Tag: Faisal

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  • Requests

    Talreth, Scarlet and Oleg stand before a huge oaken table with a small wooden diorama of the developing city and reams of documents spread across its surface. One of the city guard, normally stationed outside the Great Hall, enters the room and bows …

  • You Have Mail!

    One night, Scarlet storms up to the guard stationed at the Baron’s chamber door and demanded to speak with the Baron at once. Without a moment’s hesitation, the guard opens the door and announces Scarlet’s presence. The baron pleasantly startled by her …

  • Condolences

    “Scarlet, my condolences on your loss especially so soon after you found your _nosta atar_, that is your true ancestor…” Faisal looks up sharply as he overhears Ildrim’s words to Scarlet. bq. ‘True ancestor’? What is this pompous kaffir talking …

  • Parting Gift

    Deirdre pokes at the food, shuffling the ample, if unappetizing, meal around the tray. Endless waiting for the Council to decide on her sentence was draining the young woman’s will. It was bad enough when Scarlet had presided over a farce of a trial …

  • Release

    Armando approaches the shrine, feet dragging in resignation. The summons had been cordial, but firm. Still, he'd been half-expecting this, even after the announcement of the Duke's death and the memorial service. bq. Eighteen good days without the …

  • Council Meeting

    "Its somewhat a larger council meeting than we are accustomed to what with so many changes to the council", Ildrim mentions to his secretary Lady Maray. "Where is that Duke of yours?", Lady Maray asks while looking around the council chambers. "Oh, …

  • Tribulations

    "...offer you the position of Marshal so that you may use those virtues to keep our kingdom peaceful, bring our people hope and bring justice to those who would seek otherwise." Faisal bows deeply, a new-found respect present after the unexpectedly …

  • Temper

    *SLAM!* The plain wooden door of the Marshall’s quarters rattles on its hinges with the force of Faisal’s entry. The warrior storms into the sparsely furnished room, seething with outrage. bq. Not even a temple! Or a minor shrine! Or a mound of …

  • Sunrise

    "Whatcha doing, mister?" Faisal ignores the child's question as he completes the _Fajr-salam_, pleased as *The Sun's* first rays spread the shadow of the _sutrah_ across the prayer mat as he completes the ritual. He had spent much of the morning …

  • Guest Gift

    Aleric walked down the castle halls toward the new Marshal's room hoping to bridge some of the rifts now present on the council. In his hand he carried a simple leather bounded diary, the sun symbol of the cover faded and weathered. All but a couple pages …

  • Obsequious

    “Ahem.” Faisal looks up as the secretary clears his throat gently for the Marshall’s attention. At the dark warrior’s nod, the skinny young man straightens up and speaks in a clear and formal voice. “Marshall, I have the honour to present Corporal …

  • Redemption

    Armando leans against his horse, grinding the honeybark stick between his teeth in fury as he watches Faisal lecture the captured bandits. The scruffy men had been taken by surprise as they lay drunk from the spoils of an ambushed caravan. The patrol …

  • Vaedis Pyre

    I stand bathed in the holy aura of a relic of the goddess. A relic created by the sacrifice of Vaedis Pyre.  Looking around, i see the burnt bodies of ghouls littering the inner rooms of burrow, while guano covers the outer room. I will not stand for …

  • Questions

    The girl eyes Faisal's prayer beads, and the warrior knows the question even before it is asked. "Why does your necklace have so many more beads than the others?" Faisal sighs inwardly, tired of the endless questions, although unwilling to quash …

  • Audience

    Oleg hurries into the Council Chamber, waiting for everyone's attention before speaking to the Baron. “A man by the name of Fraziq Salam, if I’m pronouncing it correctly, has come forth requesting an audience with the Baron and his council. What should …

  • First Patrol

    Armando leans against the tree shaking his head in disgust. bq. This is our new Marshall? We’ve managed all of two hours riding and we’ve stopped? For a gods-damned prayer session?!? It had been a silent patrol with the foreign warrior, and none of …

  • Rites of Purity

    Faisal stares at the Baron for a few seconds, sleepiness and shock making an intelligible response difficult. bq. Rite of Purity? Why would _Hakim_ Teasen-rretyn care about the ritual? "Forgive me _Sahib_, be welcome in my home. I completed the …

  • Saviour

    Deirdre huddles in the filthy wagon, resting fitfully against the harsh wooden planks, trying unsuccessfully to sleep. Ten days locked in the slaver’s chains with the rest of the survivors was taking its toll. Two more had died yesterday during the …

  • Reassigned

    Armando stands at attention in the new Marshall's office, waiting to be told the reason for the summons. Carson's presence next to the older ranger does little to improve his spirits. bq. Useless little bootlicker. Probably already started sucking up …

  • Petition

    Faisal leads the procession of Tuskan soldiers bearing the body of Scarlet, climbing the stairs into the Restov Dawntemple as the first rays of the sun reach the tip of the building's spire. bq. A truly prophetic time to arrive, *The Glorious Light of …

  • Memories

    *_Tazkiah_: Hour 8* Faisal tore off another piece of _passef_, washing down the dry, flavorless loaf with a cup of water. The prescribed meal was unappealing, but tolerable, and he had endured worse in the Great Satrap's service. The Greater Cleansing …

