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REPORTING FOR DUTY 5.17.09

Sun May 17, 2009 8:14 pm by Xathiador

Hello friends!

School ended for me a little while ago, and that means it is time to resume our positions. The graphic novel is underway again and so I will be active again at this forum! Big changes ahead, all for the better! It just keeps getting better and better! You all just haven't seen it yet. x_X But ya will soon! Stay tuned!

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Time to make BIG avies!!

Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:24 pm by Xathiador

That's right, friends, the avatar size limit on this forum is 150 by 200. Have at it~!

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Added some cool stuff for you guys

Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:13 am by Xathiador

More great things about this forum host seem to crop up all the time! I just added some widgets for you to mess around with, on the left column as well as a chatbox at the very bottom. Hopefully more cool things will be coming your way!

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Official mini/side story of SoK: First Lieutenant Halotene

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Official mini/side story of SoK: First Lieutenant Halotene

Post  Xathiador on Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:18 am

“What brings a Private directly to my chambers at this hour?” bellowed the angry voice of the King of the Equines, Xathiador. “S-sire,” stuttered the Private as he bowed his head to his front hooves, “M-my apologies; t-two of your men have not r-reported back for duty; and we—we think—we saw s-something earlier at about th-that time. It was hazy, b-but we th-think it was another horse; not one of ours. B-blank glowing eyes a-and the l-like.” The Private gasped for breath after finishing the sentence and looked at the marble floor rather than into the king’s red eyes. They were wide, and the King’s spike-crowned figure became rigid. “That was no horse, Private—that was the Omen Contretemps. And…she only shows up at the time of a tragedy—a manifestation of misery itself.”
Xathiador got to his feet. The Private bowed himself out of the room. “Lieutenant! Lieutenant Krone!” he called, and within seconds a dark, sleek, elegant figure galloped to the summoning of his king. He bowed, slowly and gracefully, and with a deep, calm voice, addressed the King. “What is your wish, my lord?” The charcoal figure was tall, well muscled, and had two elegant horns protruding upwards from the bridge of his nose. Instead of a horse’s tail, there was a tasseled and dark lion’s tail. His body was neatly scarred from many battles, most prominently on the handsome features of his face. “First Lieutenant Krone; I want you to fetch Second Lieutenant Halotene and organize a search party for the remains of the two Privates we lost tonight. We will search the Olde Woods.” Krone bowed once more. “As you wish, my lord,” he responded, and started to leave. “Oh—,” added Xathiador, “And ready the rolling cage. I intend to take this monster.” A faint flicker of a grin swept across the King’s face. Krone bowed his head in response and swiftly trotted out of the chamber.
Second Lieutenant Halotene waited patiently outside the chamber and greeted First Lieutenant Krone grimly. The Second Lieutenant was harlequin dark-brown-and-white, and wore bronze spiked armor on the ridge of his nose, forehead, and legs. He had this armor forged especially for him, for he was not born with the natural weapons or adornments of his grander brethren. Krone nodded in response to Halotene’s greeting, and they both exited the palace.

The processional was quickly ready. A team of Privates and the two Lieutenants were positioned to escort it, securing the sides. Two hideous blindfolded creatures—the slaves of Xathiador’s army—were harnessed to a sinister carriage. It was a cage, not unlike that of a circus procession, but crowned with jutting spikes for show, ornate wrought iron embellishments, and spikes outlining the large spoked wheels for gripping the ground. Soon, the King trotted out of his chamber and joined the processional to address the Lieutenants. They stood side by side, Krone considerably taller than Halotene, and bowed their heads as the King approached. “Well done, Lieutenant,” he clearly addressed Krone. “Go to the front—you will lead.”
“As you wish, sire,” Krone responded and trotted swiftly off.
“Halotene,” Xathiador snapped, “You will look after the Slaves and the rear guard.” And without further ado, Xathiador scoffed elegantly off and assumed his most secure position in the center.
“Onward!” commanded the deep voice of Lieutenant Krone, and the sound of hooves, a sharp command to the slaves and a creaking lurch of the harness and wagon were heard. The forest thickened and dampened, and soon the noises became strange and alien. Rustling could be heard every so often. The procession, with its eyes peeled and scanning, was approaching the swamp when one of the Privates let out a cry of surprise. “Something’s there! It’s—Contretemps!” – “No it wasn’t—it looked greenish to me, not grey or purple like they say she is!” – “Not so!” The group started to fall into disarray as a result of their building fear. “SILENCE!” commanded Krone. They fell to attention. The King spoke in a rage, “I order every one of you to keep your bearings! I am ashamed! Keep moving, cowards!” and they continued.
The ground was becoming muddier as the swamp neared them, and their pace slowed. The sinister cage buckled and tipped slightly, but as the soldiers moved to set the cage right, several sharp cries were heard. “She’s here! Contretemps!” yelled one of the troops, and sure enough, a ghastly equine figure—tragic grey in color with a purplish hue—approached them surrounded in a cloud of mist. She was semi-transparent, as if nonphysical, and had a mane and tail of weeping silver that extended beyond her height. She slowly turned her head, and hollow, white, glowing eyes struck fear into the procession. Not fear for her, herself, but fear for what she meant—tragedy upon them. All eyes were fixated in fear upon her—all except one pair. Halotene’s eyes were looking behind him, where two Privates had been standing near the edge of the swamp. Now, there were only drag marks in the mud, in their place. Halotene had witnessed their demise—they had been dragged into the swamp by a most dreaded creature of the forest: the Kelpie. He had seen her do it. Halotene lifted his head to meet the target of everyone else’s eyes. The spectral form of Contretemps began to flicker, as though projected in space. She began to fade, and then slowly turned her back and walked into oblivion.
Only now was the rest of the procession noticing the drag marks behind Halotene. The Second Lieutenant simply stood there, stock solid and staring back at them, with a horrified expression on his face. The party began to fall once again into disarray. This time, however, it was the voice of the King that broke the chaos. “SILENCE, I SAY!” he bellowed. The chatter dwindled at the sound of his voice. “I order you to make camp here for the night! Not a word! I want this creature. I will have this monster and use it for our army! We shall take our enemy and use it to our advantage, I say!” They obeyed.

