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A Voice of the Realm

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Resoun
Nov Member 2018

Resoun

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Prologue
The Willingness of The Spirit
"...the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Matthew 26:41
It was Mahlenken's death that signaled the beginning of the end.
Deaths as a rule are neither noble nor elegant. In Murushk's experience they had once been most notable for their brutality and savagery. Yet now if found in foe, friend, or stranger; death had become naught but a tally mark in a column most grim. The dim recollection of any impact upon his soul had been repressed over the years.
Now, staring at his childhood companion's ruined face, the sad music of the crossbow's flight still echoing in his ears, Murushk found himself once more shocked by the suddenness of this most final event.
How many nights at campfires in their youth?
How many years spent training as squires in the courtyards of Falador?
Memories of commiseration over the aches and pains arising from the rigours and demands of preparation.
Always they had been together, almost as brothers. Each knowing that the other would be there to watch the other's back in any situation.
Then came the years campaigning against the foe. Each new season bringing a more disturbing report of twisted magics roaming the land.
The army had fought well but the enemy had somehow developed a method of adaptation beyond the ken of the best of generals.
Yes, the force of this army had been taxed but valiantly they had endured.
All seemingly now ordained to end here for Murushk.
In a dank passageway deep in the bowels of a long abandoned prison, fighting once more against strange enemies, he slowly began to fail.
Here each yard gained was at the cost of blood.
The foe's retreat was now notable by the discovery of dropped weapons. Some of these sadly could be recognized as having once belonged to fellow companions, long departed from the field.
We must all learn to embrace our own inner newbishness

09-Dec-2009 05:26:44 - Last edited on 26-Dec-2009 14:52:37 by Resoun

Resoun
Nov Member 2018

Resoun

Posts: 671Steel Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Murushk's hands shook as he laid his friend's now lifeless body gently back to the floor. He paused for a moment, breathing deeply of the stench of fresh blood and effluvium in the air. He had never seen his hands shake in battle before.
It was not fear.
A knight knows fear and is fully acquainted with it.
One is a madman to not know fear.
No, this was not fear, nor exhaustion, or rage, nor any emotional response he was familiar with.
It was as if a piece of his soul had died with his friend.
An emotion had been drawn from behind some veil...a new type of sadness. A "sadness", but of such magnitude as to steep from the heart the very essence of battle.
He moved slightly away from the body, back resting on a damp stone wall.
The bolt stood starkly contrasted through the pierced white armour helm, slowly becoming stained with the dark pool of red blood seeping from the head wound.
The soldiers under his command now surged past at the shouts of their sergeants.
That heady rush of battle to join with the enemy.
For glory or death.
He watched them pass in a daze.
These younger warriors so eager to prove themselves before each other. How often had he been there?
The ringing sound of blade biting into shield.
The clatter of collision.
The sharp whip and singing of arrows, bolts and barbs... passing in the air.
The cries of rage.
The shouts of anger...the soft croaks of death.
The triumphant chortle of the victor.
Had these once been his lullabies?
He could not recall.
His eyes slowly shut as he listened, sinking softly to the cold damp floor.
We must all learn to embrace our own inner newbishness

09-Dec-2009 05:27:19 - Last edited on 29-Dec-2009 19:01:15 by Resoun

Resoun
Nov Member 2018

Resoun

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Chapter One
Separation Anxiety
"Honor is the inner garment of the Soul; the first thing put on by it
with the flesh, and the last it layeth down at its separation from it."
Akhenaton, BC ~1375, Egyptian King

Sir Varz pushed himself away from his desk with a grunt of annoyance. Once more he read over the papers before him this time using a beam of winter's light coming from the small window high on the wall. There was something "not quite right" about the request before him. He glanced through the corresponding records seeking the name of the officer in question. He confirmed his suspicions and continued.
Here was an officer of many years service, much of it distinguished. According to records he had been involved in some amazing missions and events. There were even hints that this knight had perhaps been accepted into the order of the Temple Knights. Rumors persisted that he had been appointed as a regent for the distant land ruled by King Vargas. Indeed, records showed the knight in question had been promised to Princess Astrid of the King's own line. So, what was he to make of this request and the documentation accompanying it?
Here was a letter from Sir Tiffy Cashien himself detailing his recommendations of a separation from service (though without specifying on what grounds). Another from the hand of professor Henry a much respected security expert, recommending the same and reporting a dangerous lack of regard for self preservation in battle. Next, a memo from a Doctor Orbon detailing an apparent bout with something called "battle fatigue". But the most disturbing of all was the letter addressed to him personally by The High Priest of Saradomin at Entrana. Writing apparently on the behalf of this knight, The High Priest was requesting his release from service to be allowed to pursue a calling to their order.
We must all learn to embrace our own inner newbishness

