A man in a blue and gold cloak ran into a dimly lit cabin. He was panicked and frantically searching for red gem that he found in his desk. He rushed over to a raven that was in a panicked state from its master's actions. The man grabbed the raven and crushed the gem over it. The dust rushed to its eyes and the raven was then still. Then man began to speak,
"Les Paladins honore de Main Cannon, il s'agit de sa gracieuse Majeste de ranger premier de Gaule…"
Outside, a hulking humanoid moved towards the cabin. All that could be seen was the image of a rough crown, piercing white eyes, and a mist emitting from its body.
"…repondez-lui en toute hate. Le benisse votre commande." When he was finished, the man opened the door. But suddenly, a huge jagged ice spear ripped through the cabin and went straight through the ranger and stuck him to the ground. The blood he coughed up landed on the raven as it flew off.
All the ranger could do was die as the creature walked to him.
"Je sais pas qui vous invite. Nos anciens ennemis. Ils ne peuvent pas arreter mon ambition. Car je suis un roi." It said in a growling voice.
"En enfer avec toi, ceature." The ranger said before he slumped over and died.
Plain of Sights-
As Dai climbed over the last hill of the green grass plains, he saw the image he had been longing for. His city of Main Cannon.
An architectural marvel that had been added onto for centuries. Massive towers in the political district, large open market areas lining the port, and patches of houses and apartment type buildings in the residential area. For protection, a titanic white wall sheltered it from anyone who would try an assault from the wide open Plain of Sights, so named for the ease of seeing approaching armies, and to guard it from the sea five towers out in the bay would raise a massive chain that would tear the sails of any ship.
At its center was the crowning jewel of the city, the Citadel of the Penultimate Alliance. A massive domed building at the center, as white as marble, but shimmered like a diamond. This was the Paladin Tower. Surrounding it was six towers, each decorated for the other orders that also belonged to the Alliance. The gothic red tower of the Knights Nosforatus, the gold tower of the Knights Illuminatae, the black tower of the Knights Gaian, the green tower of the Knights Natura, the blue tower of the Knights Oceanic, and finally the grey tower of the Knights Urani. In times of war against the city, when the defenses failed, this was the populaces protection. Even before the wall and chain, nothing could breach the Citadel.
As Dai kept walking, two shadows approached him. The source of the shadows flew above and then landed in front of him. One was an orc riding a golden and white plated griffin and the other was a harpy with brown wings and hair. Both had the same white plate armor, except the orc had it heavier and the harpy had a chainmail skirt instead of the leg armor of the orc.
"This is an odd sight. You two aren't drunk."
"We are never drunk." The harpy said, while hiding a flask.
"Blow it out your ass, Helen." Dai said. Helen then grabbed Dai's shirt collar.
"You asshole! I swear I'll…." That was when the orc pulled her away from him.
"Sejchas, sejchas. Pozvolijaet vse uspokoitsja" He said.
"Peter! For the last damn time, I don't speak orc!" Helen exclaimed as she fought to get out of his grasp. Dai pushed past both of them and kept walking.
"I don't have time for any of this." He said bluntly.
"Wear here for you, Dai." Peter said, through fighting Helen.
"Why?" Dai said coldly, while cutting his eyes.
"I hate your face!" Helen exclaimed, then Peter covered her mouth.
"You must ask steward of citadel." Peter said. This caught Dai off guard. The steward of each Paladin defended city was the top brass of those stationed of that city.
"Fine. I'll…." Dai began to say, but was interrupted by Helen, who had just broken free.
"You're going there immediately!" She said, then flew up and grabbed him. Dai frantically tried to get free, but ten feet up and he went limp. Peter quickly mounted his griffin and flew after them.
To Dai, the ride was a sickening blur. To anyone who wasn't afraid of heights, it was an unbelievable view of an unbelievable city. Getting a close up look at the towers surrounding the citadel. Seeing the spires of the churches and the in depth architecture of the surrounding districts. A truly beautiful sight, but to Dai it was the most disgusting view he could possible imagine. Then, it was all ended when Dai was dropped at a balcony high up the citadel.
Dai slowly recovered as he crawled away from the edge and Peter and Helen flew off back towards the wall. As he got to his feet, the door to the balcony was opened from the inside by a green skinned man, a dryad, with neat black hair and piercing yellow eyes looked down on him.
