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 [Prologue Arc] Shard IV - The Civil War

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Kazatul
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PostSubject: [Prologue Arc] Shard IV - The Civil War   Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:16 pm

The Ice Drake takes a deep breath as he pauses for a moment having to mentally prepare himself to continue this story. "What came next was completely unexpected and it sparked the decimation of our people and the ravaging of our beautiful homeland that once stood as a paradise outside of your world. If the Tournament of Dragons had been postponed, there is a possibility that most of what happened could have been mitigated, but no one thought the Peridot would allow themselves to be manipulated that far and so the Tournament continued and Kavos excelled far greater than even I expected of him. It was clear who was going to emerge as the Champion of Dragons. He never got to receive his title or the honors that he deserved.

During the second to last challenge, the unthinkable occurred. We received word that the Peridot backed by the Brokers had attacked one of the neighboring villages' territory while the Champions and primary leadership was at the tournament. This news forced a suspension of the Tournament's proceedings. They attacked a minor village aligned to the Emerald, who pride themselves on their martial prowess over most other focuses. Their lifestyle and culture is rather simplistic with primary focus placed on martial arts training and military service. The attack does not go quite according to plan as the village is able to hold off the Peridot forces for several hours. The Emerald had already sent reinforcements to help the village. The Brokers arrived before the Emerald reinforcements could and reports of their powers and destructive abilities were seared into the minds of the survivors. The Emerald pushed them back a bit, but even reports from the reinforcements said that it felt like they were almost toying with those sent to protect the village. As if the attack itself was not enough of a show of defiance, the Peridot did not shirk from claiming responsibility. They carved their sigil into the earth where they had made camp before the attack.

The Peridot called upon their long-time friends and allies, the Sapphire and Aquamarine, to aid them as they knew retaliation was coming. Similar to the Emerald, the Sapphire are a militaristic clan, so the thought of a real war and the chance to prove themselves dominate against the other villages appealed to them greatly. The Aquamarine tried to suggest diplomatic resolutions to the situation. You see Roland saw the result of Vorux getting his wish to fight against Kavos in the Tournament. Kavos held back against him until Vorux until he took a taunt too far. Kavos did not show rage or any real emotion to be honest, but I could see it in Yunes' expression of concern. Kavos systematically broke the bones in his body and tried to crush his skull. Needless to say, watching some utterly destroy an opponent in a tournament with such a calculated and methodical approach is a bit disheartening. Roland's elders however did not heed his warnings for long.

Topaz and Tanzanite lent their aid to the Emerald. The Pearl maintained their neutrality and their territory was agreed to be neutral and forbidden to enter with a military force. Their outposts would be used as healing refuges. Even there when opposing squads would seek to heal their wounded or save a dying comrade or commander, the agreement held, regardless of who the wounded individual was.

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"I Will Strike First and I Will Strike Last. Order calls for your neutralization."
Kautuka - Mystic Hybrid | The Art of War
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Kazatul
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PostSubject: Re: [Prologue Arc] Shard IV - The Civil War   Tue Dec 24, 2013 11:18 pm

Garnet also sought to prevent war via diplomatic resolutions. To this end, they met with the Aquamarine in the hopes of settling things peacefully. What they did not know was that the Peridot was planning to attack the meeting to take out the Garnet so that they couldn't aid the Emerald's alliance. The problem is that Aquamarine was split with more of the influential members of the Council legitimately seeking a peaceful resolution rather than all out war, so for the Peridot, the Aquamarine were a wild card.

The meeting takes place and negotiations were actually going well. When the attack comes later in the meeting, the Aquamarine were placed in a very difficult position. Their lands were closest to the Sapphire, who were already aligned with the Peridot. In order to get to Aquamarine lands, one generally travels through Sapphire territory. The Peridot forces them to choose sides on the spot as the Garnet are confused as some members of the Aquamarine Council are trying to defend the Garnet diplomats and others are helping the Peridot. As the skirmish spills out of the meeting establishment and into the open air, the Garnet seek to escape as they are vastly outnumbered and caught off guard. Both sides had agreed to small escorts to show good faith to one another. In the end, the Garnet escaped and the ordeal practically forced the Aquamarine onto the side of the Peridot and moved Garnet from neutrality to our side.

