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  1. #11
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    Nosdyn's Avatar

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    Name
    Nosdyn Son of Tharak
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    Father...you would have been proud. Nosdyn often thought of the wise old aristocrat demon who had been his father. He thought of how far he'd come in N'Jal's fold. It had started with a simple resolution, a simple promise. Nosdyn thought back to his own youth, his own martial training at the careful guidance of his father's lessons. Nosdyn was teaching them the same way he'd been taught...to honour the legacy of his people...no...to honour his father. He watched the two students spar against one another in the martial tactics of his father. It was an exotic sort of fighting style, far more brutal than the Akashiman martial tactics ever were. Nosdyn observed, he instructed, he helped them adjust form and technique.

    More and more he was seeing it...Llukai had something to prove. He will be great someday Lancaster. Me and you together...we did this together. We made something of the boy. When classes were over for the day Nosdyn stood there deep in thought as he often did, thinking about the day's instructions. Llukai walked up to him with his companion. Nosdyn nodded at both. "You're both doing very well."

    Llukai didn't even think to ask or question what Nosdyn thought of the fact he'd joined N'Jal's fold. But he wanted to know if his teacher approved. "Instructor...I needed to ask you something." Llukai said.

    Nosdyn looked at the boy calmly. "We're equals, boy. If you ever have something you need to share you talk to me."

    Llukai nodded. "I joined with N'Jal...you never said anything. I just wanted to know if you approved or not."

    Nosdyn ran his hand through the boy's hair as he used to do often in the past. "Me and you walk different paths, boy. Worry not, your woman will take care of you." He looked towards Aelldra and nodded to her. "You two make a beautiful pairing." Nosdyn said calmly and decided to leave the training center for the night after helping them clean things up.

    Aelldra walked over to Llukai. "He admires you, Llukai. He sees you as I do."

    Llukai nodded...that ferocity and determination was there in his eyes, Llukai knew someday he would have to prove himself to Nosdyn.

    ***

    Tharak son of Nosdyn sat in deep thought that night. He looked at Lilly at about the second hour and kept looking at her with a soft smile on his face. "Father once told me it is our people's destiny to die on the battlefield." Tharak said to her.

    She nodded in response. "Yours is a tribe that fights...maybe against life itself." She said with a smile of her own.

    "Perhaps. Father was always more gifted in the martial tactics than I ever was. However I was blessed in other schools, other powers." Tharak said to her. "I have been teaching you know for a long time. You have been teaching me as well. I have made it my own life's work to record the teachings of my father for N'Jal and the other children. So come what may, my people's history would be recorded."

    Lilly nodded. "Your father has been doing a brave thing. Teaching us the martial tactics of his own father." She said, accepting the ways of Tharak and his people. "He doesn't want his own father's memory to be lost." Lilly said to Tharak.

    Tharak considered what he was hearing. "He's afraid of dying." Tharak had a somewhat serious expression on his face, and he placed his hand gently on her leg. "I think all of us are scared of facing our maker someday."

    "He is trying to preserve a great deal of knowledge." Lilly said to him. "We're doing a great work together me and you. It's been an honour watching how far you've come in our fold."

    Tharak nodded. "Lilly...thank you too." He said calmly to her, he was glad N'Jal saw fit to pair them together. It was only then he was beginning to understand how the master worked on some level.
    Last edited by Nosdyn; 11-27-2019 at 04:29 PM.
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  2. #12
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    Nosdyn sat silently next to N'Jal. He was thinking as he often did, pondering...letting his mind dissect various matters of the week's time period. He looked at N'Jal at that point. "The students are progressing well." Nosdyn said calmly.

    "Especially the boy I'd assume, Lancaster's son?" N'Jal asked. "He had the markings of your people engraved on his own flesh...he is quite an admirable boy."

    "Yes...there's a war waging in his heart. He fights with the same ferocity now as myself and my son do." Nosdyn paused for a moment. "I have been wondering lately, where does this all lead my master?"

