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Unread Feb 22nd, 2018, 03:47 PM   #1
Black & White
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Guardians of Valemier Part 2

Part 2………

Weeks passed since the news came from Calisto’s speedy scouts, reports of activity in the largest port in the south of Merchook, Nvida had allot activity and seemed to be heavily guarded with forces loyal to the prince who seemed on a stead fast campaign to wipe out the last royal sibling of the Leonitis line, Princess Amarla who had retreated north to her stronghold in the third largest city in Merchook, Malara, an old city in the mountains, protected by rock and fast flowing rivers.
The territories outside of Merchook watched as the prince seemed to brush aside his enemies with ease, using technology not seen before on the continent.
The deadly effectiveness of these weapons had not gone unnoticed and war atrocities were also being committed, pillaging of villages, killing of peasants, draining the countries wealth was creating a humanitarian crisis in the once proud kingdom.
The other kingdoms had decided to strengthen border security, especially the kingdoms that shared a land border with Merchook but so far the civil war had not spilled over.
Calisto and her scouts had been keeping tabs on the port from a safe distance, as well as flying scouts into Merchook, patrolling borders, oddly there had been no refugees fleeing the conflict and it seemed some towns that had not been involved or loyal to the prince were still trading, with larger amounts of wealth.
Calisto seemed puzzled by this and requested Counsellor Braigg and Dr Baxter Goodwin to attend a meeting of the grand council of Valemier and to update the council on the ongoing civil war in Merchook and the strange supply of weapons coming into the port.
Braigg had requested the books for the towns on the border which kept a record of trade with Merchook, the custom offices kept good record keeping, a human trait Braigg appreciated greatly, along with this the eccentric healer and potions master Melinda along with her apprentice Zyra were also requested to the grand chamber, along with Jacob and his loyal follower Ardon.
Fortunately, there was still good trade between the kingdoms and that Valemier had not felt any effects from the Merchook civil war as yet.
The council meeting begun with Braigg and Dr Baxter explained the financial side of things and the reports from the border towns by Merchook.
“From the records obtained from the border towns with Merchook, there seems to be trade from towns unaffected by the civil war, we still getting traders in but they are splashing the coin, buying luxury items, you would not think there is a Civil war going on” the man said inspecting the figures.
Braigg spoke next, the dragons wearing their ceremonial robes.
“I have heard similar stories as well, the cities on our side says trade continues, we also not seeing any sort of refugees or people seeking asylum in our lands elder Asifa” Braigg reported.
“Seems odd there be no stragglers across the border, you sure they using the legal routes” Jacob asked.
Calisto shook her head.
“My scouts patrol the borders and we seen noone” she insisted.
“Curious for a place at war with itself” Melinda commented as Calisto nodded in agreement.
"I would have expected an influx of citizens from neighbouring lands," pondered Asifa out loud.
"Or a disruption of trade," added Dantos.
The human shook his head.
“The border towns books say otherwise, plenty of coin for the wealthy or the ones perhaps the prince bought off” Baxter said.
“I can assure you elder Asifa, my scouts have reported no refugees on the border, I do have allot of scouts keeping tabs on the incidents, the lack of refugees is disturbing considering the prince burnt the wheat fields to the east a week ago as the other forces retreated” the dragoness said.
"Any word from scouts within Merchook borders? What is moral like within their territory?" Inquired Asifa.
Calisto gestured to one of her scouts who brought a map of Merchook forward for the councillors to see.
Jacob inspected it carefully, secretly wishing he had his pipe but after making a vow, he had not smoked at all, the man had even shaved too.
“I imagine they are not having fun, with all the nasty rumours of pillaging and other abuses by soldiers” Melinda said tutting.
“The prince controls most of the territories and regions of Merchook only a few towns and the princess stronghold to the north remains loyal” Calisto explained.
Asifa nodded grimly, "looking a little grave considering these past events," the white dragoness said.
Draco the other counsellor listened carefully observing the map.
“Seems the wealth of these men could being used to pay for the supply of advanced weapons in Nvida, all we can do is observe” he said as Braigg seemed to have a spark within his mind.
“We could perhaps do something, but do we want to risk being seen to take a side” Braigg said to the chamber.
