Sovereign: New Age - RP Topic

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Now go sign up or I will personally see to it that your life is one of misery and your death is both painful and prolonged.

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This is the RP topic for the Sovereign: New Age RPG. Please keep OOC comments to a comparative minimum.


“I’ve been breathing air, but there’s no sign of life.”

-Cage the Elephant, Cold Cold Cold

It is raining.

The city is dead.

Or at least, mostly.

In normal locations, the group gathered in the massive terrace would appear, to most onlookers, large.

This is no normal location.

For at least half a mile around, what was once a city is nothing more than a leveled field of debris and ruin. To the west, the world ends, dropping in a jagged, rubble-strewn edge. Towards the east, north, and south, collapsing buildings forming a parody of a skyline.

Both the silence and the emptiness are deafening, dwarfing the group on the terrace.

The platform you stand on was a theater, now the only building left standing in what was once a rich neighborhood. It is octagonal in shape, with four sets of stone stairs leading up on four opposite sides. Eight marble pillars at each vertex, streaked with an inlay of some sort of green metal, hold up the massive dome that is the ceiling, made of the same green metal.

Like a school for adolescents, the figures on the platform are distinctly segregated by their faction. A single figure from each is standing slightly apart. The man in red robes breaks the silence. His voice is not loud, but it carries in the deafening quiet.

“The Scholars of the College of the Red City welcome our compatriots, who so proposed this expedition.” He steps forward. Almost in unison, as if to not seem outdone, the Representatives from the other two groups salute and step forward, to the stone pedestal in the center of the pavilion. The three tentatively shake hands, and seem to confer in low voices.

For Scholars only

The Representative of the Scholars is Raest Arcades - one of the most upstanding mage-scholars of Sulgent. Most of you have spent many of your years with the Scholars training under him, as pupils in a college, acolytes to learn the art of Sunstones, or spies-in-training.

For Kingdom only

The Representative of the Kingdoms is Aron Vaughn - the front lines general that is largely considered responsible for the prevention of Achilles from accomplishing his conquest on the shores of Rhaske. Some of you have served under him as soldiers, others know him as a higher ranking politician.

For Alliance only

The Representative of the Alliance is Anji Scane, a former insurrectionist. It is likely that you barely know her. Most of you were simply contacted by her for your expertise in a certain skillset.

After a moment, the Scholar Representative steps forward again, and turns to address the three groups. He is dressed in Sulgent maroon robes with a significantly shortened train to keep from snagging on the rubble. He is smiling, sickeningly wide.

“Comrades! You all know why we are here. To delve down into the depths of this city, to uncover the technology that is rightfully ours, that was held from us by The Tyrant, Achilles himself.” The speech is obviously a practiced one, but the emphasis on ours seems to be accompanied by an ever so subtle nod to his own scholars. “I’ll be frank: some of you will die. Others will be injured, maimed, or otherwise permanently damaged. But it will be worth it - for not only do you support your nation, your school, your homeland, but you help the world prepare for the coming age. Your names will be remembered in the annals of history.” His voice, practiced over years of speeches in one of the largest amphitheaters in the world, makes it hard not to feel stirred. If it is possible, he smiles wider. “And of course, the riches you find down there are yours to keep.” This finally raises a smattering of applause from a band of mercenaries in the Alliance group. “Now, my esteemed …” the pause is nearly imperceptible, but no less condescending, “… colleague, the Chevalier Vaughn, will explain certain protocols.”

The Kingdom Representative steps forward, a thin-lipped smile on his face. His chain mail armor shines in the misting rain, and turns his brown hair a shade closer to black. His voice is naturally hoarse over years of shouting orders.

“We’re bringing what food and water we can afford to carry - a week’s rations or so. However, we’re betting on there being supplies that may still be usable since they’ve been sealed off. That’s our first destination: the old storehouses. If they’ve been compromised, then we’ll have to return to the surface and rethink our strategy.

“Light: We have no idea how much visibility there’ll be down there. We know Achilles had developed some sort of light-producing technology, but we don’t know if it’ll still be operational. As such, instead of torches, which are flammable for underground gases, our … colleagues … from Sulgent have agreed to provide us with Sunstones.” He gestures to a crate by the central pillar. “These will provide us with the ability to see. They are powered by absorbed light, and will need to be recharged every so often. Before you enter the city, take one.

