thechippy Sep 19, 2012 @ 11:51am
Souls Of Iron (A work of fiction by me/coastwardchippy, taken from the marauders forums)
(As the title suggests , this was written in the forum by me originally this was written in parts so do forgive the frequent breaks as it was written over a two week period during Christmas 2011, a follow up is gradually being written over the course of the last seven months and into the future and can be found on the game’s forums. I have collated the story into one piece and realised this is as good a place as any to dedicate to this game, its developers and its community.)

They came in the night.

A week ago they came, a bandit raid in the middle of the night turned what was no more than an ink stain on the map of the world into nothing more than a memory for those that survived.

Local militia bought us time, their valuable knowledge of the local geography and use of guerrilla warfare held back the intruders valiantly but they were outgunned and ill-equipped, military grade weapons being used by the bandits proved that they would raid any type of settlement, no matter how well defended. The shock baron fortress in the town square was the only fortification that gave our enemies pause, the inclined barrel of the gigantic cannon standing defiantly towards the sky blasting shells towards the bandits with explosive ferocity. By the fourth morning we could see its burning remains.

Lord Stafford sat in the command cradle of his personal atavar tank, the squat bulky tank led the convoy of assault archos, savars and cargo trucks carrying civilians. The mechanized column of vehicles roared across hidden dirt tracks and old highways, the belch of the throaty engines challenging any attackers to try if they had the guts. Lord Stafford was the uppermost authority of the town that no longer existed, he held in his hand a scrawled note that read "Jasmine's Gentleman's Club- Anchorpoint". When he first received this note, he had thought that this destination would fund his luxury retirement in some hidden corner of the Osatian sea through rather salubrious means, as befitting of the establishment's repute, however the events that he had witnessed through the past week had changed him. The destination written on the note was the only hope for the remnants of his community, the funds could provide a new town for those that had survived, letting the memory of those friends, siblings, children and parents live on through the survivor’s future existence. This journey was no longer fuelled by survival; it was his personal crusade to give a new home to his citizens.

As long as hope lived, so did danger. The journey had led them into the Sondar valley, a wooded valley that used to support several rural communities who had been decimated just like his had been. Bandits were rife here, the thick woods were perfect ambush territory, and everyone was all too aware of it, especially after seeing the charred remains of an assault archos at the side of the road. Suddenly every set of tracks was a threat.

Safety felt so far away when the high peaked mountains and foreboding forests was all that accompanied them.
***
The fast moving column of iron stopped for nothing.

Lord Stafford couldn't help feeling anxious as he watched from the top hatch of his atavar tank, the pintle mounted heavy machine gun sat beside him unused in a position that suggested this was a leisurely afternoon drive, not a group of frightened men and women fleeing for their lives, the former being something that used to be the norm in Lord Stafford's previous life of luxury.

The world rose around him, the peaks of the mountain range that shaped the Sondar valley soared towards the sky, tearing through the cloud layer like a knife. The trees of the wood that surrounded him clung desperately to the side of the mountain, climbing as high up as they possibly could, but looking no more than a green and brown blur as they passed, racing across the open ground of the grassy valley floor. The trees acted like an organic wall, defining the route, continuing endlessly on ahead of us where the journey planned on leading.

It was midday when the sight of wrecks along their path foretold a possible fate. As the interval between wrecks became continually smaller, the knuckles of Stafford's clenched fist turning whiter and whiter as each one passed. When he noticed the gutted coffin of a command destroyer, an involuntary gulp passed his lips and seemed to echo round the hull, the spooked eyes of his loader turning towards him, it was at that point that he ordered the column to bunch up through his oak furnished radio, his only possession saved from his burning estate. His radio represented the transformation that had undergone the entire convoy. What had once been domestic is certainly now military, especially the people.

Half an hour later and they found the scorched remains of a farming community, one that had most likely suffered the same catastrophe as theirs had, it was a sobering thought wondering whether they had been as fortunate as they had been, if you could call them fortunate.

