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 Chapter 4: Crescendo

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Red Blizzard

Posts : 164
Join date : 2011-05-30
Age : 25
Location : Elsewhere

PostSubject: Chapter 4: Crescendo   Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:43 pm

The next few days were a blur. Blizzard’s probation was completely forgotten in the rush to prepare for battle. Scouts came in reporting giant demons moving into position around Wa-Kia, and it was generally surmised that Felk and Soluna’s trip up north may have had more repercussions than they had originally expected. But the exact organization that organized the attacks on Blizzard’s sisters as well as the botched assassination of Priest remained unknown. Saint’s spies turned up nothing on the matter, and at the next Captains’ meeting, the general war plan was discussed as purely a defensive matter.

“They’re surrounding Wa-Kia. My guess is they’re going to use the city as a launching point to stage an attack on us.” Saint pored over a map of troop positions. He had sent his squad into the forest to scout the enemy positions and prepare for skirmishes with the enemy. Next to him, Nathan sat, looking slightly bored. His squad was concentrated within the base itself, backing up Priest as the last line of defense.

“It’s a shame though…Wa-Kia’s been destroyed so many times already, can’t the enemy give it a break for once?” Nathan looked pointedly at Dye, who looked away. It would be his job to defend Wa-Kia should the worst come to worst.

“I doubt they’re going to attack Wa-Kia. Every single time a clan has been the aggressor against the city, they’ve come out looking the worse. It’s diplomatic suicide.”

“Well Blizzard, that’s your arena. For my part, I don’t want to rule out the possibility. Dye, I want you to pull your troops into town to defend it.”

“Don’t bother.” Blizzard stood up and began to pace. “The Order of the Dark Wolf is guarding the town.”

“And you know this because…?”

“I managed to arrange a small alliance with them for the time being. They use the town as their primary trading post anyways, it’s in their best interest to protect the town so their own supply of food and other resources doesn’t go dry. I think we can put Dye on the offensive as soon as we find out who we’re attacking.”

“And have you found out who we’re attacking?”

Blizzard opened his mouth to speak. There was a knock on the door. “Come in!”

It was Boomfus, the guitar player. He was looking slightly apprehensive as he spoke his message. “Stai…I mean, a guy from one of the local clans is here with a message for you. He’s waiting outside to meet you.”

Saint looked Boomfus in the eye. “Do you know the guy?”

Boomfus shrugged. “Can’t say for sure. I thought I recognized him, but I meet a lot of people. Could be just someone that looks like a guy I know.” The Captains filed warily out of the room, Priest locking the door behind them. Outside, there was indeed a lone figure standing. Saint looked on the horizon expectantly, sending up a bright spark of electricity. The other Captains looked at him questioningly, but said nothing. Moments later, a green spark answered him, shooting up out of the forest.

“Alright, it’s safe. He’s brought no reinforcements with him.”

“A trusting messenger then. What does he want?” They found out soon enough.

The messenger himself was imposing enough. Towering, thick black armor and a dark, horned helmet made for the perfect intimidation tactic. None of the Captains were intimidated. In line with basic military decorum, their visitor had come unarmed. Now, as they watched expectantly, the messenger unfurled a sheet of parchment and began to read.

“I am here asking if Requiem would like the join the Republic of Lore?”

Five voices at once. “THE WHAT!?!?!?”

“Here.” The messenger turned the parchment over to the Captains, who stared at the single sentence written on the plain sheet for a single, silent moment.

“What a waste of parchment…”

“Well that was a waste of our time…”

“And I was expecting something more…”

Blizzard looked up, eyeing the messenger. He stared back at Blizzard blankly, almost half-expecting something to happen.

“We’ll give you our answer shortly.” An understatement; the messenger had already heard the answer.

“On a side note, I’m wondering if Requiem would be interested in an alliance with my clan? I am not officially representing my clan on that count, but I can negotiate between both parties. I believe than an alliance would benefit the both of us.” Blizzard sighed and rubbed his forehead. Another alliance request. “I’m representing the Demons of Hell, if you wanted to know. My leader is Lord Casadin.”

