Borders Drawn in Blood

The Escape From MIlan

Ettore and Nizar quickly spring into action with Victoria quickly following behind to offer their support at helping Dominique. I on the other hand am still shocked at my appearance. ‘Do I still have my powers too?’ As I get up the shadows under me cling to my skin as if they were a light blanket. ‘Yep, looks like it. But how, if we are back here then it didn’t happen and it was a dream but I still have the powers so it must have been real. That is not possible.’ Although the rest of my friends are fighting with what appears to be the Waif, I do not follow and instead keep my distance. I am not ready to show them my ‘new’ self just yet.

They quickly dispatch him, almost slicing him in half at the finishing blow. The rest of them quickly begin searching the room while Rose’s son and I watch for enemy reinforcements. The find a secret room adjacent to this one, Ettore finding a trap on the way in, the hard way. I hear the rest of them moving about but no fighting so I keep watch a little longer as I watch the fire in the church slowly spread. I stay there until my curiosity gets the best of me and I take a peek at whats inside. I see what appears to be some sort of dungeon with three women, with a disturbing amount of similarities to Victoria, shackled to the wall, several boxes and chests and a desk. The women appear to be injured and hysterical but they appear to be healthy enough to move. ‘This guy is sick.’

As Ettore and Nizar quickly work to release the girls and open the chests Dominique holds onto his partially melted sword despite Victoria’s grumblings. Then I notice Victoria staring at me, ‘has she noticed already?’. And now Dominique is staring at me, “what do I have something on my face?” I respond knowing full well they have noticed my pale skin. Though Nizar is pale, for him, after our fight, why are they looking at me?

After we released the women and gathered all of the valuables in the room, we quickly make our escape. Just outside of the church we see Messini leading a group of his own knights and Gelf soldiers toward the church. ‘That traitor!’ We quickly give him the slip, the three women make a brake for it at the first chance they get, and end up by the inner wall. We find a good spot to climb up and I scramble up to the top, tie a rope off and throw the other end down to the others. Victoria makes her way up first, she makes surprisingly good head way at first but gets stuck about mid way up. I quickly grow anxious and begin pulling her up. All the meanwhile I am looking to my right and left, studying the soldiers on the walls to make sure they don’t spot me. I almost get Victoria up when one of them sees me, in a panic I move into the shadows along the wall and allow it to envelope me. I can see them become confused and begin moving away. At that point I quickly help the rest of them up and we begin moving people down the other side. With all of us now on the wall, the guards spot us and move to intercept. We quickly climb down, though some of us fall, the other side of the wall escaping our pursuers.

We now find ourselves in a burning city full of crazed plague victims. ‘Out of the frying pan…’ We manage to shuffle our way around the plague victims without in-sighting their rage and make it to the outer wall. The victims crowding around the gate on the other hand do attack us and we fight defending ourselves. During the skirmish Victoria yells “Hey check this out” and light springs forth from her fingers burning some of the plague victims. ‘Now if she can do that and everybody is fine with it, I don’t see them not accepting what I can do. Maybe.’ Dominique yells out and the rest of the plague victims run from him. We manage to make it out of the city to find Victoria’s army fighting each other. Not knowing which side has betrayed the other and not wanting to join the chaos, we avoid all conflict and make it to the woods. Shortly after we meet up with Uggucioni who, along with Adolometto, were the only ones who didn’t betray us, however we had no way of knowing if Adolometto was still alive. After getting caught us on events, we part ways with his army as we head back to Verona.

That night we discuss with each other what had happened to each of us when we entered the room. Each of us had a different, though similar themed, vision and each of us was tempted by the Waif, or whatever he was. They each told their story and how, in different ways, they refused his ‘help’ and were killed in their vision. I went last, which made things a whole lot worse since I was the only one who did accept the ‘help’ and was the only one who didn’t die in my dream. And it appeared that my shadow was tired of hiding for when I began to retell my tail, it began acting on its own, to the shock of the rest of my friends. After I retell what had happened, my friends are rightfully shocked at what I have done but ultimately I think they are somewhat accepting, if not worried, of what transpired with me. Now that the easy part is finished, I am extremely worried about the second part, how do I tell Carine?

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My Vision

Ettore awakens in his house and everyone around him is dead including his family. Blood is all over him and his clothes. He is 17, not the 12 year-old who saw them in this state originally.

His childhood friend, Marco aged 12, appears and hurriedly tells Ettore that they need to leave.

Ettore finds his brother fighting alongside other Venetians … He assists his brother in the fight. Marco says that he can help if Ettore lets him … Ettore’s hands erupt in flame. Scared and panicked Ettore tries to dowse his hands in the nearby canal … unsuccessful. Marco continues to whisper in Ettore’s ear, like the buzzing of a gnat, to trust him and to relax and put Ettore’s trust in him and this fighting will cease.

Ettore, out of breath, looks up at the sky thunders and crackles with lightening. Kneeling beside the canal, daggers down, and hands still enflamed he begins to pray. He opens his eyes in time to see the cardinal emerge from the weather above. Ettore closes his eyes again to pray …

This time when Ettore opens his eyes he is back standing within the doorframe to the room that Dominic was in. This time, however, Dominic is across the room fighting.

