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 Post subject: Boris Vyacheslav
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 2:03 am 
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BORIS VYACHESLAV

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Thayan Knight-Commander of the Order of the Crimson Guard


Appearance:
This man's physical body has surely broken the laws of nature to stand before you as it does. Boris' body seems eternally blood engorged and is horrifyingly vascular. To look the man from bottom to top in his full kit you would first notice thick, muscular legs encased in steel greaves towering upward from meticulously polished boots.
These limbs meet at a narrow waistline and sturdy hips from which a Mulan style longsword is tightly fastened on a black leather swordbelt. The trunk of his body is likewise plated in steel and surely contains amazing core strength. His chest is broad and pectorals sloping and prominent. He has a strong back and strict military posture.
Wide shoulders lend this Mulan male a commanding presence among other men. From these melon sized deltoids hang his arms - the abominable circumference around both forearm and bicep tapers down to a thick wrist from which are clenched the fists of his gauntlets - knuckles studded and weapon-locking.
Above his herculean shoulders, rested upon a bull-neck, is a strong jawed skull that may draw likeness between his man and a pitbull dog. On his left cheek is tattooed a "Symbol of Pain" in black (as per the spell) while upon the right is the "Symbol of Fear" marked like manner. Boris' scalp is tattooed entirely with the visage of a Baalor Lord which glares malevolently out the rear of his head, menacing those who would stab him in the back [Skill Focus: Intimidate]. His right eyelid droops a little more than the left from vicious injuries sustained to the face.

Race: Mulan-Thayan Human, of Lake Mulsantir, Surthay (Thay)
Age: 29
Height 6'1''
Weight: 130kg
Eyes: Light brown
Hair: Bald
Facial Hair Style: Clean Shaven

Personality Profile:
General Health: Impeccable.
Deity: Kossuth
Initial Alignment: Lawful Evil
Profession: Thayan Knight
Base Class & Proposed Development: Fighter/Thayan Knight
Habits/Hobbies: Boris habitual posture is to stand with his feet spaced, one hand resting on the pommel of his sheathed sword and the other clenched over his stomach in a fist. He also has a bad habit of cracking his bull-neck from one side to the other.
Languages: Common, Thayan, Mulhorand
Weapon of Choice: Longsword

Forbidden
Boris is banned from the Friendly Arm Inn for viciously attacking The Crow at the bar of Bentley's tavern. The local guard have boasted that they will shoot Boris dead if he enters the walls of their keep.

_________________
Tooth decay is the leading cause of Barbarian Rage.


Last edited by Darradarljod on Wed May 25, 2016 6:04 am, edited 12 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Boris Vyacheslav
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:51 am 
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Reviewed/rewarded.

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 Post subject: Re: Boris Vyacheslav
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 4:11 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:15 pm
Posts: 275
Location: New Zealand
The Curse of the Hathran

Hidden: show
Women are standing over me in a circle under the moon. They smell like earth and unclean magic and I can't see their faces.

Why can't I see their faces?

Its because of their masks.

Their horrible masks speak a language I don't understand. But a language I know, and a language I hate.

Witches of Rashemen!

Enemies of Thay!

I try to tear up the roots that hold me to the cold earth. But I don't have the strength of a man any more. I can't save myself.

I am a child again.

Its futile.

Hot tears on my cheeks. Hot blood in my veins. My skin feels like it is crawling to get away from me. My bones - I watch them turn themselves out of joint!

They're cursing me! They want to kill me!

I stare at the witch leading the circle. Hatred overwhelms me. I feel as if Bane himself has taken me under his cloak. There is rage within this hatred. I am generating wrath that I cannot uncage.

It builds like a castle that cannot be completed. It rises like a tide, but may not overflow.

I can't scream any louder than I am, but my voice seems so distant ... so hollow.

"My brothers ... Where are my brothers?"


[The chanting of women grows louder]


"Father, the witches ..."

[Terrifying masks flash before his eyes]


"... the witches have caught me!"


[Deafening chanting builds to a crescendo]


"Where are my br--"

[Sudden silence]


Boris' eyes open abruptly like those of a vampire disturbed from its unholy rest. Terror urges him to act. It doesn't care what - just do something!

Strong legs thrash, finding themselves without any restriction. Powerful arms are thrown, turning him on his bed to clutch blindly for a weapon. One bare hand has constricted the black leather grip of his eternally near longsword. But as he gained his bearings, he found no occasion to draw it...

He is not under the moon.

There are no witches here.

Boris sighed, releasing the blade. He rolls back to rest on the flat of his back staring up at the familiar ceiling above his bunk. All the while his heart beats like a war drum in his chest. Despite it pounding in his ears he listens to the familiar surroundings.

He knows where he is.

All is calm within the Enclave.

It was just a nightmare.

The steady flame of the bracketed torch at the door causes the sweat drenching his triumphant musculature to glisten like fresh blood. Of such incredible bulk, and these muscles still burning from his last battle, it is a brief struggle for the warrior to sit up in bed. Hunched there in the low light of the knight's quarters he rubs his shaved head and wipes down his wet face with the hands of a warrior - calloused and blistered, rough and swollen.

Sweat salt stings his hard brown eyes and he blinks it away, staring at the nearby fire. Adrenaline subsides, but in his mind he remains haunted.

Once more he is forced to reconcile with this truth: it was more than a nightmare.

It was a memory.

He kneels his massive, unclothed body beside his bunk. He kneels in prayer.

Prayer to Kossuth.

At first it seems a concentrated effort for Boris to comfort himself by recalling the conclusion to that horrific ceremony. Soon, however, the grace of Kossuth meets him with that vision he desires; the only pacifier his cold soul knows - that fiery revenge of his brothers.

The smell of Rashemen witches burning became the fragrance of life for Boris that night. An aroma he could taste in his memory if he hungered for it badly enough. Tonight, Boris arose from his knees without the burden that brought him to them.

The horrors of Surthay's borders aside, our fighter's sleep had not been broken in years. A conscience drowned to death in other men's blood had no voice.

Returning to his bunk he entered into a state of rest that some would surely say a man of his character does not deserve.


