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Posts: 113
Joined: March 29th, 2014, 11:06 pm

The Tales of a Templar

by RiktheRed21 » May 12th, 2014, 2:13 pm

((This story lies in an alternate version of Azeroth, not containing the storylines of Ravenholdt server. It takes place during Vanilla WoW)).

Arard received news of his father's death nearly a year late. His mother's hands shook frailly as she read the letter. Arard wanted to comfort her, but how could he? He was as crushed as she was. His younger siblings entered the room at the sound of her cries. Alleda, radiant and elvish in appearance, looked stunned as Arard told her what had happened. Kyre, the youngest, and most human-looking, weeped with his mother, but tried to be strong like his father had been.

Each of them had his look, which was painful for everyone. They shared his silver hair and their mother's deep blue eyes and elvish look. Their human father had been a paladin of Lordaeron, and one of the few who stayed behind when the Scourge came. He had met his end at the hands of the undead who remained in Lordaeron when Arthas left for Northrend.

That night, Arard lay awake in bed, listening to the crickets chirp and the rain fall on the cobbles of the pathways throughout the city if Stormwind. Their quaint home in the Cathedral District had come at the cost of their home and possessions in Lordaeron, not to mention their father. Arard was at a loss. Father had always been the brave one, the man of the family, the soldier. But now he was ashes, and Arard was the strongest one left. But what could he do to live up to his father's name?

The answer came to him the following morning, when he walked with his mother to the general goods store. A town cryer was shouting out the typical news of the day, but one of his announcements caught Arard's attention. "Come, one and all! Those seeking a life of courageous deeds and honor as proud servants of the Stormwind Alliance need look no further! Head to Northshire! There, the Stormwind recruiters will start you on your way to being a soldier! Defend our lands with honor, for the Alliance!"

Arard felt foolish for not having seen it before. His father had been a soldier; the Second War was where he had earned his name, and the Third War had separated him from his family. Duty to one's country was what drove the first Alliance to victory and greatness. Arard told his mother of his plan the following evening.

"You want to what?!" She yelled in distress, "What could the military hold for you that you can't find in your family?"

"Father found his life in the military..."

"And now he's lost it! Do you want to lose your life so badly?"

"Mother, I..."

She wouldn't have that, "No, if you want to be a soldier, go ahead! The world needs people of character, not warmongers like the Horde, throwing their weight around. If you can't see that, then maybe you need it proven to you. Go on and see the world, but don't come crawling back when you find nothing glorious about war."

Arard was angry. He was angry with his mother for not believing in him. He was angry with his father for not telling him about the world. Most of all, he was angry with himself for leaving. When his mother ended her rant, Arard stomped up the stairs steaming, grabbed what necessities he could fit in a cloth sack, and went out the door before he could change his mind.

He left the city before he had any doubts about his decision. He collapsed beside the road, unable to go forward and unwilling to go back. He regretted not saying goodbye to his siblings. They had come to look up to him since they left Lordaeron, and he had stormed out, leaving them to take care of Mother. He felt guilty, but still could not bring him to return home. He wanted to be his father, to be better than his father. He didn't want to stay in the city with no future ahead of him. So with great effort, he picked himself up, wiped the tears from his eyes, and walked on to Northshire.
"I am the Night!" -Brinnea, Rikthered, Cynthya, Orgog, Kazarak.....

Posts: 113
Joined: March 29th, 2014, 11:06 pm

Re: The Tales of a Templar

by RiktheRed21 » May 14th, 2014, 9:20 pm

The line of people leading to the recruiters’ desk wound its way around the old abbey in the center of the valley of Northshire multiple times before ending several layers thick before the desk. Arard was overwhelmed by the number of people who had appeared to join the army, but at the same time disheartened to think that so many people had such similar depressing backgrounds as he did. A few in the line were old veterans, likely looking to relive their glory days, but the vast majority of the crowd was of an age with Arard, young adults. He realized that most were also likely here for the same reasons as he was, to live up to their nanesakes. He felt a lack of individuality standing in the line that he had never felt before in his life.

It took hours of standing still and moving forward in small increments for him to wrap his way around the abbey enough times to see the desk. By then he was sweaty, his clothes sticky, and the late afternoon sun had sunk below the treeline, offering welcome shade from the sweltering summer sun. The desk was run by four officers from Stormwind, each speaking to a recruit in a tired tone, likely bored by the long hours of sitting still. They were men of action, after all. Arard stood behind a raven-haired woman of his age, who was called up when one of the officers was free. Arard was called a few seconds later.

“Name?” the officer asked as he stifled a yawn.