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Jasmine's Rescue

As I move into the room with the bright white light, I see Ettore and Friedrich stopped by the door. The shadow from the floor is slowly covering them. I move toward Dominic and his opponent. My protection from evil spell is now a visible sphere around me and I can see it is eroding. I move and flank the person dominic is fighting and it is the waif we lost in the camp. It appears he is once more possessed. As he catches Dominic’s sword in his bare hand. When Dominic wrenches it free there are red hot melted finger grooves in the metal. I attack the waif, but my hits only leave small chips in his stone like skin. The last of my Protection spell is unraveled and the shadow from the floor engulfs me.
I am standing at the bottom of the stairs I the Emir’s castle in Sicili. A soldier on the first landing says If I hurry I can save her. I rush up the Stairs to Jasmine’s room. As I pass the soldier I realize he had the waif’s face.
I burst into the room and six soldiers are just starting to rip Jasmine’s clothes off. I slaughter them in a round. I have all of the Skill, Knowledge and Equipment of the my older self. Jasmine throws herself into my arms, and I have not felt this alive for over 5 years. We must leave this place though. As I bring her out , killing anyone in my path, We reach the courtyard. It is full of soldiers and in the center stand the Emir and 2 of the Dervish. I will never be able to kill them all and protect Jasmine at the same time. I here the waif’s voice, “I can help, you only need to ask”. So I ask him to help, I must not fail Jasmine again.
Knowledge and Powers fill my mind, I have but to will it and my enemies will fall before me. And I WILL IT!!! My hands burst into flame, but it does me no harm, and the court yard breaks apart and the shadows reach up and pull them all toward hell. I have been on the receiving end of this power before, I like it this way much better. As Jasmine and I walk calmly across the court yard, I stop and casually behead the Emir. Now we can leave by the boat I arranged.
The Waif’s voice is back, “Why leave, You could rule here. I could give this Kingdom and more to you , you only need to ask.” I refuse, I have never wanted to rule only keep the one’s I love safe. My thoughts turn to my friends, How will they survive if I am not there to save them. I must get to Venice and save them as well, now that Jasmine is safe. We sail to the mainland and buy horses, And start the 2 month over land journey to Venice, I hear rumors of a New Pope Corvo, and preparations for a war with the east. This is not right, none of this happened. During the entire trip the Waif’s voice is saying he can help, I need but ask and he can allow me to bring Allah’s worship to this entire peninsula, all of Italy and even the Holy Roman Empire will fall before my and Allah’s might, the catholic faith will be wiped out. I only need ask and I can bring Allah’s peace to the entire continent, no more war, famine and plague. All the children can grow up happy and well fed, all I need to do is ask for his help.
It would be so easy, I think to myself, I could save all these people. But no, this is not right, my friends are Catholic and they are good people, I do not have the right to do this. I have saved Jasmine and that is enough.
We finally reach Venice and it is prepared for war, the Plague collector soldiers are everywhere, and many other troops as well. I see open fighting on the streets as neighbors settle old scores. This is chaos, I can bring them peace, I only need to ask. But no, I will not ask. I reach the docks looking the ship that brought me here, It never arrives, now what, Jasmine and I move across Venice to the house Victoria was staying at, It is empty. So I go to look for Ettore. When we reach his neighborhood it is a war zone. I see Ettore in the middle of it all, jumping from boat to boat surrounded by enemies. I hide Jasmine in an abandon building and move to help him, but I will never make it in time. The sky above him rips open and begins to rain fire. “I need only ask, as the knowledge and power slip back into my mind”, how can I let the boy I saved , that I trained and helped shape into the young man he is, die when I have the power to save him? Suddenly Ettore’s hands burst into flame. YES! he can save himself and I will not have to watch my friend die. But what is he doing?, He drops his daggers and stares at his hands in horror. I then see the Cardinal, with a beautiful woman at his side moving toward Ettore and instead of defending himself, or using his new powers, drops to his knee’s to pray. He has rejected to offer of power!!! The cardinal and the woman reach him before I can and she touches Ettore and he crumbles into ash. I rush toward them, intent on killing her, “you only need ask and I can give you the power” whispers a voice. No!, I will dismember her with my weapons. Reaching her my weapons do no damage, and shatter at her gesture. “you only need to ask, all is not lost” No!! As she reaches out to touch me, blackness engulfs me.
I awake back in the brightly lit room, Dominic is still fighting, I must help him, even though I feel bruised all over.

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You Either Die a Hero, Or See Yourself Become the Villain

