The Bandit King: Light and Dark Good and Evil Four Against One

Light and Dark, Good and Evil, Four Against One.
Summary: During the Attack on the Ruins, Thomas chases the retreating Bandit King and is forced to face the mirror of all he believes.
Date: 1 July 2013
Related: Attack on the Ruins
Thomas Darrin 

Rhaedan Wilderness - Ruins
The woods eventually give way to an overgrown field. Wildflowers, soggy bogs, and brambles of thorn bushes now try to lay claim to what was once the approach of a castle. The outer wall of the old keep has given way to ruin, and myriad holes punctuate the stone as silent testament to battles long forgotten. The path now winds around the old gatehouse that has partially collapsed, but across the field the walls of the keep are still standing. Two of the three towers of the triangular castle are all but uninhabitable, but the main still stands tall like a sentinel watching over the land.

Straight ahead the path leads through a doorless archway and into the entrance hall, and the only other way requires retracing steps along the path back toward the bridge.

1 July 1329

While the battle back at the ruins continues, the bandit in charge of the group has fled into the woods, Thomas hot on his heels. The bandit reaches to touch at the wounds he has suffered, and gives a malicious smile as he leads the Chosen out into the woods. As he does, he speaks to the man, the trees growing thick for a moment, allowing the bandit to take cover.

"Tell me, man of faith - what happens when the hostages die? Is it an acceptable loss to protect a bunch of nobles? They have failed you, you realize?" he asks casually as he moves through the woods. "Just like your Guardians. They care not for the lowly citizen or temple person. Only of each other. Their own loves and protections. Did the nobles come when we were feasting on the common folk? No. It was only when there was a threat to one of their own." he offers, the trees allowing him some cover and form of protection.

"You treat me as if I am the great evil of Rhaedan, Chosen. But you need to look no further than the very men and women you are protecting this very day. They collect your money, the rule and lord over you.. and offer you what in return? Scandals? Gossip? Ignorance of your plight? They wage war over who has slept with whom, and the sheep blindly follow. Are you a sheep Chosen?"

With his surcoat in tatters and blood has stained the white to a deep read where he sustained the would earlier from the Bandit King. Thomas shakes his head, removes his helm and stares at the bandit. Sweat drenched hair is plastered to his face, beads roll down the sides of his face in rivulets. "Speak ill all you wish, for your words sound as flat to my ears as those of any dead man. Tell me, how do you feel feasting on the common folks, stealing from those that struggle day to day? You claim to be better than the nobles yet you are less than the sewer rats that scurry about in the dark taking advantage of any free meal you can. Does it not give you pause to think that those you condem are better than you? I speak of the common folks that you terrorize, that you take from."

A deep breath of air is taken in, the sweet smell of the woods fills his longs "The Four guide me in all things, it is not the nobles. What guides you except for your greed?" Then with out waiting for an answer "Are you going to run all day? You will only die tired you know." And with that Thomas stops his relentless pursuit and raises his sword "Face me and let us see who is the stronger, The Four or your greed."

"Oh. I just wanted us to have some privacy, Thomas." the bandit says, speaking the man's name. Wait, how does he know him? As the bandit chuckles, he comes into a clearing and steps, reaching up to unlink the cloak that is around him. "It is not terrorism I speak of, Chosen. It is freedom. Release of the masses to do with as they want. To be guided by a proper hand. To do as they will without fear of upsetting those that claim that they are very much superior to them, but indeed, are no more than the worms that they all feed and feast upon." he comments casually.

As the cloak falls away, the armor of the man shows, and the greatsword is cast away, as a new greatsword is drawn. A blade that is dark as night comes to the man's hand. The hilt is made of bone and steel, the catch appearing to be designed as in the feet of a crow. As the cloak falls away, the dark haired man steps out of the shadow, his pale skin casting what appears to be a deathly pale. The blue eyes flash with unusual light as the man once known as Prince Darrin Taniford steps forth.

