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The Betrayal is Answered

Tags: Azradi,  Yildirim

Short Summary: Azradi seizes Zadan Ulbar a feat that proves to be far easier than she anticipated.

Players: Azradi, Gaurd (Isri), Yildirim

Date (real-life): 2011-01-25
Scene Location: Outside Umbar, Zadan Ulbar
Date (in-game): January 11, 3052
Time of Day: Early Evening
Weather: Clear and cool.

Rath Anwarmen, Outside Umbar

A short road, perhaps a half-mile in length, runs north to the great Corsair city of Umbar. The Rath Anwarman runs east and west, leading to the northern desert and the southern coastal fiefs, respectively. Looking north towards Umbar, you see that the city consists of two huge concentric walls. The outer wall surrounds the whole city and the bay, and the inner wall is higher than the outer. The outer wall of the city has a deep ditch lined with palisades surrounding it. The tops of six towers and many other tall buildings are visible over the wall.

The day sky is clear with only slight wisps of clouds overhead. The early evening winter air is cool and dry around you.

Zadan Ulbar

            Several hundred yards from the gates of the city and behind thick alabaster walls stands Zadan Ulbar, the House of Kings, some five stories high. The entire structure, composed of one main structure and two lesser wings, is of gleaming white marble, cut and carried from miles away. A set of white shallow steps lead to the main structure that bears the prodigious archway, likewise of marble, and adorned with mosaics of white gold. This arch houses double doors of dark wood bound with iron. In their majesty, they stand nearly twenty feet, more evocative of a fortress than a palace. Crowning the palace is a majestic dome of pale electrum.

 ***

Once the proud palace of the deposed Emperor Ajnabi; Zadan Ulbar has been restored to its original splendor by its new owner: Alphros anAzulada. Its alabaster walls and dome of electrum shine brightly in the late afternoon sun – a beacon for the large party marching up the road to its gates.

 

Several riders lead a column of fifty soldiers and behind them a score or so of armed Corsairs. Above them flies a banner, the Farside Raven.

 

The lead rider is a tall woman astride a large black warhorse. Lady Farside is armored and armed, her mail glinting in the sun. Her expression is grim as she rides towards the manor that once housed her kin.

 

"And if he is there and denies you, what then?"

 

The question comes from Yildirim, dressed not in his blacks, but as his Lady, mailed and glinting. His jaw tightens and loosens time and time again as he looks over the force and his destination.

 

Only one man watches upon the walls of Zadan Ulbar, and caution is not his intent: dark and sleek form stretched out upon the alabaster, he lounges lazily as a cat, lamellar and linen shirt shed beside him. He twirls an arrow indolently, tossing an orange up and down in his other hand.

 

The gates, though unmanned, are closed and barred.

 

The expression of grim determination is pierced by one of agony. "I am hoping he will not be," replies Azradi. "I will fight his men, but I do not want to fight my brother if that is what you fear."

 

"I have had time to ponder his message in the time it took us to prepare and travel. Something forced his hand, he said as much though cryptically. He is a brilliant strategist; I suspect he will purposefully be absent."

 

Coming nigh the closed gates of the enormous manor, Lady Farside reins in her steed. Spirited, the war-horse tosses his head and moves his forelegs restlessly. The weight of his armored mistress and the presence of men with steel mean only one thing to the beast and he is eager for it to begin. Azradi reaches forward to stroke his neck. "Easy, Demon," she murmurs, squinting up to the reposed guardsman upon the wall. "Zadan Ulbar!" she calls out. "Open your gates!"

 

Yildirim is quiet, his own horse upset at the increased weight. He does his best to calm it, but little time has been spent on its mood.

 

At the voice, the mercenary sits up. The orange falls off the wall, ending in a squashy fate, and the man curses noisily. "Who is it?" he calls, peering into the hazy afternoon.

 

Lady Farside glances to her Tower banner whipping in the wind above her and sighs. "Lady Azradi anAzulada," she replies, "Sister to the one who hired you."

 

She glances at Yildirim.

 

Yildirim shrugs, motioning a cut across the neck.

 

"Lady?" Disbelief registers on the soft soldier's face, and he squints into the sun. The company, apparently, bears the Raven.

 

The mercenary is dim, but not illiterate in the manner of heraldry. He pales to an unhealthy yellow, but manages to stammer, "Straightaway, Lady Farside! Hey! Open the gate!" The last is yelled to his cronies, who, perhaps being smarter, have stayed out of sight.

 

Waiting for the gate to be opened, Azradi glances once more to the Corsair Captain beside her. "This may be easier than I had first thought," she observes.

 

Yildirim shrugs, making the motion again. This time with a slight smile.

 

The gates, dark and metal and cumbersome, open without a sound. Tossing on his armored shirt, the mercenary stumbles down to the gate, wringing his hands as he watches them approach. "Good Lady and lords," he stammers in his most polite stammer, holding his sword in a salute, "what brings you to Zadan Ulbar this day?"

