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Unread Feb 22nd, 2018, 04:47 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, 09:50 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, 12:39 PM   #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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Unread Mar 22nd, 2018, 01:49 PM   #4
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In the recently refurbished room, young Ardon, a dragon of brilliant gold scales rested on his plush bed, sleeping deeply after a very long day’s work. This rest, however, was just a brief afternoon pause in the long list of things he and his familiar, Jacob still had yet to accomplish.
The past few weeks the two of them had been in a frenzy. They were highly regarded as some of the best metal smiths in Valemier and in the recent wake of potential war breaking out, they had been nearly overcome with the amount of work and orders that had flooded in. General work aside, the two of them had been set on a special project that had taken up a lot of their attention. Long hours and little sleep did not do a growing dragon any kindness but there was little to be done about that for the time being.
“Oh you filthy lizard,” came a voice that made him jolt awake, cracking open a golden eye in surprise.
Lifting his head he saw a very reproachful looking Zyra, Healer Melinda’s assistant, with her hands on her hips and her striking yellow eyes on him.
“Don’t you what. Look at yourself. Didn’t Jacob just get you that bed? And now you’re rolling around in it looking like some grubby hatchling fresh out of a mud puddle,” she chided, putting her medical box down, a small oak chest with the healers crest upon it.
“It’s not mud, its soot,” said the dragon, looking down at his paws and realizing that they were nearly black. Charcoal smudges were now all over the fabric of his bed as well.
“You look like you’re trying to masquerade around as a multi-ton Siamese cat. You’ve even got smudges on your nose,” tutted Zyra, pulling out a cloth from her apron smock that she kept tied over her daily wear.
“We were working on that weapon thing. Trying to reconstruct it. I was manning the billows and had to draw out all the old burnt out coals,” he attempted to explain.
“You didn’t think to wash though?”
“Well, um, ah….. no,” he admitted sheepishly after being unable to come up with a suitable reply, “As soon as I saw my bed all hope was lost.”
A wry smile painted across the girl’s face, “I see. Well, you two have been working like mad, but really Ardon, at least wash those paws. Anyway, Jacob sent me up here to see to you. What have you gone and done now.”
Ardon looked down at his left paw, the real reason why he was up in his chambers, taking an unanticipated break.
He held up the appendage and saw the girl wince. This was no critical workplace injury but it still looked painful. His thumb talon was split down the middle and still sported the dark maroon of dried blood. The scales underneath the digit were dark and angry looking.
“For star’s sake how did you manage this?” she asked, touching the paw gingerly to make sure no small finger bones were broken.
“Because my head’s in the clouds and not on the task,” said the dragon, mimicking Jacob’s tone that he had heard only a half hour earlier.
Zyra laughed lightly, “Not paying attention hm?”
“Not enough attention apparently, We were trying to roll a new cannon muzzle and I tripped on a tool box that I have left out and them promptly crushed my thumb.
Zyra eyed it critically, “Hmm… I see. We’re going to have to lop it off I’m afraid.
Ardon tensed, “What?” he gasped, eyes round.
Zyra couldn’t hold back her smile, “I’m kidding. You squashed it badly but I don’t feel any broken bones. That talon is split right up the middle though, exposing the quick. I’m going to clean it up and bind it together. It’s going to be irritating but one the broken bit falls away it will feel better.”
The gold dragon visibly relaxed at this, “Oh, okay, can I still work?”
“You’ve got-“ she paused to count, 6 other limbs in good working order. I think you will be just fine.”
“No bed rest?” he grinned, “I think I might need that.”
The girl laughed as she got to work on cleaning up his one black soot covered limb before setting to mending his paw, “No, bed rest will come when Jacob says it’s time. You two are awfully busy.”
“We are,” nodded the dragon, watching her clean up the bloodied talon.
“Melinda has been doing a lot too with the project we are working on,” he added.
Zyra hummed in agreement, spreading a minty smelling salve on the injury before padding it with snowy white gauze, “Yes. Quite busy. But on top of that we’ve been stocking up the infirmary like mad. Anything that can hold well on the shelf or in the ice rooms below is being brewed up and set aside. I don’t know what will happen with all the tension that is flying about but I really hope we don’t have to use it, though the practice of making medicine has been mighty helpful,” and with a final flourish the fabric bandage was secure.
“I bet.”
