A Varyan Tomb

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Peter Levy
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A Varyan Tomb

Postby Peter Levy » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:33 pm

**Cold. He remembered the cold. Beings of ice and snow, wolfmen, and a prison. Something about essence, and a test for the Heroes. Cold. The biting, aching cold. He remembered that. A being of ice that reconstructed itself from a pool. A small urn. He remembered a brass urn, etched, intricate, powerful.**

Go, my Lord. I shall stay with it...

**He remembered their parting words. He remembered his prayer...**

Varya, man ascended. You once stood, and defended our people. You gave everything. Now, as we see the end on the horizon, I give everything to defend all people. Lord Varya, bless this rite, protect the lands of Velmaneth.

**He remembered the cold. It lifted. Warmth had filled him. The sky became a warm, deep red. He remembered the Path. He saw the world. There, in Pharon Glos, he had seen the Glooms driven out, wolves howling with victory. In Arnad Guarhoth he saw many eyes open in amazement. In Dolen Taleth he saw people fall to their knees in thankful prayer. He had watched a high elf roam the world with impunity, and a ritual team defend an entire city. The domes were expanded, it had worked.**

Watch over them

**Cold. The cold had returned. It came, piece by piece. He watched a shadow poison the earth. He saw people fall. He felt as the Path crumbled. Then, suddenly, it came to an End. Fire. A flash of fire, then dark. And cold.**

-----

**For the first time in months, Katy opened his eyes. Cold. Dark.**

The Wastes...

**He sat up, and his head smashed into rock. Trapped? Was this to be his eternity? Had the world ended? Is this all that remains of his Lord: a stone shield around his soul? That's more than a little immodest. It does not become a Knight.**

I am no knight

**He dismissed the idea. For a year, he had been squire to Lenton, Prince of Varya. This was the greatest honour he had known. Until that day in the North. He felt now the touch of their Lord. His arms twisted up over his chest, and he pressed his hands to the stone above him. The bones in his wrists began to grind, his arms burning. Gradually, the stone began to tremble, screech and rise.**

**The thud of the lid striking the floor echoed around this chamber. Cold. Dark. Katy sat up. What was this place? As his eyes adjusted, the room slowly revealed itself. A mausoleum, a tomb.**

Whose tomb am I desecrating?

**He turned around sharply, and strained his eyes to read the text on the headstone.**

Katy


**His eyes widened as he continued. Surely, this could not be?**

Squire to Prince Lenton
Loyal Protector, Valorous Saviour
Knight of the Order of Varya


Surely some mistake? Have I been wrenched from time? I gave myself to that ritual, has Varya returned me? Why?

**It doesn't matter why. He had. And Katy would take up the mantle laid upon him through his sacrifice. Clambering from the tomb, he fell. Lenton's old armour may have tarnished, but it still weighed him down. Hastily he removed it.**

A knight cannot wear borrowed armour.

**He set about creating a fire. He would reform the metal to better fit his frame. Some day, Sir Katy would step out from the hall of the dead, and take his place protecting his people once more.**

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Re: A Varyan Tomb

Postby Peter Levy » Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:51 pm

**He climbed back into the tomb.**

Done it once, must be able to do it some more. Bulk up and all that...

**Heaving the lid back into place, he breathed a couple of deep breaths. The cold. The dark. Time to fight back. He braced himself and forced the lid upwards. His arms began to quake under its weight. Slowly he lowers it. Repeat.**


----


A knight is more than his body. A knight is more than his armour. A knight is more than his faith. A knight must be greater than the sum of these parts. To swear to a code of conduct: never to attack an unaware enemy, use thrown weapons or daggers, never knowingly to lie, never to let an insult go unanswered, and always to defend his beliefs; this does not make a knight.

The tales of the knights of old are far richer than some rules and some objects. A knight should be well read, this I cannot claim to be. A knight should know how to dance, this I could, but not in a courtly manner. A knight should be self-sufficient; a diet of lichen, rat and crow's eggs does not become a knight, but I am self-sufficient. A knight should be a skilled craftsman; I am forging my armour, my sword, my shield; re-hooping my chain, re-stitching my shirt. More, he must know beauty in addition to function. If Katy had a coat of arms...

A knight should be a symbol that there is good out there, and that there are those willing to fight for it. And a knight should be loyal to his King. Perhaps a crown... A knight stands by his word and his oath, and I swear, if I have any influence and power so to do, I shall see Lenton crowned as King of Varya.