"I presume you are Dai Crolot?" He asked.
"Y-yes…." Dai said through a series of huffs.
"Very good." The dryad said. He then turned back into the room that the door led into. His white robe flowing with the movement and chain mail sleeves and pants clanging. Dai pulled himself together, stood up, and followed him in.
The room was wall to wall bookcases. The portraits of past stewards were above them and there was no door at all. Before him was a large wooden desk with an orc woman sitting at it. Her hands crossed and in front of her mouth, while her piercing grey eyes stared intensely at Dai. Her greyish and shaggy hair reached down framing both her face and her cleavage. She wore stainless steel pauldrons and gauntlets with a white and gold trench.
"Sir Dai Crolot of the Death, allow me to introduce to you the steward of Main Cannon, Lady Larissa Dementyeva of Rus." The dryad man said as he stood behind her.
"Thank you, Leon." Larissa said.
"So…" Dai started.
"I didn't say you can talk." She snapped. Dai stiffened up and her tone. Larissa then picked up a piece of paper. "Fifteen confirmed chimera, three unconfirmed, twenty-eight ghoul infestations, and nine counter assaults. All handled with extreme prejudice and decided ease." She said. "It's an impressive record, Sir Dai."
"Most of those chimeras were fresh so…."
"I don't care what they were, I care about how you did it. That being, every time the situation called for a withdraw and regrouping, you choose to run in and take it all upon you."
"Does this have a point, Milady?" Dai asked as he was starting to get fed up with the questioning.
"I'm not entirely sure. I would just call you a renegade, who manages results. But, someone above me has a special interest in you." She said.
"Indeed." Another woman's voice said behind him. This voice was more soothing than Larissa's. Dai turned around to see a dark skin woman with fierce yellow eyes and long thin black hair. She wore a white duster with grey trim. On her left arm was a vambrace with a winged protrusion. Her legs was covered in chainmail leggings and white greaves.
"Dai, this is Lady Dima Majeed of Pars or Master Paladin Dima, but she is also known as Dima the Dreadful."
"One of the thirteen masters…." Dai said in disbelief.
"Hello Dai." Dima said as she walked over to him with a swagger. She held Dai's face delicately. "Such a handsome man. If I was younger…" She said with a sultry smile as she looked him over. "However," She said as she saw Dai's right hand. "based on that ring, I'm already late for the draw."
"Um…" Dai stuttered. Unprepared, because no one had ever noticed.
"Oh, calm down. I'm just a tease, boy." Dima said as she patted Dai's cheek and then walked over to the desk. She sat down and looked him in the eye. "It's because you know it. Don't you?"
"Come again?" Dai asked as he turned around.
"You see the moves that each ghoul can make, the arrogance of chimeras, and I bet you got a good line for each of them, huh." Dima explained. Dai just looked away.
"Even if I do, what does it matter? I get the job done."
"It matters, because you don't know shit." Dima retorted. Dai stiffened up. "I see potential in you Dai." She said as she started to circle him. "I see you standing tall amongst your fellow paladins. I just have to beat a little bit of sense into you."
"Is this mandatory?" Dai aksed.
"No." She replied.
"Then I refuse."
"Listen here…" Larissa started, but was interrupted by Dima.
"No, it's okay." She said. "You're free to go." Then she touched a blue crystal on the desk and Dai was teleported out of the room.
"You masters piss me off so much." Larissa said with a scowl.
"The steward has many responsibilities, Milady Dima." Leon added.
"Be glad it's me and not Pendragon." Dima replied as she sat back down on the desk.
"Why does every master that waltzes in here use him as a standard?"
"You'd understand if you met him."
"I don't think the steward wants to meet him." Leon said.
"I can speak for myself, Leon." Larissa retorted, then she looked at Dima. "I, uh…don't think I want to meet him."
Outside the Citadel:
Dai stumbled as he materialized in front of the main doors.
"Warning, that concept is lost on people who use teleporting." He said as he started walking.
