(1874-07-24) Qatunax Stories: A New Keep
Qatunax Stories: A New Keep
Summary: After the events of Qatunax Stories: Through the Breach, where Darius and Cervantes took a keep that threatened the combined aequorian/galenthian forward camp (cervantes position), Darius lays claim to the Keep.
Date: 30th July 2018
Related: Takes place directly after the events of Qatunax Stories: Through the Breach
NPCs: None of Note
Darius  Cervantes  Alia  Bertram  Imogen  

A small keep in northern hellsmouth
A small keep consisting of a keep, curtain wall and barracks with a breached wall and burnt gate that stands in defense of the route between paras and steven's pass.

Last week the intrepid heroes assaulted a castle that had been under siege by the forces of the forward camp for over a month. This castle, once part of the d'Mollari holdings, provides protection for some of the route between steven's pass and paras itself, making it a useful asset which will only make the forward camp more secure during the days ahead. It is only a small keep and the garrison was badly outnumbered and unable to put up much of a fight until the heroes chased the defenders into the closed quarters of the castle. Here Darius fought the garrison commander to the death whilst Imogen, Alia, Sylas fought against eight quatunax guards. Cut off from reinforcements by conflicting tactical decisions by both Darius and Cervantes, the situation looked grim, with Alia and Susanna falling to enemy blades whilst Sylas struggled on despite his wounds. Cervantes entered towards the end, moving to assist Sylas, and the situation finally turned in the allies favor.

This week we discover the fall out, if any, for those political tactics. What did the imperials hope to claim by rushing to claim the keep first? Was it a just a rush to claim glory? Or something more..

There has been enough time for the dead to be removed, and those soldiers injured enough to require urgent, and immediate, treatment to start their journeys back to the forward camp, and for the various fires started by the heated fire sorcerers to be extinguished. You've all received some first aid, enough to get you back on your feet and into fighting shape, but there hasnt been enough time for any army movements to produce results. As a result you find yourselves inside the main hall of the keep, with bloody patches still about the floors, and smoke still hazing the air from the rough barricade of tables and benches that provided some minor protection during the assault. Outside in the yard the two armed forces are resting up whilst they wait for new orders.

Darius pushes the Medico away. "I'm fine you bloody mothering Elementi." He grumbles and strides away form the man. He grabs the first Centurian he can find by the color of His Lorrica. "2nd Century. Walls. First Century. In Formation. Send two squads to make sure the Artillary is … Friendly." Then he strides into the Castle. He knows his soldiers, the more disciplined in the region, will know what to do from there.

He nods to Alia as he passes the woman. "Still standing Sorcerer? Good. With me." He draws his Gladius, a thing made of lightsilver and inlaid rosegold. Then flips it to hold it by the blade and pass it to her. "You are woefully underarmed. I'll begin giving you proper lessons later and see you with a Lightsilver of your own once the seasons are right. For now, keep that with you. The Lightsilver lets you channel your fire into it. Again. Lessons later. For know the cutting edges you apply to your enemy. Or stab them until they stop moving or cry about their mothers." He nods once more to her and continues on his way.

Once he walks into the Castle he looks around, his glaive held easily in his hands and addresses the room. "This is now Imperial territory. I am more than willing to see you resupplied, but your soldiers will need to move out of the castle." He smiles to those colonials he can see. "Don't worry. I'm sure your "Senate" will debate this just as much as they debate Paras. But for now, let's leave it to them shall we?"

Imogen has been a bit preoccupied since the fight ended, what with her handmaid having rushed to protect her and the unborn child and then falling (thankfully temporarily) in battle. She's seen the girl is tended to and will pull through and arrives back just in time to hear darius lay claim to the fort, which she reacts to with a laugh, though it's notably amused. "I see you don't waste time princeps, but I would think dovi is not overmuchly concerned with this fort right now, not when there are still so many qutanux to defeat, I would only ask you allow those fighting against the qutanux with you to shelter and supply here when necessary," she states, the words are amused if nothing else at his sidden need to laim the fort, but it seems the battle has put her in no mude to truly dispute with the man today.

Alia had, though it has been difficult to surmise when her enemy had struck his blow, not actually ended as one of the ill-fated soldiers who had now been cleared from the keep, only unconscious. And no magic had been required to wake her. Only the sort of strong smelling salts that were easy enough to find in a healer's kit. But she looked worse for wear to be sure, blood, that her hair was dark enough to hide having painted her temple in crimson. She had taken no other wounds, or so it would seem, until Darius had passed her, and, following his orders without question, as she had since the engagement began, she pushed herself to standing, following beside him, the stiffness in her gait a sure sign that she was forcing some leg injury into submission.

