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Unread Nov 24th, 2017, 09:15 AM   #26
Black & White
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Braigg did not pay Dantos any heed, before the council meeting, he had spoken to Calisto and got her loyalty and the resources of her messengers, Braigg also had influence outside the council and had been known to bend the rules elder Asifa had set each counsellor.
Still, the dragon was loyal to the Valemier cause but preferred to do things his way and sometimes disagreed with the methods of the grand elder.
Braigg gave a nod to Calisto who went off to get messages sent away to the other countries surrounding Valemier.
Braigg was about to leave when a voice spoke to him.
"Braigg, may I have a word?" Asked Asifa, though that with her ranking it was a request not to be ignored. She sat back down and looked at him expectantly.
Braigg tried not to snort smoke from his nostrils as he turned and approached the grand elder.
“Grand elder, how may I be of service” he said politely with a bow, before looking up at the old dragoness.
"You seem... not yourself?" She began carefully. "A fair bit quieter than your usual during council today."
The dragon gave a small smile.
“I was..merely contemplating the information provide by counsellor Calisto, these are uncertain times in the kingdom of Merchook, I was merely analysing what sensible steps we must take, considering we have two bright humans investigating, though the accident at the blacksmiths has delayed this” Braigg replied.
Asifa seemed to note an insincere tinge to his voice, "normally it would be you suggesting the things that Dantos did today." She said. "I found it a little odd that today you oppose such an idea to bring unity."
“I do not oppose any idea of unity, far from it, I have helped increase our trade routes and coin, I have brought many great and lucrative trade deals to our kingdom” Braigg replied back.
Asifa held up a paw, "We are not talking about your contributions, Braigg. Valemier has benefited your contributions. We are, however, talking about behaviours unfitting a wise councillor," her words were not said with malice or an intent to hurt, more of a caution in her tone, "Distain, pride and petty conduct has seen you fall from great heights before."
Braigg frowned lightly at the comments, remembering the events.
“That was a decision you took grand elder, one I must respect in your wise wisdom” Braigg answered, clearly it was still a sore topic, after all this time.
A brief look of disappointment flashed across the white dragon's face, Braigg was not getting her point to her dismay, "Braigg, please take from the wisdom and caution I lend you," she said, rising to her feet, "You are dismissed, councillor."
Braigg bowed and nodded in front of the grand elder as he moved off, once out of sight, the dragon snorted allowing smoke to rise up.
“Stupid old crone of a dragon” he cursed under his breath.

Meanwhile the other side of the chambers, Melinda and Zyra were still working on what the strange resin and residue on the blacksmith’s clothes was, Melinda had been busy the last 2 days and had asked Zyra to set up an experiment for her, while she prepared a substance.
Humming a tune to herself, Zyra set up a few items for Melina on one of the tables. She was keen to find out what Melinda was going to try today with her experiments.
"Ready!" She sang after a few last adjustments.
Melinda came in and smiled.
“Good Zyra, now put these on your face, protect your eyes and put the this Iron ball in this tube” Melinda said pointing to a melon sized iron ball on the table.
Zyra did as instructed and put the goggles on her face. "What under the stars is this for?" She said, rolling it towards herself.
“You shall see young lady,, now put the iron ball in the tube and I go get our mystery powder, been working on it and now I show you what I suspect this is” Melinda said going to get the item in question.
Zyra hefted the iron sphere and attempted to gently place it in the tube while keeping her fingertips intact.
“Careful!, don’t want to knock anything Zyra, gently does it” Melinda said coming back wearing her own goggles.
"I got it," the girl insisted, managing it before standing back.
Melinda smiled lightly as she got a bit of rope and stuck it at the end, then put the powder in another part of the tube, putting allot of black powder into it, once done she got a long stick, with one end covered in a oil which caught fire at the end.
“Stand back Zyra girl, keep clear and fingers in ears” Melinda said as she lit the wick, before going to where Zyra was.