“There, almost good as new,” she said, letting go of his paw. It still pained him to put any pressure on the digit but at least it was on the way to being mended.
“The salve will help with the pain and speed along healing. For now I suggest you head back down to the shop before Jacob comes up and drags you out by the tail.”
Ardon laughed and then sighed, “All right, back to the grind it is…”
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Unread Mar 26th, 2018, 07:00 AM   #5
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Jacob had just completed the device that Melinda had asked him to build for her, with all the orders coming in for armour and other tools, Jacob and Ardon’s work books were full to bursting, luckily the man had time to build Melinda’s secret project.
Ever since the discovery of the fragments of weapon Melinda had been fascinated by it, the chemistry and other mechanisms, but she wanted to upscale and this is were Jacobs skill as a blacksmith and metal work came in.
It had taken a bit of time and with some trial and error, plus a few sheep skins of wine and grumbling later it was finished.
He stood back, admiring his work on the metal work and round object, he had built it a metal frame to support its weight and added wheels to make it mobile, following the designs and scrolls he made from the fragments of the weapon and Melinda’s help.
“Admiring your handiwork Jacob?” came a voice behind him as he turned to see Melinda said as the man seemed to be a little red faced with all the work.
“Aye, finished it now, this cannon as you call it, odd how I was able to follow my own notes” Jacob said as Melinda inspected the cannon, letting her hands glide on the cold, smooth metal.
Jacob chuckled lightly.
“Find any faults madam” he asked.
“No, can’t say I can, not that I would know if it was, did you make the other things?” Melinda asked the man.
“Aye, underneath, 4 Iron balls to load into the cannon thing, I assume you been mixing the other bits” he asked knowing Melinda had been working on the chemistry formula coming up with the right powder ratio.
“I think so, many many attempts later, so I think I’m ready” she grinned as Jacob shook his head, amazed by her youthful like antics as her wheeled the cannon outside into the courtyard, as they now waited for the other two to arrive.
“Zy will be back soon” Melinda said as Jacob nodded.
“Hope that boy is ok, don’t like the idea of him being injured, he does work hard” Jacob said as Melinda nodded lightly.
Escorting Zyra, Ardon and the girl stepped into the courtyard and spotted Jacob standing next to their completed wheeled cannon, "looks solid!" Says Ardon as they approached.
Jacob looked up, wiping the sweat from his brow.
“Aye, it bloody ought to be, the work being done on this, Melinda here has been doing some chemistry and she’s sure she got the right mixture to fire this cannonball out of this thing, so Ardy need you to load it up” Jacob said gesturing to the solid iron ball on the ground.
Ardon gave a mock whimper and held up his bandaged paw.
"Oh you're fine," chided Zyra, poking him in the ribs.
Ardon laughed and trotted over to help load the cannon.
Melinda added the powder and seemed to prime the cannon reasdy, as she got a rope soaked and dried in a flammable substance as she put it in the slot Jacob had made in his design.
“OK Ardon, light the fuse and let’s see what happens, stand back” Melinda said hopping excitedly as the others backed away.
“I hope this works” Jacob said stepping back where the woman was, the cannon pointed at some rock away from shops and the rebuilt blacksmiths.
Ardon drew a breath and sent out a burst of flame that lit up the courtyard.
The flame caught on the rope as it sparked and quickly ate away at the rope as the flame which had transformed to sparking travelled down the short rope and into the cannon, then with a loud bang the powder ignited which shot the heavy cannonball out the front, the cannon moving from the feedback and the cannon smashed into the rock with a bang, taking a massive chunk out of the rock, creating a big hole.
“Success!” Melinda said clapping her hands and laughing as Jacob look amazed it work so well and to the letter, the metal stayed strong and they had made the weapon, that had been used in Merchook.
"Stars above that was amazing!" Shouted Ardon.
"My ears are ringing," winced Zyra, hands still over her ears.
Melinda still seemed excited, like a overgrown child, seeing the damage done with the iron ball some good distance, smoking lightly with little damage.
“I got the formula right, this thing is working, exactly how I imagined it would work” she said as Jacob nodded.
“So, we now have a working, although smaller cannon which is working, I must say I am impressed” Jacob said as the group discussed the implications of what they had created.

“It is just this way” Tonris said leading the elf towards Akeel’s chamber.