He ordered the column to come to a stop, for what was to come next, they were going to need a rest.
***
Lord Stafford's martial brain raced as he set about ordering his subordinates, the military indoctrination of one of such aristocratic birth had put him in good stead so far, yet again the privileges from such a high birth overshadowing his own prowess.

"Have the archos covering the tree line and the savars covering the valley, they won't be able to hide tanks under the trees so they would have to come the same way we had. At least we’ll able to see them coming", mutters of assent coming from Lord Stafford's comrades, none of them having the necessary military knowledge or energy to question his orders. "Keep the patrols isolated, if we are sighted, they won't have complete knowledge of our disposition. Thank you gentlemen, dismissed".

He returned to his atavar as his makeshift army hurried around him. The radio crackling into life moments after he had climbed back in,
"meet me in the town centre"
"affirmative" Lord Stafford replied, knowing that only one other person had access to a radio in the convoy.

The tank edged its way through the debris of the town, "good, cautiously now, I don't want anything disturbed", he warned to the humpbacked figure of the driver who muttered an inaudible confirmation, his eyes pressed against the driver's view port, never looking away, even to engage in conversation.
"I knew a friend who was born here" the loader broke in tentatively during the long silence of the tank traversing, the hiss and clank of pressurised gas and hydraulics replaced by his uneven pitched voice of someone in the latter stages of puberty, complete with a greasy face full of freckles and auburn hair. "He's dead now".

There was little that marked the site of the town centre except for the gaggle of civilians huddled nervously around their cargo trucks and the brick skeleton of what was once a town hall. The tank pulled up next to a tall man who stood alone by an archos.
"Coming to stretch your legs?", Lord Stafford asked his crew,
"Nah, their was a farmer's wife that once told me she would haunt me if I touched her daughter. Can a ghost penetrate armour plating?" he replied with the naivety of youth.
Lord Stafford chuckled meanwhile the driver grunted a reply.

The figure that greeted Lord Stafford as he climbed out was somebody who would have formerly been considered his butler, a long distance exile who had committed some war crime that he considered so atrocious that he would never speak of, even under the harshest questioning. They hugged each other like they were brothers. He had taught Lord Stafford the lessons of life that Lord Stafford's father should have. The exile had a bronze complexion and far taller and slender than most.
"Henry, how are our provisions holding up?"
"well sir, we should make it as long as we don't lose any of the supplies stashed on our cargo trucks" he replied in his wistful foreign accent, Lord Stafford nodded anxiously in response.

Before they could say any more, they noticed a pair of horseman racing down the side of the mountain before disappearing amongst the trees, Henry and Lord Stafford were both certain that the horseman were heading straight for them.
***
Fear is a strong catalyst of animation.

Word spread quickly down the chain of command and within minutes Lord Stafford's ragtag army was thundering away from the small settlement. The atavar tank of Lord Stafford ran ahead of the main body of the army acting as a makeshift scout, designed in particular for close range warfare and armoured to cope with such dangerous situations it was perfect in the role.

Wearing his thick furs Lord Stafford pulled himself up through the top hatch, taking the heavy machine gun to brace against the onrushing wind, as well as any hostiles that dare show their faces. It was a sensible vantage point to survey the battlefield but little would have prepared him for what he was about to see.

Lord Stafford turned to see the rest of the column trailing behind his lead, the town that they had briefly stopped at now disappearing quickly into the barely visible distance, suddenly a tide of horseman burst out from underneath the canopy of the woods identical to the pair of horseman that had foolishly tipped the convoy off about the ambush, charging in the wake of their fleeing targets.
"What do we do?" Henry crackled over the radio,
Lord Stafford instinctively reached down for his radio, an action that saved his life. At exactly the same time a wrecker came crashing out of the tree line from the right, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake, centuries old trees being snapped like twigs by the seemingly monstrous machine, the dual caterpillar treads churning the grassland into muddy oblivion as it traversed. It charged directly at the atavar tank, the huge iron wrecking ball swinging wildly ahead of it as it went for the almost tiny tank in comparison. Fortunately, the speed of the atavar meant the wrecker shot past harmlessly behind the atavar, the wrecking ball swinging disconcertingly close over the top hatch where Lord Stafford’s head had been mere moments ago.