    N'Jal thought carefully of how to respond to her champion. "An educated question...but difficult to answer. For a long time, I acted on impulse as well...oft being a free spirit. Before you joined my fold things were decidedly...less organized." She chuckled a moment. "Right now is the calm before the storm." N'Jal said quietly to him.

    He nodded. "We've been fighting together for a long time, my master." Nosdyn said to her. "You know by now I would never question you. I just want to know what you're thinking...what happens next?" He asked.

    "You know at some point Xyllea's cult will directly oppose us." N'Jal said.

    Nosdyn nodded. "I know...I have been considering this too. Perhaps we can at least choose where a battle will take place."

    "Would be a direct advantage yes. Why do you fear going to Ettermire?" She asked suddenly.

    The question almost caught Nosdyn off guard but he would answer her. "Many will die if we directly engage. I just...don't want to cause needless bloodshed anymore. I've changed my views on warfare at this point. We'd be at a very large disadvantage in Ettermire. Also...there is another element we have to consider."

    N'Jal thought about what the old demon was saying. "The Lloth priesthood is what you speak of?"

    "Yes...I do not think I can logically fight them directly. Lloth herself...once read my mind, saw my thoughts." He sighed. "Back before Xyllea had completely sold me and my son out." He shook his head. "A battle against Lloth would prove to be fatal for us. Perhaps not you...but for us. Your followers, me, my son, Lancaster's boy."

    N'Jal nodded. "We will prepare when the time comes, I will think of something." She said. "But I have always respected your advice and your wisdom, I shall consider what you are telling me very carefully."

    ***

    Him and N'Jal got up a little while later and started to walk around the cavern network for a while together.

    Talking about a great many matters...

    Nosdyn had deep concern in his heart that he freely admitted to her, a war against Ettermire would prove far too costly. He did not want to loose what him and N'Jal worked so hard to build for so long. He paused a moment and looked at her. He placed his hand on the side of her face. "N'Jal...as you know I do not fear death. For many reasons perhaps, but mainly because of the teachings of my father. It is no longer about what we think about a potential enemy anymore. We have lives depending on us now." Nosdyn said to her very carefully. "We cannot risk losing what matters most."

    N'Jal listened to everything that Nosdyn told her. "You've changed Nosdyn. It has been a tremendous pleasure watching you grow. I understand your concern I will honour it. I want to ask you something that I've asked you before but only if it's okay with you." N'Jal said at that point.

    "We are speaking freely my master, you can ask me what you need to." Nosdyn told her honestly, matters of the heart and expression had always been difficult for him but he'd come a long way since those days.

    She nodded. "Do you remember that night you came here?" N'Jal asked, there was something that was troubling her, a point she was trying to get across. "Do you remember what you promised me?"

    Nosdyn nodded. "Yes...I will always remember and I will always honour the promise we made each other that night. This I swear to you."
    Last edited by Nosdyn; 11-27-2019 at 09:14 PM.
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  3. #13
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    Time passed...

    One night, Nosdyn became aware of the dreaming state he'd encountered at several other points in his life. He had no knowledge of how he ever ended up in those locations he only knew he was in them. Each time, he'd encountered otherworldly entities...other beings friends and loved ones long gone. He no longer felt fear or trepidation in these sorts of other planes...the dreaming state he'd oft called those placed. He looked around, this place was a field of The Tular Plains, long since abandoned.

    There, on the twilight of his life...Nosdyn understood why he was seeing that place of all places.

    "Do not fear the end." Lancaster, Llukai's father said to him. It would have been the first time he was directly contacted by Lancaster's ghost.

    Nosdyn nodded to his friend. "I never have, but something is different now."

    "There is more to protect I wager." Lancaster said knowingly.

    Nosdyn considered that. "It's...a little more complicated than that my old friend. I feel...it I feel death's shadow on my back now at all times."

