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Go Make a Legacy, Manifest Destiny #James #Malia

Rachel
 

Who: Malia

With: James

Where: The North, Military camp

When: March 28th, 872 RoK


Malia's soldiers were tired, at best. 


At worst, the red rim around the eyes of even the biggest men, the fiercest fighters toughened by the harshness of the North, was the result of grief. Those who knew the fate of their friends and relatives in the massacre at King's City, ironically, had the advantage because at least they knew enough to mourn, to channel their pain constructively toward Marcus the Vile, whose associate had been held responsible for the King's death and thus the instability in the land… 


But those who had yet no word were torn up, compelled to fight for their Duchess when what they wanted was to either be home to greet their loved ones upon their return or travel to find them. 


At least they had food, for now. Malia had made certain to read every book on every famine on Earth and in Eventyr, years ago, now, to best prepare for the worst. The fare was boring, but it kept bellies full and men on their feet. 


That wouldn't be enough, though, for the fight that laid ahead, and so the Duchess made her way, on horseback, toward her commanders as the men mobilized, with the Green Duke at her side. After a brief update, including the somber news that their spies had not returned on schedule, Malia nodded, casting her eyes down in a brief moment of mourning respect, and then looked to James for support before she rode forward to address her people. 


As the hush fell over the crowd and all eyes turned toward her, Malia searched for words. It was philosopher Thomas Paine who arose first. 


"The times have found us," Malia began. The words weighed heavy a moment, then she went on. "Eventyr hovers on the edge of chaos. Fear, uncertainty, and death have knocked on the door of every household in our Kingdom… but it is still our kingdom. It belongs to us - the people - not to pretender queens or to the creatures. Today, we will stand against that chaos; and we stand together. With our countrymen, and our allies." 


Casting a smile toward James, Malia reached for his hand and lifted both over their heads between them, to much applause. 


"Blasting powder in the hands of our enemies - not unlike creatures on the loose - presents an existential threat," Malia went on, more somberly. "Entire castles," built as fortresses, "can be brought down…" 


With a deep breath, Malia continued. "Today, we reclaim power. For the people, and for the nobles who represent them. Any less will allow Eventyr's descent into chaos." 


The applause erupted, and Malia basked in it, drawing James forward to share in it, for a long, long moment, before they needed more practical planning. 


"Let's find these motherfuckers," Malia said to James, while most of her words were drowned out by cheering, and she smirked, "And eat them alive." 


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turksgirl
 

Who: James

With: Malia
Where: The North, Military camp
When: March 28th, 872 RoK

The Green Duke listened as the Duchess of the North rally their troops, his Eastern soldiers just as enthralled by her spirit as they were in fear of his. She knew how to keep their attention whether making sure their bellies were full, or their simple heads with thoughts of revenge and justice. She was quite the... actress, he almost believed she felt remorse for the spies that had not returned.

James rode along side of Malia on his stallion like a green tinted shadow. She was the heart of this army, and he was its muscle and sinew. She was the shield, and he the sword. They would not let the kingdom fall to ruin.

"The times have found us," Malia began. The words weighed heavy a moment, then she went on. "Eventyr hovers on the edge of chaos. Fear, uncertainty, and death have knocked on the door of every household in our Kingdom… but it is still our kingdom. It belongs to us - the people - not to pretender queens or to the creatures. Today, we will stand against that chaos; and we stand together. With our countrymen, and our allies." 

She took his hand, and James easily lifted with hers as if they were already the victorious champions of the battle.

"Blasting powder in the hands of our enemies - not unlike creatures on the loose - presents an existential threat," Malia went on, more somberly. "Entire castles," built as fortresses, "can be brought down…" 

With a deep breath, Malia continued. "Today, we reclaim power. For the people, and for the nobles who represent them. Any less will allow Eventyr's descent into chaos." 

She did have a lovely way with words, he could almost see them snaking around the heads of the men like the hands of a lover. The applause broke him out of his own thoughts and he turned to look at his alley, lover and muse.

"Let's find these motherfuckers," Malia said to James, while most of her words were drowned out by cheering, and she smirked, "And eat them alive." 

The crude words coming from her beautiful mouth made his own curl into a smile, the first one in a while. And he raised an armored fist above his head and gave a fierce shout with amp up the men around them. The Duke's eyes glittered dark green like the deepest part of the great forest, if he wasn't careful there wouldn't be much left of James Castile in the armor. In these situations it was easy to let the Green Spirit take over...

They would be hunting for him as well as doing Francesca's bidding once the skies darkened. The female vampires, he had destroyed two of their number. It raised the morale and hopes of soldiers and citizens alike, and it put a huge target on his armored back. But he would have terminated them fanfare or not, it was simply his destiny to do so.

"Gather all the smiths and silver you can" he ordered his captain before dismounting his horse so he and Malia could plan with and without their commanders. Some words were not meant for common men to hear.