Dantos raised a brow at this, "you have an idea Braigg?"
Everyone looked at the dragon as he raised his head.
“Perhaps we could an embargo on all goods being brought in to be sold and refuse any trade to these wealthy people in Merchook, giving the prince less income” Braigg suggested.
Baxter adjusted the glasses on his face.
“It is risky, it could be seen as meddling” he said.
“We take a hit in trade and coin but we can put a trade embargo on Merchook” Braigg said.
"We could take the risk financially but it is my worry that Merchook will turn its focus on Valemier for interfering," said Asifa.
"Would a gradual withdrawal from trade draw less attention?" Suggested Dantos, "food provisions first would seem less risky."
Dr Baxter nodded as Braigg seemed on board.
“We could do it small, say risk of contamination and new regulations, then start banning luxuries being imported due to illegal activities and fake merchandise” the man suggested.
“Aye, be less risky than an outright ban, you don’t want those projectile things coming our way” Jacob added his two cents.
Dantos nodded, "that's exactly my concern. If we have a gradual withdrawal from trade with the appropriate back story it would be much less obvious."
There was support from the counsellors for this.
“I can get messages to our towns and cities, I can draw up some stuff with counsellor Braigg before I depart” the man said.
“Excellent, seems we can help in some small way” Draco said with a small smile.
“I have my scouts keep a watch” added counsellor Calisto.
The council were in agreement and the legislation passed swiftly.
"Thank you everyone. We are taking small, but much needed steps toward peace. Thank you, Jacob and Dr. Baxter for your advice on the matter," said Asifa
The humans bowed as well as the other counsellors as the meeting was adjourned, despite the uneasy quiet life continued on in Valemier and the volcano and Jacob had a list of work to do before he retired home to rest, but he was due to help Melinda perhaps build one of the projector weapons they found the parts of and perhaps learn more about the skills and culture of this elusive 8th Kingdom.
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Unread Mar 5th, 2018, 08:50 AM   #2
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During the past weeks as more news of unrest grew out of Merchook, the resident Magic Crafter from Valemier had turned his practice from neutral magic to defensive. He had spent his life learning the arts of magic, drawing its power from unseen sources, forging it into something that would be seen, felt and heard. He had always taken a person secret pride in the work he accomplished. Magic had been a dying custom and very few individuals practiced it. It was said that the power was fading from the world but Akeel would not let that happen so long as he drew breath.
His life’s work had been put to learning from old texts and finding out the rules and limitations of magic within himself. Sharing this knowledge was also an important aspect to the old, amethyst coloured dragon. His students varied but were mostly dragons, having the greater chance of being able to manipulate magic.
Akeel’s skills had impressed many, and he had a varied talent that had come of years upon years of practice. He could call a change of winds, bring light into the darkest of spaces, envelope silence around himself in the noisiest of settings. The dragon had been known to be able to paint murals of magic upon stone walls, spark a fire out of nothing and help plants grow. Whatever the dragon was capable of, however, it was a peaceful act. No harm had ever come to another due to his work.
Changing the colour of object or moving them about the room could not stop wars, however. The old master knew this and it seemed to tear at his morals regarding magic. Never had he sought out practice or to teach magic that could cause harm.
Times were changing, now, much to his despair. No longer would traditional means be all that was needed for protection and peacekeeping. Akeel had turned his practice to a different heading now. Defence, he first told himself. I will teach magical defence.
This was the most benign way he could use his magic while it still proving useful, he thought. After the explosion in the workshop and the testing of the weapon in Melina’s wing, he knew that they were facing a threat that they would need a greater defence against.

With his attention now turned to defense, the elder dragon poured over his collection of scrolls and books, enlisting Tonris to help read through his hoard of tomes for any mention of defensive magic.
One by one they took tomes and parchments off the shelves, scanned through it and marked it off on a list before moving onto the next. The hours ticked by quietly, not a sound except steady breathing and the shuffle of old papers.
Every now and then a runner came with food and water, Akeel not wanting to cloud his mind with blackberry wine that had been stowed away from last season.
A few books were set to the side, some small mentions of magic resided in their chapters. Others were thrust back up to the shelves with frustrations. Brief summaries had seemed hopeful but soon proved to be the exact opposite after a thorough read through.