    "N'Jal won't let go of you...you should know that by now." Lancaster said truthfully. "She loves you too much."

    "I am aware...there is another matter. The boy...he's become one of N'Jal's now." He would always tell Lancaster the truth.

    "He thinks he owes you a great debt, Nosdyn. I have watched my son for many years now. Not saving you from Xyllea was always one of his greatest regrets, I have come to warn you about this matter. He is going to attempt to sacrifice himself for you." Lancaster said.

    Nosdyn, perhaps was his age by then, nodded. He'd considered that as being possible by then. "I am aware of what eats at his heart and soul. What would you have me do, Lancaster?" He asked the old dark elf.

    "You must save the boy at all costs. You will have to make a choice very similar to that time you first met Xyllea. On one hand, you'll have the life of an enemy of N'Jal, your master. On the other...you will have Llukai's life. That choice will affect which of you will live and which of you will die."

    A flash in his mind of the day he first met Xyllea, he'd risked certain death to save her. "I will do everything in my power to save the boy." Nosdyn said.

    "N'Jal...may not approve of this decision. You may have to face her wrath as a result." Lancaster said plainly.

    "If she strikes me down over this...it will be all right. I have lived a long time my old friend...I know the end is coming, perhaps for us all." Nosdyn said.

    "Nosdyn...take care of the boy I know I do not need to remind you of what is at stake. You have your own son to deal with, but this one selfish thing I ask of you, the boy may not be willing to see reason when the time comes. But save him. Long term, he will become too important to you all." Lancaster said.

    Nosdyn nodded. "I will see this done. And Lancaster...be at peace he's become a gifted warrior at this point, me and you made something of him."
    Last edited by Nosdyn; 11-27-2019 at 10:32 PM.
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  4. #14
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    Later that night, Nosdyn found himself troubled by what Lancaster's ghost told him. Nosdyn did what he often did when he was troubled by something, he went to go train. The martial tactics of his father's teachings were second nature by that point. Nosdyn had the training chamber to himself that night. He would take full advantage of that fact, he trained harder, worked harder than anyone else there except maybe N'Jal herself. Nosdyn thought carefully to the times of his youth...when his father was training a boy that would one day be the heir to Krotar house. Before The Tribunal ruined everything for them all. Nosdyn was haunted by his memories of the past by that time of his life.

    He saw his father before him...but they were memories, not the actual ghost of Tharak himself. His ghost would never again appear before him since that last time. The night of the wedding between him and Xyllea. He sighed at that point and began to recite the precepts his father had taught him since he learned how to talk. He began to cry at that point as he used the wooden training stick against the one of the combat dummies they'd set up. He trained, he pushed himself as hard as he could...he was fighting a battle he knew he was going to loose. One day, death would come claim him. He knew that was unavoidable at that point. Well into the training session, he noticed his priestess was watching him train. He was catching his breath, sweat dripping off his well chiseled form.

    The priestess had been his trusted companion the entire time. He smiled at her. "Do you still desire me?" He asked of her. "Even though I'm an old man at this point?"

    She smelled his sweat, his natural body order and she smiled softly at him. She walked right front of him and leaned in close to him, to feel his natural warmth. The warmth of his people. "I have always been here for you. Death eventually comes to claim us all...but let us enjoy each other while we are both here." She said to him.

    He nodded. "I have never said no to you." He held her in his strong arms. There was a comfort there that was not quite the same as the times he spent with N'Jal. N'Jal was a deity...that was something far different to understand and sometimes even to comprehend. "Thank you for choosing me, in many ways you have also saved me." Nosdyn said to her.

    "Me and you have been through a lot together." The priestess said, enjoying his warmth and the smell of his body. "We will face many more challenges together."

