[RP Episode] The Bloody Ballad


#1

The light snowfall covered everything in a thin blanket, an endless sea of whiteness in which Halatir traveled. Winds tugged at him, gusts of snow wisping across the stony ground. The mountain trail blended right into the hillside, and Halatir struggled to stay on it at all.

He continued on down the mountain for several hours, dropping in altitude fairly quickly. Alone and in his natural habitat, the snow elf made good time, moving quickly and safely down the snowy slopes. He wrapped his cloak about him, as it tugged uncomfortably at his neck, and drew his hood over his face. Melting snow was beginning to run down his back, and Helcelen though he was, it was uncomfortably annoying.

The trail wound down and around the mountains, twisting and turning amongst the rocks. Night began to fall, but Halatir gave no heed and continued on by moonlight. That is, until he nearly tripped over the edge into a canyon. After that, he hunkered down between some large boulders, and awaited dawn.

When he awoke, the sun was shining brightly over the glistening landscape. The snowfall had ceased, but he was coated in a thick coat of the fluffy white flakes. He stood up, shook out his cloak, and continued on, ignoring the rumbling in his stomach.

He returned to the trail, continuing on, looking for signs of life.

@Aragottix


#2

Along his path Halatir went, and when passing through just another narrow mountain pass, he could hear footsteps and several voices echoing across the winding breach of rock.

‘‘I blame you for this, you know.’’ said the first male with a heavy voice.
’‘How could i have known?!’’ replied a second male with a lighter tone.
’‘You are a sage, you could have seen the snow coming.’’ the first accused.
’‘It doesn’t work like that…’’ the other sighed.
A third voice interrupts their pointless argument, ‘‘Oh, would you two shut up…’’


#3

Stepping quickly around the curve in the rocks, Halatir called out a greeting.

”Suilad!”


#4

The men, counting a dozen, firmed up in their formation. They were a Sima patrol, they were militia, and were equipped with lighter arms and armour, but still well maintained, which is still better than most bandits.

‘‘Halt! Who goes there?’’ shouted the decorated Niirai at their head, this one with notably better armour than the rest, not of the local militia.


#5

”An elf.” said Halatir. He held his hands palms out, displaying no weapons. ”You are Niirai soldiers, yes?” He pushed his hood back.


#6

The Niirai lieutenant frowned at the snow elf’s reply. ‘‘I can see that you are an elf. As you can see that we are soldiers. What game is this?’’


#7

”I have been looking for Niirai soldiers. I wish to join your ranks.” replied Halatir. He narrowed his eyes at the officer. ”Might I accompany you to your base of operations?”


#8

Besides the fact that this elf did not look like any Niirai he had ever met, he was now wanting to join their ranks, and follow them to their base. That was beyond suspicious, but the lieutenant shrugged it off when he considered their outpost isn’t exactly a secret. Still, he would keep a close eye on him for safe measure. He did not trust him in the slightest not to attempt sabotage.

‘‘Do you now? I guess you can. For now.’’ he too said with narrowed eyes. ‘‘If you don’t mind me asking, why DO you wish to join us? What’s your story, white wolf?’’


#9

”I am from a land far north of here. I am of the Helcelen, the elves of the Iron Mountains. My village was destroyed in a pirate attack, and I was brought to Xia by them. After a few months, I was freed by the law. As I cannot return home, I am searching for the closest thing to it.” Halatir decided that a full account of his tale could wait. ”A great deal more forms my story, but I do not think this is the place to discuss it.”


#10

‘‘There are mountains beyond the sea of sands?’’ the ignorant Lieutenant gawked, ‘‘And our people there are called Helcelen? I have noticed your… unique look. I never truly imagined the empire was that big.’’


#11

Halatir laughed. “We do not answer to your Empress.” He had learned something of the Xia’s governing system from Tao-Shel. “We are free, and answer to none. And we are not part of your people, but we are still kin, elves all.”


#12

The lieutenant began to giggle, ‘‘For now.’’ He began to somewhat believe that this elf is a foreigner indeed. He was still curious about why he wished to join them though, more so now that he knew where generally he was brought in from. ‘‘Let’s go then. And along the way, you can answer my question as to why a Helcelen wants to serve as a Niirai soldier.’’


#13

The soldiers continued moving, although some of them still kept a wary eye on the newcomer. And as promised, Halatir did answer the lieutenant’s questioning. “Where I come from, war is a way of life. I find it difficult to live among the monks and priests of Xia. I know no one, have nothing to do. The army is the most similar portion of your culture that resembles my own.” he said. “My name is Halatir.”


#14

‘‘Well Hala-Tir…’’ the Lieutenant began with the subtlest of pauses in the pronunciation of Halatir’s name, how he imagined it was as Niirai names were, ‘’… conflict here is common enough, though i do not know what your ‘‘free folk’’ have to fight about if they answer to none. Or maybe THATS the problem. Do not, however, expect to be pushed in to the front lines. These are peaceful times, and any sane Niirai will pray the realm remains this way.’’