Lord Stafford was ill prepared for the dilemma that raced across his synapses, attempt to outrun the cavalry, or make a stand against the cavalry charge, hoping that distance and the fact that they were unsupported would outweigh the sheer quantity of horseman.

“Fight!” Lord Stafford screamed down the radio, not considering the ear-piercingly loud level of volume for the recipient at the other end of the radio before scrambling to the defence of his own tank.
***
Lord Stafford, barely aware of the great wrecking ball that had swung just above his head , jumped to the heavy machine gun mounted to the top hatch. Steel nerved he clenched the bulky weapon with both hands and gritted his teeth so hard his mouth went numb. With sheer determination he yanked the unwieldy thing round so it faced the rear end of the tank.

In the ever increasing distance Lord Stafford could see the engagement between his forces and the onrushing assailants, the details of which were far less important than the ominous wrecker looming broodingly over Lord Stafford, its two huge, upward exhausts that sat behind the glass cockpit roaring with the power of a mythical beast and drowning at all other sound including Lord Stafford's own thoughts of self preservation. The driver of the wrecker certainly looked like a stereotypical thug, a black leather trousers paired with a sleeveless black leather jacket. The jacket's unbuttoned state allowed the toned muscles of his torso to poke through meanwhile the lack of sleeves clearly showed his well endowed biceps, the torn threads around the shoulder making it look like he had torn the sleeves off himself. He was also bald with a strong forward set forehead matching his cheeks and chin, finally he had small beady eyes and a one-toothed grin created by his malevolent, single-minded intent on everyone else’s demise.

Lord Stafford pulled the trigger and released a salvo of tremendous firepower at the glass cockpit that made not a sound compared to the audible barrage of the wrecker, the considerable recoil diminished by Lord Stafford's iron grip. Much to his infinite disappointment Lord Stafford realised the cockpit was made from bulletproof glass, however the driver of the wrecker grinned even wider than before as the high caliber ammunition made harmless impacts around him.

The wrecker was finally coming about and beginning to chase down the atavar, the opportunity that had arisen through its large turning circle wasted by the unwanted surprise. The weighty nature of the wrecker disguising an unnatural speed, a fact that Lord Stafford discovered as the wrecker closed infuriatingly close. Lord Stafford dived back into the relative safety of the compartment as the wrecker swerved across the the trail of the tank violently from right to left, using the momentum of the wrecking ball to swipe at the tank, but the imprecise method of the aiming thankfully meant that it failed to hit, but then tried again, the wrecker's persistence rewarded with a glancing hit across the rear of the atavar and the sound of rending metal reverberating around the cabin of the tank.

Lord Stafford knew he had one option, if he could stop the tank at the point where the wrecking ball was at the farthest point of swing then it would pass harmlessly in front of the vehicle meanwhile the wrecker would overtake allowing the main gun to be used. But to do that, there was only one extreme course of action.
***



Last edited by thechippy; Sep 19, 2012 @ 11:53am
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thechippy Sep 19, 2012 @ 11:52am 
The wrecker came for another swipe, this time there was a deeper impact and the occupants of the avatar could feel the tank being battered about as their claustrophobic world shook with violent abandon, Lord Stafford could see the driver struggling with the controls in the dimness of the cabin, even the driver's normally cool composure was beginning to strain. The sound of the tank buckling under immense force was as painful as a bullet to the brain for Lord Stafford, this was his tank, his family's tank. It was the only part of his father that he cherished, and is all that remains of his wealth, power and status.

"anyone have any objections" he asked waveringly at the top of his voice. No one replied. The driver too preoccupied with trying to main absolute control especially with wrecking ball swinging about, and the loader too startled to even move.

It was the hardest thing in his entire life.

No, not quite.

It was the second hardest thing in his entire life.