“Arard Nyrrum, son of…”

“Any disease or disability to your physical or mental person, Nyrrum?” the man interrupted.

Arard went on, more than a little irritated by the interruption, “No, sir.”

“Have you ever experienced combat before, and if so, to what extent?”

Arard stood in silence for a brief moment, examining the golden lion emblazoned on the man’s sky blue tabard as he considered the question. He had fought with his father as a child, a few sparring practices here or there. He had never used a real weapon before, though. Feeling a little embarrassed, he said, “Just a few sword fights with my dad, sir.”

“Warrior, then. Go to the pavillion with the wooden practice targets around the outside of the camp behind the abbey. Llane’ll deal with you there. Thanks for signing up.” Arard took the insignia he was handed, a badge wrought in the shape of the Stormwind lion he had seen on the recruiter’s chest, and walked off towards the camp. The black-haired woman who had been in front of him followed alongside him as he crossed the cobblestone path that cut the verdant grassy valley in two up to the abbey. As they approached the sea of white and blue tents behind the old stone building, she seemed to notice Arard was headed for the warrior pavilion, and shakily said, “Figured you’d be a warrior.”

“I’m not anything yet, he replied, “That’s why we’re here.” She nodded at that. The pavilion was almost as crowded as the line around the abbey had been a few hours earlier. Each of the recruits were given a bedroll and assigned to a tent. Arard and the woman were assigned to the same tent. They walked past the crowded lines of those who were to be the warriors and stopped at the tent bearing the number they had been given. The interior of the tent had room for four, and two others were already present inside. It was another man and a woman, who seemed to know each other, or else they had gotten along quickly. When they saw the two of them enter the tent, the woman, a blonde with a build nearly as stocky as Arard’s, beamed at them, showing off some broken teeth.

“Our roommates decided to show up! About time Llane sent us some company, eh, Rex?” The one she called ‘Rex’ grunted and moved a hand through his unclean brown mess of hair. The woman spoke again before either of the newcomers could introduce themselves, “I’m Barbara, and this is the Rex. We came here from the dwarf lands to see how tough the rest of our kind are here in Elwynn. You two new to combat?”

Arard nodded, saying, “Hoping to become very closely acquainted, though. Name’s Arard.” He offered his hand to Barbara, and immediately regretted it as she crushed it in a vicegrip and shook it up and down in a mockery of a handshake. He backed off rubbing his sore arm.

Then the black-haired girl spoke up in her soft, trembling voice, “I’m Danielle. I, uh, wasn’t sure which group to join, so they sent me here.” She was nervously fingering the icon of a silver hand on her necklace.

“Well, I’m happy to see ya, and so is Rex,” Barbara said, slapping the hulking man on the shoulder. He grunted in what Arard guessed was his happiest tone. “I think we get food soon. Better now miss it.” Then she shoved past them, Rex at her heels like a massive dog. He eyed the two of them perhaps hungrily as he exited through the tent flap.

“I should’ve known this was going to be intense…,” Danielle said with a sigh of relief. Arard eyed her up and down, wondering what would push such a nice girl to join an army. He didn’t ask, though. That was her business to share whenever she felt it was best to share. They followed for food after unpacking their meagre possessions. The rest of the night was for an introduction to how the military was organized and how they would live for the next six months of training time before receiving assignments. Arard listened intently, only slightly aware than Danielle couldn’t keep her eyes off him. Whether she felt good or ill about him, he could not tell.

After night had fallen entirely and the promise of a very early start in the morning sent the recruits to their tents in a hurry, Arard settled himself into his bedroll uncomfortably. It felt so off-putting to not sleep in a bed in a loft with his siblings, and instead in a sack on the grass in Northshire with three strangers he barely knew. The clashing emotions of excitement and anxiety kept him awake for an hour, but the knowledge that tomorrow would probably be the day the recruits were broken in quickly sent him drifting to a deep sleep.

The following weeks were the worst hell he had ever lived through. Every morning he woke tired, and ran laps around the valley. Then they ate, and were given weapon training. Arard developed a skill at sword-and-board style fighting fairly quickly, but he learned early that there would always be someone better than you no matter how good you get. Then they would train for strength and endurance in the arms and abdomen. After noon, they were given lessons in combat strategy and battlefield tactics, including what to do if you find yourself under attack by mages, (basically avoid fighting alone), how to deal damage effectively, and when it is best to fight or run. Barbara was a natural sprinter and could run at speed for hours on end. She also bested Arard every time they were pitted against each other in duels. Rex wasn’t particularly fast, but he had the constitution of an ox and the body of a rhino. He plowed through his opponents more than fought them, but when it came to book learning and other such brain work, he would simply sit silently in his contemplative way, and not make a sound until the lesson was over.