I am staring my captain in the eye, a man who supposed to have died five years ago. I can’t believe it, this isn’t right and yet here he is, here I am. With the equipment from five years from now, I am the same man as five years from now, with the same scar as five years from now.
“Well, do you think you can find me the white elk?” The captain looks at me then looks beside me, I turn my head to see Patch, my best friend, who is suppose to die a few months from now. But only its not him, I know it to be him but his face, it’s wrong, it’s of the Waifer we met in Italy, the one we lost in the camp outside Milan. “Is there a problem Friedrich?”
“Um no sir, no problem. Though just out of curiosity, have you heard any grumbling from the men, any malcontent?”
“No I haven’t, there has been no word and there will be no rebellion in my camp, I wont here of it.”
“Yes, sir, sorry sir. I will find you that elk then.” I turn and walk out of the tent, Patch at my side. We leave the camp as we did five years ago, but unlike five years ago shortly out of ear shot, I tell Patch to hold up.”
“What’s going on?” he asks.
“We are not going to hunt for that elk.”
“Well I didn’t think so considering you need to go save your captain.”
“How did you know, are you one of the conspirators?”
“No, no, but you can’t save them alone, I can help you. Think about it, you will be a hero, you would climb the ranks of the army, maybe become knighted, maybe even having a nice piece of land to call your own. All you have to is ask, and I can help you accomplish this.”
“What is your angle on this, what do you get if I ask for your help?”
“I don’t have an angle, I am just interested in your decision.”
My decision? Who is this guy? Why does he wear the face of the young Waifer, and how can he want nothing in return? I am no business man but I know nothing is free. There has to be something.
“Well, what will it be?”
I look at him, then at the ground, then back at him. “My decision?” I move my hand to the Corvo mace. “This is my decision!” I swing the mace at his head and crush it in one strike. His body falls to the ground dead, it’s not the mangled Waifer’s I see, it’s Patch’s face. ‘Well that isn’t what I expected’. I move quickly back to camp, as I near it I can here fighting in the distance. I make it to the outskirts of the camp, I had behind a bush so no one can see me. The captain and his forces are doing a great job of getting their arsch handed to them. They are surrounded by an out numbering force, there is one man who appears to be in charge on horseback. I take out the spyglass and look to see if I recognize him, I might not be able to kill him now but maybe I can kill him after all of this is over. My jaw nearly hits the ground when I see his face, it’s Mastino Della Scalla, Cangrande’s nephew. ‘Well I certainly can’t kill him, Cangrande will be pissed.’
Someone falls to one knee next to me, he is breathing heavy as if he ran to join me. “Man its one hell of a fight out there, are you gonna join them?” I look over, its another soldier who just came out of the fight, but he has the Waifer’s face. “Are you just gonna stand here or are you gonna save your captain?”
“There are too many of them, I would be picked off before even getting close to them.”
“No, all you would have to do is hit the guy on horseback, kill him and the rebels will run. You will be a hero.”
“The guy is about 1000 yards away, not even I can hit him from here.”
“Here, try this.” The Waifer takes out an arrow and gives it to me. “Here, its a lucky arrow.” He then touches the tip. The tip of the arrow turns shadowy and black as I hold it. The shadow creeps up the shaft until it covers the entire thing, the tip now appears to be rotting and the shadow is dripping off of it.
I stand up, take the arrow with two hands and stare at it for a moment. ‘Do I shoot it, I would be a hero to my homeland, not a disgrace. But if I do this, and I stay in the Empire, what will happen to my friends? Would they even be able to take on the cardinal without me?’ And what would happen to Carine if I stayed here, and my son….’ My train of thought trails off at that point. I take the arrow, grasp it firmly and break it over my knee.
“What are you doing, I don’t have an unlimited amount of lucky arrows.”
“This is what it should be, I can’t help them, I won’t make it to Italy if I do.” I watch as the traitors finish off my comrades, my friends. Five years ago I would have given anything to come back here and help them, to fight and possibly die beside them. Now there is too much at stake, if this is real, who knows what would happen if the cardinal succeeded, who would be able to stop them. The traitors begin burning the countryside, my home. I watch for a moment, I look to see if there is anybody I can help, I then take my leave.
“Where are we going?”
“To the lord commander, just like before.”
“You think he will just let you go, you are a traitor and a deserter. You will be killed.”
“He let me go last time, he should do it again.”
“Yes, but that was because Patch vouched for you last time, you made sure that it won’t happen this time. I don’t think I will do as good of a job backing you up as he did.”
“We will see.”
It appears that the Waifer is following me to the castle. He is acting like any soldier would, jovial, trying to make small talk and the like. He has stopped tempting me with deals which I am grateful for. We make it to the castle, and I tell my story to the general, just like before only the Waifer is with me. He doesn’t believe me, he orders me executed. This isn’t suppose to happen, this is not what happened before! I plead with him: “I will do anything to prove my innocence, name it and I will do it”.
“Anything?”
“Anything.”
He pauses of a moment, “You will die”.
The soldiers begin to approach me to lock me in irons. “You know, you wont make it out alive without my help, there are too many of them. All you have to do is ask”.
“Fine, I need your help.”
“Then run!” We make a break for it, run past the immediate guards and make it to the stairs. Its then when he nudges me into a shadowy wall. Before I can do anything, the shadow envelops me like cool fine silk. I go into the wall and I see myself emerge from a large bolder 200 yards outside the castle. As I emerge the shadows cling to me. I quickly shake them off but the cool feeling lingers. Thats when I notice that my skin has become pale and cool to the touch. ‘Well that is concerning, hope its not permenant.’ Fortunately this time the Waifer does not follow. I quickly run from the castle as I can here the troops are mustering, no doubt there are getting ready to look for me.
I make my way south to the place where the slave caravan was ambushed. Maybe, my friends will be there and we can meet up the same as before. As a venture down, I hear of a great war brewing in the east. It also seems to have started in Venice. ‘What war, there isn’t suppose to be any war at this moment. Sure the crusades are ongoing but not like this. Me changing of events didn’t cause this, did it?’ I make it to the ambush site, and I wait. The day comes, no caravan. A wait another day, still nothing. ‘Maybe they got delayed or never left Venice. I need to go there.’ I make my way farther south, avoiding Imperial troops headed to Venice. ‘I must be headed in the right direction, everything seems to be converging on Venice.’ I make it to the Veneto and see banners of all colors there as tens of thousands of troops are camped outside of Venice. ‘Who are these people, what are they doing there? There is no way I caused this.’ I ask some villagers what is going on.
“The new Pope has called a new war against the east. He has united all of the nations of Christendom to fight in the crusade.”
“Wait, new Pope, what new Pope? What happened to the old Pope?”
“Well, after Pope Gregory died, they voted on a new Pope. They voted for the cardinal of Florence, he is now Pope Corvo.”
My heart sinks in my chest. ‘No, this isn’t possible. How did he- when did he- WHAT IS GOING ON! There is only one thing to do now, see if I can meet up anybody. I will start with Ettore, I think I remember where is old house is.’ I manage to catch a ferry to Venice proper. What awaited me was a city in complete chaos. Rival families opening fighting in the streets, corpse collectors trying to impose martial law upon the city, troops from several different nations cutting their way across the city, trying to maintain order. I slowly make my way toward Ettore’s house, avoiding as much fighting as I can. On the way, I bump into a soldier and he turns to me “Where are you headed?”. I turn to respond, he has the Waifer’s face.
“I was wondering if you would show up again.”
“What do you mean, I have always been with you. Even before all of this.”
“Sure you have,” I say with skepticism. “I am headed to Ettore’s house if you must know”.
I continue to head to Ettore’s house, the Waif follows me unfortunately. Despite the rest of the city in turmoil, this part of the city is early quite. I turn the corner to enter the campo to see bodies littered everywhere. I check them to see if I recognize anybody but fortunately come up with nothing. I make my way up the stairs to the apartment, I cautiously enter to see a room painted with gore. Dead bodies of both Ettore’s family and what appeared to be hired thugs litter the apartment. Although Ettore’s family is dead, the thugs on the other hand have been eviscerated. Some of them are almost cut in half. I check again and again do not find Ettore living or dead. Now I have nothing, no leads nowhere to go, nothing.
“We must leave here, it is dangerous to linger,” says the Waif behind me.
“For once I agree with you.”
We quickly leave the area, as we do I pull a random idea out of my head. ‘Maybe Abbot Morosini will know what to do, if anything he might be able to bless me or do whatever Dominic does to help people keep their minds strait and get me out of this dream, if this is a dream.’ I make my way to the docks, and after making a couple wrong turns I make it there to find some of the heaviest of the fighting is here. As I ponder how I am going to get around this mosh-pit, I see Ettore come out of the shadows on the far side of the fighting and jump into the fray. I am too far away to yell and get his attention and the only way to get closer is through this hoard of bodies.
“You wont make it you know,” comes a voice from behind me “without my help that is.”
“I don’t want you help!” I charge forward, taking a few out with arrows at first then, when I am closer, I lunge into the fray with the Corvo mace drawn. I am not used to close quarters combat like Dominique and Nizar are so despite my best efforts I take some hits as I slowly make my way towards Ettore. About midway through a booming warcry, which sounds like it came from the sky itself echos throughout the city. It is so loud I can feel my entire body reverberate to the sound. “What was that?”
“Danger, you can’t save him if you don’t ask for my help.” comes a voice from behind me.
I ignore it and continue to make my way toward Ettore, who appears to now be defending a unconscious person on a gondola. I almost make it to him, I now can see that his hands, in addition to holding his daggers, now have flames that dance all around them. Then I see them, a woman I have never seen before and the now new Pope accompanied by a large contingent of guards moving toward Ettore. Ettore sees them, kneels, and begins praying. ‘Now is not the time kid, get up.’ “Ettore, what are you doing? Get up, run!” No response, the woman approaches him and touches the back of his neck and he immediately falls over dead. “No!” I yell as I try in vain to move closer. Another yell comes from crowd, Nizar bursts through the mass of people and makes a flying leap toward the Pope and the woman. They put their hands up in unison and he slows, as if he is running into a raging wind. As he nears a stop, his body begins to dissolve and blow away from him until he finally disintegrates before them.
“What now, you can fight them alone.”
“New plan is the same as the old plan.” I manage to get onto an empty gondola and untie the ropes holding it in place. ‘What am I doing, I have never used a gondola before’. I attempt to make my way to the island with cathedral in the distance, in between me and it are large ships dueling each other in the canal. I look back to see if I am being followed. I see the Pope and the woman looking in my direction, they look at each other and begin talking then look at me again.
“You aren’t going to make it.” the Waifer says from the other side of the gondola. “They will kill you.”
“There is only one man who could walk on water, and it sure as hell isn’t those two.”
“Ha, who says they will be walking.”
Just then, both of their lower halves are enveloped in shadow and begin to lift them up. Once the are ten feet off of the ground, they begin to fly across the water to me.
“You must decide now, you either let me help you, or you die.”
I wait a moment, “Dieing isn’t an option”.
“That is what I like to hear.”
“Do we need to shake on it?”
“Shake? Oh no, all you have to do, is ask.”
“Fine, I need your help.”
The Waifer grabs my right arm, and it erupts in flame. “Just reach out, and you will kill them.”
I grab an arrow and noch it, I am for the woman first and let it fly. It hits its mark and she cries out in pain. The shadows seem to drip off of her and land into the water creating an oily ooze under her as she now floats toward the water. I shoot again, this time at the Pope, same thing happens to him.
“You have to do it with your hand.”
I bring the gondola to the woman, she is still writhing in pain, though now she is at the surface. I grab her with my right arm and her skin begins to crack and catch fire. As parts of her now begin to turn to dust, a somewhat humanoid shadow, leaves her body and pushes its way into mine. I try to wave the wisp away from me with my other hand but it does nothing. The shadow enters my body and as it does, knowledge enters my mind. After the woman is dead, I then move to the Pope, I stare at him for a moment, savoring the moment as this is the man who has caused me, my friends, and family so much pain. Then I grab his face and he begins to crack and disintegrate. Just like with the woman, a shadow leaves his body and enters mine, with it even more knowledge and the realization that I can now do new things. As the flames from my hand go away, I notice my skin is now alabaster white.
I take the gondola back to the island of Venice, at first the other soldiers ignore me but as I try out my new powers, some and then most begin to bow to me. I see myself become an admiral in the Venice-an navy and leading a campaign through the Byzatine Empire and then to the holy land and taking it all in the name of Venice.