Dai was on his way to the hospital to see Stephanie, a trip that would take him through the merchant district. A place of business and nothing else. Every corner there was a new merchant throwing their wares. A harpy selling ornate vases, a naiad offering spices, and a sun elf offering ceremonial ka statues. With every random piece of junk, Dai's scowl became deeper.
Then, he arrived at the hospital, a large stone building with Romanesque design. Dai was about to enter, but the door was opened for him. Behind it was Vrilla, who at first was happy at Dai's arrival, but stiffened when she saw Dai's scowl.
"We…..uh….have been…." She stuttered.
"Yeah, yeah." Dai said as he walked in. Vrilla followed closely behind her.
"It's the third door on the left." She said a she pointed to the hall up the stairs and to the right. As they walked down the hall, a blonde nurse exited the room Vrilla spoke of in tears.
"I will get married one day, you evil little girl!" The nurse exclaimed, then ran past Dai and Vrilla.
"This is the right room." Dai said apathetically. Dai entered to see Stephanie staring out the window with a scowl, while lying on a bed. Seeing her in her usual state put Dai at ease, but that changed as he walked in. He was grabbed by older purple haired woman with a trench similar to Dai's, but she had on an officer's hat with it.
"You got a lot of nerve!"
'Why did I think she wouldn't be here?' Dai asked himself as he was being shaken.
"Well, don't you have anything to say!?"
"Your voice is even more shrill." Dai said blandly. Then a vein began to throb violently on her forehead. Then woman then began a fight with Dai.
"That's right Sandra!" Stephanie exclaimed. "Beat him for being a huge jerk!"
"Why you little!" Dai exclaimed before pulling her into the fight. And all the while, Vrilla could just stand by and watch with expressionless face.
Later that evening:
Dai walked out of the hospital with a few scratches on his face and his clothes in tatters.
"Well, that was interesting to observe. Do most human families act like that?" Vrilla asked as she walked next to him.
"I wouldn't call us a family." Dai said as he started walking.
"What would you call yourselves?" She asked.
"We simply look out for each other. Sandra rescued me during a patrol into the Death and then rescued Stephanie from a ghoul attack on our way to Main Cannon." He answered. Vrilla's eyes widened at that statement.
"You're from the Death?" She asked. "But, I thought…."
"No one ever leaves the Death? I didn't enter it on my own. I was born there. As an infant, me and my mother were attack by a crow murder. A passing caravan saved us. All my mother could repeat was Dai, when she was asked about me. They called me Dai and they decided my last name would be Crolot, because there were a lot of crows."
"And…..your mother…." When Vrilla asked this, Dai stopped in his tracks and looked towards a bar they were in front of.
"Unimportant." He replied, then he walked into the bar. The room was filled mainly with locals, but there were some off duty Paladin legionaries. Dai went straight to the bar and took a seat.
"I demand ale that only a sarcastic vampire could serve." He said as he sat down. That was when and snow white skin woman in a red bar maid outfit turned around. Her hair was short and black her red eyes were fierce.
"Doriti o intr-un potir, Majestate!?" She yelled with an accent.
"Easy Daciana, I was screwing with you." Dai replied.
"Da banu le datorez sau am surub degetele!" She retorted. Dai then placed the bag of money he took from Gregor on the bar. Daciana grabbed it and began to count. When it was all set, she turned around and glared at him.
"So, what you want?" She asked in an accent.
"Your memories slipping, sweetheart. I said ale." Dai replied. Daciana then turned to Vrilla.
"You want glass of pure sunshine?" She said. Vrilla was taken back by that comment.
"She'll have what I have. Bring a pitcher." Dai said. Daciana nodded and went to get it. "Don't pay her any mind. Daciana doesn't hate elves. She just likes getting under people's skin."
"She's very good at it." Vrilla replied.
Two pitchers later:
Dai was feeling woozy and Vrilla was out cold.
"Nothing like…..vampire ale….to ease your….mind….." Dai said through hiccups.
"I said I wasn't done talking, lass." Someone said at the other side of the bar. Dai looked over and saw a man with short trimmed red hair and green eyes in a white button shirt, green and black vest, and brown slacks holding Daciana's wrist.
"Well I am, Hibernian." She replied.
"Come on now. Let me show you a good time." He said. Dai then stood up and walked over to him.
"How about you leave…..her alone…." Dai said, trying to straighten up a bit. The man cut his eyes.
