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12/02/2004 12:26 PM

The war meeting in Palanthas had ended rather abruptly. As no conclusive decision could be made between the various representatives of the different races, it was decided that the meeting should end for the time being and will be continued on another date. Now, except for two souls who stayed behind, the war room was left like it was before the meeting: neat but unoccupied.

In the middle of the war room, a large table was left covered with a detailed map of Ansalon. On it were miniatures that resembled humanoid lizards, covering most of Ansalon, wth the bulk of them standing on the area representing Neraka. All the representatives knew what they represented: draconions. They knew that soon, these miniatures would be standing on Palanthas and it would be a matter of time before they would be standing on every single spot on the map.

Of the two were left in the room, one was an elf maiden who had a worried look on her face; her eyes fixed in a gaze towards the map, her teeths bitting her inner lower lips out of despair. Her honey colored hair reflected much of the light from the candles in the room, giving it a rather 'golden' appearance. Hence, her nickname 'golden general'.

"Shall we go now milady?," the knight who was assigned to be her guard asked.

She didn't reply verbally; she shook her head slowly with her eyes still fixed in a gaze on the map.

The knight sensed her feeling of despair,"I can understand how you feel milady. The outcome of the meeting was not as we had hoped, especially during these crucial times."

As the knight brought up the topic, the elf maiden's eyes blinked for a few moments and looked at him.

"Yes, sir knight, it didn't...unfortunately. My request for large number of troops to be deployed and counter attack the Dark Queen's army have fallen on deaf ears. It seems that our representatives are more concerned on safeguarding their homeland from the advancing army than to be involved in such a high risk operation...I can't blame them though. However, each of them did contribute a few dozen or so soldiers."

The knight nodded in affirmative. It wasn't much he thought, but even a few dozen or so elves, dwarves, and humans could do some considerable damage to the Dark Queen's army.

"We have to strike them now, at least to slow down their advancement or as a diversion" the elf maiden said, full of determination. "But where? ....And how?."

12/03/2004 3:31 AM

Keorin reined his horse on the path leading south of Palanthas. The knight had earlier discarded his armor and shield, carrying with him his sheathed broad sword. Even his insignia bearing the symbol of a kingfish with a crown over a sword and a rose, a symbol of his membership in the ranks of knights, had been left behind. All that was left of his knightly appearance was his moustache that extended to his chin, a traditional look for the knights of Solamnia, something that he would rather have his head cut off than to have it cut.

The knight had made it easier for his horse to pace faster than usual. With the armor and shield gone, Keorin was not that heavy to carry anymore. The horse had given a positive response when he first rode it at the stable in Palanthas, happily moving faster whenever Keorin getured it forward.

Keorin was not in a hurry to get to his destination. He knew what mattered was what happens when he got there and how he would get his task done. The knight sighed. It was a difficult task, he knew that, but he also knew that there were many people who were counting on him to succeed. This is the frst time he had been assigned with such a heavy burden. Previously, any task would only involve hacking his enemies or trampling them down with his war horse on the battlefield. Not this one.

Keorin's left hand reached for the envelope tucked in the pocket of his saddle. The envelope had a broken stamp where the cover once closed, a measure to protect its confidentiality. He took out its content and once again read it, its words echoing in his mind. The knight sighed again. He knew it was futile to check whether he had misread it and somehow got the orders wrong. It's content was still the same when he had read it in his private chambers in Palanthas. They were shocking at that time and still are this time. A particular line was read oveer and over again:

'Confidential. Head south behind enemy lines discreelty. Meet up with the others at the town of Daggerdale . Disrupt enemy operations and supplies. Report back once succeed.'

[Edited by blackness on Friday, December 3, 2004 3:34 AM]

12/03/2004 7:46 AM

The journey to Daggerdale was quite smooth. For 5 days he had rode southwards, using roads he predicted would be free from checkpoints. Though there was a war raging, Keorin knew that both sides couldn't afford to post soldiers at each road or path. The soldiers would be gathered in hotspots, key areas where battle often took place. He did past a few encampments of Solamnic knights which he knew were there, but he made sure that he went by undetected by dismounting and pulling his horse by it's rein to sidetrack the road south through the woods. Stopping to rest only during the night, Keorin pushed himself and his horse during the day, ever watchful for ambush.

Keorin couldn't be sure exactly which point marked the territory which was still held by his comrades or conqured by the Dark Queen's army. Not that it was worth putting up a sign. At the moment, the battles resembled like tug of war, one day the place would be ours, the next, theirs. But he knew he was getting deeper into the enemy's territory. A day before, he passed what seemed to be a small village which was burned to the ground. Strangely enough, no footprints of humans or draconions attacking the village. When Keorin noticed that the barn of the village was left standing, he knew what had happened to the villagers: their livestocks had become fast food and their homes were target practice for dragons. Keorin sighed when he recalled seeing the charred remains of young and old at where the village one stood.

