Xenia's Arrival

Tiko

Demon Goat
Administrator
Mentor
The sun had only just begun to near the horizon as the cool evening air settled across the plains of Kaldor, and the fresh layering of snow from the day prior served to reflect the light and add a clear visibility to the evening. It was likely the last snowfall of the year and served as a reminder of the cold winter months that they were fast leaving behind.

The caravan had swelled to a respectable size as it traveled westward from Stonehaven City to the small outlying town of Korvesa. It had boasted nearly twenty wagons, carts, and carriages at its departure, and it had picked up a good dozen more along the way as it passed through neighboring cities and towns on its way to the Western Frontier of Kaldor. It was a popular time of year for merchants, settlers, and adventurers to make their way to the border towns of Kaldor so that they could arrive as the winter months where just beginning to give way to spring. For families looking to start a life out there, it meant they had the whole of the new year to prepare for the following winter.

Accompanying the traveling wagons where riders armed to the teeth. Swords-for-hire. They ranged greatly in race and garb, but they all shared in their purpose of protecting the caravan in its journey across the open plains.

Several families and settlers had already parted ways at previous towns, but fifteen or so wagons remained on as they trundled ever close to their destination.



Korvesa was a once large town situated along the banks of the Iyesgarth river, but much of it remained unclaimed from the hundreds of years of abandonment that had left its mark upon it. Much of the western reaches of town lay in ruins with crumbled buildings long since overtaken by heavy brush and unchecked trees.

The central heart of the town, and much of the east side were well underway in their reconstruction efforts. New houses and buildings had been erected upon the foundations of old, and brush and overgrowth had been cleared from the streets and pathways. Dirt roadways had been restored for use and the place offered the promise of a fresh start for those willing to make it out there.

Plots of lands were being sold to arriving families for minimal cost that made the location appealing to settlers looking to put city life behind them.

The town held a strong appeal to travelers as well. Mercenaries were never short of work to find, and there was always some work to be found around the town to aid in the reconstruction efforts. It was also a good place to drop one's bags for the night, or a few days to resupply before moving on.



As the caravan edged closer to the town of Korvesa an element of excitement filled air. As wagons rumbled their way across the large stone bridge spanning the Iyesgarth river, children had already taken to disembarking wagons to run ahead. Parents were filled with a wash of relief, and escorting mercenaries could relax their guard as the caravan left behind the wilds of Kaldor in favor of the burgeoning town. Tradesmen too could let out a sigh of relief as their goods made it safely to their destination.

For many it was the promise of new beginnings, and for others it was simply a stop before moving on. Others still were on the run from secrets left behind, and looking to the obscurity of Korvesa to escape from past mistakes. Whatever one's reasons were for arriving in Korvesa, it offered the promise of warm beds, hot meals, and respite to them all.
 
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Dan

Eating Honey Butter Chips
Xenia recently turned 25 winters, though it felt like more. With her past concealed away, she thought she could finally settle here. In the middle of nowhere village called, Black Bend, her little secret paradise from the reality she desperately wanted to escape from. She laughed with the other patrons in the Salty Tavern, she was barely two bottles of ale in and she was already stumbling over her own two feet. Xenia, however, wasn’t too far gone before she switched to water and paid for her drinks.

“Are you sure you won’t stay out longer?” One of the Male Patrons asked her, sitting in the seat beside her. It was obvious what his intentions were, but Xenia had been blind to those propositions.

She shook her head firmly, “The Old Man’s got me making weapons, finally, tomorrow. I know he wants me to let loose tonight, but I’ve yet to make a sword or even a helmet.” She confessed to the male.

“C’mon, pretty lass like you shouldn’t be doin’ a man’s work anyhow. Stay here with me tonight.” He was practically breathing on her, his stank breath putting the mood off.

She shoved him away and stood up, perhaps too quickly as she stumbled into a Tavern Maid’s arms, “I apologize, Matilda. But… I must be on my way now.” She slipped out of her arms and scurried out the front entrance.