Skirmishes occurred all across the bordering lands. They were a monthly occurrence as some were accidental skirmishes caused by scouting parties or patrols running into each other. During the first year of this war, Kavos excelled at strategy. His forte seemed to be key strikes that would hinder and hurt the enemy without heavy casualties on either side. Despite the Peridot being his enemy, he did not want to kill his brethren. We had friends in practically all villages. Even with the natural animosity between Drakes and Wyverns, I had a very fun associations with one of Peridot's past champions and his entourage.

As we started to gain an advantage in the momentum of the battles, Kavos' focus in his strategies was shifted to forcing the Brokers into skirmishes. He believed that if he could encounter them in open battle and defeat them then we could expel them, deal with the Peridot, and get our people back into a peaceful existence. It was working. He had lured out each of the four Brokers and engaged them in battle and time after time, we beat them. They were powerful. Far more powerful than we had first expected, but current and past champions found that for the most part, we could hold our own against them. Unfortunately, we could never capture or kill them. With their additional powers, the Peridot's strongest were actually turning into formidable opponents. Then adding in the Sapphire and Aquamarine's strongest, every time we came close, they would be saved.

Also as part of Kavos' strategy, he set up a second campaign where two forces led by myself and Pelion were sent south to attack Sapphire. Yunes and the Garnet was tasked with defense and supporting the efforts. By the middle of the second year of the war, the island was engulfed in war. The Broker Alliance found itself actually losing. The Sapphire were being pushed back as were the Aquamarine. Pelion and the Emerald forces served as vanguard forces while the Tanzanite would engage then retreat and flank the enemy forces. Pelion truly showcased himself as both a powerful warrior, but also as a very inspiring and caring leader.

Our campaign in the southern territories of the island was nearly complete with the Aquamarine on the verge of collapse. Sapphire had become stretched thin as well as they were trying to push and attack Garnet territory while also defending their southern borders. With Kavos focused on the seek and destroy campaign with the Brokers, Pelion had to rely on my strategic acumen to guide us. I had always been comfortable in Kavos' shadow. As you have seen, he has always been stronger than me. And to be honest, when he first told me to take my forces south with Pelion, I was confused as up until that point, I had always fought alongside him. It wasn't until we accomplished our initial objectives and were left without renewed strategies from him that I truly found my own prowess. I realized that he had more confidence in my abilities than I actually did and when Pelion asked me where we should strike next, I was put face to face with hiding behind my best friend or trying to bring an end to our people's suffering cause by this war. I will admit that I was surprised when my battle plans and in battle revisions worked so well. I also had to learn quick lessons and harsh ones when my strategies did not go as planned. Still, we continued to push forward.

We did not know how many brokers were around. We thought there were only four. It wasn't until the First Battle at Aquamarine Village that we encountered a new one. He had arrived recently and came to lend support to their defensive campaign they were fighting against Pelion's and my forces. Since we did not know that he would be arriving, our first battle, he helped them to push us back. We regrouped and kept sending skirmish attacks to disrupt their attempts to set up a perimeter. While we did that, a force led by Yunes' older sister, nicknamed Shade, who was a former Champion of Garnet, snuck through the Sapphire territory we had claimed to reach this battle. Shade had been running our information network. Her forces had also been sneaking into enemy territory to act as spies for our side. Unlike Yunes is who predominantly sweet and kind, Shade is calculating, cold, and does not care about being liked. With the combined might of all three forces, we attacked again employing a variety of tactics and strategies against the enemy, but the trump card proved to be Shade and just how strong her symbiotic affinity with her song dragon spirit is. We also found out where her nickname comes from. She joins Pelion in the battle against the Broker while I guide the troops. Her powers are rather terrifying to be honest. The way she mixes her natural sonic powers with shadow or dark energy was a sight to behold.

Shade holds her own against the Broker and when the battle seems lost, the Broker showed his true colors and abandoned the Aquamarine. If we had been malicious, the Aquamarine would have been completely wiped out. The sight of the Broker abandoning them broke the Aquamarine and they were forced to surrender. With their surrender and our forces have a foothold on this side of the Sapphire, it would only be a matter of time before we would move against the Sapphire in hopes of swiftly forcing their surrender as well.

Shade and Pelion remain in the southern territories to prepare for the next campaign. My forces were called back home to Tanzanite Village to meet up with Kavos and prepare for the next attacks. Tanzanite is the northernmost village on Isla Dragos and actually has mountains and terrain that is distinctly different from the rest of the island. We actually get light snow there and the climate changes with the seasons unlike Topaz Village, which is moderately warm practically all year long.