I awaken to find myself laying in the middle of the Milanese Cathedral. Ettore and Nizar are next to me still unconscious. Dominic is still attacking his foe, but now his sword is partially melted and his armor has been ripped off his body. ‘I am back, but, how?’ I go to get up, as I bring myself to my feet I catch a glimpse of my arm. It is now alabaster white.
“Sheiza.”

View
The Distraction
From various viewpoints

Well we did it! We managed to successfully sneak into the inner wall of the City of Usurpers. We did have a bit of a scare as Dominic all but collapsed on the way to the inner wall. I think he was having some flashbacks of a vision and I try my best to calm him. He says he has been here before and I tell him he has been in a vision. This is the place that you saw yourself fighting hoards of the plagued people as you were retreating. The vision was frightening but I urge him and let him know we are here with him.

We manage to ditch our escorts into the town and start to explore on our own. Just before we leave the group we see a General, mounted on a horse, directing the troops as they return. He is giving them all their next orders. We discover a bit later that this is General Azzo VIII of Este his Lord Gelph. He seems formidable on his own. Hopefully we won’t need to face him and the Cardinal at the same time.

We end up at a tavern and start working the crowd for information. We find out the Cardinal seems to have gotten a promotion. He is now calling himself Pope Catalus VI and is openly using the Corvo name. We also find that he is living in the Cathedral. Well, the old cathedral, as the “Pope” has commissioned a new one that is promising to be spectacular. if your into worshiping devils and the like

We work the crowd for some time and that is all we come up with. We also determine that there is no place for us to stay the night. If we are to take on the Cardinal tomorrow we will need to rest and recover our abilities. and no I am NOT calling that vile man the Pope I “convince” a nice couple to put us up for the night in their very tiny apartment. The night is uneventful but we do find out a few things. First that the Cardinal actually holds Mass himself and second that he is giving communion in the name of the Blinding Light of the Morning Dawn. I think for a bit and come to realize that this is Lucifer the most powerful and beautiful of all the Arc Angels. We decide to attend Mass the next day.

We enter the cathedral without incident and I listen in horror as Corvo distorts and changes the Mass to serve the Blinding Light of the Morning Dawn. The masses do not know and believe he is simply speaking Our Lord’s words. Just as I am seething with anger at his perverse words Dominic suddenly gets up and walks out of the cathedral. For a moment I thought he was as disturbed as I was, but then I recognized that glazed look on his face and realized he was having another vision. crap I quickly follow and when I think the chance of being seen is minimal, I intrude on his vision once more.

It is the same woman that was in the vision at the monastery. She is telling Dominic he must wait, that he is not ready. She says there are too many. Dominic speaks to her but it is not his voice coming from him.

Dominic awakens from the trance and does not seem to remember any of the vision he just had. The others have caught up with is and I let them know what I saw. Dominic always remembers his visions and this voice that spoke was not his and it was one that I did not recognize.

We all discuss the various possibilities and eventually decide to continue on with the plan. We find a side door and enter “unseen” into the cathedral. We are halfway across when Dominic is attacked out of nowhere. He screams and has a nasty bite on his face. I shudder and realize it is the assassin. I sing to the heavens for courage for my companions. Attacks miss the invisible foe until suddenly, Nizar finds him with his blade. A lucky shot? No, it seems Nizar is able to see him. The Cardinal’s bodyguard appears and Ettore, Fredrich and Dominic go after him. Nizar continues to fight the assassin alone since he is the only one able to see him. I am not sure where Artigli has gotten too and I hope he is okay. The attacks against the bodyguard continue and the Cardinal makes his appearance. I am not sure how he is attacking but eventually he turns into those inky bird spots again and begins to draw the blood out of the fallen assassin.