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Rachel
 

James: "Gather all the smiths and silver you can."


Malia waited to dismount until James could help - her thick cloak and long skirts to ward against the cold made it a chore enough, but mostly she loved these little moments where James was both so strong and larger-than-life, but seemed to find a tenderness for her. She smiled her thanks, "my lord," as her leather boots crunched into familiar snow. 


"These dogs have gone too far," Malia said, obviously referencing the Marauders with her derisive terminology. She began strolling, knowing that it would make their conversation harder for any one person to follow unless they were conspicuous about their eavesdropping. Her dress trailed behind her, gray-silver wool lined in fur that could well have been wolf. "They stole three barrels, by reports," which was a significant amount, but not the whole supply by any means. What had limited them? Manpower - too few men to carry the load? An unfamiliarity with the substance, enough that the thieves needed to be wary with the amount they decided to move…? 


"You know these beasts and their moves better than I," Malia said, pausing to turn toward her fellow noble. "Will they play the short game, or the long? Is it likely that they already have a target in mind? Perhaps one nearby?" Several large estates, factories, farms, and more, in both their duchies fit that category, situated along the border.

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turksgirl
 

Malia: (...) "These dogs have gone too far," (...) "They stole three barrels, by reports," (...) "You know these beasts and their moves better than I," Malia said, pausing to turn toward her fellow noble. "Will they play the short game, or the long? Is it likely that they already have a target in mind? Perhaps one nearby?" Several large estates, factories, farms, and more, in both their duchies fit that category, situated along the border.

James had reached up with both arms to assist the Duchess from the saddle. Her smile warmed something inside him, not a heart, but something old and dangerous like a hibernating serpent. He merely grunted about the information about the barrels of powder. It had been a daring risk and three was more than enough, it was the magic number as some like to say.

"Marcus is cunning enough to play either, but in this case I believe it will be shorter. His band tends to travel light to remain hidden in the shadows" the Duke replied tersely. His brow was furrowed deeply in thought, "Not an estate... something more effective at weakening our realms". James let his fingers stroke the green armor he wore idly.

"Perhaps the forges that the borders, something of that nature to slow manufacturing our defenses?" he said rubbing his chin. The Northeast borders made the finest armor and swords with the exception of a regions' most skilled artisans. Bombing farmland could effectively starve a population, but it also turned farmers and hunters against the Marauders, who sometimes depended on the help of sympathizers.

James gave a wry smile, if Marcus knew the legend of the witch of the East and his heart he would say the enchanted forest as a possible target. But his wolves and men often sought refuge in the danger of the living green canopy. Castile turned his face upward curiously and narrowed his eyes at the Northern castle's famous high tower. Malia's private sanctuary... and all it's books.

"Perhaps they would seek to destroy the knowledge to defeat them".

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Rachel
 

James: "Marcus is cunning enough to play either, but in this case I believe it will be shorter. His band tends to travel light to remain hidden in the shadows" "Not an estate... something more effective at weakening our realms" "Perhaps the forges that the borders, something of that nature to slow manufacturing our defenses?" 


The was a troubling thought, and Malia's lips pursed tersely in reaction. The forges made sense - disrupting both the North and the East's access to quality armor and weapons would seriously weaken them. 


James: "Perhaps they would seek to destroy the knowledge to defeat them"


But James' next suggestion that they might go after Malia's home and endanger her library had her stomach twisting unpleasantly and her eyes narrowed as her gaze turned upwards with his. Dozens of those books were of her own hand and from a world away - precious beyond measure. Logic suggested that if the Marauders were to attack her palace, they would more likely than not focus on taking precious supplies that would be hard to replace in the winter, hoping to starve or freeze her soldiers, or perhaps Marcus would take her step-daughter for ransom. 


A much less terrifying thought that an assault on her library. 


Before Malia could speak, though, a captain was approaching them hastily enough that both knew there was news. Said news came in the form - they were told - of a scout who had returned. He was barely clinging to life, though, and so Malia and James hurried to speak with him. 


"Good Steven," Malia greeted, kneeling at the dying man's side after eliciting his name quietly from a soldier who watched on at a distance so apprehensively that Malia guessed they were friends. She wanted, of course, to know what he knew; however, she made certain those inquiries were not the ones that onlookers heard from her lips.


 "Your kingdom is grateful for your service," Malia said, as she took his hand tenderly, wary of the cuts, bruises, and blood caking his skin. "You will be taken care of now. Rest, so you may…" 


"No, my lady - " the soldier, Steven, interrupted, only venturing to do so because he knew that he had few words left on his lips. "They let me live, to tell you that they know you are coming..." He gave their location, south no more than an hour. Malia clenched her jaw as she listened. 