  • Homecoming

    "_Assalamu aleikom wa rahmatoh Sarenrae wa barakatoh, feda-gahzi_", intones the guardsman, gazing up at Faisal sitting astride his horse. "_Wa assalamu aleikom wa rahmatoh *Sarenrae* wa barakatoh_", replies Faisal, bowing in response to the traditional …

  • Stonewalling

    "Thank you, _Feda-ghazi_", states the matronly woman in her condescending tone. "We shall investigate your _claims_ regarding the circumstances of the Dawnsister's death.  If the Dawnmother has any further questions, I am certain she shall request your …

  • Summons

    "SOLD!  For 85 gold to the House of Al-Bannak.  Thank you.  Up next, we have a fine specimen, taken from the northern wilds.  Don't let his slim frame fool you, this _kaffir_ is strong and wiry, very capable as a guard, hunter or craftsman.  I open the …

  • Warnings

    "Stand, Faisal", urges the young woman, smiling gently. "We are not in the Dawnspire today." The warrior rises slowly, still recovering from the surprise of seeing the Oracle in the dark warehouse. He swallows nervously and stares at the floor, unable …

  • Lessons

    bq. Stupid fool still thinks his strength and honour can overcome anything. Majid stares down at Faisal's sleeping form from the rafters, the vantage point giving him a good view of the entire room. The scarred man begins to chew a third beedlenut to …

  • Charity

    Deirdre sits huddled in the ragged blanket, staring at the townsfolk who excitedly stream into the carnival gates. Most of them barely look at the beggars as they pass, glancing away or pretending not to notice. The few who do acknowledge the ragged …

  • Confusion

    Scarlett's evening routine is interrupted by a gentle knock on her chamber door. bq. By the Goddess! Will I ever have a quiet moment to myself? Opening the door, the young woman finds Faisal standing in the passageway, looking awkward and …

  • Request

    Beppo looks up from his theatre plans as a castle page clears his throat gently. The boy takes a deep breath and opens his mouth to begin when the gnome grins and leaps from his chair. "No, no, my boy. Please allow me." The boy looks confused and …

  • Volunteers

    “DO YOU MAGGOTS THINK THAT JUST BECAUSE THE GENERAL IS GONE THAT THIS JOB IS GOING TO BE A BED OF CAKES AND ROSES!?! DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME HE WAS AWAY!?” Armando stalks along the line of soldiers standing at attention, managing his …

  • Traitor

    Armando creeps through the darkness, faint light from the heavily hooded lantern just enough to avoid stubbing his toe on any more rocks. He had checked on the rest of his men, everyone in position and knowing their jobs. Now they just had to wait. …

  • Revelations

    "Please stop doing that, Faisal. The Goddess is _not_ going to smite you for observing local traditions." "…as you proclaim, Dawnsister." The holy warrior rises from his knees, still looking uncertain. When Scarlet had insisted on leading the …

  • Retribution

    Mehnaz shadows the pair through damp undergrowth, only able to control the shivering through force of will and training. bq. How do these heathen live in this mind-numbing cold? Truly, the Goddess has forsaken this land. Mehnaz watches as the _feda- …

  • Reawakening

    Deirdre sighs contentedly as she walks through the crisp morning air. The bright rays of the morning sun reflect her mood as she makes her way into town. bq. Another day of work means another day of eating, and a little extra saved for tomorrow. …

  • Reassurances

    "You are certain of his death?" The assassin bows in reply. "Yes, Dawnsister. The apostate has been destroyed by my own hand." Rabiyah gazes out the window, looking down on the long line of Faithful waiting to enter the Dawnspire. Even the chill …

  • Unworthy

    “Dinner is ready”, Scarlet announces gathering everyone around the campfire in the middle of the woods. “Oh boy! Food’s ready. I’m famished ”, Beppo remarks in anticipation. Scarlet removes the food from the fire and places it in a plate and hands …

  • Hangover

    Faisal groans in discomfort as he awakens to the full bright beams of the sun cresting the mountain peaks. Pain lances through his skull, feeling like dozens of kukri repeatedly stabbing his mind. Waves of nausea threaten to overwhelm him as he staggers …

  • Awakening

    Blackness. bq. A small girl shudders in terror as something foul searches for her hiding spot. Blackness. p(. “…fresh water into that bowl. Then you can replace the linen and…” Blackness. bq. A high pitched scream pierces the air as blood …

  • Paradise Lost

    A blast of electrical energy engulfs Faisal, draining the last of his flagging strength. As the flaming blade drops from his nerveless fingers and the ring of blackness closes upon his vision for the second time in a month, the warrior sees the demon …

  • Studies

    Deirdre looks up from the yellowed pages as the sounds of booted feet echo across the peaceful silence of the shrine. The sight of Faisal crossing the stone floor is a very welcome respite from the dreary days of study and prayer that are her life since …

  • Jealousy

    "But The Karain specifically lays out..." "Yes, Deirdre", interrupts Scarlet, "But this is _not_ Qadira. The Book of Forms is a text from the southern lands and *does not* reflect how The Goddess is worshiped here." The younger woman grits her …

  • Assertion

    "But Scarlet claims that the Karain is..." Faisal's stern voice interrupts Deirdre's complaint. "Yes. _+Dawnsister+_ Scarlet has differing opinions on the Proper Forms of Worship and the truth of the Karain's teachings. _However_, you would do …

  • Dilemma

    "And thus, when the sun rises, we see the dawning glory of The Goddess in all her magnificence. But, we must always remember..." Scarlet's sermon is interrupted as the shrine doors burst open, causing the congregation to gasp and turn in unison. …