He peered just over the rim of the top hatch, timing the swing of the wrecking ball with the utmost accuracy. The world seemed to turn silent, the creak and rattle of iron chain rang in his ear. Lord Stafford pressed two buttons just by the command cradle and the jolt of mechanisms shook through the tank. Suddenly a terrible fear struck Lord Stafford as he feared that he had mistimed the swing, realising that the wrecking ball may swing straight into the side of his beloved tank, cleaving through the compartment and mangling all of them in the process.

Then the mechanism that Lord Stafford had activated finally worked, one diamond edged guillotine on either side of the tank sliced through the tank's treads, the wheels slipping free off the suddenly loose band of metal into the soft grassland where the lack of traction immobolised the tank instantaneously. Lord Stafford leaped at his driver and wrestled him free of the controls, something which would have been extremely difficult when considering the territorial nature of tank drivers. Lord Stafford pressed himself against the driver's view port. He held his breath, waiting to see the wrecker shoot past but equally expecting the terrible crunch of wrecking ball on tank.

Thankfully the sight of a wrecking ball flying across his view only inches away from his face made him jump from his seat with a sudden exhale of breath, the sight of the wrecker shooting past only moments later. Lord Stafford slammed down on the the trigger of the main gun, hoping that the loader had pre-emptively loaded the ammunition into it.

The sound of a volley of shotgun rounds punching through the air, was shortly followed by an explosive eruption that rocked the inanimate atavar tank and lit the cabin briefly with a yellow, incandescent fury.

"its over" Lord Stafford whispered with uncontainable relief.
***
Lord Stafford awoke with a pair of concerned, hazel eyes staring back at him through a pair of gold rimmed oval glasses that precariously teetered on the tip of its owner's nose.
"good sleep", Henry asked softly, as softly as you could in the rattling tin bucket of a roaring assault archos,
"good enough", Stafford replied half-heartedly as recent events flickered through his mind, reminding him of the terrible world he had just returned to.

One image kept replaying in his mind, a trio of gold pieces chained together, tattooed to the forearm of the wrecker's driver's corpse, the symbol of the goldchain slavers. A group of pauper merchant princes who used to roam the Rahmos sea, but now have turned to more forceful means to earn their wage. Their sudden increase in power and notoriety led to rumours of funding from an unknown power, no longer were they just a beggar nuisance, Lord Stafford now knew these rumours to be true, but had never thought that he would find out first hand.

The battle in the sondar valley had come to an end suddenly, the mounted horseman fled en masse upon seeing the striking sight of their wrecker burning, even though the atavar was immobilised. Lord Stafford's duel was the turning point of the battle as whoever had won would have cut a bloody swathe through the opposing army.

The convoy had no time to lick their fairly minor wounds after the battle though; upon the horizon was the seething mass of a far larger horde of weaponry and armour, although they were about two days behind. The confrontation that had just passed had merely been the net, now came the spear. The open ground ahead of the convoy felt so inviting that they fled for the relative safety of the mountain passes and highways.

Tearfully, Lord Stafford vowed he would one day to return to the sodding valley, to honour the fallen and find the rusting carcass of his once great atavar.

But now they were here, their supplies had held up and their convoy shared the highways with caravans and armies alike, all eyeing each other up suspiciously while never keeping their hands far away from their firearms. Lord Stafford's journey neared its destination, fortune awaited him and the opportunity to find a new home, but the hive of activity that lie ahead of him was unsettling, and where large groups of people exist, so do hidden agendas.
***
Anchorpoint lie just ahead of Lord Stafford's trundling column, their souls hardened by the past week. The sight of it was magnificent to behold, a city clinging desperately to the side of the mountain, a city with all the exuberance of life despite being so close to the abyss. Huge walkways dotted the city, providing a far from convenient city with the infrastructure needs. Intricate carved stone walls mark the flat foundations of the city, tentatively emerging rock, pinpointing the vertical nature of the city. The architecture was an angular affair, most buildings being fairly squat structures packed in tight around its neighbours, a pair of domed structures sat above the rest of the city in the uppermost boundaries, the lavish residence of governance and the stalwart and mighty military headquarters rising above all else as the solid core on which this population remains civilised. The docks were as busy as the rest of the city, bustling with people, the docking platforms being the structures furthest away from solid ground, only the hardy members of the airship crews daring those precarious gangways.

