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    The Aizereans
    Chapter One

    The Morning

    Your eyelids flutter as your body slowly begins to awaken. It took quite some time to fall asleep last night, as you knew that the following day would be the "final test" that the Academy of the Four Kingdoms had to offer you before you become a fully-fledged Aizerean. You'd spent the last year of your life focused solely on your studies, mastering not only the controls of the massive warmachines called Aizargos, but developing yourselves. You were well-instructed in personal combat, knowledge of the varied beasts and dangers of the darker corners of the world, and given a rudimentary instruction on the powers of Magic and how to approach an opponent who wields the Gift. After long hours of study, practice, and grueling tests at the hands of your many instructors, the day has finally come for you to face whatever challenge the young Headmaster Marle Ironwood has deemed to be the defining moment between apprentice and Aizerean. You roll out of bed and begin to ready yourself for the day - whatever happens, you know that your destiny depends on the outcome of the task that you are given on this day.

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    OOC: This is your opportunity to describe your character's appearance and their wake-up / preparation for the day to come. Once each of you have posted, we will begin to introduce your "Final Test".
    "This man wishes to be accorded the same privilege as a sponge!" - Henry Drummond, Inherit the Wind

    Marcus Lyron
    Nathaniel Toslen, aka "Thanatos"

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    PirateGuy

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    With a groggy gurgle, followed by the innocuous auditory assault of phlegm and a hacking cough, a disheveled looking man rose to greet the morning sun with an odd amalgamation of sneering disdain and earnest enthusiasm. It was an odd sensation; having reached the apex of his apprenticeship at the Academy of Four Kingdoms, after all the hard-fought victories and soured defeats of his life, this man was still bitter, although quiet about it.

    Rolling from his mattress, the Liravellian stood up-right within the minimalistic room he'd come to be boarded in as he peered into the nearby mirror. Stubble grew where once a clean-shaven youth existed, and the fellow's formerly prim-and-proper hair had fallen to the wayside in droves of messy waves. His eyes were sullen, bags solemnly winking back towards their disenfranchised bearer with a knowing smile. If perhaps he were but half a decade younger, this gentleman might have passed for the fairest bard in the lands... were it not, of course, for the motley assortment of battle scars that carved a sorrowful tale upon his own, cheated flesh.

    This was Noel Leblanc; once a promising Scion of House Leblanc - a nobleman turned soldier in the wane of his family's untimely passing and the vanishing of their vast fortune. As Noel stood and stared at himself, all he saw was a figure of utter disgust. Oh, how far had he fallen! A cynical gleam teemed within his eyes, and as he followed the typical rigmarole of dressing himself in perpetration for the day ahead - joyous though it might be - every passing task seemed like a mockery of what it should have been.

    "C'est la vie," crooned the ever-morose Noel, a sorrowful sigh escaping his lips only momentarily as he donned the last remnants of his scholastic vestments and stepped towards the door.

    It was going to be a long day.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Slowly opening his eyes, Roland is pleased to find Pandora watching him with a slight smile on her face. Hey stoneface, your eyes are redder than usual. When you feel like getting up, come to the table and I will serve you breakfast. Just don't get used to it. She gets up with a toss of her hair, and Roland admires the view as she walks to the kitchen. Whatever I did to deserve her, wasn't enough. Roland rolled out of bed and ran a hand through his hair. After looking in the mirror and pulling up his breeches, Roland went to the table Hmmm, something smells good, wonder what it is he said with a smirk. Pandora gave him a glare and slammed his breakfast on the table. Here big guy, hope you can choke it down. Roland rolled his eyes, and commenced chowing down. Pandora watched him eat with a bemused look on her face. [COLOR="rgb(153, 50, 204)"]Well, I guess it was edible. Good luck on your test honey, and please be careful with the dragon. If you let it eat you, I will come after you and bring you back. Trust me, you don't want that happen.[/COLOR] Struggling to keep his face straight, Roland gave an affirmative and went to get dressed. Grabbing his favorite gray shirt, and grabbing his belt, Roland got his attire in order before checking Fenrir. Determining that Fenrir was oiled and ready for action, he belted on his sword and got ready for the upcoming test. Well, at least Pandora is in a good mood. Time to go.

