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I am a loner. Anyone who's ever met me knows this full well. I prefer to make my own choices, decide my own fate, make my own fortune. Unfortunately for me, life just doesn't give you too many chances to make it on your own. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of people willing to give you a leg up. It seems like every way you turn, people are pushing gifts on you, whether you want them or not. But when do you accept these offers, and when do you turn them down? ~Torch
About this creation
Red. What was it with these Rainosians and the color red? I'll admit, I don't mind a spot or two here and there, but they stuck it everywhere they could get away with: clothing, banners, buildings. Even the ground was red, for the love of Despathens.

These thoughts flew through my head, along with hundreds of others, each vying for my attention, ricocheting off the sides of my skull, making me nauseous. I had slipped away from the inn to sort out these wild ramblings, foremost of which was this:

I am failing.



I stopped, trying to soothe my headache with the sturdy sight of the wall by which I strolled. This was one area where the red was well-placed; there was a fierce beauty to the sight. Even here, where the wall was lowest and most worn down, Guaire radiated strength and constancy. If only my fate was so stable.

After the Rainosians' refusal to hear our case, there was nothing Zephyr and I could do but wait. For two months we had done nothing but wander the streets, trying to find some way to occupy ourselves. Then, just a week ago, a ship had docked, bringing a messenger from Nerogue. Zephyr was to travel to Pescado and compete in the Tourney, while I was to remain here and continue my mission.

So there I was, aimless as ever, except now I was without allies. Except Ferrin, of course, but he didn't really count.



As I pondered these things, a voice rang out from behind me.

"Torch, I presume?"



With a jerk, I spun, my new sword (issued to me by the Neroguian armorer) in my hand.



The man behind me didn't flinch, but raised one hand in a reassuring gesture.

"Peace, my friend. I am unarmed and entirely unhostile."

I sized him up. The first thing I noticed was his expression. He wore a wide, unworried grin. It gave the impression that he was wholly at ease; not the reaction one would expect from a man at swordpoint.

The second thing I noticed was his garb. A fine suit, complete with red ruffled coat, golden buttons, and a very red cape. Rainosian, then. No one else would subject themselves to such treatment. Except Ferrin, of course, but he didn't really count.



"All right," I said, cautious, "who are you, and what are you doing here?"



He laughed, startling me with the boisterous sound. "I must say, that is the first time I have been greeted so bluntly in a long time, not to mention so honestly."

With a last chuckle, he launched into what seemed a prepared speech. "I am Elijah, messenger and servant to Lord Rouge of Iremore. My lord requests your presence at Keep Rouge. He wishes to discuss a matter of state with you, and to assist you in your current endeavors on the behalf of the nations of Rainos and Nerogue."



I cocked my head. Discuss matters of state? It seemed this Lord Rouge was a bit too interested in Nerogue's business.

I decided to go wax a bit more eloquent myself. "What assurance do I have that your master won't simply use my connection to the Council for his own ends?"



Elijah's eyebrows rose high. "Ah, yes. I forget that you're new to the political sphere. Any nobleman in Rainos will tell you that no one cares more for his country and all others than Lord Rouge."



His expression turned more serious. "I assure you, Torch, that no harm will come to you or to Nerogue while you are my master's guest. We have seen your lack of success here, and wish to aid you."



I mulled over my options. It went against all my instincts to trust nothing but the word of a complete stranger. I knew nothing of this Elijah; although he seemed friendly enough, looks could be deceiving. He could very well be a spy, or even a cutthroat thief. I wanted nothing more than to ask someone more qualified for advice.

However, I was an ambassador of Nerogue. The Council had placed their trust in me, and no matter how little I trusted myself, I had to act.



Finally, I turned, sheathing my blade.

"I will come," I replied. "I'll hear what your Lord Rouge has to say."



Elijah grinned once again and bowed low from the waist. "Then we shall leave tomorrow at dawn, my lord."