-----


**Katy took up his shield. The metal is dented, crudely shaped. He places it on the embers until it begins to glow. Taking a large, flat stone, he sets to work beating it out against his tomb. When it is done, he scatters the dead charcoal on it, and it blackens.**

**He took up his chainmail. Link by link, by hand, he carefully, lovingly reconstructs his armour. His fingers ruined and bloody, he hangs the hauberk above the flames, and douses it in a pool of rainwater.**

**Katy's sword was a simple squire's blade. Dull, heavy metal. Once tempered, it takes on a faint shimmer previously unseen.**


---


Almost ready. Almost time.

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Re: A Varyan Tomb

Postby Peter Levy » Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:20 pm

**There is still a dreadful feeling in what is essentially grave-robbing. But, Katy reasoned, valuable as their dressings were as a tribute, their contribution to Varya's legacy is surely a much greater honour. The wall hangings were still in good condition, their dyed and treated cotton should last out. He began to unwind the thread, spooling the cotton around a stick. Slowly, he gathered enough thread to begin the embroidery. A small offcut of brownish velvet sits proudly atop his small collection of decent cloth, although in the dim light, everything was a murky brown-grey. He fashioned for himself a short surcoat -well, more of a tabard. Upon it he created for himself a symbol for his family. A shield, a diagonal line in gold ribbon, separating two shades of what he assumed were red.**


-----


**A small wooden box. A short length of wooden batten. The stretched out innards of last week's vermin-dinner. A knight should learn music, but this was awful. Perhaps the lute can wait until he finds a real one... But percussion! This is far easier to learn! He could take up a drum, lead the march into battle. There is a small, broken barrel in the crypt, all it needs is a skin.**


-----


**The doorway has a very fine gold leaf design around it. Gently, Katy began to prize it from the stone, collecting it in a small urn. He set the urn into the fire until the shards of metal fused and quivered. He had laid out three strips of wood. One formed a base and the others two narrow walls. Into this mould he poured the liquid gold, and it ran to either end. Gently he rocked it, careful not to spill, until it slowed, thicked, and set. He tapped it from the wooden casing, and carefully, his gloves beginning to scorch, formed it round to a circle.**

Crude, but made with passion. Simple, but made with pride. This will make a fair crown...

Perhaps some embellishment.

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Re: A Varyan Tomb

Postby Peter Levy » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:01 pm

Better, I suppose... Better than a circle...

**Katy lay out the fragile, glistening gold leaves. It had been a much more complex job than he'd expected. But the results seemed worth it.**

Should train some more, however. Still not strong enough to force that door...

**He resumed his physical training. Push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups. He'd do anything if it was a something-up. He would move a tombstone from one side of the mausoleum to the other, and return it. Repeat. He lay in the sarcophagus, bracing his knees against the lid, and pushing it up. Eventually he learnt to throw the lid off with his feet.**

Strength is one thing, speed is another...

**Katy would run from one end of the crypt to the other, bounding from the wall. Until he was all out of energy, his laps continued. He jumped onto the tombs, between them. He balanced on the headstones. Gradually he was building up his dexterity.**


-----


Mektar, god of honour. Honour is almost the defining character of a knight. Bravery with compassion, strength with wisdom, power with humility. To be honourable is to show respect to all, even in the face of overwhelming evil, and far-reaching hatred; to understand your foe, their nature, their purpose. The path trod by a knight must be one of honour.
Honour is the respect for ones place. While this appointment is a great... well, honour, it does not confer any superiority. I was squire to Lenton, Prince of Varya, and still this is my standing. The leader of our land is the people of our land, and it is they who I must best serve. With valour, with grace, with honour.
I am Sir Katy Katy, and I make now my solemn pledge to the Lord of Honour, that I shall walk the path of a knight in its truest purpose. With honour.

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Re: A Varyan Tomb

Postby Peter Levy » Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:33 pm

I'm ready.

**Katy stood before the door to the tomb, his armour reshaped, slightly tarnished; sword and crown on his belt; a new coat of arms on his chest; and a stern look on his face.**

Whatever's left of the world out there, I'm back, and I'm willing to give everything to defend it.

**He braced himself, placing both hands against the door. He strained against it, every strand of muscle in his body burning. The veins on his forehead bulged, and his nose began to bleed. As Katy began to shake under the tension, so did the door. Gradually it screamed open. As the dust settled, the first rays of sunlight hit Katy's eyes. He reeled back a little, before breathing in his first lungful of fresh air since that day in Pharon Glos.**

Well, then...