Nizar finishes off the assassin and turns his attention to the Cardinal. The others had already finished off the bodyguard so it is just the Cardinal now. He casts some twisted magic on Artigli and he falls to the floor writhing in pain. He has that awful hand print on his face from where the Cardinal touched him. Everyone else begins to attack the Cardinal and he eventually turns into the inky, blood sucking darkness with the bid like form.. After several missed attacks Nizar prays to Allah and eventually the Cardinal is whole again. The assault on the Cardinal continues. Ettore lays into him with all his might landing many blows until suddenly the Cardinal explodes. The explosion cracks the vile of Fire Sand and Nizar quickly grabs the flask and tosses it in the far corner just before it explodes. The pillars and walls begin to crack and the cathedral catches fire. Artigli takes even more damage and Dominic gets a glazed look and then suddenly charges into the room behind the evil doors that were also cracked by the force of the explosion. Fredrich, Ettore, and Nizar follow. Dominic enters and I move to check on Artigli. I concentrate on Dominic’s thoughts and he is blinded by the light coming from the room. His eyes are being blinded by the intensity of it and he falls to his knees.

Suddenly he is in shadow. His eyes open and in front of him appears to be a wall of fire but is a massive winged creature wreathed in flame with a flaming great sword in one hand and a shield in the other. He stands near 12 feet tall and he is wearing exquisite silver armor covered in such minute etchings they appear as if the are lace. On his head is a 5 pointed crown with sapphires adorning each point. As he looks around him the column of light fills the room and there are black clouds swirling about the light. The creature charges it.

I check on Artigli and he is in bad shape. He is bleeding from his eyes and ears and he has boils all over. I heal him quickly to assure he doesn’t die and then I move to where I can see into the light filled room. I see Fredrich and Ettore kneeling just inside the doorway with black shadows licking around them. Nizar is there but he is farther in on the steps near where Dominic is fighting….what? Wait how is Dominic fighting? I take a moment to concentrate on his thoughts again and he thinks he is simply kneeing in the room like the others. Okay this is really strange. After a few seconds of trying to understand I decide that I am wasting time and that I need to help my friends. Standing here isn’t helping anyone. So I step into the room to try and get Ettore out.

Blackness:

I am suddenly alone in the church. Everything is quiet and peaceful. I see none of the damage from a few moments ago. more trickery I hear a voice asking me “Why did you leave me?, How could you leave me?”. It takes a moment but I realize it is the boy we left in Ghibeline’s camp. I tell him we thought we were protecting him and that I was sorry for any harm that came to him. The he says the oddest thing “My loyal servant you have done everything I’ve asked of you.” WHAT THE HELL? I ask the creature to reveal himself and I maneuver to where I can see him. The waif is there and dressed in rags. I ask him to reveal his true identity but I get nowhere. He tells me I must make a decision or I will lose everything and everyone. That all will be lost, my home, my family, and my friends. I tell him I want no part of anything he has to offer and for him to return me to my friends. He of course does not and continues to press me to take my rightful place by his side. He then begins his mind games. This is an area I am very familiar with. I have spent the better part of 5 years in and out of people’s minds. I have manipulated many who would have turned us in, killed us or who I simply needed help from. While it may not be right it is something I have a lot of experience with. The waif then shows me Morrosini and Ghibeline’s armies wiping out the Adolometto faction. He later shows me the fighting in the streets of Venice and the plague collectors trying to restore some sort of order. After every viewing he asks again for my decision and it remains the same. Return me to my friends. My faith lies with them. There strength has gotten me this far and I will not abandon them now. he always seems to laugh at everything I say as if it is a child’s whimsy and my concerns are trivial. He presses on and shows me Ettore as I have never seen him. He is absolutely eviscerating people left and right and his hands are now seemingly made of fire. Suddenly Ettore drops his daggers and kneels down to pray. The Cardinal with a beautiful woman at his side moves up to Ettore and touches him. He collapses dead and a shadow form leaves his body just as it did Lord Gelph’s in the monastery. Then Nizar comes charging out and lands a blow on the woman. They both grab Nizar by the shoulders, his blades disintegrate and a black shadow comes out from inside him and he is dead. I then see them headed toward Fredrich who has somehow managed to maneuver a gondola away from the fighting on the land and into the middle of war being waged at sea. They become shadowy from the waist down and being to fly across the water towards Fredrich. Fredrich looses an arrow and takes the woman down and then the same with the Cardinal. He then moves the gondola to where their bodies have formed an oily slick on the water and reached out to touch it. As he did 2 shadows came out and went into Fredrich!!

The waif asked again what my choice was and I again told him. I will stand by my friends. So his last trip took me to the battlefield where we were surrounded by Mastino, Messini, Ghibeline and many others. My friends formed a protective circle around me. The waif had filled my mind with access to incredible powers. These were terrible, unimaginable powers. I knew that with a mere thought I could make the army pay. I could show them what their treachery meant and I could wipe them all out with a single thought. The power was unending. As I was taking this all in the waif was in my ear telling me to show my enemies my power. Show them what I can do to them.

My mind was racing but to me the power was not an incentive. Instead it was terrifying. I was so completely terrified by it that I knew in that moment that no one should ever have power like this and if the Cardinal did possess it I would fight to my last breath to stop him. I refused the waif’s urging and stood there as my friends fell one by one until my hero, Dominic, was the last to fall beside me and then it was my turn.

I awoke next to Fredrich and Ettore and Dominic still seemed to be fighting.
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A Plan Emerges

The Cardinal, for lack of anything better to call him, has such evil in his heart and it is heartbreaking to see the effects he is having on so many others.

The assassin nearly got the best of us. He was next to me and I never even noticed him. When the others realized something they were unable to see me even though I was standing right in front of them. Thank goodness we made it out alive but that man was so twisted and deformed I almost felt sorry for him. I know he chose his fate by siding with the Cardinal but I am not sure any of us really knows what we are in for when choose a path. I wish I had Dominic’s faith. He is steadfast and strong and knows he is on the right path. His vision while crazy and disturbing do actually help me understand where his beliefs come from even if I don’t quite understand it. But I guess that is what faith is all about.