09-Dec-2009 05:28:56 - Last edited on 29-Dec-2009 19:11:38 by Resoun

Resoun
Nov Member 2018

Resoun

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He rose to his feet. It just didn't make sense for a warrior to suddenly don the robes of a priest. Who had ever heard of a monk of Entrana fighting?!? But by all accounts this knight Murushk was a true killer. He was in fact also known to have been under suspicion for thefts and several murders having taken place in Ardougne far to the west.
"A man may lay a new garment over an old, but the underlying stains will always return to the top when pressed" his father had told him as a youth. The General sniffed and turned towards the window looking far down to the courtyard below.
The recommendations before him were after all merely "recommendations". He could, if he so chose, ignore them completely and retain this knight. Granted, it might require a demotion in rank to deal with the breakdown in morale evidenced. Still, he had to remember that one did not ignore the High Priest of Entrana without bringing peril to one's own doorstep.
He sighed and turned back to his desk. "Well, we shall release you Sir Knight", he said to himself. "But your pension shall be based not on the rank of a Master but rather that of a Noble. This, to register our displeasure at your effrontery in having usurped the chain of command in a most distressing way".
The general's quill scratched his orders on the parchment in a hurried manner. He then melted the wax and affixed his ring's stamp to seal it. "Entrana, you can have him" he grumbled before calling a waiting page to process the order through "proper" channels.
He returned to more pressing problems.
We must all learn to embrace our own inner newbishness

09-Dec-2009 05:29:26 - Last edited on 21-Dec-2009 17:28:08 by Resoun

Resoun
Nov Member 2018

Resoun

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Chapter Two
First Impressions
"The ancients called happy those who learned caution from the
danger of others...as wax receives its impression from a
seal, so the character of human life is shaped by example."
Frederick II (1215-1250)
German King & Holy Roman Emperor
Letter to the Kings of Christendom, 1246

The morning mist gently shrouded the docks of Port Sarim. Brother Baelk shrugged off a slight chill as he gathered his robes about him to await more of the morning's pilgrims. They came from everywhere these days. The free transport provided by the monks to the holy island of Entrana was the obvious draw. Some came with a strange scent of power about them, some came with fancy robes. One thing was constant for all.
None are allowed passage to Entrana possessing weapon or armour.
This was Baelk and his fellow brothers' most sacred charge; to search each pilgrim requesting passage, ensuring nothing profane should ever taint the sacred soil.
After some years of service the brothers here were fond of saying they could predict what contraband they were going to find on a given traveler from 20 paces distance. Brother Baelk had more than once found suspicious travelers attempting to carry weapons in wooden caskets buried deep within their traditional packs.
We must all learn to embrace our own inner newbishness

09-Dec-2009 05:30:51

Resoun
Nov Member 2018

Resoun

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His attention was drawn by a lumbering figure making its way towards them from the shadows of towering crates and barrels on the dock to the west. After watching the progress for a moment, Brother Baelk thought to himself; "This one will require a most thorough inspection!".
The creature was moving slowly as though under a great weight. The eyes were heavy lidded beneath dark brows. There was not much life left in them on first glance. The shoulders were slightly bowed forward beneath what was once a dark and rich fabric now much muddied and torn. The pack on the stranger's back hung limp as though unused. The hands, where they appeared, were scarred and gnarled. The enormous arms and shoulders spoke of power. The walk, though belabored, hinted at balance and an element of controlled danger.
These qualities were fairly unusual in the penitent or tourist. Perhaps this one was lost? Was he perhaps seeking transport to the islands of Karamja or Brimhaven (those known harbors of thieves and rogues)? Surely this traveler had made a mistake as to the dock he was intending.
Baelk straightened himself up to his full imperious height to address the approaching form even as he made his way to block the entrance to the boat's ramp. "Do you seek passage to holy Entrana?" He spoke with a stern voice and glare. "If so, you must leave your weaponry and armour behind. This is Saradomin's will".
The creature paused for a moment in mid stride, then slowly straightened and swung its gaze upon the suddenly discomforted monk. Baelk had not realized how tall the advancing man was going to be from his earlier slouched position. This man was almost a giant! "I bring nothing, oh monk," came a voice almost a whisper "save for the clothes on my back and the empty sack I bear."
We must all learn to embrace our own inner newbishness

09-Dec-2009 05:31:33

Resoun
Nov Member 2018

Resoun

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Baelk, now nervous for some unknown reason decided to stick with the approach he knew. "The job." He thought to himself, "Stick to the job!" The familiar words came out a bit more strained than usual. "Very well. One moment please" he said as he searched, carefully inspecting anything for a possible hazard.
That he found nothing came as a surprise to him. He had been certain this man would carry -some- sort of weapon with him. He looked up from the empty pack with a disappointed look. "All is satisfactory. You may board the boat now" he grudgingly intoned. He was thankful that he would likely not see the man again. With an almost genteel nod towards him, the figure walked slowly up the ramp and disappeared among the gathering throng aboard the waiting boat.
---+---
Murushk leaned against the rail of the boat watching the isle of Karamja retreat to the southwest and Crandor's long dormant volcano slowly ease into view from the north. It had been in his youth that he had visited that isle as a shipwrecked castaway and there encountered his first dragon. The battle had been fierce but he had finally managed to sever that long neck with a lucky blow and later present the head as a trophy to a disbelieving master. Here again people had died around him. People who had depended upon him. People he knew that he had ultimately failed.
He tried with his gaze to pierce the veil of dust and smoke enshrouding the beach. He had heard that there were now ongoing mining operations taking place on the island. He had hoped to see the wreck of his old boat. Perhaps it was the distance, but he found he could not even see the outline though he knew where it must be. Maybe someone had salvaged the timber for use elsewhere? Regardless, it was not his problem anymore.
We must all learn to embrace our own inner newbishness