  • Dancing

    “…and it was my idea to send the troops for extra training with the kobolds…” Deirdre sighs to herself as Captain Carson continues his monologue of accomplishments. The officer had cornered her nearly twenty minutes ago and there had been no polite …

  • Unexpected

    "Thank you for the suggestion, Marshal", says Faisal, nodding in Nicholas' direction. "I shall speak with Captain Carson about better coordination of our patrols." Walking beside Scarlet and behind the two men, Deirdre glances surreptitiously at the …

  • Blood and Tears

    Faisal gasps in pain as the force of the giant's blow drives him to his knees. Coughing blood, he lifts his head to see the massive wooden club descending on him for a third time. At the edge of his blurring vision, he can see Scarlet and Beppo stepping …

  • Blessings

    "May The Eternal Light of Truth and Compassion smile upon you." Deirdre once again repeats the ritual words and the old woman rises from the shrine's floor to leave. The next of the temple's followers steps forward to kneel before the young woman and …

  • Seeds

    "Captain Carson", says Deirdre, looking up from her book. "How nice to see you _again._" The little man bows deeply to the young woman, allowing her a brief glimpse of a bouquet of flowers held behind his back. She sets aside the scripture and rises, …

  • Pronouncements

    "If you truly feel he is ready for such a responsibility", says Faisal, "I would have no objection to Jonas assuming the mantle of High Priest." "I'm glad that you see the wisdom of my suggestion, Faisal", replies Scarlet, casting a glance back at …

  • Promotion

    "She's banishing me?!?", cries Deirdre, her fists clenched in anger. Faisal shakes his head, "No, _talib_. The Dawnsister feels that you have made great progress and that you are ready to take on additional responsibility. The Shrine in Abu-Al-Bazit …

  • Paths of the Heart - part 1

    Later than night, Diedre is still seething at the machinations of that filthy whore of a ‘High Priestess’, Scarlet the Harlot, as Deidre considers her. bq. How dare she?!? And how can I turn this to my advantage. That trollop isn’t worthy of my …

  • Teaching

    “I think that’s enough for now”, sighs Deirdre as she stands from the steps of the shrine. “We’ve discussed much today, and you should think on it.” The giant stares at the young woman for a moment before speaking in halting Common. “I no tired. I …

  • Remonstrations

    A gentle cough draws Rabiyah’s attention away from the pile of paperwork on her desk. The black-clad assassin stands before the senior priestess and bows. “You again have need of our services, Dawnsister?” Rabiyah stands and leans forward on her …

  • Growing Up

    The child stands at the door of the castle chamber, almost shaking with fear. Speaking to the large, dark-skinned man always makes her feel sick to her tummy, even though he is always very nice to her. She likes talking to the red-haired priestess and …

  • Maturity

    "What in the hells is the meaning of this!", shouts the boy's father as he bursts into the castle room, dragging his little sister by the arm. "I demand to know what you think you're doing giving my little girl a weapon and telling her that she can …

  • Wretched

    Deirdre struggles to retain her composure as she gently trickles the warm water over Jonas’ blackened hands. The poor man had screamed himself hoarse as the frozen flesh rewarmed, and has now lapsed into delirious moaning, broken by the occasional …

  • Interrupted

    Scarlet sighs to herself as she gazes into the mirror, brushing out her red hair. It had been a long, tiring day of dealing with decisions for the Kingdom, petitions from various citizens and squabbling between Council members. Everyone had their own …

  • Gathering

    Mehnaz crouches in the shadows of the shrine, cursing her failure in the castle. She had carefully planned each step, from her entry into the fortress to the timing of her strike. There should have been no-one in the passageway to hear the false …

  • Explanations

    “Exactly what were you doing in my chambers, Deirdre?”, demands Scarlet, standing over the younger woman, hands on her hips. “I…”, begins the acolyte. “You’re supposed to be in the Holy City caring for the Shrine and fasting for your Rite of Purity. …

  • Paths of the Heart part 2

    p(. %{font-family:sans-serif}"Excellent my dearest, that is what I had hoped to hear. Now listen carefully and do as I command. First of all, you are going to accept the position in the Holy City. You will "welcome the challange" and show Scarlet how …

  • Awkward

    "Councillors." Scarlet raises her voice slightly to gather the attention of the room. "Thank you for your input and guidance once again. I am pleased that we have been able to come to a consensus on these matters. If there is no other business for …

  • My God is Holier Than Yours

    Sir Tragon, renown paladin of Iomadae walks down the hallways of the castle a mere day after a large demon smashed through the Castle of Firenze killing twelve and leaving many of the dead to immediately rise as ghouls killing another four. Among the …

  • Wounded

    Deirdre stares at the saddlebags, loath to call a porter to carry them down to the courtyard. She hates the long trip back to the barren loneliness of the holy city almost as much as she delights in the weekly journey to the capital. If it were not for …

  • Awkward 2 - Continuation

    Scarlet’s face flushes red with humiliation, as she stands transfixed gazing at the little sweaty man kneeling in anticipation before her. She mutters something under her breath regarding the need to modify the screening process to eliminate …

  • Solicitation

    The camp is quiet after the battle with the barbarians and delve into the temple of Gorum. The exhaustion of the day and the body of the dead noble girl cast a pall across the gathering. The campfire blazes, chasing away the chill of the spring evening. …

