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Postlude to Holocaust VI: Strangers - Part 2


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See the opening post of Part 1 for all the usual intro stuff.


Between where the last thread left off, and this thread begins, the following happened:




*As the group prepares to leave the planet, Guy privately asks Heimdall to gather the current members of the group to discuss certain currently pressing matters. Heimdall agrees, and all current members of the group are called to meet in the Asgardried's lounge as the ship begins its trip to the map's next destination.


Hal, Alessa, and Drago decide to leave with their people (Drago after aninsult match with Heimdall). The Drakes go with them. The Asgardried leaves.


The remainder of the group is currently gathering in the Asgardried's lounge, waiting mostly for Orthos' arrival.*


Through the Portals


*Aren takes the four captives - Ellela, Aidan, Gortick and Matt - away from prying ears to ask them to cooperate with her. According to her, the Shadows are not evil, merely the acquisitions and security branch of a large interdimensional business syndicate fighting to keep itself from falling into corruption. According to Aren, the Shadows didn't kidnap the four captives - outside hires did, and Aren has authority to release them if they will explain to her who they are, and what they're doing that makes them so important.*

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I would only add that when the post were lost there was a slight time discrepancy b/w Bd's characters and the others. Hal, Allessa and Drago I believe were just about to land on Tarsis.


Also since we don't know where Deac is, I'm assuming that either Orthos has gone to the lounge for the meeting or is unable to move for some reason(up to Deac). My next post will see the start of the meeting (why not this one, well I'm climbing a mountain in the morning and need to get some sleep).

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Admiral, you fool! The extra weight of that computer will be your undoing. Just out of interest, which mountain and how much does your kit weigh?


((I'll start off.))


As the transport decended Hal made a final check of his equipment, then issued the ritual order, "Huscarles bywan," from that point on the tension began to rise, each of the warriors knew what was to come and what he must do.


The men settled their helmets on their heads and made ready to mount, the count down began.














The inertial compensators meant the group didn't even register the jolt as the ship touched down, moments later the ramp dropped and it began.


Daskus was first out, kicking his horse into a run as soon as he hit solid ground, a small double armed croosbow in his right hand, he was rapidly followed by three more warriors. As they left the ship they spread out to the edges of the stone circle that was some hundred and fifty paces in diamater.


The first crossbow bolt went wide, passing just left Daskus' helm, his arm moved and his upper bow string twanged, folowed a moment later by a cry from beyond the tree line as the bolt found its mark. Then Hal and Drago emerged, trailed by two more houseguards. As he cleared the hatch Hal raised his shield to catch two more bolts, one of which struck the rim and bounced off. The man behind Hal loosed two arrows from his bow, the second of which found its mark.


Hal carried a quiver of darts and now he hurled one at the first of their assailants to show himself, the creature dodged but he did not see the second bolt from Daskus' crossbow, which smashed into his forhead. Drago kicked his horse foward and beheaded one with his sword while another of the warriors rammed his blade into the neck of a creature, severing the spine and jugular, then exiting through the throat in a spray of blood. Just that quickly it was over, realizing they were out matched the hunting party fled back into the forest, five more fell to arrows and darts before they all dissapeared.


Hal let out and long breath and walked his horse towards the Tarsai Daskus had downed and retrieved his wasted dart. As he leaned from his saddle he took a quick look at the creature then straightened up in disgust. The thing was four limbed and from a distance might have looked human, it wore clothes; ragged breaches and a studded leather jerkin, and it had two arms and two legs but there the resemblance ended. The creature had skin the motled colour of rusted iron, small squinty, sharp teeth and a face twisted like something from a child's nightmare.


Hal trotted his horse back to the group then made a signal to those still inside the transport. The last six houseguards walked their horses down the ramp in close formation with Allessa in the middle, riding her mare. Daskus emerged from the tree line, having circled the clearing. "They have gone, my lord."


Hal turned nodded slightly to the old warrior, "Though they'll be back, and in greeter numbers."