-----------------
"I Will Strike First and I Will Strike Last. Order calls for your neutralization."
Kautuka - Mystic Hybrid | The Art of War
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Kazatul
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PostSubject: Re: [Prologue Arc] Shard IV - The Civil War   Wed Dec 25, 2013 12:44 am

Returning home, I find Kavos in a war strategy meeting like normal. And at his side as always was my younger cousin. Despite attempts by her parents to convince her not to follow in my footsteps and spend so much time with the "wild dragon", she idolized Kavos and his abilities. Kavos did not have siblings, aside from me basically, so he enjoyed having a "pseudo sibling". He trained her in martial arts, meditation, and helped her focus and strengthen her Void powers. He also taught her strategy and tactics. She was his protege. When I arrive, the two of them are looking over the war map and moving pieces. Kavos generally knew what strategy he wanted to use before she even met with him, but he would challenge her to beat his strategies or at least force him to consider different scenarios. I remained quiet as I leaned against the wall and watch them. He knew I was there, but she was so enthralled in the planning that she ignored my presence or possibly missed it.

She challenges his strategies and within ten minutes, he beats her. He shows her where she was too timid and lost an opportunity to eliminate one of his key units. She bows and asks when they would be leaving. Kavos responds, "I already Na'al. This campaign is too dangerous and I need to be fully focused on the battle. Since this campaign is to subdue the Sapphire and finally isolate the Peridot, I suspect most if not all of the intruders will be there. You are strong and crafty and your powers have grown quite a bit. I have every confidence in you, Na'al. However, I know myself as well and if the battle is harder than anticipated, I will worry about you more than the objective." She looks at me and of course, I get blamed for his decision not to let her go. He chuckles and she teleports out of the room. Kavos and I hug and he playfully say thanks to me for handling the Aquamarine. We catch up and I tell him, "Thanks for sending Shade to help out." He smirks at the comment since he knows that she wouldn't tell me that she was sent by him. Na'al reappears with hot tea and 3 cups, which still catches me off guard. "She actually requested to go because she likes you." Na'al pours all three cups and places them before each of us and continues, "It's so obvious too." When she said that last part I couldn't help but retort to get a rise out of her. "Obvious? Oh you mean like your crush on Kavos." The fluster that covers her face is hilarious as Na'al freezes in embarrassment and shock. She uses her void powers to throw the teapot at me. It stops right in front of me and floats back to the table where it was. Kavos smiles and tells her that he already knew that.

We spent a couple more days planning and spending time with one another. I found out that she was training when she wasn't with us as she was still trying to convince Kavos and me, as her blood relative closest to him, to let her accompany us. Neither of us were going to change our minds because Kavos is never as focused and occasionally vicious as he is in battle. He knows what must be done and nothing distracts him from success.

The two of them had a ritual whenever he left for a major battle that she wasn't accompanying him on. They would meditate together and center themselves when they first wake up. Do a light yoga-like workout and then he would bathe while she made them breakfast and a special tea blend that she had created for him. After breakfast, she would prepare his battle attire and dress him. While dressing him, they would go over the battle strategies once more. She would accompany him to the War Council tent and give him his orders. If one did not know better and knew of the entirety of the ritual, you would think they were husband and wife. This morning was different, however. I could tell that she was genuinely worried for him in this battle. They stopped outside the tent and he turned to face her. She looked up into his eyes and spoke to him. "Champion, end this war. It does not matter if they were your brethren. They are your enemies now. They would kill your friends and those you consider family. Whatever must be done, do it. Make sure my cousin returns... with you. Prepare for battle, Kavos!" Kavos bows to her and responds as he always does. "As you command, my lady. I will see you when it is done." Normally, it ends there, but as he turns to leave, she grabs his wrist. When he turns back to see what she wanted, she stands on her toes and kisses him. She pulls away after a few moments and smiles. "I have always wanted to do that." He smirks and tells her, "I know." He turns and walks into the tent with the rest of us.

The smiles at what we had just witnessed fade as he goes over the strategy with everyone one last time. Once everything is concluded, all of the commanders leave for their respective forces. Kavos and I are positioned together in the strategic command cluster. He appointed me to be Vice Strategist for this campaign since his primary objective was neutralizing the Brokers. Na'al returned to Tanzanite Village as he asked because she knew what he told her to be true. While Kavos knew that they could not be together since he was Topaz Champion and because her parents would never allow it either, he truly cared for her.