"You speak of the four. How you forget their master. The chosen one. He who has gifted me my Queen and this blade. Chaos has come to this land, and it was at the will of the Tanifords that you and yours shall pay for it." the fallen King speaks as he twists the blade around into his hands to bring it into a ready position. "Come, Thomas Marby. Let us see if your faith in the slave Guardians can match the true God of chaos. Come, my magnificent blade requires the taste of your blood."

Suddenly it all makes sense. The attacks on the nobles - the use of the forbidden arts by the bandit king. His willingness to sacrifice all. The bandit king is no bandit..

..he is chaos incarnate.

Thomas steps into the clearing as well, a deep laugh comes from him as the words reach his ears. "Oh bandit…you know my name, what be yours? I would not wish to mark your grave incorrectly." Then still laughing as he circles, keeping his eyes fixed on the other "Free the masses. I see. And who shall be the one to determine what is right and what is not. I suspect that you shall claim the title of, what was your words," Still moving the great sword of his at the ready "Oh yes, to be guided. You shall name your self this guide I suspect."

A bit of puzzlement flashes over his features as the cloak is tossed as is the greatsword. But when the new one is brought forth Thomas's eyes narrow. He would not say the name of the sword, that is forbidden to him. but his eyes flicker in recognition "So, now you reveal your true colors. It is not freedom you wish, it is enslavement. That is all your kind have ever wanted."

"No, you are no master to the Four. /You/" the word is nearly spat out "is nothing more than an abomination and the bringer of doom to all. Even now I see in you. Your soul has died and your body shall as well. Fight me and we shall see who is the stronger, the Four that dwell in me or you."

<COMBAT> Thomas attacks Darrin with Greatsword but Darrin DODGES!
<COMBAT> Darrin attacks Thomas with Greatsword - ARMOR on Head stops the attack!

The King of Ellowe, the Queen's Consort, offers only a chuckle in response to Thomas as Kharnas' greatsword is brought into play, the blade of chaos comes forth. "I am your freedom and release, Chosen." he says with a grin that shows those white teeth of his in a ready snarl.

"I was granted power and freedom by my master. Power that you will never understand and comprehend. You wish to spread yourself into quarters? Then I will make you into pieces to feed the carrion crows!" he says with a laugh. As he charges in towards Thomas, it is with surprising speed that the King of Ellowe steps aside of an incoming attack, but it keeps Darrin from throwing forth his full power, and it is with a one-handed swing that the blade of darkness smacks against Thomas' head, causing Darrin to laugh anew. "Perhaps that will clear your senses!"

Talk is over, with a roar Thomas moves to close the distance of the evil one. "Now you shall die and leave the good peoples of the lands untainted by your evil." He brings the sword down from the high guard, and slices towards the chest of Darrin. His strike misses, and he allows his momentum to carry him past. But not fast enough as the clang of the black blade is felt upon his armor.

"Your power is one of falsehood. It is never lasting and fades as quickly as smoke on the breeze. No, I fear you not. But you shall taste the wraith of the Four soon enough."

<COMBAT> Thomas attacks Darrin with Greatsword - ARMOR on Left Hand stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Darrin attacks Thomas with Greatsword - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!

"I am the will of the people, Chosen! They cry out for me!" Darrin says with a grin that borders on crazed. "Listen to them - listen their complaints. The whore of the north seduces the weak of the south. The warmongers of the south feast upon the limp-willed of the north. As the nobles play their games against each other, it is the people that suffer. Kerilyn and I offered them a chance to unite and birth a new land, instead…" As he speaks, Darrin's left hand swings out and catches Thomas' blade in his hand, and he crushes his fingers over it and his blue eyes focus on Thomas.

"…it was the petty greeds and desperation of both Taniford and Rhaedan that bring everyone to the presipice of war. We have only given light to the truth. The light to expose the truth of the real disease that plagues the kingdoms. Revolution will come, Thomas Marby. It is a shame.." he says as he slams his blade towards Thomas' chest. "..that you are so willing to throw your life away for some useless whores and harlots that care more for their petty titles than the backbone of their society."