Arard felt the worst for Danielle, though. He could tell she had never seen even a minute of combat by the way she gripped her sword on day one. She could hold her own in a jog, but not very quickly. Her upper body strength was lacking, and she didn’t show signs of improvement, despite several shouting sessions directed at her by Sergeant Llane. Her weapon fighting was depressing to watch, and Arard often stayed up late listening to her sobs of frustration. He expected her to quit any day, but she never left, nor did she ever say anything about her past. Night time was the absolute worst time of the day. Lying awake in agony, unable to move and unwilling to sit still, all while listening to his roommate's sobs was the worst kind of pain for Arard. He felt himself almost breaking mentally, crushed by regret and tiredness. It all changed on the same day.

First, the day was different because Sergeant Llane told them so. What he said was the law in Northshire, at least for the warriors. He gathered the recruits, who had been in training for nearly two months now, at breakfast following their morning run. “Alright, newbies, we got some good news and some bad news,” he said in his scratchy growl of a voice, “Good news is, we get to pick who’s ready for active duty today. We in the officer’s pavilion have noticed a talent gap between some of the fresh meat, that being you lot, and we thought it best that we separate the fit from the shit to make everyone's’ lives a hell of a lot easier. Bad news is some of you get to go home afterward. Liability issues. I’d take as many of you as we could, but the boss men say it can’t be so. We start examination after weapon practice.” With that, he walked back to the officer’s pavilion at the heart of the camp, leaving the recruits to their lost appetites.
Arard was concerned most for Danielle. She seemed to be shell-shocked by this news. He asked her, “Are you alright?” She replied with a shrug as she tossed her simple bread and ham breakfast back and forth across her plate. Barbara gave Arard a punch on the shoulder, leaving it stinging.

“Exciting day, eh? Time to test our mettle, finally. Hope to see you in the field, Arard. You’d make a damn good shield-brother.” She wolfed down her meal ravenously, clearly not bothered by the news. She was always insensitive when it came to Danielle’s emotions, but Arard was annoyed that she couldn’t tell how badly the girl was doing. Something was keeping her from going home, and whatever it was, it would be waiting for her if and when she was sent packing. Arard felt strangely protective of her. Other recruits would try to pick fights with her, calling her the weak-link in their chain. Arard got good practice cracking his wooden practice sword over their heads, but Danielle never asked him for help, and never thanked him either. He didn’t care, he wanted to be her shield no matter what she thought of him.

Duels were a bust that day. Arard couldn’t focus long enough to keep his shield up when his opponents lunged at him. He lost all but two of his dozen bouts. Danielle lost all of them, nearly bursting into tears after a particularly brutal beatdown. Then Llane called them all to an empty patch of land beside the old mine in the hillside. The bare patch had been surrounded by a dueling circle; posts and hempen rope marked the parameter. Llane called them each one by one to face off against trained knights. The goal was to either win the bout, or stay in the ring for long enough to be considered battle-ready. The wait was nerve-racking. Arard was in line before Danielle, but Barbara and Rex were called up within the first hour. They both won their bouts, sending the knights and their shiny plate armor into the dirt without any trouble. Shortly into the second hour, as the sun began to get low along the treeline, Arard was called for his bout.
For the first time, Arard was allowed to handle naked steel in a duel. His shield was a much heavier piece of wood than his practice buckler had been. It wasn’t his first time handling the weapons, but he had never used them against someone else before. He shook in his mail armor, part in excitement, part with nervousness. The knight who faced him bore the colors of Stormwind. He was almost twice Arard’s size, both in height and bulk. He wondered how he would manage to get the big guy off his feet, which had been the strategy he thought up while waiting for his name to be called. All plans fell apart as the fight began, though.

The knight wasted no time in charging at Arard, greatsword raised high above his helm. Arard got his shield up in time, but the force of the hit rocked him to his core, and his knees threatened to buckle. He pushed the knight back, barely managing to overpower him long enough to swing his sword at the man’s leg. The weight was unfamiliar, though, and the swing was too slow. The knight backstepped and readied a side-slash from the right. Arard moved back, luckily able to move quicker than the knight since he wore lighter armor, and blocked the strike with his shield. This time, splinters flew like shrapnel across the bare ground. Arard was thrown off balance, but avoided stumbling past the hempen barrier. “C’mon, Arard! Take his feet off!” a shout from the crowd nearly took his attention off the knight’s sword as it came down on his shield again. Arard’s arm was already heavy. He decided to start strafing to avoid the strikes instead of blocking them. The knight was persistent in making him block once he realized Arard’s tactic. Arard would aim a blow at the man’s leg, he would hit naught but air. The knight swung and hit Arard’s shield every time. The cycle was endless and tiring. Someone had to break first, and Arard knew it would be him. Then, as the knight swung, Arard tried to back off to dodge, but his foot caught on something. The ropes! he realized. Panicking, he tried to move away from the knight’s trap, only to run sword-arm first into the sword as it came down on him.

