Balaric de Jure doesn't have a custom title currently.
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Joined: 26-February 14
Last Seen: Mar 24 2015, 12:49 AM
Local Time: Mar 20 2018, 02:23 AM
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Nov 5 2014, 07:52 PM
As far as interrogation rooms went, Balaric had seen many worse than this breezy tent outside the hastily reforming walls of Dal'ib. The duke had been on both side of the interrogation table many times over, and though the ever present heat of the desert might prevent the linen construction from being entirely comfortably, it certainly had a more welcoming air than a Fexlunder dungeon.
Quite understandably, Balaric had been in a black mood since his return from the hunting trip turned skirmish. The servants skittered about the ducal manor worrying more about keeping out of his sight than about fulfilling their chores. His soldiers too, were likewise occupied, throwing themselves into their duties, training and patrolling with a vigour typically unknown to men used to idleness and professional soldiers both. Or at least, most of them had, a select few had been sent into the city and surrounding lands to begin making discreet inquiries as to the whereabouts of certain citizens.
The erection of the tent he now stood in, barely a day after those men had been sent out, was the result of those inquiries. He took a tin cup from the small table in the centre of the room, the only piece of furniture there (save the woven rugs spread across the sand to form a makeshift floor), and poured himself a little more than mouthful of water from the clay jug that also rested there. It was warm, and tasted a little gritty at the back of his throat. He sighed once rubbing at a temple; the sand got everywhere in this goddess forsaken place.
He did not have long to wait. Armed guards (his own, he supposed, he hadn't paid it much thought) soon entered, dragging with them a disheveled woman and a struggling child, a boy of perhaps ten or eleven years. Old enough to know better than to fight against a hopeless situation, both he and his mother were well trussed up at wrists and ankles; if escape was ever going to be an option he ought to be reserving his energy for then, Balaric thought coldly.
Still, perhaps there was something to be respected in defiance, at least a little. He would not ask the boy to betray his father, not yet. Resting one hand on the handle of large hunting knife acting as a counterweight to the sword on his belt, he used the other to gesture the men holding the lad to the other side of the tent. They deposited him and exited, with the duke ignoring all three, guards and prisoner both. His attentions were with the mother now; no more than her mid thirties, she was pretty enough in a common way, though not a face he would likely be able to pick out of a crowd.
"Leave us." The remaining guards nodded, there might have been a murmured 'yessir', but even had there not been, they dropped the bound woman at his feet and promptly left, and that was enough.
"You know why I had you and your son brought here, I assume?"
Aug 29 2014, 07:54 AM
Hey y'all, just to let you know, to anyone who doesn't know already; I'm off on a trip through France, Germany, and Italy for the next three weeks. Internet should be pretty okay (I think) but posting will in all likelihood get spotty (who am I kidding, spottier).
DG, I hope to have a post written that I currently owe you in Aknatar on my first long haul flight.
Back soon tiddly-peeps!
Jun 13 2014, 05:26 AM
The people of Aknatar were not, by tradition, a sedentary population for the most part. Thousands of years may have passed since the first desert dwelling nomads had planted permanent roots by a convenient oasis, but for all that time those settlements had not grown by any huge amount. Water was and always had been the most valuable commodity in the desert realm, and since it could not be reliable hoarded, it had to be carefully managed; Dal'ib was home to one of the few oases large enough to support a growing population, likely due to the presence of a rare underground river to replenish it.
Which was why, in a round-about way, Balaric found himself bouncing around the countryside on horseback in the company of a contingent of guards and a smattering of what passed for Aknatar's young nobility. The duke was a foreigner, and though allegiances may have been made he was by no means popular enough to garner scions of Aknatar's great families to his court (or even their eldest children for that matter), though how much of that was due to a lack of popularity, and how much was due to the ever-moving nature of his subordinates, the tired old knight could not be entirely certain.
What was certain was that the youthful needed to get out and about once in a while, and stop bothering him when he was trying to have militias trained and outfitted, and wading though the veritable oceans of paper work that accompanied such actions. Thank the goddess for the mineral riches of Dal'ib, money was at the very least not something he had to worry about. An army might march on its stomach, but it mutinied on its coinpurse.
A hunt was a fine distraction, though the fare in the desert was hardly breathtaking. As it was, his 'court' as it were, was busy good-naturedly bickering about whose bird would snare the first prize. The duke himself had brought no bird of prey, hawking not being a pass time he particularly savoured. For a brief moment when a hunting outing had been suggested, he had considered a lion hunt, that at least would have made some sport of the afternoon... But he very much doubted his companions had the stomach for the dogs and the spears, the fear and the blood. It was a shame really, so he contented himself with running a hand along the well-oiled bow-stave of the crossbow at his saddle horn, he brought it just in case (if the guards could carry them, then so could the bloody duke, as far as he was concerned).
Turning in his saddle, Balaric leaned to the next closest rider, who just so happened to be the rider he was married to.
"Is the horse to your liking, dear heart? I never did ask if you'd named her, did I?"
Mar 7 2014, 07:20 AM
Sparks flashed through the darkness as steel clashed against steel, the heavy blade of an axe skittering off the edge of a shield before the arm holding it whipped back with unexpected speed, sinking into the shoulder of the shieldbearer. Blood welled up around the previously clean metal, marring it a rich dark crimson. The shieldbearer's cry split and turned quickly into a gurgle as the axe crashed past a hastily raised sword, crunching into the side of his neck.
The axeman raised his weapon again as his opponent fell, letting the blood rage fill him, striking the corpse thrice more before moving on. Around him a town burned, he didn't even remember its name, only that it had shown defiance, refusing to surrender the nobles fleeing before him. That had been all it took to seal this town's fate. Goose-fletched arrows had fallen from the sky in a rain, fired by archers with shortbows on the backs of horses. The first volley had caught the crowd in full euphoria, filled with glee at the axeman's supposed retreated. But he had gone to fetch the horses, and now he had come anew.
Men rushed about him, hacking, hewing, stabbing... Everything in his sight was washed in a warm red glow, either from the fires beginning to lick at the thatch roof tops, or from the slick sanguine covering that seemed to seep over every surface at hand.
A woman came next, infant bundled on to her back and a short kitchen knife in hand, he didn't even think, striking out with the flat of his shield, sending her sprawling. That didn't stop the desperate creature though, she came back, scuttling and crawling, blade searching for an opening in the armour covering his legs. She found none, and a heavy armoured boot crushed into her larynx then plodded on into the firelight.
Behind him, by only a few feet though it now seemed miles away, the infant cried out in pain and fear as flames began to lick at his mother's body. The axeman half stopped, turning back, but then a looming figure crashed into him from the side and the world shrunk back to furious struggling and gouging, and the iron tang of blood in the air.
Balaric woke with a shout, tearing at the sheets that constricted his movement, cloying at his flesh like the fingers of the dead. The stink of burning thatch still filled his nostrils as he swung his feet from the bed. Strangely, the nightmares had come less frequently since his wedding day, though they still arrived far more frequently than he would have liked. Perhaps it was the uneasy balance of a settled life that calmed hims so, or maybe, just maybe, the dull drudgery of administrative work involved in running a dukedom had been the balm his soul had needed. Not that that seemed particularly likely.
No. It was the righteousness of it all. Hunting bandits, forging bickering tribes into a semblance (albeit an unstable one at that) of peace. Aknatar was not just his exile from life at court (though for that he was doubly thankful), it was not even as simple as a drunkard king utilising the best tool for a hard job. No, Aknatar would be his redemption, if such a thing was still possible.