“Well you can tell your ‘Lord’ Casadin…” Blizzard put a finger to his lips, silencing Dye mid-rant, before turning to the messenger.

“What’s your name?”


“Alright Staitus, why should we join this Republic of Lore?”

Staitus began to speak as if reading out of a dictionary. “The Republic of Lore is an organization of clans unified under the leadership of Lord Casadin that lends itself collective bargaining power for the organization’s benefit and allows for wars to be waged that would otherwise be difficult to fight. The Republic of Lore also…”

“That’s enough.” Priest gritted his teeth. “So we’re being invited to give up our individuality in order to join a group where someone else can decide for us who we fight and why? Like I’d ever join that.”

“Listen, Staitus…” The messenger looked up at Blizzard. “Do you feel strongly about this Republic of Lore thing?” Staitus shook his head. “Then why do you act as the go-between for us?”

Staitus shrugged. “I really don’t know…Casadin told me to.”

“Why doesn’t Casadin come and talk to us himself? Who’s the diplomat of your clan?”

“Casadin…Though sometimes I fill in for him.”

“And do you like the way Casadin leads?”

“Not really…He doesn’t listen to us very often. He just does his own thing and tells us to follow him.”

“Do you even like the clan you’re in? What was it called, the Demons of Hell?” There was a sharp intake of breath as the name was mentioned for the second time. Each syllable had taken on a new significance now that it was spoken through a second voice.

“I want to stay loyal to my clan, but…” Staitus paused for a moment, suddenly eyeing the group of Captains suspiciously.

“Staitus, how about you come and stay in Requiem Castle for a bit? Take a look around, as a diplomat for your clan. Who knows, you might like what you see!” All the Captains swiveled to face Blizzard, unable to believe what he was saying. Staitus hesitated for a moment. Then he stepped forward, pulling off his helm. Underneath, a scarred face, hardened by battle. Two watery blue eyes stared out with a sharp gleam that could have been cut from stone. His appearance was utterly astonishing for one who worked for a demon clan.

“I accept your offer. I have no weapons with me, and will be strictly observing for the moment. Thank you for inviting me into your castle.” The Captains watched the man as he stepped through the doors to the castle, still shooting Blizzard questioning looks as the filed back in themselves to finish the meeting. As Blizzard made for the meeting room with the rest, he noticed Boomfus and Staitus chatting with each other animatedly. So Staitus had already made a new friend. That was good. Blizzard smiled as he went back to discussed the much-altered strategy to beat back their known enemy, the Demons of Hell. Everything hinged on the ultimatum they had been given. And they would be sending a messenger of their own to the enemy very soon…


As a matter of fact, Staitus didn’t really make a new friend in Boomfus. They had known each other for some time now. Though this should hardly be a surprise: they were from the same clan. As Staitus passed by Boomfus, a chill ran through the messenger’s body that he never got from his training days up in the tundra. The wild smile of the fighting bard swam into view in the shadows behind him.

“Welcome to Requiem, Staitus.”

“Boomfus.” Staitus didn’t bother turning around. “What are you doing here?”

“Our precious Lord Casadin dropped me off here for some long-term surveillance. Just to see what the clan’s doing.”

“I see. So this is where you were sent for your over-glorified spy mission. What do you think?”

“Of the clan?” Boomfus chuckled. “It’s in deep trouble right now, though it’s more prepared for the war than Casadin would like. I don’t think much for the Demons’ survival at the moment.”

“Are they that good?”

“Oh, trust me, they’re one of the best. They’ve got the organization and smarts to deal with an army of demons, no problem. For the half-dozen humans left in Casadin’s clan, I think now would be a good time to humbly bow out of the clan and look after our own.”

“So much for loyalty. You’re just going to ditch who you were working for so you can join a clan where you think you have a higher survival rate?”