The pain seared at first, but after a few seconds, it felt icy cold. His whole body went numb, and the sounds and sights were fuzzy and surreal for him. The knight yanked the sword out of his shoulder. The rough tug created a bolt of jarring pain to jet through his arm and across his chest. He forgot to breathe, and collapsed on the ground. A trickle of blood painted his pauldron red. He didn’t know where his sword went, but his hand was empty. He vaguely noticed a few screams from the waiting recruits, but couldn’t pick out any of their faces. Arard wondered if he was going to die. He wasn’t afraid, but instead felt full of regret. He regretted not being able to see his mother or siblings again. He wanted to tell them he was sorry for running out on them, that he only wanted to do what he thought was the right thing. But now, he was going to his father. As the darkness crept along the edges of his vision, he was surprised to see a very bright light directly in front of him. Just the sun…, he thought sleepily as his consciousness began to fade, but the longer he stared, the more he was convinced he could see his father’s figure silhouetted in the light. The figure stretched out its hand to him. He tried to lift his sword arm, but could not find the strength. So he lifted his left arm, shield and all. The figure took his hand gently but with comforting strength. It lowered his hand down to his heart, his core. In the back of his mind, he heard it speak in the voice he had craved to hear since he left his home and his father years ago.

You are strong, my son. But you must learn to heal yourself before you can mend the wounds of the world. Arard felt a warmth inside of him. It was light and weak at first, like a candle flame in a blizzard, but then it erupted into a blaze, an inferno of all the happy memories he had with his father and family. His heart felt lighter, and his sword arm reached out, instinctively grasping the hilt of his sword. His head cleared, and the ghost of the past faded from his vision, leaving only a single light behind over his heart. The wound in his arm was stitching itself back together as healers from the abbey stared at him, dumbfounded. Somehow, this raw recruit who had never received a day’s training, had healed himself back from near death using the power of the Holy Light.

Arard stood with a sudden burst of adrenaline. The knight stood and stared, not knowing whether to help him to the healers or keep on attacking. Arard answered his confusion by lunging sword-first at him. The sword lit with the same glow, the same warmth he had felt when his father’s ghost had taught him to channel the Light. The knight was not quick enough to dodge it, and blocked with the edge of his sword instead. Arard pressed him back with strike after strike until the man tripped over the hempen rope and fell, stunned, into the dirt before the officers who also looked on with expressions of disbelief. Arard stuck his blade in the ground and helped the knight back on his feet before standing at attention to await the officers’ verdict.

Llane was the first to speak. “Uh, kid, I think you might be in the wrong place here. No offense, but you ain’t a warrior. You’re a paladin.” Arard did not move an inch as he listened to the words. A paladin. He was his father’s son, after all. The older men told him he’d be starting his paladin training on the morrow, and the healers took a look at the fresh flesh covering the formerly wounded spot on his shoulder. When all that was done, Arard went to sit beside Barbara on the makeshift stands overlooking the dueling ground. She was staring at him with a grin of disbelief.

“Damn, Arard. Wish you’d have told us you were something special.” Arard scoffed at that remark. Maybe he would be something special, but he wasn’t anything yet. He was just getting started. “Guess today is just full of surprises. Danielle showed her true colors while you were laying on your ass. Apparently she knew a few spells she didn’t want anyone to know about. Nearly burned that poor soldier to a crisp. Those recruiters couldn’t pin a person to a role whatsoever, eh?” Arard was confused, but the realization set in quick enough. Both he and Danielle had been holding back secrets, and today had been a day of stark truth. He watched as she blushingly accepted the mage’s robes from the head mage, who happened to be watching the event. She looked better in those blue threads than she had ever looked. She actually smiled at Arard as she took her seat next to him.

“Guess I have some talking to do, huh?” she said, avoiding eye contact.

“Yeah, me too,” Arard said in reply, “That can wait, though. We both need our rest.”

“A little while longer and we’ll be out in the field, doing what we are really good at. I…I don’t think I would have gotten this far if it weren’t for you, Arard.”

He felt embarrassment color his cheeks, “What, me? How did I help?”