Xenia is halfway down the road towards the Blacksmith’s shop when she sees the front door opening. It’s the Old Man, he looks around for any lingering souls but none to be found in his field of vision. She stops in her tracks, seeing a soldier come out of the shop and with the familiar symbol belonging to the Inquisition. She ducks behind another building and watches the two.

“…was worshiping to the… Lord of Death… finding candles going missing and…” The Blacksmith’s voice keeps falling out of her earshot, only piecing them together to know that her past finally caught up to her.

No… why of all times? Can I just get a break?’ She thinks to herself as she huddles closer to the building, out of the glow of the lanterns.

“…comes back this way, be sure to secure her immediately or we’ll have your head. Anyone seen associated or….will be punished to the….of the law….” The Soldier retorts in broken sentences from where she could hear.

She leans ever closer, stepping on a twig that snaps, almost giving her position away. They both look her away, but she’s quicker and ducks behind the building. Xenia goes around to the other side and finds both of them heading towards the Salty Tavern where she just came from. When they get a safe distance away, she books it into the shop and gathers all that she can into a sack. Grabbing her staff, bible of verses, and whatever else she could before slipping out the window to her room. She didn’t bother checking for other stuff she might’ve found.

Xenia, once again, found herself fleeing in the covert of a starless night much like 5 years ago when the raid happened. The paranoid clung to her like sweat, she yanked her hood over her head and hid her face from others she came upon down the road; making her seem like any other late-night traveler. When she finally got to the next town over, she got passage into a wagon that seemed to be loading travelers for the disembark to a place simply known as, Korvesa.

The lull of the rumbling cart hit a hole in the road, causing the weary female to awake from her slumber. She straightened her posture, realizing she was sleeping against another weary traveler, who was much asleep as well. Xenia stretched out her limbs as best she could, the cart seemed to have emptied while she was in dreamland. She fixed her hair into a braid, tucking it back into her hood after wrapping it in leather. While the cart continued on its last leg toward Korvesa, Xenia looked out past the other travelers to the other carts tumbling along in front of hers. She looked back, taking note that she must’ve been on the last cart or perhaps hers just lagged behind a bit.

Not wanting to draw attention to herself, she remained in her spot, occasionally shifting as the travelers awoke one by one. The others finally all awake, buzzing with activity and an air of excitement as their caravan was the last to arrive among the others. Some travelers from her cart were already at the front, perhaps the infectious excitement that hung in the air for everyone arriving. While, Xenia wasn’t much in the mood of celebrating in arrival to Korvesa, she held the same hopes that perhaps this will become a new place she might renew herself, once again. Only if her past hadn’t caught up to her yet.

She disembarked from the caravan and joined the flow of remaining travelers. Xenia only had her bag and staff for her to use as a walking stick while she kept to herself, making only idle chatter when another asked about her reason for coming here. Xenia looked around her, finding it intriguing especially the ruins of former buildings that remained. A small comfort came to her heart, the hope that she may clear of her past once and for all. For now, she would need a place to stay since it seems she wasn’t the only one without a proper home.

After asking a local or someone who looked like one, where the Inn might be, they pointed her in the direction of one. She could easily find it with a line that stretched right out of its entrance. Xenia had nothing else to do for the day and she found herself at the end of the line. Luckily, she had the patience of a rooted tree.
 

Tiko

Demon Goat
Administrator
Mentor
The burly inn keeper seemed in good spirits by the time Xenia made it inside, and the place was certainly bustling with activity tonight. The background din of noise was a big change from the long road to Korvesa. People chattered, cups thumped against wooden tables, and forks clanged against plates as people ate their dinners and shared drinks while exchanging tall tales of ghosts that supposedly inhabited abandoned farms and dilapidated structures in the un-renovated side of town.

"If you're looking for a room for the night, afraid we can't help you," he told Xenia. "If you want to stay for a meal, we've still got some hot stew and fresh bread, but our rooms are all booked up. Seems the Green Gryphon Tavern across town is having a dark elf problem. People are quick to guard their purses and find other places to spend their coin, if you know what I mean," he explained. "Its been great for business here the last few nights. You could try your luck over that way if you're really desperate for a room. Just watch yourself, and your coin."