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    The Sun has risen and its rays awakened Rene from border of slumber - it was sure hard to sleep, with all that tension around the final test. - Where am I, and what does this gorgeous blonde doing here? - he mumbled, slowly getting himself awake. Oh, well, I guess, no blondes today - of course, there were no one in the dormitory room but him, and a fat, feather-risen sparrow on the window-sill. Rene haven't got any luck with girls lately, since Gridora promised a harsh beating to any girl hitting on him. And hell, she thought that would be a fine joke. Well, anyway, lack of err... attention at least meaned that Rene could get some sleep before the test.
    So, young man got up and spent some time for daily routine of breakfast (extra-fast and not very well-cooked) some personal grooming and cleaning the parade uniform. After that, he took one of his throwing knives out of Ironwood's portrait on the wall and rushed into the corridor, hoping to catch a rumor or two about upcoming event
    ***My place is at the brink of a war. Posting can be erratic, sorry***

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    Noel:

    *Whomp Whomp Whomp!*
    You've only just had time to finish dressing before an energetic pounding begins on your door. You know of only one person in the entire Academy of the Four Kingdoms who would already be awake and bustling about at this hour, because this person would frequently pound on your door at the break of sunrise for extra training (or simply to share old war stories); it was none other than Sir Horace Jager, the ambassador from Starkhere.

    The second you open the door, you see the old knight standing there, beaming at you. "Ah! There you are, my boy! I just wanted to come down to wish you well in the 'final test'. I'm quite confident you'll keep your cool and succeed. It'll still make for a grand tale, though! I look forward to hearing of it upon your return! For now though, let's get you down to the kitchen for a hearty meal."

    Sir Jager clearly intends to spend the remainder of the morning with you regardless of where you choose to head first. He's a good man and has proven to be a knowledgeable mentor to you, but sometimes his enthusiasm can be tiring.

    Roland:

    Just as you've stepped out of the door, you see the massive form of Arl Moratok Thorzinson pacing swiftly down the stone hall towards you. The Gheimorian ambassador always walks briskly everywhere he goes, and the distinctive *click* of his boots against the floors can be identified from rooms away. When he has closed the gap to you, he halts and crosses his arms in front of his barrel-chest. He visually inspects you for several moments and it seems that he has found no flaws to nit-pick (yet). With a quick flick of his fingers, he launches his single thick braid of brown hair out from in front his shoulder where it had be lying. "Present your weapon for inspection, warrior."

    Such on-the-spot inspections are what Arl Thorzinson is notorious for. The arl treats all of the students of the Academy as though they are his soldiers and holds them to Gheimorian standards. Though you, yourself, were never in the armies of Gheimor, in your time here you have been impressed by the discipline and professionalism of this man. It's clear that this is some sort of final inspection before you are to be off for your test.

    Rene:

    As you come out into the hall, you see the typical bustle of students emerging from their rooms to begin their daily training. You're fairly certain that none of these other students in your hall are proceeding to the "final test" today such as yourself; through your observations and numerous...interactions with your peers, it's clear to you that students seem to be deliberately roomed apart from others of the same home province and similar levels of training. You suspect it's an effort to insure that all the students of the Academy of the Four Kingdoms are afforded the opportunity to meet with people from the whole realm on a daily basis. For you, it's simply made window-shopping for variety a bit easier.

    "Aahnd here I worr'ied that wee Rene would be too frigh'tened to even leave hees room."