She looked him dead in the eye, her deep brown eyes gazing dreamily into his, “You were my inspiration. I watched you every day, just persevering, and I knew I had to keep going, because I…,” she paused, “Because I wanted to be as good as you. I’ve already let down so many people, I wanted that to stop here. I didn’t want to let you down.”

Arard didn’t say anything, but they embraced a moment, in silence. He was as much his father’s son as he could have hoped. He had found something worth fighting for in Danielle. They would be ready to help the world heal from the evils it had endured, all because neither of them would stand to let the other fall.
"I am the Night!" -Brinnea, Rikthered, Cynthya, Orgog, Kazarak.....

Posts: 113
Joined: March 29th, 2014, 11:06 pm

Re: The Tales of a Templar

by RiktheRed21 » May 18th, 2014, 10:39 pm

Family, Arard found, was the key factor behind setting a person’s fate. His father was a paladin so he had become a paladin, and was doing rather well as such. He continued to gain strength and stamina daily, and his connection to the Light grew within days. Danielle’s family had been a direct influence on her decision to join the military. She explained her past the day after the duels as they broke their fast with the other recruits. She was born into House Organi, a family of mages in Stormwind. She had been raised on magic since birth, and learned how to channel arcane energy before she learned to walk. The downside was, her father was a harsh man who forced his children to master magic or suffer harsh punishment that she didn’t explain in-depth. Arard didn’t blame her. He tried to empathize with her, but his mother had always been kind if bitter. Danielle explained that her attempt to master the pyroblast spell had led to her leaving home. She often failed to control the spell, but one day, the spell exploded out of control, harming her brothers who practiced alongside her. She had protected herself with an ice barrier, but her younger brother George had taken the blast to the chest and face. The burns had been horrendous. The breathing issues had been worse.

After the accident, her father had screamed at her for what felt like hours until she finally broke down and yelled back. She couldn’t recall what she’d said, but it had gotten her kicked out of her home for good via portal into the city road. After that, she heard a herald announcing the recruitment, and she had signed up, hoping to pass as a warrior rather than continue her career as a mage. After she told her tale, she sat silently staring at her untouched food. Arard gave her a reassuring pat on the shoulder, wishing Barbara and Rex hadn’t left him all alone to comfort her. They had already been sent off somewhere in Elwynn with those that had proved their abilities.

It took another month before Arard and Danielle had proved themselves ready for combat. They were kept in the same group as they were dispatched to Goldshire for guard duty. Their leader, Marshal Dughan, assigned them to patrol between the town and the mine to the south. Arard found it dull work. The kobolds would occasionally show themselves and give him some combat practice, but according to the older guards, the true test of skill in the forest was the gnoll clan led by Hogger. Arard saw them even more rarely than the kobolds. Danielle didn’t complain much. She had received plenty of attention since coming to Goldshire, largely from the male guards of the town. Arard tried to avoid feeling envious, but couldn’t help watch them flock around her and imagine fighting them on her behalf. He hated himself for his foolish thoughts of bravado. He needed something to test his abilities, and he got his wish a fortnight into the assignment.

The Marshal gathered over half their number, along with a few roving adventurers, to give an announcement. He called out in his resounding voice, “Westbrook Garrison has been attacked and looted by gnolls under the command of the infamous Hogger. The location of the gnoll camp has been uncovered just south of the garrison. We are to raid the camp, recover the stolen goods, and if possible, kill Hogger. We move in an hour. Get your gear ready, and may the Light be with us.” Arard rejoiced at the opportunity to test his mettle. Danielle just seemed glad to find an excuse to spend more time around Arard rather than be bothered by the nuisance that was her entourage. Unfortunately, most of them were coming along for the ride as well. Arard just hoped they were as good at fighting as they were persistent, but he doubted it.

The group moved slowly, but arrived at Westbrook as night fell. They camped beneath the stones of the recently rebuilt garrison and prepared to face the enemy to the south. Arard was surprised when a runner came to him as he settled in for a night’s reprieve and told him the marshal wished to discuss the battle with him. He came, dressed in his armor for lack of formal attire. The marshal’s tent was larger than the others, and dyed blue rather than the others which were undyed white cloth. A flag bearing the Alliance sigil flew before the opening to the tent. Inside, he found a furnace warming the small council of men assembled to discuss the coming battle. One of them looked familiar, a greybeard paladin with a silver hand on a necklace he wore. He regarded Arard with a firm nod and offered a hand, which Arard shook. “Hello boy,” he said, “I had the honor to ride into battle with your father once. It’s a sad thing he stayed behind, he could have done so much more here in Elwynn. Our enemies are all around us, young Nyrrum.”