Meanwhile nearby voices where beginning to grow raised at one of the tables. "I'm telling you I saw it with my own eyes! Scared my horses near to death it did!"

The man's irate claims where met with snorting laughter.

"You've been hitting the ale too hard again," a man chortled in reply. "All these ghost stories are going to your head."
 
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Dan

Eating Honey Butter Chips
When she finally got into the building, her dampened spirit seem to renew with delight from the amount of excitement that still clung to the arrivals. While she waited in line, her ears picked up information as much as they could before she finally approached the counter. Before she could utter a word, her main priority was already answered by the large male behind it.

Dark elf?’ She thought, ‘In these parts?’ Xenia had never seen any other race besides humans, and she wasn’t a believer in discrimination—well, except those who hunted her down like dogs. She’s read up on some history, but alas the majority of it went over her head while at the college. She looked to the Inn Keeper, “…I’ll take you up on that offer for the food.” With a minor pause to consider her next words, “How much will the stew and bread cost?” She jumped at the rising voices, turning her head in paranoia that the Inquisition had caught her.

Instead it were just other patrons, probably too drunk to even know what they were talking about. Xenia let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding in. Her adrenaline cooling down when she remembered that she was likely far away from them by now. Black Bend was likely farther away than her last village, which she tried to forget most days. Xenia took a seat at one of the closer tables and thanked the Dread Lord for the rest from standing too long.
 

Tiko

Demon Goat
Administrator
Mentor
The inn-keeper quickly quoted Xenia a price before she moved on to make room for the next person in line, and it wasn't more than a minute or two before a serving girl was arriving to place a plate upon the table for Xenia. It was heaped with a healthy serving of stew and a large hunk of fresh baked bread.

Meanwhile nearby someone else had taken note of the boisterous group as well.

"Ghosts?" a dark-haired young man asked from another table. "Could the ghost of Aleosis be among them?" he inquired.

The young man appeared curiously out of place at his table, which was vacant of other patrons but covered in books, papers, and a notebook that he was actively jotting something down in. He had quite the scholarly look to him.

His question brought out some loud boisterous laughter from the other table.

"Now look, you've gone filling the travelers heads with this ghost nonsense too," someone remarked.

"Oh, no it's not nonsense to me," the scholar assured the group. "Aleosis was a prominent general in the army of the Sealed One. A powerful Void user. It is said he was defeated right here upon the ruins of Korvesa over two-thousand years ago," he explained. "I study up on ancient lore and stories from before the time of the Fall. It was a fascinating world before..." he waved away the matter with his hand. "Anyways. I'm here investigating rumors of Aleosis. It's my job you see. helping to identify lingering traces of the Void's corruption, so it can be stamped out. You can never been too sure when an old rumor might be a void beast at work. Usually it's turns out to just be silly stories to scare children at night. Just as soon as I verify that the rumors here about Aleosis' ghost are just old wive's tales and superstition, then I can be off from this backwater town and back to civilization."

Unfortunately for the man, his somewhat haughty demeanor and excessive use of words left him largely disregarded by the patrons who waved him off as they went back to their meals and chatting. With a sigh the young scholar went back to his work, seemingly used to being disregarded by common folk uninterested in his wordy nature.
 

Dan

Eating Honey Butter Chips
Xenia paid the serving girl as soon as the food was placed in front of her. She thanked the girl for the hard work even if it wasn’t much and turned back to the food. She could see her reflection in the stew and noticed the dirt stains, her hair was greasy, and was generally looking wild. She tucked herself further into the comfort of her hood while she grabbed the bread and dipped it into the stew for flavor. The group she noticed before had only gone louder from laughter, Xenia didn’t need to turn her head, but her ear to the other patrons clowning on another patron.

She looked up from her bowl, seeing the lone male surrounded by books, papers, and seemingly out of touch with reality. Casting her eyes back down to her food, she took another bite while her ears perked up on the male’s words. ‘Aleosis…? Where have I heard that name before…’ Her thought trailing off to listen further on him talking. She hadn’t notice her grip on the spoon tighten at the mention of stamping out the Void. Xenia loosened her grip when it started to hurt, only to finish off half of the bread and take a sip of the water from her cup.