Anchorpoint was like a eagle's nest, where the predators of humanity flock on wings of leather and canvas, the smell of burning gas and other fuels permeated the city, but the slug like giants of the sky were never far away, the airships symbolised the supposed opportunity and freedom that could be found here, at least that's what Lord Stafford hoped.

The highway that led into the city was precariously close to the edge, much like the rest of the place, where vertigo inducing sights of the verdant but not entirely safe land could be seen, beneath the graceful rolling of unperturbed clouds. The final obstacle between Lord Stafford and Anchorpoint was a psychological one, to reach it the highway crossed an unimaginable expanse onto an opposing cliff, if the occupants of the convoy hadn't become unhinged by the past week then this crossing certainly would, uncontrolled relief swept the column after they had crossed.

Lord Stafford left the column in Henry's capable hands to find "Jasmines Gentlemen's Club" on foot, thankfully it had been quite visible on the journey into Anchorpoint, the large signs displaying "Jasmine" and the outline of a seductive temptress making it rather stand out, that and the building being pink, so he had a good idea where to go.

The streets were almost a battlefield, every street was a press of bodies, every moment you was shoulder to shoulder with a new stranger, some welcoming, some contemptuous, and some much more devious, the eardrums were assailed by city life in all its forms. Meanwhile constantly feeling that somebody else was watching you.

Lord Stafford caught site of his reflection in a shop window, the sight shocked him, his black hair was on the verge of unruliness, faint traces of a moustache and beard corrupting his usually clean shave face, his pronounced cheek bones and chin made his face look sharp as a dagger when it had once been strong and highly visible bags hung under his eyes. Lord Stafford had become an image of weariness. Even under his heavy brown furs, it seemed he was slowly wasting away.

Lord Stafford finally reached his destination, briefly checking his scribbled note for unnecessary confirmation, even though he was certainly in the right place due to the sound of saucy laughter, the overpowering smell of sickly sweet perfume and of course, the monstrous signs.

Before Lord Stafford had the opportunity to enter, an undeniably familiar face left the establishment, a scantily clad floozy ladled on each arm. He had the same strong face and black hair as Lord Stafford, he was slightly shorter and showing all the signs of living well. The last time he had seen his uncle had been under far more hostile circumstances, the reason why blood is thicker than water is because it is mixed with poison.
"Its good to see you are doing so well" Lord Stafford said with well concealed venom, "I've come to finally resolve our business venture",
"oh good, enjoy yourself then" his uncle replied as he passed, not recognising Lord Stafford, being too busy flirting with his companions,
"hmph", was all that Lord Stafford could manage say, startled by his uncle's lack of acknowledgment, especially after everything that had happened in their combined pasts.

Lord Stafford stood on the threshold, the promise of a fortune couldn't overcome his apprehension, what lie within and the source of this supposed fortune was unknown, but the thought of being able to home his citizens was encouraging enough to force himself to enter, however, Anchorpoint is not the most safest nor the most honest of places, and Jasmine's is the eye of the storm.
***
Upon entering the establishment, Lord Stafford found that it was much like any of its kind, soft plush furniture and decor, a fireplace crackling gently in the corner and everything coloured in the shades of pink or red. Unsurprisingly he found that all the customers were men, each with a scantly clad, soft skinned beauty in their laps or arms. But amidst all of this was the strangest site, a child no older than five was playing with a pair of gaudily painted metal cars on the floor wearing nothing more than a pair of white pants. The child monkeyed around on the floor with all the enthusiasm of childhood, completely unaware of his inappropriate surroundings, placing his head perpendicular to the floor the child closed one eye and poked his tongue as he tried to imagine himself in the driving seat of his toys.

