" In the ruddy glow of that accursed latern the heads of Oscar's knights convened in reagrdds to the twenty armoured figures that had rode into camp that very day. The Grand Hall was cavernous, and the shuffling of armoured boots, and the song of chain links rang amongst the giant pillars of solid marble. All about the splendour of the god home, Anor Londo, was clear, intricate gold works ran up the walls depicting scenes of intense beauty and viscious combat. It was in these magnificent halls that Oscar II and his Knight Captains took to meet. Lady Mildred of Catarina sat in a high backed oaken chair at Oscar's right, her wrought iron armour clad her form, obscuring it entirely within its unique folds. To the left was the Astoran Commander Knightess Allant, with her retuine of gleaming knights, her heraldry proudly proclaiming her allegiance to the Noble
Knights. Other stood around the table. The sunlit knight Ser Isaac, who was rarely present due to the import of his missions into the Painted World, the Chronicler Farel Gharllen, scribbling in a massive leather bound tome, and many more besides. The banner of Ser Ademar was present, his great lion in black on s field of Gold, Lady Tandalla's Oared Ships of the city of Eos, and the grim bloody axe of the Annodhals.
Together they made a splendid sight, laquered armours embossed with various icons and badges of honour, many wore the purity seals to protect their souls from the Painted Beasts that sortied from the Painting each night, and many swords, spears, and axes could be seen readied from amongst the myriad cloaks they wore.
"Aye" said Oscar, nodding his head in acknowledgement. "Oath Breaker he is, and an Exile at that. But that cannot stop us from accepting his aid."
A series of uncomfortable murmurs ran around the hall, a few even voiced thier disdain at his suggestion.
"What little good they will do." Mildred, this time "How do we know they won't break at first shock?" Her mailed fist smashed into the table, denting the wood, amongst nods of agreement.
"Astoran's never break." Lady Allant replied courteously, yet firm. "A knight who swore his vows once has come before us and now seeks to redeem himself in the eyes of the Gods. Its is said that though they revile him still he skill with blade and lance is worth taking note. And that man he brought with him, the one with the spiked hammer, is that not Lord Soren BlackHall? His aid would make it worth taking in all of the oath
breakers and sell sword this man brough with him."
There was silence for a time until a young squire spoke up.
"I agree... with the Lady I mean.... Lord BlackHall is part of legend after all... and..when we took the Oathbreaker. Did he not act honourably during the Lifehunter Abomination's ambush?"
"Aye" a unanimous chorus from a large number of the knights present.
Oscar was silent for a time. His brow knitted as he weighed up the options before him. In taking the Grand Hall for a base of operations he and his men were well situated and able to keep track of the Lifehunter's movements, although it left them open during the night when the Abominations would launch craven ambushed and fients from the Paintings mysterious surface.
Many minutes passed before Oscar spoke again, his voice sounded tired, but strong like it always was. He rose from the benches and gathered himself in his warm woolen cloak, trimmed a rich gold on a regalblue surface.
"Saddle the horse's. I wish to talk to the Oathbreaker. I will confirm if this man is to be
trusted. Though make arrangements for Lord BlackHall to join us in the main camp. I'm sure he will decline but I can't hurt to be prepared."
He saddled himself, practiced movements barely an after thought to him no. Gods, he though to himself, first that note in the war room and now a traitors ilk seeking his redemption.
"Oh and see to it that the guards at the Paintiing get double rations tonight. I fear we
have not seen the worst of these Lifehunter scum, I want the guard to be ready and in good spirits when they come, those monsters will see we shall not be repulsed so easily."
And with that he turned and left for the camps outer tents.
A scene by the Lantern in a Great Hall.
"It was ten days past when the knights dragged me from my cell in the confines of the dungeons. They were rough, took my plate, my sword, and my ring. The bastards never gave it back, but I'll find them one day, not sure what I'll do but given my intent to serve this Oscar it had better not involve the blade of a sword.
They took me up, on the rotating spiral staircase, up to the secondary cathedral in which lay the largest painting I have ever seen. I was taken before the knight commander himself at the outskirts of the main encampment. To my surprise Lord BlackHall was there. He must have accepted the offer Oscar had lain before him.
I don't blame the man. The dungeons were dank and deep, who knew what horrors lay in the darkness that I didn't see.
The man, Oscar, a knight of my homeland was a sight to behold, polished armour, rondels forged in the shape of a lion and a dragon, and gorget inscribed with the mantra of the noble knights that served him. His cloak was a sable white, gold fibres interwoven into the fabric. He was as noble as the stories said. The situation was better than I'd feared but far worse than I had hoped.
