Meetings And Talks In Thunderton

The Lord of the Realm - Lord Sunnycool and his escort of brave men were aproaching the vast, fortified capital of the Land of War. Pezza looked at the huge walls with slight disapproval. Nothing artistic about them. Just gray stones. Even the White City's huge fortifications were more beautiful with the special material used on them. He was brought back to the present problem by the Lord:

"Pezza, do you think these negotiations will work out?"
As the company rode towards Thunderton's walls Pezza answered, after a long thoughtful pause:
"Depends on too many factors, but I believe that if the Lord will be so kind to surpress his temper up there," Pezza pointed towards Ariakas' Castle of Mjolnir, "then things will be able to go better!"
The Lord looked Pezza straight in the eyes and could not help himself but reply, with a raised voice:
"I am in control of my emotions, Pezza. I am not completely stupid you know! Abscent recently, yes. Stupid - no!"

The Lord's cheeks were coloured slightly red, and as Pezza said
"Of course, My Lord", he also turned away from the Lord and smiled slightly. He knew that Sunny drew his power from both intelligence, wit and emotions. With this prolonged period of weakness, his emotions had to be brought back up. To warm him up, Pezza thought. He was certain that the Lord was smart enough to control his feelings. And now he would do that - even if it was just to prove Pezza wrong.

They were less than a mile from the Castle, but Erkenbrand seemed to have something to say.

"Something isn't right about this place," said Erkenbrand. His facial expression was one of confusion, but his growing stubble gave an impression of wisdom-through-age.
Erkenbrand turned towards Lord Sunnycool, who eyed Erkenbrand with a look of suspicion that only a man of great power and influence could muster.
"What do you mean," he responded.

"I am not sure," replied Erkebrand, his lips pursed as his finished the sentence.


Fords sat on a hewed log outside one of the many army tents spread out around the city of Thunderton. He was sweating, the sun had suddenly crept forth from the enormous fortress of Castle Mjolnir. One of the many soldiers around him offered him a tankard of water.

"Here you are lieutenant," the man said. Fords nodded in thanks.

A man came running through the camp towards where Fords sat. He saluted to his officer before bringing forth his message.

"A force of cavalry is closing on Thunderton from the road running north-west lieutenant," he said.

"What army? Where are they from?"

"They seem to be a mixed bunch sir. But it does not matter, because the banner of the Lord of the White Realm is flowing from the front sir."

Fords took one of the horses nearby, and together with two of his sergeants he rode towards the coming riders.

Erkenbrand saw the three riders approaching himself, Sunnycool and their entourage. He reached for his sword, and laid four long fingers around the handle, with his thumb caressing the crossguard. He did not draw it, but he was ready should he require its edge.


Tristan raced across the plains and approached Mjolnir Castle, as he did so he noticed another group of riders, he recognised the heraldry of Lord Sunnycool himself and he had to catch himself such was the shock. He approached at speed until he had almost reached the group.


Lord Sunnycool spotted Erkenbrand's quick and instinctive reaction as the unidentified riders rode towards the Lord's company. Sunny appreciated Erkenbrand's situational awareness and was happy to see that not all alliances had fallen apart. A sudden surge of hatred towards the Weisslendings went through the Lord's body, but he calmed himself down, thinking with disgust about Lathaon's favourite phrase.

He slowed down his own steed and saw that his followers did the same. The Lord was expecting the rushing riders to be Realmers, but one could not be sure in times of war. And the Lord has participated too little in this damned war. Things had evolved. They had changed. His last big military action was in the North. The Wolves had made another raid on the Northern County, but that war seemed miniscule compared to this enormous conflict between nations earlier so close to one another.

Still, even though he could sense blood and ruin through the changed air in his Loremaster's county, the Lord was happy to be back. The damned snake had beat him to the bed in unappropriate matter, but finally he had regained strength. "Peace with the Weisslendings or not," the Lord thought as the three riders closed in, dust swirling around their horses, "to war I will go. Shiverland will be cleansed once and for all.". A feeling, maybe the same Lachlan had experienced, told him that Shiverland had a hidden part in all of this.