The elf wore a delicately long forest green coat, decorated in leaf patterns and vines sewn into a intricate design, a hood covering her head, wearing hardy boots and wearing traditional elven clothing under the coat, she followed the enthusiastic dragon along the marble floors towards Akeel’s chamber.
It was not long before they reach the magic crafters chamber, she pulled her hood back to reveal long blonde hair tied back behind her, her skin smooth and pale, her eyes a green emerald colour, which seemed to sparkle, her light and nimble frame hidden among the intricate fabrics of clothing as Akeel looked up as Tonris spoke.
“Elder Akeel, lady Othamora for you sir, I go drop the bags off in her room” Tonris said carrying the elfs belongings carefully on his side as he went trotting away, she was amused at the young dragon’s willingness to please and enthusiasm which came with youth.
"Othamora," Akeel greeted her warmly with a deep bow, fanning his wings behind him, "welcome dear friend, I am so pleased you were able to make the journey. I hope you did not come to any trouble on your travels?"
The female smiled happily and bow low in exchange, it had been many moons since she had seen Akeel, the dragon was still sharp as ever and his eyes held intelligence and wisdom, she was pleased the dragon had continued the work his predecessor had done.
" I was honoured to get your invitation Elder Akeel it has been many decades since we last met" she said with a kind smile, her voice soft and gentle.
The elder dragon gestured with a wing, "come, please sit. We have much to discuss. Care for any sort of drink? Tonris has found me a wonderful blackberry wine."
“That would be wonderful” the elf said, while elves did not normally drink alcohol, Oath did enjoy a glass or two on certain special occasions and today was a special occasion.
The elder showed Oath the work he had been doing, allowing her to read some of the scrolls of notes he had made over the years, the abilities he had learnt in his magic, showing her what projects he was working.
It made Oath smile seeing Akeels notes underneath work his predecessor left, plus schedules for teaching magic to those dragons who processed the gift and how to use magic to enlighten the world.
Akeel spoke at modestly about his achievements and learning while practicing in his magic chambers as well as his collections from the human villages and cities, the gifts he had been given plus maps of the entire region.
Oath smiled, putting her glass down on the table now Akeel had brought her up to speed on his work.
"I am glad your following your predecessors footprints being a master of magic, pleased to see the art lives on past our borders, you practice a peaceful, practical magic" she said with a smile.
Akeel smiled, "And passing it on to younger generations." he then frowned, "But, Oath, I fear that my practice is needing to take a darker turn with war looming on the horizon."

Oath did not seem comfortable with the words the elder said, knowing what he asked.
"I was afraid you say such words Elder Akeel, I sensed that you have asked me here help you in this area, it is an area of magic I dislike but one I have trained in....just in case" she said taking a sip of the blackberry wine to steady her uneasiness in working in this magic, indeed she knew this area well as per the instructions from the elven leader to become proficient in defensive and offensive magic, she was well regarded for her work in this area of expertise, it did not mean she liked this path of magic.
The dragon nodded solemnly.
"Something I dislike as well but the practicality of it... might be needed unfortunately. Valemier and its inhabitants could be in great danger and what use is a magic crafter if he can't help protect his peers?"
Oath nodded her head lightly, understanding the elder’s need and desire to protect Valemier and its inhabitants.
She looked up at the purple dragon before her.
"I understand, but I must warn you elder, you know how I train in these arts and I just want you to know before you consent to isn’t pleasant experience I want to be sure you are ok with it my friend" she said to the elder dragon before her.
"Of course. It's for the protection of Valemier," nodded the dragon.
Othamora seemed a little hesitant and uneasy about what Akeel was asking her and the training involved, Akeel responded after a brief silence between them.
"I know this style of magic isn't one well regarded but I would be ever grateful if you would help instruct me," he said, noticing her uneasiness.
Oath shifted uncomfortably in her seat next to Akeel’s desk after Akeel’s reply.
“It is not just that Elder Akeel, just testing a dragons abilities and what is involved is what worries me, I respect you as a close friend, like I did your master all those times ago, just the idea of testing barriers and testing your resolve is not something Im keen on” Oath said to the elder with verbal honesty in her voice.
Akeel snorted, "a lesson is lesson. Don't fear anything else."
Oath seemed to acknowledge the answer from the elder.
" As long as you are sure elder Akeel, then again you would not of called me here if u didn’t need to" she said.
The dragon smiled lightly at this, "No, though your company alone is simply enough to warrant a letter."