Zyra suddenly got a little wide eyes as her hands flew up to cover her ears, taking a few steps back before she even realized she did.
Melinda seemed to have a grin on her face, as if sort of expecting a surprise and boy were they going to get one, as the flame went down the wick and entered the tube.
“Ok, any minute now!” Melinda said.
All of a sudden, a boom was heard and what was a mini explosion erupted from the tube, the blast causing the tube to crack and bits come off under the stress, nevertheless the iron ball shot out and flew past the girls and out the one side hitting the side wall of the cavern, causing rocks and debris to smash out where the ball had hit.
Smoke piling out of the tube and the cracks as Melinda clapped her hands excitedly, bouncing around that her mad theory worked.
Zyra's hands remained on her ears but she gaped at what she witnessed, stunned. "What magic was that!?" She exclaimed, louder than necessary.
Melinda laughed.
“No magic Zyra, science and chemistry, I knew it!, I knew that resin was due to powder, all that work from you helped discover this” she gestured to her damaged experiment.
"It did?" Asked Zyra, a smile crossing her face. "So what does this mean?"
“It means, we just found out what caused Jacob’s black smiths to get damaged and I reckon this powder is a key component to what Jacob was working on in his workshop” Melinda said.
“Quick get a wet quill and parchment girl, we must write this down!” Melinda said to Zyra.
Melinda quickly jotted down the notes and what had happened, she was writing down stuff and wanted a good record of what happened.
Soon Tonris came in all cheerful and smiling until he saw the damaged wall and the iron ball on the floor.
“Holy ****!” Tonris exclaimed, clearly he been hanging round Jacob too long, picking up human curse words.
"Language, sir," chided Zyra jokingly.
Melinda looked to see the young dragon by the damaged wall with Zyra nearby.
"Tonris, what you doing here, looking for sweets" Melinda said as Tonris shook his head.
" see if you needed anything" the dragon said, his words genuine.
"Did you come running at the sound of that blast?" Asked Zyra, looking back at the damage.
The blue dragon shook his head.
"I honestly wasn't paying attention" he said with a sheepish smile.
" dust pan and brush young lad chop chop" Melinda said as to rise shot off to get the bits to clean up the mess on the marble floor.
"Want me to help him finish tidying up? I suppose you want to let the elders know as soon as possible," suggested Zyra.
Melinda nodded, knowing this was a big discovery to find, she hoped Jacob would help with her theory with what he found, now the man was better.
"Yes that be wise, we best let grumpy Braigg know first " Melinda replied back to the white haired girl.
Zyra nodded in agreement, "I can't begin to imagine what this will mean to the battles going on..." she thought aloud.
“I best inform him now, his council meeting should have finished by now” Melinda said grabbing her parchment and notes as she went off to Braigg’s chamber.
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Unread Nov 28th, 2017, 10:23 AM   #27
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“Oh Fenwick, I don’t know what to do with that drake,” said Asifa once she made it to her quarters.
Fenwick, a tall man of forty followed in behind her with a few scrolls in his arms, “What do you mean, Asifa?”
“You know what I mean. I know the others called me a fool for giving him a second chance but he is clever and has done well despite from pitfalls in the past. I just with he could learn from those mistakes instead of being hotheaded like his father.”
“Well…” shrugged Fenwick, unsure of what to say. He was her scroll keeper and personal scribe. Her eyes had begun to fail her years earlier and she could no longer write her own letters and messages. Fenwick had gladly filled the role to help her.
“Well, well is a start,” said Asifa with a wry amusement to her tone. Braigg frustrated her, and Fenwick knew it. The old dragoness could see so much potential in the councilor but his own stubbornness and petty behaviour often got in the way of letting that potential come to be something more than just that.


As predicted, Dantos was summoned to the Ashari court where the Steel Queen resided. This was only a day after Melinda’s discover, which had created a buzz of feverous talk throughout the kingdom. This news only spurred Dantos on to getting the ruler of the seaside country to agree to his request.