He patted Pezza on the shoulder, gesturing towards one of the incoming riders. Pezza smiled.

As the three riders reached the long column Fords leaped from his horse and knelt before Lord Sunnycool, the two sergeants quickly following him.

"My lord," Fords began, "to see you brings warmth to my heart. We did not expect your arrival."

The Lord smiled and almost said: "Neither did I", but decided to put any signs of weakness aside and give his people at Mjolnir - the Bastion to the treacherous south - a deserved morale boost. All he had to do was be there - he was certain. Finally he replied to the young officer:

"I thank you for your kind welcome, Fords. Captain, is it not?"

The Lord was uncertain of the young man's rank, but he remembered his face. He had fought with the Lord and Pezza when the three of them along with other soldiers had investigated a strange location near the Cave to the Unknown. The Lord knew that Pezza and Fords had been friends ever since.

Pezza gestured to his friend, but said nothing. He decided to let the Lord do the talking to his soldiers. The Lord needed to get back into his position. As much as Pezza admired his fellow Knights and the Loremaster for the exceptional way of handling this conflict, in the abscence of Sunny, Lord Sunnycool was still Pezza's favourite "leader", and Pezza was more than happy to see Sunny back in action. Again.

"What is the situation here?" the Lord asked Fords with a curious expression, while he made a hand movement, which told Fords and his men to rise.

Fords nodded as an acknowledgment when the Lord guessed his rank correctly. He began answering the Lord Sunnycool's last question as he mounted his horse again.

"Captain Quarr is currently in charge of Castle Mjolnir, together with Council-members Ironfist and Hound. This is following Captain Eomer still being at the Great Barracks and Captain Andy riding north with Lord Videous around a week back. The same night as the two of them rode north some of the leaders of Weissland met with Loremaster Ariakas, and other high-ranking officers as well as all present Council-members. I'm not sure of the exact reasons yet but peace was declared the following morning. Lord Akatosh is currently at Ortin Port having assembled his forces there following the long march from Villiath."

Fords paused for a moment, sorting his thoughts.

"Captain Andy brought a sizeable force to the North together with the Guards of Grief led by Lord Videous. Rumours has it that Videous claimed there was some kind of disturbance in Shiverland, but no threat has been mentioned nor declared."

Erkenbrand sat silently on his horse, still suspiciously eyeing the newcomer. He had, however, loosened his grip on his sword, and slowly moved his hand from his hip to take moe control of his horse's reins.

"Then we march to Shiverland?" asked Erkenbrand at last.

Tristan raced up riding hard and leaning in his saddle as he did so. He approached the group.
"Hail Lord." He greeted the leader of his realm.

The Lord was still chewing on the highly interesting information given by Fords. He quickly greeted Tristan with a "Greetings!", but he made no further comments towards the newly arrived rider. He was concentrating on his conversation with Fords.

Peace? the Lord thought. Interesting. So Ariakas has not lost his touch. Very well then. Saves me from having to clew Weisslendings to pieces - I know they are not the true enemies - at least not my real enemies.

Nodding, the Lord then spoke to Pezza, who had been thinking about the news, judging whether they are joyful or not:
"Pezz', peace with Weissland will be fragile - no need for me to shatter it now, although I am sure I can", the Lord spoke with a calm voice. "I never came here to battle Lathaon and his soldiers. My Mjolnir Knights seem to have done a good job of that, but…"
Pezza interrupted Sunny:
"But your fears about Shiverland have been confirmed."
The Lord nodded and added:
"Indeed - Andy might be walking into a trap!"
Pezza agreed and said, quitely:
"Then the Crusade can not be delayed any further!"
Both the Lord and Pezza nodded, while the rest of the present men were uncertain whether they could join in this conversation. The Lord added:
"But throwing us into another war right now might be stupid! The Weisslendings could make use of the opportunity and strike us. Maybe the Crusade is inevitable, but the timing could be better!"
Pezza did not reply. The Lord spoke again:
"I have been away from my Realm for too long. I need to speak with someone who knows the situation. Shiverland is a liability more than ever and we need to strike now - but I still want to consult this with someone more…active! Fords, where can I find Ariakas?"