    ...the downside of the living arrangements would be that it put you in close proximity with Suidbert Odo. You don't even have to turn around to recognize the light, nasal accent of the young nobleman from the Duchy of Ovstelos. The ultra-competitive teen with long, wavy blue hair could always be counted on to be steps behind whenever you were attempting to make the acquaintance of a new co-ed. It's like he made it his personal goal to try to steal away every girl you ever met. He's not succeeded yet, but his persistence is getting old. "Aahre you sure you are read'ee for this fi'nale? Your prett'ee little face may get scarred!"
    "This man wishes to be accorded the same privilege as a sponge!" - Henry Drummond, Inherit the Wind

    Marcus Lyron
    Nathaniel Toslen, aka "Thanatos"

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

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    And so began the morning ritual wherein Sir Jager would become both a nuisance and faithful boon.

    "Fine, fine." snips Noel, running a hand through his dark hair as another sign parted from his lips, the strange sense of duress upon his shoulders as his final inaugural test loomed overhead. He'd grown quite accustomed to his liaison's nagging nature, the two having swapped more war stories than Noel actually possessed, having been forced to embellish lest grandiose encounters in his stead. This act, perhaps, was one Noel felt was worth endeavoring upon; after all, his allies were few, and friends were even further between.

    Regardless, Noel soon found himself scooping up his scholarly jacket, fastening the buttons as he stepped out the door alongside his erstwhile compatriot, locking his humble abode behind him.

    "And I take it you're not going to tell me anything about the test beforehand then, Jager?" Noel still managed to bemoan, keeping step with his comrade as they began their short sojourn towards the kitchen. "It might be useful to have some insight into what I may be forced to handle, n'est-ce pas?"

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Handing his weapon over without a word, Roland awaited Arl Thorzinson's judgement on wether his weapon was acceptable or not. Yeesh, if I can't take care of my blade by now, I don't deserve to have it. Wisely, Roland did not voice this thought, knowing Arl as he did. As the inspection ends, Roland addresses Arl, Sir, if you have found me to be up to standard may I continue preping for the test? Roland waits at parade rest((military/whatever the stance is called when marines are "relaxed")) with quiet patience.

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    Ah, yes, so much for good morning. Rene was glad he didn't had breakfast yet, otherwise he'd be sick for sure. He took a deep breath and turned around to greet Odo with really-not-so friendly smile.
    - Afraid? - he asked, pretending amazement - You've been practicing annoying me for the whole year, and all you can think of at the finals morning is a stupid fear reference? I'm greatly dissapointed with you, Suidbert Odo. I've hoped you could do better. Oh well, I guess I should've recognise fail when I saw it. - not willing to waste time on scolding, Rene walked down the corridor, making Odo follow him if he would want to continue this impromtu duel of wits. Hail to the Academy, the only place in Four Kingdoms, where a commoner could yell at a noble and get away with it
    ***My place is at the brink of a war. Posting can be erratic, sorry***

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    Noel:

    The knight chuckles lightly. "It's not my place to say, Noel. The Headmaster and the other Instructors make it a sort of event to tell you and your peers. What I can tell you, from one old soldier to another, is that you be asked to walk directly into the task - you'll be given time to plan and prepare. No soldier worth his salt would volunteer to walk into an ambush!"

    Another minute of walking at the brisk pace set by Sir Jager brings you to the Hall, where the stomachs of the Academy are fed. This is by far the largest room in the Academy, with towering stained glass windows reaching up to a high vaulted ceiling. The very air of the room always seems to be filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread or a fine roasted meat. The floor has several long, finely-stained wooden tables with benches on either side to accommodate the large number of people who call this institution their home. Although a few people are already seated here and there, you've arrived before the bulk of the crowd. In fact, you suddenly pause at the realization that there are too few people in the Hall to keep you from being spotted by...

    "'allo there, Noel! Sir Jager! Always a pleasure to 'ave yourselves in me Hall!"

    The bulky form of the school's head cook, Luther Adelhof, appears seemingly out of nowhere in front of the two of you. He reaches out and grasps both a hand of yours and the old knight's in his meaty paws and shakes them vigorously. "So, Monsieur Leblanc, I 'ear that you, Roland and Rene are settin' off for the 'Final Test' today! Want anythin' special for breakfast today?"