The Illusion

Hidden: show
"Squire, have you understood everything I have instructed?"

"I heard you," Boris' baritone rumbled from within his helmet.

It was a sufficient answer for the Red Wizard apprentice who's thin lips curved into a pleased smile.

"Let us begin."

Those words might as well have been a spell. With them the whole of the empty storage cellar faded to black but for a white spotlight where Boris stood - now alone. Or so it seemed.

For a moment this transition came with an otherly sensation of being suspended in a void. He could only hear the labor of his own raspy breathing.

A voice came from all around him - it was the Wizard. "The sensation will pass. When you are ready we will begin."

"Do it."

Was he seeing things? Colours... swirling colours all blending together like the paints of an artist before his very eyes.

They were taking shape - the shape of a man.

No, not a man. A creature! A hobgoblin! It lurked against the empty black backdrop, like a wolf stalking its prey, crossbow in hand. Nearer and nearer it came toward Boris.

Boris wondered at the sight, amused. He drew his sword slowly and let the point hang at his heel.

Birds. They fluttered away startled from lush undergrowth as the hobgoblin now crouched between two bramble bushes and tried to conceal itself.

Boris found himself sheltering behind a tree, sword in both hands. He could smell the hobgoblin. It smelt like rotten eggs.

Boris peeked around the tree and made out the red skinned goblin against the lush green foliage. But the hobgoblin was waiting for him! Just as soon as Boris presented his head a quarrel was fired, striking the tree with a terrible CRACK!

Adrenaline surged as the fighter jerked his head back into cover, sinking low against the buttress of the tree. It was then he noticed he was up to his knees in sodden marshland.

The clacking of the hobgoblin's crossbow mechanism alerted Boris' fear heighted senses. He knew he only had a moment to act!

Bursting out from behind the tree the 130kg musclebound swordsman staggered like a drunken ox in his full platemail toward the enemy. The hobgoblin shrieked, lifting its crossbow and firing blindly.

Boris felt the bolt pierce him in the chest, despite his armour, but he was so full of wrath and lust for battle he charged on and met the goblinoid sniper face to face. The first chop of his sword disarmed the arbalest. Now one black gauntlet siezed the throat while the other drove its longsword in a deep thrust, shearing the beast through the ribcage and twisting to break its bones.

Seconds later the hobgoblin was gone, and so was the marsh. Everything swam together into a nauseating blur of colours and sounds. Then, perfect silence. Perfect black.

Boris stood alone in the void again, panting from the thrill of the brief fight. He removed his helmet and stowed it under his arm, waiting. Shade by shade the darkness dissipated giving way to the low light of that rented dock warehouse.

The Red Wizard apprentice spoke, but surprisingly his voice was now behind Boris, who found himself quite turned around, "Believed it, didn't you?"

Boris hand fell to his side from feeling his chest where the bolt should be protruding. He glared at the wizard.

"I had expected more of you, Boris, for all your reputation of holding an iron will!"

Boris grinned, thumbing the edge of his sword as the wizard continued.

"... After such a thorough exposition on the basic principles of illusion and not once but *twice* explaining the mechanisms of this particular spellcraft, I didn't anticipate you responding like an ape unleashed when faced with such a cantrip..."

"A fine game, Wizard," Boris interrupted in rolling Thayan accent, "but hobgoblins don't smell like rotten eggs."


Augmentation

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The small port town of Surthay was behind him. A young man of fourteen winters Boris had essentially travelled the length of Thay to come to Bezantur at the wish of his father. He did not question the family patriarch at his command, though inwardly he resented being uprooted from all he knew and loved. It was in this tharchion of Bezantur that Boris' father and uncle laid the foundations for Thayan Knighthood in Boris' life. A quest he could not yet appreciate, nor desired for himself, but a quest would come to define his mortal existence absolutely.

Seasoned Thayan Knights themselves, Boris' father and uncle were well aware of the demands every young Thayan man must satisfy to fulfill his duty to the Wizards. It did not require "much", it required everything. So why Boris and not his elder brothers?

Boris of all his siblings was the most zealous for love of his country. Some called him the only man of integrity among his father's sons, for he showed discipline they lacked in regard to worldly pleasures and vice. His quiet love of knowledge and learning Thayan history and spellcraft, though not to an extent justifying apprenticeship, was likewise commendable.

There was only one concern with Boris. It was his temper.

Boris thrashed like a young bull resisting a yoke. His father observed impartially while Boris' uncle and two other men overpowered his pre-pubescent rage easily and bound him to a rack with leather belts around his wrist and ankles.

It was futile for the underfed fourteen year old. His smoldering gaze was locked on his father with a sense of betrayal.

The father stepped near, gripping Boris by the jaw to fix him with a dominating stare and spoke, "You are the worm of all my sons. You've taken after your mother. It is a cruelty toward our Mulani bloodline that you are the only male spawned in this generation that has the Vyacheslav spirit,"

The man leaned in, whispering harshly into Boris' ear with hot, bad breath,

"Understand, Boris, that you will never be a Thayan Knight without this augmentation."

"I don't want to be a Thayan Knight!" the youth rebelled.

The father shoved his son's face away, mildly disgusted, not minded to dignify his son with a response.

He turned from Boris to the man in red who had been patiently waiting for the situation to come under control and advised him, "He is ready."

The red one stepped forward, a blackened tome spread open and balanced in one of his hands. Boris couldn't help but notice how warped and long this man's fingernails were as he began gesticulating. The boy recognised some of these verses as draconic scripture relating to transmuting...

Fear in his eyes, Boris looked to his father. The patriach laid a steel gauntlet upon his son's scalp, "Be brave, Vyacheslav."

Suddenly, pain wracked his body. He would have thrown himself across the room if he were not bound to the wooden rack. The wizard's chanting was doing something to his body - it had power, and the power was increasing.

Vascularity emerged on the young man from his shaven scalp to his bare feet. His body, bare but for a loincloth, began to sweat profusely. Every muscle was screamimg in protest as the Transmuter commanded it against its nature to grow.

Stretch marks split the earthy toned skin of the Mulani youth as musculature swelled rapidly, mutilating his previously flawless complexion. They continued to grow, a profuse and abhorrent growth upon a young man who could not even grow a beard.