“And finally, discipline: Infighting is punishable by whip. Theft of supplies of any kind will be punishable by whip. Cowardice is punishable by whip. Insubordination is punishable by whip. And desertion … you know the rules.

“Questions?”

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Kanei listened closely to the speaker, all questions he had were answered in a matter of seconds. “Uh no.” He spoke as he fiddled with a piece of scrap he had picked up on the way over here.

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The Verdant Paladin sits on a rock at the outskirts of the amphitheater sharpening his axes and chanting in a strange language. Most people keep their distance from him, but it doesn’t bother him. As he sits there, sharpening and chanting silently, his skin starts do glow, especially around the strange veins of dark green running through it. The rain doesn’t seem to bother him: in fact, it almost makes him seem somehow more menacing and powerful than he already is. Which is saying a lot, as he stands nearly seven feet tall, with rippling muscles beyond anything many of the crowd have seen before. As he listens and watches the speakers, any who dare make eye contact with him feel as if his striking green eyes are peering straight into their soul. He waits for anyone to ask questions, for he has none. He knows his mission. He stops sharpening his axes and loops them into his belt, then adjusts the thorny crown upon his head, waiting for the signal to go.

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Hereward, likely in the back as always befit of his unit, wished the ceiling was gone. He’d rather be drenched and rusting, drowning in the tapping pings of rain assaulting his helmet than be in here. At least then he could focus on the rain’s chatter rather than the scholars, give him some peace of mind. But the pings of the rain were far above and the man’s voice silenced the weather.

He tried not to watch, but no matter where he looked he felt them staring at him. Especially the man on stage, seemed to be looking right through the eye slits and into his mind. The smile didn’t help, none at all. But the joke about riches almost got a scoffing cough out of him. He didn’t believe it for a moment.

Muscles relax when Chevalier Vaughn starts speaking, though still on guard. Finally, real details of the mission, Hereward thought. However, the plan for rations was somewhat surprising.

“Looks like we’ll serve as cooks too,” he quietly commented, deadpan and half-joking.

The morbid thought of it already hurt his stomach. When it finally came to questions, Hereward remained silent. He had questions, but it was not his place. Not that they could answer anyways. Perhaps the gods, but not these men.

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Bren stood miserably in the rain, desperately attempting to use the edge of his cloak as an umbrella. In the short time of the speeches from the Scholar leaders, it was already drenched and dripping.

Bren understood the plan, at least in theory, but from his experience being forced to build Achilles’ weapons of war, he knew the real test would in the execution.

He had questions, alright, but not about the expedition. Bren’s eyes were fixated on the Sunstones, brilliantly glowing things. They didn’t appear to be mechanical from what he could see - somehow it felt like these Scholars had infused the sun into stone. And their glow could be revitalized by further exposure?!

Bren had to learn more about how these curious stones worked. He would examine them further once he had his own. He grew anxious at the thought of having to ask a Scholar how they function.

All of these thoughts whizzed through Bren’s mind. From under his hood, he glanced towards Vaita, his…companion? Acquaintance? Fellow traveler? Bren wasn’t quite sure what she was yet, just that she tended to have a better head about practical things than he did.

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In the awkward silence, the drumming of rain becomes more apparent. The Scholar Representative coughs, trying to maintain a sense of command over the situation, and then, when no questions are raised, steps to the central pedestal.

“Anyways … shall we … proceed?” He raises his voice to address the rest of the group, “This is the only intact entrance to the lower city that we have been able to find. It is our only way in, and our only way out. As such, some of you will be staying behind to guard it. Otherwise … I suppose it’s time to begin." He retrieves something from his robe, and kneels on the pedestal. He seems to press the object into the ground, and then stands and steps back rapidly. The grinding sound of stone on stone fills your ears.

Gravesbane is open.

The Representative gulps, nervously, and visibly blanches.

“M-maybe it would be better if one of the more … experienced members of this company went down first?”

The Alliance Representative mutters something and spits on the ground. She reaches into the crate of Sunstones and draws one out, and then walks to the pedestal. She glares pointedly at the Scholar Representative, and then steps down into Gravesbane. Representative Vaughn is quick to follow, motioning for the company to reciprocate.

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Kanei scoffs. “Stupid suicide mission.” he considers stepping up to the pedestal, but he decides he best wait for one of his peers to do so first.