    But Nosdyn knew....there weren't going to be many more challenges. His time was coming, it was the nature of his people to face battle, to die on the battlefield. He knew what he was prepared to give to N'Jal and her cause. He was not afraid of death. "Let's enjoy each other tonight my love." Nosdyn said to her, that night he wanted to just enjoy his priestess...for perhaps the last time. He knew death watched his every move by that point in his life.
    Last edited by Nosdyn; 11-28-2019 at 11:49 AM.
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  5. #15
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    Nosdyn's Avatar

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    For a long moment, Nosdyn held her in silence in his strong arms. He'd always been physically well built for what he specialized in. Nosdyn held her close, running his hand gently through her long hair. There was an almost ethereal beauty about the children of N'Jal. A beauty only they had, it was almost poetry. As he held her in his arms, he was trying to simply just enjoy the moment itself. Someday, there would be one last trial and tribulation they would all have to face together, Nosdyn suspected he would fall at that battle. Matters of expression, the heart, had always been difficult for Nosdyn to express because of his troubled past.

    He held her very close to him and kissed the top of her head gently. "There is a thing...N'Jal's teachings I have been learning them. To help me prepare for what I know is coming." Nosdyn said to her.

    She nodded. "You don't have to be afraid...you never do. You know for everything that's happened, she sincerely loves you."

    "She has my permission when the time comes...but I don't know if I want to keep fighting at this point." Nosdyn was scared of something else. He was not sure how he could word it, but he wanted someone to know. "Death itself, I have never been afraid of. It is the nature of my people to fall and die in battle. I'm just...tired at this point. I've been fighting for a very long time now." Nosdyn told her.

    She listened carefully to what her demon was telling her. "There is not much I can say to you to help you alleviate the suffering you surely must feel right now. But try think of it like this, it's no longer just about you and N'Jal. You have a son now, and Lancaster's boy. Try to look at it from their point of view, what would they do if you fell in battle and everything that could be done to save you was not done? You're too important at this point. N'Jal has been without a champion for a very long time before you."

    Nosdyn nodded. "Thank you...sometimes it helps to talk about these things. Illsandra learned very early, that I often had trouble expressing my emotions, I think many men do. But me specifically...I always had trouble."

    "Because of what The Tribunal made you do to your own family?" She said, there was actually a really understanding expression on her face.

    "There are other factors, but yes because of The Tribunal. It took me a long time to forgive myself, and I hated myself for that." Nosdyn told her. "There is something I want to give you." He removed his father's locket from his pouches and put it around her neck. "N'Jal once told me to give it to someone more worthy than Xyllea ever was. I am choosing to give this to you. The only known visual record of my mother." He clasped the locket around his mate's neck and nodded. "It looks better on you anyway." Nosdyn said with a soft smile.

  6. #16
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    "It does look good on you, Xelldra." Nosdyn said her name quietly. He'd known her name for many years at that point, but he'd always been used to calling her his priestess. He nodded.

    "It retains your warmth." Xelldra said calmly. "Xyllea once wore this did she not?" She asked.

    "Yes I took it back from her that night, I made sure." Nosdyn had a pained expression on his face. But it passed quicker than it would have in the past.

    Xelldra thought about what she was hearing. "You have come a long way." She said to him. "I will walk alongside you always." She was being honest about that.

    He touched the side of her face gently with one of his hands. "Life...is interesting it not? When I was young and more rash, I lost a friend over all of this. She was also a Priestess like you are. She went to the wilderness one night and I never saw her again. She likely took her own life. Those events lead me to come here...to Ettermire and eventually join N'Jal's fold. And eventually find where I belonged, in your arms."

    She smiled at that softly. "You've spoken to the master have you not?"

    "I have been wondering where this all leads, what happens next. So yes I have spoken to her...the answer was a little troubling but it is okay. I accept I am going to have to fight until I can no longer fight. It is the way of my people." He said to her.

    "The way of your father you mean?" She had the soft smile on her face.

    He nodded in response. "Yes. I miss him...often. I was forced to do a very terrible thing in my youth because of The Tribunal."

    "They saw your father as threat likely." She said.

    "Yes...The Tribunal's word is law. I wonder if choosing exile earlier would have been my more optimal route." He said at that point, with a heavy heart.