"Powers that I neither seek nor want. For you foulness. I knew it when I first stepped into the ruins so many days past. But I jsut couldn't put my finger to it. But now, instead of hiding behind a cloak the light of day sees you for what you really are." Thomas circles, still with the high guard, his sword at the ready.

A laugh comes from Thomas "Now it is time to see who truly has the Gods behind there back." And with that Thomas beings a prayer, the words ring out and fills the clearing. Words learned from childhood and they bring him peace and clarity. "I shall defeat you, make no mistake to that."

Briefly he waves a hand in dismissal "Your words are hollow. As is your soul. Do not waste your time nor mine in your falsehoods. They matter nothing to the here and now."

As the blade is thrust in his direction Thomas quickly moves, the massive blade of his flashes in the sunlight.

<COMBAT> Thomas attacks Darrin with Greatsword - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Darrin attacks Thomas with Greatsword - Light wound to Left Hand (Reduced by Armor).

Thomas' blade is true as it slams into Darrin's chest - but seems to do absolutely no damage to the man. Instead, rattled for a moment, Darrin's own blade lashes out to seek out Thomas, looking to loosen the grip and command that holds on his blade. "Feel the anger within you, Thomas. Let the seed of Chaos take root."

"The calm waters of Stilltha cannot hold the coming flood. The passion of Ravas is nothing to the fires of the chaotic that will rage across the lands." Darrin says as he circles and strikes, the two of them searching out their weaknesses in order to strike and counterstrike.

"The winds of Altheara will be but a whisper in the roar of the coming storm. The land of Bornas will crumble and quake and break away at his very footfalls. Your gods abandon you as you worship a title more than you worship them."

Feeling the blade make contact the Chosen quickly looks and sees no blood from the attack. "You speak words that will never come to pass. I know my path to be the right one. The virtuous one. Nothing you say can ever deter me from it." Says Thomas as he continues to circle. "You delude your self. There is no anger, there is only the calm, the resolve that comes to one from being close to the Four. They will not forsaken me. Yet you on the other hand. I pity you. For you have nothing. No joy, no love. You can not see the good in things, the breeze that comes from a field of flowers and carries the scent. You can not taste a fine meal. For you are hollow. Nothing."

<COMBAT> Thomas attacks Darrin with Greatsword - ARMOR on Head stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Darrin attacks Thomas with Greatsword - ARMOR on Head stops the attack!

"They have already abandoned you, foolish one." Darrin says. "The people worship the whore. They line up to sleep in their beds. They have forgotten the Guardians in order to speak of the whore of the North. To speak of the weak of the South. They no longer care about their Guardians. It is not to them that they sing their songs. They make new songs to worship the Gods that walk the ground now."

"The Goddess of the Bed. The God of the Desperate. The Prince of the Undecided. The Princess of the Confused. They have turned their backs on you, Chosen. The Guardians care less for you than the joys that you speak of. Chaos will come and cleanse the land of the blight of humanity. You are but worthless feed to the crocwolves and spiders. Breeding material to the harpy. The Guardians care for you not. You rape Bornas and destroy his lands to build your homes. You strip Altherara and destroy the very flowers you speak so highly of. You spit on Ravas and search out logic instead of accepting the majesty of the world. You ignore Stilltha in the desperate need to claim that you are the most powerful in the land."

"It is not I that is deluded - it is all of the weak-willed sheep of Rhaedan and Taniford that are deluded in believeing they are the masters of their own domain." he says, as Thomas' blade catches him on the side of the head and he Champion of Chaos gives a dark grin as he mirrors Thomas in his own strike.