"Aye," Drago agreed, "we had best be moving."


With that the group turned onto the well used trail leading from the stone circle, with Daskus taking point and two flank riders to the left and right the rest rode protectivly around Allessa. They headed north west, the mountains looming in the distance.


The drop trasport lifted off and returned to the void.

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((JM: I said some sleep, I had about three hours.


BD: Not a famous mountain by any means or even that big of a one compared to the others I've been on, its named Rocky mt. It was a short trip so wasn't carrying a lot, about 70oz of water, 8.2 oz knife, first aid kite, compass, map etc. All told maybe 90oz or 5.6 pounds.


To the story: I'm assuming Orthos has arrived at the lounge and taken a seat.))


*Heimdall talked softly to Idona as they waited for the remaining members of the group to arrive at the main lounge. When everyone finally arrived and took a seat Heimdall stepped to the center of the room.*


Heimdall: I called everyone here since there are some issues that we need to discuss. But before we start and anyone asks we are enroute to the Resan system, its will be a two day journey so I'll talk more about our destination later.


Now to the matters at hand. First there is going to be a new rule aboard this ship. Since this group was formed and we began this quest we have excelled at insulting each other and general infighting. We are all guilty of doing this to one degree or another, and I will no longer tolerate it. As such if you cannot act civil towards each other, you will not be welcome aboard the Asgardried, you don't have to like one another but I expect you to be polite and treat each other with respect. Marin, please tell your two friends about this new rule and the other rules on this ship. Also if you want them to stay aboard tell me and I'll assign them quarters.


This brings me to the main reason why everyone is here and what needs to be discussed. Guy a little while ago contacted me with concerns about the future of this group. Both of us agree that the group is on the verge of falling apart, I think this is rather obvious to anyone who pays attention.


The reason for this I believe is a lack of leadership among the nonaesir as well as a mutual distrust of each other. I want these problems to be resolved hopefully before the day is out, but definetly before we reach the Resan system. If you have an idea on how to resolve these issues please give it, or if you see a problem with anothers idea speak up. Just keep in mind everyone will be civil towards each other.


To start things off I'll tell you what I told Guy. I think it is unreasonable given the situation to expect you to follow Vidar's and my orders especially without a say. At the same time we Aesir will not follow one of your orders especailly without a say. As such I propose we set up a triad of sorts, three people in charge to make snap decisions when needed. One of these three will be an Aesir, the others would be two of you *Heimdall motions to the nonaesir*. However, when we don't need snap decisions like in times of transit or when waiting for the map to change we can have councils like this where everyone has an equal voice.


Does anyone have comments or other ideas?

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The group had been on the move for over two hours when they heard the thunder of hooves behind them. Turning in his sadle Hal saw thirty riders gallop out of the trees two hundred paces distant, they were coming from behind and too the left.


"Yarh! Move!" Hal gestured to urge the others on even as he kicked his horse into a canter the black stallion snorted and stretched his as he ran.


See the danger a second later and spurred by Hal's warning the others pushed their horses fowards. The ground was rough and strewn with rocks but their pursues were gaining and the group threw abandoned caution for speed. Looking over his shoulder Drago saw the black cloaks streaming out behind their pursuers and the segmented black armour the wore. "Hell Riders, Agori," he shouted over the wind of their passage.


Hal cursed, "We can out run them, the horses are good."


Draskus, still in the lead, pointed, "Perhaps, but what about those bastards?" he asked, with a hint of bitter humour.


Hal followed the man's arm and this time his oath was truely obcene, emerging from the trees to their right were another thirty riders, "We kill them," Hal said, with grim determination. Suiting actions to words Hal drew his longsword from the scabard on his sadle, "Form wedge!" he shouted and the warriors formed a fighting wedge with Daskus at the point, Hal to his right and a bear of a man call Regnor on his left.


