Oliford

















The Castle
the centre of royal life
The castle sits at the centre of sprawling grounds containing gardens, training arenas, barracks, the royal stables and Lake Lilith, which is fed by the River Twinge. The royal guards which are stationed at various points around the territory will occasionally check fairies’ identities but are usually happy to let visitors wander around, unless the king orders otherwise. Within the castle itself, the west wing is the personal residence of the royal family, the east wing is the home of the court and the servants’ quarters on the lower levels. The castle is practically impregnable and is well-guarded against attack.



Royalty

king
Mordred
queen
Gaiane
Heir
Loholt
royal men
--
royal women
Morgana, sister of the King

consorts
--
courtiers
Lady Alethea
Lady Styx
Captain Flynn
Lord Anapa
Lady Electra
Lady Rhyolite



Residents and Employees

military
Grayson, Squire
Flynn, Captain of the Royal Guard
Caldera, Royal & Alliance Guard
Dylan, Trainee Guard
Saffron Trainee Guard
Alector, Trainee Guard
professionals
Amber, Treasurer
Gavin, Artist
Danny, Royal Doctor
Graeling, Naval Navigator
Mohana, Librarian

household
Madeline, Housekeeper
Margaret, Kitchen Maid
Alistair, Stable Boy
Luke, Kennel Boy
Cypress, Kennel Boy
prisoners
Jacopo, Kidnapper

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located here
  • Royal court: The royal court is a place for people to receive an audience with members of the royal family. Petitions can be presented to the king, connections made and events held.
  • Royal stables: The royal stables offers quality horses on lease for a variety of uses.
  • Royal schools: Children can receive private tuition or schooling here.
  • Royal library: The largest collection of written works in all of Shaman.
  • Royal hospital: The only official hospital in Shaman, this is where the sick and wounded are brought to be cared for.
  • Royal gardens: Beautiful and varied gardens which are open to the public. Includes allotments, flower gardens, and open spaces to walk or ride in.
  • Barracks: Royal and Alliance guards and soldiers live in the barracks.
  • Training arena: A well-equipped arena for knights, soldiers and guards to develop their fitness and skills.
alive enough to have strength to die
IP: 89.168.218.75



The bright light swept over him in three thick sheets, pouring like milk as he let his body get buried in the pale substance. He couldn’t move, could only feel the three slick weights fall, one on top of the other, onto him, the light filling each tiny indentation of his body, overflowing the tiny folds of his eyelids, through the pores of his skin, under his fingernails, over his thighs, into his nostrils, trickling between his lips. The brightness fell onto him like lead. He can’t think, can only feel the weight of this moment.

Choking, he opens his eyes.

He’s sitting up in a bed, Immie curled in a ball at his side, not touching him. He goes to try to wake her up but decides against it. He has to leave, has to go elsewhere, to be specific. He can’t be here.

He carefully untangles his muscular scarlet legs, his thoughts falling onto the too well worn ruts of his life. He doesn’t understand his own actions, there are thoughts which have passed through the head which he claims as his which are strange to him. He shudders and stands up quietly, his ‘clothes’ already on, as always. He explores Immie’s head telepathically and gently lays the thought into it that he’ll be back. Leaving her to her restless dreams, he picks up his newest acquisition and softly leaves, springing from their tree house home into the air, his devil tail snapping out behind him, his arms shaking out the new thing.

It’s called a coat. Or at least, that’s its function. Due to his unusual body shape, though, it doesn’t really look like one. His body is huge, a muscular coil of chiselled crimson; the hard planes of a ruby covered by soft skin, crowned with dark devil horns poking through his tumbled black hair, eyes like obsidian large and set deep into the red of his face. The wings which support this monument to the colour red leave his body at a similar tone, but quickly darken, passing through an indeterminate shade close to purple before reaching the black of his eyes. Their softly downed surfaces are flecked with pure white feathers, with one or two pink ones nearer his body, in a tribute to the lightening bolt with which Immie ended his curse of being unable to love.

The thick brown fur of his cloak, which is what, in effect, his coat really is, swishes heavily around him and he remembers his dream. Why has bright and white been haunting him since she knocked him out with the stuff’s spirit? Has the lightening entered into his head, into his soul? That is where he believe he goes when he dreams – to the land of the soul. Alexi is strongly superstitious, because his mind needs something to believe in, and he finds it impossible to believe in gods who are responsible for what he had been.

The gigantic movements of his wings swiftly sweep him upwards, and his eyes catch the first glimmer of the wave on the horizon.

He flies down to Rushad’s strange house. Alexi had more or less built both of them, Rushad’s theory on building being that putting pretty coloured things in a large pile and then using it as a distraction for a destructively minded child was what it was all about. He’d built Rushad’s first, sticking as close as possible to the instructions Rushad had given him. They had been so ridiculous, though, that Alexi had eventually abandoned them, leading to the front of the house being surreally out of proportion with the more sensible back. Later, Alexi had, as a present to Rushad for ‘looking after’ him since childhood, created two multicoloured tents to dangle beneath the house, one for Rushad, and one for his, in Alexi’s eyes, beautiful, other half, Rosa.

“Rushad?”

Alexi stumbled to a stop on their porch, shaking his head to clear it. A muffled call responds and Alexi waits patiently as random scufflings and sounds of things breaking erupt from beneath him. A while later, Rushad’s energetic face peered over the edge of the porch, and he extended a hand towards Alexi.

“Ah, it’s you. Help me up?”