What I do know and believe with all my heart is that the Cardinal and any others that are in league with the devil need to be banished from the this world. They are vile and corrupt and are bleeding that corruption on to everyone in their path. I have been warned that I may be on the wrong path myself but I will see the end of the Cardinal or die trying. If eliminating the Cardinal costs me my life or worse I am okay with that as long as he is no longer able to hurt anyone again. But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

After one more scouting expedition to the gate to determine how they are keeping all the plague people inside the city walls we decide to head back to Verona. We learned that the plague victims do not like fire and simple torches keep them at bay and that the gate is actually locked from the outside. Other than that we really didn’t learn much at all.

We manage to get back without any trouble and report our finding to Can grande. I really try to come up with good suggestions but I battle strategy still eludes me. He always has a puzzled looked whenever we talk. Fredrich and Nizar makes some good suggestions and Dominic is ever steadfast in his conviction to burn the city. I have to say I am beginning to agree with him after that last vision and the finding out that fire seems to be the only thing that stops the creatures. I told him about the assassin that attacked us and he said he came after him as well. He took out 42 men and the 2 Keepers he was training. That is not good news at all. Can Grande says we need more of a plan and sends us off to figure it out.

I know I am suppose to be leading this whole army thing but I really don’t see how we are going to keep the Cardinal or that damn assassin from wiping out any catapult that starts hurling flaming pitch into the city. There were some suggestions of using me as bait but I was not really too keen on that plan. Can Grande pointed out that we would be the last place he would attack since we might have a chance of stopping him.

We head back to talk to Uguccione. After hearing from Artigli that he said a blessing and then ran his sword through a soldier’s breast plate I am fairly certain I can talk to him more openly. We sit down with Morrosini and Ghibbeline to try and figure out a plan. The usually squabbles take place and eventually Uguccione sends them on their way to look for volunteers to wade into the sea of plagued people to light them on fire. I expected Ghibbline to go along but I am amazed that Morrosini thought that was a reasonable plan. When Uguccione suggested it I assumed he just wanted them out of the way and it worked like a charm.

After those 2 were gone the rest of us discussed the real issue of the Cardinal, and any others he might send, and how to keep him away from the catapults. After much discussion we agreed that the 6 of us would try and join in with the water carriers and make our way into the inner city. Once there we would try and to gather enough information to determine where the Cardinal is and how best to get to him. Once we were ready Nizar will send word to Uguccione through Layil.

With our somewhat suicidal plan in place we decide to head to Ravenna to try and buy some Sands from the beaches of Hell. Which is what Artigli says the fire pot he used was called by the merchant he got it from. We take the Snow Valley men, Herzog, Franz and Artigli with us. Upon entering the city we are able to locate a merchant that is packing up to leave port. We are able to purchase 2 of what he called fire powder. That is much easier to say than Sands from the…. well you get the idea. Nizar also made some serious money by selling a few of his scimitars. He actually received gold coins.

So we head back to Verona and upon our return the army starts to move towards Milan. Can Grande took part of the army to defend something or other. I am sure it was important if he took them away from Milan. Hopefully we will have everyone for the main assault.

The prospect of the next few days is daunting to say the least but I have faith in our cause and in my friends. We will end the Cardinal even if I don’t get anything else out of this.

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Courting Victoria

We push the horses so we can make it back to the Camp with the Snow Valley men an only hour after darkness. Seeing the murder of crows around the spires of the cathedral brings back bad memories and I would rather we had an extra 150 men around us.
We are woken shortly after midnight to the screaming of the children. (although I guess at 16 and 17 they are not really children anymore, Not even Artigli at 15)
Dominic moves to Victoria and asks god to protect her. And I call on Allah to protect first Ettore and then Artigli. They stop screaming and wake from a shared nightmare. The Cardinal was sailing on a barge made of corpses, on a river of blood, with Victoria tied to the prow of the ship as a living figurehead. They are all shaken, but Artigli is the worst as this is his first encounter with the Evil the Cardinal can summon.
We go back to a restless sleep and make it to dawn. I am especially fervent in my prayers to Allah, asking him for the strength and wisdom to keep my friends safe.
We move camp that morning and move closer to the river while still staying in the cover of the forest. We plan to visit the small town on the river near Milan and see if we can gather any information. But it is after midday before we get a new camp established for the 150 men and 1 bear, so we will wait until tomorrow to leave.
That night we are startled awake by Franz the Bear roaring in fury a short distance from the camp. We rush to the sounds of combat, and hear a thud, the snapping of a tree and Franz’s roars change to whimpers of pain. As we close, Freidrich and Hertzog feather a wolf with arrows killing it. We see three more wolf figures melt away into the darkness. I can smell the rotting stench of the plague even from this distance. Damn Franz is severely wounded and looks to have been thrown into the tree breaking it. How strong were these wolves if they could toss a 600 pound bear?? We manage to calm Franz enough to let Victoria near to heal him. And by the time he is mostly healed, Victoria has a new friend.
Friedrich losses the tracks in the darkness, so we will track them in the morning. The Plague wolves can not be allowed to roam the countryside.
The next morning Franz has definitely contracted the plague. Hertzog is very distressed by this as animals should not be able to contract it. Dominic calls on God to bless the bear and the disease vanishes.
The 5 of us plus Artigli track the wolves and once they clear the forest they make a beeline for the city of Milan!! Damn they were sent by the Cardinal…
So we head back to camp and let Hertzog know what we found. He is in charge of the men until we get back from out scouting mission to the river village.
Layil scouts ahead and comes back saying that a patrol of about 100 black clad men have left the village guarding several water wagons and head back to Milan. Wearing our black surcoats with the white cross as disguises we make it to the village shortly after sundown. There is no wall but a guard is standing on the road. We tell him we are new recruits and need food and a place to stay tonight, we will be going to Milan in the morning. He believes our story and waves us in the general direction of the Inn. We find the place and enter the subdued common room. we order food and a suite for the night. And Victoria plies the innkeeper for information be fore we retire for the night. She find out that the water patrols come about 2 or 3 times a week. and that he is not aware of the plague infesting the city between the inner and outer walls.
That night Friedrich Spots a wolf in the street behind the inn. We arm ourselves while asking god and Allah for protection and strength. We leave the inn by the front door and attack the wolf there. A second wolf joins the fight from down the street, but where is the third? I get savaged by the first but we manage to kill it, when the third appears behind Dominic but his armor protects him. Then Victoria stops singing. We kill the second and I step into the inn and I shout that Victoria is no where to be seen. Dominic and ettore Join me in the Inn leaving Freidrich and Atrigli to kill the third. When Victoria appears next to us with her throat slashed, weird Dominic has an identical wound on his throat. Then Dominic is slashed by an unseen blade multiple times, leaving him greiviously wounded. I go invisible as I do not want to suffer Dominic’s fate, and move out the door behind Dominic. He goes to move and bumps into me, Slashing blindly with his sword, dealing me a minor wound. Ettore and I attack random spots next to Dominic but get no hits. We then see the back door open and close. I follow him outside and Victoria has said it was a man, and that he was sent to capture her as the Cardinal wants her to join him in ruling the world. I don’t see him so head back to the front of the inn with the group. He attacks again but this time Fredrich takes the hits. Doiminc has healed himself and I dispel his invisibility, but he cloaks him self in darkness before we can close with him. I get everyone together and ask Allah to cloak them in his protection. We can not bee seen if we stay close to Victoria. And Victoria says his thoughts are fading, we should leave now…