One of the clearest depictions of defensive and offensive magic resided in a dusty book, it’s binding worn thin with age. The pages inside were delicate and thin, almost threatening to crumble into dust if one turned the paper too roughly.
Within it contained old stories, ones he had thought were simply bits of lore written down.
However, one story had captured their attention after an endless night of searching of magic light. It was called the Hex War and it told a story of warring cities that used magical abilities to attack each other. The violence had escaladed until both mighty cities were decimated and laid to ruin. The tale went on to explain that this was the fall of magic. So much of it had been used in violence that it had then mostly receded from the world. Only springing up here and there as the centuries past.
Akeel had thought this was simply an old myth, a story made up to tell hatchlings and children alike. But all myths have some grain of truth, right?
He had set the book upon his desk and gave it a wary look. It seemed like a dark omen, finding that story. Despite the warning he had also found descriptions of magical attacks and defensive incantations.
He had copied these down in his fine, looping cursive on a separate piece of parchment, letting the ebony ink dry before going over the descriptions again and again. Some of these he thought were quite within his reach though others be would rather avoid if possible.
Some of the magic the story had depicted was horrific, others simple staggering at the power it possessed and devastation it issued.
Akeel shook his head sadly, his crest clinking into the dangling glass beads of a small chandelier lamp that hung above his desk.
He rolled up the long piece of paper and tied it with a deep crimson and stashed it away at the bottom of a deep wooden chest, piling other items on top of it before stowing it under the bench where it resided.
This would very well be a retelling of the awful story they had discovered within those dusty pages. He prayed to the stars that it wouldn’t be….
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Unread Mar 9th, 2018, 11:39 AM   #3
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Braigg and Callisto were inside the councillor’s chamber as a map of Merchook imprinted on a large scroll was spread out of the smooth marble table before the two dragons, with weights to prevent it rolling back up on the corners, the map contained details of Merchook all taken from scouts sent into the territory, mapping out key strategic locations.
While Callisto spoke with Dantos with tactics and instructions for her scouts, the female also spoke to Braigg, despite the dragon not being in charge, Asifa had said the councillor was to continue keeping trade going with the other nations and to ensure the city states were obeying the trade embargo’s on goods.
“As you can sir, we have mapped out Merchook quite well, we also marked strategic routes of interest which are being used for movement of soldiers and equipment” Callisto said gesturing to the stars marked on the scroll.
Braigg nodded lightly, inspecting the map.
“I assume Dantos has seen this as well?” he asked, not wanting the defence dragon to complain to the grand elder again for him interfering in the defence plans.
Callisto nodded.
“Yes sir, a few things I omitted for your eyes only but yes, reports are the forces are on the move once again, the tech is helping the prince sweep aside resistance as we can see, the Capital is firmly under the control of the prince, the advanced weapons are being brought there and installed, the princess is fighting bravely in the north but she is losing lands there” Callisto said as Braigg nodded.
“Seems this war wont last long, the civil war, then where will the prince set his sights, our lands with its riches or one of the other countries, we are watching but not acting, this light embargo wont do much” Braigg said inspecting the map carefully.
This area in Merchook, that crosses the border what is this?” Braigg asked Callisto pointing to the mountains, the main spine of mountains that ran in Valemier and Merchook, Braigg had noticed a path ran through the mountains.
“That is the Breman pass, it is quite high up but a vital line that the prince is using to supply his forces there, not many challenge him there, only small settlements on the lower levels” Callisto said.
Braigg scratched his chin with his claw, the cogs working within his mind.
“What is the weather like there currently” he asked the yellow dragoness.
“Snowing and stormy at times, they usually travel all weathers though, the wheels they use are more robust than traditional wood carts it seems” Callisto commented.
Braigg nodded lightly.
“I need 5 of your strongest scouts to go the Breman pass, have your scouts look for the convoy, once it enters the pass, there be rocks and boulders there, if the weather is hazardous, then..natural disasters could happen on such an isolated road” Braigg suggested.
Calisto seemed to give him a puzzled look but then something clicked.
“Oh, of course, the weather there is treacherous at this time of year, I think I can amend the schedules councillor and see what the weather brings, no need to deviate from plans right?” she said in coded speak.