Helheri was the reining queen over the vast, coastal country, the third from her family to rule over the prosperous land. Ashari was famous for its metal work as well as its imposing navy that commanded the Braided Sea. Salt and steel were not harmonious materials but Helheri wielded both with a firm and steady rule.

The Ashari people, and its dragon population were a quiet folk, often regarded as cold and suspicious of outsiders, often keeping to themselves. Their Queen was no different. She fiercely protected her people and was wary of anything that might complicate the defense of her land and its prosperity.

Valemier was Ashari’s largest trading partner, the former offering a large abundance of timber for ship building from its plentiful forests. Despite these prosperous bindings, there never had been warm relations between Ashari and other countries.

Dantos walked into the grand courts of the palace of Steel and Salt. It took some time but eventually he was granted audience with Helheri when the right eyes saw her seal upon his letter.

Dantos was lead through a set of tall doors. Impressive metal filigree embossed old ship timber that made up the large doors. Once inside the hall opened up into a grand room. Ballroom? Thought the green dragon as he looked around. It was a large room, void of much furniture. Wide windows looked down from the crag that the palace sat on, with expansive views of the bay and the shore side city of Tidetier.
There was the sound of footsteps and the Steel Queen appeared from around the corner.

Half of her dark, ebony hair was done up in a filigree cage of silver, while the rest of it fell down to the middle of her back. Her brilliant copper skin played against the deep sea-storm blue of her clothing, bound tightly against her frame with leather straps and metal buckles. She wore silvery steel spaulders and from them draped more of the deep azure fabric. The Ashari crest, upturned, crossed swords over waves was embroidered into these with silver thread.
Dantos noticed a steel longsword with a decorative and protective hilt hung on a belt at her hip.

Dantos swept his white mantle back and bowed low, wanting to set things off on the right foot.
“Your Majesty,” he said, while his muzzle was low to the ground before straightening up.
“Councilor Dantos,” replied the woman in a slight, jutting accent, “You’ve come with concerns regarding Merchook?”
The dragon gave another, slight bow, “I have, Queen Helheri. Have you heard of the news coming out of the border lands and from Kingdom Azure?”
Helheri gave Dantos a look out of the corner of her eye as she turned to the window to look over the city below.
“Of course I have. The line of succession to Azure has dissolved into a fool’s squabble.”
“A fool’s squabble that has grown considerably…” added Dantos, “Since the King’s passing there has been considerable upheaval in Azure. The heir to the throne has been challenged and there has been no word of any sort of agreement. All the fighting within the family has unfortunately drawn the attention of other nations, other lords and individuals that look at Azure the way a wolf eyed a wounded grouse… It is not a good thing, your Majesty and things are steadily becoming worse. We have uncovered strange scenes of utter destruction and now Delwark has been lain to complete ruin, not a survivor amongst the rubble. “
“A tragedy,” nodded the woman but there seemed to be little empathy in her voice.
“More than that, Your Highness, it is a dark omen for the future. We have found that they are using some sort of weapon that explodes. It is quite volatile and seems to be the cause of such quick destruction. We do not know who could have done this other than whoever opposes Prince Mathew as Delwark is…. was allied to him, which is any of the other siblings plus whoever else might be vying for the throne. Whoever possesses this power is considerably dangerous.”
“What concern is it to Ashari?” asked Helheri bluntly, turning back to Dantos.
This made Dantos pause for a moment, taken aback. Couldn’t she piece it together, see what potential this all had?
“Your highness, my concern is that this will all turn rather ugly. An entire city was destroyed and it only had the potential to get worse. I am not asking Ashari to take up arms. Valemier has been active along our borders, ensuring neighboring towns are not ransacked as Delwark was.”
“My messengers have noticed such activity,” hummed Helheri.
