Advanced Expert Poster
Joined: Aug 26, 2003
Location: Rocanis, Alastari
Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:42 pm
Return! General Pol with enemys’ all around has returned to the one place that may not kill him on sight; the Free Blade city of Rocanis. However, safety is not assured and it will take more than his sword arm to ensure he lives one more day.
Late in the evening, General Pol and what remained of his army, a Mytori Priest and a Rirorni Mystic, finally saw the peak of Spirit Ridge, the first landmark to tell weary travelers they were near Rocanis. Pol knew that traditionally, Rocani buried their most honored dead on the top of the ridge, so the Rocani tribes settled near where their ancestors might watch over and protect Rocanis. However, as the Rocani were a superstitious people, they didn't build their settlement too close to Spirit Ridge, fearing it might disturb the resting souls in Ahringol's realm, the land of the dead. Bah, thought Pol. Dead was dead. More likely, parents told children ghostly tales of grave robbers meeting an untimely end on the Spirit Ridge, likely to keep them from wandering off and falling prey to wildlife predators.
The trio hadn’t eaten much of anything for the past week traveling from the Rirorni plains to the only city that wouldn’t kill them on sight, or at least Pol hoped. He had been duped by the Free Blade Merchant guild to do their dirty work and remove a stubborn Duelmaster, so profits could be restored. While succeeding, there was something else going on, but before could learn the truth, the arena manager, Khel Rojida had given him an invite to the Isle of the Eye, to get rid of him.
Approaching Rocanis, a group of mounted Rocani intercepted them. They kept their distance, but two sped ahead towards the city. Obviously, to announce his return. He was a former Duelmaster of Rocanis after all and now an Alastarian Lord Protector. The first Rirorni Warlord Lord Protector, as far as he knew.
Approaching the cities gates, Pol assumed correctly, as there was party of a dozen Rocani waiting for them. Including the arena master himself, Khel Rojida. He was bald except for a fringe of short grayish hair on the sides and back of his head, and a neatly trimmed beard. He wore a full-length dusty beige tunic with upturned oversized cuffs and loose-fitting, oversized linen trousers with a gold sash around his waist.
“Like a bad turn, you keep showing up General Pol,” Khel said folding his arms across his chest.
“Is that how you greet a returning Duelmaster of Rocanis?” Pol asked.
“You are no longer Duelmaster.”
“But I’m still a gladiator,” Pol replied.
“Perhaps, but not in this city. You place is on the Isle of the Eye, or did Lady Greywand already send you packing for the Rirorni atrocities and war crimes?”
Khel sighed, “I have more important things to deal with then spar words with you. What do you want?”
“I’m returning to my stable with new recruits.” Pol motioned to his Mytori Priest and Rirorni Mystic. He cringed. They were in rough shape and didn’t pass as gladiator talent heading for anywhere expect the dark arena.
“Oh, I see. What stable are you referring to?”
“My old stable, Skull Squadron.”
“Skull Squadron?” Khel echoed. “So you are the manager now?”
Khel scratched his beard and said, “Last I remember, Grimwood was the manager of Skull Squadron, not you General.”
“He’s not here. He put me in charge, so until he returns…” Pol’s voice trailed off as a Rocani he recognized from his past emerge from the crowd.
The Rocani was in his late thirties and had plaited his long, course black hair into three thick, staggered braids with round silver holders clasped at the base and end. He had braided his goatee into several thick strands with a bronze clip fastening the ends together. He wore an off-white pullover outfit with a design of two stags facing each other. It was Grimwood the manager of Skull Squadron.
Grimwood cleared his throat. “General Pol, it’s been a long time. If memory serves, last time it was on opposite sides of battlefield during the Rirorni War.” Grimwood walked past him and looked over his two companions.
“There was much said and done during war that—“
Grimwood interrupted, “Perhaps, but I do not remember saying you were acting manager, or even a member of Skull Squadron, while I was away.”
Pol quietly growled under his breath. Any claim he had being a gladiator of the Skull Squadron was in paperwork only, drafted by the Free Blade Merchant Guild. He story wouldn’t hold any water with the actual manager standing before him. There was one last card he could play.
Khel Rojida stepped forward and said, “Throw these Rirorni—“
Pol interrupted and said quickly, “I ask for Dua. Protection from my enemies.”
Murmurs erupted from the Rocani.
After a few moment, Khel said, “You are no Rocani, you can’t—“
“I’ll grant Dua,” Grimwood said.
Pol smiled and motioned for his two companions towards Grimwood.
Khel grabbed Grimwood’s arm. “What are you doing ? He’s a Rirorni. His kind almost destroyed this city ten years ago. How many friends did you lose in the war to this warmonger?”
“I have not forgotten. However, these two were nothing but kids at that time. They were not part of the horde that invaded Alastari. I will take them into my stable, feed and train them. I will also grant Dua to any other Rirorni that comes to Rocanis,” Grimwood said and motioned them through the Rocani.
“However, the same can not be said for you General Pol,” Grimwood said as Pol attempted to follow. “You have deceived this city and are not welcome here. If it wasn’t for you claim for Dua, I’d have you killed where you stand. Go back to your empire or go to the Isle of the Eye. I care not, but you are no longer welcome in Rocanis.”
Pol’s men looked back at him. He nodded giving approval to stay. There was no point having them come with him. He couldn’t go back to the Rirorni Empire, but by right he did have a place on the Isle of the Eye as a Lord Protector. He thought it ironic that he fought bitterly against them during the Rirorni War, but now he was going to become one.
“I won’t apologize for the war, but I do ask for my horse to be fed and watered,” Pol said.
Khel Rojida said, “Get him a fresh horse and get him out of here. If you are found this side of Spirit Ridge again, you’ll be buried on top of it. Is my point understood?”
Pol nodded. “Clearly.”