Braigg smiled slyly and nodded.
“Indeed, Dantos doesn’t need to know of such trival things as the weather, as long as its unseen and under the radar” Braigg replied as Callisto bowed, folding the scroll back up.
“I shall give you an update on trade routes soon Councillor, I will be back soon” the dragoness said before leaving the dragons chambers as Braigg smiled slyly.
Seeing the opportunity to enact swiftly without consulting the defence elder and buy the princess some more time, Braigg knew Callisto would ensure they did not get caught or seen, the weather would be to blame and the princes poor leadership choices would mean they take another route.

Tonris had been busy doing allot of running around for the elders, passing messages on, help the scroll keepers keep records and helping keep the internal workings of the grand council running smoothly, today Tonris would be helping elder Akeel with his scrolls and to ensure he was there to aid the elder dragon, having spent time with Dantos and Callisto.
He saw Akeel once more in his study, reading scrolls and making notes, the dragon had more fresh, blank scrolls and top up his ink quill for the elder, he came in a smiled lightly.
“Good morning elder Akeel, I have brought you new blank scrolls and a top up of the ink for your quill plus more stamps for you as well” the blue dragon said.
"Thank you, Tonris," said the Elder absently, not taking his eyes off a scroll he had before him, "oh, wax. Did you by chance find the purple wax I needed for sealing letters?”
The blue dragon nodded, a smile upon his face, feeling pleased with himself that he thought ahead what the elder wanted.
“Yes my elder I did for you, as well as more stamps, I managed to ask Elder Braigg for some more, he has been busy with elder Callisto” Tonris said passing over the wax.
"Doing what?" Inquired Akeel, turning a page.
Tonris shook his head.
“I am unsure my elder, he told me to buzz off then and that I should go see to other duties” the dragon replied, he had felt a little awkward with the tone used by Braigg.
The magic crafter gave a small grunt at this. He had wanted to keep an eye on the goings on of the other elders but he had been far too absorbed in his current studies. "I see."
Tonris seemed to linger and spoke again.
“I am at your service today my elder, I can sort out your scrolls and tidy your study if you like sir” Tonris said with a smile.
"You help is appreciated," replied the old dragon, "if you could get a start putting away some of the tomes that didn't have anything related to defensive or offensive magic that would be helpful."
Tonris nodded and begun and then stopped, reaching into his little letter carrier and found a letter, he frowned and pulled it out delicately and saw it was addressed to Akeel.
“Oh, Elder Akeel there is a letter for you, addressed for you, pretty paper and leaf design” he said handing it over to the purple dragon.
Akeel took his gaze away from the ruins as the letter was handed over.
"From who?" He asked thought it seemed familiar.
“Its been sealed with Wax, green coloured, with hints of moss on it, I think there is magic keeping it safe as well, I sensed it” Tonris said.
The filigree like floral markings on the outside seemed to shimmer emerald in reaction as he touched the letter.
"Othamora," he said to himself as he broke he wax seal.
Tonris looked a little puzzled.
“A friend of yours my elder?, seems odd for a human to have such magic, did not think humans processed that power” the blue dragon said not understanding.
"Not a human, tonris," said the older dragon as he unfolded the letter carefully, "she is an elf."
Tonris seemed surprised, he had heard stories of elves but he thought it was all tales written in story books.
“I thought they were stories, did not know they were still around or even in existence my elder, aren’t they one of the founding races of magic as you told us?” he asked.
The magic crafter nodded, "they are few and far between and mostly reside in lands far from here but they do exist. Othamora is an old friend of mine," he explained.
Tonris smiled lightly, glad Akeel had others who shared his ambitions and values.
“Is she a keen follower of the arts of Magic and values you have?, wait..shes not better at you at magic is she?, noone can be” Tonris said going into lots of questions all at once.
Akeel let out a small chuckle, choosing to let the onslaught on questions slide as he read the letter, old memories coming back at the familiar look of her writing.
The letter was written nicely and in unique hand writing using the ink she wrote delicately her message to the elder.

My dearest Akeel

It has been a long time since I have spoken to you, I have heard you have continued the work your master left you and have become a magic crafter for Valemier, it pleases me to see you doing so well.