The look of surprise that painted her face, as he handed her his own blade, she quickly mastered, the expression morphing itself into one that would have been more familiar. It was attentive and inquisitive. Learning..was a thing, "Stick them with the pointy end, my Lord?" That brought a trace of a smile to her lips, whether or not Darius' attention was still turned enough toward her for him to see it, as she grasped the weapon as he handed it off, and having no sheath in which to hold it, simply kept it close to her side. Ad then, she did as she had been bidden, and followed him into the hall.

Cervantes walks into the castle, fully armored and great sword in hand, albeit sheathed. thus does he wave off a medics care. "Tis a scratch, leave me be." he had already positioned his men around the inner walls and around the perimeter, Letting Darius's men have the walls.

But now it was time for a decision. as Darius makes his vast demand, Cervantes grins. "I wouldn't be so quick to claim a territory as yours. as it stands, two forces wait in this Hall." Cervantes challenges Darius, looking him in the eyes and approaching him.

"That is close enough to true." Darius says to Alia with a shrug. "We'll get you a Sorcerer's Lorrica as well. You're a valuable asset to the Legion, and the Empire at present." He nods one and then gives her a wink. He may be all business, but he also knows that individual morale is important. That simple wink is just to let her know that everything will be fine.

He casually looks at Cervantes and gives him a look that in teh west that says, careful with the words you use peasant. "I'm sorry. I see a group of armed peasants, and then my soldiers." He gestures with one hand. "As to who claims what, shouldn't you, as a Galenthian Colonial, ask your leashe holder what you try to do before you do it?" He looks over Cervantes then shakes his head. "Let me explain this slowly for you Colonial."

He gestures to outside the castle. "As we speak, I have men taking if not already taken the walls. Each of thsoe men are armed with Repeating Crossbows. More than enough to puncture the ragged scraps you armor your so called soldiers. At the same time, I have a line of troops having been formed and ready to hold your … " He looks back to Cervantes, "You're really calling them soldiers? Well alright then. AHEM Soldiers in place. Men are in position to claim the siege engines. Or near enough. You've been outmanuevered."

He turns to face Cervantes, his eyes holding a mirthful glance to them. "And let me explain why you One damned Colonial Half Wit. Becuase you care more for glory, and more for claiming territory for your leash holder than you do about defeating these Savages. Yes. You faught well. Your skill is questioned, but your leadership is pathetic. I have Squad Leaders in my Legion who can lead armies better than you. A General does not fight form the front until his skills are specifically needed. You charge recklessly forward. Let me hazard a guess why shall we?" He points a finger at Cervantes' chest. "Because you have anger management issues. Because you have the education of a goddamned farmer, or you were more interested in lugging that piece of iron you call a sword than you were about paying attention to your instructors. The results are the same." He dismisses Cervantes with a wave of his hand.

"Either through negligence, incompetance, or whatever the Abyss passes for Drink on this side of the mountain you are ill prepared to lead men in battle." Darius shakes his head. "Leave. Or will you posture some more and perhaps THINK you can pressure me? If you do, then answer me this ONE simple question. What is this Castle to you? I have purpsoe for my move. Purpose that ACTUALLY assists our cause. Can you say the same Colonial?"

For the duration of the fight, Bertram and a section of sappers have been underground. It was their digging and then firing that collapsed the portion of the wall, and although he had nothing to do with the construction of the ram, the Terrier Knight has paused his walk from the edge of the tunnel to observe it with a nod of appreciation. He's wearing his typical brigandine suit in muted colours, though a red and black tabard with the d'Armaz keys and rose on it covers his vest. He's arrived through the gate just to catch the nasty tirade that Darius unleashes on Cervantes. With little skin in the game, the d'Armaz knight is more amused than anything. "He's got you at that, Galenthian." No one asked him, but there he says it anyways.

Imogen just kinda…watches cervantes with a look that can only say 'please don't do this' but he does, and then darius smells blood and rushes in for a kill, a kill that imo doesn't protect him from. "The princeps is right, the galenthian forces were asked to cram into the outside passages to stop escape, instead you opted to rush inside with darius, going against rders from a fellow commander, who techincally outranks you. Wether you did it for glory or perhaps ignorance i don't know, but though the princeps speaks a bit harshly perhaps, he is not incorrect Your Excellency," she remarks from where she sits on the floor.

Alia…having set herself no far from where Darius has stopped, remained entirely and completely silent. She, unlike the other leaders gathered in the room, has no place to speak her own opinions regarding the current verbal battle. And so, she, instead, offers herself as what, it is quite likely Darius brought her in form, which is a show of force. Not a soldier to be sure, despite the fact that she bears as fine a sword as she has ever seen in her years, but as a sorcerer. A weapon of a different sort, but no less powerful for all of that. And in her silence, she allows her attention to move from player to player, marking their responses and their remarks.

