It needed some more life to it considering it was going to be going through a bit of a hostile takeover but what did he know about life? All he did was mess around dealing out death because someone told him to. This time he was in the employ of a noble by the name of Silas... he thought that was the name anyway. He'd been calling the man 'boss' for weeks now because he had honestly not really paid much attention to him at first.
He saw the numbers he was offered and that was enough to sign himself and a dozen or so hardened mercenaries he knew on to work for the man. Indeed he was doing the good work for the noble now!
"P-please! No! I have a family!"
Alexios rolled his eyes.
"Every man is someone's son. Those villagers you and your men were harrassing a couple miles back? They were sons and daughters too and the rightful Lord doesn't like you roughing them up just because they sold food to his men." he tutted as he looked down at the man, who was kneeling on the ground with two of Alexios' mercenaries stood either side of him, "So. Do me a favour and die like a bitch, yeah?"
He waved a hand and the man's throat was sliced open easily by one of the two mercenaries. Looking around at the crossroad they had staged their ambush at, Alexios moved over to the stolen merchant's cart they'd gotten from the "false Lord"'s men. The men who had been caught off guard. Those who had surrendered were currently being executed by his men as Alexios lounged atop the cart.
God he wished the cart had apples - it felt like watching defenseless enemy captives being executed needed apples. Where did that thought even come from? He ignored it as he nibbled on a carrot.
"This what you call Justice?" a voice called out behind the man nibbling a carrot "sluaghtering men who have a throw down their arms?"
Alistair stood there as he watched the men be slaughtered, staring at the man behind the hood of his coat that obscure his face. all that had on him was a small haversack and walking stick. he opposed no visible physical threat to them but looks can often be deceiving. Nefieslab
Turning from his place on the cart to the person who was addressing him, he eyed the man for a few moments before shrugging a little bit. He waved to one of his men who had moved to raise his bow - even if this man did wish them harm it didn't matter.
No need to be rude to a traveler on the road when words could probably do the trick.
"I do." he admitted with a little grin, grabbing a second carrot, "Want some supplies for the road? Afraid the merchant won't miss them cus this lot split him open for selling to people they didn't like."
He gestured at the now entirely dead group of soldiers who had turned almost bandit.
"They pillaged their own people because of noble disputes - now I ain't got time for noble disputes 'sides what they pay me for but one side killing merchants and roughing up farmers daughters' knickers just for selling to the other side? Seems like bandit shite to me." he deduced before sniffing, "'Sides, we ain't got anywhere to jail em. We let them go they continue and the enemy keeps it's numbers. We keep em at camp and their holding cells are shite - they're living with pigs. Nah, better a quick death."
Alistair eyed the man who raised his bow before flicking his back to the who seemed to be the leader.
"You contradict yourself, you say you don't have anywhere to hold them and then you say you do and because you would choose death than being held in a pigsty, doesn't mean they wouldn't"
The man's excuses were just that, excuses. They could build their own holding cells from lumber, they were more choices but those choices required him to do something. "so why don't you admit why you really did it? it was because you're lazy. To do anything else required more work form you so you cut their lives short because of your vice." The disgust in his voice was quite plain to hear, as his eyes narrowed on the leader.
"I hope the men under you don't suffer for the decision you made today and the ones you will make in future"
Her brother was there one second, gone another. It made her panic somewhat, because the last time he'd vanished it was for near a decade. She paid the smith the coins she owed and then hurried to find where her brother had wandered off to.
By the time she found him, there were dead bodies everywhere and he was talking to what looked like a solider. She was fully aware of the turbulence in Noria so she wasn't shocked. In fact, Silas had asked for whatever help she could provide. However, instead of butting in right away, she stopped before she got to her brother in order to catch the tail end of their conversation.
When her brother stopped, Lilith spoke up. "Please brother," she said, walking up beside him. She placed a hand on Alistair's arm to get his attention and continued, "It sounds like he was doing what he thought was right." She looked at the man then back at her brother. "Perhaps it was questionable but he may not be lazy, he simply may not know better."