    Roland:

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    You watch the arl carefully examine your grandfather's blade, noting the weight, balance and craftsmanship. After a few moments of reading his eyes, you're quite certain that the inspection was simply his way of being able to admire your weapon once again. A few moments later, Arl Thorzinson reluctantly hands the sword back to you. "Your maintenance is satisfactory. When you pass your Final Test, do not begin to neglect your weapon in favor of your Aizereus; a weakling outside of the cockpit is a weakling inside of the cockpit." For a brief moment, the man smiles at you. "The instructors will meet you in the Great Hall to collect you for the quest. Good hunting." With that, the arl turns away from you crisply and begins to walk away, the sound of his boots clicking against the floor slowly fading.

    Rene:

    You heard Suidbert begin his rebuttal, which turns into a bluster as you nonchalantly turn and walk away. The various students make way as you pass, grinning triumphantly back towards the teen from Ovstelos. As you make your way through the crowd and around the turn in the corridor that will take you towards the Great Hall, your eyes alight upon a familiar feminine figure in your path. The blonde Gridora Firsdotr leans her back against the wall, wearing her usual baggy blue trousers and sleeveless black vest. Her toned arms are casually folded in front of her chest, and she has a bemused smile upon her face. "What? No sparring with Suidbert this morning? How else are you going to get warmed up for the big Test?"
    Last edited by TheGreatJabu; 2011-11-07 at 04:15 PM.
    "This man wishes to be accorded the same privilege as a sponge!" - Henry Drummond, Inherit the Wind

    Marcus Lyron
    Nathaniel Toslen, aka "Thanatos"

    Thanks go to kpenguin: Purveyor of Quality OotS-style Avatars for Aspiring Superheroes

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Accepting Arl's compliment with grace, Roland straps his sword back on and heads to the Great Hall. Hmm, I may have to watch out for Arl coming after my blade. Thinking this with a bemused expression, Roland enters in time to hear the booming voice of the head cook call out to Noel and Sir Jagger. Glad that he had already eaten breakfast, Roland decided to wait at a table for the others to finish breaking their fast. Roland again relaxed with easy patience and waited to be approached by an instructor.

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    PirateGuy

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    "Food would be a nice change of pace, Luther," jokingly quips the former Liravelle noble, his tone as sardonic and fatalistic as always as the faithful cook shook his entire frame with his gregariousness. It was, however, a special occasion, what with he and his fellow candidates all taking their final test. Would it be fatal? Not likely, but the prospect still remained present, grim though it might be.

    Jokes never were his forte'.

    "That was a joke. Eggs. Some coffee too, if you've any left in the pantry, monsieur." the aged scholar finally replies earnestly, spying about for an available table before catching a glimpse of Roland; another of his academic peers. Returning his gaze to the boisterous chef, Noel's eyes narrow slightly before another sigh erupts from the scraggly fellow, his attempts at any humor or hints of a smile faltering to little more than a grim upturning of his lips. "Surprise me on how you prepare them."

    With a practiced stride - save for the almost invisible limp - the prospective Aizerean leads the way towards and places himself opposite his other fellow, Roland. Noel's disposition remained relatively unchanged since the brass-beatings of his consiliere, Sir Jager, against his wooden door, a scowl seemingly permanently affixed to his visage.

    "So..." begins the veteran, small talk always having been one of those things he'd shirked since enlisting in the army as he strove to begin some mockery of a conversation with Roland whilst he awaited his meal. "Are you prepared? Everyone seems very hush-hush about our final examination. Must not be something they feel is worth sharing with the recruits beforehand."
    Last edited by PsionicSheep; 2011-11-08 at 01:15 PM.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Looking up as his fellow student sat down, Roland gave him a considering look. I may know something that isn't public knowledge about the test but you will have to keep it to yourself on where you heard it. The instructors may explain it soon but I know I really dislike not having enough intel before a mission. Roland spoke quietly. He gave a quick scan for any others from his class he recognized before continuing. As I am sure you are aware, our Aizereans are not purely mechanical, but also biological. They are made from dragon flesh and artifice to create the machines. It seems that every potential Aizeran pilot must slay a dragon while using their craft as a final test. Supposedly to strengthen the bonds between the group and the Aizerean to it's respective pilot. Roland prepares to cause a diversion if Noel causes a ruckus over the information.