Thomas throws his head back in laughter "YOu do not understand the people at all, do you?" Again he laughs deeply, all giving him time to wipe the blood from his hand. "Truly, can you not see the Four every where you look? When a mother holds a child in love, when a man facing diversity holds his head up high. When sickness or injury afflicts those that still hold onto inner peace. When a neighbor aids another, a stranger comes to the aid of a stranger. These are all examples of the Four. YOu have clouded your eyes to the good that fills every day and every night. Good brought by the Four. You can't see it. When you do you are baffled by in and thus must make a mess out of it. For you are the foul one, the one that stinks up the lands. It is you that tricks those to believing falsely. But it is I and the Temple that bring others to the good."

Circling still, Thomas grasps the blade with both hands again. "Lets finish this, you and I. For today there will be but one that walks from here. One that is carried by Four others. Not one that slinks in the gutters and hides in the shadows."

<COMBAT> Thomas attacks Darrin with Greatsword - Light wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Darrin attacks Thomas with Greatsword but Thomas DODGES!

"I understand the people. When they burn down a forest to plant a field. When the man steps into the darkness to steal the virtues of a woman who did not ask for it. The desperate man that turns to the drink. The young mother that smothers her own child instead of accepting the responsibility. The woman that sells herself to any who offer for coin."

The blade of Thomas carves into the thick armor of Darrin's chest and strikes him, drawing forth blood. Apparently, Darrin can indeed still bleed. But he continues on. "The man that steals from his brother because he refused to earn his own way. The woman that takes herbs to terminate the life within her. They all deserve to be wiped away. The chaos is coming to embrace you all.. and your so called leaders and nobles.." he smiles. Ever so darkly.

"…welcome it."

"You understand nothing," Thomas spits out with vengeance "Nothing. YOu are blind. YOu only look for the bad. You can't see the good. You have told yourself so many lies that even when good is before you you can't see it."

The swinging of the blades comes fast. The strike of Thomas as armor and flesh are felt. He knows the other a bit better know and ducks at the counter strike comes. The black blade only bites air. Quickly Thomas gains his fighting stance once again. "See, you bleed just like us all. If you worked half as hard to find good as you do evil your life would not have to be wasted here this day. Stop, beg forgiveness of the Four. Let us guild you to the good."

A shake of his head "Men are men, some falter but sooner or later they come around. No one in battle has cried our /your/ name as the life's blood spills from them. No, they call for the Four to bring them peace. The Four always answers." And then the Chosen moves again to attack the other.

<COMBAT> Thomas attacks Darrin with Greatsword but Darrin DODGES!
<COMBAT> Darrin attacks Thomas with Greatsword but Thomas DODGES!

"The Guardians respond?" Darrin says as he steps aside of the blade that comes cleaving towards his chest, and the Ellowian King laughs outright. "They respond in laughter. Only in death and fear does man turn to them. They only come around in fear. In desperation. When they know they are doomed. Like the drink and the whore, the Guardians are only a matter of convience to man. They only cry out to them when things are at their worst. Or when they can get something from their celebration. You and your kind are a dying breed, Thomas. It is time to put you to pasture and let you rest and feed the ground you are so desperate to claim blessings over." Darrin responds.

As the two continue to circle and battle, he grins. "Oh. They shall, Thomas. They shall indeed learn that I am a name to fear and tremble. As I serve the will of my mistress and Queen, all of Rhaedan will suffer for the Tanifords." he says as he brings around his blade again for another strike.

Again Thomas laughs. His feet crossing over the other as he watches Darrin. "Do still do not see it. Look up, the sunshine lights our way and shows us that the path you lead only heads to darkness. The people know this in their hearts," a hand touches where his heart is and quickly goes back to the sword. "YOu weave words of lies. Even now you believe them. But know this, when your are dying and laying on your back looking at the light above I shall still pray for you and you then shall feel the power of the Four. Sadly though for you it will be to late. As peace comes to you your life will slip and then you will truly feel free. For then you will know that the life you lead has but one path and that leads to death. Yours."

A shake of his head "No, in this you are wrong. Strong hearted men and women will see you for the lie that you are. Sure you may find others of week minds to follow. Those that are so bent on corruption that they are drunk with your words. But true men and women, the majority will never follow you nor fear you." He grins "As I fear you not." As the attack comes, Thomas steps into it, one of his own to strike again.