Finally, his stopped his mount. Before him, the road which he had followed descended down a gentle slope, continuing until it reached the gates to the town of Daggerdale. The town was a sharp contrast to the village he had passed by. The buildings were still standing, free from the destruction war had brought along. If anything was needed to remind Keorin that this town was in fact under the occupation by the Dark Queen's army, it was a large shadow that moved in a circular motion at the centre of the town. When Keorin look upwards, he saw a blue dragon flapping its wings, its head facing downwards at the town, like a hawk looking for a meal. The sun at that time was already high, and the dragon's dark blue scale reflecting much of it. It was a beautiful sight that Keorin could appreciate, if only dragonfear had not consumed him. The same fear was making his mount uneasy.

Keorin knew he shouldn't stay there for too long, getting the attention of that flying wyrm would make him an ideal light meal and his horse great for starters. He dismounted and led his mount by the rein in between some trees for cover. As he waited, he took the chance to observe the town of Daggerdale once more. The town was built in a small valley, with roads from the north, south, and east leading towards it. Once it was a trading post, and ideal location for farmers and merchants to bring their stocks in for selling and people from cities like Palanthas could buy supplies here. Not long ago, the number of trading shops grew considerably and soon more homes were built in the area before it became a town with walls protecting it and gates that opened to the north, south, and east.

Suddenly, the blue dragon that was flying over the town descended into the middle of it, landing by spreading its bat-like wings. Keorin couldn't see what was happening at that very moment, but not long after that, the dragon flapped its wings to fly upwards and to the south, giving out a thunderous roar that sent shudders down Keorin's body. On its back, a black rider with a horned helmet. At that very moment, a column of troops had emerged from the southern gate of the city by marching, sending dust to the sky, following the direction of the wyrm, and they in turn followed by some caravans.

At that point, Keorin knew what had just happened. This was the reason he was here. The town of Daggerdale was renowned for it's trade and supplies. Very lucrative, he thought, especially during war. According to intelligence reports at Palanthas, the town had become one of many supply centres for the troops of the Dark Queen. They were important strategically, especially for the imminent march to Palanthas or elsewhere nearby. What he just saw might be the supplies heading to the front for their troops.

Keorin knew what he had to do next. He had to go into the town and meet up with fellow 'saboteurs' and break up their supplies. It sounded simple enough but Keorin knew it was a gargantuan of a task. He sighed.

[Edited by blackness on Friday, December 3, 2004 7:52 AM]

12/07/2004 5:43 PM

The golden general walked along a white walled corridor in Palanthas, passing a few knights who immediately stood straight and gave her salutes enthusiastically. She responded with a courteous nod, smilling at them at same time. The knights in Solamnia were very respectful of her, even though she was an elf maiden, for she demonstrated the leadership and the charisma that were much needed during this times of war. She knew that, and also the fact that she was an inspiration to many of them, forcing her to try hard not to display any weaknessess when in public. It was a burden, but something she carried as a duty to perform.

She stopped in front of a double white door, knocking softly three times.

An old voice respoded, "Don't have to be so polite whoever yer are, just come in and shut the doors behind yer."

Laurana turned the door knob slowly before pushing the door just enough for her to peek inside. Her elven eyes noticed a dwarf sitting on a chair facing the opposite side of the door, smoke puffing out of his mouth while his left hand held a black pipe.

"Well, what'dya waitin for? Yer wanna stand there and wait for me to die of old age?," the dwarf asked, though Laurana was sure he didn't know who he was talking to.

"That's no way to speak to someone far OLDER than you, aye Feromor?"

The golden general's reply had caught Feromor off guard. His pipe dropped to the floor, spilling its contents. He stood up and spunned around quickly, his eyes widened.

"Well, what'dya know, it's the golden general herself, or should I say aunty Laura-"

Before the dwarf could finish his sentence, Laurana rushed forward to hug him, bending her back slightly. Her golden hair flowed to her side, covering part of the dwarf's face.

"Aye, good to see too you lass."

Laurana released her hold on the dwarf and looked at the old dwarf's face. It has been a long time since she last met the dwarf, an old friend she knew long before the war. The last time she saw him, his beard was still flaming red, a reflection of his fiery temper. Now, what she saw was the face of an old dwarf, adorned with greyish beard.

"Look lass, I know i'm old but yer don't have to stare at my wrinkles. Yer lucky yer got yer elven blood, if not yer'd be looking like a hag yerself."

Laurana smiled. His presence here in Palanthas meant a lot to her, not only as an old friend but also as a soldier too; and he had news that she eagerly wanted to hear.

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