With the musculature came strength. Boris defied the leather strops, pulling at them with all his might. They strained, groaning.

The wizard continued his spellcasting at the same pace, finalizing his transmutation with a spell of permanence.

Boris cried out in agony, his new strength bursting the belt on his right arm. He reached for the wizard, but his uncle snatched him and retrained him with violence.

The wizard quite apathetically declared a command word to finalize the casting;


"Sleep."

For Boris, that was enough. The rage of his tortured body had no choice but to subside. All became a blackened bliss and absence of being.


Crucible

Hidden: show
Under the ground in a vented hexagonal chamber a brazier of cast iron blazed. There was no fuel for the fire - it was not stoked - and there was no smoke. It was a self-sufficient flame that roared with a life of its own.

Within this oven sat a burly, hairless man cross-legged with his broad back against one of the six walls. He was unclothed. Perspiration gleamed on the abominable muscular bulk of his physique as the fire bathed him in its relentless heat. The sweat trickled down his face in streams from his shaved scalp to his chin and peppered the floor around him, sizzling into steam as it landed.

Beside this herculean Thayan on the dirt floor lay a longsword, almost too hot to handle. The controlled heat level tested the trained endurance of the fighter, but that was one of its purposes. Purification by fire was the doctrine of Kossuth.

Boris' eyes were closed and the lids fluttered as he dreamed dehydrated delusions. His body was wracked with pain at every wave of heat that washed over him, horrifying his mind which urged him to get up and escape this place. But his spirit would rise, subjugating both body and mind with an iron fist.

There was purpose to his presence in this place. The refining of his character. Remove the dross from the silver, and a silversmith can produce a vessel. But would Boris be a vessel for honorable use? Would he be finery, the preference of his lord?

It had been expressed by the Khazark that the squire was proved ready to ascend into Knighthood. Vows must be made - and they must be meant. If what Boris presented in oath to the Khazark at the ceremony of his tattooing was pleasing to the leader of the Enclave, he would rise a Thayan Knight, joining the prestigious elite of Thayan Society. A commander of soldiers. A guardian of Magus.

But should Boris' vows displease the Khazark, he would more than fail the purpose for which he now knew he was brought forth from the womb. If Boris' vows were not adequate, he would be executed.

The fighter's mind swam through a cold sea of self. He sought furiously to find what it meant to be a Knight. Was it in him at all?

The heat of the brazier without, the heat of rage within.

Boris' solitary devotions and soul-searching continued into the night, even as his stretch-marked flesh baked and his tortured mind elapsed into absenteeism...


Vows of Ascension: Squire to Knight

Hidden: show
The following script Boris has long brooded over. He recites from the parchment morning, noon and night. These are the vows of the Squire who looks to ascend the ranks of Thayan Knighthood.

I submit my mind to the power, authority and direction of the Khazark. I forfeit my will, that I may never resist his spellcraft. He shall not be defied, doubted nor disobeyed in any thing. His word is become my law. This is my vow of obedience.

I yield my body as a living sacrifice to preserve that of my Khazark. My life and all it consists of I entrust into his hands and oversight. I shall not fear his enemies - I shall reserve my fear for him alone. I shall protect my Khazark against enemies wherever they are found by my skill at arms in battle, and by integrity and loyalty in politics. Forbid he perish under my guard, I vow to avenge him bloodily and thereafter to fall upon my own sword. I shall never compromise the safety of any Magus by my action or inaction. This is my vow as guardian.

As a Thayan Knight I vow to protect this Enclave and all those of our nation who reside on this Thayan soil. I shall uphold Thayan culture and ideals, thereby setting forth our race as supreme. I shall war against those who war against us and I shall never surrender my arms. I shall enforce the Codes and Ideals of Thayan Knighthood within our ranks. With all solidarity, I shall uphold and set them forth to our squires by personal example. I shall obey the directives of our Knight Commander as his will is an extension of our Khazark's. This is my vow of honour.


Goal Achieved: Knighthood

Hidden: show
Goal Achieved: Thayan Knighthood

Two large black runes have been permanently marked into Boris' face - one on each of his cheeks. Anyone skilled in Spellcraft would easily recognise these as deactivated "Symbol of Fear", and "Symbol of Pain".

His whole scalp has likewise been chiseled with ink covering the basic Mulan designs he had when he arrived in Baldur's Gate with a skull capping visage of a horned Balor Lord glaring out of the back of his own head.

These tattoos have granted the feat Skill Focus: Intimidate, along other things (+2 Saves vs. Fear), and declare Boris Vyacheslav to have taken the vows of a Thayan Knight.


The Knighthood and Tattoo Ceremony of Boris Vyacheslav
Image
Left to Right;
Khazark Kahanak Habdilof, Sir Boris Vyacheslav (kneeling), Magus Zhar Quantoul, Apprentice Seteneptra Ma'u


The Church of Iron

Hidden: show
Boris lay flat on his back supported by a leather padded bench. Over his broad chest he gripped a steel pole in his strong, calloused hands. Several discs of iron weighed the bar on either end. He lowered it slowly until the cold bar touched his hot skin. Then, with violent exertion and a throaty grunt he heaved it up, only to lower it again and repeat the ritual.

The repetitions continued a minute. With a confident glance from Boris the assistance offered by the Squire who stood over him as a spotter was rejected. Boris settled the bar onto the framework above him and sat up on the bench. The Squire offers an uncapped vessel of water which Boris takes in hand and drinks from thirstily.

Boris locked his hands behind the low of his back, stretching his pectorals briefly before rising from the bench to pace around the gymnasium with the arrogance of the wicked.


Back in Surthay, his heritage estate was prospering. When last in Thay visiting the Zulkir of Alteration Boris had arranged to send money home to his mother. It pleased the Knight greatly to know that his frontier homestead was now doubled in garrison. Boris found it difficult not being there personally to ensure the safety of his mother and family assets.

Many slaves and taskmasters had been purchased to assist with the work and management of the land allowing his brothers more time to organise, train and equip the estate's soldiery.