She also didn't agree with Alistair, but she was already pushing it by saying anything. War was brutal, commoners and nobles alike rarely had the luxury of morality if they wanted to win, let alone live. Did they even have spare food to feed these men or would they starve to death? And after the things Lilith had seen during the war for Leore, to even think this man cared one bit about the lives of the ones he killed was a fairy tale to her.
But, before her brother could answer she also turned her head back to the presumed solider and asked, "Which lord is your master?"
After some time traveling around the Archipelago for who knows how long since Iskar didn't keep track of the time or day of the month. Iskar finally decided it was time to head back home to get some peace and quiet once he gets there. Unfortunately the ship he boarded was roughed up and damaged in a storm so the passengers, including Iskar were passed over to another ship which sailed over to Noria. Miles from where Iskar was hoping the ship's captain would take them.
But there was no way in hell that Iskar was going to board another ship. This unfortunately meant that he will have to walk through Noria and hope no one will single him out. It will be easy for someone to tell he is a Magi thanks to his arm being mutated, something that Iskar tries very hard to hide. Especially now that he has chosen to take the risky route home by walking along one of the few roads that will take him closer to home.
The teavel had been going smoothly so far. No one had singled him out. But as he got closer to the scene of men who were slaughtered. It is safe to say that Iskar's hope to get through Noria without any trouble went out the window. The Magi stood there wondering if he should head back in the direction he was going and find another road or to walk by and hope he gets ignored. Giving that there are quite a few mercenaries or soldiers getting by without being seen is nearly impossible.
Maybe when Iskar gets home he should come up with a jumping spell or a cloaking spell to help with this kind of situation. That is what is going through the man's mind as he turned around to head back up the road. Wincing as a twig snapped under his boot. So much for trying to walk away quietly, "For blimey sake.." Iskar muttered under his breath as he hoped the three people who were talking failed to notice him or the sound of the breaking twig. He needs to learn to watch his footing for now on if he is going to make a quiet get away next time.
Alexios sighed and rolled his eyes a little bit at the traveler. Honestly he was beginning to get a little bit annoyed at the constant questioning by some fucking randomer who just so happened to walk across what he was doing and now seemed to believe he had some divine moral authority. Fucker was probably a noble if the stick up his ass was this bad.
"Last time I try using hyperbole I swear to any God that fucking cares..." he moaned before closing his eyes and squeezing the bridge of his nose, "Do we have tents for prisoners? No. Do we have enough food for prisoners? No. Do we have the fucking latrine system in place for prisoners? No. Do we have the option to get all that shit? Yes, of course we do and it'll take time that means the campaign will bog down, more skirmishes and more of my boys die. So right now I can't take prisoners and I'm not going to jeopardize the campaign just so half a dozen people can live as prisoners until they're executed later because their Lord won't ransom a half dozen fucking nobodies."
He finished off his carrot.
"You call it laziness if it makes you feel better, but I'm not here to argue with Lordlings." he waved a hand, "If you get caught in battle your family pays to get you freed. My own men? The enemy noble is a prick - stole his seat or some such shit - who thinks my boss, the rightful lord, is a rebel. If we get captured we get hung, drawn and quartered. That was what happened to some of my boys who surrendered after a last skirmish - when that's the default, how fucking worse could it get if we fight fire with fire eh?"
Noting the lady who was traveling with the noble he frowned slightly before waving a hand to direct his men. Taking the hand sign command he'd drilled into them, they began to drag the bodies away from the main road out of sight, leaving a handful still around on watch as the bodies were looted and buried in a pit.
Better than leaving them for the birds.
"War makes every option shit, my lady." he commented bluntly but not unkindly before humming slightly, eyeing the man, "I'd tell you but I don't know if I want your friend there getting it into his head to hold this against my Boss. From what I've seen of him he's a decent bloke; far removed from the bastard that I am even if sometimes he needs a bastard."
Pausing at the sound of snapping foliage he frowned, casting his gaze around the trees but not willing to commit to the idea that it was anything more than wildlife for now.
Though the leader's words were true from a certain perspective but in Alistair's, if brutality is always met with brutality then when will it stop, someone has step up and break that cycle. the man in front of him certainly wasn't going to do that, he knew that for sure.