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The Verdant paladin stands up off the rock and walks to the entrance. Anyone who might be in his way quickly steps out of it, and he manages to get in only shortly after the representatives

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Bren rushes over to the crate of Sunstones and grabs his own. As he steps towards the pedestal, he begins to examine it and attempt to discern how it functions.

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The entrance is small, octagonal in shape. A set of stairs descends into the darkness. The smell is not what you would expect - musty, mold-infested, yes, but there is something else. Reminiscent of lantern oil, but far more acrid to the senses.

Bren

Closed, the entrance would be a smaller octagonal stone platform inset into the pedestal. Now that it is opened, it reveals a rectangular opening the length of one of the sides of the octagon - barely the width of most peoples’ shoulders.

The doorway appears to split down the middle of the octagon, each half moving apart half the length of one of the sides. The plate is plain stone, unmarked, except for two insets halfway down the long side of each half. It appears as some sort of orifice for a keystone of sorts, the shape of which is broad on one end and tapers to a point. The shape is familiar, but you can’t put your finger on it at this moment. There seems to be some sort of pressure trigger where the keystone would be placed.

You take this in in a matter of seconds as you pass.

As you descend, your Sunstone lights smooth stone walls and a ceiling patterned with colored metals. Tarnished, but the blues, yellows, and reds still reflect clearly in your light.

Further down the stairway, the tunnel seems to widen. The Representatives stand at the foot of the stairs, waiting for the rest of the company to file past.

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Here goes everything. Hereward lifts his executioner’s sword, bringing the blade’s flat to rest on his right shoulder. He starts to move into position with the squad to go when it was their turn when the Verdant Paladin comes in. Even without the parting sea of people, it would have been hard to miss the giant. His lips part from surprise, once again glad his hood masked his face.

Just don’t die, you’d be a pain to clean up.

Once the rest of the Kingdom forces start filing in, Hereward gives Gottlieb a light shove. Provided the sergeant was hesitating or going too slow.

“Come on sir, we where bought to go inside. Not stand and guard like the living.”

When Hereward does come to the box of sunstones, he looks at it hesitantly. It was not that the stones could glow so bright he distrusted as much as whom was giving them. With the scholars, who could really say what else they’d do. But this was something he couldn’t dwell on now. With less than a second delay, he reaches in and takes a stone, barely inspecting it as he goes through the entrance.

As he descends, the smell is not as bad for him. It can get hot in his helmet, but the cloth does have its benefits and smell filtering was one of those.

4 Likes

Iosif looked down at the crate filled with Sunstones.

Several months’ training of what to say and how to act and what to do - claims were made that it was in preparation for the Scholars’ party, but Iosif knew better. If he was going to be painfully ignorant in so many other categories, he had to make up the ground lost somehow.

But they babbled and bluffed about proper conduct, what could and couldn’t be said about the Sunstones, the one-page list of whom he could trust and the illustrated volumes of those he could not. He had never been in contact with any of the Sunstones before, and their secrets were intensely guarded. However, what had been said - what the Scholars were willing to divulge - explained his presence in such a risky environment.

Iosif was a battery. A source of light for the sources of light. By him they could continuously recharge their lamps, and therefor have an infinite resource. That’s all that Iosif really was, after all. A resource, a tool, a liability in a gilded cage; had the actions of his party thus far not laid bare that fact? That if he were to fall somewhere in that black abyss, he would have no parting tears shed in remembrance of him, much less fond memories of his character?

Someone - likely one of his crew - sharply elbowed him in the ribs and mumbled something obscene. They were no doubt chomping at the bit for the opportunity to report their caged pet for cowardice and the deserving lashes equivalent to such a misdeed, and any tarrying here would only empower their despicable desires. So, with as much worry as could be mustered on anyone thrust into such a position, Iosif took the Sunstone.

One hand stone to the catskin he carried to make sure he still possessed it before he descended into the dark.

5 Likes

Kanei was tired of being upstaged by the alliance, and as soon as he saw one of his own descend he jogged up to the platform, snatched a sun stone, and without speaking a single word, descended into the depths eager to find out what exactly that tyrant Achilles was hiding.