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    Well of course, Rene happily stopped to chat with Gridora. He made a disappointed sigh, showing that yeah, he'd like an another round with Odo, but...
    - Nah, he's extra-boring today. I guess, it's a kind of revenge only a guy like him could imagine. So yeah, no warming up. Though, I'm going to think of something during breakfast. And how're your morning? - Rene switched topics carelessly. - hope better then mine
    ***My place is at the brink of a war. Posting can be erratic, sorry***

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    PirateGuy

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    "And so the plot thickens," croons Noel bitterly as Roland relays his intel, taking the news of dragon-slaying surprisingly well, all things considering. Shiftily peering across the room towards the assorted individuals present, it's no wonder they didn't expound upon the contents of the final examination.

    "So we're to slay dragons then? Madre'..." With a sigh, Noel simply scowls at this new information; little though it is to go on.

    "I suppose that's part of the selection process. Survival of the fittest."
    Last edited by PsionicSheep; 2011-11-09 at 03:49 PM.

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    Rene:

    Gridora bats her violet eyes in a poor effort to look sweet and innocent - you're pretty sure she's not been "sweet" a day of her life. "Oh, you know me! My day will be just swell so long as my favorite greasy Geldarmian aces the big finale today!" She interlocks her hands behind her head and casually looks up towards the ceiling, trying to look innocuous. "Speaking of which, you haven't told me what the big test is yet. It sure would be swell if you'd tell your dear friend Gridora what she should be preparing for in a couple of months..."

    Noel and Roland:

    Luther guffaws heartily at Noel's jab. "Bwa-hahahah! I kin see tha' you're underfed, chum - look at 'ow skinny you are! I'll get my crew workin' up somethin' special for you!" With that, Luther lumbers off towards the kitchen. Around this time, Sir Jager makes his way back to your table; after greeting the Head Cook, the knight had stopped over at a nearby table to check up on another few students. He gives a nod to Roland as he takes a seat. You doubt that he knows your name, but you know for a fact that he's observed you during your personal combat class with Instructor Jocwin Bayleaf.

    "Good morning. You're one of the ones testing with Noel here today, right? I've seen your swordsmanship - I think the two of you will work remarkably well together. If you can fight half as well in an Aizargos as you can on-foot, I think you ought to do well." After the last comment, the knight pauses for a moment and runs a hand back awkwardly through his short, salt-and-pepper hair. "But I believe I approach overstepping my bounds."
    Last edited by TheGreatJabu; 2011-11-11 at 12:10 PM.
    "This man wishes to be accorded the same privilege as a sponge!" - Henry Drummond, Inherit the Wind

    Marcus Lyron
    Nathaniel Toslen, aka "Thanatos"

    Thanks go to kpenguin: Purveyor of Quality OotS-style Avatars for Aspiring Superheroes

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    Rene gave the girl a mischievous smile and leant his back against the wall next to her.
    - Well, dear Gridora, being a greasy Geldarian I probably should have put a healthy price on this information. Of course, I'd given you a discount. But... - he continued with the expression on his face saying "Now I'll prank you" - That is not the cause. You see - another dramatic pause - I never cared to find out. Oh why should I - it's supposed to be passable anyway. So nope, dunno duncare - the young geldarian finshed in his usual light-hearted manner. - Though we could go to the Great Hall for breakfast and some rumors, how'd you like it?
    ***My place is at the brink of a war. Posting can be erratic, sorry***

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    Roland turns to Sir Jager, You do not overstep your bounds, Sir, I too hope to be able to live up to my high standards in the Aizerius. Yes Noel and I will be part of the same team for today's test, with one other I am sure of. Do you know when the instructors will allow us to begin? Roland keeps a level voice through all of his tiny speech, smiling a slight amount, although when he asks the question at the end, Roland resumes his serious demeanor.

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