Dumbbells are strangled in each of Boris' great hands, one curled and then the other. His horrifically scarred skin is increasingly wet with perspiration. Between the sets, weights are slammed and dropped. His muscles engorge with blood, both vascular and terrible.

Boris hated the trade initiatives that had scattered their Enclaves across the realm at large. What scraps of barbarian soil they held underfoot by negotiation, and whatever economic influence that came with their mercantile enterprizes he considered worthless compared to the potential for seizing entire kingdoms and enslaving whole populations by full scale invasion.

He had a love of the old ways - extending Thayan borders by aggressive military initiatives. Some Zulkir's still held to these opinions. It gave Boris hope things may one day resume the course he believed they never should have diverted from.

For now, Boris' main concern was bolstering the might of his Surthayan family estate. When the political realm of Thay was restored to right order there would surely be another war against the Rashemi. It was not a possibility for Boris - it was a certainty. The certainty that was the foundation of all his investment.


Men of Baldur's Gate skirt around the unnaturally large titan of a Thayan as he moves to the squat rack. The man who occupied it doesn't protest as Boris begins loading more plates on. Instead, he leaves. Boris takes the loaded bar on his shoulders and begins his next exercise.

Kahanak had been reclusive.

Rising, lowering, rising, lowering under the burden of the bar.

Zhar Quantoul was yet to be avenged.

Boris rises up one last time under the weight and hooks the bending squat bar back onto the frame. Coming out from under it he snatched his towel from the Squire that hovered about him and used it to wipe down his stretch-marked flesh and tattooed face and scalp. To conclude his exercises, Boris strode across the gym floor toward the baths.

The sooner their Khazark resumed his aggressive leadership and dictation of Enclave affairs, the better.


Mutilated

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When Boris arrived at the Enclave his wounds were so severe his enchanted armour was the only thing holding him together. Nights and days passed in several surgeries and in the infirmary. Flesh eating acid prevented his wounds from easily closing. His already brutal appearance was now even more mutilated from an attempt to carve his face open. An attempt that was for the most part frustrated by his open faced helmet.

Boris' anger simmers as he is forced to rest his tortured body. In the night hours he roars in agony and rage.

His report is published not only to the Khazark but to the entire Enclave of approximately fifty wizards. Before the reclusive Khazark ever responds, Boris is on his feet again. Sustained by much draught of healing and regeneration magics the fighter resumes his training regime in the local gymnasium and sparring in the Enclave arena - against the advice of the Thayan physicians. His performance is poor, and likely the knight does himself more harm than good by his diehard determination.

As the reclusive Khazark shows no sign of emerging from his den any time soon the knight realises he must come to stand alone against his enemies.


Mother

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Within the Thayan Enclave of Baldur's Gate, high in the tower, the Knight Boris Vyacheslav stands within a large steel barred cage. The gargantuan man is dressed sharply in a black gambeson, red pantaloons and polished leather jackboots. His tattooed face is mangled with a calculating intensity whilst dark eyes roam between two Thayan blackguards with him in this arena - one before him and one to his flank.

None of them move, yet.

Boris' longsword is pointed low in the Alber ("Fool's Guard"). His opponents blades are fixed in Vom Tang (the roof). Tension is thick in the room. It tests the patience of the warriors - none of whom seem obliged to take initiative. Suddenly, the first blackguard began his approach - quick, and overconfident due to the deceptive low guard of the Knight. Boris stepped forward at the right moment and lifted his blade to greet him - a foot of steel shearing through his opponent's abdomen. Instead of the powerful downward stroke his foe intended, the longsword simply dropped from the high guard - and from his trembling hands - to the floor, a clatter of steel on stone.

Boris tore his sword free from the body, freckling his own face with blood, and turned swiftly to the second of the blackguards who came at his left flank. An instinctive parry from the seasoned Thayan Knight met the powerful chop just in time to save himself - the swords were locked edge to edge at the impact. Thus bound sword-to-sword, the snarling Knight roared with vigor and stepped into the gap. With all aggression he hooked his foot behind the leg of his opponent, his arm barring across the man at the throat. A sharp turn of Boris' powerful upper body slammed the blackguard onto his back where he quickly yielded, laying winded in recovery.

Boris stood over the conquered man with sword in hand, relishing his victory until another set of hurried footsteps alarmed him. He turned sharply, fixing his longsword in the Ochs (Ox) guard as if to meet an unexpected enemy. Instead, he met a servant bowed with her face close to the ground.

"Sir Boris," she beseeches, "a messenger from Surthay has arrived and requests meeting."

Boris lowered his guard and passed his longsword on to an approaching squire who exchanged the weapon for a towel. Drying his face the knight stepped over top the first maimed opponent who was curled into a fetal position in his agony, and dropped the towel behind himself into the pool of the man's blood where its white fabric drank thirstily. He marched briskly down the steps to the lounge of the Enclave.

When he emerged through the doorway he saw seated there woman in fine Thayan apparel accompanied by her servants. She had a beautiful and familiar face - but one grim with the burden of bad tidings.

Baffled at the sight, only one word escaped the lips of the herculean warmonger, "Mother."


The Di'Corvi Affair

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It was before dawn. Beneath the tower of the Enclave in the cold stone hallway of a sub terrain barracks a line of eight Thayvian blackguards stood at rigid attention shoulder to shoulder. Their breath was a mist. Bracketed torches cast fiery reflections in the polished black steel of their helmets and breastplates. But a passing shadow darkened each man momentarily. It belonged to Boris.

Steel boots clacked on the stone - slow steps. Boris took his time to walk the line. His analysis of the soldiers was critical - the blackish pits of grave-cold disapproval that were his eyes betrayed no satisfaction despite the perfected elitist posture and meticulous upkeep of equipment that met him.

