dismounted

And it begins.

Something was wrong.

The Death Knight could not say what for sure, but he sensed it as he rode up the winding road to the new keep. The closer he got the more ominous and foreboding the feeling became. Even his deathcharger whinnied slightly in the cold wind, a sound Roland did not think he had ever heard his mount make, he even patted it on the neck reassuringly.  

  Roland dismounted the frightened beast and left it still a hundred yards from the keep entrance. He squinted to see the great hall doors, using his supernatural sight to its farthest reaches. They were closed and two guards stood on the ready, nothing amiss there he thought at least. Still, he drew forth his runeblade and made his way forward, even his sword sensed something; its unnatural glow seemed not nearly as bright as it once was.

   There was something evil in his new manor, and his wife and child were in there.  Something the man had not felt in a very long time began to well up in his throat, primal fear. He stopped, and issued a silent command that would be heard through worlds if needed. Mere moments later, a portal opened and his forsaken mage cavey ambled through it. Roland had given the mage back his jaw for good service, but he had not yet earned his legs to be reattached properly. It still made Roland a little sick to watch whereas before he found it quite amusing, funny how a woman could change a man so quickly he thought, those thoughts again turning to his home where Sylrissa could be in danger.

“Sir! Er I mean Roland, what would ya have a me?” he asked in that irritating gilneas accent that Roland was sure he faked. Cavey groveled before him, bowing to his knees, only wanting to serve the man he had helped kill.

“Your wards, in my manor, why are they not working?” He asked, impatiently beckoning the mage to rise to his feet. Cavey looked back at the manor and then to Roland. “Oh aye, well I will do’em right now Roland, tis an emergency and all. Ya had me busy in Silvermoons and…” A dark tendril of magic cut off his words wrapped around his throat and lifted him from the ground.

Roland stood below him, a half crazy rage in his eyes, the tendril snaked from his pointed hand around the mages neck. “You have not even got around to it yet!” he yelled in disbelief.

Cavey shook his head and spoke, the tendril having no physiological way to stop him from speaking, just hold him above the ground and put enough pressure to  separate his head if Roland so chose.

“My Lord I thought the manor in Silvermoon teh be tops for priority, I will begin at once!”

Roland resisted the urge the snap his neck right off, he would have, but he may need his energy for more important things than tormenting his stupid mage. He let Cavey full with a thwack on the ground, the mage quickly recovered and got to his knees, looking up at the deathknight with a mixture of fear and pleading.

Roland shook his head. “The Warlock, he works for Sub Rosa now, get him and bring him to me. Tell him gold is no object. Wake him up if you have to and do not come back without him in tow.”

With that Roland marched towards the manor, on the outside it looked quite splendid. Almost all the work Lady Ravenmourn had asked to be done was finished and it was beginning to look like a loved and lived in manor of its former glory.

However the closer he got the more he could feel the presence, it was like a weight on this chest now as he approached the smiling guards at the door. There was no need to ask them if anything was amiss, he could tell from their faces they thought there was nothing wrong. He gave each a nod and made his way inside.

He needed to apologize to his son, the earlier outburst on Roland’s part had been petty jealousy and he owed the boy better than that. He would never hurt his boy; on the contrary he was quite worried as he made his way to Xaevviers quarters.

Something whispered to him in the hall, he looked around and there was nothing, he closed his eyes and could still hear it, it was like a 1000 voices of doubt all at once. He stopped, clamping hands over his ears and growling.

They will all die under your watch……This is your fault…..You are a failure……What about your other oaths?……Do the children not count?…………….Anne, Calithia,Eressia,Xyrianna, Xarriel, Kelsian, Sairalis, Llue, Deylivia,Barranna, Ciandra……Have you ever not broken an oath?

Roland screamed, swinging his sword wildly into a wall, attacking unseen voices that seemed to know everything and all about him.

“SILENCE” He smashed the wood furnishings into sawdust , using his foot when the pieces became too large for his blade.

Damn you I will rip your fucking tongue out!”  He screamed in rage into the air, falling to his knees.

Xaevvier ran in, terror on his face as he went to his father’s side. He had never heard anything thing like that from Roland and Xaevvier was shaking when he grabbed his father and embraced him.

“Shhh, Shhh father it will be fine, Shhh” Xaevvier could not hear the voices, nor did he feel the heavy presence in the room. All he knew was that his father was the most fearless man he had ever met, and he was on his knees screaming at something that was not there. This scared the young man more than anything in his life ever had.

The voices seemed to quiet down when Xaevvier came out and Roland was so glad to see him he latched on to him and squeezed even tighter. “Lady Ravenmourn?’” Roland’s tone was full of fear as he asked.