Daskus already had two bolts loaded into his crossbow and a twenty places from the riders infront of then he loosed both, one after the other. "Take those you whoresons," he screamed. One black garbed warrior pitched from the sadle while the other slumped onto his horses neck, spooking the animal enough to through it and two other mounts off the charges. Dropping the weapon to his belt he swept up his two short swords, then the riders were apon him.


On Daskus' right Hal was slashing and hacking with barely restrained fury, how dare they try to stop him, he could even see the entrance to the Dura Pass in the near distance. Screaming an inarticulate warcry Hal beheaded one of the Hell Riders with a single handed cut. On the left Regnor slashed at one rider's throat but the man swayed away and Regnor barely blocked the reposte, then they were through and headed for the pass at a full gallop.

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Sir-vin *quietly* "I agree. We as a group of various backgrounds were lucky enough to even last this long, not to mention gain others into this group. Of course that was inevitable. As for the triad that you mentioned, Heimdall, I also have to agree, but I'm sure that you already have some sort of plan for whom to be on such, and given that each member here has the very same equal opportunity to be on such 'triad leadership' as any other. I'm sure you already have the idea of not having myself on such, so I'll say it anyway. I decline any vote for me to be given just leadership position."

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Looking back Drago saw that the riders they had broken through were reforming, wheeling their mounts and joining with the first group. Now more than fifty riders pursued the fleeing Aduni warriors. The horses were tireing, laden as they were with armoured warriors and full barding, they could not keep up this gollop for long and the enemy would be on them before they reached the walls.


Drago called out to Hal, "Get to the walls! I'll hold them."


Hal laughed almost histerically, "No need, look!" he said, pointing. Riding towards them through a cloud of dust were sixty riders in full armour, their scale shirts a dull grey and their green cloaks billowing out behind them. Drago could see that the Houseguards were bow armed, Aduri, his mind registered for him.


The group spurred their mounts on again, the Aduri parted forming into two three rank tumae and notched shafts to their bows. As the group headed for the gap between the warriors the first volley hit their pursuers. Ten riders fell, the second volley brought down fifteeen. Then the Aduni charged with swords.


Hal called out to the four Houseguards tasked with protecting his wife, "Get to her to the fortress." Without looking Hal turned his horse and entered the melee.


Behind him he heard the strangled cry, "NO!"

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((We need to be using location labels or it could get confusing, especially with Future Boy BD here ;)))


Asgardried Lounge


Marin: *to Heimdall's request* I will inform them.


Raschel: I agree with the need for some kind of structure. Any one of the military operations I was part of was far more efficient than this, no offense meant to any of you.

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Asgardried: Main Lounge


Heimdall: Thank you Marin. *Heimdall turns to look at Orthos* In my proposal the only ones with a vote are actual group members. So for example Marin's two friends will not have a vote unless they actually join the quest. If we are able to rescue the group members who were kidnapped they will of course get a say like the rest of us in council meetings.


Alright does anyone else have any other comments or ideas?

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"I think an obvious thing would be that I have no clue what's going on here," Elaina announced. "I think I'd like an explanation to what we're doing and why."


"I can provide some of that later," Tanara said. "But I must admit that there are parts of this quest I'm still unsure of... meaning I'm not entirely sure what's happened or what's happening." She sighed. "But I'm not sure this was the proper timing for our questions." She shook her head and frowned. "No, if we want to know, we'll ask later."


"I guess that means we don't have any comments or ideas," Elaina said. Then, she went back to her project (making a glove for Tanara's arm, in case you forgot:) ).

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Along with the eight other Houseguards, and Drago, Hal charged the centre of the enemy formation, the reached the hell riders a second after the Aduni crashed into black armoured warriors. The fighting was fierce, Drago smashed his hand axe down on a rider's helm, splitting it down the midridge and cloving into the skull. Hal's own blade took off one warrior's arm then arced up to cut into the neck of a second, slipping under his helm. The spray of blood turned his armour from a dull grey to dark red. Out of the corner of his eye Hal sword a warrior with a longsword go after Regnor, already engaged with two of the enemy. Twisting in the saddle Hal thrust his sword out to the left, aiming for the man's kidney, the sword was stopped short by the scale shirt but the force of the thrust was enough to knock the rider off balance long enough for another of the Houseguards to land a blow on the unprotected neck of his horse. The stricked beast reared and threw its rider before collapsing in the middle of the melee.