  • Missing

    “I KNOW THE OUTLANDER IS AWAY! THAT’S THE PROBLEM! YOU’RE THE HIGH PRIEST OF +HIS+ GODDESS AND YOU’RE +HERE+! DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!” Jonas steps back from the screaming man, holding his hands up in front of him. “Sir, please. Your daughter is …

  • Persistence

    "...and then she allowed me to hold and comfort her for some time while she cried", concludes Carson, offering more tea to the young woman. Deirdre nods her head in response, setting her cup on the table. "Thank you, Captain. I'm sorry your grand …

  • Confirmation

    “And what have you determined from your questioning of the girl, _feda-sayyid_?”, asks Rabiyah, sitting back with her arms crossed. The holy warrior bows to the dawnsister, despite the implied insult in her posture. “The child has been taught well, …

  • On the Test

    Armando suppresses another yawn as he tries to pay attention to the young woman. It had been a hard day of travel, the heat sapping their strength quickly. The soldier was not looking forward to the desert. The southern heat was already uncomfortable …

  • Darkening

    Faisal is grimly satisfied to see Scarlet retreating down the temple stairs as Nicholas' body slumps to the bloody stone floor. The dark-skinned warrior can make out Beppo's muttered curse as the barbarian chief's blade rises again, descending suddenly …

  • Searching

    "I am indebted ten thousand-fold for your assistance, Magister", says Faisal, bowing to Ildrim. "Your support in this matter is most appreciated." The elf nods to the dark-skinned warrior. "Of course. Now, you have something connected with Deirdre …

  • Guidance

    “And what was your response to their intrusion?”, asks Rabiyah, grimly considering the implications of the news. “I was too surprised to act, Dawnsister”, growls Waliyah, clenching her fists. “His sudden appearance was bad enough, but to have brought …

  • Sold

    Armando stumbles over heavy chains linking his wrists and ankles as the guard shoves him onto the platform. The richly dressed fat man begins shouting to the crowd in his harsh language, pointing to the captive sergeant. He is turned around several …

  • Tressage

    Ildrim sips the _Cerdyfgwîn_, sighing inwardly at the luxurious familiarity. Caladrel smiles and raises his glass in salute as the two _dîr_ relax on the platform, watching the sunshine filter through the forest canopy. "Civilization has its benefits, …

  • Reunion

    "Try it, my dear." Deirdre takes the proffered bread, nibbling the corner more out of politeness than any desire to eat. Her eyes widen in surprise at the taste, and she takes bigger bites, unable to believe that she is actually enjoying the flat …

  • Bodies

    Mehnaz slips carefully into the room where the child was to be protected, the scene confirming most of what she expects to find. The chamber is in as much disarray as the rest of the safehouse, the aftermath of battle apparent everywhere. The _isha- …

  • Preparation

    Ildrim continues to chant quietly before the silver mirror, incense curling toward the ceiling of the scrying chamber. The area provided by the emissary was luxurious compared to the wizard's workspace in Firenze, outfitted with small conveniences and …

  • Return Engagement

    "So the poor creature latches itself to the top of Faisal's head, and he spends the next ten minutes running through the middle of the Great Market, screaming at the top of his lungs, while Majid and I are running behind him yelling 'Stop Faisal! What is …

  • Completion

    Ildrim utters the final phrase of the spell, and the mists covering the mirror begin to dissipate, revealing a scene of chaos. The image is centered on a hunched man in white robes, wielding a pair of the curved daggers favored by Qadirans. He stands …

  • Rescue

    "You know what to do. When I finish my spell, go.", Ildrim notices the nod as he starts casting. "Argghhh", Ildrim feels the spear go in his side and a rough hand reaches out to grab him. The hunchbacked man has pulled him behind the three warriors. …

  • Desperation

    "Oracle! He has _seen_!" The cryptic words of the Oracle's servant go almost unnoticed as Deirdre cringes from the shouts and chaos of the battle. The young woman is as terrified as she felt when the barbarian undead worshipers attacked her village …

  • Necroliloquy

    "This is a foolish waste of time, Dawnsister", insists Faisal, arms folded across his chest in defiance. "We should set off to Restov immediately. I am certain that Brother Morric will be eager to restore the Oracle as soon as possible." Scarlet …

  • Relaxation

    Scarlet trudges to her chamber door, exhausted by another council meeting and day of thankless leadership. Being Duchess _was_ less stressful with Faisal and Deirdre out of her hair, but she missed Ildrim's calm advice and level head. The chance to have …

  • Acceptance

    "She can't _refuse_ to allow me to complete the _tazkiah_!", exclaims Deirdre, jumping up from the chair and glaring down at Faisal. "I have completed all the training and tasks required by the _Karain_!" Faisal stands as well, bowing to the young …

  • Decision

    "If I may sum up the evidence, Dawnmother", crows Rabiyah, certain of her victory. "The corrupted copies of The _Karain_ were modified by magic, not just mundane forgery. The apostate witch spouts heretical barbarian traditions in the Holy City, rather …

  • Purpose

    The massive continental map lays across the table, tiny markers denoting various military and economic resources in the many kingdoms. The attention of the war council is focused on a tiny area far north-northwest of the Qadiran desert, marked with a …