As Boris arrived at the end of a line his gaze dropped like a stone to a servant bowed to the ground there, presenting the parcel to him in both hands.

~~~~

Boris sat at his personal station in the Knight's Quarters and turned the alchemical silver stiletto slowly in his bruised and burn-scarred hands. Over and over again he handled the token thus, and only in the low light of a flickering candle. It was as if he sought to appreciate the masterpiece from every angle.

Boris' eyes drift to his desk and skim-read the letter spread out there one last time.

"Purity By Fire", the zealot concluded with the mantra of Kossuth in a growled whisper. That single candle, his only companion in the chamber, illuminated a concoction of spiritual fervor, pride and amusement as its lonely light danced against his dark stare.

The missive was folded crisply and sheathed back into its envelope. It disappeared, along with the stilleto, into the top draw of his desk. A word of command activated a dull cherry red rune instead of a lock - a ward to guard the deposit.

The sun rose, and with it Boris rose from his desk. He took his sword, fixing it to his belt and resuming his duties. He could only wait for a report of her success, or for the equally telling absence thereof...


Crucible II

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"I'm scared."

The little boy with the shaved head wrung his hands anxiously. He stood under a great tree. Starlight pierced the rustling forest canopy above him.

The boy's eyes strained in futility staring into shadows overlapping shadows which darkened the way before him.

"Come back. I'm frightened," he pleaded again. Still no one answered him.

Fallen leaves scuffled. Footsteps. Growing nearer.

Hot tears of terror welled in the child's dark eyes. They rolled off of his bronze cheeks like diamonds and peppered the ground at his bare feet.

"Pomek?" The hairless boy questioned, "Ganau?"

The figure that emerged like a ghoul from the Surthayan shadows was not one of his brothers. Boris gasped and held his breath trembling at the sight.

Long black hair was braided in places. A full beard adorned his face. He was bare chested and war painted. Blood splattered his arms, chest and face - black instead of red in the night.

In one hand a langsax dripped and swung as he swaggered. Two tattooed scalps were clutched bloody and raw in the barbarian's other fist. Boris recognised them immediately.

The stranger strode right past, barely acknowledging the whelp. He stank of jhuild.

Boris had been too terrified to move. Even when the man was departed the child stared yet into those shadows from which the beast had emerged. His heart raced in his chest, fluttering like a wounded sparrow.


The sound of a bronze gong - muffled - somewhere a level or two above.

Boris' eyelids peeled apart despite the protest of scarred tissue to welcome in the brilliant white light blazing before him.

The ceremonial brazier.

Kneeling before it, Boris was suddenly aware of its extravagant heat. It washed over his blistering body in waves of nauseating agony. He could barely think but he could still taste the stench of jhuild from the berserker. It took much concentration to truly consider what he had just seen.

How had he so clearly recalled the memory of the forest track? It was as if he had been there now. The clarity of a vision, the immersion of a dream, the flavour of reality...

Whatever it was, Boris knew it was chaff. Chaff to be driven. Chaff to be burned. Kossuth's finger had touched his soul and revealed therein a cancerous weakness to be purified.

Fear.

Smoke whistled from burnt edges of his cracked and peeling skin. But Boris would remain within the bakery of flesh, mind and soul deeper into the night - wrestling with his god until he felt in himself that the purification was administered and his sin consumed by that relentless flame.


Goal Achieved: Knight-Commander

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The same week as the unexpected death of Zhar Quantoul comes the ascension of Sir Boris Vyacheslav. At the dispensation of His Eminence Khazark Kahanak Habdilof, Boris has attained the rank of Knight-Commander among the Order of the Crimson Guard. In regard to authority this positions the fighter above the apprentice magi and his fellow Knights, while rightfully below the red robed magi and of course the Khazark himself. It is the highest honour available to him.

"I, Boris Vyacheslav, ascend to the greatest honour and responsibility. I stand tall above the Knights that serve Thay and lead them to battle, train them perfectly and die with them. Their failures are mine, their successes are mine. I live and die for Thay and the Red Wizards."

Image
Left to right: Squire Johnri, Magus Seteneptra, Knight-Commander Boris, Khazark Kahanak


Father

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Father, would it have pleased you to see this day?

Boris marches down a dark subterranean hall of the Thayan Enclave. Two Thayan Knights in full battle regalia bodyguard him. Their boots clack like furious blacksmith's hammers working steel on anvils - sharp and hard against the polished stone floor.

You did not only create me. You fathered me. You set me apart from my brothers and you forged me in the crucible of suffering. You chose me to become what you were. To be like you.

Bracketed torches gasp fiery, flinching and throwing shadows, as the brisk passing of the armed men robs them of a moments breath.

At YOUR request I was transmuted. Changed from what I was, what I should have been, into what I am.

The three militants trot up a tightly wound tower stairwell. Up, up, up they go - one after the other with Boris at the head. His sword is drawn.

This body, this ... weapon ... I am more than the man I was born to be. I am abomination!

The door is burst ajar. Two knights spill into the room dragging a beautiful elderly lady from her bed by frail arms. The woman is bald, tattooed, and she is terrified.

... and I am become more than you ever were, father.

Boris approaches the woman standing there in her fine Thayan bedgown. She looks up at Boris and he looks down at her with eyes like hers. She is afraid - but not surprised.

I am Knight-Commander.

The woman crumples in the grip of the knights who have siezed her. Boris twists and wrenches his sword free from her body.

Turning his back the fighter wiped the blooded sword dry with a black silk cloth, eyes roaming the furnished chamber with cold admiration of its decorating.

"Cremate the body," the purple cloaked fighter murmured to the Knights, "flush the ashes."

Consenting immediately the Knights carry the body past the Knight-Commander and down the stairs.

Left alone in the room Boris exhaled a deep sigh of satisfaction through his thin nostrils. He sheathed his sword on his hip and folded the cloth as he went to exit - but he halts at the doorway to the stairwell, looking over his shoulder at the blood pool there.

"Yes," the fighter spoke in gutteral Thayan accents, earth hued eyes lifting to the high window of the tower guest chamber where white daylight filtered in, "you would have been pleased to see this day."

Boris lifts the the blooded black silk cloth to his face, inhaling the scent of his own noble blood, then drops it to the floor. He is gone - disappearing like a ghoul into the dark mouth of the stairwell, leaving only the dust to settle in the chamber of the altercation...