Oath smiled lightly at the elder at this comment, it was clear both held each other in high regard, although their paths in magic were different or at opposite ends of the scale.
“So Elder Akeel, what do you need of me and how can I help you” asked the elf, finishing her blackberry wine and putting the glass on the table, ready to listen to what Akeel wanted to know or to be taught.
"I need to acquire any skills that will help protect those of Valemier. Defence would be preferred." he said, letting the rest of the words linger in the air between them, unsaid.
Oath nodded lightly at the request.
“How is you defence work, do you know how to shield your mind off with a barrier? what do you already know my elder” she asked the magic crafter with a curious tone.
Akeel stood a few paces backwards and raised a paw.
In a smooth motion he made a wide circle with a talon before flinging his paw up. A shimmering shield of orchid suddenly appeared around him.
"This is as far as I've gotten," he said, "as far as physical shields go. Mental barriers have always been a part of my meditation." He explained, letting the shield fall.

The elf was impressed and it showed on her face at the elder’s abilities.
“That is good, least some of the basics are covered, to truly see where we need to go I need to test both your mental barrier and your orchid shield, if I am allowed my elder, when you feel ready of course, I stay as long as I need to” she said, though the elf’s uneasiness was clear to the elder, it was a needed thing to do, Akeel seemed to again sense this in the woman and wanted to ease her worries as he replied.
"Tomorrow, Oath, let us not delve right this instant," he said, seeing her reluctance, "come walk with me and see how life here has prospered since your last visit." He suggested.
Oath smiled, getting up from her chair with enthusiasm.
“I would like that very much” she said as Akeel led her out of the chambers for a tour around Valemier and the districts around the volcano, where dragons lived in peace, along with some human inhabitants granted residency in the sacred walls of the dragons territory.
Oath soon smiled, seeing the sun was out as they both walked outside the chambers together, a nice distraction and perhaps help the elf see why Akeel wanted to protect the lives in Valemier and their way of life with this new knowledge in defensive magic, for now it was time to see the joys and wonders the land had to offer.
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Unread Apr 13th, 2018, 11:09 AM   #6
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Akeel walked with Oathamora across the grounds of Valemier. Together they passed through the little township of Dragon’s Ward. He spoke easily with her, as if no time had passed at all since their last visit. He seemed to grow a little more youthful as he spoke about Valemier and how it had changed over the years. He loved his home, it was evident in his tone and how he spoke about the place.
They stopped at the small lake for lunch where he discussed the tumultuous events whirling outside their boarders. It was grim talk but one that was much needed. The territories had grown wary as more and more people came to know just how tense things were between the kingdoms of Merchook and Azure.
After their brief rest at the lake, he rose to his feet and helped the elf to hers. “Let’s head back to the communal room. I wish to show you how it’s changed. Later we can discuss less fortunate matters in the quiet o my study. For now, let’s focus on the brilliance of this place,” he suggested with a small smile.
He guided her up the cobbled road towards the volcano that loomed above. Clouds obscured the higher reaches as the sky began to lose the brilliant blue of the day to puffs of white and grey.
The main entry to the volcano was an ornate archway. White marble from Le’Irka has been carved into great guardian dragons that sat with ever watching eyes on either side of the wide entry. The story of Humans and dragons coming together in Valemier was depicted in beautiful carvings over the archway. Heavy wooden doors were most often left open, decorated with brass filigree.
They passed guards at the main entrance, to which Akeel nodded respectfully.
"Braigg has been insisting that we adopt some of our own protection here. At this time I doubt we will need it but in the future...." he trailed off, disquieted at the thought.
"Is Braigg still Defence counsellor? He was a big dragon if I remember, a Hoplite Ram" Oath said remembering the name of the breed
A brief, thoughtful silence lapsed over the magic crafter as he seemed to consider his words carefully before speaking.
"Braigg was dismissed from his role as Defence Councillor after some bad decisions and disagreements. He returned to the council after Halta, the Councillor of Domestic affairs retired, taking up her role," he paused for a moment, "But he's been unrelenting in trying to sway matters to his own liking. A bit of a struggle settling in his own role while Danots deals in his previous position."
Oath seemed to frown lightly before looking up at the elder.
"He was like that as defence councillor as well if I recall, but I have heard he has done allot of high profile trade negotiations, so he can do work and has focus" the elf female said to the elder, trying to see the positive in the dragon.
