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Thread: The Age of Filior Anthology - The Lioness' Share I

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    Default The Age of Filior Anthology - The Lioness' Share I

    The Age of Filior Anthology
    A Companion to Words of the Forgotten

    Foreword
    (please read if you want to enjoy this along with Words of the Forgotten)
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The Age of Filior Anthology is a collection of stories set in the same world as Words of the Forgotten. Focusing on characters and locations that are featured or mentioned in the main story, it will contain standalone or episodic tales that can be enjoyed by themselves. The same is true the other way around - you don't need to read this anthology to understand Words of the Forgotten, but you will get an enhanced experience if you do.

    Each text posted here will contain a reference to the chapter of the main story that you need to read if you want to avoid spoilers, labelled as "spoilers until". Each post will also indicate which main story chapter contains spoilers relating to it, labelled as "spoiled by".


    Index

    A Game of Misadis
    Scenes from the court of Clas VI of Lassaralia
    Episode I

    The Lioness' Share
    A tale of three corsairs
    Episode I


  2. #2

    Default Re: The Age of Filior Anthology - a companion to Words of the Forgotten

    A Game of Misadis
    Scenes from the court of Clas VI of Lassaralia

    Episode I
    spoilers until "Interlude I" | spoiled by "Interlude I"

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    “Is the boy giving you any trouble?” Clas asked.

    “No, your majesty.” said Bataras. “The prince really has the presence of a future king.”

    For a painter, he figured that meant the boy didn’t mind staying still for hours. Clas, on the other hand, would rather have that be otherwise.

    Piar sat on a small black velvet chair wearing a red-white doublet and a white hose. His small legs didn’t reach the floor and he could only claim one of the armrests at a time. The boy had the most serious look a three year old could muster, with his big green eyes staring severely at Bataras. Lying loyally at the prince’s feet, an enormous hound called Standi kept her eyes on the painter as well.

    What Clas didn’t like about the scene was his son’s colour. The boy was so pale that his light brown hair seemed dark. His lips had lost their redness, assuming the gloomy white of the surrounding skin.

    The king leant and whispered in Bataras’ hear.

    “The boy has been sick.” like always. “See if you can give him some colour.”

    The painter nodded, accepting the grave mission.

    Piar had never been healthy. He came out of his mother’s womb morbidly silent and he was on his way to be disposed of by the court’s physician when he let out his modest cry for life. The three years that had passed since then were filled with fevers, rashes and enormous bruises from seemingly harmless falls.

    It all made the boy shy. He walked strangely, using only the tips of his feet, and never ran. He didn't say much and rarely played with the toys given to him. When someone he didn’t know was in the room, the prince always seemed at the verge of absolute panic. The boy could only find some peace when Standi was around him on guard duty. The dog seemed as aware of Piar’s fragility as his father was, and she treaded carefully around him.

    The boy’s mother died birthing him, and the barrenness of the king’s subsequent affairs suggested his sterility. For better or worse, that terrified pale child was what would soon be left of the Narlac dynasty. Clas had a healthy daughter, the eight year old Mardari, but Lassaralian law was quite clear on the impossibility of female inheritance. It would be easier to crown a bastard! Alas, the one the king had conceived with one of his mother’s maids had died in a hunting accident years ago.

    If Clas wasn’t to be the last of a line that had built and ruled the kingdom of Lassaralia for centuries, he needed to keep the boy alive or change the succession laws. As weak as Piar was, the first option was much more likely to succeed.

    The king looked at Bataras’ sketch. The painter’s masterful hand had already outlined the shapes of the prince, the chair and the dog. He was now searching for the forms of Piar’s face, measuring its proportions by closing one eye and raising his pencil towards the boy.

    “Well, I’ll leave you working in peace, master Bataras.”

    The painter nodded and bowed.

    Clas turned to leave the room, sparing his child a last look. Piar didn’t take his eyes from Bataras, sitting on the chair like a wax effigy.

    The sight pierced the king’s heart, and he was relieved when the darkness of the room gave way to the bright afternoon sun that shone on the gardens.

    ***

    Clas had always liked staying in his southern domains during the spring. There, in Bussilon, a green fief covered in gardens and orchards that bordered the Grand-Duchy of Lefis, he and his forefathers had built castles, palaces and mansions along the river Herros.

