    "Hmm. Quite. Well, fortunately for you, my generosity is as abundant as my wealth and power! I have an opportunity for you. One that might keep you out of the gallows."

    "I am prepared to enter the Underworld." When Gum finally spoke, he did so with moribund gravity.

    "Oh, don't be so macabre," flapped the flamboyant politician. "We're going to war again. Instead of letting these cat people and their Lion Warriors come to us, we're going to go to them!"

    "You are going to invade and conquer another nation?" Gum turned his back to the senator, facing the blank wall of his jail cell. "Does your greed know no limit?" he asked while looking away.

    "They started it!!!" The senator rattled his knuckles on the iron bars of the cell. "Nevertheless, the fleet sails tomorrow. Why don't you fight for your freedom? I'll give you another chance to prove your loyalty to me. And if you do prove yourself loyal, maybe there's still a chance we can take this grand army of ours to the Xangu Basin and liberate your people from those dreadful Dheathain dragon people?"

    Gum sighed.

    "I understand why you did it." A'lia had made her own mistakes, she had made the wrong decisions for her people the same way Gum had for his. "Maybe we've still got time to fix it?"

    "It is my only hope." Gum squinted in the glare of a sun about to set. "I cannot be the shame of my ancestors, the bane of my own people."

    "Shh," A'lia said, eyeballing an approaching officer; the duo had been matched with one of Fordstein's regiments for the journey to Krettnakt.

    Grettfut Forest faded behind them and their destination grew out of the horizon ahead. Krettnakt was a capital wrapped old stone walls, they were steep, thick, and possessed guard towers at regular intervals. A moat supplemented the defences.

    "The walls haven't been used in centuries," said A'lia with a furrowed brow. "It looks like they've actually closed the old gates and manned the towers though." She strained her eyes as she looked over the distance. "It's hard to see from this distance."

    "A siege is cruelest on the citizens," remarked Gum sadly, he was already mourning the suffering afoot.

    With night fast approaching, all that was left to do was to make camp.
    Last edited by Gum; 05-08-17 at 06:59 PM.
    【LƎVƎL.3】
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    xangunationalist
    fordsteinoperative

  10. #10
    Member
    EXP: 8,120, Level: 3
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    Level completed: 78%,
    EXP required for next level: 880

    AP
    13
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    Gum's Avatar

    Name
    Gum
    Age
    41
    Race
    Dheathain Human
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Black
    Eye Color
    Brown
    Build
    5'11'' / 165lbs
    Job
    Xangu Shaman

    View Profile
    By the time the sun came up the next morning, Fordstein's forces had surrounded the city with their numbers focused on the north and south entrance gates. The humans hadn't opened fire, nor had the cats.

    The day played out with a series of offers and counteroffers; Baron Fordstein himself met with representatives of the Tribe's chiefs before the northern gate.

    No surrender could be reached.

    ~~~

    In the familiar glow of early evening, Gum received a note delivered by one of Fordstein's closest soldiers. He had been invited to the baron's private command tent.

    "Leave us," commanded the conquering dictator. After strategising with his officers, Fordstein had come to the realisation that their victory wasn't as assured as he had assumed when they first arrived in the port city of Eihavum.

    Gum's wrought brow betrayed his concern as he watched the military men and women exit the tent. "What do you want with me?" The shaman continued to favour melancholic candour.

    "How would you like to end this war with as little bloodshed as possible?"

    Looking away, the shaman knew what Fordstein was going to ask of him.

    "Cat got your tongue?"

    "Very clever," answered the shapeshifting shaman. "You want me to become a jaguar and sneak into the city at night?"

    "Now who's the clever one?" Fordstein winked at the subject of his torment gleefully. "This is what I want you to do," he said, beckoning Gum to join him at a table housing a map of the city's defences. "Firstly, if you can, of course, assassinate anybody important looking!" Gum nodded and Fordstein continued talking. "But, more importantly than that, I want you to set fire to place. They'll have no choice other than to come running out. We have the advantage out here. They'd be fools not to surrender."
    Last edited by Gum; 05-08-17 at 07:04 PM.
    【LƎVƎL.3】
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    xangunationalist
    fordsteinoperative

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