A massive combined force left the villages for the big push. Peridot territory is partially protected by Sapphire territory, so to isolate Peridot, we would need to cut them off from Sapphire, so Kavos devised a plan to have Pelion's forces move as if campaigning to attack Sapphire Village itself from the south while we attack the borderlands of Peridot and Sapphire. Shade was tasked with attacking their supply lines to hinder Sapphire's ability to restock their frontlines. She also harassed their forces along the path to Sapphire Village from Pelion's known position. All to continue the ruse and Sapphire was falling for it. They started pulling more forces to defend Sapphire Village. Things were going according to Kavos' plan and we were finally gaining an actual advantage since the 5th Broker's arrival.

After a few weeks of skirmishes and battles along the border, the battle Kavos had predicted finally came as we almost severed the border between Sapphire and Peridot. Two of the brokers enter the fray with Peridot forces as well as a force sent from Sapphire Village. This battle was one of the first times Kavos ever showed just how powerful he really was. He fought two of the brokers himself. His objection was simple. He needed to keep them from being a factor in the battle, so that the rest of our force could deal a substantial blow to their alliance. We did just that. He actually managed to render one of them unconscious and nearly finished him off, but the second broker saved him. The 2nd broker grabs his partner and calls for a retreat. As their forces retreat, the broker told Kavos to enjoy their gift while we celebrate this victory.

Kavos halts the pursuit and tells the army to secure the territory that we've gained. The next day, Shade appeared in our camp. The normally cold and stoic female warrior carried a look of shock and disbelief upon her as she interrupts the war council meeting to prep for the next push. "Ka... Kavos. Agon..." her words just fell silent as she dropped to a knee. Kavos had been on edge since the battle the day before. He rushes over to Shade and asks her what's wrong. All she said was the word "Tanzanite." He read her thoughts and stumbled back from her clutching his head in obvious pain. What most people don't know is that Kavos' struggle with his powers was like having to keep a shield over a volcano at all times. An emotional outburst like he was experiencing triggered an outburst of his powers. I create a wall of ice to protect the council when I feel the pressure build rapidly and wildly in the air. He shattered it almost instantly. The Council had enough time to raise barriers to protect themselves. I didn't begin to understand until he took off flying north and then I realized that Shade said Tanzanite before he read her thoughts. That's when it hit me and I told everyone to fall back and regroup at the last stronghold we had captured. I tell Shade to have Pelion fall back to his nearest stronghold as well as I flew after Kavos.

-----------------
"I Will Strike First and I Will Strike Last. Order calls for your neutralization."
Kautuka - Mystic Hybrid | The Art of War
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Kazatul
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PostSubject: Re: [Prologue Arc] Shard IV - The Civil War   Thu Dec 26, 2013 4:46 am

As we flew north, I worried that my village had been attacked while we were breaking the borders and that we had to shift our attention to restrengthening our defenses. I never thought to see what I saw. I never thought to feel such despair and pain and sorrow all at once. When I arrived moments after him, I saw him floating in the sky for a few moments before he descended slowly in the center of the village. A scouting squad from Garnet Village arrived too late. The entire village... literally everyone in my village had been slaughtered. The young, the sick and weak, the elderly. They killed everyone and they mutilated them and displayed them in a horrific fashion. These were not people or Kotada, these were animals. They were worse than animals. My entire family was butchered and displayed around our family home. The worst of all, however, was Na'al. I could see that they had defiled some of our women, but what they did to her was far worse. They tortured and beat her. Then they poisoned her and left her to rot and die.

Kavos was holding her in his arms and trying to absorb the poison out of her, but it started to weaken him. She stopped him. She could barely move. Despite all of his abilities and prowess in battle, the one skill Kavos never really tried learning was healing magic. His powers allowed him to augment his own regenerative abilities, but they didn't help as much with healing others. He tried to tap into her mind in order to control her body enough to heal itself the way he controls his own body when he's injured or ill. Nothing worked and Na'al looked at him and coughed up blood. The poison was spreading. Their "gift" as they called it was to force us to watch the one person we both cared about above all others die an agonizing death. I do not think they anticipated her to be as selfless as Na'al was. Knowing that she was going to die, she communicated telepathically with Kavos. She made a request of him I would find out later. She knew that Kavos would need to be stronger if we stood any chance, so she asked him to absorb her spirit. He refused as he wanted her to die as dragonkin so that she could join her ancestors in the afterlife. She told him that she wanted vengeance and was willing to suffer whatever fate the ancestors might condemn her to if it meant that she would help him stop our enemies.