Then he heard her voice, Alistair closed his eyes, sighed and turn to face Lilith when she took his arm. she was probably right about him not knowing better, that was always the hardest thing to remember, not everybody can tell good from evil.
"I hold individuals to their actions, so if your lord is as you say, we should get along fine. So please tell us who is your lord?"
Well if his reputation was the only one going to get damaged then what the hell did he care, right? He sniffed a little bit as he started another carrot. Eyeing the noble, who had not in anyway denied that he was a noble, for a moment longer he shrugged a little bit.
"Alright I'll take that." he agreed with an audible crunch of carrot, "Lord Silas Hael. Rightful ruler of these here lands and not the current piece of shit who sits pretty in his castle."
He smirked a little bit, just a small quirk of his lips.
"And his Lady wife, Ada Hael, of course. If you meet the two you'll find out for yourself that the Lady is a delight." he assured the noble with another bite of his carrot before mumbling around the food in his mouth, "Bit fiery."
Lilith smiled and felt a sense of relief wash over her when the solider said Silas. She walked past her brother, almost up to the solider before she heard someone shout.
"My lady!" one of her three servants shouted. In front of the servants ran imperial guards, weapons drawn and in legion gear. Two of the guards placed themselves between Lilith and Alexios. The other two stood to each side of the prince. While the Emperor had disowned his son, many people in the Empire still respected and feared Alistair. Most importantly, many still thought Alistair would end up on the throne.
"Stand back!" one of the guards in front of Alexios barked. None of them hesitated to hold their swords and staves out, ready to strike at any second if they felt like the two were threatened.
The three servants caught up, one of them holding Lilith's baby. "My lady we have all been worried! Especially Theo...he has been fussing since you wandered off."
Lilith took her child, cradling him in her arms. "I'm so sorry. I panicked when I couldn't find Alistair and..." she trailed off as she looked down at Theo. She frowned and kissed him, and all her servants surrounded her. It was hard to focus on anything else in the moment, even the solider she had been talking to moments ago.
Iskar did breath a sigh of relief when no one noticed him. But at the sound of what sounded like escalating tension the magi decided that perhaps it was best to stay and see what happens. At first when he had arrived it was just talk. But with a woman followed by guards arriving not too long after...
Things really started to heat up it seems. He may have just left and been on his way that is if he didn't spot two things that will quickly change his mind. First off the woman was handed something, it wouldn't take a person two used up brain cells to figure out what it was given how she reacted. And two the guards pointing their weapons at the solitary soldier. If things escalate anymore someone is going to get needlessly hurt or worse.
With the guards pointing their weapons that will most likely escalate the whole thing. As much as he doesn't want to step in. He is going to have to. Even if it is only to stop a possible fight from breaking out before being back on his way. At least that was what he told himself as he sprinted over.
"Oi! Wait.. wait wait!" Iskar said as he put himself between the imperial guards and Alexios. "Take a step back.." Iskar raised his voice as a guard attempted to make a move, "And put your damn weapons down! If you really care about the royalty you are protecting.. or that child she is holding. I suggest you put your weapons down and take a step back. With you pointing your weapons like that all you are going to do is unnecessarily escalate whatever it is going on here. And get someone hurt." The magi hoped that one of the two royals would listen and call off the guards. He has no idea what is going on. But he just hoped that him stepping in would settle things down instead of causing a problem.
Alistair was about to call off the guards when a man came running out of the brush screaming to wait. He was bewildered by the man, he had charged in front of two guards and asked them to put away their weapons. He was certainly courageous and his intentions were noble, though maybe not very smart since the legionaries protecting them took their jobs very seriously.
"Stand down" Alistair commanded, gentle touching a guard's hand around his sword and pushing it down. "This is one of the men we've been looking for. We want to speak with Silas" he turned his head to the newcomer "and who are you? I've never met you before yet you know my and my sister's face. I do hope you're not a spy because if you are, you are a terrible one." he ended the question with a single chuckle and smile, hoping that would ease tensions.
