King Rupert of Astoria - a noble if aged man - sat on a throne of stone, presiding over his council; gathered around a circle of fire. A heated debate was raging - or rather what was once a heated debate turned into a common fist fight between men who were once considered nobles - true gentlemen indeed.
"Silence!" King Rupert demanded.
However, the quarreling did not cease, and Warren, a young boy who liked to fancy himself a warrior, stepped forward, "My father calls for silence!"
The men's fists landed to their sides and the quarreling faded to grumbling and throwing each other hard looks.
"We've come together to put our differences aside," Rupert said with as much authority as he could put into his words, as war weary as the old man was. "It is not yet too late for us to unite aginst this tyrant."
"It is too late for us to unite against this tyrant - and win... your highness," a random voice called out, causing a stir in the crowd; men murmuring their aproval, a few brave (or drunk) men murmuring their disagreement.
"Atticus' soldiers outnumber our combined forces ten to one... I am sorry , Rupert, but it is indeed far too late."
"Will you flee then, like frightened mice? Will you flee as if it meant you wouldn't die anyway? Will you flee as if sooner or later Atticus would not bring death to your doorstep... as if there were somewhere left in the free world he could not find you?... No our only choice is to stand, and fight!"
There was silence now, the only sound other than the King's voice was the crackle of the flames that surrounded them.
That is until one of the men stepped forward, "Brave words my King; very inspiring - but, but what of the sorcerer? The witch at Atticus' side said to see with the eyes of the Gods... who can foretell the outcome of every battle; what of him?"
Another man arose after him, "As long as that damned sorcerer is with him, no mortal man can defeat Atticus; and I for one am not in much of a hurry to prove that hypothesis... uh, sire."
Rupert looked from face to face - these men where not cowards, they where warriors; men who bore the scars of conflict, the markings of war, brave men.
"And if this sorcerer - were to die? What then?" Rupert asked.
"Another of your schemes my lord? You are much too old..."
"You will show my father respect!" Warren called out, his face the perfect example of a man who thought too much of his own self.
The man who called out arose, This was Spike, this was the warrior of warriors; in this or any group.
"The truth respects no person - or title, boy."
Warren stepped forward, boldly, as he was obviously no match for Spike. "And what would you know of titles, you are nothing, I will be King one day, but you, you will remain nothing."
Spike's hand was barely a blur in the firelight; as it clamped itself on Warren's hand and squeezed... hard. "If you are the King, sire, and I am the nothing, then why do you kneel before me?" Spike asked as if genuingly curious.
By now the prince was on his knees and howling in agony, as his guards stood there, amused, for a second before casually reaching for their swords; they had a job afterall.
A voice - quietly threatening, in a strangely confident yet low-key fashion - said, "So much talk... is this why Atticus has yet to attack you fools? Because you're all too busy killing each other?"
Past the guards, who reared away in surprise and a quiet fear, came a trio of hooded figures; they moved with a ghostly grace to stand in front of the King; and they might as well have been ghosts, the swords and other weapons clanking at their sides sounding eerily like the clanking of chains in the quiet, cold night.
They flipped back their hoods - at left and right were two warriors; both obviously female, the woman in the middle... the one who had spoken...
This was Willow, she was not the largest of the three, but she was obviously the leader of the small gang of assasins. Her pale skin turned a burnished copper in the firelight, her fiery red locks hung in wild curls and just reached the top of her shoulder, and her dark green eyes twinkled in amusement at their audiences shocked stares.
Spike let go of Warren's hand, the boy's pain forgotten by everyone but the boy himself. When he spoke his voice betrayed a certain awe. "Amazons... I thought you were all wiped out years ago."
"They are the last of their kind," Rupert said, "and by their hands Atticus' sorcerer will die."