Fords hesitated for a moment before he spoke, "I'm afraid no one actually knows where he is. Possibly Captain Quarr, Hound or Ironfist would know but so far they have not revealed it at least. He went with the Weisslanders, Lord Lathaon I believe."

Shit Lord Sunnycool thought, before speaking once again:

"This Captain Quarr. I have heard the name, but never really talked to the man. Is he competent?"

The Lord waited for the answer, while realizing that it would be best to just hurry to the Castle and find out himself. There really was not much time, but he felt davastated with the thought that none of his Mjolnir commanders would be present for this most important discussion.

"The Captain of the Gates of Mjolnir my lord? I have not talked to himself but I have seen him. He's older than anyone I know, at least his looks tells me that he is as old as the stones himself. But there's some kind of fire in him, something of a calm but assuring fire," Fords responded. "It is said that Ariakas never really have a left hand-man or right hand-man, but rather many men for each hand."

Erkenbrand watched Fords as he spoke, noticing every word with calm interest. He wondered who the fourth rider could be that has arrived after the rest.

Losing patience, the Lord simply closed his eyes, shook his head and said to the whole company of valiant soldiers, gathered around him, looking at the Lord as if he had been dead for years and as anything else but a man, suited for leadership.

"Let us continue this discussion in Thunderton…and hopefully finish it!"

He gestured to his escort and the newly arrived knights to ride off to the vast fortification.

Erkenbrand looked at his own men and only nodded, both to himself and to them, before following Lord Sunnycool. Fords and his sergeants rode in the lead, though behind the Lords of the White Realm and Ahm-Shere.

As they closed in on the army camp lying around Thunderton people flocked around them, forming huge groups on either side of the column. They cheered, filled with joy by the sight of their Lord.

While riding towards Thunderton, the Lord smiled to the gathering crowds and waved gently. He heard whispers from the common men and women as well as the soldiers:
"He is not dead!"
"Is it truly the Lord?"
"Have they ressurected him or is this an imposer?"
"He is back! The Lord is back!"
"The coward has returned after the battle is done!"
"Where the oblivion was he when he was needed the most?"
"I am glad to see him."

Many of the less positive whispers somehow troubled the Lord. He was sure that there had been many rumours about his absense and he looked worried at Pezza. The King of Photoshop carefully made sure not to meet the Lord's eyes. All of the Knights had kept these rumours away from the Lord. They had all doubted in him, the Lord saw.

Accepting this, he rode on towards the vast walls of Thunderton. He was looking forward to cleanse Shiverland, even though his secret councillor had warned him that the Crusade could turn into a bloody stalemate, Sunny wanted to go there. He felt that taking a risk was the right thing to do, yet he needed council from battle-hardened commanders of Mjolnir. And he would meet those very soon - albeit unfamiliar ones.

As they reached the city of Thunderton the gates were opened for them. In the middle of the street there stood a high-ranking, tough and strongly-built man dressed in something which seemed to only resemble clothing. His body was scarred, and he was unshaved though in his eyes there was a cold force which had been hardened by the long, empty sky which covered the desolate north where this man once had lead his own military unit, a force which had been completely destroyed only around a month back. Fubarbundy, former Captain of the Wolf Company and also recently relased prisoner of Weissland greeted Lord Sunnycool.

"Welcome to the south my Lord," he said. His throat sounded soar and tired, though a small smile curved his lips.

The Lord simply could not believe his eyes. His astonished face made his escort look uneasy as they did not know what to do. Sunny noticed this and tried to look calm once again, yet he could still not speak. Why had no one informed him of this disaster! Of course Fubar'd wouldn't be so far away from the North - not if there was no Wolf Company. He had more scars than before and his look said it all. WHY HAD NO ONE TOLD HIM!?

The Lord was bursting with shock, anger and annoyance inside, but managed to control himself, answering:

"Fubar'd my old friend!"