Kids and servants catching up was amusing to Alexios. He and his men hadn't brought any servants or any children with them for obvious reasons and now it seemed that the noble pair had decided to go on ahead past their group and past even their guards? He'd had some contracts where his objective had been to act as a bodyguard to nobles but even he hadn't seen something as foolish as that.
Of course then the world decided to conspire to show him that people could, indeed, still be worse than he expected. The guard who threatened him was one such stupid specimen.
"I'm sat down on a fucking cart you stupid piece of shit." he growled out at the guard, sparks of flames dancing across his left fist, "And we were having a nice conversation before you decided to step in. So why don't you back the fuck down before I melt your eyeballs and skullfuck you, eh?!"
Before he could do anything more than get angry, a newcomer decided that now was the best time to get between him and the guards. He growled at the interruption and his own men returned in a hurry, backing him up with their weapons already drawn. Alexios waved a hand for them to stand down even as he jumped down from the cart he had been sat on.
He paced slightly, behind the newcomer and in front of his own men. Pacing like an unamused lion in the face of someone challenging him for no reason other than shits and giggles. Alexios was doing the pacing not to seem menacing but rather to work out some of the aggression that had seeped in at the guard's attitude. Spitting to one side, he sighed a little bit and ran a hand over his face.
"I can take you to Lord Hael but if it's all the same to you I think I'll give you directions and a map instead." he decided at length, "Wouldn't want your guards deciding to over-step when there's no good Samaritan to assist all involved. Plus..."
He waved to the child in it's mother's arms with a thoroughly awkward air.
"I doubt you want someone with my vocabulary around the kid."
Iskar breathed a sigh of relief as the guards followed the noble's orders and lowered their weapons. Hopefully an unnecessary scenario has no been avoided. And with what the mercenary, soldier.. whoever he is just said as the Magi arrived. A bad fight may have broken out.
He turned his attention to Alistair. The noble did get one fact wrong. Iskar doesn't know who he is. He was only able to tell they are nobles by the guards and servants. Which he will point out, "Iskar Cinderflame, my Lord. I do not know who you are. We have never met. I was only able to tell you are of royalty by the guards and servants that followed you here." The magi gestured to the guards and servants as he paused briefly, "I am no spy. I am merely a traveler passing through when I happened to come across what is taking place here right now. You are right though. I would make a very terrible, stupid spy." The man chuckled a little bit though more out of how stupid of an act he had done. If the guard wanted to he would have speared Iskar with his sword. Well that may have been the case if Iskar came rushing over with his own sword drawn.
He looked over to the other man as he spoke up with something about his vocabulary. He has heard some of what he is capable of saying. Well at least it appears he has somewhat calmed down.
The guards that stood in front of Lilith lowered their weapons as their prince commanded, but one of them gave Alexios a look. One of those looks that might suggest he wanted to fuck up Alexios when he was in a dark place alone.
Lilith managed to look up in the middle of the commotion. What she caught was the tail end, which included his warning about his language. She cared not about it and moved forward, forcing her servants and guards to part and make way. The guards stood on each side of her, but Lilith moved past the stranger and put herself back in front of Alexios. At least, close enough, and gave a short curtsy, the best she could with her son in arms.
"Please excuse my guards zealousness. My name is Lilith. Silas and I go way back. He is a dear friend of mine that I care deeply about," she explained. She thought that, perhaps, being completely honest was the best thing she could do for the moment. "I'm traveling from Rishoka to Leore and wanted to speak with Silas on my way."
"I promised to help him in anyway I could, though limited that may be, and I have news for him. I tell you this because, on a more selfish note, I'd rather travel with you and snoop about how Silas is doing on the way," she said smiling.
"And...Theo, my son, is the Duke of Leore." Lilith didn't notice, but while she was talking Theo reached out to Alexios and babbled something, as if he wanted the random mercenary to pick him up. "I've put stewards in place until he is old enough to rule, and perhaps he will not remember these days, but as a mother I still want him to see Silas when times allow. I want him to grow up knowing the ruler of Noria. It's in everyone's interest, as Noria and Leore are neighboring provinces."