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The Verdant Paladin walks through the chilly damp(?) air of the buried city. The spell he’d cast on himself to make his skin glow may not have been as bright as the sun stones that the rest of the group carried, but it was better than nothing. He didn’t trust anything that other humans made, especially not the “Scholars”, so he had to make do with what he had. What am I even doing here? he thinks to himself. I should be out restoring the waste to its former glory! No, this is important, I have to stay on their good side if I wish to spread the word of nature. he tells himself. He continues walking, and nearly bumps into the person in front of him. “Stupid shortstrider” he says under his breath. The man in front of him turns around and says “what was th…” then his face goes pale as he sees who he’s talking to. Then he quickly turns away and mumbles an apology. The Verdant Paladin smiles. He loves it when people fear him, he finds it hilarious. The truth was, he could take on any one of these foolish people and crush them without taking a scratch. In fact, he could probably take them all on, like how he took on entire squads of Achilles’s army and wiped them clean. But that’s not why he was here. He was here for something else.

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Gottlieb curses, and then tries to look like he is in total control of his squad.


As the last of the company - a group of what looks like executioners - enter Gravesbane, the rain seems to be picking up. What was before a miserable misting of moisture is now building into a storm, blowing from the west. Clouds darken, and a rumbling of distant thunder reaches your ears. The relatively large group of people set to guard the entrance are looking far less relieved than they had before, as they hastily get to work pitching tents.

As more and more people enter Gravesbane some of you are forced to move deeper into the city. The draft and smell of the storm is quickly stagnated by the murky, acrid smells of the city.

There is silence, broken only by muffled curses and the clumping sound of boots on stone, as the company aligns itself in the predetermined order. The three Representatives are in front. The Alliance Representative seems entirely at ease, but the other two seem on edge as they survey the procession. Another flash, another peal of thunder makes it way to your ears.

A man in Sulgent red steps forward, clutching a wooden tube. He hands it to his Representative, who opens it and draw out a piece of worn parchment. A map, maybe.

Chevalier Vaughn speaks.

“The storehouses are much deeper within the city. Two marches, one rest in between, according to our maps. Do not lag behind.” Those in front can hear him mutter something about “weak-legged bookworms” but he says nothing further.

He begins to march.

It only takes a little while of the monotonous drumming of boots on stone for you to completely lose track of time. The tunnel you are in splits and turns numerous times, but the Representatives seem, for the most part, to know where they are going, glancing down periodically or pausing entirely to peer at the map. The metallic venation on the ceiling splits or trails off with each side tunnel. They are obviously some sort of map or pathway, but their meanings are impossible to discern.

You go down a second flight of steps, and pass several more, but otherwise stay at the same level.

A few try whistling to pass the time. The glares are enough to silence them.

Over time, the tightly packed group slowly spreads out, though not too much. Those that trail too far behind run into the knees of the death-eyed Kingdom soldiers, and find themselves suddenly motivated to keep up.

A man from the back of the procession - one of the aforementioned death-eyed Kingdom soldiers, in fact - speaks in a lowered tone, addressing the people in his immediate vicinity. In the yellow light from the Sunstones, you see blonde hair, dark eyes, dark tan-colored Madrisi skin; a face-splitting grin.

“So … anyone know what the hell we’re actually doing down here?”

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Kanei jumped, he hadn’t been paying attention to the surrounding people, but the whisper had made him jump in turn making him almost drop a fairly large (approx two feet) piece of scrap metal he had brought with him. “GAH! Give me a little warning next time!” He took a deep breath before continuing, “Sorry, but I honestly have no clue.”

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Iosif was naturally susceptible to conversation, but all this walking was already getting tiring, and being reprimanded for speaking out of line was not on his to-do list.

Only then did he realize he had one hand on his catskin the entire time he had been walking. In spite of this revelation, he could not be motivated to relocate it.

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Your startle makes him laugh. It seems almost heretical to be that loud in this silence.

"Bit high-strung, huh, my friend? I’m Holland. That glum looking fellow right there is Hereward. Well, you can’t see that he’s glum looking, but I assure you, he is.

“I think they’ve actually brought us all down here to sacrifice to one of them Scholars’ strange gods. We’re all members of a cult, and we don’t even know it!” He laughs again, but quiets after glares from further down the line.

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One of these glares is the soul-piercing stare of The Verdant Paladin, although not for the same reason as many of the others. So, the man known as Holland seems to be able to keep a light heart even in the dark depths, Fascinating. he thinks to himself

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Glum with a spot of ire now, Hereward baps his colleague’s shoulder with his sword’s flat. He gives a heavy huff and tries to control his breathing to calm himself. It’s only the first, only the first. Hopefully that’s not enough. Holland you idiot.

“I’d hope they’d hire better priests than us,” Hereward trails off quietly.

3 Likes