    The king stood on a terrace that overlooked the silver waters below. Among the golden reflections of the sun, swans and ducks shared the fresh waters with boats in which courtiers drank, talked and shared affections in the shade of ancient willow trees. Among the quacking, chirping, rowing and laughter, tender lute notes filled the sweet spring air.

    Behind Clas was Duarid Park, a mansion that had been commissioned by his father. It was modest for a royal residence, with pink and white walls crowned by a blue roof. Its gardens, however, were enormous, watered by canals and fountains pulled from the Herros. The last couple of days had been sunny, and the thousands of sprouts that had been drowned by the previous week’s rain were flourishing in all their glory.

    Brother Ilar, a young but wise Black Habit monk from Kaiar Raillastac, awaited Clas near the waterway. He had been his must trusted advisor for a while now.

    “The barge is almost ready for the meeting, majesty.” [1] he announced.

    “Good, good.” the king was still preoccupied with the vision of his pale son.

    “And the prince and the grand-duke are already here.”

    “I’ll receive them in the barge itself at the arranged time.” said Clas. “No need for pleasantries before that.”

    The monk nodded.

    The king had summoned prince Rudericor of Ikraiar and the grand-duke Ludovad of Lefis for an informal meeting. They were the most powerful lords of his realm, along with prince Serafal of Hassatriar, who was away in his brother-in-law’s war.

    “Are there any news from Imerria, brother?” Clas asked. “I don’t want to go in there knowing less than they do.”

    “No.” Ilar replied. “The last we’ve heard was that the empress-mother was about to force king Emilar’s army to face her in battle. The roads had been-”

    “Yes, brother, I know.” Clas sighed. “They must have battled already. Emilar couldn’t get out of that without a fight.”

    What he needed to know was the outcome.

    The king stared at the Herros. It ran southwards, meeting the sea between the cities of Firre and Marmar in Imerria. Whereas here, in Bussilon, its clear waters provided sport for aquatic birds and idle nobility, in the south they boiled with the blood and corpses of the war between king Emilar and the empress-mother of Efa.

    Clas had thousands of fresh troops ready to throw into the fray, but he couldn’t just jump into the war on a whim. Even if he was sure it was in his best interest, he couldn’t leave without being followed by Rudericor of Ikraiar and Ludovad Lefidanian.

    He needed to convince his vassals, but also himself.

    Emilar’s desperate appeals and the reasoning of the mutual survival of their kingdoms and faith weren’t enough. Clas envied the king of Aspia and Imerria – despite the enormity of his problems, their solution was straightforward.

    There, in Lassaralia, the issues of a king that faced the end of his dynasty weren’t as simple.


    [1] Those who have read Words of the Forgotten may be confused by the use of “majesty” for a king, since Emilar of Aspia and Imerria is addressed as “highness”. This is because the kingdom of Lassaralia broke away from the Palatian Empire centuries before it was conquered by the Efarids. In defiance, the Lassaralian kings styled themselves majesties, as the emperors did. The kingdom of Aspia is one of the Palatian successor states, and thus it respects the tradition of reserving the majestic treatment to the emperors.


  3. #3
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: The Age of Filior Anthology - a companion to Words of the Forgotten

    A good start for this companion piece - an excellent introduction to the character of Piar. It sounds like Clas faces difficult decisions and tough challenges, I especially like the line about who Clas needed to convince in addition to convincing his vassals.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The Age of Filior Anthology - a companion to Words of the Forgotten

    The Lioness' Share
    A tale of three corsairs

    Episode I
    spoilers until "Interlude I" | spoiled by "Interlude I"
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    “Sail-ho captain! Over the port bow!”

    Delentas rushed across the Blue Lioness’ deck. Around him, men grabbed the lines to get themselves atop the wooden bulwarks.

    “It’s a sardaq,[1] captain! She’s flying Efarid colours!”

    “Does she have company?” Aion shouted. He was right next to Delantas, as eager as the rest of the crew.

    “All alone, sir!”

    “How’s the weight looking?” Delantas asked.

    “Fat and slow, captain! She’s barely keeping herself afloat!”

    Aion grabbed Delantas’ shoulders and kissed his cheek. “That one’s bursting, brother!” he whispered.

    Delantas turned his head and winked at his brother. A childish smile covered his face.

    “Everyone to your stations!” Delantas yelled.

    Happy times.