“That’s the gist of it.” Boomfus swam into view, all tattoos, spikes, and smile. He clapped one hand on Staitus’s shoulder plate jovially, tapping a beat on the metal armor with two fingers

“You disgust me.” A smile formed on the corner of Staitus’s lips as he said this.

“Hey, you know me, it’s how I live. Don’t tell me you won’t do the same thing the moment the Demons slip up. You and I, we’ve been together for almost forever now. We’ve seen it all, done it all…”

“I get the point.”

“…Dreamed it all, imagined it all…”


“…Oh, and don’t forget, smelled it all. Heck, we’ve done a lot of it all together…”


“Huh? Oh, right, what?”

“What do you plan to do right now?”

“Who, me? Hang around and enjoy life. This place is decked with stuff. They’ve even got a great chef and nice rooms and all that stuff. I’m not going any place fast.”

“This clan is also planning on going head-to-head with Lord Casadin in a few days, if I’m not mistaken.”

“Not a few days, man. Tomorrow. I’ve seen it in their eyes. They mean business, and they’ll go about it in a hard way that leaves no room to breathe.”

“Tomorrow…can they really launch a war that fast? Casadin had this all planned out for weeks. The Republic of Lore was his pet project that he was hoping would make all this war unnecessary, but if worst comes to worst, he has demons surrounding Wa-Kia, all in hiding…”

“Not to Requiem. They’ve got eyes all over the place, already found them out. Got a plan for taking them down too.” Staitus froze in place, taking a moment to digest the information he had just received.

“And you’ll be taking part in the fight? Against Casadin?”

Light chuckling. “Not really. I landed myself a sweet squad, the Captain running it hardly does anything. His name’s Blizzard, a great speaker, but doesn’t do too much fighting.”

“Yes, we’ve heard of him. Requiem’s diplomat. I’m acting as diplomat for Casadin right now, taking a look around.”

“Mhmm…” Boomfus let go of Staitus, slinking around while humming a tune. He paused in the shadows of a dark corridor. “They won’t let you, you know.”

“Won’t let me what?”

“They won’t let you stay here for long without making up your mind. Blizzard’s got his eye on you, wants to convert you. I’m not going to make it easy for you to get in.”

“I’d expect just as much from a friend like you.”

Boomfus’s smile grew wider in the half-light of the corridor. “It’s my pleasure.”

“You mentioned something about this clan being in deep trouble? How can it wage a war if it’s in trouble?”

“Oh, I don’t mean trouble like a lack of troops or bad leadership. Nothing like that. In fact, the leadership’s so good that anyone not up to snuff risks getting booted. Take my Captain for example. Just got yelled at a couple days ago. Left the meeting room with a stab wound in his chest. His sisters were the ones killed by Bremen, you know.”

“Another one of Casadin’s monstrosities…”

“And he was the one that foiled the assassination on Requiem’s leader…”

“Cheap mercenaries…”

“But even at that, the clan’s not holding together too well. A difference in ideas, I think. Anyways, I’m off to bed. Enjoy your stay here at Requiem and…” Boomfus cocked his head back as he mounted the stairway. “Be careful.” With a wink, Boomfus sauntered up to his room, leaving Staitus deep in thought. What was the real purpose for Blizzard letting him in so easily, when he could send all the information he got back to Casadin? Not that he would. What Boomfus said about the Demons of Hell and their chances for survival put all thought of his old clan out of his head. Maybe he’d stay a while, get used to life here. Who knows? It just might be a start of a new chapter in his life. Staitus wandered through the castle, getting himself blissfully lost in the darkness.

Several rooms away, Saint went over last-minute details of the battle plan. Blizzard filled the others in on what he knew about the Demons of Hell. Dye counted his troops with the fingers of both hands and the toes of both feet, then lost count. Nathan snoozed in a corner, already set to do his part in the battle. Outside, dozens of pairs of eyes scanned the forest for the slightest movement, silent sentinels in preparation for war. In the armory next to the water mill, the sound of sharpening blades screeched through the hallways. Upstairs in the castle, guitar music screamed skywards in a sweeping crescendo.

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Chapter 4: Crescendo
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