"Focus is right, but sometimes it is too keenly set on one small thing, rather than then whole picture. So, the rest of the council tries to balance that with their own voices."
"Yeah, I am sure the grand elder has a handle on things, I get the feeling that Braigg has allies on the council or dragon heads, I know he always has strong support from the working dragons" Oath replied back.

“He does. Dantos has calmed tensions the past years but now with this new challenge ahead he not only has to deal with the Merchook threat but also keeping Braigg’s influence tempered,” said Akeel, “Anyway, enough of all that for now. We have all night to discuss such things. Here is what I wanted to show you,” he said, gesturing with a paw for her to come forward through the arched hall towards the communal dome. “The Markets. It’s changed a lot since your last visit. It’s my favourite part of Valemier’s community. People and dragons from all over the land come to sell their wares, trade goods and find harmony in our little bubble of peace...”
He smiled down at her, seeing her reaction to the lively, bustling hall, “Let’s have a look shall we?”
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Unread Apr 16th, 2018, 02:28 PM   #7
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Braigg had been working in his chamber, maps of Valemier and its trade routes sprawled across his wooden desk, he was looking at the documented trade routes that the cities caravans used to move goods around the nation, Braigg was inspecting it to see how goods were moving across the cities and looking at scrolls of the contents of these caravans.
Braigg was looking to utilise the executive powers of the council of dragons in Valemier to secretly stockpile supplies for the dragons, just in case Valemier was invaded and war broke out, men, dragons, horses needed feeding, along with maintenance of armour and equipment, Braigg had a few allies in the business circles plus plenty of hideaway places that he did not reveal to Dantos.
Bragg did not hear he had a visitor enter his chamber as he heard a voice speak to him.
"Councillor Braigg, could I please have a word?" asked Asifa. Her usually kindly pale eyes were turned towards him but held a spark of seriousness in them now.
Braigg looked up from the scrolls upon his desk as he saw Asifa appeared in his chamber, he stood up and bowed slightly.
“Grand elder Asifa, how can I be of service to you” he asked the dragoness, though he had a small inkling what she was going to say next.
"I just wanted to express my concern about your.... ambitious drive regarding this merchook situation. I appreciate the drive and passion but I think letting Dantos take the reins on this is what's needed."
The Hoplite RAM merely tilted his head and gave a small smile.
“I was merely offering my, sage advice and experience in the position, I was merely offering my advice to the young councillor, it is not no fault of mine if he refuses my wise wise and complains about it” Braigg replied back, keeping a neutral tone.
Asifa repressed the urge to roll her eyes at this childish retort, "You overstep your position, Braigg. Advice is all well and good. We exchange it freely. It's the manner in which you deliver it."
Braigg seemed to lose his smile as he looked at the grand elder, trying not to roll his eyes at her tone.
“Just say why you’re really hear grand elder, I guess Dantos has come running to you about me, interfering or annoying him in some sort of way” Braigg said, his voice lacking warmth and the neutral tone he used earlier.
"He has not said a word to me but it is clear to not only me but the others that there once again is strife in the council chambers. I will not have it. My father sowed the seeds of peace and I will not reap discord and quarrel from our hard work. We are to be a united council. Not a squabbling heap of hatchlings, Braigg," said Asifa sternly.
Braigg sighed and shook his head as he looked back at the grand elder with some distain.
“So, what are your orders, you did not come to my chambers for a simple chat, so what you need to say, I suggest you say it grand elder” Braigg said to her, clearly the dragon was not impressed with her.
"You don't take gently implied suggestion, do you, Braigg," said Asifa dryly, "fine. Keep your nose out of Danto's rulings unless he asks your advice outright. No more slinking around behind his back. Do you understand now?" She asked.
Braigg suppressed a growl of disapproval, instead he frowned lightly and responded to her in a tone that lacked any warmth.
“Crystal clear grand elder, I merely stick to my role here” he replied back to her order.
The white dragoness was silent for a moment, "thank you, councillor." She said before turning, "enjoy your evening."
"Take care grand elder, I see you next council session" Braigg said to her as he sat back down at his desk to focus on the work he was doing before the interruption.
Asifa made no further comment as she vanished like a ghost from the room.
Braigg looked up to see the grand elder had gone, he moved some papers away and hidden underneath was scouting reports given to him by councillor Calisto, she reported to him in secret behind Dantos back as he read her report.