Alexi obediently stepped over and, seizing Rushad’s brown shoulders, lifts him bodily onto the porch. Rushad dusts himself off.

“That tent is a life saver. Hiding from the kids again. They’re terrifying, you know? Your Christoph, the little devil – excuse the phrase – actually bit clean through my arm earlier. I had this idea, though, that maybe if we tied them up in a hammock and left them with some food and stuff maybe they wouldn’t get into any more trouble. Rosa says, nothing doing, they’ll probably burn their way out. Did I ever try that with you? What can I do for you?”

Alexi stares at him for a second.

“There’s something out, in the ocean, and it’s at a lower tide than I’ve ever seen it – and it’s not supposed to be, right now.”

Rushad gives him a surprised look and stretches his bright wings.

“The sea has times when it’s supposed to be at low tide?”

Alexi sighs and they fly upwards in silence. A few thrusting wing beats up, and the wave has already travelled closer. Rushad doesn’t look twice, simply shuts his wings and plummets, turning head downwards as he falls out of the sky.

******

Alexi follows Rushad through the skies, Christoph clasped in his arms, another non-flyer clinging to his back. So much for trying to help out the clan – so far all he’d got out of it was having to save his deformed son and help Rushad awaken everyone. His long wing beats brush the cool air into a tunnel, feeling the slight uplifts of warmer air from the valley in which he had grown up as they leave it, and the gigantic updraft of air which is rushing in behind them, whipped up by the giant wave. Alexi’s carried grown men through the air – this isn’t a struggle, but nonetheless, it’s cumbersome to have the extra weight. They pause at the main land, and someone takes one of the children from him, leaving him with Christoph, who awakes in Alexi’s arms and looks particularly unimpressed. His comparatively tiny scaled fist curls and tugs at Alexi’s chest hair, and Alexi holds his ugly child a little away from him, and then gives up, looking to the skies with aggravation before realising that the rumbling which is getting closer is probably not so good.

******

Christoph doesn’t like his pa. His mum’s okay, but he would, overall, prefer to have someone who didn’t view him as their property around. That’s his opinion of parents – people who thought that you owed them something. Well. He never asked to be born and if they decided they wanted to do whatever it was which resulted in babies, then it wasn’t his goddam fault. Even as a four year old, Chrisoph isn’t easily won over. And his parents haven’t exactly been trying their hardest.

And now his pa had decided that he needed to rescue him, or something. Christoph sighs, and slips out of the jacket which his father is rather gingerly holding him by. His pa looks down at the bundle of life which is fast escaping him, his black eyes narrowing with vague annoyance. Christoph sticks out his toungue.

You lied to me about having a new little child around. I’m not going.

His voice is set at an annoying wine, just high pitched enough to set his pa’s teeth on edge, tiny chubby legs take fast, cheeky little steps. His pa’s scary growly voice booms out behind him but he ignores him, making it into the woods just as the ground starts to shake.

******

Alexi turns to leave and finds a solid wall of water rearing its frothy head like an inquisitive puppy. Suddenly the shimmering mass on the horizon is life threatening, not just something Rushad’s overreacting to. Abruptly, it’s towering over him, he can’t fly out, the water’s falling and he and Christoph are trapped beneath the massive grey power. He calls uneasily for his child and turns to run after him, scooping him up and crouching beneath a boulder as the water pours over them.

The solid weight of the water as it falls around them and then surrounds them, sweeping them off the ground and pinning them to the uneven ground is reminiscient of his dream, except right now it’s black, and cold, and very, very wet. Alexi’s wings are curled firmly around Christoph, so the boy presumably has an air pocket, somewhere in the softness and crashing noise, but Alexi doesn’t. The wind has been knocked out of him but the shock of freezing water.

After a minute, it feels like the main weight has gone. He can use his legs to push gently upwards again, and he realises they’re still underneath the jetting boulder, that that was what stopped them being crushed. Feeling dizzy, he pushes away from it, the forward thrust of the water sweeping them up with it, and they break to the surface, Alexi unfurling his wings and holding Christoph up above the surface as he is slammed into a tree.

*******

Rushad turns in the sky to see Alexi disappear under the huge destructive circle of water. He signals to the rest to go on and scans the surface, watching as the water rips trees from the ground, how there are already branches and dead animals and all sorts drifting in its swirling depths.

There’s a disturbance where he saw Alexi go under, a few bubbles. Rushad’s eyes narrow and he darts downwards, following the bubbles as they trail forwards, until, with a great burst of energy, he finds Christoph being shoved, by a deep red hand, upwards towards him. They reach a tree and Rushad picks up Christoph with one hand, heaving up Alexi’s body at the same time, and balancing on the tree top.

*******

They reach the core just after the others. Rushad’s healing powers have restored the damp pair to full life, although his swift hug didn’t do wonders for their mud-caked appearance. The crumbling summit of the castle, choked with ivy and crowned with red rust rises above them, and Christoph, for the first time in his short existence, feels like he’s reached home. It’s a strange feeling, but nevertheless as he clings his deformed arm to himself, he can’t help but notice that he feels comfortable in the withdrawn, ruinous, brooding hulk. The immemorial masonry: the towers, the tracts. The avenues of spires rich with zephyrs call to him in the deep hum and throb of cold stone. Arches and aisles, dim stairs and moth-hung rafters, the building calls to him, and his tiny, deformed heart answers. He stumps his way across the threshold, eyes wide with glee.

ALEXI, CHRISTOPH ROUAULT & RUSHAD JIRKA
...And the sun was white, as though chidden of God…



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