He stood before me and asked why I wanted to serve him, why I, an oathbreaker, would want to serve him and follow his code?
I told him my tale, **** stained and sobering as it was. I told him why I left the order and why I forsook my lord commanders orders. He listened. Never said a word, not even a yawn or a gasp of horror at what I suffered at the hands of the Mages.
He just listened until I finished. Afterwards he took me by the hand, helped me to my feet and returned my gear to me. The ring was with it. No need for tracking them down anymore. He told me that if I served him in this war faithfully and lived to tell the tale he would see about absolving my sins and making me a Templar once again.
I said nothing. What more was there to say."
A torn excerpt from Templar Knight, Ser Letos' Journal as found in the Noble Knights camp before the Painted War.
" The sun was low in the sky over Anor Londo when Ser Letos and
the band of knights made it to the summit of the mountain on which the
foreboding Duke's Archives squated, casting its malign shadow over the
Noble Knights camps. The heavy clicking of chain links and the stamp of
armoured boots ran out, and the crash of plate mail striking the earth
as two of the knights collapsed to the group from exertion.
be!" Knight Captain Medi excalimed under his breath, his accent thick
with the lyrical waxing of Thorolund. " That was a climb worthy of
song." He glanced down the cliff noting the outline of the narrow and
jagged path they had used to scale the heights. He adjusted his left
pauldron, which, like most of his armour was made of solid stone, making
his stamina something worthy of song indeed.
To his right
a high ranking Cleric Knight, must have also been from Thorolund due to
his largeish nose, spoke up. "Aye, why not simply make a push up the
main causeway instead of forcing us all to climb that death trap of a
cliff?" His tone was harsh, but also strained, fatigue did that to even
the noblest of knights.
Letos dropped to a knee, he could
feel a thick sheen of sweat had formed on his head, he wiped back
sopping hair, glanced around that the knights that had followed his
orders up the mountain. The two Thorolundians in thier massive stone
suits of mail, a knight of Berenike, Ser Theodas, a Baldur Knight whose
name he could not remember, Ser Borik of Catarina, and furthest away
from him standing tall and unaffected by the climb a golden armoured
Word had it that the Dragon hunterAeter
Leotin was a master of his craft and born of a lineage that harken back
to the day of Ornstien the Dragon Slayer himself. The man was tall, but
radiated immense strength, his silence had lasted from the lower
escarpment until now where he spoke solemnly. "Woulds't thou have had us
enter weapons at the ready into the waiting jaws of these mages? Would
you? Oscar gave command to this Oathbreaker" he spit the words out
disdainfully. "But even so his skill in hunting Malificarum is extremely
valuable should the Painted Abominations rely on thier twisted magics."
knights nodded in acknowledgment. it was hard to argue with a veteran
of a thousand battles, most of which had probably been against the
fearsome drakes and dragons of the lower valleys of Lordran and beyond.
Ser Letos voice, stronger now than it had been a momment ago, though
still sounding rough like sandpaper. "As I explained as we climbed the
mountain. Mages are dangerous creatures. Abominations everyone of them
make no mistake. This"
He gestured to the pommel of his
sword. "Will be your greatest strength here. Mages need focus to weave
thier spells thus planning and speed are required to catch such fiends
of guard. Stun them if you can. Take them alive so that we man Pacify
them, or should they resist send them to the Maker's Hells."
There was silence at the edge of that clifftop. The knights nodded begrudgingly and began to check thier armour one last time.
The bear no love for me, though Letos to himself, I shall have to be careful here, not just my life depends on this.
He clutched at the twisting iron bands of the ring he kept beneath his chest plate.
guide me. Blessed are those who stand before the corrupt and the wicked
and do not falter, he began the litany of the Templars, and Lilith, at
the Makers side, will the almight one to guide us from this forsaken
And with that he placed the winged Knight
Vigilant's helm over his head, its reflective blue sheen glinting in the
sun, and signaled for them to move forwards, into the adjoint east wing
of the archives."
" "Knight Captain, the Lord Commander will see you now"
it was that the scenes began to flash before Letos eyes in the halls of
the Duke's Archive. The marble walls and booklined shelves passing away
into the sparse white walls and sigils of the Templar's keep, the White
Spyre, in the Astoran city of Eos.
"Thank you Ser Jayce,
for bringing along my message so quickly. Oh and todays sparring match
was excellent, you can trust I will at least scratch that gilded
breastplate of yours."