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Love and War Part 2

Three years to explore. Three years to be master of my own destiny; I wake up when I wish and retire when I wish. I am free to roam the streets of Verona … oh, but they are nothing like the old streets of Venice I once knew! Oh, how my heart yearns to return. For now, Verona must suit my needs. For it is here I found my love, my one and only, Viola. Oh, if you knew my true feelings in my heart. If only you felt the same for me as I to you. Maybe one day you will.

I have become very familiar with the streets of Verona during this time. I have also been spending a lot of time with our soldiers on the estate, sparing with them; teaching them some of the things that Nizar has taught me. Nicco and Gino are good company as well. I consider them as close a friend as Nizar and the others.

::battle cries, swords clanging, men shouting:: I notice that the cluster of enemy soldiers I was moving in to engage have some how become stunned. Some are even prone! Now is my chance! ::marching enemy soldiers increase in volume over the noise of battle:: I must move back!

Nizar, Dominic, The Dog, and I attempt to close the gates … all the dead are making this task more difficult than it should be. I recite a silent prayer for them as I close the gate.

That reminds me, I remember hearing something about another wave of allies coming to our aid… I wonder what is holding them up. I overhear something about encountering enemy soldiers. I only hope they are as successful as we are.

“Keep him alive!” shouts Can Grande. I turn to look and he is referring to San Bonafacio.

Viktoria and the others discuss plans – for the immediate future and their intentions for the next year. Their voices kind of fade away as I stand taking in all of this: all this death, this blood, and this destruction. I believe that I will never get used to this. I find a spot to sit, pray, and clean my daggers as I await the rest of my party. Thoughts stray toward Viola…

Another year to be at the mercy of my own desires, so this time I focus more of my attention on my sweet Viola.

We ready for Milan and the Snow Valley Men accompany us. We are to assess the situation there. I must say Viktoria has impressed me. Being handed responsibilities she’s never had before and having to make decisions she’s never made before, she seems to be dealing with them with the utmost maturity. I have a newfound respect for her. I wish for her sake alone that we are successful with all of this; I do not want all of her efforts to be in vain.

We arrive at a quaint little bridge and a small group of men appear to be guarding it, requiring a toll in order for others to cross. Viktoria begins talking to them and I get a little impatient. I toss the man the required payment and begin to cross. I stop and think, these are men just trying to get by. I noticed the condition of the lands all around here on our journey so far. We have a fairly large group of men with us that are more than likely not going to be as cooperative with paying such a toll. I don’t want unnecessary bloodshed over a mere toll. I calculate the cost for those men and toss the same man a coin pouch. “We have a fairly large group of men with us who will be here shortly. I don’t want any problems. Here is the coin for their passage.” … “You’re very welcome.” I look at Viktoria and Nizar then turn around to continue crossing.

Friederich and the Snow Valley Men find a suitable camp about a day and a half away from the gates of Milan. Viktoria gives them instructions before we head over there to investigate. We decide to take our horses. Surprisingly, we notice no guards along the wall. We manage to climb up and scan the area. Sights and smells rise of The Sickness when suddenly we hear people talking/shouting and sounds of a struggle. A group of three or four drags a woman from a shanty and devours her on the street. My body shivers as I look away. I pray silently for that woman.

There is a second wall, an inner wall, surrounding a cathedral and two spires. Armored guards are formed there; those walls are manned. Suddenly, emerging from the spires is a murder of crows. They circle the cathedral once before heading in our direction. Time to move! Halfway to our camp we don’t hear the crows nor see them. I hope the night is uneventful….

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The new testiment of a manuel of exceptional tactics and fortification ( the queen victoria edition volume one) a prequle to love and war
I remeber the lord asking us to return his chidren…but i dont rember if he specified or not breathing..I hope this doesnt cause a tiff… We arrange a meeting with the lords men.we nform them about the tragity and the mood quickly shfts…i think there upset …i m starting to believe he wanted them breathing..They say they will return the next day after they deliever the news. Opon the arrival the next day they request we are unarmed… now normally i am at a huge dis advantage not havng a weapon…but i have something stronger then steal..and thats faith..and jesus. anda rather large arab that im pretty sue would rip off one of there arms and bludgen them with it if things go wrong. We met with the lord.. it seems he almost doesnt even reconize Victoria… Funny.. we travel distant lands nd she the most wanted thing in all the land….meanwhile her homeland she goes unnoticed. We discuss what had happen and the lost and a heavy gloom is cast over the room. Victoria shares with the lord that she is from the Camalski family and he advises us that we should leave… surely the black gaurds would retaliete for our rescue and it was not safe there. On our travels we run into Hurtzog and Otto NotTheDeadOne…. which he claims to be swiss but NotTheDeadOne is clearly not a name from such region…but i ve been lied to before. So we travel in our betallion of rather large.. dangerous men… all lead by my lady victoria ..a 13 year old wordsmith. While we make camp we have a visitor… one i which looks like Artgile… if he had maybe spent the past few years pulling a wagon or purhapse vigoursly farmed … it is Artgile. He has been asigned to help us and aid Victoria to sucess. I ve learned ot to judge book by its cover. Fierce warriors dont have a look i have learned… there could be a tiger peering behind those young eyes..
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Love and War