#15

Halatir shrugged. ”It matters not. Soldiering is the same all the world over, with ups and downs in it’s activity.”


#16

They continued along their intended path back the way Halatir came from. At a crossroads, they took a different turn, and took the declining path leading back downwards. After a couple of hours of walking in formation, with only bits of idle chatter far in between, they made it off the mountain trail and on to what appeared to be a main road.

The road was cobbled, but not lit. Only just as they were beginning to approach the military outpost did torches began to appear on either side of the road every few meters. The outpost was nothing big. It was a watch tower with a minor hall, a smith and armoury, and another sentry post on the opposite side of the road along with the barracks. The watch tower was situated right up against the steep downwards rocky slope of the mountain side, and must have a wonderful view of the surrounding area. On the opposite side of the road, the barracks had its back up against the cliff side of the same mountain.

Apparently, an attempt was once made to connect the two sides with a gate, but the project was abandoned, so there are two small square stone pillars that would have been part of the wall on the left and right side of the road, connected with a wooden bridge leading to the tower on one side, which can be entered through a door from the bridge, and to the barracks on the other. This little bridge had one stairway leading up to it from the outside, which was along the outer walls of the barracks.

This place had a few trees scattered about. Snow did not reach this low just yet, but it would in time. The winds were very persistent and chilly, so there were few guardsmen outside, with most of them warming themselves within. Those outside wore warm furred clothing with hoods and masks in colours of Xia green.

The Lieutenant stopped at the outpost to dismiss his troops, and then beckoned Halatir to follow him in to the main hall. Pushing one side of the double doors open, he waited for Halatir to enter before shoving it shut again, to keep the cold winds out. As per usual, Halatir recieved some odd looks from the militia inside, and when the Lieutenant walked past him, with ‘‘Come.’’, the rest relaxed their guard.

The big central room of the main hall they have just entered was the dining hall, complete with a fireplace. On the right side of the hall, the Lieutenant lead Halatir to the second floor, to the commander’s quarters. He knocked on the door, and was granted access with a stern, ‘‘Enter.’’

The commander, some sort of war veteran by the looks of it, his face scarred and missing an eye, with long white hair like Halatir’s but unknown if it were of old age or genes due to his battered face, stood upright when he noticed the stranger among them. Even now in the comfort of his own quarters, he was wearing armour, as if paranoid of an imminent attack.

‘‘Sir. This one wishes to join our ranks.’’ the Lieutenant began to explain, getting straight to the point.
The commander walked around the low table he was sat behind just before they came in, and approached Halatir. He wagered him from head to toe as he did so, and then looked him dead in the eye.

‘‘Do you?’’


#17

”Yes sir.” replied Halatir. ”I came across your lieutenant, and as I was seeking a Niirai military installation, he was kind enough to allow me to accompany him.” He thumped his chest with his fist in salute. ”I was a soldier once. I would like be one again.”


#18

The commander eyed him for a moment longer, his hand held by the other behind his back, chest out and proud. Halatir looked… terrible, to be honest. He had plenty of scars from his past, but there was nothing more to the elf than that, and the shirt on his back. ‘‘How is he not trembling from the cold outside?’’ the commander wondered. Before him could either be a valiant warrior, with balls rock hard and nerves of steel, or some washed up soldier left behind or discharged that was attempting to regain glory lost by joining some borderland outpost. The Xia military did generally accept pretty much anyone in to their ranks, since its ideas of quantity prevailed over quality, but the commander here was on limited supplies and short on patience to take in just any fool.

‘‘You were? Why did you quit?’’ he inquired.


#19

Halatir had decided upon the optimal story concerning this. He decided that honesty was the only route.

”That is something of a long story. The shortest version is this: far north of here, several thousand leagues and least, there is a land of nothing but ice, snow, and war. It is inhabited by dozens of clans of Helcelen, elves who dwelling in the Iron Mountains that encircle the land. The clans battle each other constantly, and never more than a few weeks go by without any one clan not being attacked.”

”I was part of one such clan. I know the way of the bow, and sword, shield and spear. However, my clan was annihilated by pirates, and I was enslaved, and brought south. After a few months, I ended up in an arena south of her. The law eventually disbanded the aren, violently, and in the process I escaped. A hunter and his kin took me in, healed me, and set me on this path, which found its way here.” He paused for a moment. ”I cannot return home. The military is the closest thing here to it. I wish to join. That is my fighting record and my story. My name is Halatir, and I wish to serve. Sir.”


#20

The commander looked at Halatir, baffled as anyone who had heard this story thus far.
’‘A tall tale.’’ the commander commented, ‘‘Bred for war? We shall see. I will test your skills and see to the truth of this, but not today. You will be provided with lodgings in the barracks, and provided with weapons, armour, food, everything you need.’’ he said, and then turned to the Lieutenant to which he nodded, who nodded back and left the room. The commander faced Halatir again, ‘‘Welcome to the militia.’’