“She is fine, with the cook I do believe.” Xaevvier could not help but smile thinking of the desert she had promised him that her cook was famous for.

Roland nodded, content for the moment, but he slowly stood and dusted himself off. “You and her are leaving…. they are coming.”

They….He had wondered briefly who would strike first and now he knew.  

This was NOT the style of the Cardinal…

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How to Have an Adventure While on Vacay

1. Wake up early on morning with a killer head cold- courtesy of one of your sister’s germbag children.

2. Still get up and get ready for horseback trail riding, CAUSE IT’S TOO LATE TO CANCEL NOW.

3. Take a NyQuil as it is the only decongestant readily at hand.

4. Regret.

5. Come to the epiphany that Cinnamon (ur mighty steed) has max chill and could not care less about what you’re doing up there, knows this path by heart and is not going to cause any trouble, or run up any other horses’ backside. 

6. Take a nap in the saddle

(wake up in time enough to dismount and blearily ask your mother and sister if the trail was pretty. It was. That’s nice.)

6

Blackhearts in Petawa.

Apache Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, Task Force Strike, 101st Airborne Division, patrol through Petawa village, Parwan province, Afghanistan.

Pictured are: (1) First Lieutenant Kenneth Hurst, (2-4) Captain Rodney Freeman, and (4) First Lieutenant Matthew White.

(U.S. Army photos by Corporal George Huley, 13 JUN 2014.)

7

Simone Arianne Biles was born March 14th, 1997 in Columbus, Ohio. She is a current member of the US National Team and is the reigning national champion. Simone is a two-time World All Around Champion, two-time World Floor Champion, World Beam Champion, and a two-time World silver medalist on vault. It’s important to note that she is the first ever African American woman to win the World AA title. Her impact in USA Gymnastics has been quite significant considering she is one of the most decorated gymnasts in history after only two years as a senior. She has been referred to as unbeatable over the last few years as she pushes the envelope in women’s gymnastics to the next level. Simone has a floor pass named after her, a double layout with a half twist. There are videos of her doing unthinkable skills such as a standing double back, a triple twisting yurchenko, and a double double dismount on beam. She is heavily favorited to continue her dominance at the 2015 World Championships and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Kind of an Easy Company tradition, getting shot in the ass.

U.S. Army Captain Lou Cascino pulls security while U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Eric Stephens and U.S. Army First Lieutenant James Kromhout verify their position during a partnered patrol in Madi Khel village in Khowst province, Afghanistan, Oct. 20, 2013. Cascino, commander, and Stephens and Kromhout are assigned to the 101st Airborne Division’s Company E, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team.
2

SOLDIER STORIES: He Was a Marine You Could Count On

[Top] A firing detail of U.S. Marines with Charlie Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, fire a three-volley salute in honor of Lance Cpl. Ramon T. Kaipat, an infantryman who served with Charlie Co. and 22-year-old native of Tacoma, Wash., during a memorial service here, April 16, 2012. 

[Bottom] U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Dustin Hanson, a section leader with Charlie Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, observes a moment of silence in respect for Lance Cpl. Ramon T. Kaipat, killed in action during a dismounted patrol in support of combat operations in Helmand province’s Khan Neshin district. Kaipat’s brothers-in-arms remember him as a caring and humble warrior, who placed the welfare of his fellow Marines before his own.

(Story & photos by Corporal Alfred V. Lopez, 16 April 2012 via DVIDS.)

COMBAT OUTPOST TAGHAZ, Afghanistan – He came from Saipan in his freshman year of high school, graduated, and joined the Marine Corps to serve his country.

He would run through a wall, if that was what it took to accomplish the mission. 

He would go out on a limb to protect a fellow Marine.

He was a Marine you knew you could count on. 

He was firm but fair, and he was the only Marine that can put a smile across the whole platoon’s face.

“He” was Lance Cpl. Ramon T. Kaipat, an infantryman who served with Charlie Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, and 22-year-old native of Tacoma, Wash., and these were a few of the words his fellow Marines used to describe his character for those who didn’t know him, during a memorial ceremony here, April 16, 2012.

While leading a dismounted patrol in Khan Neshin District, Kaipat sustained mortal wounds from an improvised explosive device. He was medically evacuated to Forward Operating Base Payne’s medical treatment facility, where he succumbed to his wounds.

Kaipat’s fellow Marines shared their personal encounters with the audience during the ceremony, painting a clear picture of an exemplary Marine, caring friend, and righteous brother.

“Kaipat chose to serve the United States in a way that most American’s never consider,” said Lt. Col. George Schreffler, the commanding officer of 1st LAR. ”He chose the path less traveled, and accepted all of the hardships and risks that he encountered along the way.”

He came from Saipan in his freshman year of high school.