  • Bedtime

    Armando trudges down the dirty street, barely able to lift his feet. His exhaustion makes every dark corner of Firenze seem like an inviting place to curl up and sleep. Only the thought of lying in his own bed, with his wife, keeps the man moving …

  • Answers

    Deirdre jumps at the knock on her door, grumbling to herself as she crosses the room to answer. She is already speaking angrily as she reaches the portal. "Why are you disturbing me at this hour?! Can't you handle anything yourself? This is the …

  • Consecration

    Deirdre stands on the small platform at the very tip of the Dawnspire's tower, watching the false dawn slowly brighten in the eastern sky. She gazes down at the body of the Oracle laying atop a small bier of twigs and fuel. A lit torch sways in the …

  • Conflagration

    _“...*Sarenrae* humma iyyaka na'budu wa laka nusal-lee wa nasjudu wa ilayka nas'a wa nahfidu wa narju rahmataka wa nakhsha 'azabaka inna 'azabaka bil kuf-fari mulhiq.”_ Faisal completes the _fajr-salat_ as the crowd gasps in awe at the sight of the …

  • Immolation

    Screams erupt from the watching crowd as the acolyte’s flaming body plummets toward them. Most are too surprised to do more than stand rooted to the spot, watching the grisly sight. Faisal swallows his rising bile and watches helplessly, only …

  • Finally!

    "The goddess' blessings upon you, Oracle." Deirdre smiles and replies to the guardsman's blessing, "May the *Eternal Light of Compassion and Vigilance* guide you." The young woman was adjusting well to her new role in the the Duchy. Although she …

  • Denied

    SLAM! The door to the Oracle's chamber rattles with the violence of her entry, the iron-shod wood groaning in response. The chambermaid gives a startled cry at the sudden sound, squeaking in fear as she sees the look on Deirdre's face. " …

  • Discovery

    The surprise of seeing the former Oracle's servant at her door is enough to shock Deirdre into regaining control of her anger. "Not at all... Majid, was it not? How may I help you?" The man bows again. "I do not seek your assistance, but rather …

  • Reconsider

    "Abdicate!?", exclaims Faisal. "For what possible reason would you consider such a thing, Dawnsister? You have been a wise and kind ruler for this land, finally leading it out of the heathen darkness in which it dwelled for so long." Scarlet sighs, …

  • Reconsider (Part 2)

    Scarlet stares thoughtfully at Faisal’s chair carefully contemplating the General’s last suggestion. She finally returns her focus to the Dawnwarrior and flashes him an approving smile, “Not a terrible idea, Faisal. Sometimes you surprise me! "There …

  • Reconsider (Part 3)

    Scarlet bites her tongue. No longer able to suppress her anxiety, she blurts out, "I have a confession, Deirdre is responsible for the death of the Oracle of Katheer and Brother Morric. "And I can prove it."


    Faisal eyes widen. He …

  • Diversion

    Armando stretches as he stands, feeling tired joints crackle in protest. It had been a long day, and the soldier was looking forward to a warm meal, a warm bed, and a warm wife. Reaching for the barracks door, the man's wistful thoughts are interrupted …

  • Séance (Part One)

    Knock…Knock… Scarlet opens the door with a warm, inviting smile and gestures the Paladin to enter. As he follows the Dawnsister into her chambers, he is greeted by the scents of flower and spice. He notices the Dawnsister’s desk had been pushed to the …

  • Séance (Part Two)

    Scarlet is unaware that the connection with Faisal has been severed and leaves her arms dangling in the air as the force of the wind lifts them higher and higher along with her chiffon dress. The young man can feel his face flush at the shocking sight. …

  • Guess Who's Coming for Dinner?

    "Scarlet!!!" The squeal of joy rings through the great hall as a young half-elven woman races toward the duchess. Faisal’s hand is halfway to the hilt of his kukri before he realizes the happy reunion poses no risk to the Dawnsister. The …

  • Kingdomhood Block Party

    !(media-item-align-center)http://cdn.obsidianportal.com/assets/200655/PitaxWarden.JPG(Pitax warden)! A heavily armoured ambassador is ushered into the council chambers. His mirrored helm hiding his face "Lords and Ladies of Tuskany, my name is …

  • Faces

    Deirdre's meditation is interrupted as an acolyte arrives in the small audience chamber. The boy clears his throat softly and waits for acknowledgement before speaking. "A thousand pardons, Oracle. The _feda-ghazi_ begs a brief audience with you." …

  • Unfathomable

    Faisal steps out of the Dawnspire and inhales deeply. The midsummer air still feels chilled to the Qadiran warrior, although somehow more familiar and comforting. The warming rays of the sun help offset the confused and tumultuous feelings inside as he …

  • Sisterhood

    Scarlet slams the door of her chamber hard enough to rattle the tiny bottles on her bedside vanity. Storming across the room, she grabs a small flask from her bedside table and rips out the stopper, draining the contents with several large swallows. The …

  • Attention

    Armando dodges to the left, barely avoiding Faisal's overhand swing. He stumbles over an exposed rock on the practice pitch, unable to take advantage of the larger man's exposed flank. Turning warily, he feints to the right, steps left, and then grunts …

  • Progress

    p(. _Dawnsister Rabiyah_ p(. _You will be pleased to know that my preparations continue to progress without difficulty. I am gratified by the Dawnmother's inquiries and beg that you continue to reassure her of the wisdom of this venture. The threat …