The old knight grinned, a toothy
sort of smile, his white whiskers ran down his cheecks, before twisting
together in a single braid, held in place by an iron band. The wrinkles
that lined his forehead were deep, a life of duty and sacrifice did that
to you Letos had once supposed, but this did not dettract from the
piecing gaze of his ice blue eyes. They shone with the kind of youth few
Templars ever retained.
"Aye" his amused reply. "When the cooks goats fly I'll see you do it. Enter."
pushed past the solid oaken door and into a large stone room, lit up
by a dozen blazing torches, a large, and probably vey ancient,desk
diominated the centre of the room, while another double bed with over
hangings of silks all embossed with the Templar's Burning Blade as the
A dozen high ranking templars stood around the desk
pouring over detailed maps of Eos, while others were in deep discussion
about the worring rumours that were spreading through the Underwards.
As he entered the Lord Commander, for it was obvious who she was, turned to meet him, her eyes bright and excited.
she commanded to the Templars,who bowed gravely, with an armoured
gauntlet. Lord Commander Lilith of the Knights Templar in Eos stood
almost as tall as Letos himself, near enough six feet by his account,
with golden hair spun like satin, which of late she had taken to tucking
neatly behind her small ears so that it would rest comfortably under
She was a plain sort of woman, stringy by the
tastes of most Astoran men, muscled far too much due to her intense
regimen of daily exercise, with a slightly crooked nose and a scar that
ran from the corner of her left eye right back around her head. A blow
that she claimed to have taken from Damet the Bloodsinger himself, of
which she was immensely proud. However despite what the other Templars
whispered about her around the watch fires Letos could not picture a
more beautiful woman.
"Well" her voice full of energy. " I
sent away all of my advisors just to see you. I wonder what they will
think of this." he slightest hint of suggestion coloured her tone.
Knight Captain could not help but smile back. "Aye, but I do not stand
to be some Lord Commanders private caller while on duty. I came because
the city watch needs more man power."
Lilith pouted ever so slightly at his impassive remark.
cannot hold the walls, watch the people, and sweep the streets for
renegades and mages. There is too much ground and fourhundred men won't
The Lord Commander walked over to the desk, mail
shirt clinking as she went, a solid crunch of metal on metal as she
dropped into her ornate chair. She eyed him once, intent veiled behind a
lifetime of traumatic events, then linking finger placed her hands in
such a way that she could rest her head.
"You know very
well why I can't give you more men. Wwe lack numbers enough to protect
the border and yet you come to me with these request your know I can't
"Then stop Ammaren from preaching in the city
forum, the people do not like this talk of All father Lloyd. Maker
preserve us of they ever act against the man."
Her reply was curt and finaly "We have a duty to the Faith."
"The end the extreme taxing on food imports and share what we have amongst the people."
"Our duty to the Faith demands we store our own supplies."
woman the Underdwellers believe that we are soon to be punished by the
Maker, and these rumours of prophetic magelings aren't help to win over
the populous. Give me leave and a dozen good me...."
have a duty to the Faith." Final. She left no room for compromise. "I
can't give you men for such a trivial matter. The citizens will follow
us because we have the very gods on our side, you and your men make no
difference whatsoever down thier on the streets." Her tone was cold,
impassive, and sounded very tired. " A Templar who walks the streets is
just a glorified sentry who....."
She stopped then. Letos
went still, his teeth ground together, muscles in his shoulders tensed
as if to throw a blow, though his eyes conveyed the hurt, and perhaps
the truth of her remarks.
She gazed up at him apologetically and left the high backed chair to wrap and arm around his neck.
"I...I don't know what came over me. I'm sorry. Will you stay?"
suffused Letos cheeks. Does she have any respect for me at all, he
wondered to himself bitterly. She decided my duties, does she keep me
here to protect me? The though sickened him, other Templars had died
where he might have served yet his place had always been in the City
Watch. He stood abruptly, brushing away Lilith's armoured embrace,
hearing her gasp as she bit her tongue when his shoulder impacted with
And without saying a word he left.
him the Duke's Archives became more clear, as past blurred back into
present and the silence, but the tramp of armoured steps, was broken by a
horrible scraping off to the groups left.
for the knights to spread out as a dozen crystal clad forrms burst into
the room carrying wicked looking blades. In seconds the hollow soldiers
where upon them, the unifeid shield wall lost amidst the tide of
seething bodies and the glint of steel in the half light."