Condolences

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It is a late hour in the Enclave. Boris sits alone at his desk in the office of the Knight-Commander's quarters. All the room is pervaded by the spicy scent of Kossuthian incense. He writes by the low magical red glow that permeates the chamber from a crimson rune of light upon the ceiling.

Quote:
Zantus Vyacheslav,

Your brother, Boris, writes to you in glorious well-being and in participation of great prestige.

I report to you the untimely death of our mother who was visiting here. She fell down the stairs of the Enclave tower ...


Boris sits back in his padded chair with a scowl and broods over the parchment at mid-sentence. He tickles the peacock feather quill under his brutally scarred jaw, grimacing as the cogs of his mind turn and turn again.

Quote:
... and onto my sword.


Leira help him if the foolishness of the confession didn't cause him to smile a little. But Boris sweeps a magical stone over the parchment, drinking the ink from the page, and begins anew under the inspiration of a greater and better lie.

Quote:
Zantus Vyacheslav,

Your brother, Boris, writes to you in glorious well-being and in participation of great prestige.

Our mother, esteemed guest of His Eminence Khazark Habdilof, is gravely ill having contracted of the terrible blight that you may or may not have heard has swept this region recently.

She is under quarantine in the Enclave but is sure to die. A further will of our father remains in her possession and she will disclose nothing of its location or content to me. She demands your presence, Zantus, as the rightful heir of our heritage estate.

Therefore, I beseech on her behalf that you come urgently to the Enclave of Baldur's Gate - alone, or with those of our kinsmen who care to be with her at her death.

Sir Boris Vyacheslav,
Knight-Commander of the Crimson Guard
Enclave of Baldur's Gate


Picnic

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Knight Commander Boris Vyacheslav and Magus Seteneptra Ma'u enjoy the view of the green basin south of Nashkel. It is a moment of serenity before the booming of great wings from above...

Image

A Roc descends on elaborate campsite. It swoops, snatching a nearby stag and destroying the red silken tent in the process.

Thus, the outing is cut short. As hurried preparation are made to depart, the avian returns. After sheltering Seteneptra in a nearby cluster of trees the Knight-Commander steps brazenly into the open with sword in hand, bellowing and drawing the attention of the circling predator.

It is a terrible battle. The creature is fierce and great, but Boris is unyielding - with the Magus in danger he cannot balk at all. He greets every swoop with the point of his sword, hacking the talons that seek to grapple him. The screeching bird pursues the knight as he lures it further and further from the trees where Seteneptra prepares a spell to teleport herself to the safety of the Enclave.

Before long the creature is dead at Boris' feet and he stands alone in the basin, no witness to his triumph. His unarmored head and face are painted red by many sore wounds. Thus mutilated, but victorious, he makes a solitary return to the Enclave by foot.


Battle Royal

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Quote:
Well dressed servants of Thayan nationality are dispersed across the Sword Coast to the orders and temples of the realm, each issued a written missive to declare to those who will hear, and to deliver into the hands of appropriate authority;

To recognized orders of knighthood and religion;

Be it known to squires and knights among you, noble and infamous, least and greatest, this declaration of the good intention of Sir Boris Vyacheslav of the Order of the Crimson Guard:

A battle royal shall be hosted, wherein our knighthoods may be tested against one another in jousting, skill at arms and sword dueling.

There will be one victor. To him shall be a reward of ten bags of gold and the honourable recognition among his peers as the greatest knight of this realm in 1352.

Register your interest with this servant and release him.

Sir Boris Vyacheslav,
Knight-Commander of the Order of the Crimson Guard
Balduran Thayan Enclave


Sir Boris' intention to bring the knights of the realm together for a great melee and fellowship were not well received. Twelve days had passed since the Knight-Commander's couriers were dispatched and, thus far, there had been no expression of interest from any of the orders invited to participate. The only courier who returned with a response had brought missive to Boris from the Watchknight Sveta Asperan. That bold woman defied the knighthood of the Thayan and refused any peaceful engagement with him or his fellow nationals.

She might as well have spoken for them all.


Boris lounged in the armchair of his quarters with an ancient sword standing between his knees, one hand resting palm down atop its pommel - a blade that whispered a never-ending sigh of negative energy.

Tonight, the herculean soldier glowered into the fireplace while its radiating glow highlighted the musculature of his menacingly hulking frame. Powerful shoulders rose and fell with deep, angered breathing. The Knight-Commander was not pleased.

For the past six weeks the Knight-Commander had intensified the training of his Knights, proving them against one another and himself likewise in preparation for the Battle Royal - this would have given his men a four week advantage of preparation by the time other participants were only notified of the event... But the unpopularity of his people - the Thayan people - was a rampant reality.

In this backward Western realm, Boris had experienced first-hand that even half-orcs were better received than the Thayan national. Ultimately, and personally, this behavior communicated that the Thayan people were esteemed by some to be less than half-human.

That "bestial slave-race of half-breeds" had been given preference over the Thayan by some - even being defended from Boris when he challenged their presence so close to human settlement. It was rumored some half-orcs were knighted by orders of Baldur's Gate - even leading them!

It would not surprise the Thayan to learn it were true. In Thay, orcs were slaves. Here they were dressed up like men and paraded themselves as if they actually believed that they were!

Despite the violent and tumultuous history of the land regarding these monsters, ludicrous tolerances existed among some of these natives. Perhaps, Boris considered, these explained the constant resurgence of orc war-parties such as that amassing throng of Gruuman who threatened their kingdoms today.

Oh, these natives - how many times would history repeat itself before they learned the necessity of utterly subjugating such species as the orc, and rejecting all that comes from them? War was an expensive tutor whose tedious lesson Boris was quite untempted to interrupt in any way as it was meted out again on these "ignorant Western barbarians". It was for their own good, as he considered it.

As for the Thayans - the reputation for which they were collectively despised as a people was justified. They were slavers. There was no denying it, and no apologizing for it.


Boris silently lifts his empty cup from the arm-rest. A bruised servant steps forward out of the shadows to refill the vessel with a ready bottle of wine.