  • Guess Who's NOT Coming to Dinner

    Faisal sits at the reception table, surveying the scene as the servants complete their final preparations. The warrior had extensive experience organizing military operations, but none in planning a state dinner for a visiting dignitary. Scarlet had all …

  • By The Way

    Faisal takes a deep breath before knocking. As the door swings open, Scarlet's smile fades slightly at seeing the warrior. "Oh, Faisal. I thought you were Abigail. We're going for a ride in the country today." "A thousand pardons for the …

  • Connection

    The sounds of laughter drift through the evening air as Faisal arrives at the door of the large house. Flickering candlelight inside confirms his knowledge that the occupants are present, although at the happy sounds coming from inside, the warrior …

  • Reconnection

    "...ibn Kalilah ibnt Dilawar ibn Amahalmuta al-Tuskany, Holy Warrior of The Sarenrae, Divine Justicar of the Eternal Light, Protector of the Oracle of Tuskany, Destroyer of Undeath, Wielder of the Fiery Blade of Justice, Duke-Regent of Tuskany", completes …

  • By The Way (Part 2)

    The intrusive humiliating memory of her time spent with Carson resurfaces and Scarlet stares fixedly at the floor reliving her traumatic experience. Her belly begins to ache at the thought of Carson without his pants in bed with her while she was naked …

  • Direct Discussion

    Mikmek loiters in the hallways of the castle, enjoying the vague looks of fear that many of the human servants direct his way. The little kobold pats his stomach, remembering the moonradish pie extorted from the baker earlier in the day. bq. Assassin …

  • Farewell - Part 2

    _“Your Grace, Lord Faisal and I will leave you to say farewell to your father before we leave.”_ The silence in the room stretches long after the Baron and Duke-Regent leave the chamber. Sadrion stares at the floor, an occasional sniffle the only …

  • New Recruit

    "Our goals are aligned and we could assist each other." Waliyah leaves the implied question hanging as she turns her attention back to the festival events. Her brother strides onto the field, clad only in a simple tunic and breeches. The warrior …

  • Witness

    Mehnaz stands by the entryway, studying the Oracle in quiet meditation. The assassin is certain that this is the same girl who interrupted the attempted assassination of the heretic witch. bq. No doubt one of the first manifestations of her latent …

  • Miscalculation

    Waliyah stands in the air, looking down on the flaming battlefield and shivering in the frosty northern air. The smoke and flames of multiple conflagrations obscure much of the Emira's view of the distant conflict, but it seems clear that the Pitaxian …

  • Clean-up

    As the fog of madness lifts, Deirdre glances about at the carnage before the Dawnspire. The body of the massive spider-being towers uncomfortably close as dozens of undead monstrosities are scattered about. Grok’s smoking corpse lies surrounded by more …

  • Holy War Aftermath Status Update

    The next morning the restless Scarlet approaches the weary Duke-Regent Faisal. It had been a grueling evening and morning tending to the wounded, consoling the mourners and burying the dead. “I have several announcements to make” Scarlet explains. “ …

  • Clean-up - Part 2

    The girl stands quietly, gazing down at the two mangled corpses. Purulent vines protrude from the body’s orifices, withering slowly in the chill autumn air. Despite the wounds, the demonic plant matter, and the sallow, sunken features, there was no way …

  • Visitor

    "I'm sorry, your Ladyship, but no-one is allowed to see the prisoner." The guard bows uncomfortably. The young woman shifts her basket to the other arm and smiles disarmingly. "I commend you on your duty, Guardsman Telleric, but I must insist that …

  • The Truth

    Faisal scans the scroll carefully. The warrior is unable to read the mystical writing inscribed upon the yellowed parchment, but the taint of evil is clear. _"You found this within the Oracle's possessions?"_ Majid nods solemnly. _"I believe that …

  • Protest

    "And Dorian told me about how you were right in the midst of the battle, protecting the soldiers and blowing up the enemy!", exclaims Abigail, almost bouncing with energy. "It sounds so exciting!" Scarlet is about to speak when a frantic pounding …

  • Determination

    _“It was Deirdre’s hand wielding the spear that pierced Jaiyana’s heart.”_ The words seem to hang in the air between the two men as Faisal stares at the yellow parchment, his fist slowly crushing the scroll. His dark eyes close and he takes a deep …

  • Sorrow and Fear

    “And then…[mmmf]…she just…[fffmmf]…just kept hurting me!”, sobs Deirdre, crying around a mouthful of cake. Tears stream down her cheeks, leaving bright tracks in the dust and grime. Her robes are only slightly dirty, but stained with multiple spatters …

  • Protest - Dilemma

    The angry crowd murmurs in confusion at Scarlet’s entreaty for calm. Several of the louder rabble-rousers are shushed and various half-formed questions are all shouted at once. p(. “Where is she?”
    ”Why did you attack her?
    “What’s a compulsion?” …

  • Courage

    The door of the cell smashes fully open at the duke's entrance as Tamara rises from beside Deirdre. Her friend cries out in fear and scuttles back into the corner of the room, fresh tears bursting forth. The look of fury on the tattooed man's face is …

  • Confrontation

    "...put this woman to The Question of the Holy Flame." All heads turn to regard the burly Inquisitor, considering his suggestion. Majid reigns in his annoyance, reminding himself that the outlander can hardly be blamed for his ignorance of Qadiran law …

  • Goodbyes

    Deirdre’s vision is clouded with tears and pain as she watches the massive flaming blade arc through the air in slow motion. The furious expression on the dark-skinned warrior’s face triggers a memory, long forgotten, of the first time she had seen him …

  • Goodbyes - Part 3

    Mehnaz turns as the chamber door opens and Faisal steps in, quickly followed by Majid. The warrior's robe is spattered with blood, as are his hands. Disturbing questions jump to mind, but the young woman decides that patience is the better choice. The …

  • Semantics

    As Majid finishes recounting the events in the dungeon, Mehnaz looks back to the blood-soaked warrior slumped in the chair. <Meting out justice to a blasphemer and double murderess hardly constitutes a mortal sin, _feda-ghazi_. You had testimony …

  • Reunited (?)

