The Century Crusade

"Retainer-Supplicant, stand."

Douglas lifts his head, and stands to his full height. Surrounded by the best of King Julian's men, he faces the king, his blade coated with blood and oil. He was exhausted, but this mere combat test and forbidden academics test was not above him.

The other guards shuffle in their armor, worried. The man that stood before them has lived more than his share of lifetimes, and the rumors that trailed in his shadow were as overwhelming as his military bearing. Did he drink the life from his opponents with his blades? Drained their souls from their shells with his piercing green eyes? Or was he perhaps an Eldritch Guardian having taken a human skin for its own? Their fear was palpable, the plates of their armor chattering and their hands shaky.

King Julian Kal did not share their paltry concerns - greater men have stood before him in hostility, and none escaped the hot kiss of his own blades. However, Douglas was different from most men - the living men fought for their pride, whereas the dead Douglas fought out of a sense of duty to his new home. In Douglas was that face of nobility and silent strength - Douglas' blade-dancing matched his own, and his mastery of the mundane and arcane arts surpassed nearly all.

The king was not alone in this thought - his beloved wife, Adrienne Sasha Kal-Coxwell, and her brother, Adrian Knowles Coxwell, watched the Supplicant fight off malefic constructs and the talents of soldiers presumed to be much stronger than him. They watched Douglas cut through the constructs, and forcing assassins and other Knight Grandmasters to their knees with precision strikes.

The most attentive member of the audience, however, would be young Stella - the Crown Princess, Elora's Diamond, and the pride and joy of both Julian and Adrienne. Beside her were her own two retainers - Willow Atchison and Cardan Zhyr - who accompanied her wherever she went, and attended to her needs. She watched the aged soldier cut through blasts of pure energy and deflect whips and bullets alike.

Where does a man get such strength, she wondered.


"So, what brings you here, young man?" The Miser inquired as Douglas picked up his Library Card from the front desk. "Not many find the Library in such an unscratched state."

Douglas shrugs, removing the hood over his cloak and ensuring his valuables are secure. "I have been sent on a mission, and I may not return home until it has been completed." He gets his card from the Front Desk, and proceeds to sit down and organize himself.

"Oh?" The Miser approaches. "Perhaps I could relieve you of your items…" He stops himself as Douglas strips off his cloak, revealing the bright red colors of the Gold Rook, the Royal Marks of the Elorean Royal Cohort and his decorations as a Grandmaster. Douglas looks back up at the Miser, and asks: "Perhaps you may catch my blade. Tip first."

The Miser apologetically bows and stumbles out of the way, as Douglas gets comfortable before beginning to venture the stacks. One century, King Sebastian ordered. One standard century to learn and venture, to make up for such academic weakness.

He find a book on ancient witchcraft, and takes a seat to begin prising through the ancient tome to unearth its secrets.


Cardan adjusts his drug input to compensate for the increased load on his arms, as he forced Douglas away with a bayonet lunge. His mask already had no effect on the bronzed warrior, as his blade's hilt extended to transform Dantiano into a spear, balancing the fight.

From the balcony, Julian watches as Douglas faces off against the rifle-wielding Cardan. As their blades and fists clashed, he is entranced by Douglas' flowing nature against the rigid and artificial movements of the last Zhyr.

Douglas shuffles and shifts to throw his own blade forward, forcing Cardan back with the momentum, the tip of Dantiano locked in with Zhyr's bayonet. Pulling back and gripping tight, he swings up and delivers his heel directly into Zhyr's helmet. The force of the assault forced Zhyr into the ground, face-first.

Julian holds out his hand, ordering the stop of the conflict. Zhyr stands back up and moves immediately to Stella's side, resuming his guard stance. Douglas stands up, a bit bruised from Zhyr's drug-enhanced strikes. Sheathing Dantiano, he kneels in front, awaiting the final judgement.

Julian looks to his wife and to his brother-in-law, and whispers in. "I remember my grandfather telling me stories about the grandmaster, but I did not expect someone who could take that many hardened strikes."

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