The evening fell upon them by the time camp had been made, and luminaries were set both for light and in honor of the dead. Shadows of the equine soldiers flickered in the unsteady light. Halotene was resting beside Krone when the First Lieutenant was called into the King’s tent. Halotene lifted his head and pricked his ears.
“…an excellent job, Lieutenant,” Xathiador said, “We’ll catch her, that Kelpie. Indeed it was smart of you to identify her so quickly, and while we all were so preoccupied with that damn hallucination Contretemps!”
Halotene averted his attention. He replaced his gaze on the still water of the swamp. Several ripples appeared in the distance. Halotene got to his feet. Krone was just coming out of the tent when Halotene approached him. “Krone, my friend, might I have a word? A little further from camp, for privacy’s sake.”
“Of course, brother, let us go,” Krone replied, and obediently followed after Halotene. They soon walked side-by-side near the edge of the swamp and chatted. “I had never thought a Kelpie, of all beasts,” noted Krone conversationally to Halotene. “Such a shame to lose four good men in a day, isn’t it, my friend?” he inquired. “Certainly,” said Halotene, “and to such horrid of beasts as well. But, do you really fancy we can capture her?” he asked. “Why, certainly. This is the King’s Army after all, isn’t it, my friend?” Krone responded, with genuine pride. Halotene’s mouth twisted into a grin in agreement. The sound of their hooves sloshing through the mud was all that could be heard until Halotene remarked about the increasing slipperiness. “Yes,” said Krone in response, uncomfortably. Small loose rocks were now appearing in amongst the mud, and they watched their feet. But, in a swift, subtle, but absolutely deliberate movement, Halotene misstepped, and, his front hoof sliding on a rock through the mud, collided with one of Krone’s legs. He allowed himself to trip, shifting his weight and coming down full force onto the ground, he knocked Krone over in the direction of the swamp. Halotene’s forged armor pierced Krone’s legs, and Halotene shut his eyes upon impact with Krone and the ground.
When he opened them, bright, tragic grey mist clouded his vision. Two blank, hollow, glowing eyes met his directly in front of him. Fear struck him as a moment passed as he wondered if he would die as well. The spectre of Contretemps consumed his field of vision, and he forced himself to lurch up off the ground, straight forward and directly through the misty apparition. He turned around swiftly. The manifestation remained with him, and through her, he could see the desperate expression of a fallen Krone pleading up at him. He couldn’t get up in the mud—it was slippery, and more, something had grabbed him from the swamp behind him. “My friend—help me!” Krone pleaded. Halotene, dripping in mud, simply stood there, looking him directly in the eye. “My friend—run!” Krone then said, in a rasp, and then he was whisked into the depths. The flicker of the scaly green body of the Kelpie was seen, and was gone.

Contretemps faded into vapor and soon was gone as well.

Immediately, Halotene galloped off toward the camp. Covered in mud, sweat, and trying to catch his breath, he briskly entered the King’s tent. He bowed deeply. “What has happened to you?” Xathiador asked sternly. “Sire, it is not what has happened to me that you should be concerned about! It is poor Lieutenant Krone—I’m s-sorry, m’lord—there was nothing I could do—the Kelpie…” Halotene said breathlessly. Xathiador stood up slowly. “Y...you mean to say that…” he said heavily. “Yes, I’m so very sorry about him, sire.” Halotene answered. The king bent his spike-crested neck solemnly. “He will be missed, indeed,” the king said. “First Lieutenant Halotene,” he proceeded to address Halotene, “Tomorrow, we will seize that monster.”
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