 

Offering Yildirim a wry smile, Azradi urges her steed onward and passes the gate. She glances at the naked blade, but does not answer him. Instead she asks, "Is my brother in residence?"

 

Yildirim eyes the man, measuring him and the quality of his person.

 

"Lady, he is not," says the mercenary timidly, hunching into his shoulders at the subtle chuckles of Farside's company. "The esteemed lord left us to guard, but we know not his whereabouts."

 

Azradi shoots Yildirim a significant glance after receiving the news of Alphros' absence. She moves to the side, the riders behind her doing the same, so the riders might clear the gate for the soldiers and Corsairs. "I would imagine he took his household with him, did it include a veiled woman?"

 

The man scratches his head and glances to one of his companions. "Yes," he says slowly. "A lady with a veil, he took with him."

 

Yildirim, without further prompting, attempts to ride past the man into the compound. Behind a handful follow, "How many are there of you here," he asks also of the guard as he passes.

 

"My mother," explains Azradi to Yildirim, and inadvertently to the mercenary. The first of the soldiers begin to march through the gate

 

On the verge of asking another question, she halts when the Corsair Captain asks one of his own. She nods her head to indicate her own interest in his answer and abides.

 

The swordsman scuttles out of way of Yildirim's horse, watching glumly as the gates are flooded by soldiers much more superior to his own might. "Fifteen?" he guesses modestly.

 

"I'll round them up," Yildirim says and darts off, calling out to the men.

 

"Wake up, scroungy dogs, to the gates!"

 

Unchallenged, the soldiers pick up their pace. The first begin to fan out before the great Manor, forming into smaller groups as the others come up from behind. Lady Farside nods to Yildirim, endorsing his intent.

 

"You have done a most excellent job these past, uh...day," says Azradi watching her soldiers for a moment before returning her regard to the mercenary. She smiles sweetly, "But I will see to the protection of my brother's manor."

 

 The man now looks more frightened than ever. "Of course, of course," he says, smiling placatingly back with a trembling voice. Better not to argue.

 

The rest of the mercenaries pop up like sleepy birds in various states of casual dress and battle-readiness.

 

The line of entering soldiers continues, with the corsairs still waiting their turn outside. Those not aiding Yildirim make their way to corners of the House, clearly intending to circle it.

 

Azradi dismounts, her smile remaining. "If my brother has not paid you in advance, I am sure he will be happy to."

 

 "I'd appreciate it," says the man, shuffling backwards discreetly as he bows.

 

Yildirim returns, pulling the reins up short as he comes alongside Azradi.

 

"Things seem in order. What is next, Lady Farside?"

 

The last of the soldiers enter and the score or so of Corsairs begin to enter. All are Salkathorim, many recent residents of the manor. The first pair pauses near Azradi while the others hie to the manor itself. Lady Farside glances to the dome where flies the Heron and White Tree of Alphros. She glances back to the corsairs and nods her head. They set off for the house.

 

"Thank you, Yildirim. I suspect little has been left here in the manner of provisions. Send to the Tower for supplies and servants. We will stay here until my brother comes. I suspect no more than a full day will pass before he arrives."

 

"And set guards on the walls, and archers in the upper windows. Someone forbade this and may show up in force when word carries through the city."

 

She turns to the mercenary and smiles. "Thank you for serving my brother. Rest assure, we will see to the manor's protection. You and your brethren are dismissed."

 

 "I'll excuse myself then, Lady," mumbles the now-unemployed man, scuttling back amid his similarly jobless cronies with a bewildered look.

 

"Of course but..." Yildirim looks to the Heron and then to her own banners and then to the Lady herself, "What does this mean? Too many questions are here. Your men will want answers. Where are Alphros' men? Why did hundreds of your people come to the tower? Why was this palace abandoned?"

 

"Only trouble brews from this."

 

"I will go and tend to your tasks now."

 

"Trouble brewed the moment Alphros rescinded his agreement with me and ejected our kin from their home," replies Azradi, allowing a soldier to take her steed. She adjusts her sword. "As to why this happened, we will find out soon enough once he arrives."

 

"If no one comes to challenge this action after two full days pass, I will move the women and children back into the manor."

 

"As you wish," Yildirim says with a simple, perhaps dejected, nod, "I'll get the guard setup and let Tiribazus to review things here and at the tower." He shakes his head, "Oh, yes, he is gone isn't he. I shall have it taken care of."

 

He makes as if to say more but instead nods again and rides off towards the Tower.

 

Azradi makes no remark on Yildirim's obvious discomfort for the situation. Impassively, she watches him take his leave ere she approaches the manor. Where she had entered many times as an honored guest, Lady Farside now enters as an occupier.

 

High above her, in the dying light of a setting sun, its last rays illuminated the Black Heron and White Tree slowly descending. In its place, two banners were raised. The plain indigo of the Salkathorim as it had flown just that morning, but this time above it flew another banner. A black Palanrist and gold sun upon a field of indigo: The insignia of House anAzulada.

 

<fini>


Date added: 2011-02-15 14:46:38    Hits: 38
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