There would be no Battle Royal - and, as Boris considered, perhaps it was for the best.

_________________
Tooth decay is the leading cause of Barbarian Rage.


Last edited by Darradarljod on Wed May 25, 2016 5:54 am, edited 8 times in total.

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 Post subject: Reports to Bentley Mirrorshade
Unread postPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 6:01 am 
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Work in progress: Reports to Bentley Mirrorshade


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Darradarljod wrote:
A bag of 20 gold coins arrives with this letter by the hand of a halfling runner.


To: Bentley Mirrorshade of the Friendly Arm Inn

This missive regards the defilement of your laws and hospitality on the evening of the 16th of Alturiak 1352; namely, my assault on the humanoid by moniker of "Crow" within your establishment.

I express my regret at the outworking of these hostilities, and acknowledge it was to your expense. I stand accountable as the instigator of the offence within the Keep and therefore acknowledge reparation as owing.

I propose the negotiation of a settlement that is agreeable in proportion to the damages to your establishment and its reputation.

A reply to this missive will reach me at the address of the Baldur's Gate Thayan Enclave in the East Gate region of the city. Find included with this letter the sum of twenty gold coins toward your courier expenses.

Regards,

Sir Boris Vyacheslav of Surthay


DM Ghost wrote:
Quote:
Sir Boris Vyacheslav,

As recompense for your crimes at the Friendly Arm Inn, I'll ask that you for one ten-day patrol the road Between the Wyrm's Crossing, Beregost and Candlekeep to make sure that travellers to my inn are kept safe. If you find anyone heading towards the inn, offer to escort them.

I expect a brief report on each day's incidents at the end of that day.

Bentley Mirrorshade


Subsequent reports of Sir Boris Vyacheslav delivered to Bentley by courier;

6th Tarsakh, 1352 DR
Patrolled alone from Baldurs Gate to the Friendly Arm Inn. Encountered no travellers but was waylaid multiple times by bandits. Defending myself against the lawless men I persecuted them to the full extent of my strength, seeking out those hiding in the hills and executing several before arriving at the Friendly Arm Inn territories. I returned to my camp.

8-9th Tarsakh, 1352 DR
Travelled from the Friendly Arm Inn to Beregost without encountering any travellers. Occasional goblinoids were skirmished. I returned the way I came and patrolled the northern road on my return to Baldur's Gate for a meeting with the Enclave.

Duties within the Enclave prevent Boris' continuation of regular patrols for two weeks. His intentions to resume patrols delivered to Bentley on the 23rd of Tarsakh via courier messenger and are enacted as of the 25th.

25th Tarsakh, 1352 DR
Patrolled the Trade Way between Beregost and The Friendly Arm. Encountered no travelers. Slew one goblin. Pushing further north I patrolled the road between the Friendly Arm Inn and Baldur's Gate. Encountered no travelers. Slew two bandits and killed a pair of their attack dogs.

26th Tarsakh, 1352 DR
Patrolled the Trade Way from The Friendly Arm Inn to Beregost. The rain was heavy and the weather made for difficult journey. One goblin strayed too near to the road and was slain. No travelers were encountered - likely due to the storm.

11th Mirtul, 1352 DR
While patrolling the routes around the Friendly Arm Inn without incident or encounter of note I paused outside the keep for respite.

A woman confronted me as to why I was armed. I readily explained both my obligation and the lawlessness of these roads. Moments later, as if to illustrate my point, a gang of men and women in red hoods were upon us like a mob of vultures supposing there was conflict to be witnessed. Disappointed that there was not the trolls began goading us to fight each other and threatening to attack us themselves, preparing with spells. This encounter concluded without violent incident, however.

The woman is a half-elven Helmite soldier who also patrols the routes I am assigned to. It was her restraint in fear of the law of the land that diffused the situation, despite being slandered by the bystanders.

We may patrol the roads together while my obligation to your establishment continues.

17 Mirtul, 1352 DR
I patrolled road north from Beregost, taking the Lion's Way west toward Candlekeep before backtracking and moving north to The Friendly Arm Inn.

Here I met with a woman Alessia whom I offered to escort on her way north to Baldur's Gate. She was joined by a man named Thomas who went with us. Before departing, I found an elf of Doron Amar who consented likewise for my escort north. In addition to these, an unnamed halfling took advantage of the safety in our numbers to go a part of the way with us.

These I escorted through the bandit troubled road north on their way from your Inn to the beginning of the farmlands of Baldurs Gate.

As I am sure you are aware, Master Mirrorshade, my dedicated patrols between the 6th of Tarsakh and the 17th of Mirtul amount to six days of service in total toward our agreement of ten.

I am also certain you will appreciate my duties as Knight-Commander to my Lord and Khazark and his Enclave have taken priority over this, which is a personal matter. Nonetheless, my patrols continue.

20th Mirtul, 1352 DR
Patrolling north of the Friendly Arm Inn I encountered a woman a way off the road who had been beset by bandits but slain her attackers. I escorted the woman on a return to the road. There, we were beset by highwaymen, whom we dispatched together. Escorting the woman south she arrived safely at the Friendly Arm Inn.

I returned north toward Baldur's Gate, my intention to resupply at the Enclave before resuming a night patrol. On the bridge I encountered a noblewoman of the far north. An acquaintance of my Lord Khazark. She was seeking an escort south to the Friendly Arm Inn which is a hub for her to conduct business out of.

After resupplying at the Enclave I escorted this woman and her acquaintance south to the Friendly Arm Inn, and this safely, despite encountering an orc-blooded man and several bandits on the roads.

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Tooth decay is the leading cause of Barbarian Rage.


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 Post subject: Re: Boris Vyacheslav
Unread postPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 1:10 am 
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The Seven Brothers of Boris Vyacheslav:

Bolgreth -
Bolgreth is a lawless rogue with no regard for the honour of his family, nor love his nation. He is led by his pleasures and flees from one tharch to another pursuing aristocratic lovers and evading the wrath of many a jealous husband. He took his share of financial inheritance while his father was alive and this has provided him a life of luxury to this day. His current sanctuary is Surthay, but Zantus will not tolerate him at the family estate. The most recent scandal involved impregnating the wife of a Red Wizard, Pevek of Pyarados who, despite many gifts, will not put aside his jealous wrath and has put a bounty on Bolgreth of 10,000 gold.

Erjesko -