But before Lord Stafford could contemplate this anymore, he had found that bronze skinned woman had dived in his arms and was nibbling his right ear, whispering sweet nothings,
"I love a man in furs, you never know what’s underneath", she purred with a voice which was as liquid as water.
"Natya, down", a new voice called as smooth as velvet, but with all the unspoken authority of a general. The girl called Natya complied quickly, slinking away like a defeated feline, as if aware of some serious unspoken threat.

The owner of this new voice stood before him, a slender beautiful woman with bountiful hips and a well endowed chest. She had a soft, loving heart shaped face and a dark brown hair which had a delicate pink flower entwined in her parting, and wearing only a red bra and frilly mini skirt, ribbons coiled round her arms like snakes. She made a gesture with her head to follow; Lord Stafford feared he had little choice but to comply, suddenly aware of a tension that would be unnoticeable with men who had been lulled into a lustful haze.

She led Lord Stafford up many flights of stairs, past euphoric men and closed doors, grabbing a pink silk gown as they went, embroidered with red vines which ended in glittering diamonds, the gown was translucent and failed to cover anything up thought Lord Stafford. A lone door stood at the uppermost landing which must have been just below the roof, beyond which was a bare brick room which had no furnishings except for a pair of wooden chairs and a desk which sat between them.

Jasmine offered Lord Stafford a seat which he took meanwhile she perched her perfectly formed bottom on the desk. Lord Stafford had no idea whatsoever about what would happen next.
***
"Your uncle has done well in Anchorpoint", Jasmine started casually as if talking about the weather, for Lord Stafford, talk about his family was no casual subject.
"My uncle does not recognise me, how do you know I am who you think I am?", Lord Stafford asked in all seriousness, not at all disarmed by her nakedness.
"Anchorpoint trades in all kinds of currencies, not just the tangible ones, ammunition and men being most in demand nowadays. If something is seen as valuable by an interested party, well, people do not like to trade in unknown quantities", she replied as she edged tantalisingly closer to Lord Stafford.
"I see", Lord Stafford responded coolly, "your ♥♥♥♥♥s down their satisfying your customers is all just a known quantity then".

A surprisingly hard slap came in response, but Lord Stafford took it with unflinching dignity.
"The wealth obtained in Anchorpoint can do a lot of good, my girls are merely supplying one of the most basic demands",
"How philanthropic of you", Lord Stafford replied expecting another slap, but instead a wicked looking combat blade suddenly appeared between his legs, uncomfortably close to his groin, still vibrating from the force of the unseen impact. Face to face Jasmine stroked the handle of the knife teasingly, arcing one eyebrow in a gesture which seemed to be an unspoken gesture. She finally moved away from and turned her back to him, to Lord Stafford's surprise she began to remove her bra, normally anybody would have been overcome by the site of the unblemished body, however he saw a series of grotesque scars that would normally be concealed by her bra straps.

"This is what one meat-headed piece of atora dung once did to me", Jasmine said almost whispering, in a rather more sombre tone, "he though he owned every pound of flesh that I inhabited, my establishment prevents this, all my girls down there were once the orphans, urchins, beggars and pariahs of society who one day would have been found in some desolate gutter the morning after some bugger having his wicked way with her. I am giving them the protection I never had. Believe me when I say it’s not the cowards who hide in that lavish fortress run this city", the last sentence being spoken with inherent sadness and unresolved trauma.