<COMBAT> Thomas attacks Darrin with Greatsword but Darrin DODGES!
<COMBAT> Darrin attacks Thomas with Greatsword - ARMOR on Head stops the attack!

"Even the strongest mind will be turned to the call of chaose. As the Guardians abandon you all, so will your followers. They will seek new Guardians. They already have started. The nobles of the lands - they fancy themselves the new Guardians. You support them in their endeavors. Their power mad needs that have to be fed." Darrin grins slighly. "How does it feel to be the lapdog of the nobles. You notice you are alone - none of the nobles cared to follow you. You are useless to them. They do not care if you live or die. You are nothing to them. As is every other commoner." he says as he sidesteps the attack coming in from Thomas, the blade sweeping right by him as he strikes back at the Chosen.

Tink. The blade from Darrin glances off his armor. "Still you insist in spouting lies. I serve the Four. The nobles have their tasks. Mine is to clear the lands of you and the fear and death and discontent you sow. That is my calling. That is the true Noble path that I have chose." He shrugs "They may not care. This is true. But that matters not to me for I know in the depths of my heart that the Guardians do care and that is all I need. All that I need to defeat you and your kind." And then Thomas moves again to attack the other, though a bit more reserved this time than last.

<COMBAT> Thomas attacks Darrin with Greatsword but Darrin DODGES!
<COMBAT> Darrin attacks Thomas with Greatsword but Thomas DODGES!

"You keep speaking the same lines over and over again. I think I will spare you this day, Thomas the Chosen. Just to see the utter look of anguish on your face when you realize that failure has come to the lands. When you have been abandoned. When you learn that the common man and woman has forsaken you for the embrace of Kharnas." Raising the hilt of the blade to his lips, Darrin blows out a long and deep tone that reverberates and echoes throughout the hollow - clear back to the ruins. It is not a pleasant tone.

Nor is the answering roar. The wind seems to increase suddenly around the combatants, as Darrin steps further into the clearing, the Chaos Bringer preparing for.. something.

As the sound fills the air, Thomas looks puzzled at first then places his hands on his ears to block it. "Sorcery and witchcraft are your handmaiden's. Fight me fairly. Or do you know that you shall die if you do?" It is then that the winds hit and the leaves and debris flies up and he has to cover his eyes from it. Peering beneath his bloody arm, he tries to keep an eye on his foe. While keeping his sword at the ready.

<COMBAT> Thomas attacks Darrin with Greatsword but Darrin DODGES!
<COMBAT> Darrin attacks Thomas with Greatsword - ARMOR on Right Arm stops the attack!

There is one attack, Darrin using the Blade of the Chaosbringer to push back Thomas as he steps into the clearing. "I know that I will not die this day. You, on the other hand.. will live. To consider my words. And your future. The chaos is coming, Chosen. Your Guardians will forsake you, as man has forsaken them."

The large shadow that casts over the woods is only there for a moment as a dark shadow swoops up Darrin to carry him off. There is a crack and snap of tree limbs as the winds whip through the clearing, raining down yet more debris, there's a crack of a tail, a whip of sound in the air before the shadow launches skywards again, departing from the area.

Did Thomas just get his first look at the chaosbringer himself? Who knows? It could just be sorcery and witchcraft, after all.

Still the Chosen struggles to see what is going on as he shields his eyes. Then as the shadow covers the woods he looks up and…"By the Four," he exclaims. Covering his head as limbs snap and fall, Thomas is forced to move rather quickly. And then when the dust settles, the Chosen slowly stands, and looks about and sees…no one. Just a few lingering floating leaves. Blinking a few times he shakes his head. To clear the debris or is it to clear his mind as he struggles with what he has witnessed. Stunned. He then turns, to make his way back to the ruins. Blood soaking the white surcoat even more and now from two wounds. Using his sword in his right to steady himself perhaps it was good that the Chaos bringer left for how much longer could Thomas have fought?

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