**Out steps Sir Katy Katy.**

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Re: A Varyan Tomb

Postby Peter Levy » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:00 am

**The city of Varya is desolate. Not a soul, not a sound. Nothing moves, breathes. Katy nervously wanders its streets, hoping to find some sign of life. There is none.**

Hello? Anyone?

**A noise! Something is here! Katy spins to face it. Before him stands an emaciated, pale man. The man sways slightly from side to side, hissing slightly as he breathes. Slowly, the man approaches Katy, who holds out an arm to support him. As the man touches him, he feels a wave of death magic flow into his muscles, freezing them.**

**With a roar, Katy forces the paralysis away, and thrusts his shield into the side of the ghoul, pushing it back. He draws his sword and stands firm. The ghoul circles him, goading him, but Katy stands. The ghoul lunges for the knight, swiping at him. Katy swings his sword, bringing it down on the creature's chest. It is hurt but undeterred. The ghoul hurls itself against his shield, its claws scraping against steel. Katy hacks it down calmly.**

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Re: A Varyan Tomb

Postby Peter Levy » Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:16 pm

You there!

**Katy turned to face the voice. An old man in rags; hunched and smiling.**

You! Shiny fellow!

**The old man shuffles toward the knight. Katy calmly paced toward him, extending a hand in greeting. The old man refused it, and waved the young knight toward a doorway nearby. The two entered the room. The old man lit a lamp in the middle of the room, and adjusted a mirror next to it. Light filled the small chamber. It was full of hats. Katy couldn't hold back his smile.**

A fine collection, sir!
I made all these.

**The two men sat and talked all evening. The old man fell asleep in his chair. Katy sat, fondling a blue velvet cap. The hat had silver vines through the fabric, and was edged in white silk.**

I made that for the prince.

**The hatter stated gently. He lent over toward Katy.**

I had hoped I would live long enough to see him crowned... But it would seem it is I who has outlived him.
Lenton lives.
Do not joke about the dead, boy!
I joke not. Prince Lenton lives. He was heading to Sinya Palurin last I saw him. I was his squire.
The blood of Varya! He walks the earth still!
And he will be king.
When?
As soon as I find him. The trouble is, there stands quite literally an army of undead between here and him. I will need to train considerably more before the journey becomes even vaguely possible.
Can you not sail?

**Katy is silenced. How had he never thought of that? The harbour is less than two miles from the city.**

Mr Jones, you are a genius!
More than just a hatstand.

**Katy laughed. He had forgotten laughter. He had forgotten conversation, friendship, family. This place had a feeling of home. He remembered home, happiness, security. He was back.**

It should take a little less than two weeks to sail along the north coast... The weather will be a problem. As will finding a suitable vessel.
Take mine.
You have a boat?
I did. I doubt it would have been used for evacuation, or firewood... Its hull is riveted with gravenail, the undead would not go near it.
Mr Jones, you may be the most wonderful gift Varya has given our land! This could be the start of our rebirth. I shall set sail within two days. When I return, I shall bring our King, and any who would follow to cleanse this land once more.
Sir Katy, I believe this meeting was destiny. I pray I will still be here when you return.

**The next morning, Katy left the house for the harbour. Loaded up with sack after sack of cloth, food, water and ambition, Sir Katy found the small boat and the journey began. Varya Ascendant.**
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Peter Levy
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Re: A Varyan Tomb

Postby Peter Levy » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:43 pm

**It had taken months. Not quite nine, but still it was almost exactly like being reborn. Months bound to the Domes, then his soul was released back to his body. Months within the tomb, but only a few weeks in the daylight. Katy remembered the darkness. And he remembered the stone; this stone.**

The portal was opened, and I was cast through it. Thank you, Lord Varya.

**He clutched at his neck, finding the large red beads that had been given to him by his god. He smiled. Bracing himself, he lifted at the stone lid of his tomb.**

Can I help?
No, Mikhail. You cannot.
Oh, go on. Just a little bit of your essence and I can make you twice as strong as your body alone will.
No, Mikhail. You will not.
You're no fun.
I hope it doesn't make you suffer...
Ha.
Now, shut up.

**With a mighty heave, the stone lifts, and slams into the floor of the tomb with a mighty crack. Katy sits up, ungracefully. He remembered this tomb, but now he remembers hope, expectation, duty. Once more, Katy Katy steps out from his premature grave, and back into the land of the living, in the great fortress of Varya. Katy breathes deep, smiling. Upon the skin of his back, two bony stumps twitch slightly. Katy frowns. He closes his eyes for a couple of seconds, then kicks down the door of the tomb and steps out onto the street.**

Home again.


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