“We simply with to have you join us in ensuring our borders are safe… for now. Valemier and Ashari share borders and together our lands lay against Merchook, your own borders being considerably longer. We simply would like to open lines of communication between our kingdoms to ensure that both Valemier and Ashari remain safe from whatever this destructive force is and perhaps prevent anything further.”
Helheri was silent, turning back to the window. She walked a few steps away from Dantos and for a moment the dragon was concerned that she was done listening and this was his dismissal. Just as he was about to sigh and leave she spoke.
“I will give you the cooperation of the forces I have along our eastern borders. We have had our eye on the situation for some time. I will ensure that General Voss will work with your messengers and sentries. We will defend our lands but as it stands, we will not fight someone else’s war.”
Dantos bowed low, “I completely understand. Thank you, Queen Helheri.”
“I will send messengers with my seal with orders for Voss and one for Asifa with my clear intentions for this temporary partnership.”
“Thank you, your Highness.”
“Fair winds, Dantos,” she said, dismissing him.
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Unread Nov 29th, 2017, 09:45 AM   #28
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A few days later once Dantos had returned from his venture to Ashari Melinda and Jacob had worked together on getting as much information as possible from the metal shards and what Melinda had discovered to present to the elders council, with Ardon and Zyra helping too to inform the council of their findings.
Braigg had been updated with the information, as well as getting Calisto scout reports from Merchook, the counsellor was not impressed that Dantos had gone to Ashari, but with the evidence mounting that these were metal weapons never seen before and the kingdom’s affinity towards making intricate and unique metal designs Braigg decided to make his displeasure known to the defence counsellor.
Braigg went to the elders chamber to speak of his displeasure, the dragon was not best pleased by what the dragon had done, despite Asifa giving the trip the blessing.
“Counsellor Dantos a word….now” Braigg demanded, storming into the defence dragons chamber, snorting smoke out of his nostrils.
The dragon did not look best pleased but then again allot of dragons who were working outside, scurried away, knowing the two counsellors had issues, them locking horns was not a pleasant thing to hear.
The green dragon made an effort to not look up from his work until he completed a seal on a scroll he had finished writing.
Then with a calm air he set it down and looked up. "You're rather stormy, Braigg. What's got your tail in a knot today?"
Braigg snorted again frowning upon the dragon before him.
“You have gotten my tail in a knot, speaking with potential enemies of Valemier, especially with what Melinda and Jacob have uncovered, you could of given vital information away to them” Braigg said.
Before he could hold it back Dantos let out a laugh of disbelief, "you have got to be joking, Braigg. Was your egg cracked in the nest? Where did you come up with that absurd notion?"
Braigg growled.
“Do not treat me like some hatchling, Ashari are known for their metal work and you went down there to speak with the queen, who is to say she has not got these secret weapons and are involved in backing one of the siblings” Braigg accused the dragon.
Dantos rolled his eyes in exasperation.
"Braigg, you were there at the council meeting. We want Ashari on our side, helping us keep watch over Merchook. Queen Helheri has been corresponding with Asifa. Where under the great blue did you think of this?"
Braigg gave Dantos a knowing look.
“Calisto and her scouts collected more debris around the city, they found in the wreckage what has been identified as the seal of the Kingdom of Ashari, imprinted on the metal debris, I now have all the evidence I need to show Elder Asifa you have endangered Valemier and its cities with your rush to diplomacy” Braigg said with a sly smile.
Braigg felt he now had the evidence to show elder Asifa and use his influence to force Dantos to stand down from his position, meaning defence would fall back until his remit.
"Braigg, you are aware that that the earl of Delwark was courting a Ashari court member? You can find Ashari seals and crests on every shipment of steel good besides. It proves little other than they at least traded with them." Dantos the stormy now, "what game are you playing, Braigg. You have been a thorn in my side for ages now."
Braigg shook his head, not accepting the answer Dantos gave.
“I disagree, I think this is more than enough evidence, combined with what our resident humans have found will cost you your position on the council, you can attend to other duties far more your stature” Braigg said as he turned to leave.