Steven's last words were weak, but unmistakable, and sent Malia's eyes up toward the towering figure behind her: 


"Destroy them."


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turksgirl
 

James considered and he was sure the forges seemed a more likely target. Marcus didn't have personal knowledge of Malia like he did, and if he sought to destroy knowledge than they would destroy the royal library instead. Especially in the current state of the King's city. But news of a scout making a return broke him from his thoughts. He followed the Duchess as she went to speak to the man.

She knelt by the dying man and spoke softly to him. She had a way with words and how she spoke, like a siren of fable she could entice even the hardest of men to speak on her behalf.

"No, my lady - " the soldier, Steven, interrupted, only venturing to do so because he knew that he had few words left on his lips. "They let me live, to tell you that they know you are coming..." He gave their location, south no more than an hour. Malia clenched her jaw as she listened. 

Steven's last words were weak, but unmistakable, and sent Malia's eyes up toward the towering figure behind her:  "Destroy them."

The Green Duke removed a metal glove and reach down to place his hand flat on the man's chest. As if he could feel the last beats of his heart under clothes, skin and bones."Yes" he said in an eerie tone, "All of them". As soon as Steven the scout expired James rose up and offered Malia his hand, and called his officers to him. 

"We need crossbows and archers for the werewolves, make sure to take silver arrowheads and bolts. Lancers, and swordsmen. Divide the garrison". Before the men left thinking on their foes. James added "Watch out for succubus too". As if anyone wanted to be reminded.

 

Rachel
 


James: "Yes" "All of them" "We need crossbows and archers for the werewolves, make sure to take silver arrowheads and bolts. Lancers, and swordsmen. Divide the garrison" "Watch out for succubus too"


Malia nodded along and made certain her men were obeying James' demands as if she had issued them herself, although she had little more tactical experience than her close reading and re-reading of Ken Follet novels. With no real "other" - Eventyr appeared to be the only Kingdom in the land - battles of men facing men were relatively rare, but James knew his way around them, either from intellectual or practical experience. She was glad he was at her side. 


They were well-stocked, she knew, and silver weaponry would have to be used indiscriminately as they would not know precisely which Marauders were werewolves until after dark. It was expensive to throw a precious metal literally at the enemy, but they had no choice. She also knew that many of the men were apprehensive about facing werewolves. Hearsay suggested that you could catch their disease even if they weren't shifted - in fact, accused criminals had begun biting men-at-arms arresting them if any vulnerable flesh were within reach, in the hopes that the officers would panic and thus present a route for escape. So Malia spoke up, purposefully, adding, "No matter what, we will retreat to Günstig Keep no later than four o'clock in the afternoon, to preserve the lives of our men against both the werewolves and succubi." 


Striding back toward their horses, Malia recalled James' account of his interaction with one of the once-virgin sacrifices. "The succubi you spoke to," Malia said, deliberately softening how she described the obviously violent encounter. "She alluded to a kinship with the Carniflowers, yes?" That was indeed disturbing, if it could be extrapolated out. "Do you think it possible the succubi might come to Marcus' - and the werewolves' - aid, when night falls?"


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turksgirl
 

Malia: "No matter what, we will retreat to Günstig Keep no later than four o'clock in the afternoon, to preserve the lives of our men against both the werewolves and succubi." 

Striding back toward their horses, Malia recalled James' account of his interaction with one of the once-virgin sacrifices. "The succubi you spoke to," Malia said, deliberately softening how she described the obviously violent encounter. "She alluded to a kinship with the Carniflowers, yes?" That was indeed disturbing, if it could be extrapolated out. "Do you think it possible the succubi might come to Marcus' - and the werewolves' - aid, when night falls?"

James nodded his approval of the use of the keep once the skies have darkened. The succubi and werewolves would hopefully be encumbered by the close quarters, and there were places to bottle neck the enemy into prepared traps. They had to use whatever advantage they could to preserve as many lives on their side, while taking from Marcus...

Malia's question pulled his attention from considering a way to bait the wolves, because they were a fairly large problem. He frowned slightly, "Francesca controls them somehow... And she hates me... they hate me... it would be strategically advantageous to rid herself of those that resist her rule". Neither side of him felt Francesca was a good queen for Eventyr.

James wanted to talk to her, try and make her see reason... Maybe there was something in him that held to what they had once been. But the Green Duke, the creature that had been part of him now for so long... It... He... He was livid, had been since Jocasta had said they were not green. Murderous really, if one could insult a spirit or whatever the Green Duke really was.

"Yes, at least one will come, if not more" he replied dryly. There had been eleven and now there were nine, perhaps Francesca would be more frugal with such a special resource. Or perhaps she would send all of them with Marcus to finally end him, and to take Malia with him? Or perhaps he would surrender to his own demon and lose the little bits of James Castile that still existed.

"We should hope for the best, and prepare for the worst".

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