Erjesko never left the estate in any pursuit of profession or ambition or service. He is the favourite of his mother. He is widely popular for hosting great and expensive feasts for his large circle of "friends". He has a reputation for overeating on such occasions which is reflected in his morbid girth. As a result of his popularity, Erjesko is rarely not in the company of one group of friends or another.

*Gextas -
Gextas is a secretive and private man. A Red Wizard - the only one of this generation. He never yet married or had children. Gextas has managed the Surthayan Estate's wealth for years. Gextas made great gains in influence and wealth from investment in the slave trade and great advances in magic are attributed to his torturous experiments on living subjects. Gextas accumulates wealth and properties, prestige and envy among his peers, but is never satisfied. He has begun embarking on risky ventures for greater rewards, which have so far all collapsed, and I suspect he has been embezzling money from the estate and his businesses. Gextas is of the Researcher Faction, rather than the Imperialist, which sets him against our family tradition and causes much contention between himself and Zentus.

Jadmek -
Jadmek would have been a soldier in the Thayan Army, but a hunting injury disqualified him. All his friends embarked on military careers without him, and are now distinguished, dead or both. Jadmek's injury healed, but he nurses it still, and plays it up, with much self-pity, as though he were still incapable of anything more than reclining at home and enjoying the pleasures of privilege. He refuses to work. Jadmek is close to Erjesko.

Larnobov -
Larnobov is a born fighter. He led many skirmishes against Rashemi tribesmen around the Lake Mulsantir. He is aggressive, short-tempered and easily offended. Larnobov has many enemies in Surthay, and has been the cause of reparations paid by the Vyacheslav Estate for damages to persons and properties that were not our enemies. He is addicted to the Rashemi "jhuild", and has been since childhood, which fuels much of his rampant behavior.

Rahlet -
Rahlet is unremarkable, except for his earnest striving for the favour of our late father. He never achieved much for his self-loathing and lack of commitment. He was never as strong as Larnobov, never as popular as Erjesko, never as rich as Gextas, never as powerful as Zantus. Rahlet manages a tax checkpoint in southern Surthay and is quite removed from the family estate by his own decision after many bitter disputes. He raises a young family quietly in his own property on the border of our territories, but is a habitual drinker and his complaints border slander, drawing much wrath from Zantus especially.

Zantus -
The eldest of our brothers and rightful heir to the Vyacheslav estate after the death of our father. Zantus is a powerful personality and very self-reliant. He rebelled against our father all the years of his life. He would have made a fine Thayan Knight, but his rebellion was unyielding. Zantus is incredibly vain of his personal appearance and reputation. He is a handsome man, and a fine swordsman. This brother is often engaged in duels because his "honour" is easily slighted. Zantus is an outspoken Imperialist, like myself. He does not care for the glory of the family, only his own. He neglects the consideration of our family's future, and refuses to take counselors. He ensures he is escorted by a bodyguard of two soldiers to formal and informal events, and these are proven loyal.

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Tooth decay is the leading cause of Barbarian Rage.


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 Post subject: Re: Boris Vyacheslav
Unread postPosted: Tue May 31, 2016 6:11 am 
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1345 DR, "Skirmish at Surmarsh"
Surthay, Thay


The Rashemi women wailed, hidden among the undergrowth and among the twisted trees of the Surmarsh. Scattered among them two Fangs of Rashemi berserkers slogged through the knee deep sludge of the swamp land. They were sky-clad and war-painted. Bare chested, long dark hair and beards. Axes and clubs hung from their fists.

This horde gradually emerged out of the sparse forest to the higher and harder ground. Yet when they had assembled loosely there, they were no more than one hundred. Still the women behind them wailed. Not the wail of fear, or distress, but shrill and haunting cries that only a woman can make. These were the mothers, daughters and wives of the fighting men.

Already assembled on the soft plain a single contingent of Thayan soldiers stood rank and file. Seventy men in total. Each wore a towering shield, sword sheathed on his hip. Breath steamed from the visors of their plated helmets as they watched their enemies assemble.

A man in blackened steel marched along the front of the line. His prestige was evident in the quality of his arms and armor. He was a Thayan Knight. A young soldier, Boris watched that Knight pass him by from his place within the ranks then he fixed his gaze straight ahead like the others. The foe was no more than an arrow's shot away.

Suddenly it sounded - the low bellow of a great ram's horn from the barbarian warband. This began a terrible frenzy among the berserkers. They began cutting themselves. They cracked their heads with stones and cried out to the earth and sky. The howling of this mess ofsavages betrayed these were of the Lodge of the Wolf.

A cry of command from the Thayan Knight - the Thayan infantry held their formation. They drew their swords and began to drum their shields in unison.

The barbarians began to swarm like a hive of wasps. Suddenly, the two Fangs rallied behind a man wearing the skin of a bull and made a wild charge. Outnumbered, the Thayan unit's discipline was evidenced in that they were unflinching. They held their position and did not meet the advance.

Almost as soon as the charge had begun the barbarians were upon them. The soliders had locked their shields and began to push back the riot of raging north-men. The melee was heated and furious - Rashemi axes cleft shields, Thayan swords splayed bellies. The barbarians attempt to outflank the wall of shields had failed. Very quickly, it seemed the smaller force of Thayans were at an advantage in the fighting.

Suddenly, one part of the berserker warband broke from the fighting and began to fall back toward the swamp. The Thayan solider's who were engaged in the fighting there broke rank to pursure them - it was then that the horn sounded a second time. A mob of Rashemi warriors, not berserkers, swarmed out of the fog the way of the wailing women. At the same time as this reserve joined the melee, the berserkers who had fled from the shield wall turned on their pursuers, who quickly found themselves surrounded and slaughtered.

The mob of warriors surged through the battlefield into the opening in the shield wall. This broke the rest of the formation of Thayan soliders. Chaos reigned over the field as men of Thay fought desperately on all sides, terribly outnumbered. Steel beat on steel. Women wailed. It seemed the Rashemi had overwhelmed their enemy...

(UNDER CONSTRUCTION - TO BE CONTINUED)

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Tooth decay is the leading cause of Barbarian Rage.


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 Post subject: Re: Boris Vyacheslav
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:25 am 
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Borris is a great character.


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