“Spare him your paranoia, Doran,” Marshal Dughan said from behind the desk at the end of the tent. “We have more important matters to address than the Horde. They’re in Stranglethorn, and the gnolls are here, less than two leagues south.”

Doran gave the marshal a scowl and said, “The Horde have an army in Stranglethorn. The gnolls are a single camp.”
“Within striking distance of the garrison, and with these weapons they looted, they could raise Goldshire and inspire the other river clans to join them. Maybe even rile up the murlocs enough to start full-scale attacks by their villages. We need to deal with Hogger, here and now while we know where they are.”

Arard was led to the table in between two men, a sergeant serving under the marshal, and an elderly man, even older than Doran, who eyed Arard closely as he took his spot beside him. “Perhaps we should request more troops before we rashly rush into battle. The gnolls have numbers on us, and the garrison needs more men as well.”

“The crown refused my request for more troops half a dozen times before we got the most recent batch a fortnight ago. Truth be told, we’ve known where Hogger’s been for weeks now, but hadn’t the numbers to go after him. With the number we have now, we can take them.”

The elderly man spoke in a voice that was younger than he, “We have finer steel than the gnolls, and even with the weapons they stole, we know how to use them. And we have mages, they only have a few shamans for ranged defenders. Despite some of our rawer recruits, each and every one of our number is worth perhaps five of theirs in a straight fight, and we have the other advantage.”

Doran spoke, “The cavalry is ready to ride them down like grass. Once they fall back into the tress, they’ll be stuck at Hogger Hill, unable to retreat further. Once cut off, they’ll surrender, or they’ll die.”

The marshal stole a glance at Arard, “So boy, what do you think about all this?”

“I’m unsure as to why I was called here. I have no experience in battlefield tactics.”

Doran spoke, “That is why you are here. I know you’re your father’s boy, but you’re green and need breaking. That, and I want you to lead the van on the morrow.”

Arard’s shock undoubtedly showed, “The van? Me? I’ve never lead anything, and that… Shouldn’t a knight like you lead a vanguard against such a large host?”

Doran grinned proudly, “Ah, but I must lead the cavalry for the surprise attack. The gnolls expect the ground assault, so the riders have a trickier job to do. You just have to do what you do best, and fight them into our path. You’ll have many a good man at your back.” Arard was still uncertain. Doran concluded with, “And if…when you make it back tomorrow, ol’ Gameron here needs some words with you.” They spent the next hour going over a map of the woods to the south in preparation for the attack. Arard memorized it and his part in the vanguard before drifting back to his tent and into a deep sleep. He didn’t even notice Danielle lying awake on her bedroll as he slumped to the ground and closed his eyes wearily.

“What did they want with you?” she asked quietly.

“They asked me to lead the van on the morrow.”

“Sounds…dangerous. Did you…?”

“I accepted, yes.”

“Oh,” she sounded a little disappointed. Arard understood. She wanted to fight alongside him.

“We can’t always be together, Dany.”

“I know. I just… Good night, Arard.” She turned over and pretended to sleep as Arard’s consciousness slipped from him.
"I am the Night!" -Brinnea, Rikthered, Cynthya, Orgog, Kazarak.....

Posts: 113
Joined: March 29th, 2014, 11:06 pm

Re: The Tales of a Templar

by RiktheRed21 » May 31st, 2014, 8:01 pm

The gnolls were tougher than kobolds, but they scattered before Arard’s attack like vermin. He had been surprised to find that with the other soldiers and recruits at his back, he felt bolstered more than nervous. Dany had been placed far behind their attack line with the other ranged fighters. Barbara and Rex both made appearances for the attack as well. Barbara seemed tickled by being led by Arard, but never questioned his orders. Rex never voiced any emotion, as usual. All in all, the initial attack had left the gnolls at a massive disadvantage. Their numbers had done little in the face of a more skilled host. Now they were retreating into the position the cavalry were prepared to hit. The gnolls’ camp had very little in the way of fortifications, so Arard and his troops were able to steal their way into the camp with little resistance. They took possession of all the crates of supplies they could find, and got back into line as the gnolls prepared to attack again. Arard was pleased to find the troops were obeying him without much question, but he attributed that to the stern talk Doran had given them that morning.

The gnolls rushed straight into their line, many being cut down by the longer reach weapons the Stormwind militia had. The gnolls seemed to not use the weapons they stole, and the human-shaped armor was not often seen on their bodies. So much for the advantage of gear, he thought to himself. A few gnolls ran into his shield, a tower shield he had been given by Doran. He retaliated each attack with a sword strike bolstered by the Light. In minutes, the gnolls were retreating again, rushing headlong into the cavalry as they attempted to run. Arard almost felt sorry for them.