09-Dec-2009 05:32:14 - Last edited on 26-Dec-2009 14:46:13 by Resoun

Resoun
Nov Member 2018

Resoun

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Soon enough, the boat rounded the northern corner and the mists of Entrana began to rise from the sea. The captain showed remarkable skill as he made his way past the shattered rocks and breakers that once marked the place of some ancient and now collapsed structure. Further to the distant east one could now barely make out the menacing form of the Dark Wizard's Tower, home of the necromancer. The boat suddenly lurched towards the ruins as a seemingly unexpected wave broadsided her. The captain had evidently been ready for it as he used the force of the collision to assist in a course correction bringing them directly towards the now enveloping clouds. After what seemed an eternity these gave way to bright daylight and the docks of the sacred island came into view.
Curiously, high above one could make out the passing balloons of other pilgrims and tourists traveling to and fro. Several other passengers commented on this, wondering at the wealth of such persons to afford such a new and potentially hazardous form of travel. One fellow came up beside Murushk and rested his elbows on the railing, leaning precariously over the edge. He seemed somewhat in distress and shortly after, made it apparent that the ship's movement had given him a bout of sea sickness. His vomiting into the sea was extraordinary in both quantity and vigor. Murushk was non pulsed, perhaps even a bit thankful for the distraction from his current thoughts.
The sick man gazed at the approaching shoreline with a somewhat bleary eyed look. His mouth hung open slightly and a sudden gust of wind brought the distinctive scent of stale beer directly into Murushk's face. He realized with a start that this man was quite thoroughly drunk.
We must all learn to embrace our own inner newbishness

09-Dec-2009 05:32:53 - Last edited on 08-Jan-2010 17:00:19 by Resoun

Resoun
Nov Member 2018

Resoun

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The humor of the moment made Murushk laugh in spite of himself. "By all that is holy, old man! You're approaching Entrana's shores with breath that might be classed a weapon in itself!" He clapped the hunched o'er traveler on the back inadvertently bringing on a second spasm of violent upheaval.
Murushk stood back in dismay at the result of his attempt at joviality. The sheer ability of this man before him to evidently consume and then vent alcohol was astounding. Murushk had known many warriors in his day and had in fact won a drinking contest amongst some of the hardiest of them. Here though he could honestly say that he had never seen one so well acquainted with drink.
He watched as the fellow wiped his face with his sleeve before straightening to give him an angry reddened stare.
"Monk's vows or not, "old man"", the drunkard slurred "You give me another slap like that and I'll see you over the side!". The stranger coughed and gripped the handrail once more for support as the boat lurched while coming alongside the docks.
Murushk was astounded! How could this stranger know who he was much less that he had come to take the vows of the Brotherhood of Entrana? Was he perhaps a spy? Sent by whom? The White Knights? The Black Knights?
Who could have penetrated Temple Knight security this well? Few knew his destination even in the White City!
Sure, there were plenty of enemies from the past to choose from.
Still, now that the spy was known, he could be observed.
"Best to keep a close eye on one's friends and an even closer one on one's enemies." Murushk observed quietly to himself.
We must all learn to embrace our own inner newbishness

09-Dec-2009 05:33:54 - Last edited on 29-Dec-2009 19:23:14 by Resoun

Resoun
Nov Member 2018

Resoun

Posts: 671Steel Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
--+--
The dock of Entrana was unique to all other docks in Murushk's experience in that the longshoremen here were all monks. There was no calling to and fro from ship to shore. Here the monks moved as though in a carefully choreographed ballet, each anticipating the thrown rope or the need for it in complete silence. The only break in noise discipline came from the travelers' disembarking or conversing with certain monks on the docks stationed there to answer their questions. Overall there was a prevailing sense of calm and quiet here in this island most sacred to the priesthood of Saradomin.
Murushk held back deliberately to become the last to leave the vessel. This was done both of habit and because he desired to see where the suspicious traveler would be headed once ashore. The island of Entrana was not unknown to him. He had visited here many times both in his days of training for the White Knights and on missions later in his career. As he watched, the now seemingly sober man made his way west and off the docks, heading towards the shops and crafting areas of the island.
Murushk waited for a bit on the docks, taking in the sea air and reconciling himself to his next order of business. Once he had reached some semblance of inner peace he set out to see the High Priest at his office in the nearby church.
---+---
We must all learn to embrace our own inner newbishness

09-Dec-2009 05:34:20 - Last edited on 08-Jan-2010 17:03:58 by Resoun

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