Finally the Hell Riders broke, surveying the bloody ground Hal saw twenty of the enemy slain, of the Aduri four had been killed outright and six carried wounds that would see them out of action for some time. Of the eight Aduni Houseguards who had entered the fight only one was dead, though two more carried wounds.


Hal walked his horse over to the leader of the Aduri troop, had they not been so exposed he would have removed his helmet before he spoke. "My thanks to you, had it not been for your timely intervention I do not think we would be here now."


The officer inclined his head, "We do no more than is our duty, we were instructed to escort an Aduni Lord, newly arrived from the south. We would have met you sooner but we were delayed by a skirmish with an enemy warband to the east, they attacked one of our supply trains and we had to lead it back to the fortress." The man paused to look more closely at Hal's armour even beneath the blood the markings were visible, "My Lord, we were lead to believe that no kin of the Black Wolf survived the massacre." The man seemed suddenly ill at ease.

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Hal noted the man's demeanor, then moved past it, "Lead on, Captain."


The man bobbed his head once, "Yessir."


With that the warriors formed two collums, with Hal and the Aduri officer leading. The collum wound its way through the mountain pass until it came to the first wall of the fortress. As they approached the gatehouse they were hailed from the wall.


"Halt, who comes?" came the voice of a young man, carrying less authoriety than he intended.


Hal responded, "I am Halren Taklinsson, of the Car'Flaxoi Clan, of the Aduni Tribe. With me are the Dragon and warriors of the Aduni and Aduri tribe." Hal removed his helmet so that the sentry could see his face. From his vantage point on the ground it was impossible to see the boy's expression but the head dissapeared

over the parapet and, after what seemed like an age, reapeared.


"You may pass, Lord of the Aduni." Hal was greatful of the addition. He hadn't used it himself because, frankly, he didn't know if it was his. Hal lead the troop through the outer wall and into the fortress, the doors closed behind them.

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((Hoping this post makes sense. I'm kinda dead right now x_x))


Asgardried Lounge


Marin: I suppose I agree as well with your leadership proposal, Heimdall. We'll just have to be careful. If we keep infighting... or disassociating with each other, which I admit is something I've been guilty of as much as anyone else here... it won't work. But then again... if we can't work together we can't win this thing.


Guy: Elaina, your question brings me to something else we need to discuss. What are we to tell the new people we pick up about our mission? So far this decision has been made abritrarily by each one of us personally, without regard to possible consequences.


I feel we also ought to discuss as a group what we are going to do with the new... companions we've picked up. Specifically, the three captives.


In addition to that: We need to discuss what we are going to do about the four of us who are now missing.

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Heimdall: Marin, that is what we are trying to stop and I think this is the first step to do that. Guy, those are valid points we need to discuss but lets finish the leadership issue first. So this is the final chance for anyone to give another idea, or comment.


Asgardried: Yes, elect me to be your supreme overlord. I promise to be fair and just in my edicts, besides you know my artificial intellect is far superior then your emotionally ridden minds.


Heimdall: No.


Asgardried: Fine, do I at least get a vote in this council?


Heimdall: No, does anyone else have something to say?


Asgardried: Fine.


*Afterwaiting a minute, Heimdall looks at each person in the group before speaking again.*


Heimdall: Since there is no other proposal my leadership idea passes. Remember that this is not final and we can always change the leadership system in the future if we need to. With that said I want each of you to think about two people you want to act as your leaders and how long before we choose a new leader. This is a big decision so tonight I want everyone to think about it and sometime tomorrow tell the Asgardried. The ship will keep an acurate tally and when everyone has voted it will give the results. I'm also doing this so no one gets a bruised ego.