    "Why do you think that, my lord?" She asked.

    "They would have lived." And that shadow passed his face once again. His son had that quality of his people too. "I didn't think that I would have been exiled anyway back in those days..but they would have lived."

  7. #17
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    She understood something deeply about her demon at that point. He'd been troubled by his haunted past for a long time since before joining the master's fold. She continued to just stand there, holding him against her. "Let's just go to bed tonight." She said calmly to him.

    He nodded in response and kissed her deeply.

    ***

    "You understand now don't you?" Aelldra asked of him.

    Llukai son of Lancaster nodded. "Yes...for the first time in my life things make sense. I don't know...maybe it's the effects of the black blood or something like that. I don't really know, but things make more sense now." An effect of his acceptance of the master's gift.

    Aelldra nodded. "You're the first you know...the first one I've ever turned."

    Llukai looked at her carefully. "It is an honour." He said calmly, trying to think how Nosdyn would react in such a situation.

    She placed her hand on the side of his face. "You don't have to be like your instructor, just be yourself." She said in a very understanding way.

    "My whole life...he was all I ever knew. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I've made him suffer because of my failure. Xyllea...we knew me and my father knew. My father was already ailing and close to his own death by that point. I was too scared to back him..." Llukai sighed. "The one man who ever gave a shit about a stupid boy from Ettermire. I owe him...I will always owe him." There was a war being waged for his heart and soul.

    She saw the struggle and turmoil in his heart, it excited her. "Such debts are repaid someday. You will be fine Llukai, you've already proven enough. You're a highly skilled warrior by now."

    Llukai nodded and hugged his companion close to her. "There is a storm coming." Llukai suddenly said, perhaps hinting at things to come.

  8. #18
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    Several nights later...

    Nosdyn was holding Xelldra in his arms. The smell of their physical union was strong in the air. He was awake at some point that night and became aware that something in the darkness was staring back at him. He became aware, once more, that he was once again that strange dreaming state he'd often found imself in. He stood up after a moment and felt an unfamiliar presence...

    Nosdyn's eyes narrowed as he saw someone belonging to Xyllea's cult in the dreaming state with him. Nosdyn kept his face calm and would hear out whatever the man before him had to say, he was a dark elf. He noticed that right away. "What do you want?" Nosdyn asked first.

    "I've come to see for myself who was this champion of N'Jal. The one that Xyllea herself hated so much." The man had a sneer on his face as he looked at Nosdyn. "I've come to tell you that we are enemies."

    "I am aware." Nosdyn said calmly. "This is the only solution for us then? To become enemies and fight to the death?" Nosdyn's heart felt heavy.

    "A champion of N'Jal herself hesitates now?" The man asked, quite similar to how Xyllea herself would have spoken in the end.

    "I don't want needless bloodshed at this point if it can be avoided." Nosdyn said truthfully. He was tired of being dragged into needless wars and conflict. "Contrary to what you all may think we are not heartless monsters. Xyllea was."

    The man shook his head at that point. "You would do well to not insult our former master."

    Nosdyn sighed. "I spent years with Xyllea, in the end she back stabbed me and stole my son from me. I will ask you this, for your allegiance to her...what were you forced to give up? And can you sleep at night?" Nosdyn asked.

    The man considered the words he was hearing. "We are still enemies nonetheless. When we meet next prepare to do battle." The man said, and the dreaming state ended.

    Nosdyn awoke shortly after with a sigh at all he had just learned...
    Last edited by Nosdyn; 12-04-2019 at 09:12 PM.

  9. #19
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    As he awoke he held Xelldra a little closer in his arms. That feeling, that dread that had been in his heart for some time was ever present. He narrowed his eyes at that point and knew that no more sleep would come. He kissed the top of Xelldra's head for a moment and then gently rose from their bed. He needed time to think, to organize his thoughts. He walked towards an empty side chamber, much of the cavernous network remained unexplored.