As they continued to raid the campsite, the sound of gnollish warhorns filled the air from their left flank. Arard noticed the troops panicking at the flank, and rallied the others to form up for a counter to the new attack. As he approached the gnolls, he saw they were led by one big gnolls accompanied by a cadre of bruisers roughly the same size as him. He knew by looking at him that it was Hogger joining the fray. The recruits facing Hogger’s attack were crushed by his bruisers or by his mighty axe. Arard moved quickly to intercept Hogger before he dug into the line and broke their assault.

Arard met a bruiser shield-first. The club sent him off-balance, but his comrades helped him regain his feet. A dozen humans joined him as he pressed his attack. Mages cast fireballs and frost spells that kept Hogger’s gnolls from making further movement into their lines. Arard pushed the bruisers back, slashing one and bashing another with a shield. They both fell within a minute of combat, and Hogger was within range of attack. Arard channeled the Light and hurled a light shield at Hogger, which set him off balance and got his attention. The shield bounced between the other gnolls as well. Hogger eyed Arard with anger, began to charge, and shouted, “Grr…Fresh meat!”

Arard met his axe with his shield, and was flung back into his own troops. A huge crack splintered his shield. The gnoll cackled with laughter as he rushed through Arard’s backup. Each soldier was bashed out of his way by axe or blunt force. He had all his attention on Arard. Just as he raised his axe to strike the stunned paladin, a fireball smacked him square in the head, burning a scar in his face and knocking him off his feet. Arard used the moment to his advantage and lifted himself onto his feet. A bruiser attempted to flatten him, but the hit did little more than add to the cracks in his shield. Hogger, however, was already beginning to retreat. His flight was unopposed as the remainder of his bruisers covered his tracks.

Once they fell, the camp was easily taken. Arard was congratulated by Doran once the cavalry returned to the camp. “You fought well lad, your father would be proud,” he said, “Once you return to Goldshire, Gameron will have some words with you.”

Arard found Dany after the camp was completely stripped of supplies. She told him how she hit Hogger with a fireball. Arard grinned, forcing her to ask what was so funny. “You really weren’t that far away at all, were you?”

“Well, no. I wanted to fight beside you, but since I couldn’t do that, I helped from a distance.”

Arard gave her a hug. “My hero,” he said laughingly.

The return to Goldshire took the rest of the day and part of the night. By then, the host was tired and ready for a deep sleep. Arard, on the other hand, couldn’t rest knowing the old man was waiting for him. He wanted to find out why the man needed to speak with him, and why whatever he had to say was so important. The man appeared at the edge of the lake, and beckoned Arard to follow him to a small shack on the lakeshore, out of the town’s border. Once inside, he closed the door and asked Arard to sit.

“Now, you’re wondering why I asked for you, I’m sure. I am Gameron Sylvan of the Order of the Silver Hand. My former title was High Priest, but those days are done. I served Uther Lightbringer as an advisor and as a healer. I watched your father grow to be a man, as I am now watching you.”

This made Arard curious, but uneasy. “Watching me? For what reason?”

Gameron took a seat and poured tea for the both of them. Sipping once, he said, “The world is in a constant state of unrest. Since the coming of the Burning Legion and the Scourge in the north, the whole of Azeroth has changed. Whether this change is for the worse or eventual better is up to the new generation of heroes, men and women much like yourself who risk all to see the world at peace. However, the Alliance has been inactive for a long time now. Though King Varian Wrynn secured the Alliance with the addition of the night elves of Darnassus, his sudden disappearance has thrown the whole Alliance into chaos, though the advisors to his son seem blind to the peril.” He paused for another sip. Arard felt nervous for the man to be speaking such outright questions of the crown’s council.

He went on. “The crown refuses to send its numerous young recruits into harm’s way, and no troops have been allowed to leave Elwynn for months. The other settlements under Stormwind’s protection have been put at great risk. Even the Order of the Silver Hand refuses to act on these poor circumstances, despite my own and Doran’s pleads. That is why I have come to you, young Nyrrum.”

Arard still felt confused. “Why? What can I do to change any of this?”

“Well, you are the son of the Dawnhammer. An old symbol of the Alliances strength and righteous path. You can inspire the people to act. With the right guidance, you may even inspire the crown to act.”

“But I am just one man. A green recruit under the orders of the crown’s soldiers.”

“You can be whatever you set yourself to. I believe you have the power to be even greater than your father, in time. If you wish to change things, then join me and Doran. We have made plans for a new Order. One that will never cease to seek change in the world. The Templars will be the Alliance’s sword of light in a realm of shadow. You need only to forge the blade.”