Dantos snorted, "good luck, Braigg." He called after him, fully confident in his own innocence. "You've gone mad with jealousy," he huffed to himself when he was gone.
Braigg ignored the comment and was about to leave when Jacob, Melinda and the others appeared, they seemed to have news which stopped the dragon in his tracks.
“Counsellors, we made a big discovery, I’m glad we caught you both, we need to show you two this” Jacob said holding a large piece of metal in his hand from the work shop.
Dantos looked up at the sound of Jacob's voice, "What is that?" he queried, seeing him hold up the metal.
The man and woman approached, with the others as Braigg also hung on, curious at what Jacob and Melinda had found.
"This part here, has a seal, all the kingdoms have a seal of saying, I know them all, this one I've never seen" Jacob said putting the metal on Dantos table.
Dantos lifted a claw and touched the seal, curious. It wasn't familiar to him either and he had travelled all across the kingdoms many times. "It is nothing I recognize."
Braigg also did not recognise the seal either, it was very different to what he normally saw, this was a very intricate design.
"Yes, that only leads to two options" Melinda said holding two fingers up make a point.
"Yeah either it's to hide a Kingdom doing this or there is an 8th Kingdom as yet undiscovered" Jacob added.
"Dragons fly as far as their wings take them. I would think Calisto’s messengers would have uncovered a whole kingdom if one existed," said Dantos but his tone wasn't entirely confident as he puzzled over the seal.
Braigg agreed with the other elder dragon nodding lightly.
"The map is all discovered, we would of noticed another Kingdom" Braigg said gesturing to the map on Dantos wall.
"I would have to agree. It's more likely that someone is working under a different guise to ensure they aren't uncovered," said the green male.
Melinda smiled and looked at the logo.
“I know the styles, the culture of the kingdoms, we all have very similar moto’s and seals but this is very different, its design and markings, it is written in symbols of some sort, if this is a kingdom, it certainly not on the continent” Melinda said, gesturing to the markings.
"Something different all together," Dantos agreed. "I want to make a few copies of this for Callisto and her messengers for reference."
Braigg agreed with this nodding his Head.
“I agree, Calisto will find this useful, if this is true there is an 8th Kingdom, then they are interfering in the affairs of Merchook, it could perhaps be an attempt to extend their influence into our continent” Braigg said.
“Whoever they are, they have advanced technology” Jaocb commented.
"Which is concerning considering we know very little about it and how to defend ourselves from it." Agreed Dantos. "So we must take precautions."
The others agreed as Dantos words rung true with the whole group, whoever this Kingdom was, it had access to advanced weaponry, much deadlier than sword and shield.
“Is there anything we can do as residents here?” Melinda asked Dantos and Braigg.
“You done more than enough, I appreciate your wisdom and skills, I am sure Dantos does as well” Braigg said, his tone changing from earlier.
"Every discovery you have made has done well for Valemier. The council can let you know if we find anything further that requires your assistance." Said Dantos with a dip of his head.
The group bowed respectfully to the counsellors and headed back to their workshops, Braigg huing back to speak with Dantos again.
“I ask Calisto to call upon the coastal dragons, they are fast and the perfect match for ocean and coastal patrols, plus their scales blend in with the sea so they be good to report on any foreign ships” Braigg suggested.
Dantos nodded, a rare moment of agreement between them. "That would be wise. I will let Queen Helheri know to keep an eye on her ports. Whoever this force is may be coming from the sea."
Braigg agreed with this, in their rare show of unity, now this external enemy or influence had the potential to shake up the rest of the 7 Kingdoms.
“Should we call a council meeting at what has been found, Obviously I can only deal with the domestic side but last time I checked we are well stocked here and all maintenance is up to date” Braigg replied.
"Yes the council should be called in light of the news of this seal." Nodded Dantos. His tone was a bit absent as he thought. Defences, strategies and plans were building in his mind already. He cleared his throat, "I'll send word. Chambers in one hour."