"Listen here, friend. You best just step away, before I have to put the hurt to you." He replied. Dai just leaned on the bar, which was probably to catch himself from falling, and then he grabbed the man's wrist. Then, he twisted it in a way where he to let go of Daciana's hand. Daciana rubbed her wrist and walked away.
"Don't make me come over again." Dai said as he let go and the man stood. They were about the same height, but the Hibernian had a broader build. Dai then turned around.
"Typical Vinlander!" He exclaimed. "Fine with saying shite, but never following it through!" Dai payed him no mind as he walked back to Vrilla. The Hibernian then grabbed a mug and threw square into the back of Dai's head. The bar went silent as the mug hit the floor and bounced. Dai groaned and turned around. He then kicked his leg out used the momentum to slam his head against the bar. The room started jeering the two on. Dai just hovered around the down man, while loosening up his arms for the next bout.
The man picked himself and stumbled a bit as he stared down Dai.
"Now you done it, boyo."
"No shit." Dai replied. The man charged at Dai, hit his shoulder into Dai's stomach, pulled him up in the air and ran him into a table. HE backed off and raised his arms in that air. He then screamed to the crowd,
"That's how it's done in the isle!"
As he did this, Dai shook his head as he recovered from the impact. He then spun around, and kicked the Hibernian man's legs out from under them, and then got himself to one knee at the end of the spin. Dai stood up and looked down at the man as he got to his hands and knees. Without a word, Dai threw a punch to the back of his head from the left, but the man reach behind with his right hand and caught his fist. Then, he pulled Dai forward as he stood, put his left hand to Dai's chest, spun around and threw Dai across the room.
The paladin landed on a table, which caused the food and drink on it to spill onto the patron who was sitting there. As Dai groaned on the ground, the woman stood up. She wore a plain gray blouse with gloves and a grey skirt over black leg boots. No part of her face could be seen, as the blouse had a hood and she wore a smooth white mask with no eyeholes, but she was still able to see.
She was about to step on Dai's face, but he recovered and charged at the Hibernian. The woman, clearly not taking the act lightly, quickly began to walk towards them. As she did, she pushed a twilight elf out of the way. Barely any of clothing could be seen over her white cloak and hood. She jumped back and got on top of the vampire. The twilight elf started to punch the side of her neck as the vampire tried to pry her off.
AS they fought, Dai threw the Hibernian man into them. He walked over to beat some more sense in, but was tripped by the vampire. She then got on his back and proceeded to beat his head on the floor. Then, the twilight elf jumped on the Hibernian and covered his eyes as he flailed around.
That was when a group of officers in white and gold burst through the door. A petite naiad woman with light blue hair just barely off tone from her skin blue a whistle.
"Arrest them and take them to the citadel!" She said. They were all then pinned down and dragged off. Dai struggled only a little, but it took for men and women to subdue the Hibernian.
Dai sat alone in a small cell looking at the vampire, while she meditated.
"What's your name?" HE asked. The vampire didn't respond. "That's my name too." He said. That's was when the naiad from before came to the cell.
"You have a visitor, scum." She said and proceed to unlock the cell. Dai stood and walked out. As the naiad lead her, they passed the Hibernian's cell.
"I'll kill you! You fuckin' bastard!" He screamed. Dai payed him no mind as he walked into the room at the end of the hall. In the room was a table, two chairs, and Dima, with whimsical smile on his face.
"You have had an eventful afternoon." She said. Dai didn't respond as he sat down. "I can't believe you didn't beat all three of them. You're the best, right?" Dai still didn't respond. "Probably thinking 'if only I had a that little girl. Dear One, is that really my excuse? Why did she ever…..'"
"What's the damn point!" He exclaimed.
"The damn point, is your not anything. There are people and beasts more powerful and more skilled and you have no chance against any of them. That should have crossed your mind."
"So, I can make you more powerful. But, you have to learn to play ball with others." She said.
"How long do I have to decide?" Dai asked.
"The last chance is in the morning. Think hard." She said as the naiad forcefully pulled him up and dragged Dai back to his cell. Dima just sat there smiling. "Oh, tomorrow's going to be fun."
A/N: Enjoy and review.