I am glad to see magic still lives strongly within the walls of Valemier and you continue to teach its wisdom to all who seek it.
I have been watching events unfold in neighbouring Merchook and the birds that fly tell me of no good upon the unstable country, I fear this could destabilise the whole region that has worked hard to maintain peace and prosperity.
I have heard you have moved from your usual foray of magic to defensive magic, it is a part of the magic spectrum that only those who really need it must walk along the path, I wish to be of help and support for you my dearest friend, for whatever may fall upon the kingdoms, you have been a magic crafter of peace and this is a new chapter in your learning, I hope I can help in some way to hone your skills in this magic is needed to defend your people.

Kindest regards


Akeel seem to read the letter with great interest as Tonris seemed to start his work, he begun putting the items away and ensuring it was all tidy.
“I hope your friend is doing well elder Akeel, hopefully it is not more bad news” the young blue dragon said as he carried on his duties.
Akeel looked up at the young dragon and spoke.
"Can you have one of the guest chambers prepared and reserved, tonris?" Asked Akeel, suddenly moving over to his desk to write a return letter, "We will be hosting a special guest." He said as he began to write.
"I can do sir, are you inviting your elven friend to stay my elder?, she could have the balcony room we use for the ambassadors" suggested the blue dragon.
"If it's free, then please," nodded Akeel with a flourish of his quill.
"I can do that sir right away" Tonris said nodding as he trundled off to do the elder’s request as the magic crafter begun his letter.
Akeel would have another interruption, this time from Councillor Braigg who knocked on the elders chamber and spoke.
“May I speak with you elder Akeel, if you are not too busy” the male asked.
The purple dragon looked up from his letter and nodded, "certainly, come in. How can I help you counsellor Braigg?" He asked, waving a palm over the letter as the script took on an amethyst shimmer, drying the ink.
The dragon nodded and entered the chambers and spoke to the elder.
“I have heard you are abandoning your magic craft classes and your own pursuit for defensive magic, I remember you saying it was something you did not want to explore or learn in the past, I wanted to check up on you elder Akeel” Braigg said.
"Abandoned?" Said Akeel, scoffing at the word slightly, "definitely not, councillor. My students have their tasks. Their studies are not hindered. I have been attempting to broaden my own skills, however."
Braigg nodded lightly, the councillor taking on a more diplomatic approach, it was not like the dragon but perhaps he was looking to keep the magic crafter occupied.
“Of course, I just wanted you not to abandon the pursuits and accomplishments that your rather enthusiastic helper has told me numerous times” the dragon gave a small smile, remembering the tales Tonris had told him.
“You have a very loyal helper in that young dragon” he added.
"I certainly do. He's passionate about his work," agreed the magic crafter with a small smile of his own.
Braigg nodded his head lightly, the young dragon was a useful and indeed passionate of his work within the chambers here.
"Well wanted to be sure elder Akeel, I leave you to your duties" Braigg said giving a bow before leaving just as Tonris came skipping back in enthusiastically with a grin on his face.
Akeel nodded as Braigg left.
"Success young Tonris?" He asked his apprentice.
Tonris nodded with such vigour that it made the young dragon a little giddy briefly.
"I have my elder, all booked for the magical elf, is she a magic crafter like you my elder?" Tonris asked.
"In a way. Her practice had taken a different path than mine. I have always appreciated her skill." He said.
Tonris listened keenly to the elders words about their strange guest, it seemed it be a unique thing for the young dragon to watch.
"Oh ok, be interesting to see you two practice sir, but anyways the chamber is ready" Tonris said.
"Thank you. Now if you could take this to the fastest courier that's currently on duty, that would be appreciated." He said, handing tonris the purple letter.
Tonris put the letter in his side satchel carefully as the dragon continued to bombard the elder with questions.
"Of course elder, do you want her here quickly sir?" the blue dragon asked.
He smiled at the curious dragon, "just send the letter, Tonris. Please."
"Will do sir!" pipped up and went jogging off to do his duties with a light spring in his step.
Akeel shook his head slightly. That boy was something else, he thought as he went to go to the practice chambers.
Tonris continued to go about his business and got the letter sent off, his next duty was to go to the east side of the volcano where the humans resided to drop off their post to them.
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