Arard liked the sound of this, but needed some more clarification. “So, what is the long-term goal of this Order? Besides being a more active military for the Alliance, what would its existence entail?”

Gameron gave him a warm, wrinkled smile. “Why, we would seek to bring peace. Inspire the crown, of course. We must first prove ourselves to be a powerful asset to the Alliance. We must become a necessity for it if we were to ever challenge the crown for its inaction. For that end, we would need numbers and a reputation. You can gather both by travelling the land as needs arise. People will flock to you if you inspire them, and our name will spread. All that remains is for you to accept your role. Will you be my first Crusader? Will you live up to your father’s name?”

Arard thought in silence. He thought about his family. He wondered if they would accept him if he chose a just cause, or if they would spurn him for leaving them. He thought about Dany. Would she join this Order? Would she stand by him and leave the military to seek her fate as a bringer of justice? Finally, he made his response. “If my friends and family can accept my decision, then so can I. I will give you my answer tomorrow.” After that, they said their farewells and drifted to sleep.

The following morning, Arard found Dany in Lion’s Pride Inn, breaking her fast with Barbara and Rex. He explained Gameron’s plan with them. They listened quietly. By the time he finished, Barbara’s face had contorted into a grin of anticipation. “This sounds like my sort of thing. I’ve always wanted to find a group with enough spine to act against the evils of Azeroth. Count me in.” Rex grunted his approval with a nod. Arard turned to Dany.

“It sounds pretty risky. What would the Marshal say if we just up and left? I want to say ‘yes,’ but I’m just not sure…” Her voice trailed off. Arard saw the same look in her eyes as when she avoided talking about her past. He put a hand on her shoulder.

“Dany, the military is doing nothing about the encroaching enemies. The Order of the Silver Hand isn’t even standing up to undead at our doorstep. We can change things. If we don’t, who will?” She looked him in the eye, perhaps hoping that his encouragement would fill her lack of bravery. She sighed.

“Then I will stand with you, for better or worse.” She left the table after that; a great weight seemed to rest on her shoulders as she stomped up the stairs to her room. Arard left Goldshire for the rest of the day. He travelled to Stormwind and returned home for the first time in half a year. He stood outside the door for several minutes trying to force himself to knock, but found it nearly impossible. Finally, the door opened, and his brother, Kyre, stood looking up at him.

“Arard?” he asked. Arard couldn’t help but notice how much he’d grown. He was almost under a head shorter than Arard now. His silver hair was cut short, giving him a regal look.

“Yes, I’m home,” Arard replied, “May I come in?” Kyre nodded and opened the door all the way for him. Their mother watched him enter from the entrance to the kitchen. Arard couldn’t help but notice the intensity of her glare. It was not as harsh as when he’d last left, but it was still there. He was given a place to sit, and Kyre talked to him a while, just about little things, like how he was doing at his classes, how he’d met a night elf at the harbor a few days ago, and asked him questions about where he’d been and what he’d been doing. Arard answered honestly. It felt good to talk to his brother again. He wondered where Alleda, his sister, had gone, but his mother grabbed his attention when she sat down beside him.

“Arard,” she started, “I’m sorry for the way I acted. I heard about how things went at Northshire. I heard how quickly you’d grown to be just like your father. I never meant to chase you away, I just couldn’t stand the thought of you…” She cried. Not a blubber or a sob, but a steady trickle of tears and a deep sigh. She embraced her son.

“I’m sorry too, mother. I shouldn’t have ran off like that. I shouldn’t have left you all here alone.”

She let him go. “What made you come back?”

“I met a priest named Gameron,” he began. It was clear she knew the name. “He tried to convince me to join a new Holy Order to fight the injustices and evils of the realm. I want to join him, I want to fight for our people, but not if it means I must hurt my family. I needed to know if…”

“Arard,” she interrupted, “My son, you are no longer a child to be told what to do. You make the decisions now. I appreciate you seeking my advice, but all I can tell you is you must follow your own heart. If this is your path, take it. All I ask is that you not forget your family.” Arard nodded his appreciation. He was sure Gameron would be pleased with this.

“By the way, where is Alleda?” His mother paled.

“She… The guards arrested her.”

Arard bristled and yelled, “What? Why?”

“For practicing dark magic…,” her voice faltered and her face was twisted with despair, “…and for plotting against the throne. I didn’t want to believe it, I still can’t, but she vanished right after they took her to the Stockade. She’s gone, Arard.”
"I am the Night!" -Brinnea, Rikthered, Cynthya, Orgog, Kazarak.....


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