Cervantes simply stands and listens as Darius goes on his spiel, his eyes do shift to Imogen halfway through and notices her look, though he also seems to ponder. Though at many of the insults Darius throws at him, he simply can't help but smile, as if amused by them. He waits patiently until Darius is finished. "Oh? am I allowed to speak now? Oh, excellent. Firstly, I like you. Fire in your gut, strong spirit." He says as he watches Darius bring the heat. "Oh, Education of a farmer? I like that one." He then cracks his neck a little bit.

"Though something tells me you don't like the way I lead. Oh well. I prefer to lead by example rather than expect things to go smoothly if I'm not directly at the head of the pack. Though I've been called many things because of it. What can I say? I'm more of a fighter than a leader, but…the One works in many ways."

He then chuckles, before he lifts a hand. "Relax, I don't want this fort. What I want is what's to the south. What is it called again? Nojpeten? I plan to rebuild what was lost there." Though his eyes also sharply gaze upon Imogen. "Hm? Oh, he's kinda a asshole about the whole contemporary speech thing. Probably a vanity thing more than anything, but he's not incorrect." Though he also looks back to Darius.

"Well, I initially planned to use this as a foothold for further campaigns. Though if anything, we probably pissed off the Qatunax bastards at the door. Buuuut if you want to use this as a staging ground for your Imperial brethren, feel free. Though I suggest we use this as an alliance staging ground. Though I will suggest."

His eyes grow darker. "Well, I shouldn't have to explain." before his happy-go-lucky smile returns. "Anyway, will we throw insults at each other the whole day and bark orders at people not under our command like children or shall we do anything actually useful like plan our next move?"

To Imogen, Darius dips his head. "Thank you your Excellency. I will speak to d'Korbina personally about this, unless you wish to convey a message to your husband?" Then he looks back to Cervantes and listens as the man speaks. He leans over to Alia and stage whispers, "I swear. Every Colonial thinks that neck thing is intimidating. Every male Colonial I've run across does it. Is it some tradition here in the West? Do I need to start doing that?"

Then he looks to Cervantes. "If you want to take Nojpeten, you'll need many more troops and will take considerable losses. In exchange for you surrendering claim to this castle, I'll send the Imperial Scouts down to get accurate numbers for you." He shrugs. "I may even send a Cohort to your battle if I can spare one heading that far south."

He gestures to the castle. "For now. I suggest my men repair this place and bring it up to Imperial Standards. It is going to be a balwark and first line of defense for Paras. Plus it brings us that much closer to having a complete line to Hellsmouth. Once we have that we can feed this region for our side. Which is important."

Bertram listens quietly for a while, before saying to Darius, "I'd like to see your Imperial standards." He's got no hint of deferrence in his mannerism. Nor any education in them, either.

Imogen meets eyes with Cervantes when he looks over at her, she's clearly trying to tell him to shut up with her eyes, but she lacks the spine to tell him as much. She can face down hundreds of qutanux armed with nothing but a bow fearlessly, but put her in confrontation with a civilised person? No thank you! Alas that means she can't stop him from rambling more and risking to worsen the situation, so when Darius responds to her words she's quick to jump on the opportunity to respond and keep the situation from developing further.

"I was planning to report on events that went down here as it was, if there's something you'd like for me to pass on to my husband for you until the pair of you can meet, I'd be happy to do so princeps," unlike with cervantes, she's ironically much more polite to darius, that could be the fact he has some ten thousand soldiers with him, or just because unlike cervantes, darius hasn't been a pain in d'korbina's hindquarters in recent weeks.

Alia, returning her attention when she saw Darius turn his gaze to her, tipped her head to listen to the words though they were not, by any stretch of the imagination difficult to hear. Her own tone was cool, neither coloured by vehemence or anger, her accent one that had the regional accents of d'Korbina county as its base, with the broader strains of Four Corners laid over it, "Perhaps the armor is poorly fitted, my Lord. But if the choice were mine, I would not encourage picking up such a habit." She turned, as his attention shifted elsewhere, back to the group, though her posture shifted slightly, to allow her to set most of her weight on her right leg, rather than the left. She had, perhaps the luxury of being without armor of any sort, and so was able to do it without the noise and creak of armor.

Cervantes notices the look from Imogen. Though he does love to talk to Ludovic, he will proooobably hear about this later. Either way, he smiles softly to Darius. "Yeah, we'll be facing a lot. If you want to help out, feel free. We're kinda used to fighting with odds 3 or even 10 to one. Sometimes it turns out okay." He's WAY too C'est la vie. Murians for you. "If anything, it should be one helluva fight. But hey, we'll take the help." situational allies, after all. "Anyway, sounds like we had the same idea for this being a staging ground, first line of defense, whatever you'd like to call it. So I agree, not that you need it." Though he rubs his neck then. "Besides, It's more d'Korbina that has a claim to this place. It was never mine to begin with." he shrugs. Though he has a feeling Imogen won't speak up about that, so might as well help out.