Sunny dismounted his horse and hugged the huge captain and patted him on the back. This man had saved his life back at the Tau Tau mountain. This man had saved the Realm from doom and ruin. This man had held the Realm's northern enemies at bay, so that the Lord could sleep in his bed in the capital without fear of being slashed to pieces by werewolves.

This man was now greeting him without the former spark within and the Lord felt that he had failed them all. But he would change that. Oh yes he would. The Crusade would start soon and with every second he felt the snake creeping away. Finally it is retreating and not I, he thought, while telling Fubarbundy:

"We need to talk!"

Tristan had heard that Andy had ridden north and had set off at once, he spurred his horse onwards clinging to it his sabre across his back.
He would be with his captain in the time of direst need.

After the following greetings and likewise the Champions and the soldiers from Ahm-Shere all rode to Castle Mjolnir in the centre of the city. Lord Sunnycool, Erkenbrand, Fubarbundy and Pezza marched to the Hall of Jarsten while Fords saw to their men.

In the Hall of Jarsten, the second biggest hall in Castle Mjolnir two other Council-members greeted the arriving men, Hound and Ironfist. With them were also Quarr, Captain of Mjolnir and Ranorist Chrasto. Also Kosias Mirdas, highest-commanding officer of Branalbinn's Guard and Morbius, assistant of Hound. There were also a lower-ranking sergeant of the Axemen of Glory there, Moestru Adannar.


Locky hit the outskirts of the city. No guards stoped him. They could see full well who he was. he finally reached Thunderton main gate house.

"Who's in charge here?" Locky commanded.

A lesser commanding officer of Mjolnir together with a lieutenant of the Axemen of Glory walked to meet him.

"My name is Colam Hidim and at the moment I'm the highest commanding officer present. I'm suprised to see you here High Captain Locky, did you came here with the Lord of the Realm?"


The Lord felt he had wasted too much time during this conflict and would not continue to do so any more. With a loud voice, he managed to break up the whisperings and small-talk and gather attention:

"Men of the Realm!" they all looked at him, many still doubting if he was suited to lead them. "I have been abscent, I have been sick - I know all of you think I have failed you. You could be right, but what is the past if we have no future? What does it matter how you have fought with sword and shield, how you have spilled blood and your own blood has been spilled, if we do not survive this war?"
Bewildered, the men in the hall looked at the Lord before he continued:
"Yes - we are facing a terrible enemy, but Weissland is not my biggest concern. Those who worship death and evil, those who seek to destroy and not to build - they have a gate to our Realm. A gate, which is guarded, but thin nevertheless. I am speaking of Shiverland my friends! Several of my commanders and I are feeling growing evil presence in that county, which slipped out of control so long time ago. I say it is time we take it back!"

Whispering errupted once more - enthusiastic whispering.

Captain Quarr looked at the Lord with his old, calm eyes considering his words.

Kosias Mirdas opened his mouth, "My lord, at this moment?" he said. "We just received peace and now we march to a new war?"

Locky arrived to where Sunny was giving a speech of some sort. Locky silently slipped in, taking place a short distance behind Sunny. Locky's hands were clasped together, in a fist, which he placed under his chin. He eyed the room cautiously.

Eomer arrived just after Locky, walking in behind him together with Bana who he had met on the journey here. Eomer and Bana walked up behind Ranorist, asking him what had been talked about so far.

Shortly thereafter Bana walked out from the Hall again.

Erkenbrand stood alongside Lord Sunnycool as he delivered his speech. Erkenbrand looked around at the man as they gazed open-mouthed in the direction of their liege. Sunnycool was a good speaker; he knew how to reach into the hearts of the men.

I could do with a man like him in my courts, Erkenbrand moaned to himself inside his head.

The Lord General shifted himself as he fingered the scar on his throat. His mouth was dry and his lips a pale, pinkish red. This happened every so often when Erkenbrand did not drink a sufficient amount of liquid. He reached for his belt and his water carton. He took a preserved sip from the carton, and licked his lips.