Once redressed, her indomitable feisty attitude returning with her occupational battledress. "Back to business. I am aware of the hostilities to your uncle, but despite them, he is happy for you to receive the necessary funds that constitute as a return on your investment. He has amassed a considerable wealth through his many business operations".
"He looked as if he was enjoying the good life", Lord Stafford riposted.
"His latest venture is an investment in the goldchain slavers, a group of foreign merchants",
"Beggar exiles more like" he replied with considerable venom, the sudden turn of events astonishing Lord Stafford. Jasmine replied with an identical combat blade appearing perfectly in line with first, disconcertingly closer to his groin, and with that Lord Stafford stopped arguing.
***
thechippy Sep 19, 2012 @ 11:53am 
***
The last embers of sunlight were slowly being dragged below the horizon. Fantastic hues of orange flared from the gradually diminishing, semi-sphere of light meanwhile the once crystalline blue sky darkened broodingly, in the wake of the death of the day. The floating tufts of cloud strewn across the sky turned gray and heavy, suddenly looking as if they were made of lead instead of cotton. Even in these twilight hours airships still traversed their invisible highways, some distinctly elegant, designed by and for rich men, meanwhile while others look liked drifting scrap heaps, cobbled together by a patchwork of mismatched slabs of metal, crude rivets and bolt desperately trying to keep the rust bucket together. The airships were not alone in the sky, flocks of birds lazily flapped towards their hidden dens and majestic predators soared and swooped, the light of the dying sun making them to look no more than vague black shapes.

Anchorpoint was as busy as ever, lanterns hung outside shops and homes, gently glowing with soft warm light and ironwork lamppost burst into life with harsh artificial illumination. And glowing brighter than all else with ostentatious luminescence the large signs of Jasmine's Gentleman's Club". The docks bustled with low light activity, the crews of the remaining airships busied themselves with their assigned errands or set off to enjoy the wild nightlife of this city, the long shadows cast by the setting sun trailing in their wake. Lord Stafford stood alone in his furs, looking like a hairy beast in the half light, and the busy crewmen were right to keep their distance.

It was difficult to comprehend that at these outermost reaches of the city there was only a couple of metres of rock concrete and iron girders between an unimaginably long fall towards a beautiful yet fractured landscape, a fall that mirrored Lord Stafford's lonely life, barely over a week ago he was the lineage of minor aristocracy and now little more than a penniless fugitive. He was never one to suffer from a fear of heights but if he had not been deep in thought then he certainly would have been able to stand so close to oblivion.

It had been a miracle that the convoy's supplies had held out long enough for them to reach Anchorpoint, but when your living so close to the end of your basic needs then there is little room for contingency plans. He had about forty-eight hours before the survivors would begin to starve, forty-eight hours to find a solution, but he had to find the convoy and Henry first. However in retrospect this couldn't be too hard as he was looking for the only army that didn't belong to a marauder. Lord Stafford stood like a gargoyle as he endlessly weighed up his options, the promised land had turned out to be anything but, the treasure that had been invested by his uncle had been placed into the hands of the very the people that caused the situation he was currently in, however the force they annihilated in the Sondar valley was small in comparison to the vast army and resources of the Goldchain Slavers, but if Lord Stafford were to wait for his return on that investment he still needed to feed his convoy. Anchorpoint was not short on marauders and Lord Stafford could provide a sizable and experienced army but then what would happen to all the non-combatants, they would only have a certain amount of use on a marauder's airship and Lord Stafford owed them much more than risking their lives on that long and treacherous journey just to put them once again in the line of fire. However he could also ditch the civilians, but as quickly as the thought occurred to him he also scolded himself for such a vile thought, Lord Stafford was not his father's son and he never would be.

Before his introspection could come to conclusion, a long shadow preceded an approaching figure as well as the cloying smell of an expensive cigar. From the shape of the shadow it was clear that this mysterious stranger was wearing a cape and a top hat but little more was distinguishable before the shadow dived head first over the lip of the platform.

"You are not s secret as you think you are", the stranger whispered, "my associates know a lot more about you than I care to mention. And I know exactly what happened in the Sondar valley". The last two words sent alarm bells ringing in Lord Stafford's head, if others new about the confrontation in the valley then it could have far reaching consequences, especially for his pending investment, but before he could fully understand what he had go himself into, "My associates are very displeased", the stranger finished. And then Lord Stafford had the sudden horrifying realisation that he was being grabbed, the lack of solid ground in front of him instantly becoming a lethal prospect.
fredghostkyle Oct 7, 2012 @ 6:21pm 
you guys wright a lot :P
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