    Faisal relaxes his wary stance as Beppo and Ildrim reappear in the cavern to announce that the dragon is dead. The warrior suppresses a pang of regret at his survival, sheathing his massive blade and recalling the _isha-ghazi's_ words. bq. Throwing …

  • Reprobation

    Faisal kneels before the small altar, trying vainly to focus his thoughts on meditation. His mind races with considerations of phrasing the request, the likely responses, and how he will handle the answer he expects to receive. The sound of quick …

  • Logic

    "%{color:mistyrose}...whatever penance she gave, it would be unjust.%", says Lilith, reaching out to touch Faisal on the forearm. "%{color:mistyrose}I don't understand how she can blame you for executing a double murderess. The woman that was tormenting …

  • Gratification

    %{font-size:1.25em}"THIS IS WHAT WE ARE TO BECOME! GAZE UPON THE FUTURE OF GNOMEKIND AND TREMBLE AT ITS POWER!"% The words rumble through the sewer cavern as Xarathes towers over the warrior and his allies. The creature's defensive thorns become the …

  • Desquamation

    Scarlet crouches silently, watching the couple from the shadows. Firelight from the hearth flickers, casting Lilith and Faisal in dim illumination. The warrior kneels before the young woman, his head bowed. "Are you ready, my love?", asks the …

  • Concern

    "Duke Regent Faisal, may I have a word?", Soletha asks from the door to Faisal's chambers noting thankfully that Lilith wasn't present. "Baroness Soletha, you may enter", Faisal closes the box which was before him where he had sat on the floor and …

  • You are the Law!

    Aleric greets your group as you return to Tuskany. "Welcome back Duke Faisal and Duchess Scarlet. While you were gone we managed to capture two Pitaxian spies. Our interrogation of these two resulted in our discovering the existence of a secret …

  • Illumination

    Faisal grits his teeth in determination as even more Pitaxian ambushers step out from their hiding places in the abandoned abbey. At least in battle, the young man can partially ignore the insistent whispering that has become a daily part of his life. …

  • Ineffective

    Scarlet watches carefully as the elven cleric quietly recites the divine ritual. The wizened old elf had only agreed to come as far as Greengold to perform the spell, and that only after Ildrim had called in a number of favors in the elven kingdom. …

  • Not So Forgettable

    Armando strides quickly down the busy street, feeling as if his feet barely touch the ground. His good cheer makes every corner of Firenze seem alive and vibrant. Only his determination to arrive home and share his excitement with his wife keeps him …

  • Final Bequest

    "Honey? What's this package on the table?" Lucinda's voice drifts into the bedroom, niggling at Beppo's contented dozing amidst the rumpled bedsheets. Stretching happily, the gnome frowns for a moment before he realizes what she must be asking about. …

  • Returning the Dead - Part 2

    <And are you content to have a half-_kaffir_ barbarian heathen decide the fate of his remains?>, demands Majid, his voice harsh despite barely rising above a whisper. Mehnaz glances at the northerners standing near the altar, discussing matters …

  • Pillow Talk

    Abigail snuggles in Dorian's arms, enjoying the afterglow. She studies her husband, tracing his fine features with her fingertip, eliciting a sleepy smile and deep rumblings of pleasure. Her touch traces a line down his neck to make random circles on …

  • First...the Good News

    Abigail bounces into Scarlet's chamber, unable to contain her excitement. She barely looks at Scarlet as she skips over to the line of bottles on the cabinet. "You _are_ back! I'm so excited! I have wonderful news! Dorian has decided to accept Lord …

  • Orphaned Again

    The shrine is quiet, except for the soft whisper of a broom on smooth stone. Ildrim and Scarlet watch the girl from the entrance, hesitant to approach and have the conversation. The wizard takes a deep breath and glances at the priestess, giving a …

  • New Beginnings

    A blazing, fiery light draws closer as the warrior finds himself floating amidst softly lit clouds. For the first time in many days, the young man feels contentment and peace. No anger burns within his heart and no doubts trouble his mind. He knows that …

  • Surviving

    He adjusts the armor yet again, trying to stop the chafing. The shoddy workmanship, poor design, and unbearable stench are a constant enticement to abandon the scavenged gear and press on. But the encounter with the goblin raiders has shown him that …

  • Equipped

    "Yer not much of a talker, are ya?", says the smith, the comment only a small part of the ongoing stream of one-sided conversation. "Get all types in here, I do. Farmers, traders, soldiers, townsfolk, but yer definitely a first fer my little shop. Yep, …

  • Distraction

    Scarlet rubs her temples, trying to pay attention to the architect’s explanation of Beppo’s proposed theater construction. She had expected to be back to her duties as High Priestess by now, not struggling with the mundane decisions of Rulership. p(. …