"Anyway, what happens to this fort is between you and d'Korbina, or whatever the hell the Senate tries to decide. So…ahve fun with that mess." and he then looks to his nearby commandant. "Tell the men we're pulling out. Make preparations to head southwest, and establish a forward camp. Be ready to move on my mark." He looks then to Darius. "Consider my claim withdrawn. and about the neck thing? Many people do that. I think it's supposed to? But I always hated it. I just had a creak in the neck, ya know?" either way, he looks to Darius. "Anyway, let us know if you need a hand."

Darius nods to Bertram. "You can learn something. Though I'm not sure you'd understand it all." He shrugs. He has no idea who this Fuck-Wit is, but he's also not about to pass teaching these colonials how to do something properly. SOMEBODY has to educate the masses. Might as well be him.

He then looks to Imogen. "First. No more damn duels. You Aequorans like them way to much and their bloody flaming stupid. Second, this castle is a natural defense to Paras, and this close to the Qatanex territory I took it as a frontline defense incase the Savages break through the Arkanin lines." He leaves that implication unsaid. "Third, the offer from the Empire still stands and will do so until such time as it is a moot point."

He nods to Cervantes as he issues his orders. He looks to one of his runners. "Tell the Centurians what has happened. Then get a message to Paras to bring up the res tof your Cohort. We'll need the bodies to get the outer fortificatiosn repaired and a forward defensive in place." He turns to leave then stops and looks to Alia.

"Your name is … Alia." He pauses and considers. "What is your Surname Sorcerer?"

Bertram shrugs. "Maybe not. Maybe I will." His expression remains a blank slate. Maybe the man is simple. "I know a bit about building."

There was something very much like gratitude, in the mien that had settled on Alia's face. That these allies, as opposed as they were to each other, would not be going to war in the hall. She was only one woman, and that would be a terrible lot of people to stick with the pointy end of her sword. But there was also something very much like satisfaction in her eyes,a s she saw the forces of the western allied kingdoms see reason enough to relinquish any claim they might have on the fort before it had come to useless blows.

As Darius turned, she stepped to join him, the question coming just as she began to turn away from the allied forces, "d'Meloni, my Lord."

Imogen isn't even going to touch the in cervantes tries to give her about the fortress, there will be talk about paras, and all the lands the imperials try to lay claim to, and most assuredly their being here won't be a permanant thing, but she is NOT starting that topic right now. She grins and nods at Darius's instructions, at one point opening her mouth, likely to protest she's technically galenthian, but then just shutting it and turning to leave, before Alia speaks and she pauses, arching an eyebrow curiously.

"We don't … " He clears his throat. "We don't call people Lord or Grace or any of that." Darius says gesturing with one had. "We don't have them, so why use them? I am either Praetor, or Princeps. The Closest the West has to that is General for Praetor or Your Highness for Princeps, which I guess is like a Prince? The Literal Translation is First among the People. It's the son or Daughter of the Emperor. So even my younger brother's are Princeps. So was my older sister." He shakes his head. "Not the point. You now hold the Rank of Tribune in the Auxiliary. Because you are the most useful that has been recruited. You have legal claim to lands we'll be fighting for. You should have right of voice in that. At the same time, you have a lot to learn. You can start by commanding this Castle." He turns to leave. "If you don't know how, Learn. The Centurians will teach you."

Bertram seems pretty bored by the talk about titles, and auxiliaries and all that. Then again, he's pretty good at emptying his mind out when he wants. There isn't always that much in it.

Cervantes then looks at Darius with a small nod and a look of amusement. Ah, seeing the differences in how people do things in different kingdoms and empires is extremely amusing to witness. Either way, Cervantes shrugs and turns on his heel. waving behind him, sheathed greatsword being placed on his back, where it should be. Besides, he never liked formality anyway, which is why he refers to people by first names unless he HAS to. Either way, he turns heel to leave, given his job is now complete. He does however, give a wave behind him without vocally saying goodbye.

Alia took the instruction with good grace, taking no offense to the fact that she was being instructed in front of god and everyone. It was not as though it was difficult to make out that despite having allied herself with the Imperials, that the woman was not one herself. "My apologies, Princeps." She chose, in this instance, the title which, in her, admittedly western understanding, held a position of higher rank than the other, "I will not fail in my duties." However new they might be to to the woman, "I will begin my lessons immediately." And as Darius turns away, she moves to depart with him, still holding that sword close to her body, as much to protect it, as to protect anyone she might pass from her unskilled hand.

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