Kaipat was born in the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. After emigrating from Saipan to the United States and graduating from Mount Tacoma High School in 2008, he immediately enlisted in the Marine Corps. Late that year he graduated from recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, and then attended Infantry Training School in Camp Pendleton, Calif. 

In March 2009, Kaipat was ordered to report to 1st LAR, where he was assigned to Charlie Co. He deployed with the battalion on their previous tour to Afghanistan in 2010, and had been operating in Khan Neshin district since October 2011.

“He knew that his service contributed to making the United States and the rest of the world better,” explained Schreffler. “He touched the lives of the Marines in his platoon, and Afghans half a world away from his home.”

He would run through a wall, if that was what it took to accomplish the mission.

One Marine remembers Kaipat as an honorable man, one who inspired both his junior Marines and his senior leaders.

Corporal Shane Wilson, an infantryman with Charlie Co., who went through boot camp, the School of Infantry, and two combat deployments with Kaipat, remembers his fallen brother as a Marine who always led by example. 

“When we checked in to 1st LAR together, we both had our fresh high-and-tights, standing there in the position of attention, nervous as can be,” said Wilson. “But Kaipat stood there, firm and strong.”

“He always led from the front, and protected our lives during patrols,” explained Wilson. “Kaipat was the type of man we all strive to become.”

“I can speak so much about my mentor, my example, my brother, my hero and most of all, my friend…it was an honor to have served with him, and to have walked next to a great man,” Wilson said.

He would go out on a limb to protect a fellow Marine.

“I’ve only know Lance Corporal Kaipat for less than a year,” said 1st Lt. Peter Six, Kaipat’s platoon commander with Charlie Co. “But I can tell from his actions what kind of man he was.”

Six recalled his courage during a patrol on New Year’s Eve 2011, when, after another Marine was injured, Kaipat tenaciously posted security on an exposed position, allowing the injured Marine to be treated and evacuated.

“He took his job as a Marine very seriously, and dedicated himself to accomplishing any task he was given,” explained Six. “He served as the point man for over 80 patrols, choosing a safe path and clearing the way and making sure that path is safe for us to take.”

He was a Marine you knew you could count on.

Lance Cpl. Steven Medlock, an infantryman with Charlie Co. who served with Kaipat, recalled simple occasions, when “Ray” would take care of him, regardless of time and place.

“Several times, I came back to the barracks at 4 o’clock on Monday morning, and he would hook me up with a haircut,” said Medlock. “He would sometimes wait for me, coming home late from a party or a date, and ask me, ‘What took you so long, I was worried sick!’”

“It didn’t matter what shape I was in, he was always there to pick me up,” explained Medlock. “He’s still with us, he’s still in our hearts and we need to live on for him.”

He was firm but fair.

Lance Cpl. Peter Kalla, an infantryman with Charlie Co., told the audience that it was an honor being one of Kaipat’s junior Marines. He spoke of stories about the man he remembers as moral and just.

“When I first arrived at 1st LAR, it was on a field day,” recalled Kalla. “I had no idea who was going to be checking our rooms when we were done cleaning. After a while, I heard a knock on the door, and when I opened it, there stood Kaipat, with a pissed off look on his face. He told me ‘I’m here to inspect your room’.”

“At that point, he walked in and quickly found three things that were dirty,” said Kalla. “He then turned to my roommate and myself, and told us that if he came back and found our room dirty again, that we would spend all night cleaning it.”

“I didn’t know who that Marine was at the time, but I did know that I was afraid of him at the time,” explained Kalla. “It wasn’t until a few weeks later, and a few wrestling matches between us that Kaipat and I became close.”

“He always won our matches,” said Kalla. “I told him, ‘I’ll beat you once, if it takes me a thousand tries.’ On one day, I must have tried at least ten times, and he beat me at least ten times.”

“We started doing everything together,” said Kalla. “And during all that time, Kaipat was teaching me, giving me pointers, and still winning our wrestling matches.”

“One of things he taught me, was that anything that sucks, will always end eventually,” remembered Kalla. “It didn’t matter if it was a working party or something as long as a deployment, he knew it would end eventually, and you can carry on with your life.”

Kalla said that whether it was making sure he remembered lessons from a class (while holding him in a head-lock), knocking on the door at 2 A.M. to ask if he wanted a burrito, or making sure he got a haircut on Sundays, Kaipat took care of him like an older brother.

As the company first sergeant called his name for the honorary roll call, Kaipat’s fellow warriors didn’t hear his voice, familiar to many of them for the firmness with which he gave his orders, and for the laughter he shared with them. Instead, they stood in silence as a detail fired a three-volley salute into the air, remembering him for his actions as a leader, a friend, and brother.