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  1. Only two nobles left between him and completion of the mission. This could have been completed much earlier, if it weren’t for the unfortunate accidents that had befallen his compatriots. No matter, soon Alethkar would finally be under Ghostblood rule, though of course no active member would be sitting on the throne. Everyone involved in this debacle would disappear, never to be heard from again. One of the other nine Highprinces would be selected as the new king, potentially a Sadeas. Ularid had heard the Ghostbloods maintained ties to that family, though he didn’t pay a lot of attention to politics beyond his goal of ousting the Kholins. Such a shame he’d been forced to kill Brightness Dedja, who’d allegedly shared the same goal. She’d have made an excellent scapechull for the murder of the entire Kholin family. Perhaps he would be outed as the assassin and be hunted down by the new king at the Ghostbloods’s order. Ularid couldn’t bring himself to care. He didn’t want fame or power, and at his age, even life was nearly worthless. He just needed to survive long enough to see Alethkar freed from tyranny, and to do that he had to kill Brightlords Jumae III and Straw. Ularid was confident in his chances. His skills as an artifabrian had brought him to this point, but it was his talents as an orator that would allow him to finish off the remaining obstacles. Straw still opposed him, as expected. The straw man was a near perfect likeness of Gavilar the Butcher. Ularid could barely stand to look at him without feeling the urge to blow his cover and strike him down. Even knowing that this was not the same man who had ordered the annihilation of his city and the homes of anyone else who dared resist his senseless power grab, Ularid could not help but feel sickened by the effigy’s presence. Especially because, if Straw could be believed, Ularid would have been killed by that Grandbow-wielding assassin had Straw not intervened. Any gratitude he might have felt was drowned out by his sense of duty and his emergent need for vengeance. He would settle this today. Attaching his longsword and a newly cleaned short sword to his belt, Ularid walked into the warcamp to challenge Straw to a duel. Straw was waiting for him in the middle of the camp, clearly prepared for a challenge. Ularid was not afraid, he had survived a full Shardbearer duel only days previously and a being made out of Straw should prove no challenge, even if he was working with Jumae III. This battle would not be fought with Shards, but with clean honest steel. Straw agreed with the unspoken sentiment, drawing a common blade from the table in front of him. Somehow running towards him on legs lacking in muscles or bone, Straw swung his first blow at Ularid. This effigy was skilled, Ularid thought, though far from the level of swordsmanship the real Gavilar had attained. Ularid deflected the first blow with a counterstroke from his short sword and plunged the longer blade into his enemy’s left shoulder. This caused no apparent injury. No blood poured from the wound and Strawappeared not to feel pain. This wasn’t completely unexpected, but Ularid was still not totally prepared for the riposte that slammed into his simple steel plate, denting it. He staggered backwards, resolving to be more careful. He would have to destroy Straw utterly to be sure of killing him. As Ularid set his feet in preparation for his next attack, Brightlord Jumae III strolled out of his tent, bedecked in the elegant emerald Plate that had previously belonged to Tleir and carrying the graceful curved Blade that Tintallë had nearly murdered him with. Ularid shuddered a bit at the memory, but Jumae didn’t seem to be immediately hostile. Indeed, the full Shardbearer was pointing his weapon at Straw. The Blade sang through the air and cleaved Straw’s now insignificant weapon in twain. Continuing its arc, the Blade swang into Straw’s right arm and rebounded, leaving no mark in the straw. Ularid stared at the impact site, loosening his grip on his weapons. Surely this man couldn’t be wearing Plate under there, and even if he was, the Blade shouldn’t have reacted that way. Ularid knew firsthand that in a confrontation between Plate and Blade, the latter gave way first. Whatever force blocking the Blade hadn’t prevented his own steel sword, and so Ularid drove forward once more with both blades. Ularid tragically dies here. The die had been thrown, the bets had been placed, and the knife’s arc was nearing its completion. Failure was the result. Actions, and reactions, provocation followed by provocation. Blades dancing in the daylight, glinting in the sun. Mraize took a torch to the room, lighting the various records alight, before tossing it to the wall. There was a reason the Ghostbloods holed up in one of the few wooden sections of the war camps. All traces had to be destroyed. Executions, and swords at dawn. Nightly gambles, and daily mistakes. He slipped out of the building, even as the flames slithered through it, the tongues licking his feet as he left. A sacrifice had been made, a battalion for a single soldier. The fire made his eyes into ruby spheres, the stormlight of malice filling them. He climbed onto his horse, taking in the destruction as it spread through the marketplace. It would provide a cleanser of its own sort. A tragedy of a greater magnitude to distract from the multiple of smaller mistakes. A broad sword to cover a prinpick. Desperate times whispered of its necessity. He took his horse to a canter, avoiding the soldiers as they rushed to quench the flames. He was soon out of the warcamp, and onto the cold stone plains. He slipped a spanreed from his pouch, and turned it on. The connection made, he wrote four words, “Target Eliminated. Evacuating Location” He pulled his hood high, and slipped away. Amanuensis has been lynched! He was a Ghostblood Artifabrian with a pain knife, a half-Shard, a reverser, and a spanreed! Vote Count: Aman(1): Stink Straw(1): Straw The Nobles have won this game! Jumae III (STINK) has been crowned King of Alethkar and Straw was appointed Highprince. Master Spreadsheet The Ghostbloods The Victorious Dead Player List: