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October 28, 2009 / jadettman

ACNW: Stalemate

For one of the games at AmberCon North West I had to create a Chaos Lord character who had been involved in a long-term military campaign against Amber and, eventually, killed an Amberite. Being blood cursed by that Amberite is part of the setup for the game.

Below is a little first person narrative that I wrote for that character, Gorm of House Hendrake:

We met the way these things usually happen: our armies clashing in some anonymous Shadow. She was a skilled general, amazing on the battlefield, and her name was Miranda.

In our first conflict, we never met. We, and our forces, were new to each other and we began by testing our skills and strategies, pitting our men against each other like pieces on a Pivek board. Before I was forced to retreat that day, my smaller force in disarray, it was clear that we were well matched.

As if decreed by the Fates, it was not long before I found her my opponent once more and again. These battles were fiercer, always over Shadows of little consequence, and our armies would crash together like land and sea. They were exhilarating, our tactics familiar yet still new.

In our third battle, I watched from my command upon a rocky outcropping as one of my demon phalanxes thrust itself deep into her lines and slammed into her command position. The effect was delicious. Worth the price of seeing Miranda and her men slaughter my demons to a man, the blood and ichor steaming as it touched her, her sword hewing and righteous bloodlust. She turned the tide against me once more that day but I smile to think of it.

It wasn’t until our fifth battle that we first met in parley. Our forces were evenly matched on the blood fields that day and she called for the meeting in an unexpected pause between clashes. We met a few scant hours before sunset in a tent of blue silk.

It was clear that her officers were as unhappy as my own with the unusual circumstances, neither of us of sufficient rank to hold official diplomatic talks. We disregarded them and rightly so. We spoke of things with little consequence, gossip really and minor politics. It was merely another way of probing our defenses. We spoke well into the night, eventually sharing wine and a meal. The next day we once again met in battle.

After that day, with each new battle we fought, we would meet in parley to speak of little things. On one occasion, I even taught Miranda to play Pivek, though she hated the ever-changing board. In return, she taught me Wei Ch’i. It was not until our seventeenth battlefield that we became lovers.

It was a fleeting thing; one night. My officers would later refer to it as my ‘lapse.’ I will not speak of it here but it is a night I shall never forget.

In the morning, I begged Miranda to come away with me. She refused, of course. Duty would not allow it, though I would have happily traded the shame to my family name for a life with her. We returned to our commands and to the battle. We never met in parley again.

Our battles continued, of course, and we made war in lieu of love. After a time, I welcomed the oblivion of bloodshed to her rebuffs.

The last time I saw Miranda, I came to myself in the midst of battle. As had become my wont, I had led my best warriors into battle. I no longer remember whether it was death I sought, though many of my officers tell me that it was. There she was before me, glorious in her armor, sitting astride that monstrous horse of hers. I threw myself forward to meet my Fate upon her blade, I think, but she did not allow me to give her even that much of my life. Our battle was fierce, new once more, and she required of me my best. In a moment of her hesitation, I struck her down and damned myself forever.

Why the Fates did not destroy me there upon the battlefield as I sat clutching Miranda I do not know. With her dying breath, Miranda laid her Blood Curse upon me and I wept.


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