"Mirdas, I know our people is scarred, tired and wounded. Mjolnir and Southern County have been marked by war, but I am telling you - Weissland was a test of our endurance and our strength - the enemies who will come through Shiverland will be a test of our will and courage. We must march into Shiverland - cleanse it once for all and secure our Realm! The Crusade must be intiated - this county must be ours! Ours for real!"

The Lord's voice was powerful, but his trained ears still caught some parts of the whispers that once again errupted:

"Easy for him to say…Has he seen this war…He wants to remedy his honour and spill the blood of our people…Maybe he is right…What are the odds…We can do it…"

The Snake was speaking in his mind - it was telling him it was the right thing to do - could he trust it this time? It had almost killed Sunny, but the power it had given him was worth it. He was considering letting his secret be known, but that could be too risky…he had to consult with Ariakas? Where the hell is he?

Quarr nodded and stepped forth, "If I may my Lord," he said. "What you say sounds right to me? The undead hordes of the north have always been a thorn to our side, and this crusade is something that I look forward to."

He smiled, "As highest ranking Captain of Mjolnir around at the moment, I say that the Order of Mjolnir will be mustered for this crusade. We will go to war against Shiverland, once and for all."

The Lord was relieved with the fact that one of the highest ranking and most experienced commanders supported his swift decision.

Maybe the Snake was finally helping him again.

"Thank you, Quarr. This means a lot to me. I think we will be able to get a force from the Great Barracks as well and conquer the treacherous lands of Shiverland once and for all. The Necrofields will be ours and we will cultivate them - banish the darkness from them and lay ruin to the Castle of Cruelty. The Banned ones shall be banished for eternity!"

Eomer stepped into the Lord's viewed and nodded to him, "My lord," he said, "I just arrived from the Great Barracks after the siege by General Rios of Weissland had been lifted. The army stationed there are already ready to move out. We were all along until peace was made."

Hound broke in at that moment, "But my lord, lay ruin to the Castle of Cruelty? What would the Guards of Grief or Lord Videous say to such a decision?"

The Lord nodded to Eomer with both acknowledgement, gratitude and respect and turned to Hound afterwards:

"Since when do we care about Videous and his followers? What good have they done for our Realm? Were the Corsair Wars not the final end of Videous' loyalty? It is a monument of darkness and evil and only its ruin is a comfortable sight to me!"

Ironfist's eyes were ice-cold as he spoke, "My lord," his voice trembled, "Lord Videous came to the aid of the southern counties when they needed it. He came south to defend the Realm against the Weisslanders."

"You have my support too, my leige." Locky said smiling.

"The main army of the white city has been prepared to march since the start of the war."

"I am willing to go the castle of cruelty." Locky further added.

The Lord was astonished by Ironfist's words. The Lord regained control of himself and asked, wondering if loyal realmers could be found that far to the north-east:

"Is Viedous in control of the Castle of Cruelty now?"

Lachlan was waiting for a reply, but all he got was a look from his Lord. This look said all he needed however: "thank you!"

"Then it's decided. We must make preparations immeditatly. I shall march to Castle of cruelty, Ironfist shall come with me, i will take a small portion of the main army, and leave soon, i have heard reports, that they have come under seige from a massive undead host." Locky said, explaining his plans.

The Lord rubbed his forhead. His plans had been to take Shiverland away from Videous, but things had turned out differently. It was too late to change thigns though, although the goal would be slightly different, the Crusade would be carried out.

"Very well. We will march in, destroy the followers of necromancy and their undead armies, which linger in the county and reinforce the northern defences to hold back the foes, captain Lachlan has told us about! Any final comments?"

Quarr smiled once more, and his calm eyes lingered at the Lord of the Realm before turning to the High Captain of the White City. "I think it's about time that someone laid clear before the lord why peace was made with the Weisslanders. And now that the Loremaster is no longer among us, I think you are the one who should do that Lachlan."

"I must leave then, i'll leave the main plan for you lot to sort out. Come Ironfist." Locky said, waving his hand at Ironfist.

"Ok Quarr, i'll explain to Sunyn before i leave."


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