    He felt N'Jal's presence behind him. "My master." He told her, and turned to face her.

    "You encountered their leader tonight did you not?" N'Jal asked.

    Nosdyn nodded. "Yes...apparently diplomacy will not work here."

    N'Jal thought about what she wa hearing. "They will be our greatest challenge so far my champion...you must gather your strength."

    "I know what's at stake." Nosdyn said in response. "There was something...interesting." He said to her.

    "What did you see?" N'Jal asked.

    "He was afraid. It was not that different from when we fought Xyllea that last time." Nosdyn said. "There is fear...where this fear there will be desperation. Many lives will be lost." Nosdyn explained to her.

    N'Jal considered her demon's analysis. "Did he state when a challenge would occur? A confrontation?" She asked.

    "No...but I suspect likely soon." Nosdyn had a grim expression on his face.

    "You are certain you do not wish to go to Ettermire directly?" N'Jal asked of him.

    "I am...Lloth herself would be an outside element we cannot afford to engage." Nosdyn did not want to see any needless suffering because of an extended battle with the cult.

    "Then I must prepare another plan." N'Jal suddenly said. "You will be excluded from a direct Ettermire assault."

    "My master...?" Nosdyn did not like what he was hearing. "I simply am stating a more optimal route..." Nosdyn tried to get her to understand what he was saying, where he was coming from.

    "You will not disobey me!" N'Jal suddenly yelled. Perhaps a little harsher than she meant to. "You will be excluded from Ettermire's direct assault party there will be another plan for you." She said and she walked away silently.

    Nosdyn was left there, a growing bitterness for his situation in his heart. Lancaster...I remember what you told me, when it comes time I will save your son and our debt will be fulfilled. You have my word. Nosdyn knew, he was going to be cut out from all planning form there on out...he was being punished for some reason he did not quite understand, or cared to.

  10. #20
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    He stood there in silence for a long moment.

    Thinking on all he had just learned, all that had just occurred. Life itself will be at odds with us always. He thought to himself, he thought of a conversation he had with Xelldra at one point. Maybe early exile would have been a more optimal route...maybe...now I'm not so sure... An hour passed as he stood there. I am going to be excluded now...after all I have given her...maybe it's better this way. Nosdyn stared into the dark chamber for a long time. "I dreamed a dream and now that dream is gone from me." Nosdyn said quietly. N'J al had given him his purpose back, his war back...now he was a chastised soldier. I don't even know why... He stood there for a long moment.

    Bitterness and rage swelling in his heart.

    At everything, at noone.

    He knew after a moment, the gods played with their lives as if they were play things. Little more than children's toys. He realized it at the the setting sun of his long life. Always at odds...father...I could really use some help right now...where has this all gone so wrong? Nosdyn thought to himself as he stood in the empty chamber. He knew he had been fighting a fool's war for a very long time. If this is my fate, I will not be afraid. I owe you that father. I owe my son that. Nosdyn felt a presence in the room with him, his father. He thought he would not see Tharak's ghost ever again...but maybe it was a desperation that called his father back to him.

    "Do not lose hope my son." The aristocrat demon said to him.

    "She's abandoned me...the fucking whole world has abandoned me." Nosdyn began to cry in front of his father. "What do I do father?"

    "My son, listen to me. Ours is a tribe that fights. We are weapons forged on the field of battle, and we die on the field of battle. You chose to walk alongside N'Jal she gave you your war back, your courage and honour. You must honour what Lancaster told you. If you wish to regain what was lost." Tharak said.

    "The master may not approve." Nosdyn said quietly to his father. "But I will honour you and Lancaster's wishes. You have my word."

    "When the time comes that you must save his son, she might not take kindly to you disobeying an order. She may hurt you...terribly." Tharak said.

    Nosdyn nodded. "That has occurred to me as well."
    Last edited by Nosdyn; 12-05-2019 at 08:16 AM.

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