“I shall go bring my records, to show the grand elder where we are, see you in an hour” Braigg said leaving Dantos chamber.
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Unread Dec 2nd, 2017, 07:48 AM   #29
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Dantos called for a court runner to go let all the other councillors know that he was calling a meeting to share this news.
While the Head of Defence has known his innocence regarding his travels to Ashari and talks with its Steel Queen, he was relieved that he didn’t have to waste time defending himself against Braigg’s accusations.
“May the stars bless you, Jacob,” said the green dragon to himself while he wrapped the metal seal in a piece of cloth so that he could carry it safely to the council room.
He put on his white mantle and silver sigil before he collected the map off the wall. He looked at it briefly, seeing all the land masses coloured in. Names of kingdoms, towns, rivers and grand sweeps of forests where all named in a thin, wispy script. He couldn’t begin to think of where this seal could come from. It was bold and unmistakable. No other sigil could be confused by it but he wondered where it had come from. Even the furthest edges of the map were filled with information, right down to the Scattered Islands that littered the western coast and numbered in the hundreds. Nations, clans, countries and kingdoms all accounted for.
Before rolling up the map he looked at the oceans that surrounded the continent and paused. The sea stretched so much further than a dragon could ever fly. The sea faring Ashari and other kingdoms had numerous ships and there were islands out there, still waiting to be found, but could a whole other land be out there, hiding somewhere where the map had been coloured in with blue waves?
Dantos thought about this for some time before he secured the map shut with twine. He tucked it into his wing and made to leave his quarters for the council chamber.
By the time he got there the others were just beginning to file in. Asifa seemed to be breathing a little raspier today but was still sitting in her spot of honour amongst them. While she was tired she seemed bright at this possibility of news coming from her councillors.
Akeel hurried in, a shimmer of magic following behind him, carrying a quill and parchment to write down a few notes and perhaps copy the sigil. As everyone took their place Dantos cleared his throat and put the map up on the wall, using a display hanger that was pinned into the stone.
Dantos and Braigg, finally seeing a little closer eye to eye, brought up the news of this new and unfamiliar seal to the council. No one on the council seemed to recognize the seal, though Akeel paused for a considerable time when the sigil was passed around for inspection.
Valemiers own connection to the coast and sea was north east, far away from Merchook and its mostly ragged coastline and rough waters. It was agreed to hire on a few ships of Valemier’s own loyalty and have them coast along the waters that bordered between them and Merchook, far enough out not to be too conspicuous but not far enough that messenger dragons couldn’t make the flight from land.
The council, most of it anyway, seemed to agree with Dantos’s suggestion that they let Helheri know as well. She commanded the greatest naval force on the continent and could cover greater expanses of water, keeping an eye out for anything suspicious.
If this sigil came from a different land, spotting them at sea would be help to figuring out this whole ordeal. Asifa warned that they couldn’t put all their resources along the coast but it would not hurt to have a few sentries posted there, just in case.
The council meeting went on for some time as speculation and ideas bounced around the chambers. Valemier was on guard, eyes wide with the worry of this unknown threat but standing united they hoped to avoid any further disaster.
Dantos informed them he would be making his own personal rounds along the border of Valemier and Merchook to see how his defenders were making out. Vonriir and his brother seemed to have brought a bit of comfort for the lands they patrolled along so that much was to be thankful for.
In five days Valemier ships set out from Kelp Point, their main port, and began their journey up and down the coastlines of the landmass. Callisto sent her messengers down and to everyone’s surprise, Queen Helheri allowed them to journey over her land to get to the sea closest to Merchook to fly to and from the ships with news and information.
Nothing of note seemed to come from the ocean for what felt like an endless number of weeks. All seemed quiet across Valemier and even beyond in the days that followed. It was nearly a month when Asifa was getting ready to call back the ships they sent when a messenger came flying as fast as he wings could carry her, eyes wide in urgency.
The dragoness raced towards Valemier with the news….. something was coming….

To be Continued.
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