She contemplated if she wanted to know more about this Aleosis, risking herself as a user of Necromancy or to stay rooted to her chair and learn what she could from the other patrons. The obvious, safer yet latter choice of the two, she opted for. Xenia’s ears would perk up at the conversations going on around her while she pretended to mind to her own devices. But when all she picked up was merely gossip and drunks’ conversations, she decided against her judgement and stood up from her table. Like a timid mouse, she moved from her table, half-eaten food and made her way over to the lone patron before finally talking, “…Hello, I don’t mean to intrude but…I overheard what you were talking to about—Aleosis…who is he?”

Perhaps it was foolish of her to even approach the man or even talk about “an old wives’ tale,” as he put it but there was a morbid curiosity she had. The one at the back of her mind and tip of her tongue, she just knew about this said-general of the Sealed One but couldn’t recall where. Xenia might’ve been a fool for even asking.
 

Tiko

Demon Goat
Administrator
Mentor
"Who is Aleosis? Goodness, don't they teach people anything out here?" he asked almost incredulously. Still, he seemed remarkably pleased that someone had taken an interest in his work and he was quick to shove some parchments and books to clear an open spot at the table for Xenia.

"He was only one of the greatest necromancers of his time!" the scholar exclaimed. "He personally helped raise the school of Necromancy to greater heights before he you know, fell in with the Sealed One and turned to the Void to seek greater power and tried to end life as we know it..." he paused waving that detail away. "All ancient history now. But this town here was the location of the great and cataclysmic battle that fell Aleosis! He was so powerful it took the Elysian Vanguard itself to defeat him. And not without destroying this town in the process. Everything built here is new, only constructed in the last generation or so. The old ruins are still around though. For being such a backwater place, there's a plethora of history to be found here!"

The scholar sure could talk, rambling on information almost as fast as he could talk, pausing only once to take a quick quaff of his drink to wet his throat before he was off again without so much as pausing for Xenia to interject.

"When rumors spread that Aleosis' ghost had been seen, I had to come see for myself if it was true."

The reason perhaps that Xenia hadn't immediately recognized the name Aleosis was that before joining the ranks of the Sealed One, he had been known under a different name. Vontarin. A name she had likely encountered in her years of schooling. A name often spit upon by Necromancers from all walks of life. All of his research and advancements in the field of Necromancy had done little to sate the man's lust for power, and he had turned to the Void to reach even greater heights. His actions had tainted the necromancer name, and left many at best distrustful of them, and at worst reviled. A fact that Xenia had personally encountered in her homeland.

Had Vontarin acted alone, perhaps his actions wouldn't have created the waves he did, but the vast influence and sway he held over many necromancers resulted in mass defections - especially among the young and impressionable of his time.
 

Dan

Eating Honey Butter Chips
“I’m not—” Xenia is interrupted by the man shoving away parchments and books, making a clear invitation for her to sit. Without question, she took the seat while looking at the many objects sitting around him. Then, turning her full attention to the guy as he started rambling on about Aleosis.

She gulped, keeping her wave of paranoia at bay. It was interesting to hear about this Aleosis to Xenia. A Necromancer with that much power. Only to cause a black stain on it by becoming too overpowered. It made her wonder how life would’ve been if he didn’t turn corrupt. She leaned in closely, observing the light in the male’s eye as he continued to ramble on about the history of Aleosis and why Korvesa was so small now. Xenia was thankful for the small history lesson, she didn’t know anything about the town itself, but by this man’s words it piqued her interest about its past.

Xenia carefully chose her next words, “Was… Aleosis just a mad man? He’s the reason for Necromancy to be…blacklisted?” She asked. She felt like a student again, but this was a good thing—at least, for her it was. Ever since the attack on her college, she couldn’t talk about the subject she loved most without getting found out or worse, being turned into the Inquisition.
 
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