  • Apologetic

    Tamara answers the door, still feeling a bit wobbly from her morning nausea. Nicholas has gone ahead without her so that only one of them would miss the Council meeting. If the last few days were any indication, she'd be feeling better in an hour or so. …

  • Re-adopted

    The little girl stares at Faisal, confusion and doubt clouding her face. "But... you're a kobold", she says weakly. The warrior attempts to smile reassuringly, but quickly stops, remembering that the effect is more disconcerting than comforting. “Yes …

  • Senior Management

    "%{color:mistyrose}I have failed you, my lord%", says the smaller devil as it bows low. Asmodeus gazes down at the minion, his expression inscrutible. %{font-family:sans-serif}Yes. Convincing him to continue using the blade was a gross …

  • Active Persuasion

    "With all due respect, Dawnsister, it is not appropriate for me to share rulership with Nicholas. I have no claim on Duke Talreth's throne and only offered to act as Duke-Regent in order to assist you. And it is even more improper in my current state of …

  • She's Baaaaack....

    "May I present; Lady Valainistima Deluves-Estelda, Magister of..." The elven woman brushes past the herald and stands squarely in the center of the audience chamber. Her silver hair cascades over the shoulders of her gold-embroidered robes, sparkling …

  • Venom

    "And he had spread rose petals all over the bed. It was so romantic..." Abigail gushes, her face a deep red from the combined effect of too much wine and the confessed story. Scarlet smiles as she refills the girl's glass, feeling both happy for her …

  • Explanation

    "Royal Advisor Faisal, may I have a word?", Ildrim bows low. "Embarrassing me in public was not enough, you've come to do it in private too?" "My sincerest apologies Faisal. If you would give me a chance maybe you would understand my reasoning." …

  • Unredeemed

    A small group crowds around the crumpled body, remaining far enough back to avoid treading in the pool of congealed blood. The white cloth of the man's simple robe stands out in stark contrast to the dark, brown-red stains where the kukri hilt protrudes …

  • Pint-sized Paranoia

    "There's far too many of _them_ around the castle and the council, if you ask me", grumbles the heavyset gnome as he wipes the foam from his mouth with the back of his hand. "Bad enough that one of them was on the council, but now Duke?" Several other …

  • Venom (Part 3)

    Valainistima looks up as the lock clatters and the cell door opens. She composes herself, rising to face the portal with as much dignity as she can muster, ignoring the throbbing pain in her face. She carefully composes a scowl and readies herself to …

  • Translation

    Lulu looks up from the Keleshi tome as the chamber door rattles, happy to have a break from studying the complex script. bq. How can anyone learn such a flowery language? They must have thirty different words for 'sunshine'! Faisal shuffles into …

  • Understanding

    'No, the word would be _osvithir_, not _zhannir_', corrects Lulu, gesturing to a separate page of the scrolls. Faisal digs his claws into …

  • Hesitant

    Faisal stands quietly outside the heavy wooden door, uncertain about disturbing the pleasant conversation filtering from the room beyond. The warrior has forced himself to come this far and is wary of accepting an easy excuse to avoid the matter, …

  • The Gift

    Herbert shuffles along the pathway near the castle wall, repeatedly practicing his speech while trying not to turn back and run home. It had taken him nearly two months to work up the courage to approach Kayli and her parents to ask permission for …

  • Whispers

    Lulu quietly watches the holy warrior as she scans the area for threats. Although the third night in the quiet glade was no more likely to offer threat than the first, kobolds who were not wary of _everything_ rarely saw their tenth year. Her husband …

  • Disappearance

    The spray of magic bursts from the doorway and fills the room with near-blinding colors. Faisal staggers as a ray of sickly green light passes through his chest, causing a wave of severe nausea and weakness, while a yellow beam causes violent spasms of …

  • Done

    As the walls of the _maze_ finally fade away, Faisal looks across the glade to see Nyrissa's crumpled form surrounded by several of his companions. Lulu and Benny emerge from one of the doors in the small building as Ildrim casts a spell from Zuddiger’s …

  • Unburdening

    As Nyrissa's dying scream fades into the background and Nicholas and Shin begin arguing over pale green stones, Faisal rises and invites Scarlet to accompany him to a quieter area of the glade. After a moment's hesitation, the young woman sighs and …

  • Unburdening - Part 2

    As Scarlet stands speechless, her face growing even paler in the perpetual twilight of the First World, Faisal hastily continues. "Please understand, I only wish to properly express an apology for my behavior and offer some insight into the underlying …

  • Unburdening - Part 4

    Faisal bows his head briefly, unwilling to risk Scarlet letting go of his arm. "If you feel that my presence in this form serves *The Eternal Light of Compassion*, I shall consider the wisdom of your words. I do ask that you reconsider and allow …

  • Bedtime Stories

    "It required several years, but they finally managed to destroy the creature permanently. Its remains lie beneath the Radiant Temple as a reminder of The Lady of Eternal Light's triumph over the forces of darkness and chaos." The two children sit with …

  • Glossary

    h2. Glossary of Qadiran terms h4. Terms used by Faisal and other Qadiran NPCs |{width:170px}. _Abbun-_ (uhb-bun) | Masculine suffix meaning 'father of" | |{width:170px}. _Abu-_ (ah-boo) | Masculine and plural suffix meaning 'servant(s) of', usually …