With that, he turned on his heel and strolled merrily away.



I was left to consider the liberties I had taken. Would this decision be one that strengthened my new home? One that would be worthy of one of my station?

Or had I instead doomed Nerogue?




Unbeknownst to me, the conversation had not gone unheard. A dark figure straightened from his listening on the other side of the wall.

Crowe nodded resolutely. The man of flames was to leave for Iremore tomorrow. One could easily get turned around in the sprawling back alleys of Rainos' capital; it was an ideal place for a murder. Torch would not die, of course. Crowe did not kill unless it was absolutely necessary, and Torch was not his current target.



However, where Torch went, so would Zephyr go. His prey was close at hand.



Zephyr could do nothing but wait.



Fourth Wall:

Ah, poor Crowe. :P

Anyway, this is easily my best build yet. I'd really appreciate critique, so have at me!

Figless:



The other side:



Here's one side of the base. That was by far the hardest part of the build, especially fitting in those crosses. They are, however, very important. I've decided to start doing more detailed, symbolic bases. See if you can figure out what each one represents (be warned, however, that several of the symbols on this one in particular point to things that are coming later).



The landscaping. I just got a boatload of dark red from Bricks and Minifigs (a third-party store), including a fair amount of 1x3 slopes. Needless to say, those were perfect for this build. Also, grey studs. Happy now, Cabbie?



The wall, particularly the the window slit things. I've used this technique once before (in 24 - Swap), but I think I pulled it off better here. I may use this as my Artificer technique if my first one fails.



Ah, remember this guy (you especially, Armon)? Another player has joined the game.



Now to work on my Tourney intro! In other news, I'm the head of Nerogue now! I apologize in advance to everyone in my faction.

Soli Deo Gloria!



Comments

 I like it 
  December 30, 2016
I like the colors.
 I like it 
  December 17, 2016
Nice job here Rove! A great story and an excellently presented build, well done! I love the sloping effect that you've created with the landscape, the scene seems to veritably burst from within the confines of that neat-o base of yours. Really like how you've made those window slits. They provide excellent surface variation for the wall and make this build uniquely yours. Altogether, very cool. Keep on brickin'! God bless, ~Promar~
 I made it 
  December 16, 2016
Grazie!
 I like it 
  December 15, 2016
Love the textures!
 I like it 
  December 15, 2016
Awesome! I like the texture on wall. Red landscape looks interesting.
 I like it 
  December 14, 2016
Ooooh, love the dark red landscape. The patches in the wall need to flow a bit more into the stonework, though. But yeah, definitely your best build yet. Nice story, too. :P
 I like it 
  December 14, 2016
Excellent build. It's crazy how much you've improved in one year.
 I made it 
  December 14, 2016
Thanks all!
 I like it 
  December 14, 2016
Nice on, I like how the one guy is always smiling.
 I like it 
  December 14, 2016
Excellent story and build! I'm kinda divided on the use of the clip/window/bar things; I feel like though they are nice they don't seem to fit as well. It might just be me, though. :P Anyway, glad to have you as head of Nerogue, hopefully you'll do it some good. :)
 I like it 
  December 14, 2016
Love the base and walls! Can't wait for the story to come out...
 I like it 
  December 14, 2016
Excellent job! The border is a nice touch! :D
 I like it 
  December 14, 2016
Very interesting use of red, I like it a lot. And great base!
 I like it 
  December 14, 2016
Awesome! Love the wall! Super great texture! I also really like the sides of the base... cool stuff!!! Keep it up m8!
 I like it 
  December 14, 2016
Nice job Rove! The colors are awesome! I like the gradual curve down the dirt...
 I like it 
  December 14, 2016
That dk red is really cool, I think this build has a lot of improvement! This just might be my new fave from you ;)
 I like it 
  December 14, 2016
Fantastic build, with great color choices. Love the landscape, it's very unique!
 
By Rove Random
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