Still, he refused so she asked him for one final kiss and for him to access her memories of the attack, so that he knew exactly what happened. Kavos agreed since he could feel that she was fading. He opened his mind to her so that he could watch as the attack occurred. As their minds connected, Kavos drew me in as well. Before this moment, he had never created a psychic link between three people like this before. He leaned down to grant her final wish and he kisses her. As they embrace in this passionate yet sorrowful manner, her powers surged and the memory transfer spiked and the images begin to blur as if being sped up. Looking at the two of them, I saw the cause. Na'al knew that Kavos cared too much to allow her to risk upsetting the ancestors, so she did what she felt she had to. Na'al transferred her power to Kavos on her own. It was not a practice that was commonly done since it ran a high risk of killing yourself, but she felt no threat of this since she was dying anyway.

Her powers entered Kavos in her last glowing breath. She fell limp and the newfound powers started to overwhelm Kavos. The Garnet scouting party that was inspecting the carnage come upon us and Kavos displaces all of them teleporting them around the town square and crashing them into debris and ruined remnants of my once beautiful home. Since he had not severed the psychic link, I heard his thoughts and felt his pain and guilt. He blamed himself for pushing the campaign too fast. He also felt that he should have known that things were amiss when only 2 of the brokers were engaged in the attack. Most of all though, he blamed himself for not being able to protect Na'al. For not being able to protect my family and all of our friends here. I was still in shock at the whole scenario and watching thru her memories as my brethren were massacred and many of them violently severed from their spirits and their powers stolen. Once that disgrace and defilement of our people became clear, Kavos learned of a power that he had just inherited from his protege. She was an excellent tracker. Kavos turns to face the east of the island. His voice is cold yet holding back a fiery rage. "Vengeance." He lifted into the sky and propelled himself forward. I followed him as he flew thru the forest staying relatively low to the ground and pausing from time to time as if analyzing the terrain before adjusting course and moving further.

After thirty minutes, we come upon an enemy camp. He closed his eyes and energy begins to gather around him. We suddenly vanish without a word and appear inside a large tent. A broker was sitting inside of the tent with some prisoners that they had taken. Upon seeing us appear out of nowhere, he was definitely caught off guard and Kavos assaults him instantly to separate him from the chest he was sitting on. That after all was what he was after. I recognized it from my cousin's memories. The only problem in his plan was that he was barely holding onto control of himself and his newly enhanced powers. As guards tried to approach, he tore them apart. There was no concern for life anymore, he was in so much pain that he tried to drown it out with blood... so much blood. I opened the chest and saw a large quantity of glowing orbs. There were three more chests in the tent that I inspected before moving them all together. During this time, Kavos was showcasing feral dominance and brutality against the broker. I still question my decision and whether or not it would have been better to let him kill the broker right then and there, but we had spirits and prisoners to free. Kavos knew this, but his grief and rage blinded him.

When he ignored my warnings that we needed to escape, I asked him, "What is more important, Kavos? The death of one of these vermin or the peace and freedom of so many of our brethren spirits? Him or the prisoners they hold?" If he expended more energy to kill the broker, there was a high possibility that he would not have the energy to use Na'al's teleportation powers, which he had just acquired and thus, did not fully understand. He telekinetically flung the broker like a ragdoll before impaling him with a nearby blade into one of the wooden columns supporting the tent. It would not kill him, but the pain caused by the brutal beating he had given out as well as having a blade impaling him would keep the broker from recovering fast enough and interfering.

Forcing himself to ignore his anger, Kavos moved the chests to the outskirts of the encampment where we teleported into the tent from. We rush thru the camp freeing prisoners and killing guards to cut the captives a path of escape. Out of my entire village, a mere five to ten percent were able to be saved. This was a crushing defeat.

-----------------
"I Will Strike First and I Will Strike Last. Order calls for your neutralization."
Kautuka - Mystic Hybrid | The Art of War
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