Elder Akeel had taken the elf to the market place where despite the troubles in the neighbouring nation of Merchook and uncertainty in Azure, the traders and caravans offering their services and goods continued to be present in Valemier’s market place.
Oath walked along with the purple dragon as smells of freshly baked bread, local cheeses, meats and other delicacies being offered to the locals and some of the residents were purchasing the goods, trade seemed to still be bustling despite everything going on.
Oath could see it had been named Braigg square, typical the large dragon would take credit for the trade opportunities that made Valemier prosper.
Oath smiled, purchasing 2 items from the local merchants, she looked over her shoulder to see Akeel purchasing some more inks and candles for his own personal chambers, his young helper Tonris taking the items and scurrying off.
"I can see why you like this area my elder, so much activity and seeing goods and materials from around the continent, truly shows what an open land Valemier is" she said with a smile.
He nodded in agreement, "a small version of my hope for the world as a whole," he said quietly.
Oath nodded to the elder’s comments, she hoped for this too and she remained confident that Valemier’s path was right and true, it would inspire the other nations around it to also share in its prosperity.
"I am sure it will continue, but this has made me see why you have called for me, to protect all of this. I will help you preserve this, I can assure you" Oath said to the magic elder.
He smiled gently, "thank you, Oath."
The two of them walked along the street back towards the entrance of the chambers of the volcano, Oath smiled as he memories about this place flooded back, remembering the architecture and status that were there to honour dragons of the council and inspirational leaders.
"Where would we practice, your practice chamber? if I recall it was a massive space" Oath said as she purchased some confectionary.
"Still is," he said with a nod. "I've secured it with my own magic. To prevent any mishap you know."
Oath nodded, the elder seemed to have all the bases covered it seemed, she remembered his predecessor doing the exact same thing, she had to smile that elder Akeel had picked up some of his traits.
"Of course, well I got myself one or two things from the market, I guess I should return to my room to rest, with allot going on tomorrow. I notice you have humans living in the Volcano's inner area" Oath commented.
"We do," he smiled, "a growing community it is.”.
Oath smiled, "I am glad to hear it, anyways I think rest is what I need, thank you for showing me Valemier, it always makes me smile, seeing it after all these years" she said with genuine happiness in her voice.
"I'm glad you came to see it. Rest easy, oath, I will see you tomorrow." Said the dragon.
“Good night elder Akeel” Oath said as she bowed before the dragon as she went back to her chambers to rest for the start of tommorow’s lessons.
She still felt guilty but her methods were tried and tested, Akeel had requested it and wanted to know, so he must know of her ways of teaching so she had to accept Akeel’s request and not feel guilty or be reluctant to teach him skills that could help him preserve Valemier and its people.

Night soon came down upon Valemier as most councillors and people retired to bed, guards changed their shifts and night patrols began, some fires and torches lit outside to guide those home and to provide warmth for the dragons stationed on night duty.
Braigg was usually up late working under candle light and lanterns in his chambers, he studied some scrolls that had been delivered to him, so he was catching up before he retired for the evening.
Soon light paw steps were heard coming from the shadows as Calisto entered the councillors chamber, using the shows as cover, not wanting to be seen.
Braigg looked up as Calisto moved the door closed gently, to make their conversation more private.
She approached the dragons desk and bowed lightly before the hoplite ram.
“It is done” she simply said, Braigg nodded lightly and looked up at her.
“The weather bad?” he asked.
Calisto nodded.
“Indeed, accident waiting to happen, a real blow to their operations north with the route inpassable” she commented.
“Any prying eyes?”.
“None my lord, my scouts were efficient in their task, your instructions were done to the letter” Calisto said.
Braigg gave a small smile.
“Excellent. You do not know how pleased this makes me” the large dragon said as Calisto smiled back.
“Honour to help you councillor, do you require any further…services” she asked.
Braigg shook his head.
“The usual scouting reports to Dantos, plus anything that may pass my door” he said as Calisto nodded bowing again.
“Good night councillor” Calisto left the room on silent paws as Braigg blew out a lantern and put his scrolls away under lock and key before retiring to the far end of his chamber to rest up, the sly smile not leaving the dragons face, pleased his little plan had gone well, with the northern route now blocked, he had given the one sibling the gift of time to reinforce her position and she wouldn’t know they were involved.
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