    No armed escorts and few soldiers aboard the merchant ships. It was safe to hunt on broad daylight! Better yet – it was safe to hunt in full view of the coast!

    They were sailing so close to the shore that they scared the fishermen into staying in their miserable villages. Sometimes, they saw shepherds and goats over the hills and cliffs. They usually ran away, but when the clamour of fighting echoed up the dry meadows, small crowds would come to watch in terror.

    Brutality is a spectacle, after all.

    Just like the morbidly curious peasants in the shores, the ships that connected the Efarid colonies around the Medermis Sea couldn’t resist the attraction of the perilous waters. However, instead of the cheap thrill of a safely distant battle, the ship-owners and captains were after the obscene amounts of gold that waited at the end of the trade routes. But when their luck ran out, what was in store for them wasn’t the thrill of a distant battle – it was a quick journey towards a watery grave or, even worse, a sentence to a life in chains.

    To corsairs like Delantas, the Efarid Empire’s invasion of Imerria was a godsend. With the imperial war fleets occupied in the north with king Emilar of Aspia, the Medermis Sea turned into a death trap for Efarid traders.

    “Look alive down there, let’s go!” Delantas shouted to the rowers in the lower deck.

    “Aye, brother!” replied Teserion. “Faster you sons of a dog!”

    As the rows punished the calm water, the distance between hunter and hunted shrunk.

    Delantas filled his lungs with the salty air, eager to unleash the Blue Lioness’ jaws on the infidel traders. As the rowing pushed her through the emerald waves, she growled like a hungry beast.

    The Lioness was a fast galley that sailed from the city of Laspis. The owner was Satrion Brimas, a wealthy ship-owner. Delantas was his oldest nephew and captained her together with his two brothers: Aion, who commanded the archers and Teserion, the youngest, tasked with disciplining the rowers.

    “We’re gaining on her!” Aion couldn’t hold his tongue. “She’s a fat one, that’s for sure!”

    “Let’s give her a reason to run!” Delantas grinned. “Load the guns! That will make her grab her skirt and start running.”

    As the crew laughed and cheered, hired artillerymen from Arcossa took aim with the two culverins in the bow castle.

    “Ready, captain!”

    “Fire!” Delantas bellowed.

    With two loud shots, the Lioness showed her teeth.

    Two splashes erupted around the sardaq’s stern. Delantas could hear the panicked shouting aboard.

    “Give us more speed, Teserion!” he cried. “Let’s catch them with their breath stuck in their throats!”

    “You heard him!” his brother barked. “Row! Row!”

    There was loud drumming and whipping below.

    The rowers were mostly Efarid captives from other sorties. There were also thieves, brawlers and sodomites generously provided by the ducal court in Laspis. Teserion didn’t care who they were: despites his youth, he ruled the lower deck with an iron fist. And a deadly whip.

    The guns were reloaded.

    “Again!”

    This time, the shots hit the stern. Deadly clouds of splinters hacked the unluckiest Efarids into pieces. But they replied.

    Delantas heard four dry gun shots. They had harquebuses.

    “She stings, brother!” announced Aion.

    “That means she’s stuffed with something worth our time!” Delantas patted his back. “Ready your men!”


    [1] A traditional Efarid ship, similar to the dhow.

    **
    I've found time for a little update to this thread. I hope you enjoy.
    Once I get a breather from rl work, I'll see if I can whip up the main story's next chapter.

    @Alwyn: Thank you! I'm glad you found Piar's introduction interesting and that you liked the exploration of Clas' struggles.

  5. #5
    Caillagh de Bodemloze's Avatar to rede I me delyte
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    Default Re: The Age of Filior Anthology - The Lioness' Share I

    It's good to see an update to this!

    I think you've depicted Delantas's excitement at the prospect of a fat prize very effectively. The hints of his harshness (the deadly whip) work well too. The whole thing makes me want to know what the Efarid ship is carrying!

    Under the patronage of Shankbot de Bodemloze

  6. #6
    The Wandering Storyteller's Avatar Content Staff
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    Default Re: The Age of Filior Anthology - The Lioness' Share I

    Love the idea of this. Keep posting!!!





















































  7. #7
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: The Age of Filior Anthology - The Lioness' Share I

    Me too, I'm enjoying this! The way that you managed to provide elements of backstory (for exmaple, the war elsewhere explains why the corsairs are able to attack merchant ships freely) without losing the tension or the focus on the action works well.

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