With that settled lets move onto the issue Guy brought up. How much should we tell our three guests and any potential new members?


Idona: Well it all comes down to trust and how much we want to risk. The more people who know what we are doing the greater the chance our enemies will find out and possibly stop us or reach the time matrix before we do. The three former captives should be told only what they need to know, which in my opinion is that we are going to be facing exterme danger and have many enemies. I also don't see any harm in telling them about the holocaust. I don't think we should tell them about the quest for the time matrix though.


Of course if they become group members that we can trust, they have every right to know exactly what we are going after and the dangers that they will face, this goes for any new group member as well.

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((One of my posts hasn't been eaten I'm just skipping past this because I don't want to describe the fortress twice.))


Two mail clad Guildsmen with Black Bills pushed open the door the the great hall, the entire keep was an exact copy of the original keep at Agusil, while Carr'Agusil had been greatly alterred over the millenia Tol Dura remained unchaged. The great hall was fully one hunded paces long, thirty paces wide, while at its highest the arched roof was twenty paces above the floor. Like its twin the hall had twelve fires, six on the left and six on the right. Now a nobleman stood infront of each fire, fully armoured, with his back to the blaze.


Hal's eyes were drawn to the dais at the far end of the hall, there eleven chairs had been placed in a semicircle, a cresent moon looking inwards. Once a man would have sat in each of those chairs, save the centre one. Now the outermost chair on the left was covered in a black shroud, the Sarans had been wiped out in the Holocaust; the next chair over had been ritually split by an axe, the Kelanori were bellow contempt; in the next chair sat a huge red headed man with a braided beard dressed in a green tunic and mailshirt. The seat next to the huge man was occupied by a youth in brown and yellow, looking slightly undersized in his full armour and open faced helm. The faces of the other men were hidden by their helms, two more chairs were covered in black and one more, that of the Agori had been split.


Hal's eyes took all this in as he strode to the dais but his gaze was drawn to the centre chair, razed above the others, and the man now seated in it. Hal knew from memory that the man's head obscured the golden eight pointed chair set into the chair back. The armour the man wore was the stuff of legend. The scale coat was gold, not steel, the hems of the sleeves and skirt were blue silver while more silver scales identified the split in cut front for riding. The greaves and vambracers were also silver, edged with gold and with the eight pointed star picked out in gold repeated down their length. The man's boots and gloves were also protected by silver scales. The plate protecting the man's throat was silver with the star in the centre, again gold. The Man's helmet was blue silver with gold plate on the midrib and gold patterning picked out on the face plate. The star was repeated either side of the midrib on the crown of the helmet and dissapeared down the back. The helmet's aventail was again crafted from gold scales, edged with sivler ones at the bottom. Silver plates patterned with gold were rivited to the man's crossed bauldrics, totally obscurring the leather. The man's cloak was finely woven whool in a rich royal bue, edged with gold and fastened over his shoulder by a star broach in in gold.


Yet all of this Hal registered only peripherally, his mind was focused on the sword laying accros the man's lap. The weapon was sheaved in a scabared covered in yet more blue silver, the fittings, again, were gold. Only the hilt of the weapon was visible. The crossguard was heavy, thick near the blade and then tapering down, until the ends rounded off. The pommel was flatened like the crossguard, near the grip it curved up gently, then tappered up to form a six sided cocked hat. Both the pommel and crossguard were engraved with knottwork and these too were gold. The grip appeared to be bound with royal blue thread and was bound with silver wire. Even without seeing the blade Hal knew it was silver, broad, deep fullered and engraved with an interlocking double spiral that ran the length of both faces.


Suddenly Hal realised he had walked to the foot of the dais, suddenly he realised how exposed he was, the others were outside, here he was all alone. All their lives hung by a thread, he knew what he had to do.


Halren Taklinsson Car'Flax, Lord of the Aduni knelt before his King.

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