“You think you’re WHAT?!” Friedrich stood there mouth partially agape, the last bit of water trickled down his chin after he had spit the rest out of his mouth after he heard the news.
Carine stood silent in the middle of the living room, a pair of tears were beginning to stream down her face. “I t-think I am pregnant. I had an idea about a week and a half ago but I didn’t want to tell you because I was afraid you would leave.”
Friedrich still dumbstruck and stammering for words stood silent for a few moments. “I-I-… I need to go for a walk” he turns quickly, moving through the foyer toward the door. “Wait, don’t go” Friedrich ignores Carine’s cry for him to stay which is followed by muffled sobbing as he turns the knob and quickly pushes the door open.
He quickly moves out of the courtyard and into the street briskly walking away from the house, his mind a swirl of thought. ‘What do I do, how did this happen? Well I know how it happened but what do I do now. I don’t know how to raise a kid, sure Nizar Dominic and I have been protecting Ettore and Victoria but they are almost grown and they can almost take care of themselves. Not to mention there is a psychotic ex-cardinal trying to kill us. How would I ever protect them from not only him but all of his devil worshiping cronies. Do I stay? Do I go? Where would I go, back to the Empire? No, Rosa said that its even more dangerous for me now than before. Do I head south, I wouldn’t get very far before running out of land. I would have to head to Africa, but I can’t speak Arabic. I know, I will head to Crete and become I pirate!…. No, no on second thought Crete is a silly place. I suppose I could stay. I mean I do like her, she is kind, wise, good looking, she makes me laugh, makes a killer mutton, and that ass…….’
Friedrich stops in the middle of the street, staring blankly straight in front of him, lost in thought as people move around him, going about their daily chores. Suddenly Friedrich shakes his head, his mind now returning to his body. He pauses for a second, “You know what, why the hell not.” He then turns down a side street, headed to the main shops. ’I’ll just look in the shops that Victoria always goes to, I am sure I will find one there.’
‘He wants how much for this thing?’ Friedrich studies the ring that the jeweler has given him to look at, ‘I don’t think Dominic’s armor is worth that much’ “I am sorry, but I think its a little high for my pay grade”. Friedrich leaves the store now both worried and frustrated, ‘I have been to 3 of the places, none of them have anything I could both afford and doesn’t look like scheiße. Ugh, one last place to try.’ Friedrich enters the shop and begins looking at the merchandise. He looks at one item behind the counter intently ‘that looks nice but not very special.’
“That’s a nice item if I do say so myself”, and elderly man walks in from the backroom. “Oh don’t mind me, take your time.”
“It is nice but, its honestly not very special.”
“Oh no, how so?”
“Its pretty but very plane, there is nothing in the middle.”
“If you want I can put something in the middle. Did you have something in mind?”
Friedrich ponders a moment, staring at the item as the gears turn in his head. “I think I have an idea.”

Carine stands at the kitchen counter. Knife in hand, she slowly and blankly chops carrots for supper, the tears now dry on her face, though some of the streaks on her face still linger. She hid for a while from the others so they wouldn’t see her in her distressed state. She hears the front door close but doesn’t react and continues to absentmindedly cut vegetables. Footsteps move into the living room and stop at the doorway, Carine mechanically continues.
“Carine, I want to apologize for earlier, I shouldn’t have run out of the house like that, I just, needed some time to think.”
Only the steady chopping noise of the knife comes from Carine.
“I understand your feelings, I didn’t mean to hurt or frighten you. But I have something to ask you.”
The knife stops mid slice. Carine releases her grip from the knife, leaving it on the counter and slowly turns toward him. Friedrich takes a few steps forward, gets down on one knee and presents a broach with the Metzger coat of arms in the middle. “Will you be Mrs. Carine Metzger?”

“What do you mean they have besieged Vincenza?” Victoria, Nizar and Dominic already started packing up by the time Friedrich was being filled in. “And where is Ettore?”
“Look, that is just what the note said, from the sounds of it, they are besieged by a small army but the are most likely more of those black knight guys. And I have no idea where Ettore is, who knows where he disappears to when he is not around. I wouldn’t worry though, he always seems to show up when the trouble starts”.
‘Great, more of these guys, can’t they just do us all a favor and just disappear.’
The group heads out toward Vincenza, the snow-valley men, several groups of archers, and some nights with them. Several days out, Cangrende Della Scala, Artigli, and 3000 men, catch up to us. When we get to Vincenza, siege towers are already being built and are about half the height of the city walls. Cangrende pulls us aside and tells us he has a plan. ‘This should be good’. As he tells us his plan I can see the look in Victoria’s eyes, she thinks this plan is nuts, but good luck telling Cangrende that. We are to go into one side of the city wearing black knight ta-bards, exit the other side of the city, meet up with the black knights, tell them we can open the gates, then open the gates and hold the line until the rest of our men can run them down. ‘Yep, he’s crazy. Too bad I work for him’.

‘I can’t believe they fell for it’, as we sneak back into the city, Friedrich is surprised on how much little convincing that these black knights needed to think we were on their side. Now lets hope we can hold off the guys long enough for our reinforcements to close the vice. Everyone takes positions behind the gate as I head up the stairs to the walls. The loud creak of the gate opening soon followed the sound of yelling soon afterward. The first wave of black knights are stopped at the gate by a row of men, mostly Cangrande, Dominic and Nizar. Victoria is in the back and I have no idea where Ettore went, again. The wall of people hold, until the black guard captain comes forward. With a wave of his hand most of our men on the street collapse dead, bruises all over their bodies. Friedrich experiences an agonizingly amount of pain but manages to stay conscious. Artigli then moves in front of Victoria, a large bag in his hand. He sets it down in front of him and starts messing with it. ‘Son this is not the time to be messing with your pack, grab the sword and hit somebody. Why are you throwing it at the enemy and why is it smoki-’
BOOOOOM!!!!!!!
“What in the name of the pope and anti-pope was that!?” Almost everyone on the ground level are either dead or in a daze. A small whole where the pack was thrown is all that is left of the bag. The roofs of the guard towers are partially splintered by the explosion. Friedrich looks to the black knight captain and sees him wobbly on his feat and clutching his head as if inn a daze. ‘Here is my chance’, Friedrich takes aim and fires several arrows into him. Ettore runs toward the group of black knights to attack them while they are temporarily incapacitated. As we begin moping up the survivors we can see the hundreds more black knights headed our direction, and our archers are now in a panic and moving off the walls in a unorganized retreat. ‘I hope our helps gets here soon’.

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